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Sexism and Racism in the Superbowl


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#1 Happy Panther

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

As an African-American evangelical woman, Beyonce’s performance last night was pretty bittersweet for me. Quite simply it was both exhilarating and excruciating. Exhilarating because as a supremely talented black woman on a world stage surrounded by a plethora of talented black women, Beyonce and Co. were making history. (Even Janet Jackson had to share the spotlight with Justin Timberlake a few Super Bowls back. And Nipplegate is the only reason why anyone even remembers that she was also on stage with him.) In a world in which white males almost always hold the mic (and thus dominate public discourse), black women are finally getting their chance. Yay!

At the same time, Beyonce’s performance was also excruciating because the circumstances under which black women are finally being handed the mic are oppressive. (And yes, Beyonce was handed the mic; anyone with a sociological imagination knows that Beyonce was on stage only because powerful people – e.g., those who produce the Super Bowl – decided that it was in their best interest to grant her access.) Ever since the days of slavery, black women have been almost entirely evaluated based on their ability to sexually arouse white men. The black women who were light-skinned and/or possessed European features were deemed attractive/valuable and became “house niggers,” more “powerful” slaves who worked closely with the master in his home. Of course, this was a false power because the beauty associated with it was entirely defined by the white master and because those who were granted it were often subjected to rape and other forms of abuse. Hello sexism, meet racism.

This racialized sexism continues today. Both racism and sexism have interacted to produce a society in which only a certain type of black woman, one that overtly appeals to white men, would even be granted the mic at a Super Bowl half time show. It’s no coincidence that Beyonce’s “fake” hair was blonde (a color that is atypical/unnatural for black women) and long (a length that is atypical for black women), that her skin color is lighter than average for a black woman, and that she has European features. Lauryn Hill, she is not.

As “powerful” as she appeared on stage, Beyonce was still subject to the stringent rules and standards that white men set for black women. All other things (e.g., talent) being equal, she was only given “power” because she happens to be the kind of black woman that white men like and because she was sure to “perform” in a way that would be pleasing to them. To be blunt, she was treated like a 21st century “house nigger” whose value will never outlast the duration of an erection.

I’ll cheer whole-heartedly when black women get the Super Bowl stage on our own terms. Until then, I’m ambivalent.


http://www.christena...half-time-show/

Um...

#2 twylyght

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

i wonder if beyonce would agree

#3 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

This is a racist statement...

This racialized sexism continues today. Both racism and sexism have interacted to produce a society in which only a certain type of black woman, one that overtly appeals to white men, would even be granted the mic at a Super Bowl half time show. It’s no coincidence that Beyonce’s “fake” hair was blonde (a color that is atypical/unnatural for black women) and long (a length that is atypical for black women), that her skin color is lighter than average for a black woman, and that she has European features. Lauryn Hill, she is not.



I'm a white male and while I do find Beyonce attractive, I also find lots of other black women attractive... Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry, Jessica White, Gabrielle Union, Vivica Fox, Queen Latifa... the list goes on and on... certainly not a "certain type" of black woman. How does this person know what appeals to white men?

Now... on to the games and watch this thread devolve like every other racial thread in the tinderbox...

#4 PhillyB

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

often our perceptions of beauty are filtered through culture-specific frames of reference that define one morphology or the other as the set standard against which everyone else is judged. in this sense, if facial features that are predominantly caucasian are considered the standard of beauty, a "beautiful black woman" would be one whose facial features are similar, one that looks like a classical caucasian with dark skin. this is likely the perspective from which the author derives her conclusion.

often these perceptions lie beyond the scope of our own senses and it takes a great deal of fleshing-out of social phenomena to get to the roots of them, to uncover the nuts and bolts of these dynamics, and while her conclusion may not apply to everyone, i think it'd be irresponsible to simply dismiss her findings on that basis alone. maybe there is something we can learn from it.

it's also important to note that sex sells universally, and the vast majority of female pop artists incorporate their sexuality into their performances. i'd argue that beyonce is another in a long line of sexualized females, a subset of that data. this of course does not exclude racial factors as they relate to social perception, but it definitely expands the parameters of the debate.

#5 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

I don't really disagree with the sexualization issues she mentions... and I don't completely dismiss her racial assertions either, but don't say that the ONLY reason Beyonce was chosen to perform was because she fits some ideal of what white males prefer black women to look like... that's bullshit.

#6 Anybodyhome

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

Didn't you know she was shackled and chained in some white guy's garage her entire childhood and forced to take music and voice lessons until she could sing and dance and "learn to perform in a manner that would please him?"

Did nobody notice the animal cage she was delivered to the stadium in, whipped and forced onto the stage after being told what to wear and sing?

The author of this blog I think must honestly believe that Beyonce as well as most black women do not have the ability to make any decisions in their own lives. That "the man" is totally responsible for her career, appearance, success, musical talent and that she had absolutely no say in any of it.

I'm sure her husband, the old, white, Jewish record label owner...what's his name again? Oh yeah, Jay Z, might have something to say about it, too.

All kidding aside, this is the author's own blog description:
"This is a blog about embracing the Kingdom of God now and overcoming cultural divisions to connect with each other in love. We’re going to be together for eternity. Let's start now."

Sure, that's one way to start... with one huge-ass assumption about someone you've likely never met or will ever meet.

#7 Inimicus

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

The author is the racist here. She has assigned a race-centric explanation to Beyonce's appearance as opposed to a merit based one. The author presupposes that a black woman cant get by on her talent alone and will only be successful if she packages that with a look that appeals to white men.

Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Tina Turner, Lena Horne, and Gladys Knight would all make solid counter arguments for very successful black female artists who rose to the pinnacle without being overtly or in some cases at all sexual.


Beyonce is a singularly gifted vocalist and if she decides to have a performance that uses sexuality you can bet your ass its because she chooses to do it and not because its the only way she can get attention.

#8 thatlookseasy

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:51 PM

The race part of this article just makes no sense. Beyonce doesnt have features that appeal to white men, she has features that appeal to all men (and most women). And her best feature (I think most men would agree) is her ass, which is not even remotely "Caucasian"

If you want to get into the sexualization of female singers in pop music, then yeah I sort of see where you're going. But the whole article is mostly lol worthy

#9 PhillyB

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

honest question: which is more attractive to you insofar as your social instincts are involved: an african-american with "natural" hair in a bushy 'fro, or an african american with straightened hair in the manner of europeans?

#10 Kurb

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

honest question: which is more attractive to you insofar as your social instincts are involved: an african-american with "natural" hair in a bushy 'fro, or an african american with straightened hair in the manner of europeans?



Fine is fine to me.

This chick is fine.
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She fine too.

#11 mr beauxjangles

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

Were Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys - both of whom performed pre-game at the Super Bowl - also victims of "racialized sexisim?"

#12 Inimicus

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

Were Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys - both of whom performed pre-game at the Super Bowl - also victims of "racialized sexisim?"



didnt you know "whitey" did this to Jennifer so we could spank our monkey while she sang?

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Couldn't have anything to do with her wanting to lose the weight.

#13 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

honest question: which is more attractive to you insofar as your social instincts are involved: an african-american with "natural" hair in a bushy 'fro, or an african american with straightened hair in the manner of europeans?


That makes zero difference to me... none whatsoever.


Hair like this?

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or maybe like this?

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this?

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Maybe this?

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Ooh, this...

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I'm sorry... I just can't find myself giving a damn... a beautiful woman is a beautiful woman...




Maybe we should ask this guy...

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#14 g5jamz

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

I'm a white male and while I do find Beyonce attractive, I also find lots of other black women attractive... Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry, Jessica White, Gabrielle Union, Vivica Fox, Queen Latifa... the list goes on and on... certainly not a "certain type" of black woman. How does this person know what appeals to white men?

Now... on to the games and watch this thread devolve like every other racial thread in the tinderbox...


:phew:

#15 Darth Biscuit

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

:phew:


I find her to be very attractive... always have.

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