I have been routinely accused – often by these very same Asian American misogynists – of having a problem with Asian American men. Let me be clear: I don’t have a problem with Asian American men. I firmly believe in the political uplift of Asian American men, and the dismantling of institutionalized Asian American emasculation.
I just think that our definition of masculinity – specifically, our uncritical embrace of mainstream misogylinity – is flawed.
Misogylinity – masculinity defined by sexual conquest, or what the seduction community calls the “game” – is fundamentally misogynist; it is also heterosexist and racist. It fails to critically challenge racist stereotypes, including those that posit Black men as hypersexual and Asian American men as asexual. Individual, straight men of colour might achieve a modicum of masculine success by playing this “game” and repositioning themselves towards the center (defined by normative Whiteness), but this doesn’t challenge the fundamental stereotypes upon which the entire misogylinist “game” is built. Even if some Asian American win, all Asian American men still lose because the “game” is fundamentally rigged against us.
The solution that brings actual uplift of Asian American men – and all men of colour – is to stop playing. It is to change the rules.
By Arturo R. García
If you’ll allow for a moment of first-person writing today, I’m happy and proud to announce that, in addition to being part of the team here at The R, I was asked to be part of We Are Comics, a new campaign created by longtime comics pro editor Rachel Edidin over the weekend to spotlight the fact that comics fandom extends far, far beyond the cis-het white male realm often attached to it.
After this latest week of utter shamtastery in hip-hop, the words of the late great Aaliyah resonate now more than ever:
We need a resolution; there is so much confusion.
- Rick Ross thinks that drugging a woman and raping her isn’t rape, but rather a case of misunderstanding. FOH.
- Talib Kweli thinks that the first responsibility that women in hip-hop have to men in hip-hop is to love to them.
- Despite his alleged support for Frank Ocean, Busta Rhymes remains an unrepentant and violent homophobe. From my armchair therapist’s seat, I want to ask what Busta is fighting against in himself that has him out in the world acting a fucking fool. (And since I’d ask the question just like that, it’s probably best that I didn’t become a therapist.)
I am more interested in the quintessential case of #allyfail that was Talib Kweli’s participation in this conversation. On Monday, in a conversation at Huffington Post Live with host Marc Lamont Hill, and guests Rosa Clemente, Jamilah Lemieux, and Rahiel Tesfamariam, Talib went in on Rosa for suggesting that she didn’t consider Ross a part of hip-hop culture.
She argued that her view represented a radical edge of thinking about hip-hop culture, which attempts to separate what she referred to as the “rap industrial complex” from the broader culture. She also fully acknowledged the extent to which folks would disagree with her perspective. I think her critique and perspective is a valid one, meaning that while I’m not sure if I agree, her argument is worthy of debate and dialogue.
But what Talib offered wasn’t dialogue. Instead, he attempted to dress Rosa down for even having such a perspective. And then he dictated to her what her perspective should be and told her that ultimately, it didn’t matter what her view was, “Rick Ross and Wayne are a part of the culture whether you like it or not.”
Do women not get to draw boundaries? Do women not get a say in determining the cultural environs of hip-hop?
This act of masculine aggression, mansplaining, and general disrespect is all the more absurd given that Talib Kweli then went on Twitter and told his friend dream hampton who attempted to point out some of the flaws in his argument, that he was “disappointing in her for rattling her sabers,” (i.e. critiquing him), especially since he’s an “ally.”
Um, Talib (if by chance you are listening), your conduct here is actually a primer in “How Not To Be An Ally.”
I know you may stop listening at this point since you probably perceive my tone not to be loving, but if you do continue to read, here are a few pointers on how to be a real male ally in hip-hop:
1.) Let the women have the mic. Rick Ross disrespected all women, and particularly Black and Brown women, in this situation. Black and Brown women have the right to command the space, to “get on the mic” if you will, and speak our peace, without you yanking it back cuz you don’t like what we’re spitting. In other words, if you should find yourself yelling at one of the injured parties, just know that something has gone woefully awry. Check it before you wreck it, ya heard?
2.) Don’t mansplain. Telling Rosa Clemente that the “smarter move” is to embrace Rick Ross with love assumes that Black women’s contribution to the conversation is emotional, not logical. But I hope it is abundantly clear that you were the one all in your feelings in that convo. We’ve been conditioned not to see it when men get defensive and emotional, cuz y’all usually signal that by telling women that we’re the ones who aren’t being “smart” or “logical.” But I call bullshit for bullshit. Despite what you said to dream hampton on Twitter, “your outrage clouded” your judgment.
3.) Don’t invoke the tone argument. You expected Rosa to listen to you, even though your tone wasn’t loving. You were offended, and you felt the right to communicate that offense and be heard. Why not Black women? If someone is standing on my fucking foot, I don’t have to ask them nicely to move. Like the Queen (Latifah, that is) said 20 years ago, “a man don’t love ya, if he hits ya,” or rapes ya, or raps about raping ya. To ask me to love somebody who ain’t even remotely interested in trying to love me back, either means you think Black women are Jesus or fools. To demand more love when all Black women do is give love is at best woeful misrecognition and worst an egregious show of male arrogance.
4.) Interrogate your privilege. You may be a progressive man in hip-hop, but you are still a man who moves through the world with male privilege. And what you did in that conversation and the subsequent conversation on Twitter was communicate from the space of that male privilege. You told Rosa that she didn’t get to determine who was in and out of hip-hop, though she has paid her dues in the culture just like you. And then you told her who was in. Period. The end. That’s not being an ally. That’s being minister of information for the Ol Boys’ Club.
5.) Recognize that you don’t get to tell us how to be our ally; we get to tell you. And if the fact that you don’t have the power to determine the bounds of your allyship make you uncomfortable, then you have found the primary place of your problem. We get to determine who our allies are. Not you. Your primary job as an ally is to listen, and then be a megaphone, not a microphone. Your job is to amplify what we’re saying so other folks can hear it, and have our back if something pops off. If the folks you are attempting to help or be in alliance with tell you that they are feeling unsupported, then that might mean there is a problem with the support you are offering rather than a problem with the demands they are making. (For a far better explication of this principle, check out this good work from our friends over at Shakesville.)
I don’t know that the tips above come from a place of love. I don’t always love hip-hop, since hip-hop so infrequently loves me back. But I absolutely care about what happens in hip-hop and I care about the healing of Black men with pathological ideas about sex and I care about Black men who are interested in being allies. Most of all, I care about Black women. So maybe a little more love is not what we need. Too many people use that word in vain. Perhaps hip-hop should start somewhere far more basic: let’s imagine what it would look like to care. For others, for ourselves, for the culture.
Talib Kweli responded to the Crunk Feminist Collective here.
By Guest Contributor Sikivu Hutchinson; originally published at Feminist Wire
When I was five years old I was sexually assaulted by neighbors. Ours was a tranquil post-white flight neighborhood of beautiful single family homes, obsessively tended lawns, and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses home improvement. It was the mid-seventies, before black women’s experiences with rape had come into broader public consciousness through works like The Color Purple and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
The term “sexual assault” was largely unknown. The language that rape-prevention activists now use to validate the everyday terrorism girls and women deal with was not a part of our vocabulary or classroom curriculum. In my critically conscious upbringing I was raised to clearly understand the racist police who abused and murdered us, the racist criminal justice system that jailed us, and the racist cultural history that rendered us invisible. I was taught to revere the black warriors who crusaded against the holocaust of slavery and its aftermath. But I was not taught to know, understand, or identify the casual predators that moved in and out of our lives without detection or censure; the parasites who posed as strong, upstanding black men in the light of day and terrorized with impunity behind closed doors buttressed by violent silence.
It ain’t no fun/if the homies can’t have none. – Snoop Dogg
You know, there are a lot of people weighing in on this Amber Cole thing. But most of the conversation is about her, as is par for the course in our culture. The boys involved are still anonymous in the eyes of the world. For me, I always wonder why there aren’t open letters to these kids? There are tons to Amber Cole – people saying they could be her father, people saying STFU with all that victim-blaming and feminist-scapegoating madness – but no one seems interested in writing letters to the boys involved.
But hey, maybe it’s just me. I guess when one of your friends – along with a person who sexually assaulted you – ends up in jail for gang rape, you start thinking about things a bit differently.
After I wrote the Not Rape Epidemic, right after I submitted the essay, but before it was actually published, I ran into an old friend at my local library. I hadn’t seen this friend in a decade – indeed, I didn’t remember her name until I left the library. Yet somehow, we both happened to be in the same library, at the same time, on the same day, after not seeing each other for ten years. We say hey, make small talk.
And then she asks me: “Did you know T got out?”
We both were silent for a second. We hadn’t talked since before the incident. She didn’t know that I had been to that trial. She didn’t know I had seen the girl. And I had forgotten she was far closer to him than I was. When T and the other kids were sentenced, we calculated they would get out when we were in our 30s or 40s. We didn’t realize how the system works, and how a lot of people end up released early. T had been incarcerated from age 14 to about age 24.
“His sister called me,” my friend continued. “She asked me if I wanted to come to his his welcome home party.” She looked at me, stared hard so I could feel the weight of her pain.
“How am I supposed to look at him after he did something like that?” Continue reading
This panel is all about titties and I feel like its my fault! – Jonathan Jacques-Bellêtete
There are many things I expect to see in a panel called “East Meets West, Art Direction for a Worldwide Audience.” I expected to hear Isamu Kamikokuryo, the art director for Final Fantasy XIII-2 discuss how Japanese artists focus on creating new worlds, Norse mythology and its influence on the game, and drawing inspiration from Cuba for some of the beautifully rendered backgrounds. I expected to hear Jonathan Jacques-Bellêtete, the art director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, talk about influences like Andrew Loomis and Metal Gear Solid. I had hoped for an interesting back and forth between the two designers on how technology influences artistic development as well as what happens to geographic differences in artistic influences in our increasingly connected worlds.
I did hear all of these things, but also something that pinged my feminist gamer radar.
In describing his influences, Jacques-Bellêtete mentioned he was heavily influenced by Metal Gear and Final Fantasy. Then he went into a two minute riff about “always trying to have very beautiful female characters,” noting that these were characters he would want to sleep with. After making a semi-disparaging remark about female characters drawn in a North American style, he concludes “I’d rather have female characters from Final Fantasy or Soul Caliber to sleep with.” This draws chuckles from the crowd.
And there it was, the truth about character design that so many players know but most designers wouldn’t usually articulate: most of the egregiously sexist character designs are based on fuckability, rather than playability. Continue reading
by Guest Contributor Collier Meyerson, originally published at Carefree White Girl
From the creator:
“We instantly went to Tumblr and made hotchicksofoccupywallstreet.tumblr.com. Our original ideas were admittedly sophomoric: Pics of hot chicks being all protesty, videos of hot chicks beating drums in slow-mo, etc. But when we arrived at Zuccotti Park in New York City, it evolved into something more.
There was a vibrant energy in the air, a warmth of community and family, and the voices we heard were so hopeful and passionate. Pretty faces were making signs, giving speeches, organizing crowds, handing out food, singing, dancing, debating, hugging and marching.”
The Occupation of Wall Street was, plain and simple meant to be a rejection of corporate America. But the video and author’s description above are instead a sendup to the very culture the occupiers claim to be corrupting. The music sounds like a Rick Perry campaign commercial and acts as a silencer to further their agenda of objectification. Oh, right, there are those three soundbites that capture the maternal essence of ALL of those hotchicksatoccupywallstreet. Are the hotchicksatoccupywallstreet concerned with the IMF, or say, pushing for collective bargaining in the Teachers Union? No, hotchicksatoccupywallstreet only talk about children, beauty, children, Gandhi and children.
From the outset, the imagery circulating the internet of “Occupy Wall Street” is reflective of a white and young adherence. Paradoxically, this video “piece” has three people of color in it, which, sadly seems like a lot when it comes to OWS coverage. Even stranger, two of the three women of color featured in the film are given voice, whereas the white women remain objects of beauty. Peculiar, ey? Taken straight from the pages of the corporate America’s advertising handbook, the reproduction of images seen in this video play into the reinforcement of the white woman’s stand alone beauty and the black and brown woman’s strength.
I feel like I don’t even need to speak to how the creators of this piece cop to the standards of beauty so i’ll just make a list of the ways in which they did it to save time:
skinny + white + slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww music + +slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww images + no voice = carefree white girl
It is monstrosities such as this that add to my skepticism of having a movement without intentionality. If, from the beginning there was a “General Assembly” that looked more like the General Assembly at the UN, and if from the beginning there was thought put into the whole IDEA of what occupation has meant in this country (see: COLONIALISM) and how skeptical people of color are to that notion I think that we’d be seeing a much more nuanced and thoughtful process. The call for the redistribution of wealth alone does not get at the root of the problem. We have to think about this more critically and we have to be more vigilant of those (like homeboys that made this video) that are trying to keep existing power structures steadily in place.
As a woman and as a woman of color who has been down there various times since its inception, I’m not comfortable yet. Help me get there and not by doing DUMB SHIT LIKE THIS.
Originally published at Muslimah Media Watch
So Richard Dawkins is an asshat. Anyone surprised?
Here’s the comment he left on a thread that discussed sexism:
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
And here’s a brief roundup of what people are saying about it.
Several comments, including Watson’s own, hit on exactly what the fight’s about. Dawkins has every right to dismiss Watson’s story and to argue that she was not in a high risk situation. But his attempt to prove how insignificant Watson’s story was by comparing it with the much worse scenario of a Muslim woman’s daily life hurts his argument. The fact that something worse is going on somewhere else does not diminish whatever may be happening here. Also, as Watson points out, Dawkins is admired widely for work criticizing creationism and denouncing the use of religion as an excuse for repressing women in particular. To defend only some women from misogyny and not all, she and others argue, is hypocrtical. (sic)