1. Marvel's Riri Already Faces Whitewashing.
So Marvel recently announced a new Iron Man who is anything but man: she (yassss) is going to be a 15-year-old black girl genius named Riri with big, natural hair and dark skin--AKA a literal dream come true. However, it was brought to our attention this week that there have already been attempts to whitewash the character for the ensuing film. The culprit? Entertainment Weekly. EW put out a list of women they’d like to see portray Riri on screen, and only managed to come up with light-skinned actresses--who we love, BTW--but who would not reflect the image presented in the comic. Though it may seem inconsequential, this lightening of skin is highly problematic and points to a deeper issue seated in institutionalized and internalized racism. The global reliance on European beauty standards--the global preference for whiteness--upholds a brand of misogynoir (the dual oppression that black women face as hyper-marginalized humans) that is unique to dark-skinned women. Marvel has given Hollywood a chance to combat this trend, so here’s hoping they bite. And here’s a list of potential dark-skinned actresses to help ‘em out!
2. Erykah Badu Pledges Funds To Tackle Rape Kit Backlog.
LivePict.com via Wikimedia Commons
Already one of the most incredible musicians and artists of our time, Erykah Badu just rose in the ranks of feminist shero yet again with some big, philanthro-tastic news: $5 of every ticket sold to an upcoming show of hers will be donated to an organization in Detroit that is raising money to test tens of thousands of the city’s abandoned rape kits. A markedly racial choice--this organization addresses the reality that 81% of Detroit’s sexual assault victims are black women--Erykah is boldly standing up for black women in a way that is often overlooked. Plus, the crisis of untested rape kits is astonishing and urgent in cities all over the country, so it’s delightful to see her drawing attention to the issue in any form. More about our thoughts on violence against women here.
3. Australian Writer Addresses Sexism, Is Threatened and Condescended.
When a dude tells a woman that she’s acting ‘hysterical’ in the middle of her attempting to explain the ways he is complicit in violence against women, it’s as though he’s trying to make himself look like the least in-touch, most privileged version of himself possible. This week, when Australian journalist and broadcaster Steve Price was accused by fellow Aussie writer Van Badham of completely disregarding the problem of VAW, that’s exactly what he did--to the sound of audible disbelieving gasps from audience members. That men have been disregarding and belittling female anger by brushing it off as hysterical, hyper-emotional nonsense since the dawn of the patriarchy is, like, feminism 101, so it was kind of shocking to see this kind of behavior on television. This story is way more complicated, though, so check out more of our thoughts here.
4. U.S.A. Women's Gymnastics Team Expected To Slay.
If that rock you’ve been living under is starting to get a little cramped, here’s some info you should know by now: U.S. gymnast gals are badass beyond belief. After impressing the world with their flawless Olympic trials, the five women selected to represent the U.S.A. in Rio are expected to bring home gold. The group includes 16-year-old New Jersey native Laurie Hernandez who is especially expected to dominate at the global games despite her young age and coming back from a sidelining injury a few years ago. But, like, women’s sports aren’t interesting, right?
5. UK Town Declares Street Harassment A Hate Crime.
A police force in the UK’s Nottinghamshire declared this week that offenses of sexual harassment on the street will be considered hate crimes from here on out. *does cartoonish double take* This is such an interesting step to take on the crusade of ending violence against women, and to making the streets safer, though it isn’t clear as of now if it will have any impact on the culture in the town. In contrast to current laws in the U.S., this broadening of the definition of “hate crime” is miles ahead of what we have--we don’t even have any general legislation that goes so far as to define street harassment. In the face of what feels like incessant stories of VAW, this kind of progress is so refreshing. Maybe it’s the product of a town with a female police chief (shout out to Chief Constable Sue Fish--queen on the cobbled streets of Nottinghamshire and of the cobbled streets in our hearts).