Rhetoric is Ridiculous – Discourse Surrounding Black Men in the Media by Grey

Racism is alive and well in America. The belief that it ended after the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s is a naïve opinion to hold. Racism is entrenched and ingrained in our culture to such a degree that police assaulting black men hardly registers as news. Martese Johnson is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, who was assaulted and arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control officers. Johnson was pulled aside by officers for attempting to use a fake ID, and was assaulted because he was “agitated and belligerent” (BBC, 2015). Johnson’s case shows that power in society is with those privileged by skin colour, and racialized images contribute to the police aggression against black men.

Johnson garnered the attention of ABC officers by attempting to use a fake ID to enter a bar close to University of Virginia campus. On campuses across the world, students attempt to use fake IDs. Most are turned away without incident; however, Johnson was targeted by officers because he is black. White privilege involves society’s hierarchies, mainly that white people are given invisible advantages in society over persons of colour (McIntosh, 3). McIntosh states that one of the privileges white people hold involves knowing that if a cop questions them, it is not because of the colour of their skin. In Johnson’s case, his harassment was tied to his skin colour. Young black men have been racialized by media images and portrayals of them as “brutish and aggressive…as rapists, pimps, gangsters, drug dealers, or wife abusers…” (Aulette and Wittner, 107). Media images socialize one to view black men as dangerous and aggressive, causing police officers to be fearful and more aggressive towards black men.

The intense racialization of black men as drug dealers intersects with power held by white men, and causes the prosecution and incarceration of black men. Black men are incarcerated at a higher rate than white men, because of drug policies. Black and white people use different drugs. Rich white men’s drug of choice is cocaine, while black men’s is crack cocaine (Aulette and Wittner, 390). Crack cocaine carries a higher minimum sentencing than regular cocaine, which is mostly used by white men (Aulette and Wittner, 390). Therefore, it is clear that black people are targeted by drug policies. Both cocaine and crack are harmful, but the racialized drug carries a higher sentence.

Furthermore, black people are no more likely than white people to use drugs (Aulette and Wittner, 390). An English study found that black people are less likely to use drugs, but more likely to be stopped for drug searches and more likely to be charged for drug possessions (Eastwood, Shiner and Bear, 12-13). Black men’s racialization by the media has led to their persecution by police officers. Johnson’s situation is nothing out of the ordinary for black men, he is simply another victim of the intersection of racialization and privilege.

Rhetoric around black men is full of racist stereotypes and language. On an article published by The Cavalier Daily, comments surrounding Johnson’s assault focused on what Johnson had done to break the law, attempting to justify the action of ABC officers. Media socializes one to believe that black men are dangerous, emphasizing physical and social characteristics which are threatening. This belief can be seen with the shootings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. Media rhetoric focused on Brown’s size, “the 6-foot-4, 292-pound Brown charged Wilson” (McKay, 2014). Moreover, media focused on Martin’s “thug” attitude, stating: “Martin would be alive today, okay, if he didn’t, alright, have a street attitude” (Fox, 2013). Quotes like these socialize one to think police officers are in the right to shoot or assault black men. Johnson’s assault can be seen as this same socialization. Police stated that Johnson was acting aggressive to justify their assault (BBC, 2015).

Martese Johnson’s only crime is attempting to use a fake ID. If he had been born white, there would have been no issue. However, because of his skin colour he was stereotyped as aggressive by police officers, and beaten. Privilege blinds one to how they are advantaged, and it takes stories like this to show what happens to the marginalized. What happened to Johnson is another example of how black lives are worth less than white lives in North American society. Racialized caricatures of black people in the media socialize one to believe this. How can the United States hold the belief that they are the champions of freedom and justice, when those in charge treat marginalized people as lesser? There is no justice for Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner or the thousands of unnamed black men unjustly killed or beaten by police. There is no justice because of socialization. Media language socializes one to side with those in power, by portraying black men as aggressive criminals. Until the discourse surrounding these cases changes, there can be no justice.


Aulette, Judy R., and Judith Wittner. “Chapter 4: Sexualities.” Gendered Worlds. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2015. Print.

“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest.” BBC News. BBC, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Ellen. “Fox News Guest Blames Trayvon Martin’s ‘Street Attitude’ For His Death.” NewsHounds. NewsHounds, 11 June 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

“University student, Honor Committee member Martese Johnson arrested.” The Cavalier Daily. Heskett, Chloe, 18 Mar 2015. Web.

McIntosh, Peggy. White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Backpack. 

McKay, Hollie. “Missouri Cop Was Badly Beaten before Shooting Michael Brown, Says Source.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Rhetoric is Ridiculous – Discourse Surrounding Black Men in the Media by Grey

Social Media’s Gender Abuse Blog Review – Blue

Ashley Judd, an actress and women’s activist, was attacked violently on social media, for a comment she posted on Twitter. During a Sunday basketball game, she was watching, she made a harmless comment about the opposing team. This comment to others was considered “unsportsmanlike”, and would receive an abundant amount of spiteful and vicious remarks (Pass The Mic, Judd). The tweet read, “”playing dirty & can kiss my team’s free throw making ass” (Pass The Mic, Judd). She said that she has had to contend to being sexualized, debased, and shamed on Twitter, and has tried to report these comments found on its platform, but this particularly circumstance was astounding. Therefore, Judd saw no option of sitting quietly when she was faced with misogynistic and gender discriminating criticisms. Judd saw the intersectionality between gender, violence and the media. She also said, it tied into the abuse and rape that she had experienced when in her earlier years. An example of intersectionality similar to Judd’s, of gender and sexism, is also found in Laverne Cox’s article. She is a trans-gendered woman who fought gender abuse that she faced from becoming a woman. Cox discusses how she was confronted with the harsh realities of being a woman, as they are to ostracized and discriminated against. The unfairness that millions of girls and women face, is what Charlotte Alter and Ashley Judd shine light to in their writing.

From this article, by Charlotte Alter, and Ashley Judd’s essay, they have both made it apparent that rape culture exists in popular culture and social media. The normalization of sexually violent language used in today’s society, is what perpetuates rape culture. The societal norm of the vulgar language expressing and exploiting Judd’s genitals is extremely horrifying. After reading these remarks, she deleted the post she made, to rectify any offense she may have caused with her choice of words. I believe that Judd did nothing wrong and has no right to be slandered for expressing her opinion, as she explains that if it were a man, things would have turned out differently. She makes it clear that her uncle, who shared the same idea, would be exempt from any threats or abuse, as he is a male sports fan (Pass The Mic, Judd). Not only did people sexually disgrace her, they also insulted her intelligence, age, body and appearance over the Internet (Pass The Mic, Judd).

This incident also truly represents how gender roles and gender socialization are present today throughout society, due to social media and histories portrayals of what men and women are to symbolize. Women are represented by emphasized femininity, and expressing an opinion about a topic, that does not fit this ideal, could lead one being scorned for it. Men discuss sports all of the time, and many of them have written comments on social media, but have not been attacked for it. Sharing their ideas are allowed, but if a woman does it, she becomes publicly sexualized and humiliated. Sports in our society, are known to be male dominated, due to these gender stereotypes and hegemonic masculinity that are set by society and followed by us. Men are dominant in society, and therefore are not challenged with the lack of mutual respect women face for their personhood.

In conclusion, Ashley Judd, a vocal advocate for women’s rights, makes a point of how women are dismembered in society, for simply being a woman (Time, Alter). Posting a sports comment on Twitter, got Judd a numerous amount of hatred remarks from people. From a single post on social media, her life was threatened and she was sexually violated all over the Internet. This displays, how people are able to write and use explicit language about another human being, without facing any consequences. This normalization is what is causing rape culture to be present and people to be permissive of it. Sexual assault or violence is one of the most traumatic experiences one could ever face, and society is making it out to be trivialized. Judd speaks about the issue of rape, as she has endured it and is a survivor (Pass The Mic, Judd). She also discusses how stereotypes are still present in popular culture, and how women are almost to blame, even though it is not their fault. These ideas she brings up, are fascinating points that we should take into consideration, if we want to move forward. To rid of sexism in the media, and to create an equal ground for women is something we should all work towards and stand up for.


Judd, Ashley. “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Towards Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.” Pass the Mic.19 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.  <http://mic.com/articles/113226/forget-your-team-your-online-violence-toward-girls-and-women-is-what-can-kiss-my-ass&gt>

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2015. <http://time.com/3750788/ashley-judd-speaks-out-about-twitter-abuse-and-rape/&gt>

Social Media’s Gender Abuse Blog Review – Blue

When will the inequality stop?

The fight for gender equality and women’s rights is not a new issue; it has been a very long, very hard fight. Women have been denied staple rights in virtually every aspect of life. One major area in which discrimination towards women is extremely prevalent is the work place. Gender discrimination is one of those topics that’s not openly discussed often within the workplace but many, if not everyone, notice it. Many companies are aware of the gender discrimination in the work force. In fact they have been aware for a very long time. In the 1990s, a national poll of chief executives of companies was taken regarding gender and the advantages and disadvantages faced by people of each gender (Faludi 1991). This poll revealed that over 80% of these chief executives acknowledged the discrimination towards female employees (Faludi 1991). This same poll showed that less than 1% of these same companies had the goal of putting an end to, or finding a solution for this gender discrimination (Faludi 1991). This was proof that gender equality or better described as, inequality, was not a target that the corporate world seemed very concerned with.

One of the major issues that can be extracted from gender inequality in the work place is the obvious presence of the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is the difference between wages that are earned by women and those earned by men (Gender Wage Gap 2014). Employers are taking advantage of this specific gender stereotype that has been seen as a result of gender socialization over the years. Gender socialization plays into this issue because it is an explanation as to why girls and boys are expected to act in certain ways (Boundless 2014). Gender socialization can be traced back centuries; it can be used in relation to why women and men are expected to have certain qualities, wants, and skills. Gender socialization could be attributed to reasoning behind inequalities such as the gender wage gap, by drawing the connection that society does not expect women to be able to be as competent at these jobs as men, therefore they do not deserve equal pay.

The concern of the gender wage gap was recently brought to attention by a group of students at a high school in Utah (Carlisle 2015). Good 4 Utah recently published an article about a group of students held a bake sale where they were selling cookies, however males were asked to pay a dollar for a cookie, whereas women were only charged 77 cents (Carlisle 2015). The reasoning behind the sales prices created was to expose the fact that in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman doing the same job will only receive 77 cents (Carlisle 2015). In Canada, the wage gap is even larger; for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 74 cents (Gender Wage Gap 2014). These statistics were published within the past two years, which is a huge indicator that this is still a very current topic.

However when researching the gender wage gap and the articles and messages published about the topic, it is interesting to look at who is facilitating this message. For example, the story that was reported about the group of students at a high school in Utah raising awareness about the gender wage gap was a white, upper class male. The reporter, Randall Carlisle, probably does not experience this wage gap, or any work place discrimination of any kind. The kind of language Carlisle uses to describe the situation and what the young student are advocating speaks to this. For example, Carlisle describes the bake sale as “controversial”. The use of this term brings up the notion that the point that they are trying to prove isn’t necessarily correct or supported.

It is important to look at who is speaking when trying to unpack the significance behind someone’s statement. Another example of this surrounding the gender wage gap involves Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech at the 2015 Oscars. Arquette thanked “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation” (Bruenig 2015). The language in which she uses backfires on her entire point, by referencing the gender stereotype and socialization that woman must give birth. Also Arquette is a woman of high social class, and also happens to be white, this leads to prove how white privilege, the term for societal privileges that benefit white people, also taints her speech, hindering the point she is trying to make. This lack of acknowledging any intersections between gender and race and discrimination give off the impression that Arquette is focused on the justice in the wage gap for white women or women of high class.

Women’s rights and gender equality, especially in the workplace are not new battles, but the increasing awareness is encouraging. The fact that a group of students took it upon themselves to show people the unfairness of the gender wage gap and create discussion about it, is inspiring. However it is equally as important to pay attention to the people delivering the messages in order to receive the entirety of the story and get to the root of the issue. The gender wage gap is not fair, and is a problem that needs to be exposed to the public more in order to create the change it deserves.


Work Cited:

Bruenig, Elizabeth. “The Problem With Patricia Arquette’s Oscar Speech”. New Republic., Feb 22 2015. Web April 3rd 2015.

Carlisle, Randall. “Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school”. Good 4 Utah., 17 Mar 2015. Web April 3rd 2015.

Faludi, Susan. Backlash: the undeclared war against American women. 1st ed. New York; Crown, 1991. Print

“Gender Socialization.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 07 Apr. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/gender-stratification-and-inequality-11/gender-and-socialization-86/gender-socialization-495-3393/

“Gender Wage Gap”. Pay Equity Commission. April 2014.

When will the inequality stop?

Gender Equality – The Right To Be Paid The Same

Gender inequality: Not new to many people right? The article, Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school, however, raises awareness about the wage gap between men and women. Kari Schott and other members of the Young Democrats club at Jordan High School did a bake sale where “boys will pay a dollar and girls only pay 77 cents” (Schott, 2015). Some may say this is discriminatory and that it isn’t fair to charge one gender one price and the latter another but the truth is that wages between men and women are unequal, that “in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 77 cents” (Schott, 2015). It is for this same reason that the club set up the prices accordingly – to bring gender inequality to light and to inform people about the systemic and discriminatory predicament in many societies. To demonstrate an example of the systemic discrimination amongst the sexes, let’s look at Patricia Arquette’s Oscar winning speech regarding the pay gap between men and women in the film industry. She states “it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America” (Arquette, 2015). She has taken a different approach to the traditional “I want to thank…” Oscar speech. She used the white privilege and the social/economic class that has been granted to her, in a suited setting where millions of viewers would be watching, and where dominant male actors are present, to inform of the issue at hand. This speech alone created uproar on twitter and other social medias. There are many messages, even amongst well-known female actors, thanking Arquette for raising awareness to an often ‘-hushed’ issue. Hollywood actors have all different kinds of skills that they bring to the table. That doesn’t mean that one gender is more able than the other to perform just as well, nor does make it okay to adjust the salary based on hegemonic masculinity – the notion that masculinity is powerful and dominant – present in male-dominant directors and the patriarchal societies that many people still live in (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). So far, this has focused on white dominant figures in popular culture and white privilege pertaining to the wage gap. What if that same privilege wasn’t granted to everybody? What about the intersection between gender and race? Sure the statistics say that women earn 77 cents per dollar men make, but this just shows the average amongst all women. What would happen if one looks closely to insectionality? – Where two or more factors contribute to the oppression of the marginalized group (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). On AAUW, it states that “Asian American and white women had higher weekly take-home pay than African American and Hispanic or Latina women did in 2012” (AAUW, 2014). Although the wage gap wasn’t as large between the minorities, in comparison to dominant white culture, those figures stood out the most (AAUW, 2014). For example, a woman of Hispanic or Latina descent would earn only 53% of the earnings of a white male as of 2012 (AAUW, 2014). This statistic shows how skewed societal wage-earning norms are in American societies. How is it just to not only decrease salary based on gender but to also include the intersection of race? How can such societies continue to operate in this fashion? This is a result of not only white supremacy but also the continuous gender inequality. To close, its unbelievable to know that because of someone’s gender, it hinders one’s opportunity to gain success financially. This notion has been engraved in many of patriarchal and male dominant employers as tradition: Men are the breadwinners and dominant figures in the household while women stay home and tend to the children – also know as emphasized femininity – womanhood that is dominated by men (Aulette and Wittner, 2015). I applaud the Young Democrats club at Jordan High School for challenging these notions and traditions to demonstrate how silly charging different prices for cookies is as silly as lowering wages based on gender. It’s quite interesting how language can contribute to how things are perceived by one’s lens. If you look closely, the title of the article insinuates that the bake sale created an issue, as opposed to the bake sale bringing awareness to an issue. It is tactics like these where these corrupted traditions will remain a reality and the norm if such attempts of gender equality is described as ‘stirring up’ a problem (Carlisle, 2015). I leave you a quote from the author of Introduction: Blame it on Feminism – “The fact that these are still such incendiary notions should tell us that American women have a way to go before they enter the promised land of equality” (Faludi, 1991).


AAUW. How Does Race Affect The Gender Wage Gap?. 2014. http://www.aauw.org/2014/04/03/race-and-the-gender-wage-gap/ Accessed on April 8th, 2015

Aulette, Judy Root and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. Third Edition. 2015. Accessed on April 8th, 2015.

Carlisle, Randall. Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. 2015. http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q Accessed on April 8th, 2015.

Faludi, Susan. Introduction: Blame it on Feminism, First Edition. 1991.https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=S054614377V&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13761 Accessed on April 8th, 2015.

Ness, Adgoy. Watch Patricia Arquette’s gender equality Oscars speech. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIsogVmv7g0 Accessed on April 8th, 2015.


Gender Equality – The Right To Be Paid The Same

One Woman’s Tweet is Another Man’s Attack – Blog #3 by Red

In an article featured on Time’s website, author Charlotte Alter sheds light and attention towards the topic of Ashley Judd and the twitter abuse she received that went from snide remarks to violent threats, all over a tweet about basketball. Judd remarks in the article, and her own written essay on the matter at hand, that the incident that occurred was the result of her tweeting her response to a game within the march madness season.  Sending out the tweet, which was the short message entailing “‘playing dirty & can kiss my team’s free throw making ass.'”(Pass the Mic, Judd), it welcomed a barrage of hate messages sent to Judd, most of them including  insults and threats towards the actress, with a majority of them coming from males. An avid feminist, actress and a graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Time, Alter), Judd did not take lightly to the unjust response she received, and instead responded back, defended and explained her actions, while addressing the backlash that she was thrown, and making connections to the world and the way women are treated within it.

One of the connections Judd makes once she looks at all the messages she received is the connection to the same kind of abuse and violence she experienced as a child when she was raped (Time, Alter). In both the Time article and her written essay, she states that the online attacks carried the same predictable themes, stating that she was asking for it, she brought it upon herself, she should know better, she should have thicker skin as she is a celebrity; the excuses go on and on. This can be seen the same way the world treats women, often first blaming them before looking at the bigger picture, as can be seen when people victim blame women who experience rape and sexual assault.

A number of the people who responded to Judd’s now deleted tweet coincidentally fit into the category of a “macho” man, defined by Aulette and Wittner in Gendered Worlds, as men who present themselves as extremely hyper masculine, with the impulse to respond to most things physically and to dominate women. The language they use plays a big part in this analysis, especially focusing on how and what they are saying, even more so when looking at who it is coming from. Looking at Judd’s original tweet, she chastises her opposing team and calls them out for playing dirty, and expresses that they can kiss her ass. However, one should remember that Judd is an active march madness fan, and finds herself caught up in the moment just as everyone else watching, regardless of her gender being female. Her tweet would not have been responded to in the same manner if it had been a male who tweeted it, a point Judd brings up herself, as do many of the people who defend her on twitter (shown in her essay). Yet, because of the social construction of gender, the response to a females angry tweet about a basketball is taken in the sense that a female should not have a comment about the game in general, as basketball and sports in general, fall into the category of things that belong to males. A large number of responses also tied in with the idea of emphasized femininity,  chastising Judd for straying from the idea of the perfect woman, telling her the age old joke of going back to the kitchen and continuing to submit to the dominate male.

Focusing again on the language demonstrated, a common, and yet disgusting, theme among the response that Judd received was a number of tweets threatening her with sexual violence, both describing what the person responding wanted to do to her, and wanted to be done to her. Using graphic words, images, and threats, Judd’s body and mind were both insulted, humiliated, and threatened to the point of contacting the police to deal with the response. Just looking at the type of language that she received, the same types of ugly words and threats that were used all came from the same type of people; men who believed that she had no place discussing the game simply because of her gender. Regardless of their view based off of what team they support, whether they believed her opinion was valid or not, or if they just wanted to start a fight, the main point of the attacks that she received were targeted at her because she is a woman. Looking at the world analytically, one questions where males learn this attitude towards women, and what they can and not comment on? When do the gender roles that have been proven to be systemically negative to society start being taught? Is it when parents usher their boys off to soccer and baseball practice while teaching their daughters to play with dolls? Perhaps looking at Ashley Judd’s case can trace back to where these ideas of what women can and cannot do really start being taught from, and why it leads to such drastic measures such as the online attacking that Judd received, to the violence that numerous women will also go through.

In conclusion, Judd does not take the incidents that happened to her lightly. She does, however, look at her life in a positive manner. Using her past experiences and growing from them, she states in her written essay that she sees her story as a higher power that she can use to assist others with, offer her support, create awareness, bring education, and create actions into making the world a different and better place. She also states within her essay that self care is essential to feminist social justice work, further justifying the need for feminists not only to take care of others, but themselves also. Just like Judd had to come to terms with her own experiences and deal with them properly, she encourages others to do the same and to use their own powers for good. Judd presents herself as a victim of sexual assault and rape,  but also as a survivor and encourages her fellow women to stand up against abuse, whether it be verbal or physical, that is thrown at them from males demonstrating strong cases of hegemonic masculinity, demonstrating her agency, the ability to make new ideas and ways of thinking after demolishing the previous ways.


Judd, Ashley. “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Towards Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.” Pass the Mic.  19 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Aulette,Judy Root and Judith Wittner. “Gendered Worlds.” New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

One Woman’s Tweet is Another Man’s Attack – Blog #3 by Red

An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses Blog Review by Blue

To understand cultural appropriation, we must first be able to recognize the meaning of culture. Culture is a term for the way of life and is defined as the essential and collective ideas, beliefs, traditions, customs and values of a group. Cultural appropriation is the unjust act of taking or borrowing these aspects or emblems from another culture without their permission and without fully understanding the meaning behind them. It conducts within a logic that legitimates domination over a subordinate group. In this case, indigenous people’s cultural aspects and objects are taken over by dominant white society. This misappropriation and colonialism involves complicated issues of negative stereotypical representations against the minority group. The article explains the difference between using restricted symbols and unrestricted symbols of one’s culture to help avoid cultural appropriation. For example, the actual parchment of a Bachelor’s degree is a restricted symbol and by pretending to have earned one can cause serious consequences within a culture. This is the same as a non-native wearing a headdress, which perpetuates stereotypes about the Native people, as headdresses are considered a restricted symbol. Headdresses are not only restricted to non-natives, but are mainly suited for Native men and rarely seen on women. The headdresses are earned by the men and represent an act or event of profound significance. When people wear headdresses for fashion, costume or other purposes, they are contributing to the vicious cycle of cultural appropriation. They are doing so, by minimizing the continued oppression of the Native community, rather than helping to break the cycle.

An example of cultural appropriation found in popular culture recently, is from the Fashion Show in Milan. The fashion label Dsquared2, designed a theme-based line loosely off of their perception of Canadian Indian tribes. The twin brothers, Dean and Dan, called their collection Dsquaw, and created hashtags on social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter to campaign their fashion line. The word squaw is known as a derogatory and contemptuous term that refers to Native women, especially a wife. The use of this racial slur displays the intersectionality of racism and sexism. The clothing they designed is also another representation of misappropriation and homogenization of the Native culture. This is caused by the lack of understanding and only visualizing incorrect images of Natives. By solely focusing on Natives in the past, it eliminates the contemporary presence and makes the current controversies impossible to be aware of. To aid this issue, we must examine the images and stereotypes present, as well as tackle the hardships and affairs happening in the Native community. These stereotypes of the indigenous culture emphasize the notions ingrained by the Western superiority. From this stems the salvage paradigm, which is described as the need for indigenous people to be saved by saviours, who then hold the power to choose which aspects to preserve and features to disregard. In the paper, “From Cultural Exchange to Transculturation,” Richard A. Rogers says that, “cultural appropriation is involved in the assimilation and exploitation of marginalized and colonized cultures and in the survival of subordinated cultures and the resistance to dominant cultures.”

To conclude, this article does a wonderful job articulating what cultural appropriation and how we can help stop it. It provides people with a point of view on thinking twice before dressing in a certain sacred or important item to another culture. Specifically, wearing a headdress for an occasion or for your own purpose, without critically understanding what it stands for, is why this cycle of cultural appropriation is still existent. By only taking parts of the Native culture, we are ignoring the more prevalent and pressing issues they are faced with. Stereotypes have historically been used to vindicate racism and discrimination against indigenous people. Even though people’s intentions are good, perpetuating stereotypes simplifies these cultures and by doing so, reduces the people that belong and makes it easy to condone the injustice. This article shows that we should rather celebrate the Native people, by admiring their art and culture. Once we learn to understand when cultural appropriation is present and how to diminish it, we will gain mutual respect for one another. A simple acknowledgment of cultural appropriation is a step forward to ending the cycle of this issue. Enjoying the way of the Native people and living together in harmony, will allow us to see that “justice is what love looks like in public”, as Cornell West said.


K, Adrienne. “But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress.” Native Appropriations. 27 Apr. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html>.

Schilling, Vincent. “Oh No They Didn’t: Designers Show ‘Squaw’ Fashion in Milan.” Indian Country Today Media Network. 3 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/03/03/oh-no-they-didnt-designers-show-squaw-fashion-milan-159446>.

Watanabe, Marina. “What, Exactly, Is Cultural Appropriation (And How Is It Harmful)?” Everday Feminism. 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/what-exactly-is-cultural-appropriation-and-how-is-it-harmful/>.

“An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses.” Âpihtawikosisân. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <http://apihtawikosisan.com/hall-of-shame/an-open-letter-to-non-natives-in-headdresses/>.

An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses Blog Review by Blue

Analyzing Laverne Cox’s Transgendered Bodies and Cat Calling – Grey

Laverne Cox tells the story of how she was cat called on the street by two men and more importantly, the fear she felt as a transgendered women being hit on. Laverne states that these two men were involved in an argument over whether she was a “b word” (female) or an “n word” (male). This argument reveals the focus society places on transgendered bodies, and the violence transgendered people face when it is realized that they had male or female genitalia before. Laverne Cox’s story illustrates the intersections of transphobia and racialization of bodies.

In media transgendered people are depicted in a negative manner the majority of the time (GLAAD). Transphobia is the hate of transgendered people, and it is taught to society through media depictions. Julia Serano identifies two archetypes typically assigned to transsexuals: the deceptive transsexual and the pathetic transsexual (Serano, 2005). While pathetic transsexual depictions hurts the image of transsexuals in mainstream culture, the deceptive transsexuals incites violence against transgendered bodies. Deceptive transsexuals trick men into a sexual relationship before revealing that they have, or had, male genitalia. Men in these movies often retaliate by raping or physically assaulting the transsexual (Serano, 2005). Therefore, one notices a socialization of violence against transgendered bodies. Media socialization of violence against transgendered bodies has been successful, albeit accidentally. In the LGBTQ community, transgendered people account for fifty-four percent of all homicides (Cox, 2014).

Media depictions further transphobia with their emphasis on transgendered bodies. Transgendered bodies are typically feminized, showing the feminine aspects of Male-to-Female (MTF) transitions. For example, an Oprah special Normal sought to improve on transgendered depictions in the media; however, the show had a femme fascination (Serano, 2005). Instead of showing transgendered bodies as “normal,” the show mainly focused on the feminization of trans-women showing their underwear, makeup, and fashion (Serano, 2005). The femme fascination the media holds demonstrates male privilege. Male sexuality is not explored to the same extent as female sexuality. Moreover, in Cox’s story she mentions how she was never hit on before her surgery (Cox, 2014). Therefore, being a male does hold the same importance on being sexual as a female body.

Transphobia and the racialization of bodies intersect in Cox’s piece, illustrating the ingrained racism in society. Firstly, racialization is the process of sexualizing racial bodies and objectifying persons of colours’ bodies. In Gendered Worlds, authors Aulette and Wittner provide examples of black women being sexualized as: “…selfish or that of foolish victims” (108). In Cox’s own tale, she was made out to be the “foolish victim,” as both men cat called and degraded her.

Secondly, Aulette and Wittner mention that black men in the media are also hypersexualized and are portrayed as “…brutish and aggressive…” (107). One can see this image being perpetuated in Cox’s piece. The men believe that in order to sleep with a black woman, they must be aggressive and brutish. Instead of simply approaching Cox, they felt they had to degrade her and behave aggressively, to the point where Cox feared for her life. This ideal is further perpetuated by the media assigning the behaviour of womanizers (Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson etc.) to black people as a whole. Therefore, these young men felt they had to aspire to the image set out by the media and, in order to achieve this, they must be aggressive towards Cox.

Finally, the racialization of transphobia intersects with white privilege. As Cox states, “…I’ve talked to a lot of white trans women who haven’t experienced quite the level of street harassment that I have” (Cox, 2014). White privilege is experienced among transgendered bodies. Cox explains that by being white one will experience less racialization of their body, and illustrates Peggy McIntosh’s piece on the invisibility of whiteness. One would assume that becoming transsexual would result in discrimination, but that is clearly not the case. White privilege is present even with transgendered bodies, and white privilege still works to their benefit.

Just as white privilege, racialization, and transphobia are invisibly socialized in Western society, so is violence against transgendered people. Cornel West states that justice is what love looks like in public; therefore, there can be no such thing as justice if transgendered people live in fear of violence. Laverne Cox shares her experience as a transgendered woman in New York City, and while her experience is not unique, her fear of being murdered because of her body is unique to the trans community. If transgendered people live in fear of being murdered for having genitalia which differs from what society deems appropriate, there is no such thing as justice. Just as transphobia and racialization intersect, so do justice and public opinion, to obtain justice one must be widely accepted by the public.


Aulette, Judy R., and Judith Wittner. “Chapter 4: Sexualities.” Gendered Worlds. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2015. Print.

“Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to             Do About It).” everydayfeminism. Cox, Laverne, 7 Dec. 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2015.

“Victims or Villains: Examining Ten Years of Transgender Images on Television.” GLAAD.             GLAAD, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

Serano, Julia. “Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depicts the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels.” On the Outside Looking In. Oakland: Hot Tranny Action Press, 2005. Web. .

Analyzing Laverne Cox’s Transgendered Bodies and Cat Calling – Grey