i love nicki minaj and janelle monae because their aesthetics are so far removed from one another but they both actively attempt to defy traditional standards of beauty in their own completely different ways
i think nicki goes “hyper-feminine” (see: Barbie) and challenges traditional standards of beauty by being LOUD in her femininity in both her demeanor and her appearance. yes she likes pink but not only does she like pink she FUCKING LOVES PINK. furthermore, i think she enjoys appropriating male symbols of power or traditionally masculine clothes and “feminizing” them by (flawlessly) incorporating them into her own outfits. or she makes her feminine outfits threatening by wearing spikes and sharp edges
janelle’s aesthetic is more focused around blurring the lines of traditional femininity and masculinity. janelle’s occasional forays into more traditional standards of beauty for women only make it more obvious that she is saying “I am the one who chooses how I look. Today I choose to look this way for myself and tomorrow I may choose to look differently.” she does things like wear a formal white button up, but with a ribbon neck tie. or strappy heels and an all-white suit with a gorgeous necklace. or a suit-inspired dress with a lot of cleavage. she doesn’t even give a shit about gendered clothing and just wears whatever the fuck she wants
i also love love love that they defy white-centric ideas of beauty. nicki has an alter-ego named barbie… what defies white-centric ideas of beauty more than a woman from trinidad calling herself barbie when mattel refuses to release a doll with brown skin called barbie and instead making her one of “barbie’s friends”?
and janelle is constantly constantly using natural black hair and i think she is constantly paying omage to african and african american culture in her aesthetic… i would be shocked if her cover for archandroid wasnt inspired by queen nefertiti
anyways i just love how these ladies dress themselves because i see it as a big middle finger to traditional ideas of how black women should look and i think that’s just great bye
An Asian American student of Japanese heritage explained her reluctance to participate in feminist organizations by calling attention to the tendency among feminist activists to speak rapidly without pause, to be quick on the uptake, always ready with a response. She had been raised to pause and think before speaking, to consider the impact of one’s words, a characteristic that she felt was particularly true of Asian Americans. She expressed feelings of inadequacy on the various occasions she was present in feminist groups. In our class, we learned to allow pauses and appreciate them. By sharing this cultural code, we created an atmosphere in the classroom that allowed for different communication patterns.
This particular class was peopled primarily by black women. Several white women students complained that the atmosphere was “too hostile.” They cited the noise level and direct confrontations that took place in the room prior to class as an example of this hostility. Our response was to explain that what they perceived as hostility and aggression, we considered playful teasing and affectionate expressions of our pleasure at being together. Our tendency to talk loudly we saw as a consequence of being in a room with many people speaking, as well as of cultural background: many of us were raised in families where individuals speak loudly. In their upbringings as white, middle-class females, the complaining students had been taught to identify loud and direct speech with anger. We explained that we did not identify loud or blunt speech in this way, and encourage them to switch codes, to think of it as an affirming gesture. Once they switched codes, they not only began to have a more creative, joyful experience in the class, but they also learned that silence and quiet speech can in some cultures indicate hostility and aggression. By learning one another’s cultural codes and respecting our differences, we felt a sense of community, of Sisterhood. Representing diversity does not mean uniformity or sameness. "
“Dear Michelle Cottle, are you serious? You and your handful of ‘feminist sources’ claim that First Lady Obama is not a feminist because she says her most important job is being mom-in-chief to her two daughters…Given how simplistic your piece is, let me make this very simple: you are wrong. You misunderstand the place that Michelle Obama occupies as the first African American First Lady.
You seem to think she’s trying to steer clear of the angry black woman stereotype. When she calls herself ‘mom-in-chief,’ she’s rejecting a different stereotype: the role of Mammy. She is saying that her daughters — her vulnerable, brilliant, beautiful black daughters — are the most important thing to her. The First Lady is saying, ‘You, Miss Anne, are going to have to clean your own house because I will be caring for my own’ and instead of agreeing that the public sphere is necessarily more important than Sasha and Malia, she has buried Mammy and has embraced being a mom on her own terms. So you can call that your feminist nightmare, but for a lot of us, it is our black motherhood dream.
Also, on a strategic note, Ms. Cottle. Before we enter the 2016 election cycle and the feminists come around asking black women for our support for your candidate, you might want to read up a little on black women and our feminism. I’m happy to send you a syllabus.”"
Melissa Harris Perry in response to Michelle Cottle’s ”Michelle Obama is a feminist nightmare” (via wocinsolidarity)
They stay fucking up.
I promise not to tell you that it’s because they like you.
when the teachers call home to tell me that
you pushed them to the ground after you
I’ll take you out of school early and buy
you your favorite ice cream.
when you get older and the boys
try to touch you when you don’t want to be touched
I’ll look at you like the sun when you come home
with anger in your fists.
they all tell you not to fight fire with fire
but that is only because they are afraid of your flames.
when the boys yell after you like hyenas
you yell back, baby.
I will not teach you to be afraid of your anger
so that you look for it in others.
I will not make you be the better person
because you already are.
you wanna fight ‘em? fight ‘em.
don’t you dare apologize for the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to preserve it.
when the boys try to tell you to soften up
I hope you make them bleed with your edges.
I hope you remember that you are not theirs
that their disappointment in you is not yours.
when the boys come to your door with pretty words and
I hope you show them the anger in yours.
I hope you show them just how strong your mommy
thinks you are.
I hope you show them the animal they can’t always
see in their own reflection.
when the boys come with the intention of hurting you
my advice will always stay the same, my darling:
give ‘em hell."
Margaret Cho (via albinwonderland)
I had a man recently tell me he thought that women, naturally being so beautiful, did not need tattoos. Me, with two sleeves full of them. Mine make me feel happy and strong, I said; fierce. Women like me, I suppose, don’t need men who have a set of rules about was makes us beautiful.
well this certainly doesn’t kill my desire to be covered in tattoos despite my current pathological aversion to needles of all kinds.
I want to see the beast in the beauty.
the half smile, half snarl. the unapologetic anger. I would like to see the man forgive the monster. to see her, blood and all, and love her anyway."
Persephone Lied (source)The truth is, I was bored.
My mother blissing ahead of me, rosebuds rising in her footsteps,
And I skulking behind, thinking,
Oh look. She walks in beauty.
Her power could boil rivers, if she chose.
She doesn’t choose. She scatters
Heliotrope behind her.
And me, I’ve no powers. I think she’d like
A decorative daughter. A link to the humans
She feeds with her scattered wheat.
A daughter wed to a swineherd’s just the thing
To show that Demeter’s a down-to-earth
Kind of goddess.
Do you know what swineherds talk about?
Diseases of, ways to cook;
“That ‘un’s got no milk for ‘er shoats;
Him, there, he’s got boggy trotters.”
And when he leaned in, smiling,
While we sat in a bower sagged with Mother’s honeysuckle,
When he said, “Now,
My herd’s growing and I’m thinking I could feed a wife—”
That’s when I snapped, I howled, I ran.
And when a hole opened up, a beautiful black, in all the pastels of my mother’s sowing.
Let me fix the lie: Nobody grabbed, nobody pulled.
I thought it was a tiny earthquake,
Thought I was killing myself,
Starting a long journey to Hades.
It was a more direct trip
Than I’d imagined—
I landed in his lap.
He just looked at me, said “Well,”
And kept driving his chariot down,
Flicked his leather reins near my face.
He did not give me flowers.
He never spoke of pigs.
Didn’t speak much at all. Just took me down in darkness
And did dark things.
I liked them.
I stumbled through his grey gardens, after,
Sore and smiling.
And the gardener said, “Little girl,
Little sunlit flower,
You belong in the world above.
Trust that they’ll come for you,
But while you wait
Don’t eat the food of the dead, for it will trap you here.”
And I said give me the fucking fruit.
But when I ate I could hear her howling,
See her spreading winter on the world.
My poor mother, who missed me after all;
My poor swineherd, starving.
Huddled up for warmth with the few he hadn’t eaten.
I spat out half the seeds.
So now I suffer through the summers,
Smile at the swineherd who tells me
Which shoat is off its feed.
Smile at my mother and walk behind her.
My powers have come to me now, and in her candy-colored wake I scatter
Sundew and flytrap, nettles and belladonna.
I smile and wait for November,
For when I come back to you.
Your clever cold hands and your hard black boots.
I don’t ask what the leather is made from.
I don’t think I want to know.
Allan G. Johnson, “Patriarchy, the System: An It, Not a He, a Them or an Us” (1997)
yooooo just read this in my gender studies class, thought the last line was particularly relevant.