This week, with more Eminem.
Let’s kick things off with something that’s sure to warm our icy feminist hearts. In his new video, 14-year-old rapper Brian Bradley, a.k.a the Astronomical Kid, sends a message to all the guys he’s caught looking at his mom(s):
“Women, they are not pieces of meat. They are human beings. They should be respected,” he added. “Men should know better.”
Brian, a 5-foot-3 high school freshman, said he was infuriated by drooling men hollering, “Yo, Ma! What’s good, Ma?” at his mother on the street.
“I decided instead of being violent, and going about it the wrong way, I’d put it on a record,” he said. “It’s a track everyone can relate to. I don’t like people lookin’ at my moms. I’m pretty sure nobody likes it.”
At the Ms. Magazine blog, Michelle Chen reported on a school district in Louisiana that began offering single-sex classrooms in response to the belief that sex segregation benefits students. The ACLU filed a suit against the district after parents complained. As the ACLU noted, the classrooms, like this one at Rene A. Rost Middle School, based their segregation on stereotypes about boys’ and girls’ learning styles, which is prohibited by the 14th Amendment:
Even the Rost reading assignments have been tailored to worn-out sex stereotypes about the reading preferences of boys and girls. The girls’ class was assigned a book about a love triangle, while the boys’ class was assigned a book about hunting. The girls’ book conveys the message that girls who are independent and take risks are rejected by society, and that elopement with a man is the best escape from society’s scorn. The boys’ book, by contrast, conveys the message that boys who are independent and take risks are rewarded with adventure and societal approval.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper this week, rapper Eminem claimed he’s been singled out for the misogyny in his lyrics because he’s white. (White guys – they face such discrimination!) Except, as Geneva S. Thomas at Clutch Magazine noted, plenty of black rappers have come under fire for derogatory lyrics too:
Some of the earliest examples of government and community angst against hip hop’s sometimes derogatory lyricism is N.W.A. The Compton-based 80′s group was confronted by government officials, and was actually banned from several mainstream U.S. radio stations and networks like MTV because of their lyrics.
We can also cite controversy with Ice T, 2 Live Crew, and Tupac—whose lyrics prompted public court hearings. These artists who have clearly inspired Eminem. Contemporary examples are with his own signee 50 Cent, and artists such as T.I. and Kanye West, among others, who constantly receive criticism because of their lyrics or public statements.
This NYT piece on the pressures of French women upholding the “superwoman” stereotype is full of fascinating things, not the least of which is the use of the phrase “vaginal gymnastics” in the second sentence. Katrin Bennhold paints a complex portrait of the modern French woman, and she highlights the kind of firsthand stories that often lie unexamined beneath widely quoted studies such as the one that prompted this article:
The birthplace of Simone de Beauvoir and Bridgitte Bardot may look Scandinavian in employment statistics, but it remains Latin in attitude. French women appear to worry about being feminine, not feminist, and French men often display a form of gallantry predating the 1789 revolution. Indeed, the liberation of French women can seem almost accidental — a byproduct of a paternalist state that takes children under its republican wings from toddler age and an obsession with natality rooted in three devastating wars.
Finally, in the wake of the death of Sally Menke, the film editor “behind’ Quentin Tarantino’s films, Slate published this great article that addresses the question “Why are there so many female film editors?” But, you know, in this context “so many” means 17 percent of the industry — as opposed to 7 percent (female directors) or 2 percent (female cinematographers):
“Women were thought to be good editors because they had small hands, and it was also thought that editing was a little bit like sewing,” says Martha Lauzen, who runs the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University, where the Celluloid Ceiling study is done. “It was considered something women could do because you were stitching pieces together,” adds Anita Brandt Burgoyne, who edited Legally Blonde and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, among many other films. “It was a little like housework.”
Leave your favorite links from the week in the comments. We’ll see you on Monday.