Tag Archives: pop culture

Unblurring the Lines

by April Gregory, ’13

A recent onslaught of tits-in-your-face (TIYF) music videos has catalyzed much hullabaloo in the blogosphere. If you haven’t seen Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Justin Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision,” or The-Dream’s “Pussy” (yes, just “Pussy”), you may wish to view them now. On Vevo or Vimeo, though, because they were pulled from YouTube. And not in a place where your supervisor might drop in to give you some Chobani coupons, because they are very, very TIYF.

To start, I should make one thing exceedingly clear: for years I was a more or less passive acceptor of the contradictions inherent in my favorite music genres. I love hip hop and R&B. LOVE. I love booming bass and releasing my inner Bey on the d-floor whenever possible. Consequently, I had — and still have — a tendency to ignore the often unsavory lyrics that float atop said booming bass. “She eyein’ me like her n***a don’t exist / Girl, I know you want this dick,” to name a recent favorite.

At Stanford I had the opportunity to learn from and connect with some of the world’s foremost hip hop scholars, who dropped more knowledge on me than I knew what to do with. They encouraged me to engage more critically with the voices in my earbuds, which in turn inspired some original musings about hip hop and feminism. The more I thought about the dissonance between my personal ideologies and the hot misogynist mess that is mainstream hip hop and R&B, the less passive I became.

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White Guys, and Other Things I Hate To Love

by Imani Franklin, ’13

Let’s be real. You try to resist that Robert Downey Jr. white-boy-swag, coupled with the bang swish that only a true So-Cal white boy can pull off, and it’s a failed attempt from the start. A friend of mine can’t, for the life of her, understand why I like white men. She thinks they’re boring, like factory-made white bread: stale, tasteless, and a little problematic. I try to explain to her the appeal of white men for me and (dare I say) millions of straight women of color around the world. We’ve been simultaneously conditioned to see white men as some sort of prize (shout out to 400 years of old-school colonialism) while also taught to view our black, brown, and yellow skin as rendering us less desirable than our white counterparts. The result of all this: a lot of women of color who want what they believe they can’t have. Which, as we learn in Psych 101, only makes many of us want them more.

Now before you interpret this as some sad Pocahontas story, I should explain that this is a lot more complicated than me liking white boys because my mind is colonized. Continue reading

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