Gendered Performance and Rape Culture

The article talks about online representation and portrayal of women and how daily life and everyday encounters make up a the meat of the female portrayals on the internet.  Media is intertwined with our everyday lives and now the internet has become a big part of that representation. I can think of quite a few youtubers that take on gendered roles in order to make a social statement or prove a point.  The article also talks about masquerade and the role of the internet in gendered performance.  In particular, this video from Anna Akana addresses the subject of rape prevention an din it she put in a different mask.  In the video she shows what a hyper paranoid woman would do with the anti rape advice women receive everyday.

In the video she parodies all of the crazy things women could do to prevent themselves from being raped and then gives some real examples of the type of advice we receive on a daily basis. In it she juxtaposes the reality of womanhood and rape culture with the extremes, and as a a result she shows just how ridiculous it is that we have to do all of these things to protect ourselves.

Here Akana successfully separated two types of female gendered performance.  The woman that does everything she can to protect herself, and the woman who thinks parents should teach their children that rape is never ok.  They have become categories within one overall arc.

Gendered Performance and Rape Culture

Is the “F” word Alienating Women From the Movement

In the article, “Post Feminist Radical” it is mentioned that there is a “hesitancy and at times outright hostility to ‘feminism’ on the part of both young men and young women (246).”  I would agree and disagree with this statement, and in particular it calls to mind in interview, Divergent star, Shailene Woodley did for Time Magazine.  In the interview, she tells Time contributor, Eliana Dockterman, after being asked if she is a feminist that she is not. Shailene says, “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. . . And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.”  When I read her original statement my first reaction was “well, I’m pretty sure feminism doesn’t do any of those things” and “You kind have missed the whole point of feminism.”

I believe it is less to do with hostility and more to do with of a lack of understanding of what feminism is and particularly what it is today. Since then there have been many responses to Shailene’s comment ranging from “how can you be a woman today and not be a feminist” to “She doesn’t know what a feminist is.”  I believe that a lot of the hostility toward feminism today is a result of a lack of understanding of what feminism is. Shailene likely thinks that feminist are “bra burning men haters”, but what feminist really advocate is an end to sexual abuse, equal pay, and equal rights across the board.  So is there really a ton of hostility or are people just totally misinformed. People misinterpret this shift from the “F” word as the death of feminism but I don’t believe this is the case.  I just think that a lot of uninformed people don’t know what it means today.

Frith, Hannah. 2001. “Young Women, Feminism and the Future: Dialogues and Discoveries.” Feminism & Psychology , 11(2): 147–151.

Gournelos, Ted. “The Post-Feminist Radical: Jenna Marbles and the Digital Masquerade.”

Is the “F” word Alienating Women From the Movement

“Return of the King” and a Response to Black Cutlture

When I see season 1 episode 9 of the Boondocks I see a lot of allusion and an additional responsiveness to this episode that might not be present in other episodes.  Martin Luther King Jr. is often associated with social activism, but he was also a pastor and as a result I see him through a religious filter.

In this particular episode MLK is alive after waking up from a comma and he is trying to effect black culture.  In the episode, the Christian doctrine of loving your enemy and turning the other cheek is raised and the media reacts viscerally. It represents the first moment when the filter is removed and, in this case, the media says he loves Al-Qaeda. I associate MLK to these religious aspects of his doctrine and to see such an unfiltered reaction was surprising even in the context of the “Boondocks.”

Here we see a total breakdown and removal of censoring and filtering in order to address popular African American culture.  The episode connects and alludes to multiple texts but this speech and the scene after it make the episode responsive.  As a result, the episode becomes a commentary on modern a day black culture and its dismal climb.

“Return of the King” and a Response to Black Cutlture

Black Masculinity and Hip Hop Music

Rap artists can have some strange videos and sometimes those videos can be an extension of expression.  While black masculinity is being commodified by these big media corporations, there is still a great deal of self-construction in their music videos.  Balaji (2009) gives the example of UGK and Outcast’s “International Players’ Anthem” which juxtaposes black men as pimps and black men as husbands.  Portions of the song are all about commitment and stability while other parts are all about being free from that same commitment.

Andre 3000 is wearing a quilt which plays around with black male masculinity which is a major theme of mainstream rap music (Balaji, 2009).  By wearing it he is constructing himself as something other than a hyper masculine black rapper.

It really reminds me of the artist Drake.  According to his bio, Drake was born in Toronto, Canada and he comes from a mixed lineage family and was raised Jewish.  Although the majority of his videos fit the stereotypical representation of black men there is one particular video were he is at his own bar mitzvah.  His black heritage and jewish heritage clash along with his new rap lifestyle. The video compares footage of his “old bar mitzvah” and his “new bar mitzvah.”  As a result, you get a video that flips a traditional coming of age ceremony on its head.  Drake excepts his heritage and shows its new place in his life, as a part of his culture just like the music he makes and the people he surrounds himself with.

Balaji, Murali. 2009. Owning black masculinity: the intersection of cultural commodification and self-construction in rap music videos. Communication, Culture & Critique 2, (1): 21–38.

Black Masculinity and Hip Hop Music

In Search For Real Hip Hop

The subject of authenticity in hip hop music has always been hotly debated since the beginning of the genre, and many scholars have contemplated why authenticity in hip hop music has always been a big deal. They have also attempted to define it’s authenticity. I believe that the way that the genre centers around authenticity is unique. Williams (2007) states that the genres prominence, the high percentage of CD sales, “and the cooption of all things ‘hip hop’ by large companies to target new consumer demographics, has jeopardized the genre’s ‘realness’ with the threat of assimilation.”  MC, such as Macklemore might be popular because he IS inauthentic.

Williams (2007) believes that the introduction of hip hop into popular culture would put it at risk, but MC’s have created this idea of authenticity which is meant to create a barrier between the genre and its culture. According to Williams () authenticity also defines the worth of the MC. MCs will will call out one another using their authenticity as a reason why they are better than their rival. “The link between realness and an MC’s worth originated from the practice of battle rapping, in which MCs verbally spar.”

Authenticity itself has varying definitions. It could mean that the MCs are “staying true” to themselves. It could mean that an artist is “asserting” their “blackness.” In order for the music to be truly authentic it has to be representative of black culture. Not “selling out” to mainstream culture is also considered an attribute of true authenticity. Which really brings to mind a question. Is the top 40 hip hop songs we listen to today truly authentic? While it does typically depict stereotypical blackness, it is controlled and commodified by mainstream music corporations.

Williams, Jonathan D. “‘Tha Realness’ :In Search of Hip-Hop Authenticity.” College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, (2007), http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1093&context=curej

In Search For Real Hip Hop