Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Via Sociological Images comes news of Ecko and their latest ad campaignHot Girls Make Great Clothes. The website is filled with images (photo and video) of barely dressed women “manufacturing” Ecko brand clothing. Yes, this campaign objectifies women and uses sex to sell clothes. What else is new?

More sickening than that is the ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ reference to places where really hot women and children work – sweatshops. Real women and real girls labor for meager, unsustainable wages in terrible conditions so that we can purchase and wear the latest…. hot styles.

A few facts about sweatshops:

Women make up to 90 percent of sweatshop labor. The poor working conditions they experience include being subject to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.

Sweatshops violate the most basic labor laws including child labor, minimum wage, overtime and fire safety laws.

Working conditions also include no benefits, non-payment of wages, forced overtime, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, corporal punishment, and illegal firings.

Sweatshops flourish where there are pools of exploitable workers in desperate
conditions. The poorer the country, the more exploitable the people are.

However, sweatshops are not only found in “other” countries; they are right here in the U.S. – often the workers are recent and/or undocumented workers – again, people who are very vulnerable.

Workers who don’t know their rights or who have no good choices are at the mercy of the managers of these shops and the corporations who own them. For instance, pregnant women are fired instead of being given any type of leave. Women who are of childbearing age may be forced to take birth control or abort their pregnancies.

The free market allows corporations to seek out areas where they can pay miserably poor wages, wages too poor to allow workers to support their families comfortably, and poor enough to ensure profits for the companies at the expense of these families.

Corporations also seek out countries with unstable governments in order to lessen the possibility of being monitored and charged with human rights violations.

Workers can be fired or blacklisted if they try to defend their rights.

Some defend sweatshops and their practices by pointing out that the payment workers may receive is higher than the average national wage for workers in a particular country. Yes, people do have a right to make a living and if the opportunity presents itself to make a higher wage, certainly they should be free to seek the opportunity. However, human rights violations do not need to be part and parcel of such an opportunity. People should not be exploited and brutalized because they happen to live in a poor country (or live in a rich country where the poor are marginalized and/or treated as if they are not human).

Nor should such dire situations be mocked.

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Rush Limbaugh continues his contempt for anyone who is not… a blowhard, I guess:

On the August 20 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted of attacks by Sen. John McCain against Sen. Barack Obama: “[S]ee, there are Democrats — the drive-bys” — a term Limbaugh uses to denote the national media — “are just so upset with these so-called ‘ferocious attacks.’ These have been benign. Even the Britney Spears/Paris Hilton ad was funny. It was benign.” He later added: “It’s — you know, it’s just — it’s just we can’t hit the girl. I don’t care how far feminism’s saying, you can’t hit the girl, and you can’t — you can’t criticize the little black man-child. You just can’t do it, ’cause it’s just not right, It’s not fair. He’s such a victim.”

But right now I can’t formulate a response better than this

Or this

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This post has been brewing for some time. Renee posted about black beauty yesterday and it made me wonder if I could finish this. Maybe this will end up being a bunch of loosely connected paragraphs, masquerading as a post. At any rate, I have started and deleted, started and deleted. I’ll commit to not deleting and see what happens.

I have a love/hate relationship with magazines, and right now the hate part is stronger than the love. It works out well, because I spend less money on magazines that way. This love/hate relationship extends even to the magazines that are supposed to be about me and the women who look like me. I still subscribe to Essence magazine mostly because I feel an obligation to support a magazine for black women. But oh how it disappoints. Since this is a post about beauty, and blackness, I will stick to that theme.

It is disappointing every month to flip through the pages and see ad after ad, article illustration after illustration, of more black women who come close to approximating the “ideal” woman – light skinned, straight hair, etc. I wanted to page through the latest issue as I was writing this post, but I have already recycled it. I know on the one hand that the magazine is catering to what the market wants, and that the real money that keeps them in business comes from advertising. And much of what they advertise is hair products – and it takes more product to keep black hair bouncing and behaving than to let it be free. So – more straight hair ads – more advertising revenue.

I am conflicted because I don’t want to argue with black women and the choices we make about our hair. I wear my hair happily nappy… but I didn’t always. And never say never… perhaps one day I will go back to pressing my hair but my guess is that I probably won’t. Once I let my hair do what it wanted to do – to roll up into kinks and crimps when faced with moisture, the strands coiling around and around one another until they turned into locks impenetrable by any comb – until then, I didn’t look like myself.

So choices are good. I like that I can wear my hair the way I do and mostly not be regarded as some sort of freak, even though there are frequent reminders that a lot of people really would prefer it if we black women toed the line and beat our hair into submission in order to be … what? Respectable?

Lots of rumination on this theme:


Why do we have this double standard? Why is it what is pretty on those lighter than me, is considered ugly on my dark skin?

Why is ok to have “black” attributes, but not ok to be black?


Women of color and beauty carnival
This Carnival is intended to focus on beauty and what it means to and about women of color. In particular, I would like to see discussion go beyond a focus on the ways in which women of color can internalize self hatred to the ways in which women and communities of color recognize and celebrate beauty.

for real this

The fact that pretty/not pretty play out so often among women is no accident. This is not about adornment ( what makeup you choose, what clothes you wear etc) and it often bothers teh ever living hell out of me every time that lipstick/ non lipstick discussion comes up. It is assumed so often that participating in adornment which can be cultural, religious, ethnic, and powerful., is about pleasing men and means one thing.

In my life , adornment beauty practices are very much about taking care of myself and asserting my right to exist not as a second class citizen.

and certainly this

The more I think about this black women and beauty thing (and this is probably related to my growing older so also having to think about the white norm of beauty but the culture of worship of youth – worshipping their beauty, mind you and not so much youth as persons to be respected and listened to… but that’s another post for another day) the more I think about it the more I realize it’s not really so much about wanting to be thought of as beautiful, or wanting to be desired. It is not wanting the gaze of men which is another part of the whole love/hate relationship with magazines and other media targeting women – they all want me to attract get and keep a man – as if the whole sum of my womanly existence is about … men.

I was riding the bus home the other day. I usually like to sit toward the front, but those seats were taken so I moved to the rear and sat in a row about 3 up from the very back. Across the aisle and one row up were two young white women, high school age, they looked to be. They were coming home from an afternoon at the mall. About one stop after I got on, a white man who looked to be in his late twenties got on the bus, looked around for a place to land and seated himself across the aisle from the two young women. He immediately began to strike up a conversation with them – where were they coming from, what were there names, what school did they go to – all that. All of that with that look in his eye, you know – that gaze. One the one hand, what seemed to be frank appreciation for these young, beautiful women, and on the other, his absolute confidence that they wanted to engage him in conversation. They talked back and forth for a few minutes, him always asking questions and they always answering (and me thinking – you know you don’t have to talk to them, don’t you?) and I was even beginning to think I should intervene because it was starting to feel creepy when the question I knew he’d get around to came: So do you girls have boyfriends? They laughed and one said we don’t go out with boys. That statement was quickly amended to assert they didn’t go out with girls either, … dating wasn’t worth all the drama. Now they talked more and they revealed that one of the girls had gotten pregnant and recently had the baby; the father had walked away. Instantly the man’s body language changed, he turned away from them, his face lost its animation; he just plain wasn’t interested any longer. (An interesting side note, perhaps another topic for another day – the young women insisted several times that they were not “white trash.”)

I’m glad I’m not expected to play those games any longer. I’m glad to go unnoticed in these kinds of situations.

But what I do want recognized is the equal humanity of my body to that of what is thought to be the “norm” – whatever trope we are using for norm – the blond, blue eyed, perky girl next door, the all American boy … whatever it is that is acknowledged as real, as valuable, as worthy of having life… that’s what I want. I want an end to the hyper criminalization and hypersexualization of black bodies. And I know that female bodies of all colors are sexualized – look at those girls on the bus, look at any magazine, tv show, movie, the daggone Olympics and we know that women’s bodies are marked as sexual objects.

But for women of color there is a difference. While white women are certainly imaged as sexual objects, there are other images – among them images of purity, innocence, goodness, the girl next door, etc. As men of color are frequently imaged as animalistic and criminal, women of color are frequently (primarily?) imaged as animalistic and/or hypersexual. The subtext is – if bad things happen to us, it’s our own fault.

If video doesn’t play, click here.

This 1941 cartoon abounds with stereotypes, but I’m particularly interested in the “sexy” washerwoman as she is depicted over and against the other black residents of Lazytown (!). The sexy woman has less pronounced black features… she is lighter skinned, her lips are thinner, she looks more “human.” She is not heavy, like the washer woman she comes in to show how to do her job, and she doesn’t really live there. She is not quite one of them, but she is still black enough to be “other”. But she does not go outside the boundary of the prescribed roles of black women – asexual caretaker or good time floozy.

When I googled the phrase “beautiful black women,” the 8 google ads along the side were the following:

Free Nasty Black Videos

Beautiful Black Women – Meet your Future Black Wife

Watch Black Porn Movies

Big Juicy Ebony Booties

Black Women Seeking Sex

Women Photo Personals

Find Black Women

Beautiful Black Women – White Men Dating Black Women

By the way, white women fared only a little better under the google ad system – under “beautiful white women” there were 3 sidebar ads:

Dirty Cheating Wives

White Women – Meet White Women now

Mature Women

Under the phrase “beautiful women” there was simply one ad:

Are you a hottie?


When the radio talk show host didn’t like Cynthia McKinney’s hair, his comments were “She looks like a ghetto slut”

The markers here regarding her presumed identity are, well, remarkable.

Ghetto. Poor, black, uneducated.
Shiftless, lazy, undeserving of respect.
One who is best left alone.

Slut. Wantonly sexual.
Without morals.
Desirable for one reason only.

This is not about wanting to be admired or desired by random individuals. This is about wanting to live and to have my humanity acknowledged, and the humanity of all people. We are taught in this culture that if you disdain something, you don’t need to let it live. It frightens me to death that in a small Texas town, teachers are allowed to carry guns to school.

I wanted to know what kind of demographics were in the area … because I am suspicious. (Just because you’re paranoid….and all that.) Here’s Wikipedia’s description of the county:

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,676 people, 5,537 households, and 3,748 families residing in the county. The population density was 15 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 6,371 housing units at an average density of 7 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 78.17% White, 8.86% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.73% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. 20.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,537 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.10% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. In 2000, there were 136 unmarried partner households: 129 heterosexual, 3 same-sex male, and 2 same-sex female.

My search also landed me on a white supremaci$t site, which I will not link to. There was a discussion about the school district’s decision… where commenters were saying things like:

….if it’s a mostly black school, I can see why they want to be armed.

…maybe the best idea is to have lots of armed security to protect teachers and students from black and brown thugs.

That’s right. If the children look like mine, arm yourselves.

Or… recognize their beauty… their humanity.

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via Racialicious:

There were no crush of grief counselors when our 11 year olds got shot by strays or on purpose. There were no pundits filling column space and air time when our girls got raped or became pregnant too soon. And when our children came up missing… when our children came up missing…

When our children came up missing there was silence. Silence and indifference. There still is.

Nancy Grace doesn’t have an aneurysm on camera when LaToya goes missing. Dan Abrams doesn’t get outraged when Marcus or Jamar vanishes. Katie Couric and Barabara Walters don’t break down in tears when kids from South Central are murdered. Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann don’t interrupt your program when Jaunita is found chopped up into pieces. Magazines and newspapers aren’t tracking those cases. They’re just not news enough or “human interest” enough for all of that.

We Want Our Kids Back, Too is a viral web campaign that is spreading the word about missing and endangered children of color. Inspired by and in the spirit of What About Our Daughters, Missing Minorities and Black and Missing, Black Canseco has created these ads to spread the word.

Please join the campaign. Visit www.photobucket.com/ourmissingkids for ads to post.

(and if anyone who uses WordPress can tell me how to make these images bigger… please do so! I chose the biggest size and this is what I got….)

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Via Pam’s House Blend

Focus on the Family asks for rain on Obama’s acceptance speech

I don’t know – could they display their contempt a little more openly?

A bunch of folks blogged about this…. now Isabel Garcia is being seriously targeted:

Garcia is currently under investigation by the AZ state bar for participating in a protest against a book signing for a book that supports active discrimination against immigrants and subversion of their rights. “Justice” and others, have misrepresented the events to say that Garcia’s “toting of a severed piñata head of a police officer” constitutes violation of the bar’s code of conduct. Garcia was actually picking up the head after protesters split the piñata open in traditional form. She and others actively protested the incitement of anti-immigrant sentiment and abuse of immigrants and the Latin@ community in AZ which they felt were being exacerbated by the event and the author. Should the review board decide that Garcia is guilty of violating codes of conduct, she could lose her license to practice law in the state of Arizona and would also lose her job as a public defender.

See profbw for full post and join the call for action:

Contact Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry in support of Isabel Garcia. 520.740.8661 or e-mail: chh@pima.gov

Contact the Journal Broadcast Group, expressing your opinion of Jon Justice and the tactics of 104.1FM.

Contact Julie Brinks: 520.290.7600 or e-mail: jbrinks@journalbroadcastinggroup.com

Contact the Board of Supervisors, voicing your support of Isabel Garcia, who has broken no rule or regulation as a Pima County employee.
Pima County Board of Supervisors
30 West Congress Street, 11th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Receptionist – (520) 740-8126
Fax – (520) 884-1152

Ann Day, District 1
(520) 740-2738

Ramón Valadez, District 2
(520) 740-8126

Sharon Bronson, District 3
(520) 740-8051

Ray Carroll, District 4
(520) 740-8094

Richard Elías, Chairman, District 5
(520) 740-8126

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We are really super annoyed. You think you can come in here being all popular and stuff.

ZOMG, you really think you are all that, don’t you?

Well, just so you know, you are not. John McCain is like, so much more… something than you. I don’t know, I’ll think of it.

And OMG by the way – you are just too skinny to be the president!!!!

Smooches –
American “media”

(yes we are 12 years old – why do you ask?)

h/t M. LeBlanc @ Bitch Ph.D

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It is no secret, I suppose, that I have a preferred candidate in the presidential race. I harbor no illusions, however, that Barack Obama is the perfect candidate nor that he will be the savior of this nation. Yet his candidacy brings a fascinating and revealing look at the way people in this nation think about and talk about (or don’t talk about) race. That fact alone is worth the price of admission. At the end of the day (maybe) we will have a president and the political system will grind on.

But the system itself is what nightmares are made of. Banks are collapsing, industries are struggling, health care is not healthy and does not care, infrastructures are crumbling, middle income people are losing their homes and poor people … just forget it. And the respective candidates coffers are currently at 72 million and 95 million dollars.

What else could we do with 167 million dollars in the next four months?

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