Sunday, August 30, 2015

the white and black of being problematic

A lot of times when I talk about racism, I do it from a black young woman's point of view, because that's what I am. And it's really hard for me to consume media without seeing things in a black and white way, if that makes sense. 

Anyway, the VMAs were hosted by Miley Cyrus. I pretty much was on Twitter the entire time, and I noticed that a lot of people were angry with her because of cultural appropriation. For example, she called Snoop Dogg her "mammy" (the submissive black character from Gone With the Wind), and wore dreads, among other things. 

So, a lot of people were irritated. Myself included. I understand the strides that Miley has made in terms of gender and sexuality, but it's pretty difficult for me to think of them when it feels like she's insulting black people, even if she doesn't realize it. 

People have pointed this out. People keep saying that she doesn't understand that she has white privilege, and that seems to be excuse enough. We can't hold her responsible for what she's saying because she's still a child, apparently. 

She brushed off Nicki Minaj after insulting her, and Nicki cursed her out, which some people say wasn't classy. I noticed that, when Kanye went up to make his speech, a lot of people were done with him. And sure, Kanye can be confusing. He can be problematic, of course, because we all can.

My point is that, whenever black people are problematic, people JUMP on them. And that's totally what should happen, of course, without a doubt. But when white people are problematic, especially white people who claim to be fighting to equal rights (such as Iggy, Miley, Taylor, and Macklemore), we can't say anything.

It's because they're trying their best. It's not their fault that they have privilege. They just don't understand. 

I've noticed that, just because a famous white person does one good thing, they basically don't have to be held accountable for anything wrong that they might do. Which is an unhealthy attitude. 

So sure, Miley has made strides for white genderfluid people. Iggy advocates for white women. I have to specify, you see, because when they turn around and appropriate other cultures I know that they don't want to include people of color.

That's why, even though Nicki and Kanye can be extremely problematic at times, I still clap when they appear on stage. I'm still happy when they call out people and institutions. Black people don't have a whole lot of a voice, especially in the entertainment industry. White kids have people advocating for them, and we have black people advocating for us.

The idea, you see, is to try to get us all advocating for each other. But that isn't going to happen unless we are all educated, which means holding others accountable for being problematic, especially in a public space.

Lastly, if white people can still be celebrated for their accomplishments while still being problematic, so can people of color.


Friday, August 28, 2015

i don't care about your post baby body (and neither does anyone else

Okay, so I know that modern day media is obsessed with how women look. Everything about their bodies is critiqued - their faces and the makeup that they use, their thighs, their stomach, etc. For some reason, this doesn't let up when women are pregnant. 

Like, I think that being pregnant is a big deal. It must suck. You are carrying something gigantic in your stomach, and it's stretching in ways that it's not used to. Your feel swell, your head hurts, you get hungry...and then you have to push the thing out, as if that weren't enough.

But then the suffering doesn't end, because then all eyes are on the post baby body. I don't care. I don't even think that other women care to see what someone looks like after they've given birth. They just had a baby. Who cares about their weight?

Don't even get me started on people reporting on how much weight someone has gained during pregnancy. For some reason, this natural process is horrible? And women should feel ashamed? I don't understand any of it, honestly, and it actually makes me angry.

So angry that I was actually defending Kim Kardashian. Like, why do people care how much weight she has gained while carrying a fetus?

Goodness. I'm telling you, the media really pushes stuff that we don't care about. I will continue to tell all sorts of people that, whoever will listen.

Camryn Garrett

Monday, August 24, 2015

Who even likes the Kardashians?

I hate to write something like this, because it seems like such a cliche. Honestly, I haven't met many people who like the Kardashians. True, many of them are sexist in their reasoning. 

But, to tell the truth? I'm tired of hearing about them. It almost seems like every media outlet is on their payroll. We hear about who stepped outside and who went to the store and who broke up with who but regrets the breakup and who is pregnant but isn't actually...

And no one cares. But it's odd, because aren't these companies supposed to be giving us what we want? Don't even try to tell me that people want to hear all of this stuff. Even people who didn't mind the Kardashians (me) are getting fed up. 

So, do we hear about their daily lives because they don't have any talent? I hate to be that person, but it's not like they have movies or albums or anything coming out. The product that they're trying to sell is themselves. 

I think that they call the paparazzi and are handing out money to people to talk about them. For a while I've thought this. In one of my favorite documentaries, Miss Representation, one of the ladies says that the media doesn't show us what we want to see. They show us what the big media companies want to see. 

The Kardashians aren't really want anyone want to see. I know that some people have said that we hate them because of sexism, and that's partially true. Lots of people call them whores and everything, but I couldn't care any less about how much skin they show or who they have sex with.

I'm tired of watching them appropriate other cultures, for one. They mostly appropriate black culture, with the big lips that they draw on and their weird plastic surgery and the way that they act. But sometimes they do the same to other cultures, too. 

I'm tired of hearing every single thing that they do. Usually, I admire celebrities because of their talent. Sometimes their beauty and the way that they carry themselves (Lupita Nyong'o, anyone?). But I'm tired of the Kardashians, I really am. 

It's weird for me to say it out loud, because I don't want to be clumped together with the people who hate them because they decide to pose nude. To put it bluntly, even celebrities with talent don't get as much attention as them. 

If you stopped reporting about them, I'm sure that no one would care. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dear Future Me

I always thought that it would be cool to have journals to look back on, so that I could remember what my life was like years ago. Maybe, by the time I'm ready to look back on this with significance, the internet might cost too much for me to use. Maybe I don't care. I don't know. This feels important.

I'm writing to let you know how awesome you are. How much I think about you all of the time, to remind me how talented and lovely you are. I try to remind myself that it'll get easier, that I won't always be like this forever. 

There are so many questions that I want to ask you. I want to know how you made it through, what you're doing, if life is still hard and if it's worth it. I want to know if you laugh when you're out in the sun and tease your friends and still make movies. If you still laugh at stupid Tumblr jokes.

I wish that I could meet you right now, when it's especially hard. I know that I don't want to die, and that I'm going to hold on for as long as I can. I know that. And I know that life can be awesome. I loved being in Brooklyn and exploring and making movies. I can't imagine how happy I would be doing that for the rest of my life. 

But, what a lot of people don't understand, is that it's not enough for me to know that I might have a bright future. I try to guess, and tell myself, but I really don't know. The idea of suicide is sort of comforting sometimes, because I know that I have the power to end it if I'm miserable for the rest of my life. After all, why, if life is so horrible, would I stay alive?

But now I can't help but think that I might have an awesome life. That I might love living, and might become a cooler version of Lena Dunham. I can't help but hope that I have a beautiful time, and can retire and glance back and be super happy that I lived. But that sort of makes it harder. 

Because, when I feel like I can't breathe under the pain on my chest and no one knows what to do, when people tell me to get over myself, when the medication and therapy doesn't work, I can't simply try to hurt myself. I get super super close, but I always think about you. 

About the future me. 

If you can, I would love to know how you made it. How you got through it. If anything, that's what I need to know right now. And I'll repay you by making sure that you continue to exist. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

Family Values I've Learned From the Duggars

(Trigger warning: I'm going to mention pedophilia, incest, child abuse, and molestation in this post. Beware.) 

Yeah, I'm coming here.

Basically, I don't understand why people still report on the Duggar family. It's abundantly clear that they're icky, and also problematic af. They follow the creepy teachings of Gothard (some of which include spanking your babies with wooden paddles and only smiling, or else), but also do a bunch of other icky things.

Like, you know, hate on queer people. Because we ruin family values, or something. Let me list the family values I've learned from the Duggars:

1) Being queer is a sin, but molesting your siblings is fine: It totally wasn't weird, how the family handled everything once it came out. Of course, it wasn't a big deal that Josh did these things to his sisters. They are there as sexual objects, after all. That's why we need to make sure that he gets back to lobbying, so that we can make sure those queer people don't get to have any more rights and taint America. 

2) By all means, don't get your son help after he molests your daughters: Instead of sending your son to get mental health from an actual professional, I know what you should do. Send him to an all Christian center. Have him perform physical labor and pray all of the sin away. I'm sure that this will do him some good, so much that he'll be ready to come home after a few weeks. 

3) Women should stay with their husbands. No matter what: Obviously. Like, even though your husband never received legit help after molesting his sisters, you need to make sure that you always stay with him. Continue to have children with him, and have him around them. I'm sure that nothing horrible could happen as a result.

4) Ashley Madison accounts are totally fine: By all means, pay money for a website that will connect you with people to cheat on your spouse with. Even if she finds out, she won't leave you. Women aren't supposed to do that. 

5) My only role in life is to have babies: As many as possible. Because, after all, that's what God would want.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

book pirating is not a simple issue

Book pirating isn't something that you want to do. For one thing, it's wrong. But you're also cheating authors, who don't make much money, out of the money they would make from their work. 

But talking about it with a lot of authors, I usually feel uncomfortable. Everyone seems to approach the topic with so much privilege. They say things like "It's the same price as a movie ticket!" or "It's like two cups of coffee." Even suggestions to go to the library make me cringe.

Before I start, though, I need to point out that I understand where a lot of authors are coming from. There are a lot of people who could afford to buy books, who could drive down to the library, buy an eBook, and decide not to. I guess, because they can? I don't know. Those people are stupid and rude.

But I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about young adults who don't have any money because kids don't get to decide which families they're born into. Kids who don't have any way to make it to the library, or have friends who can send them books. 

It seems like authors or people from the industry don't seem to realize that not everyone has access to these things, especially kids. I know that I don't make it to the library very often, and I have a lot of privilege. I can't imagine what it must be like for kids who want to read, but don't have the means to. 

I think that it's important to recognize this when we're talking about pirating. I think, especially since pirating has become this weird aspect of our culture, that many kids don't understand what they're doing. That's not an excuse, but something that needs to be taken into account.

If you can just Google the name of a book and find an online copy, lots of kids are going to do it. Which is horrible. And there are also a lot of kids who don't have money and want to read. A lot of school libraries that don't have funding. Kids in countries that don't have libraries.

Basically, what I'm saying is that we have to keep in mind that there are a lot of different factors when it comes to talking about pirating. It's not always just people being entitled, and I'm sick of people simplifying it to that degree.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Problematic Means to Me

So let me start this blog off by saying that I'll probably find something problematic from virtually everything that I ingest. That's because everything is problematic. Everything
And that's why it's a bit complicated. 

So, there's problematic and there's downright horrible. Problematic is usually, in my mind, when someone does stupid things because they're ignorant. Saying that someone is ignorant isn't an insult. I'm ignorant about a lot of things, because I don't know everything. But the goal is to keep moving forward and to learn as much as possible. 

So, for my examples, I'll try to speak for things that I've experienced as a queer black girl. 

Examples of problematic things:
-When gay people make transphobic statements like "ew, a vagina." Because, you know, lots of guys have vaginas. That's not funny or cool. 

I usually only think that actions and words and thoughts and pieces of media are problematic. People aren't usually problematic. Just because someone doesn't know about cultural appropriation doesn't make them problematic as a whole, in my eyes, until they are educated and continue to appropriate other cultures. 

Examples of problematic people:
-Kylie Jenner: Because a whole bunch of people explained cultural appropriation to her, but she ignored them. She's still "rocking" cornrows, and basically appropriating black features. Fun!

Cool? So, to summarize, actions are problematic, and so are things that we create (because there's really no going back to change them. Most of the time.) However, people are only problematic on special occasions.


First Post

This is, like, the post that I'm obligated to make. I know that I'm really excited for this blog, mostly because I feel like it will be a place for me to share my thoughts without worrying so much.
Wait. That's not really what I mean. 
But I'm used to writing on places that get a lot of traffic, especially from adults. Places like Huffington Post, where people would come out of the woodwork to try and make me feel horrible. 
Especially when I wrote about big people. 
So, hopefully, this will be a quieter place. Of course, I'm hoping that people will still read the posts. I'm just hoping that you guys won't be nasty about it. Most people are really nice, actually. Anyway, I'm glad to share my thoughts with you guys.