State subsidised companies are exploiting feminism for profit and we’re all watching

A go-to essay that must be shared:

“Neoliberal capitalism, which is built on the disenfranchisement of women and people of colour, is attempting to contain radical discourse within its walls. In doing so it neutralises the potential for system change. Richard Branson, the billionaire businessperson who owns Virgin, is flourishing under the current system. Though he likes to cultivate a benevolent image, he isn’t doing anything that would seriously challenge the system out of which he does so well. It’s far better and easier for him to give the impression that he cares while making symbolic tweaks to unequal structures.

This is going on all around us; it’s how capitalism stayed relatively steady on its feet after the 2008 financial crash. It’s a dangerous process that inhibits the possibility for real change: it takes in the collective effort of intersectional feminism and spits out individualistic gender equality and antiracism in its most feeble form.”

Media Diversified

by Maya Goodfellow

Last week while flicking through TV channels an advert caught my attention. I was momentarily pleased to watch as a young girl was enchanted by clips of famous women – from feminist activist Emmeline Pankhurst to iconic singer Billie Holiday – while Fleur East’s version of Girl on Fire played in the background. But as the feature came to a close, I was jolted back into reality; this was an advert, a multimillion-pound advert for Virgin Media, to be precise. The billion pound conglomerate is now using women and girls to sell broadband. Exploiting feminism for profit.

I can’t celebrate seeing feminism exploited in the ad breaks by a company that has been built by taking millions from the taxpayer. Virgin ushers publicly run assets into the private sector then languishes on subsidies from the public purse while making a huge profit. This is not an outlandish…

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REVIEW: Movie-Shuffering and Shimiling: Race,Degradation,Apathy in Netherlands [racism/sexism triggers]

REVIEW: Movie—Shuffering and Shimiling: Race, Degradation and Apathy in the Netherlands « SHANTOLOGY – NEO•GRIOT.

Reading this review reminds me of the recent Spanish magazine cover featuring a depiction of Michelle Obama as a topless, head-wrapped slave.  I am also reminded of the ways in which Black women living in the so-called Western world have been and continue to be exploited, objectified, humiliated, and dehumanized in the name of “free speech,” “artistic license/freedom,” “being hip.”

I am also reminded of conversations I’ve had with some European men and women who proclaim the United States as less sophisticated than continental European countries with regard to race relations and acceptance of cultural differences.  Given my own experiences traveling through parts of Western Europe, I propose that what some people label as “sophisticated” may be in fact just more spin on a very visible and ugly legacy of hatred/fear of the Other.  Think of it as a reheating of a long brewing stew of racism with its base being the bones and marrow of European colonialism and enslavement of Africans and Asians.  In other words, to borrow from bell hooks, our bodies and our cultures continue to be (mis)categorized, commodified and consumed by those motivated by hegemonic forces who wish and need to see a perpetuation of Eurocentric, phallocentric ideologies that dehumanize, silence, and ultimately disappear those excluded through racist and misogynist discourse.

Is it any wonder I don’t go to movies anymore?  But we know that the movie industry is but a small part of a much larger problem when it comes to media, race, and gender.  I am not surprised at the persistence of racism and sexism/misogyny in 2012 in Europe or the United States.  Simply put, I am tired of it.  I am tired of being subjected to the lasting impact of isms on the quality of my life.  I am tired of explaining to folk why having a Black president does not make the Western world free of its own racist poison, why having a Ph.D and a career as a professor does not give me immunity to the sexism and racism casually thrown at women of color–daily.

This is but one more example of how far the West has not traveled away from its legacy of slavery and colonialism, and in fact, seems unable to wrest itself from a dependency on othering and exclusion in order to define and distinguish itself.  It is a shallow and useless relationship based on lies and delusion, one that has no basis on reality, but continues to seek ways of feeding the addiction through the perpetuation of racist myths and stereotypes.  As the population of the planet continues to grow in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, and as the West continues to “brown” and “blacken” such practices continue to reveal the stupidity using racist scripts and images in mass media and entertainment.  We do have power, after all: our wallets and our voices make a wonderful pair to reinforce how we feel about racism and sexism in pop culture.  It is time to start using our power.