Hypocrisy, Sexism, Racism…Kanye, Did I Miss Anything?

kanye-west-amber-rose-relationship

Amber Rose, Kanye West

If you keep up with celebrity news, to any extent, by now you’ve heard of the back and forth interview-Twitter wars between socialite Amber Rose, her former boyfriend and my former favorite rapper Kanye West, and the Kardashian family. Tensions have always run high between Amber Rose and the Kardashians as Amber’s relationship with Kanye West ended in part due to Kanye’s involvement with the eldest sibling, Kim Kardashian.

Most recently the situation came to a boiling point when, in a mid-February interview with NY radio station Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, Amber Rose made some comments about a few family members when probed by interviewers. Khloe Kardashian took to Twitter in response, asking Amber Rose to stop talking about her family in interviews, but not before mentioning Amber Rose’s past as a stripper, adding, “don’t worry about my sister who has a career.”

However, the most interesting and headlining portion of this tit-for-tat was Kanye West’s response. He appeared on the same radio show several days later, with a few choice words about Amber.

Hypocrisy

Kanye calls out Amber Rose on her alleged promiscuity, saying that because of his relationship with Amber he had to take “30 showers” before being with Kim.

The first thing that comes to mind when one hears such a statement is simply “?”

Hypocrisy is when you attempt to slut-shame a woman for her sexual activities when your wife’s wouldn’t be known to you or the world if she had not taped her sexual activities with a random famous man and been in relationships with countless others. Since, apparently, his wife is free to have been with a million men in her past, he can not make it a crime for another woman to have the same history.

Sexism

Kanye says, “It’s hard for a woman to want to be with someone that’s with Amber Rose”.

Sexism is pinning a woman’s value on how many sexual partners she has had. Has anyone asked Kanye West how many women (and/or men) he has been with? Does anyone care?

Probably not.

His sexual past is irrelevant, as is hers.

Racism

We can not forget the difference in response when black (or black-identified) women display their sexuality versus non-black women.

Kanye, a serious as can be, considers Amber simply dirty for her sexual past. Why is her past such an issue, yet he pursued a woman with a similar background, making her his wife and the mother of his child? What is the difference?

Oh right, their racial backgrounds. Because when black women are open about their sexuality, they are relegated to the pile of unworthiness, to have fun with but not take too seriously. When white women display their sexuality they are made into idols by some, worthy of imitation.

Anything Else?

Kanye sees no issues with making a spectacle of a woman he once loved. This is one of my pet peeves: ex-bashing. Why throw your former partner under the bus because the relationship ended or because you believe you’ve found someone “better”? Those who bash their exes show the world how untrustworthy they are: lover and friend one minute, crucifier the next. We can only hope that the statements he makes about Kim if their relationship ends will be much less demeaning.

Yes, this post is a little (purposely) late. And yes, who cares about what a few over-inflated celebrities spew about each other on Twitter and radio? Well, I do, when it is the perfect chance to illustrate the way sexism and racism are perpetuated in American society, while everyone has a good laugh.

To say I’m disgusted by this display would be an understatement.

See also:

Blogging on Blogging: Criticism

writing-criticismFor those who love blogging, it can be fun and rewarding. At the same time, owning and keeping up an engaging and informative blog is hard work — much more than it may seem to those reading the finished product. Feedback on posts and topics of discussion are always appreciated, however, feedback sometimes crosses the line into criticism which isn’t so constructive. Some even extend their criticism to other outlets — other blogs, forums, and the like.

While even unwarranted, negative feedback can help and spur a blogger to improve their writing, it for the most part detrimental. Besides the obvious result of demotivating the blogger who is criticized, it wastes time and creates a negative atmosphere. Among others, here are a few more reasons you should rethink or reformulate any critiques you’re contemplating sending a blogger’s way:

1. Blogging takes guts

To blog means to lay out your innermost thoughts and feelings. Needless to say, this isn’t the easiest thing to do. Scrutinizing a particularly personal post teaches the blogger that their ideas and thoughts are not welcome and discourages them from ever bearing their literary souls again.

2. It easier to tear down than build up

Those who criticize a blogger or blog post tend to feel that they can do better, or that the writing is simply not good enough. However, there is a world of difference between reading and critiquing, and creating. If you don’t believe this, try it.

3. A blogger is their greatest critic

Yes, before you ever see the blogger’s post it’s usually been raked over for the slightest mistake or misstep. While some may simply type and publish, most posts are read, corrected, and rewritten a few times. The act of writing makes a critic of any writer; it creates it own improvement.

All of the above said, criticism is necessary and I welcome it. But criticism can overstay its welcome when it hinders rather than promotes. Critics are needed, but thoughtful, honest writing is in short of supply. Instead of criticizing, it seems some chronic criticizers could better use their time by writing themselves; showing by example how a wonderful article or post is written.

How do you feel about criticizing blog posts and bloggers? If you have a blog, have you encountered criticism and how did you deal with it?

“I Have No Female Friends”, Part 2

woman-envyTo round up this month’s attempts by women to set back the Women’s Movement and themselves, this is an article response to another blogger’s thoughts on the original post “I Have No Female Friends”.

The response is entitled, Women Who Don’t Have Female Friends, and begins:

Earlier this week I found these blog posts about women who say they don’t have female friends. It reminded me of a discussion forum I found online some time ago with a similar discussion about women who say they don’t get along with women. In both cases, the discussion about these women was negative and full of assumptions about women who say these things.

After which the author proceeds to make countless negative statements and assumptions about women as a group, and numerous other amazing statements.

-“The majority of women don’t feel good about themselves.”

Besides that this is an overreaching statement, it is contradicting the entire post — to make a post deriding assumptions, then proceed to make your own.

It doesn’t seem to occur to the author, or she fails to mention, that her superior and belittling attitude towards women might be noticed by them, and disliked by them. If all people would believe that women don’t feel good about themselves, the author would find herself in a bad position.

-“I think saying men and women are not that different is PC bullschitt. Men and women are different, whether it’s because of society or biology or a mix. It’s fine to admit that.”

I think saying men and women are totally different is conservative and closed-minded. I would never say men and women do not have their differences but painting them as two sub-species is not something I’d ever do, and not something I’d expect from any intelligent and open-minded person. Experience and research tells me they aren’t nearly as different in their basic motivations as our brains would like to make them out to be.

To use the author’s own example, there are logical women and emotional men. A person’s outward behavior does not always or even usually reflect who inwardly are. Yes men and women are socialized differently, but those differences may affect only the social. Men lean toward the rational because that’s what’s accepted and expected of them, but their core personality may be quite different.

-“I feel good about who I am because I know I’m intelligent, talented, a good person and so on…the biggest thing with women, I’d say, is more than half of heterosexual ones strike me as not thinking they’re complete or good enough if they don’t have a man or a husband.”

The problem with this statement is that it is a judgment against women who have a strong desire for love, as if that is wrong. Everyone has something they wouldn’t feel complete without, and the love of a man doesn’t seem any worse than others. But whether it is wrong or not is not so important. What is glaring is that in a post about how judging other women is wrong, there is so much judging.

-“Personally, I’d love to find even just one woman who can talk football all day–I really would. Sure, there are women out there who like football. It’s not even unusual to find women who love football. I just simply have never known another woman who lives and breathes football”

The author needs an award because she loves football. Unlike every other woman on earth, she likes football, and that makes her truly unique.

It’s ironic that the author is in fact, feeding right into the original hypothesis that women who claim to have female friends feel that they are “special” and different from other women, and these differences make them better.

-“I understand that some of the women over at the blog link try to make a distinction between women who seem proud of not having female friends and other women who don’t have female friends, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt… As far as I read, they also failed to state or point out that saying you don’t have female friends sometimes is…well…simply a statement of fact.”

“As far as I read” would be the key statement here.

That “I have no female friends” is a statement of fact for a woman saying it was never in question, the question was why. Why do they make these statements and what sort of mindset do they have?

Judging from this response and the author’s own words, the author didn’t actually read the article or the comments following. This might have come in handy, in making stronger arguments against the original article; arguments that didn’t prove the point.

Note: All snark in this post was intentionally kept to a bare minimum

7 Types of Men I’d Never Date

do-not-pass-goMost people have a “type” — a particular look or personality that they find appealing in others. I’m the same — I also have types, but what I have more of are non-types — those that I do not find appealing or even repelling.

These types coincide with general personality traits I find disagree with my own, but in romantic relationships they take on an even greater importance. At a distance you can pretend everything’s fine, but in close quarters, you can only pretend for so long. Perhaps this should be titled “7 Types of Men I’d Never Date (Again)”:

The Argumenter — The Argumenter is that great debater you found so attractive at first. Just so informed, intellectual, and worldly, isn’t he? He’d never lose an argument…Including one with you, and he spares no words.

Also known as Mr. Know-It-All.

The Passive — Easy enough to get along with, begin a relationship, and deal with in a relationship. You’ll think the fact that you never disagree with the passive guy means you’re meant for each other. What it really means is that the disagreement will happen later, perhaps much later, when the Passive Guy grows tired of pretending he agrees with everything you do and say.

Not for the straightforward.

Bob Bummer — In a word, negative. This guy isn’t usually the most attractive, but can find himself in relationships with women who think they can make his life a little brighter with their presence. What actually happens is Bob Bummer makes your day a little gloomier by killing any excitement or happiness you feel by bringing in thoughts of doubt and urging you to think of the”worst case scenario”.

Of course if your name should be changed to Debbie Downer, you’ll find Bob Bummer to be perfect.

The Player — We all know of the Player. He says all the right things at all the right times, and he can do no wrong. Except he’s say all the right things with every woman he’s ever dated. And just when she’s convinced he can do no wrong he finds someone else to say all the right things with.

Don’t hate the player..

RomeoNot exactly a Player because unlike the Player Romeo actually feels as strongly about you as you do about him. That is, he thinks he does. But Romeo loves romance more than any particular person, and when the sparkle and glitter are gone, so is Romeo.

There isn’t much else to know about Romeo because he usually doesn’t stick around long enough.

The King of the Throne/Breadwinner — Lovely, if you like being the equivalent of a nice-looking suit or enjoy being told what to do, say, and think. He is convinced a man should be a “man” in a relationship. The King of the Throne makes the rules, even if his throne consists of an armchair.

Often extremely judgmental, as an added bonus.

The IntellectualizerIf you have emotions, and would like to express them, then look for another partner. Some Intellectualizers just don’t get emotions, theirs included, but others actively ignore or belittle them. To the extreme Intellectualizer emotions are just irrelevant. The only upside is that if you ever have a problem to solve, they can fix it.

It’s hard to decide if the Intellectualizer is the least problematic of the types, or the most.

Which of these types have you dated and which do you find the most and least appealing?

Jessica Simpson Weight Gain — One Look at Anti-Fat Prejudice

jessica-simpson-fatSinger and actress Jessica Simpson’s weight has been the subject of discussion for some time now, with her size increasing and decreasing dramatically over the years. But Jessica’s recent pregnancy weight gain has even those who weren’t talking about adding their views. From medical professionals to politicians, many are offering their view on her size and the topic of unhealthy weight gain.

Called an “absolute porker” by Dr.  Tara Solomon, Jessica has never publicly responded to her critics. Instead she shrugged off the weight gain, saying she is pregnant and needs to eat, giving into her cravings for foods like buttered Pop Tarts and fried Oreos. Jessica says she will worry about her weight after she gives birth. But onlookers insist she deal with it now, cautioning that her nonchalant attitude towards weight and unhealthy eating choices will affect her and her baby.

But not everyone has an issue with Jessica’s reportedly 50+ pound (22.7 kg) weight gain. Actress Tori Spelling defended Jessica, saying “When women are pregnant, people need to lay off…As far [as] weight, you never know what is going to happen.” Sarah Palin remarked that if she were Jessica she “would have wanted to punch [her critics] in the neck.”

jessica-simpson-thin

A slimmer Jessica

Others, like myself, believe that while some may be genuinely concerned about the health of Jessica and her baby, others’ real concern lies in her looks. People are simply horrified that the once slim, 5’2″ Jessica is now clearly obese — the world is anti-fat. Upon seeing how much weight she’d gained, people could not hold in their disgust and disappointment that she allowed herself to become so, well, fat. Few things could be worse, especially for a woman.

But although the anti-fat prejudice and fat phobia is clear to anyone who is paying attention, voicing such prejudice outright isn’t considered polite. So critics couch what is truly disgust in worry about the health of her unborn child. Health is a legitimate concern — few can disagree that being obese and gorging on sugary foods can be bad for a person, not to mention a growing baby. Unlike critique about not being thin, which would only make commentators seem shallow and mean.

In other words, the conversation on Jessica’s weight is a classic example of anti-fat prejudice in practice. If you still think that anti-fat prejudice does not exist or isn’t “that bad”, you need only do a search and read the comments from the public at large on Jessica’s weight. One woman’s comment sums up the feelings of fat-phobic critics everywhere: “Seriously, this b*tch pisses me off, she is so disgusting.”

…Yes, being fat might just be that bad in an anti-fat world.

Agree or disagree?

Online Relationship Intrusion: Don’t Be a Victim

online-frustrationOnline relationship intrusion: The act of internet-based relationships affecting a person’s offline. Often causing frustration, negative thoughts, and unreasonable fixation.

Ah, the internet. Information, entertainment, and people, at a few clicks of a mouse. Such a great resource, and one some people have come to rely on, possibly to an extreme degree. Who ever would have suspected that what makes the internet so enjoyable could also cause it to be the reason some people end their internet sessions not feeling refreshed, but upset and let down.

Many people who are or have been disappointed in their online relationships believe they are alone in their frustration. After all, it’s just the internet, no one else takes it so seriously, right? Online relationship intrusion is more common than you might think.

It seems that online relationship intrusion more easily happens to those who spend much time on the internet and those who lack strong boundaries. Both groups allow their online, interactive lives to merge with their offline, real lives. Some create intimate relationships with those they know online, or interact with people from their offline lives in their online world. Others allow their negative interactions on the internet as reflecting the reality of the world outside of the WWW. However, the medium of the offline and online worlds are different, and so are the people in it. When mixed together, they can create a more complicated and complicating combination.

Online relationship intrusion is more common with some people, but anyone who interacts with others online is susceptible to it. Every time you find yourself irritated, sad, mad, or otherwise strongly moved by something or someone online you are inviting online relationship intrusion. Don’t dismiss the effects of this: intrusion can bring real-life negative effects, affecting how you feel about yourself, your mood, and your overall happiness in life.

So what can you do to stop or at least decrease online relationship intrusion? Being one who has experienced online relationship frustration and works online, I’ve developed actionable steps that work for me, and I believe could work for others as well:

  • Do not merge online and offline lives. Keep them separate, whenever possible.
  • Limit your time on the internet. The less time you spend online, the less chance you have to become frustrated by what happens in it.
  • If you find yourself feeling frustrated, take a break. It’s okay.
  • Recognize that you have the ability to quickly and painlessly end any online interactions that are no longer working for you.
  • Repeat to yourself “This is not reality”. This helps to keep your situation in perspective.
  • Do not frustrate yourself further by continuing online discussion that is stressing you out — press the x in the corner, never looking back.

Have you experienced online relationship intrusion? How did you deal with it? Do you have any other tips?

Debbie Downer, Bob Bummer, & Co.

debbie-downerDebbie Downer is a term used to describe someone with a tendency to be the bearer of bad news and negativity. Debbie Downers can be found in every sphere of life, of all backgrounds. Her presence in any group or conversation puts an abrupt end to any happiness and enthusiasm of those involved. She is critical of herself and others, and fails to see why people can be happy about anything when there is so much to worry about. Bob Bummer is the male equivalent of Debbie Downer and is equally depressed and depressing.

Debbie Downer isn’t just negative: she is a pessimist to the core. She can see the downside to anything and won’t hesitate to mention it. If there isn’t a problem, she’ll create one — nothing is impossible. Debbie Downer plans for the worse and finds comfort in her negative mindset.

Most Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers don’t realize how discouraging they are to themselves and others. Instead they believe that they are only being realistic and everyone else is impractical and delusional. Only they know the truth of the situation, others can’t or won’t see what’s really going on.

Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers are not readily noticeable; they look and act like others do. But if you spend just a few minutes with them you’ll be sure to notice their negative mindset. Debbie Downer or Bob Bummer will say or do several of the following:

  • Proclaim any and all of your plans unrealistic and think of possible obstacles you hadn’t thought of and aren’t likely to happen
  • In the middle of your mentioning something positive that happened, remind you of something negative that occurred or will occur
  • Add “We have to look at both sides of the situation”, “You forgot to add that…”, or a similar statement to decrease the positivity or enthusiasm of the atmosphere
  • Criticize anything or anyone who would bring happiness to a situation
  • Talk about how terrible their life is and has been, usually adding more than once that life in general is hard and depressing
  • Begin most conversations by bringing up something negative that happened to them or in the world recently
  • Have a skeptical expression on their face or frown as soon as a conversation begins

Despite their negativity Debbie Downers, Bob Bummers, and similar people are not without friends. Some people mistake their negativity for realism or believe that their depressing outlook will be lifted after some time. Neither is true: Debbie, Bob, and Co. are not realistic, but pessimistic. And their troubles will never end because their existence depends on them — when one issue passes, they find something else.

Unless you’re a Debbie Downer, Bob Bummer or similar character the best thing to do is keep your interaction with them to a minimum. Their dejection can be contagious.

See also:

 

How Transference Ruins Relationships

transferenceTransference is a psychological phenomenon in which you redirect past feelings, fears, and wishes created by an earlier situation, on to a new person. You react to the person based on their resemblance to someone from your past, and your feelings about the person may or may not be an accurate assessment of them. Transference was first identified by Sigmund Freud, but has become a broadly accepted psychological process.

Meeting Someone New… or Old?

When you meet a new person and something they say or do reminds you of a person or situation from your past that negatively affected you, if transference occurs, you might be inclined to make assumptions about this person. Perhaps you think that the person has harmful motivations or will negatively affect you in the way you’ve been affected in the past.This causes you to react in ways that may not fit the current situation, even though you believe you’re reacting to the new person or situation.

Creating Misunderstanding

If you then make your feelings about the new person known to them and others, misunderstandings can occur. The new person may think you are judging them unfairly or prematurely. They may choose not to further interact with you or even react harshly towards you. Meanwhile, their negative reaction to your feelings causes you to believe your initial assessment of them was correct! As a result, even if you were on good terms with the person before, you both may begin to harbor hostile feelings towards the other.

In other words, your transference just ruined a possible good friendship or relationship, and you didn’t even realize it.

Stopping Transference

The best way to stop transference in its tracks it to bring your feelings into awareness and consciously suspend judgment until you have more information. Even if you feel that your first feelings are fitting — and you will — do not outwardly (or inwardly) react to them.

Instead, ask yourself where your feelings are coming from. What caused them and why did you respond to these causes the way you did? Have you felt this way before and why? Self-inquiry may lead you to realize that your feelings have less to do with the current situation and more to do with your past emotions, and save a relationship from ruin.

Rap, Rock, and Violence

parental-advisory-explicit-contentDo rap and rock music really contribute to violence, misogyny, and other ills of society?

The notion that certain genres of music may be linked to societal problems has been a topic of debate for ages. Studies and surveys have been centered on the matter and various groups and people have spoken out against rap and rock music, in particular. Advocates of the music have defended it as a mode of expression and form of storytelling; a depiction of the artists’ lives.

The Lyrics

Rap and rock music’s lyrics, in addition to their music videos, are a main point of debate — many claim they promote violence and other undesirable behaviors and attitudes.

  • Rap

Rap has come under scrutiny for lyrics that have been described as overly violent, misogynistic, and homophobic. Life After Death, the third best-selling rap album of all time, and last album of deceased rapper Notorious B.I.G. illustrates such behaviors and attitudes. Its Grammy-nominated single “Hypnotize” contains the following lyrics:

Them niggas ride dicks, Frank White push the sticks
on the Lexus, LX, four and a half
Bulletproof glass tints if I want some ass
Gonna blast squeeze first ask questions last
That’s how most of these so-called gangsters pass
At last, a nigga rappin ’bout blunts and broads
Tits and bras, ménage à trois, sex in expensive cars
I still leave you on the pavement
Condo paid for, no car payment
At my arraignment, note for the plantiff
Your daughter’s tied up in a Brooklyn basement
Face it, not guilty

Such lyrics have pushed people like politician and activist C. Delores Tucker to dedicate their lives to getting them removed from the air. Tucker created petitions, picketed stores that sold such music, and bought stock in music companies so she could protest at meetings. Tucker said of rap lyrics, “You can’t listen to all that language and filth without it affecting you.”

  • Rock

Heavy metal has been the most criticized of the subgenres of rock music. It is said to glorify everything from killing, to suicide, to satanism. Judas Priest, an English heavy metal band, was sued in the early 1990s as the cause of one suicide and one attempted suicide. Two families of teenagers who shot themselves after listening to the Judas Priest song “Better By You, Better Than Me” claimed that subliminal messages in the lyrics influenced them to create a suicide pact. The actual lyrics include:

Tell her now I got to go
Guess you’ll have to tell her how I tried
To speak up thoughts I’ve held so inside
Out in the streets and down the shore
Tell her the world’s not much living for
It’s better by you better than me

Guess I’ll have to change my way of living
Don’t wanna really know the way I feel
Guess I’ll learn to fight and kill
They’ll find my blood upon her windowsill
It’s better by you better than me

The suit was eventually dismissed, but the case lives on as an example of the influence of music on behavior.

Continue reading

Black Women and The Martyr Complex

lonely-black-woman

So much for the myth of the strong black woman.

Black women in America have historically taken on the role of the martyr — one who suffers for a cause or belief. During and after slavery in the United States, black women sacrificed their own needs and well-being for the benefit of others.

Over time, many black women have developed not only the role of the martyr, but the mindset of the martyr. They have come to see themselves as the eternal victim, specially chosen to endure pain and sacrifice their happiness for others. In contradiction to their outward appearance of resilience and ability, some black women indulge in unending victimhood, and consider pain and hardship a basic aspect of their existence.

This martyr complex is easy to observe, if one looks in the right places. Magazines catered to black women, online forums and blogs where black women participate, and conversations among black women offer many examples. In such venues it is not uncommon to hear rants and complaints from black women on everything from beauty standards to career.

For every martyr, victimhood fulfills certain needs. What do black women gain from the martyr syndrome?

1. An explanation

Believing that one’s fate in life is to endure pain provides an explanation for suffering, if a simple and unchangeable one. If black women are destined to suffer, an individual black woman’s problems in life are simply the fulfillment of this fate. There is no need to reflect or determine if one’s problems are due to any personal failings. There is no need to improve.

2. A sense of belonging

People enjoy bonding and feeling like they are part of a community. They appreciate this sense of belonging even if their only tie to others in their community is shared trials and frustration. By joining together in martyrdom, black women feel less alone in any struggles they may be having.

3. The biggest loser

Martyrs gain a sense of self and identity from their suffering. No one suffers as much as they do, no one is as honorable in their ability to bear difficulties. The martyr is strengthened from being broken down. This sense of misery provides relief for black women. Even if they can’t win at anything else, black women can win at one thing — losing.

But no matter the benefits the martyr complex appears to offer in the short-run, it is more damaging than anything else. Martyrs hold themselves back from their maximum potential in life. They strain themselves mentally and emotionally by making experience of pain a life priority. Martyrs make life for those around them more difficult with their negativity and constant victimhood.

Black women would be better served by concentrating less energy on the victim complex and more energy on finding or creating solutions to any issues they may come up against in life. True peace and happiness are more uplifting than martyrdom.