Third time's a charm! As I'm stepping into 2016, I want to take some time to look back at what I produced last year, and to take stock of the issues that matter to me. I didn't do nearly as much writing as I would have liked last year because I was back on a 9-5 schedule, but I still manage to produce essays that I'm proud of, two of which helped me get that Bitch Media Fellowship! So here they are in descending order: the 5 essays I'm most proud of writing this year.
"In this episode, Shonda presents these two women, these two mothers and contrasts the way their mental well-being and mental health is approached. The black mother, who had been exhibiting signs that something might be medically wrong for some time, was treated to scorn, disdain and judgement, even by the doctors who were supposed to be treating her. The white mother, who had just received devastating news about her unborn child, was immediately coddled to the point of condescension in the rush to ensure that she was okay."
"On the other hand, the treatment of people of colour in Jessica Jones is often anti-intersectional and openly anti-black. Vulture's year end "Best of Television" list cites the show as demonstrating "a racially diverse cast, heavy on women," a construction that belies that for many people, diversity means "add black men and stir." To me, it is borderline disrespectful to call the show racially diverse when the only significant, named woman of colour character is dead before the narrative begins and never speaks a word, while the black male characters are all subjected to incredible violence in service of the white female protagonist. This force frames feminist representation as the representation of white women and yet again, erases women of colour from our popular narratives."
"And these women? These beautiful dark-skinned women with broad noses and big lips and kinky hair? It wasn't them. It was strategically not meant to be them. They were purposefully removed from the definition of womanhood much less anything else. So these wins? These statues? This acknowledgement of talent? It matters. It shows that when you even the playing field just a little bit; when you actually allow people of colour to compete with whiteness by creating opportunities for them to show what they can do? They win."
"Why is it so hard for us to imagine that this book may not be for us? That is speaks to an experience than many of us may never have? We who are lucky enough to be safe and warm with access to education and employment we enjoy? Why doesn't it occur to us that all those women that we look down on need someone to look to, to help them navigate the realities that many of us refuse to even acknowledge exist? Is it really still this difficult to understand that different women are empowered by different things and that everyone's feminism is different? Why are we so determined to find ways to create a hierarchy within the movement that values some women over others?"
"What did that scene add that we didn't already know? Did the writers think that cutting Theon's penis off was too subtle to indicate Ramsay's sadism? Did they think the brutal murder of her mother and brother were not strong enough motivators for Sansa to want revenge against the Boltons? Could they not conceive of a single other way in which Theon might be able to mentally recenter himself? What about this particular rape scene added such probative narrative value that it had to be transposed from one character to another even as the original victim is excised from the story? All it was is more rape on a show already replete with rape, for the sake of having rape. None of this is new information."
Last year, I wanted to get my voice heard online and I think I succeed. I was quoted in the LA Times, I was a guest on the Black Girl Dangerous Podcast, I was republished at Bitch Flicks, and by some miracle I received the Bitch Media Writer's Fellowship. For 2016, I hope to finish up grad school, write amazing things under the tutelage of the Bitch Media editors, and to get to New York to meet all the amazing writers I've learned so much from online. Here's to a productive new year.