August 13th, 2012
“Black women survivors of violence exist within a dominant conceptual space that make it difficult for them to easily occupy the status of “victim.” Some of these reactions were described by many feminist bloggers as classic “victim blaming” which does not necessarily require a particular racialized context in order to proliferate. Accounts of black women who have been blamed and subsequently criminalized and pathologized for experiencing and/or resisting violence are numerous and diverse. Several high profile examples include Joan Little, who was prosecuted in 1975 for killing a prison guard who tried to rape her; the New Jersey 7, a group of black lesbians who were attacked in New York’s West Village and prosecuted for defending themselves; Angel Rosenthal, a teen-age black girl in Seattle who was punched in the face by a police officer and subsequently pressured to apologize to him; and a Georgian woman named Janice Wells who was tasered by police officers because she did not give them the name of the person they believed perpetrated domestic violence against her. In these cases, all of which exist within complex circumstances and social conditions, black women were regarded as culpable instigators of their own violence rather than victims of gendered assault that deserved support and respect. Having access to resources that these other women did not have helped Rihanna navigate around the potential consequences of this level of censure. Still, this set of blog responses indicates that black women’s vulnerability is a deeply contested space that creates a precarious tension in the process of parsing out what happened within an abusive relationship and who needs to be accountable for what. Thus, to characterize this dynamic as “victim-blaming,” a practice that salvages a notion of “victim” even as it contends that the victim somehow helped enable the violence, misses a key point: when black women are victims of violence, they are not simply accused of bringing that violence onto themselves, they are dis-positioned as the perpetrator of the crime of violence.”
“Where Them Bloggers At?”: Reflections on Rihanna, Accountability, and Survivor Subjectivity, found via Social Justice Journal Issue: Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence
I need everyone (especially white feminist everyones) who talks about rape, abuse, violence, victims, abusers, et cetera to read this and think.
August 13th, 2012
Stark raving fat
Stark raving fat : Celebrity, cellulite, and the sliding scale of sanity
Brenda R Weber firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Britney Spears offers a particular case study that makes visible a larger cultural mandate: a woman’s slender body correlates with both her moral fiber and her mental well-being. Thus, thin-ness is read as a signifier of both impulse control and sanity. These metaphorical ties reinforce the pathology attached to the fat body, indicating that the thin body is seemingly one step closer to a Western ideal of empowered rational individualism, whereas the fat (or in Spears’s case, slightly chubby) body is made all the more abject through a madness brought on by a bodily disorder that culminates in an alienation from the self. Critical to this dialectic around (Spears’s) selfhood, cellulite, and sanity is the matter of mediated appearance, since, as a celebrity, Spears’s ‘health’ is tied to images of wellness as articulated through the fit and flab-free body. Neither wellness nor selfhood can exist, the logic indicates, in a state of crisis where one does not photograph ‘well’. Acknowledging the biases that are part of fat oppression and celebrity, this article also accounts for the way in which the female celebrity’s image has some, albeit limited, potential to fulfill broader objectives about gender and selfhood.