This Sexual Assault Awareness month, share these resources who a friend who may benefit from them. [CW/TW: mention of sexual assault] In the past year, more people have felt empowered to speak openly about sexual assault. As most survivors know, sexual violence is
“I Feel Pretty” is mostly an exasperating attempt to appeal to all women as it blatantly marginalizes others.by Candice Frederick I have seen most of Amy Schumer’s live action projects, including “Snatched”, which is an abomination for many reasons, including racist stereotypes. Like so many comedians, her best work is in stand-up, specifically on “Inside Amy Schumer”. Schumer’s work has helped normalize the idea that (white) women can be brash, unapologetic, feminist, and successful. She is funny, when the material is hers and when it isn’t fat-shaming or racist. The criticism she’s received is based in truth; after all she is a white, blonde woman from Long Island who can joke about her lower back tattoo, blow jobs, and waking up in someone else’s bed after a wild night and be celebrated for it—she’s privileged, whether she recognizes that or not, and this shows in her newest film, "I Feel Pretty". When I first saw the trailer for the movie, in which she stars as Renee, a woman who suffers from low self-esteem about her physical appearance and wishes herself to be “beautiful” in order to achieve success, it gave me pause. I was conflicted, but I was interested in her addressing a real issue that plagues so many women who believe their self-worth is based on their physical appeal. It’s right on brand with who Schumer is as a comedian, and it is an important topic to explore. Yet, after watching the movie, I was acutely aware of one other thing: Schumer’s brand continues to highlight what’s wrong with white feminism. I can pinpoint this to one particular scene in the film: Renee goes to a spin class and, ridiculously, falls off the stationary bike onto the floor and bangs her head so severely that it knocks her out. She wakes up to find Tasha ( Sasheer Zamata), the super hot, super fit, Black front desk clerk standing above her with a bag of ice to soothe what is likely a concussion. Tasha is tasked with taking care of Renee, who she loudly announced wore size 9 ½ double wide spin shoes and at another point described her belly as “full.” It’s clear by their few interactions (Zamata only appears three or four times in the film) that we’re supposed to see Tasha as someone who looks down at Renee. Through Schumer’s lens, someone who looks like Zamata has everything going for her and is fine being relegated to the background to make way for her.
Beyoncé creates space for Blackness regardless of her audience, and it's empowering to witness.By Jazmine Joyner Beyoncé officially changed the game, again, this past Saturday. Her performance at Coachella not only broke streaming records for the festival, but when she took the stage, she also became the first Black woman to ever headline the massively popular music festival, to which she responded, “Ain’t that a bitch?” "Beychella"— a phrase coined by DJ Khaled to describe the impact Beyoncé's performance had on the festival — was a celebration of Black culture, specifically Black collegiate culture, with shout-outs to HBCU Fraternities and Sororities, marching bands, and step teams. Beyoncé created one of the Blackest performances I have ever seen performed at Coachella. Her mother, Tina Lawson, shared on Instagram her concerns for her daughter's performance; “I told Beyoncé that I was afraid that the predominately white audience at Coachella would be confused by all of the Black culture and Black college culture, because it was something that they might not get.” Her daughter’s response to these concerns were thoughtful, “I have worked very hard to get to the point where I have a true voice, and at this point in my life and my career I have a responsibility to do what's best for the world and not what is most popular.” Beychella was by far the most impressive performance I have ever seen put on by any performer. She took the Coachella stage, and gave one hell of a show. Coachella is the ultimate white space—an overpriced festival for privileged white kids to go out into the desert and wear problematic outfits and dance to their favorite bands. It wasn’t until 2014 that the festival started hosting more of a variety of mainstream hip-hop and R&B acts on its lineup. Past headliners were mostly white, featuring Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix, and Kings of Leon.
It's important to discuss Philadelphia's issues with gentrification when you talk about policing, Starbucks, and racism.By Asia Renée I love Starbucks. I’ve easily spent $1,000 in the last 10 years on peppermint mocha lattes, cookies, muffins, and breakfast sandwiches. Its emblem—the green, two-tailed mermaid on a cup—is a status symbol. In non-white, low-income neighborhoods, the cup is a symbol that gentrification has arrived, and that people of color are in danger. Last Thursday, two Black men entered the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia for a coffee meeting as they waited for a friend to join them. Rittenhouse Square is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country and it is also approximately 70% white and 6% Black. The two men were waiting for their friend, real estate investor, Andrew Yaffe (who is white), when they were asked to leave because they hadn’t purchased anything. The store manager called the police who arrived and handcuffed the men. Local resident, Melissa DePino, recorded the arrest and posted the incident to Twitter; Yaffe can be heard asking why they were being forcefully removed. https://twitter.com/missydepino/status/984539713016094721 Good question. It is common knowledge that Starbucks is a venue for small, informal meetings. It is also common knowledge that coffee meetings don’t always include coffee. In fact, Starbucks partnered with Match.com for a Valentine’s Day campaign in 2015 called, “Meet at Starbucks”, encouraging people to make the first move in dating by meeting at a public and safe venue. If only Starbucks were safe for everyone. The arrival of a Starbucks in non-white neighborhoods is often linked to gentrification and signals that businesses are now investing and attracting white residents. In a piece for The Guardian, writer Jana Kasperkevic investigates the relationship between higher real estate prices and the establishment of a neighborhood Starbucks, citing the authors of Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, Spencer Rascoff and chief economist Stan Humphries, who write that Starbucks fuels gentrification and is responsible for higher housing prices. https://twitter.com/WriterJohnKopp/status/985842617282899969 Philadelphia is a large city of approximately 1.6 million people. It also has the highest poverty rate among the nation’s 10 most populous cities, as well as the highest percentage of residents living in deep poverty, according to the 2016 U.S. Census. In stark contrast, Philadelphia holds historically wealthy neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square, as the rest of the city falls to gentrification, pushing low-income residents further away from Center City. As a lifelong resident, I began noticing the patterns of gentrification about 20 years ago. Over the next decade, I would spend a lot of time in Nicetown/Tioga, a section of North Philadelphia. Temple University, also located in North Philadelphia, has steadily spread its reach and boundaries over the last 20 years. Even back then, I watched as condemned or abandoned houses became renovated and listed for thousands of dollars per month. These old, 3-story, 4+ bedroom Victorian homes are priced so that Temple students end up paying $600 for a room in a shared apartment. University City, home to Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, has also drastically grown in the last two decades. We now have wealthy, young white people, artists and/or families, living in what has historically been known as the “hood”. When we see the hipster coffee shops, we know what is coming next: Starbucks, Whole Foods, and heightened police activity to protect the new residents, their assets and their businesses. This is to the detriment of the neighborhood’s original locals. The schizophrenic woman who walks around a few select streets—bothering no one—at all, is now seen as a nuisance who needs to be removed, so they call the police. We know what happens when they call the cops: sex workers are arrested; people walking down the street, minding their own business are stopped and terrorized by police and sometimes killed for “fitting the description”.