Tag Archives: New York Magazine

A Reaction To The Backlash Against Mindy Kaling

By Guest Contributor Nisha Chittal

“The Mindy Project” showrunner and star Mindy Kaling. Via hitflix.com

Mindy Kaling’s new series, The Mindy Project, premieres on Fox on September 25. Already, the show and its creator and star have received an onslaught of press attention, culminating in a New York Magazine cover story. Kaling’s new show is widely being called one of the best of this fall’s new comedies, and Kaling herself is a story of hard work and success, writing and directing for The Office for eight years, then landing a deal with Fox to write, direct, produce, and star in her own show.

But no young, talented woman experiencing a rush of success can avoid the inevitable backlash. After the release of the New York cover story, Kaling has become the subject of much internet ire, with bloggers and TV critics calling her a variety of adjectives: smug, too self-satisfied, cocky, “the human equivalent of a retweeted compliment.” But women are supposed to be self-deprecating! How dare she feel confident about her career achievements?
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New York Magazine Deems Naturally Curly A Bad Investment For No Reason

Kevin Roose, over at New York Magazine, decided to launch a column called “Dumb Money: Exposing Silicon Valley’s Stupidest Investments.” He writes:

But Silicon Valley, like any other industry, has its share of truly dumb ideas. For every start-up that changes the world and makes its founders rich, a thousand die quick, anonymous deaths.

Some of tech’s clunkers never get off the ground, but others manage to get big, high-profile investments despite having no redeeming qualities whatsoever. (For example, what kind of genius decided to throw $1.2 million at NaturallyCurly, the “leading social network and community for people with wavy, curly and kinky hair?”)

Roose provides no actual evidence as to why NaturallyCurly is a bad investment. He doesn’t cite a thing – not their traffic numbers, no advertising sales, and no discussion of the exponential growth in the market they offer. But why should he? NaturallyCurly doesn’t fit the pattern – and Roose’s casual dismal underscores exactly why minorities, women of color in particular, have such a hard time breaking into the consciousness of the tech world. Continue reading

On the Trail of the “Paper Tiger” [Updated]

by Latoya Peterson

Asian Like Me NY Mag Cover

ETA: Please note, we got an email from NYMag saying they want us to take down this post. I pushed back asking them about their definition of fair use, and we are working it out. So if you access this post over the weekend, and it has changed, that’s what happened. I’m going to go through and prune it down a bit – good faith and all that – but we are still going to run the other pieces on Monday, regardless of what actually ends up in this space. – LDP

Earlier this week, readers Elton and Tomi alerted us to this front page New York Magazine piece called “Paper Tigers,” by Wesley Yang. It is remarkable in that it’s one of the broadest examinations of Asian American identity to be prominently placed in a mainstream outlet. The article made a huge impact – on Facebook alone, it was liked by 31,000 people. However, reading the piece left a lot of questions to be answered, and for every “hell yeah!” there was an equal *head desk*.

We’re putting together a reaction post from our friends and contributors, but in the meantime, please set aside the time to read all of Yang’s article.

To start you off, here are some points that jumped out at me.

The Good

  • Yang’s discussion of Asian American invisibility in face of stereotype: “A conspicuous person standing apart from the crowd and yet devoid of any individuality.”
  • The frank discussion of Thomas Epenshade’s work, which calculated how Asians generally must score higher on the SAT than white applicants to have the same chance at admission.
  • The disparity between Asian American representation in higher education and under-representation in the board room. (We’ve covered this before, under the title of the bamboo ceiling.)

The Interesting, but Questionable

  • Yang looks at the bamboo ceiling, but attributes it mostly to unconscious bias, not actual racism.
  • The absolute absence of Asian American female perspectives, despite the higher rates of suicide for Asian American women.


  • Yang appears to have a love/hate relationship with being Asian-American; using the term “banana or twinkie to self identify and saying he’s “devoid of Asian characteristics.”
  • The piece challenges some stereotypes, but reinforces others, perhaps because of the divided feel of the narrative.
  • Yang quotes JT Tran, the Asian American pick up artist, who essentially says Asian American (heterosexual men) should pick up white women in order to…well, it’s not exactly clear how Tran thinks that is going to fix the school/boardroom gap.

Stay tuned for more perspectives from our APIA contributors.

Fashion and Race: Running (from) the Numbers Game

By Guest Contributor Minh-Ha T. Pham, originally posted at Threadbared

Thus far, I’ve read only a very small number of September issue fashion magazines: American Vogue (chock full of great or more precisely, useful, evidence for my research on the democratization of fashion), Teen Vogue, and New York Magazine. I have several others collecting dust next to my bed (including Bust, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire) – hopefully I’ll get to flip through these tomorrow on my way to Seattle.

So while I have little direct knowledge of this, it seems from the reports that two overwhelming trends emerge when we consider the September issues of the major fashion magazines: (1) an increase in advertising pages – 57% increase in Glamour and a 23% increase in Vogue – suggests the increasing strength of the national economy and (2)  that the fashion media and market is still constructed and organized in terms of middle class ideals of whiteness.

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Policing Fashion in New York

by Guest Contributor Minh-ha, originally published at Threadbared

In New York magazine’s Spring Fashion issue, there are six feature stories on clothes, designers, and models including a story on a group of tenderfoot but fresh-faced white male models (“Fashion Week’s handsome rookies”), an interview with style icon Kate Moss on her clothing line at the much-anticipated and much delayed opening of TopShop in downtown Manhattan (recent reports have doors opening in April 2009), and a recession-minded article with an increasingly familiar theme, “Everything Here is Under $100”). In addition, there is the usual array of designer label advertisements and celebrity spokesmodels: Posh and Becks for Emporio Armani, Katie Holmes for Miu Miu, Gwyneth Paltrow for Tod’s, as well as an anonymous sea of puerile, well-heeled, ivory-faced Gothamites slinging everything from Marc Jacobs handbags to cocktails to lifestyles.

Jessica Lustig’s article, “The Fashion Thief,” was the only feature story or advertisement in the Fashion Issue that featured a person of color, any color. Lustig follows Kevahn Thorpe, an African American young man from Queensbridge Houses project in Queens, New York, as he is arrested and rearrested for shoplifting from high-end Manhattan shops like Prada, Bergdorf, Barneys, and Saks.

There’s a lot about this article that’s unsettling. Continue reading