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Archive for the ‘Media Analysis’ Category

Misdirected Anger Strikes Again

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 10, 2010

UPDATE! John Mayer didn’t call black women “dark ass hoes” but Kevin Hart did. Where’s the anger about this?

UPDATE: John Mayer tearfully apologizes for his comments

See Video below

John Mayer did an interview for Playboy Magazine wherein he said, “I think the world would be better off if I stopped doing interviews.” Well, I think it’s a good thing that he did this one because it set off a hailstorm of tweets, making the words “John Mayer” so popular it became a Trending Topic on Twitter. More importantly, it showed one flaw with American society. Many are quick to read, trust, and share thoughts from other people without critically analyzing and forming their own opinion. What set this off in my opinion? The following two tweets are from Dr. Marc Lamont Hill.

John Mayer on dating Black women: “I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist.”

John Mayer cont’d “I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.”

I have no issue with Dr. Hill; and, I have no agenda to pursue. I feel that his tweet caused the subsequent re-tweets, which resulted in the controversy. With his reputation, many people read his tweet and stopped there without reading the article to get the entire quote, trusting him to be fair and balanced. What Dr. Hill left out was an extremely vital piece of Mayer’s message:  “I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.” Dr. Hill says it was not intentionally left out, but he believes that making such a decision signifies a decision to date women unattractive to him. There are a couple of problems with this.

Problem 1: Critical reading

The quote that was sent out was incomplete and did not paint an accurate portrayal of John Mayer’s thoughts on dating Black women. One would have only to do a close (critical) reading of his statements to see his intended message: I let myself be guided by my carnal desires without listening to my heart. I’m going to start listening to my heart.

On his site, Dr. Hill responds to the interview by saying, “I can’t say John Mayer is racist. He probably thinks he was being edgy and funny because he has a “black pass.” It’s still irresponsible.” I don’t believe he was saying that at all. In the interview Mayer says that someone else asked him how it felt to have a “hood pass”. A hood pass being a figurative statement meant to indicate that he’s been given an honorary membership into the Black community. Simply because someone else asks how it feels to have one does not mean that he accepted it and feels the right to use this privilege. How did Mayer choose to speak about this?

…it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’”

I believe Mayer meant that having a hood pass enables you to say the word “nigger” without opposition from the people who that term was used to abuse. Mayer acknowledges that he does not have one because, even before his fame, he has never been refused service based on a first impression. Meaning, the only people who have hood passes are the ones who, on first glance, would be immediately refused service upon entering a restaurant. Was his statement insensitive? Sure.

Problem 2: Misdirected anger

Mayer’s statement may have been insensitive, but what did he really do wrong? He stated an attraction towards a specific type of woman and made a comment about race relations. A lot of musicians do this and we in the Black community do not threaten to stop playing their music. In fact, women were the main people preventing radio stations from taking the following song off the air because of the volume of requests for it.

[Lil’ Wayne]
Un
I like a long haired thick red bon
Open up her legs then filet mignon that pussy
I’m a get in and on that pussy
If she let me in I’m a own that pussy
Go’n throw it back and bust it open like you ‘posed to
Girl I got that dope dick
Now come here let me dope you
You gon’ be a dope fiend
Your friends should call you dopey
Tell ’em keep my name out they mouth if they don’t know me
Huh
But you can’t come and tunecha
I’ll fuck the whole group
Baby I’m a groupie
My sex game is stupid
My head is the dumbest
I promise
I should be hooked on phonics
Haha

But anyway I think you’re bionic
And I don’t think you’re beautiful
I think you’re beyond it
And I just wanna get behind it
And watch you
(back it up and dump it back-
Back it up and dump it back)

[Chorus:]
Cause we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like herr
And she like us too

I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world

[Drake:]
Yea
Alright
(ohh ohhh)
She be jumpin up and down
Tryna fit that ass in
Took her half an hour
Just to get that belt to fasten
All they want to talk about is partyin’ and fashion
Every single night I have a dream that I am smashin’
Them all
Young Money man this shit so timeless
And I’m in the mood to get faded so please bring your finest
And what are all your names again we drunk remind us
Are any y’all into girls like I am let’s be honest

She wants me she wants me
Cause I got it all shawty tell me what you don’t see
I will fuck with all y’all
All y’all are beautiful
I just can’t pick one so you can never say I’m choosy hoes
And Wayne say pussy pussy pussy
And weed and alcohol seem to satisfy us all
Damn
And every time I think of staying with her
She bring that friend around that make a nigga reconsider man

[Chorus]

[Jae Millz:]
I ain’t being disrespectful baby I’m just being Millz
And I don’t know how fake feels so I gotta keep it real
I just wanna fuck every girl in the world
Every model every singer every actress every diva
Every house of diddy chick every college girl every skeezer
Stripper and every desperate housewife that resemble eva
My role model was will
So married boy I’m in the milf
It don’t matter who you is miss
You can get the business
Haaaa

[Gudda Gudda:]
These hoes is gods gift like Christmas
I like ’em caramel skin long hair thick ass
And I swear I’m feelin’ all y’all
I’m scrollin’ down my call log
And I’m a call all y’all
My butter pecan Puerto Rican
She screamin’ out “papi” every time a nigga deep in
And I’m about to get my Bill Clinton on
And Hilary can Rodham too boy I gets my pimpin’ on

[Chorus]

[Mack Maine:]
And bitch I’m Mack Maine -aine -aine -aine
Sanna Lathan
Megan Good
Angelina Jolie
Hah
D Woods
For free suites I’d give Paris Hilton all-nighters
In about 3 years, holla at me Miley Cyrus
I don’t discriminate, no not at all
Kit kat a midget if that ass soft I break her off
I exchange V cards with the retards
And get behind the Christian like DR cause he are
Mack Mizzo
Baby
Cause he are Mack Mizzo
Baby

[Chorus:]
Cause we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like her
And we like her too
And we like herr
And she like us too

I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world
I wish I could fuck every girl in the world

Young Mula baby

Milan Ford, the man who tried to get the song taken off the air had this to say about where “we” direct our anger,

Remember when Don Imus called the Rutgers [University] women’s basketball team a bunch of nappy-headed hos? We got CBS to remove him as a host just a few days later. Why do we limit our defense only to those who don’t look like us? As a husband and father, something in me just said we need to protect our women.

We really need to reevaluate what causes us to rise up and show our strength. The way it seems, nothing will stop Lil Wayne. Unless, of course, he raps about only wanting to *&$( every White girl in the world. Cause, you know, that would be bad.

Next: The 3rd Problem

Posted in Media Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

She’s so “Precious” – A Review

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 26, 2009

Precious, her mom, and her daughter

Upon entering the theater I felt nerves and anticipation coursing through my body. I expected to cry. I expected to feel anger and helplessness. I did, indeed, feel all of those emotions; but, I also felt more emotions than I expected inspired by the people around me and their comments. The experience of watching Precious has likely strengthened my resolve to tell my story. Not because anyone can do it if Precious did it, but, because, it will be my red scarf handed down to the little girl who feels all alone in the world.

Prior to viewing this movie, I read tweets from people who refused to see it, from those who saw it and were deeply touched, and from those who opined on the gross amount of racial stereotypes. Of those who refused to see it, many found fault based on the previous work of the people responsible for bringing the film to the big screen: Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey. Words and phrases such as “coonery” and “typical black girl from the ghetto” were common in their complaints. Of those who saw it and were unimpressed, this tweet speaks volumes: “Whoeva suggest anyone too see this movie “precious” need to kill urself….dis givs black familys a bad look smh.” Please don’t listen to this person. I could cry peeling back the layers of disillusionment and incongruity present in that one allegorical onion. What came first: Precious or the Black Family?

This movie was adapted for film by Lee Daniels based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. It is a first person narrative dictated to us by Clarice “Precious” Jones. Walking through the streets of Harlem with a scowl on her face and the weight of years of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse on her shoulders, she tells us the story of her life in such a manner that it prompted one viewer behind me to say, “This is realistic. I like it.” A concise and accurate statement, it is the reason to see the movie.

In the afore-mentioned tweet we see a common model for behavior in (Black) families. What goes on in the house, stays in the house; and, this is a thread that runs throughout the movie, as well. From the outset, we see Precious avoiding the truth and refusing to tell her story, petrified that her mom would kill her. Meanwhile, her mom continues to call her a fat ass, tells her that she’s a dummy, education won’t help her, she’s a nobody, and she should rely on a welfare check to get by in life. These are the racial stereotypes that people are afraid to see. They don’t want people to know what is said in their homes. Well, maybe what is said should change. It’s just a theory. A theory that “Precious” is attempting to make a practice.

In one form or another everyone can relate to her story. We have all either been the abuser or the one abused in some way. Other comments heard around me include: “Is that really how big she is?” “She looks like a boy. She looks like Eminem.” “Y’all ain’t right.” The second comment was directed to Mariah Carey’s performance as a social worker. Without her glamorous hair and makeup team, Mariah looked like an average woman, but it prompted someone to call her a boy. Worse, her friends laughed and made other jokes about her appearance, causing one girl (the only big girl in the group) to casually denounce their behavior. It is this casual accusatory tone that encourages the abuse. It is not seen as something that is really bad behavior. If she were to leave the theater and discontinue the friendship, she would be blamed for taking herself too seriously. “It’s just a joke” they might say. Well, Precious didn’t take it as a joke when she smacked her classmate for calling her fat.

The tagline for the movie is: “Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is….Precious.” Does it have to be this way, though? We’re so busy preparing each other for the “real world” that we forget to take care of each other. We forget to love. We forget to be the models of good behavior that we actually seek in others. Life is not some made up entity that comes out of nowhere to do us harm. Life is people. We are the creators of Life. If our lives are so rich and precious, why do we choose to de-value it?

Posted in Media Analysis, RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What’s the Lesson Here?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 13, 2009

I have no problem with advertisement encouraging women to become healthy. The problem I have is with the copy on this advertisement. “Just bought bikini that challenges some obscenity laws.” What??!! Why is it that when a woman loses weight to become healthy, she becomes a sex object? Now that she is skinny she is permitted to wear a bikini that does what? Challenge obscenity laws? For what reason? To show off her body? Why? Because now she is proud of it? Now that she has lost this weight that, by societal standards, makes her fat and, therefore, ugly, she can be proud of her body. Way to go Ad Council. Thank you for perpetuating the idea that women cannot and should not be happy with themselves unless they are skinny, or, should I say, “healthy”.

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Fox #FAIL – Thoughts Inspired by “More to Love”

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 8, 2009

The confident women who have learned to ignore the ostracizing commentary can be seen airing their disappointment for the show “More to Love” on Twitter under the hashtag #moretolove. Where they hoped to see an empowering representation of real women finding real love from a man who cares more about someone’s heart than their waist size, they see desperate, depressing women who believe this man is their last chance at love. Sadly, the women who relate have grown up their entire lives believing they are ugly and worthless because they have a few extra folds of skin on their body. If the narrative of “More to Love” continues in the same vein, I would suggest Fox stop any work on a second season.

Potential supporters of this show want to see women like them. The numbers of stereotypes being represented on this show serve to educate none, while adding to the shame the fat-phobic watchers expect from us. Being overweight is not love’s death sentence. Being overweight is not the (only) reason why you haven’t found love. Overweight women do not want, crave, or eat food all day every day. We do not find the kitchen to be a source of comfort. We are not desperate, whiny, and immature. We are confident, motivated, and happy people. I know this may shock some people, but some of us are even happily married.

Fox, your reliance on trite social memes to tell the tale of fat girls finding love has proved to be more harmful than helpful, as the people who truly need to learn a lesson about acceptance are having their opinions validated by your program. Your interviews are likely prompted by questions that aim to bring tears to the eyes of the competitors, making a better story for your viewers. Sorry, Fox, it’s not working. Everyone who has experienced this knows this story and has worked hard to get beyond it to a place of happiness and acceptance. Where are the stories of the women who love themselves and are on the show to find the man that can love them? Why continue the barrage of negative, acceptance-blocking self-speak? Clearly your intention was never to show “real women” looking for “real love” or else you would have included confident women in your group of contestants.

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Thoughts Inspired by “More to Love”

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 7, 2009

“Anyone else noticing that #moretolove came on right after #hellskitchen food then the women who love it!”

“I forgot that “The Biggest Losers Casting Wannabes Meets the Bachelor” aka #MoreToLove is on! Oh snap! I know that was wrong…”

“Maybe some body shots would improve their attitude and self esteem #MoreToLove”

“Swimming There is a whole lotta water about to be displaced! #moretolove”

Those were a few of the nicer tweets that came from some of the viewers of Fox’s “More to Love”. I’m sure they would argue that the women on this show would feel better about themselves and be able to get a man if they would just lose weight. Others, however, would say that these women don’t need to lose weight to get a man; they just need to gain some confidence.

Why should a woman’s weight be the sole reason that she is unappealing to a man? For centuries women have been thought of as purely sexual beings, existing to bring visual and tactile pleasure to a man. That notion has faded away, hopefully. Hopefully, men do want women to serve as their counterparts in other realms and aren’t simply keeping their true thoughts to themselves because they know that a real woman will never be attracted to a man who thinks in this manner. Even so, their facial expressions can give away their true feelings.

Many women have turned to online dating as a tool for meeting men more efficiently, cutting down the time spent on the disingenuous and incompatible. In American society we have become acculturated to believe that dateable equals sexy, and sexy equals skinny, therefore dateable equals skinny. There are many in the Media working against this ethos, especially in the magazines Venus Diva Magazine and Gemini, but we have a long way to go before we see healthy as sexy. While there are men who do not find skinny women to be sexy, they appear to be in the minority. Thus, some overweight women tend to develop the negative inner monologue: I’m never going to find a man who thinks of me as more than a friend or business partner. Attempting to prove themselves wrong, they agree to meet in person the man they have been interacting with online. They ready themselves and wait; then, they meet, and he gives “the face”, wordlessly validating the inner monologue. Now, if she is a strong woman, she will not drown her sorrows in her drug of choice, which is food. Some are not that strong, though.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” You know this is a lie, right? This saying, meant to teach self-esteem and strength, has become a personal mantra, repeated over and over again in the hope that it will turn into a belief. While the remedy should not be the end of all insensitive comments, people who make the jokes should realize that their insensitivity causes emotional eaters to eat even more. Maybe it isn’t their responsibility to consider the feelings of others. These women should just suck it up, get tougher skin, and get over it, right?

The following are video opinions on women who have more to love.

 “Become more attractive to the opposite sex by losing weight.”

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Posted in Media Analysis, RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »