Queer and allied students of Spelman College at the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.
The “Notorious BGS” strikes again. While the rest of us were wringing our hands about the latest far right homophobic attack, Beverly Guy-Sheftall has been quietly working to build institutions that will support us beyond reaction. I pride myself on staying up to date on the happenings of my alma mater but when my Spelman sister Ruha Benjamin forwarded me THE announcement I was shocked! Not only was I shocked by the incredible news, I was shocked to find that I was sitting in the same room with two of the people who made it possible at the moment it was announced, Evelynn Hammonds and of course Beverly Guy-Sheftall.
The significance of this gift cannot be understated. By establishing an endowed chair, the person hired for this position is freed from the institutional bureaucracy that is often used to silence progressive and radical thought. The person in this position will be free to develop curriculum, programs, and events that support Spelman College and other HBCUs in the vitally important work of gender and sexuality justice.
HBCUs have long been leaders in fomenting racial justice minded graduates but this position has the ability to build on the incredible work that the Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) is already doing to equip these same graduates with a liberatory framework around gender and sexuality. It was less than 15 years ago that the first queer theory course was taught at Spelman or at any HBCU, by alumna Layli Mapayan, and just last year that the WRRC announced the development of a Gender and Sexuality Institute. BGS has been busy.
When folks ask, what’s next after marriage equality, I hope they will look to Jon Stryker’s gift as a possibility model. This is what solidarity looks like and this is what it looks like to use your privilege in the service of others. It’s clear that ally is measured not in word but deed. I couldn’t be prouder of my Spelman sisters Beverly and Evelynn’s radical commitments to Spelman College.
Sarah J. Jackson, Brooke Foucault Welles and I wrote a book!!! Here’s an article based on one of our chapters. I can’t wait for the book to be in the world!
From the earliest feminist press to Twitter, women have used technology to create and sustain narratives that demand attention and redress for gendered violence. Herein we argue that the #MeToo boom was made possible by the digital labor, consciousness-raising, and alternative storytelling created through the #YesAllWomen, #SurvivorPrivilege, #WhyIStayed, and #TheEmptyChair hashtag networks. Each of these hashtags highlight women’s experiences with interpersonal and institutionally-enabled violence and each was precipitated by high-profile news events. Alongside an examination of Twitter networks, we consider the social and cultural conditions that made each hashtag significant at particular moments, examining the ideological and political work members of these hashtag networks perform. We find that feminist hashtags have been successful in creating an easy-to-digest shorthand that challenges and changes mainstream narratives about violence and victimhood.
Carruthers also challenges millennials’ and Generation Z’s affinities for social media, arguing that while it is potentially a useful tool, it can be distracting and take organizers away from building the relationships required for sustained struggle. She even draws a comparison between some of the FBI’s COINTELPRO tactics and the contemporary use of backchannels and BuzzFeed to spread rumors that promote organizational infighting. Carruthers cautions us to try to do the hard work of nurturing accountability offline in ways that don’t disrupt our organizing.
I had some thoughts about music, misogynoir, and masculinity and it’s up at Bitch Media.
Surviving R. Kelly unironically tracks the maturation of a predator who learned from his 2008 trial that it’s better to harm girls and women who are just north of 18 because slightly older women don’t garner police interest. Rather than understanding his behavior as predatory and abusive, a punitive justice system taught him to minimize his legal culpability and helped him adapt his behavior and refine his rapacity, becoming more controlling of the women in his life as public scrutiny intensified.
When doing an interview is an absolute joy and the title just fully sums up the way I live my life.
Dr. Moya Bailey believes that good things come from connecting and organizing. After seeing how Black women were stereotyped and miscategorized in medical yearbooks while working on her graduate school dissertation in 2010, Bailey coined the term “misogynoir” (a portmanteau of “misogyny” and the French word for “black”) to describe how Black women are viewed and treated in society vis-à-vis their race and their gender. “It was about creating clarity. Once you’re able to name your oppression, I think you’re better able to address it,” she says.