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Sexually Enlightened R&B Song: Burnt Out Feminists Respond

17 Oct

The notoriously shallow, fairly bro-focused site College Humour has produced a viral video entitled ‘Sexually Enlightened R&B song’ featuring a black heterosexual couple, both stereotypically attractive, in which the man serenades the woman with a standard-composition 90’s R&B tune about having a fair and equal sexual encounter with her that evening. At face value, this content should not be at all humorous, but I found myself laughing out loud, not at the ideas being shared, but at the ridiculous thought that a mainstream cultural product would ever seriously espouse such blatantly feminist values from the mouth of a man.

I liked it and laughed despite the basing of the piece upon clearly heteronormative, liberal feminist views (not the radical queer intersectional feminist approach I try to take. As I commented to my friend, hard feminist porn producer Nikki Swarm, it’s important for the singer to clarify that although his woman is experienced, she is not a ho, because it would be going too far to — gasp — humanise sex workers! and they are getting married, so clearly she can’t be a ho! I disagree with versions of feminism where some women do not receive feminist protection, where those who have made ‘bad choices’ about themselves and their bodies, including sex work, casual sex and abortions are demonised, and the line between good and bad girls is tightly upheld. Instead, I believe that everyone has the agency to make their own choices under structural systems in which the options for oppressed people (in this case, make money from sex work, be in debt and unemployed, or work shit jobs and make peanuts for hard, stressful labour) are all problematic.

Nevertheless, despite all this, the feminist principles articulated in the song were still far enough from the androcentric social norm around heteroromantic, sexual and intimate relationships to be highly unusual, and worthy of attention. The ideas it introduces, such as sexual reciprocity (‘I’ll go down on you / You’ll go down on me) and a woman having a healthy human sexuality (In my opinion / your sexual liberation / is healthy and normal / and makes you human), as simple and pedestrian as they should be, are presented as alien to the misogynistic norm, so far-fetched and impossible as to be funny. Continue reading

Sunflowers (a poem for Black Lives)

5 Aug

They are even afraid of our songs of love’
Carlos Bulosan


Van Gogh wrote that the sunflowers in his paintings communicated ‘gratitude’.

 for the son of Korryn Gaines and the Movement for Black Lives

Van Gogh painted sunflowers
close, in a vase
his yellow a hue
fresh to the cadre

a vision sliced through reality
with a brush and pallet knife

For artists, activists,
seekers of truth
in this generation
the narrative is broken
each vision is different
each invented colour is new
but we paint with it anyway

the ability
to remain willfully
is privilege

today we choose to believe
the child eyewitnesses

Like sunflowers
with our heads bowed
we form secret circles
take to the streets
they still killing us

A shut down is sensation
But what options are left
When they refuse to hear
our songs of love?

UK Stands With #BlackLivesMatter

13 Jul




Revolutionary News Roundup

19 May

A collection of news items that have made us angry, made us sad, astounded us, and/or ignited our revolutionary fire lately [trigger warnings for sexual assault, murder and violence against women, reproductive and police injustice].

  1. Purvi Patel, who says she miscarried, gets 20 years in prison for feticide [Filed under: reproductive injustice, misogyny, patriarchy, intersectionality]
  2. Mary Jane Veloso Spared in 11th Hour in Indonesia [Filed under: poverty, imperialism, Third World women]
  3. Mumia Abu-Jamal medical emergency [Filed under: political imprisonment, silencing, state violence]
  4. 72 killed in Philippines slipper factory fire [Filed under: poverty, Third World Women, inhumane working conditions, unabated capitalism]
  5. Biker gangs have major shootout, murdering 9 – National Guard not called in, no one is killed by the police or called a thug by the media [Filed under: white privilege, violence in America, gangsters, thugs]
  6. Baltimore State’s Attorney charges 6 police officers in murder of Freddie Gray; lawyers file motions to dismiss all charges [Filed under: systemic racism, police unaccountability]
  7. 20 year old gay feminist activist murdered after resistance to on-campus sexism and misogyny led to suspension of rugby team [Filed under: rape culture, misogyny, youth culture, MRAs, LGBT issues, violence in America, violence against women]
  8. Transgender woman London Chanel murdered in Philadelphia and Remembering Us When We’re Gone, Ignoring Us While We’re Here: Trans Women Deserve More (late but highly relevant post) [Filed under: trans women of colour, violence against women, transmisogyny, LGBT issues]
  9. Nicki Minaj and Beyonce release new video for ‘Feelin Myself’  [Filed under: carefree Black girls, flawless, problematic faves]
  10. Global inequality is so bad it’s almost impossible to visualise it [Filed under: poverty, wealth, 1%, globalization, unabated capitalism]
  11. ‘sHell no!’ Seattle kayaktivist fleet protests Arctic drilling [Filed under: activism, protest, ecofeminism, wealth, 1%, globalization, unabated capitalism, resistance]

The Mike Brown Story: A Young Man Murdered, A Community Terrorized #NMOS14

15 Aug


Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 9th, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The black community of Ferguson rallied in protest, and was met with a fully militarized police force with tanks, riot gear and sniper rifles using tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs to disperse crowds, techniques taken directly from the military arsenal.

Most traditional media sources were silent about the shooting and the violent police response to the peaceful protests. Media outlets that did attempt to cover the story were threatened and tear-gassed, as was a state senator. Journalists and the St Louis Alderman were arrested without cause, and released without charge. Thus, people took to Twitter to provide coverage of the events.

The people’s outrage at these latest acts of terrorism by the state against its own citizens is palpable and justified. Black Americans are disproportionately harassed, intimidated, incarcerated, and murdered at the hands of the police in the United States. Yet when the people show collective anger in response, they are demonized and portrayed one-dimensionally as rioters and looters, which in turn is used to further reinforce racist narratives and justify the use of more force against them.

Vigils were held all over the US tonight to mourn Michael Brown and the many other recent black victims of racist police brutality, including Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford.  Thank you to Feminista Jones who began the #NMOS14 Twitter campaign that was used to organize the vigils, the journalists who shared their accounts of the events, the bloggers who put the Ferguson events in historical and social context, the countless members of the public who used social media to signal-boost coverage of the story as well as of the nationwide vigils, and to members of Anonymous who hacked the city of Ferguson website (and will likely do more than that before this is through).

We salute the residents of Ferguson and St. Louis who in these past few days have shown tremendous courage and stood up to the veritable army that is the St. Louis police force, and we share our outrage, sorrow, and solidarity with all those around the world who have been victimized by state and police violence.

UPDATE: is calling for the immediate prosecution and firing of all officers involved in the killing of Michael Brown. Sign the petition here.


We would also like to commemorate today the 1-year anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre in Egypt, in which Egyptian forces committed a crime against humanity by murdering nearly 900 people in what may be one of the worst ever violations of international law. We remember those who were killed, while at the same time we condemn the colonialist and imperialist forces that through their tactic of divide-and-conquer created the foundation for civil unrest in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.