Cishet men aren’t mad that Harley Quinn doesn’t have “sex appeal”. They’re mad that the characters of Birds of Prey have “sex appeal” that isn’t catering to them. When some painfully arrogant critic logs onto Twitter to rant about why a
The “Black Panther” narrative allows Black women to be both angry and tender, both strong and vulnerable, both independent and interdependent on each other and those around them.[This essay contains spoilers for Marvel's “Black Panther”] “Black Panther” is not your typical superhero blockbuster. It's a political epic, it's Black as fuck, it's critical of white supremacy, colonialism, and imperialism, and it delivers a monumental story about the tension between Black Americans and continental Africans. Setting up a battle between young King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and N'Jadaka (Michael B. Jordan), nicknamed Killmonger for the many lives he seemed to enjoy taking during his time as a CIA operative, it tells this story in a way that subverts expectations about both Blackness and Africa on film. What it also does is magnify the Black women within the story, and that is something that should not be considered secondary to its other achievements, because the Black women of “Black Panther” are central to its narrative and ultimately determine the direction that it takes. Not only are Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia each integral to the plot, driving the story with their actions, voices, and decisions, but their characters also provide positive, determined, and humanized images of Black women and girls. These are characters who are multifaceted, imperfect, capable, intelligent, and authentic. I see myself and the Black women and girls that I have the privilege of knowing reflected in the characters of “Black Panther,” and that, unfortunately, is something that I cannot say often enough about Black women in media. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) in Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther".[/caption] After last year's “Wonder Woman”, I contemplated the trend of “feminist triumph” in mainstream U.S. action films as an achievement largely for and about white women. Essays, think pieces, and manifestos flooded the internet to celebrate its apparent feminism after its release — with one even marveling at the fact that Diana's thigh apparently jiggled — in the same way that countless articles were written to praise the feminism of Imperator Furiosa and the women of “Fury Road" and Rey of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and several other actions films of years past. In these roles, white actresses portray characters who are larger-than-life, innovative, and unapologetically badass. Now, “Black Panther” finally makes a way for this triumph to be realized for Black women, and it does so in ways that extend beyond the strength granted to the individual women, because the ways in which the women of “Black Panther” are celebrated highlights the differences in social understandings of white womanhood and Black womanhood. Historically, being “strong” has never been a point of “feminist triumph” for Black women. We have and continue to face stereotypes of hyper-masculinity and animality, while white femininity has largely been viewed as delicate and docile. For white women, strength is something that expectations of white femininity have never afforded them, and the strength given to heroines like Wonder Woman can be used as a means to subvert the infantilizing expectations of white womanhood. Conversely, the “Strong Black Woman” stereotype goes hand in hand with the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype, and has been used as a convenient excuse to impose superhuman expectations on us, abuse us, gaslight us, and police our emotionality. The “Black Panther” narrative instead allows Black women to be both angry and tender, both strong and vulnerable, both independent and interdependent on each other and those around them. Among this long and distinct history of harmful stereotypes about Black womanhood is the phenomena of colorism and anti-Blackness, both in the media and in our lives, that is especially apparent in the way that dark-skinned women are treated in Hollywood. Light-skinned Black women are granted more visibility and often better roles that do not utilize the kind of misogynoiristic stereotypes that dark-skinned Black women are frequently limited to. This is especially limiting for older and/or fat Black women, who are at once recruited to play “Mammy” characters and also routinely mocked by Black men in drag and fat suits for “comedy.” One of the most significant aspects of this film is the celebration and normalization of seeing dark-skinned Black women front and center, as the heroes, the masterminds, and the love interests. Wakanda has been able to thrive untouched by white colonialism and its imperialist violences, its anti-Blackness, its body terrorism, and its gender violence through sexual and reproductive violations. White aesthetics and beauty standards are not dominant within its society, and therefore, it is Black aesthetic and beauty and African tradition which are respected. This is apparent in the presence of dark skin as well as in the abundance of natural Black hair and traditional African hairstyles. I cannot express how important it is for Black women and girls to see these things celebrated.
The industry and white feminism do this all the time, they come up with new and asinine ways to validate exclusion in Hollywood and a complete disregard for women of color who are making incredible strides.By Candice Frederick I’ve tried to bite my tongue about this. After all, it’s just great to be mentioned, right? Because as women, when one of us wins, we all win, right? RIGHT? Wrong. It’s 2018, and I’m tired of seeing women of color show up for then take a back seat to white women whose accomplishments are just as great as their own, yet they must settle for simply being in the same room as them. Nope, not today Satan. Not anymore. Let me be more frank. You know how everyone is going on about "Lady Bird" this and "Wonder Woman" that, Greta Gerwig this and Patty Jenkins that? It seems like every Hollywood pundit is hailing the two for leading the charge for women filmmakers in 2017, as if Dee Rees didn’t just deliver one of the most astounding and technically amazing films of the year with "Mudbound" (her second since 2011’s also criminally underrated "Pariah"). Where is she in the conversation? Why is she not “leading the charge” and a frontrunner for best director this season? Why this year out of all years, when women are finally being centered in major industry discussions, does that not include Rees? This isn’t about taking anything away from Gerwig or Jenkins (because I know that’s exactly where certain minds go when you try to integrate conversation). In fact, "Wonder Woman" is my favorite movie of 2017 and "Lady Bird", well, is a very pleasant film for those hungry to see a simple story about a young white girl on the cusp of adulthood (because the landscape is sorely in need of those, right?). This also isn’t about using white women’s success as a barometer for women of color creatives, because that’s neither necessary or productive. Rather, this is about including women of color as we amplify those who’ve made extraordinary achievements in 2017 film. Is that too difficult of an ask, too outrageous to consider as more and more award nominations are unveiled sans her name?
She’s supposed to be Wonder Woman but she’s not. Her name is Gal Gadot, she is problematic, and she should answer for these allegations.[TW- discussion of sexual assault and victim-blaming] Gal Gadot is on everyone’s radar right now, not just for her portrayal of Wonder Woman but for seeming to be a real life wonder woman due to her hardline stance against continuing to work with Brett Ratner, who has had sexual harassment allegations brought against him. All that is awesome but it seems extremely hypocritical that no one is taking her to task for her own victim blaming past. On Nov 14, an anonymous woman going by the name “Ima Survivor” published a Medium post that detailed how Gadot bullied and shamed her for being raped by a friend of theirs while modeling in Milan thirteen years ago. The post has been removed from Medium but a cached version can be read here. For those who have not read it yet, the first-person account is extremely graphic and details her rape and subsequent mental and emotional abuse by Gadot. The post made very few waves in the media cycle. Where it was shared, its authenticity was called into question immediately. How do we know this “woman” is telling the truth? Wasn’t she in the military? How do you know this even real? And the answer is, we don’t know if this is real. We don’t know if this account is any more true than the countless people who have recently stepped forward to speak up about the abuse and sexual misconduct they have suffered at the hands of Hollywood elites, some of whom are our faves.
Gays, lesbians and heteros: this is a bisexual public service announcement. These things no longer belong to you, sorry not sorry. By Linh Cao All too often bisexual erasure makes us feel like we don’t have a claim to