The Curious Case of Lily Allen’s Horrible Stab At Satire.

Ah, Lily Allen. Everyone’s favorite pop ingenue recently released a new video “satirizing” the music industry and the internet is all a-buzz, mostly praise from mainstream feminist sites applauding her wit and edge, all the while neglecting the fact that she’s using black women as props. Fortunately for the rest of us, there’s still country for nuanced criticism. Here are a (HF approved) few:

Lily Allen is a popstar singing about how its “hard out here for a bitch” – in a hip-hop video? Why couldn’t she stick to her own genre and talk about inherent sexism in pop culture. Why? Probably because of the same virus that’s being going around for a long time, where white women just can’t help use bodies of women of colour as props. Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Miley Cyrus, the list goes on. – Susuana Antubam (via blackfems)

There is an incredibly valid critique to be made about hip hop culture and music videos which consistently demean black women, but to ignore her enormous privilege as a white woman and engage in exactly the same racist, degrading objectifying fuckery as Miley Cyrus (who this video was apparently at least partially a “dig” at) is disgusting to say the least.” – BlackinAsia

“But the video is…troublesome. I get this is making fun of Miley and the cultural appropriation and so forth. Certainly the song is making fun of the way women in pop are treated. But it’s still a white girl dancing with a bunch of black girls twerking. Yes, it’s supposed to be ironic. But I’m not sure it reads.” – Anibundel

“From Lorde to Macklemore, it’s a sentiment that’s galling for its popularity: white artists need to stop using the wealth signifiers of rap music to gesture at their self-important “anti-consumerism.” What Allen misses as she washes rims in a kitchen decorated only with bottles of champagne is that it’s not anti-consumerism when it only targets one type of consumer.” – Ayesha A. Siddiqi

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On bombasts and bullies.

This is yet another post I have wrestled with for days. Originally, this was to be another post about the follies of  performance feminism, in which I was going to invite women who build their brand on attacking other women (and my friends) to kiss every square inch of my beautiful brown ass. Because as much as I am tired of white feminists undermining and devaluing the work of WoC, I am really tired of certain self-serving WoC who use their bully pulpits to sabotage other brown women in the name of “sisterhood,” and have seen enough of that this year to last me a lifetime.

But ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

Besides, most takedown posts–no matter how honest–have little impact on the reputation of their targets. And they don’t make said targets any more remorseful or reflective. If anything, it adds to their legend. It lends credibility to their carefully crafted narrative. It turns villains into superheroes. Better to let them continue getting high from their own supply, to let them claim victimhood as they hide their own bloodied hands. Sooner or later, the mask will slip and people will see you for what you really are.

And with that, back to business.

Next Thursday (November 7), Hood Feminism–along with few of our friends–will be hosting our first Google Hangout on pro-blackness, respectability, and colorism. We’ll be kicking things off at 7pm EST. If you’re interested, come through. We’d love to have you.

The Performance Feminist.

NARAL’s recent board appointment is just the latest in a series of “OH REALLY WTF YO?” moments in an already-fractured movement, another opportunity for a more inclusive approach falling away. Their new appointee’s failures at intersectionality have been well-documented, yet these missteps haven’t stopped her ability to fail upward.

Must be nice.

Though plenty of good people are on the front lines waging wars against “-isms” daily, social media has unwittingly given birth (and a considerable amount of real estate) to a new breed of feminist agitator–one who isn’t so much invested in fighting the good fight as she is, say, getting a spot on The MHP Show. She is lively, verbose and blustery; her showmanship could put the late P.T. Barnum to shame. She is…the Performance Feminist.

Equipped with a Twitter account, a WordPress blog, and an arsenal of quotes from Very Important Feminists at the ready, The Performance Feminist can be seen holding court in the public forum of her choice (though it’s usually Twitter.) She may be an academic from the Dirty South, or a charmed New Yorker with an Ivy League pedigree and a breadwinning husband. She may have cut her teeth writing about sexist tropes in Joss Whedon shows for a popular blog, or she may be a rookie, fresh out of her Women’s Studies class and ready to take on the world–in front of a camera, of course.

While The Performance Feminist claims to be all about fellowship and sisterhood, once she latches on to her cause du jour, civility and thoughtful engagement are on the midnight train to Georgia. Instead of reaching out for an honest conversation, she will man the torpedoes, taking to her blog to assail the characters of any and all perceived foes, real or imaginary. She will rally her troops to petition, boycott and march, all the while patting herself on the back for her good work. She will create conferences and collectives under the guise of sisterhood, all the while neglecting large swaths of girls and women who aren’t in the right age or tax brackets. She will take credit for creating online feminism when, in fact, it predates her involvement. When faced with legitimate criticism, she will dismiss it as jealousy and infighting, or respond with an ill-conceived plan to address the lack of diversity. She will shame and dismiss those who do not fit her arbitrary definition of Feminism, and will take to penning open letters to let her disapproval be known.

She will pay lip service to diversity and intersectionality as she readies herself for her new writing gig, where she will be counted on to offer the “feminist perspective” on a number of recycled, navel-gazing topics: Can a woman have it all if she takes her husband’s name while wearing skinny jeans? Are wearing skinny jeans feminist? What about wearing skinny jeans while watching porn? Meanwhile, other, more pressing matters receive scant attention.

The Performance Feminist never shies away from a topic, even if she doesn’t know much about it. Image is everything; as long as she appears informed no one has to know that her treatise on Chicago violence was based on one interaction with a homeless guy at a Harold’s Chicken while in town visiting a beau. People will praise her for passion and bravery, for her commitment to make the world a better place. It will make her big television debut that much sweeter.

Which is great. For her. The movement, not so much. These antics drown out other voices, like the ones rallying to save broken public school systems across the country, or the ones fighting on behalf of indigenous rights. Or the ones working to improve the conditions of mothers everywhere, working and non. It means little-to-no shine for issues affecting millions of people who don’t live in New York City, whose only means of online access may be through a prepaid cellular phone. It means that the people most at risk will continue to be overlooked.

So how does one avoid being a Performance Feminist? As the famed poet Dewayne Michael Carter once said, Real Gs move in silence, like lasagna. Let your work speak for you. When advocating on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves, remember that they are human beings, not a cause to be advanced; let them tell their own stories in their own words. Use your online platform to facilitate discussions in good faith. If someone calls you out, graciously accept the criticism and learn from it. Talk less. Listen more.  Don’t let your naked ambition alienate those who could potentially change the world.

Of course, all of these things have been said before. But a little reminder always helps.

Why the government shutdown is a feminist issue.

When the clock struck midnight on Capitol Hill, nearly 9 million mothers and children were left to fend for themselves, their WIC support suspended. Since there was no approval for additional funding, the 53% of American infants and 25% of expectant mothers currently covered by the program will stop receiving clinical care and food benefits in the next week or so, unless the states can pony up. (SPOILER ALERT: Most of them can’t.)

And with women making up 44% of federal employees, this infographic (courtesy of WaPo) illustrates how many could be left in dire financial straits as the shutdown continues.

People in need of emergency assistance won’t be able to rely on TANF, either. (h/t @AmandaMichelle)

 

We’ll start posting whatever information and resources we stumble across here.

Feeding America has a few ways to give.

Or check out Catholic Charities.

Or this national food bank directory.

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics can help you find a clinic in your area. And they’re in need donations and volunteers.