‘Don’t call me Freakface’: Changing Faces campaign

I can’t say I’m very familiar with Moshi Monsters, but I know how massively popular it is. So it seems important that it shouldn’t reinforce deeply unpleasant stereotypes about people with disfigurements by using character descriptions like ‘Bruiser’s scarred skin makes for a scary sight’. The charity Changing Faces is launching a campaign to change that:

Changing Faces, the national disfigurement charity, is launching a new campaign, ‘Don’t call me Freakface’.  It is calling on Mind Candy, the creators of Moshi Monsters, to stop using names like ‘Freakface’ which are common terms of abuse towards children with disfigurements.  It is also asking Mind Candy to stop using scars, spots and missing eyes to emphasize the evil nature of their bad characters.

There’s more in James Partridge’s blog post, including Mind Candy’s responses.  And for more on why it matters, see our post ‘Moving beyond the stereotypes‘.

Whose nude?

No longer does ‘nude’ in the shoe world just mean flesh-tone only if you’re white. Christian Louboutin’s new ‘Les Nudes’ collection features shoes in five shades of nude.

[F]or ages in the fashion industry, the color nude has been synonymous with beige or pale peach, even going so far as to be called “flesh-toned,” as long as that flesh was white.

Louboutin’s decision to add a spectrum of nudes to his famous red-soled shoes comes on the heels of a dustup at last month’s New York Fashion Week, when Naomi Campbell and others released the names of designers whose runways lacked diverse models.

Read more here. Of course, we can debate the oppressive dynamics of the fashion industry and its cultural context, but still. Progress.

Is it less objectifying if you smile?

The OMA rejected one version of two almost identical ads for the skincare brand [Ella Bache] because the models, who were using their hands to cover their naked bodies, had serious facial expressions that were interpreted as “too sexualised”. A version where the three models were smiling was accepted . . . The chief executive of the OMA, Charmaine Moldrich, defended the decision and told Fairfax, “I know its nuanced and subtle but there is a difference between a woman who is empowered, and happy to be here and a woman who is being objectified. It’s our job to make that make that call.”

 Whatever you think about the mitigating power of smiling and objectification, it’s disturbing that an unsmiling facial expression is considered more sexually “arousing” than the facial expression of a woman who looks happy. Read more (and see the images) here. 

Blurred Lines and Double Standards

This seems apt to me:

Dear Society,

If you think a woman in a tan vinyl bra and underwear, grabbing her crotch and grinding up on a dance partner is raunchy, trashy, and offensive but you don’t think her dance partner is raunchy, trashy, or offensive as he sings a song about “blurred” lines of consent and propagating rape culture, then you may want to reevaluate your acceptance of double standards and your belief in stereotypes about how men vs. women “should” and are “allowed” to behave.


Dr. Jill

For those of you who missed it, Dr. Jill is referring to the reactions to Miley Cyrus’s performance with Robin Thicke at the VMAs.

“Dark-skinned and plus size”

If you are watching the trial of Zimmerman, who killed Trayvon Martin, you’ll probably get that the title above refers to Rachel Jeantel, with whom Martin was talking on the phone shortly before he was killed. It is from the Salon article linked to below.

I have seen her mostly on CNN, but I see many other members of the press to pick up the same theme: She is so different from white people, how can anyone side with her and her narrative? Well, at least there’s some recognition of the fact that racism is alive and well, but couldn’t they register that this is not a good thing?

Some commenters said she should have been trained to give testimony. I think that’s very close to saying that in court you have to sound like whites to be believable. On CNN Mark Garegos has been insisting that our court system is deeply affected by race. That certainly seems what most commenters believe. And there’s a lot of evidence in this trial – not to mention many others – that should frighten any supporter of a person of colour in a trial.

Back to the Salon article: Brittany Cooper tells us in Salon.com:

The thing about grammars, though, is that they rely on language, on a way of speaking and communicating, to give them power. And Rachel Jeantel has her own particular, idiosyncratic black girl idiom, a mashup of her Haitian and Dominican working-class background, her U.S. Southern upbringing, and the three languages – Hatian Kreyol (or Creole), Spanish and English — that she speaks.

The unique quality of her black vernacular speaking style became hypervisible against the backdrop of powerful white men fluently deploying corporate, proper English in ways that she could not do.  The way they spoke to her was designed not only to discredit her, but to condescend to and humiliate her. She acknowledged this show of white male power by repeatedly punctuating her responses with a curt but loaded, “Yes, Sir.”

Even more, she seemed very good at picking up on assumptions a question was carrying. “That’s real retarded, sir” was her (unfortunately abelist)comment on one.

If you look for her on youtube, avoid the comments unless you are feeling strong. I saw ones i’m hoping to forget.

Disrespecting one of zimmerman’s lawyers: