Farewell For Now!

17 Dec

This semester has been an amazing experience for us. We here at ShoutOut! JMU have accomplished so much in such a short period of time and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for next semester!

Next semester we will have a mix of new and returning bloggers that are seriously awesome and I know we will be able to reach even bigger goals this spring.

We will begin posting all of the fabulous feminist content that you’ve been deprived of this winter break as soon as we get back in the groove of spring semester.

Wishing all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season!

Peace, Love & Feminism,

ChelleBelle

Photo Credit: www.cafepress.com

Photo Credit: www.cafepress.com

R&B with an Inclusive Twist: Russell Elliot

12 Dec

I love the idea of R&B. The music is fun and has an amazing beat. But I have to say, I have a real problem with the lyrics in many popular R&B songs. Many are incredibly degrading to women, and the misogynistic lyrics almost turned me off to the genre completely. But then I found an artist who blended the sultry, soulful sound of R&B with lyrics that celebrate women rather than objectify them. Russell Elliot is not only a fantastic performer, he has something that many other artists don’t: a vision of inclusivity.

For a fabulous introduction to Russell, watch him remix Laffy Taffy and Flawless to create badass, misogyny-free music:

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Be The Change: Ferguson

8 Dec

The following article is a guest post from a fellow Shout Out! reader and JMU student about the controversy in Ferguson. It’s a little longer than our blog posts typically run, but I think that her perspective is unique to the current conversation. Mia explains that in order to be the change, we must truly have compassion for everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, and any other identifiers. #AllLivesMatter has been used as pushback to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter, and I totally get why, but Mia reminds us in her post that it’s important to recognize that empathy and respect play a huge part in human rights.

Mia Brabham is a film-making, blog-writing, photo-taking enthusiast from Virginia Beach, VA. She is currently a 20-year-old junior at James Madison University, studying Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Digital Video and Cinema, and a minor in Creative Writing. She has been creating a variety of YouTube videos on her channel, potentialcelebrity, since 2007, gaining over 17,000 followers and 2 million views. She also writes about her life adventures in a blog titled A Year of Lessons, where this article is originally posted.

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The Morning After: Lets Form A New Morning

4 Dec

The blue lights mark a new and systematic sense of danger. People may have always been scared walking around campuses late at night, but now, bathed in blue light, they are officially scared (Roiphe 8).

You’re probably thinking two things do we have these on our campus and shouldn’t we feel safer with the lights. I’ve noticed on campus poles in which there are blue buttons, you press on that and help will come to you if you’re in danger. You can also call campus to drive you at night if you feel uncomfortable walking and I would this does make me feel safer at JMU.

What Katie Roiphe is saying in this passage is that the blue lights are a symbol of a much larger problem that we may not recognize. Roiphe published The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism on Campus in 1993 and she spoke a lot about these blue lights, Take Back the Night, and gave an analysis of the way sexual assault was being handled in the late eighties and early nineties.

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What Now?: How to Discuss Ferguson and Systematic Racism

4 Dec

It has been a little over a week since the decision to not indict Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown was announced, and this week has been filled with riots, blog posts, news articles, and heated conversation. I have heard people question the facts of the incident, the grand jury process, and if the incident was race-related in the first place. As I have been reading and educating myself on both the incident and the subsequent responses, I have come across a number of privileged/ignorant/rude comments, both in person and online. Each one would infuriate me, but I was at a loss as to how to respond…

Until I found this gem. The Ferguson Masterpost: How to Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts by Aida Manduley is an amazing blog post that takes the most frequent ignorant questions and provides rational and factual responses, with multiple links to outside information. This is the most central and extensive resource that I have found that is specifically designed to combat the misrepresentation of the Michael Brown shooting and to encourage a larger conversation about systematic racism.

Credit to Button Poetry and Javon Johnson

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UVA Gang Rape: Disturbing, Not Surprising

2 Dec Photo by Rolling Stone magazine

I was quite dismayed to hear about the UVA gang rape allegations, but I was not surprised. Not even a little bit. You may think me heartless but sexual assault, especially in colleges in the United States, happens every single day. It happens, and it happens a lot. The problem is that it is vastly underreported. That is why I found the huge public reaction to the article put out by Rolling Stone so incredibly disappointing. As soon as this bad-boy hit every social media platform across the interwebs, people lost their shit. And, don’t get me wrong…they should! People fucking should lose their shit. But the way this issue has been hyper-sensationalized speaks volumes about the lack of awareness surrounding rape culture in big universities, namely UVA. In an article for Slate magazine, Bonnie Gordon writes,

“If anyone at the University of Virginia was shocked by this article, then they have not been paying attention.”

Damn straight. If public perception does not encompass an understanding of rape as a problem that has remained overwhelmingly repressed, underrepresented, and pervasive in college communities then we need to WAKE THE FUCK UP.

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Are open letters always effective?

2 Dec

Recently model Arisce Wanzer published and open letter to Kendall Jenner that that made waves in the fashion world. Jenner, who is Kim Kardashian’s younger sister was recently chosen to be Estee Lauder’s newest spokesperson. The young model has also modeled for Marc Jacobs, Giles Deacon, Chanel, and Givenchy- an impressive list no matter who your older sister is.

Arisce Wanzer and Kendall Jenner

Wanzer and Jenner

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Conversations about Power and the Power of Conversation

29 Nov

My heart has been hurting this past month. Every headline, from 16+ victims coming forward saying that Bill Cosby sexual assaulted them to the UVA gang rape featured in Rolling Stone to Darren Wilson’s non-indictment, seems to give me less and less faith in humanity. While seemingly unrelated, the three stories have one major theme in common: abuse of power.

But it is not simply the abuse of power by individuals, although that is incredibly disturbing. Even more concerning are the cultural systems that we as a country have in place that allow this abuse of power to continue. A system of power is a system where women are not believed, where schools do not punish perpetrators, and where a police officer can shoot an unarmed black man and not even have to face trial.

And I am tired of it. I’m tired of seeing story after story about injustice and then falling back into the same pattern of power and control that allowed those injustices to happen in the first place. The good news is that other people are tired too, and they’re finally talking about it.

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QUICK HIT: Ferguson & Michael Brown

26 Nov

blacklivesmatterIt’s all over the news, and it’s all over your social media. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, was not indicted over the killing of Brown, as the grand jury decided this past Monday evening.

As a human being, what can you do? Educate yourself on the situation. Below is a list of news articles from various media outlets to help diversify your information intake. Read as many as you can, gain an understanding on the situation, then decide where you stand.

Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally. (Vox.com)

Witnesses told Grand Jury that Michael Brown charged at Darren Wilson, prosecutor says. (NYTimes.com)

Why it’s impossible to indict a cop (TheNation.com)

12 things white people can do now because Ferguson (Qz.com)

Trayvon Martin death raises issue of racism in America, says Toni Morrison (TheGuardian.com)

How Racism Works in 2014 (Slate.com)

What we need to know about what happened in Ferguson (WashingtonPost.com)

Videos:

Ferguson LIVE (live footage streaming from Ferguson, Missouri)

Ferguson Speaks: A Communique from Ferguson 

Killer Mike’s Speech on the Ferguson Grand Jury

What can you do after reading all these articles? Talk to your friends. Educate your neighbors. Let people see the institutionalized racism that exists in this country, and tell them how we can change that if we speak up against injustice. #AllLivesMatter

Q&A With Beyoncé Professor Kevin Allred

25 Nov
kevin_allred

Kevin Allred, professor of Politicizing Beyoncé

In 2010, Rutgers University professor Kevin Allred created “Politicizing Beyoncé”, a course that pairs U.S. Black Feminist texts, both historical and contemporary, with Beyoncé’s music and career in order to discuss current U.S. race, class, gender, and sexual politics. I had the opportunity to interview Kevin Allred about his class, and here’s what he had to say.

Q: What inspired you to teach this class?

A: Obviously I am a huge Beyoncé fan, and in my other classes I’m always trying to bring in pop culture references to get students invested and involved in the teaching material. I once read a Daphne Brooks article that was an album review of B-Day, and she argued that Beyoncé should be looked at politically, as a sort of protest singer – so I thought, why not do this with all of Beyoncé? Why not think about the political messages embedded in her music, imagery, lyrics, and career choices, and pair that with a history of black feminism in the US? In this class you learn about Beyoncé, but you’re also learning a history of black feminists, and weaving the two together.

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