Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

The Good

Dear Ellen Page,

Despite loving Juno, Whip It, and even Hard Candy, I hadn't yet decided how I felt about you. I don't think you're entirely the best actress in the world, even if you do make REALLY good role choices. However, it turns out...I love you. I love public women who boldly speak their truth, especially when that truth just happens to be one that is underrepresented and I agree with passionately.


The Bad

Dear Chris Brown,

Unlike some people, I will never, ever forget what you did. EVER. I don't think that domestic violence apologies are enough. I don't think your punishment was enough. I don't want you in the public eye anymore. As such, I will not listen to your music. Thank God that my XM radio alerts me to who the artist is that I'm listening to, so when it's you, I can promptly turn the dial. I didn't listen to your new song "I Can Transform Ya" but I did look up the lyrics. How appropriate that you are writing about controlling a woman by changing her...her looks, her clothes, buying her things, telling her you "see potential" in her. And how appropriate that you feature Lil Wayne on the track. It's just like a big old misogynistic party that I declined my invite to.

Cordially fuck off,

Dear Bristol Palin,

Where do I start, Bristol? I had hope for you...once. I heard that after you got pregnant, you questioned the anti-sex abstinence only perspective of right wingers like your mom. But then you appeared on the "I'm so glad I chose life" magazine cover with your mom. That's when I knew I couldn't hold out any hope. You confirmed my pessimism with this PSA. I won't come out as strong against the Candies Foundation and the "pause before you play" tag line as Jos did in the linked blog, (because it could mean many things.) But I WILL come out as strong against your classist message. I'm sorry...but I really felt like the thesis was "if you're poor, don't have sex EVAAARRR!" and that's something I just can't get behind.

Please take your mom and your "perfect" rich white I-can-get-away-with-teen-pregnancy-because-I'm-better-than-you self and go far, far away. Forever.


The Beautiful

Dear Eryah Badu,

When I first heard about the controversy surrounding your video, I thought it was much ado about nothing. Honestly, I didn't care one way or the other about what you were doing. Then I read analysis after analysis...and one thing that stood out to me was suggested by a commenter on Feministing (which I can't find right now.) It had to do with how Matt and Kim also stripped nude in public for their video "Lessons Learned." The comparisons were everywhere. Ronald first mentioned to me the similarities, when I hadn't thought of. Then I saw people saying how their video inspired you. Then, in the specific comment I mentioned, someone pointed out how Matt and Kim didn't receive a citation and their video was seen as innocent and childlike, if not comical. While your video, on the other hand, was portrayed as such a sexual piece which you were fined for.

It reminded me of how black women's bodies are hypersexualized by our society. How they are commodified. How they are compared to animals. I started to think about the controversy surrounding your video in a different light. I started to see what was really going on. And when I heard what you had to say about your body, and I began to really admire you.

But what made me love your video the most, was seeing it through the eyes of a 5 year old.

Thank you, Ms. Badu. Thank you for your video, for your work, and for being you.

Stay beautiful,

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