Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Snap and Power

Dear Haters,

"Don't mess with a snap diva." How does the use of the visual enhance the message of Marlon Riggs' video? Is the power of the snap diva in the visibility that the video gives or is it in the actual act of the snap?

From what I gather, the snap is the power tool used in this video and not the video itself. The snap harnesses a power that was taken away from the black queer community and gives it back to them (they shift from becoming the viewed). More importantly, the visual act of snapping itself, is where the power is located. The individual power, that comes from designing or honing your own snap that makes you, the viewed powerful. The snap, reverses the objective gaze. It shocks the viewer back into reality and into the position of the viewed and not the viewer.

Is the power of the snap an act of performance within the black queer community? Do these men use snaps like "The Medusa snap" to disidentify? Power is obvious in this video. The power that one gets from snapping allows them to fight back against cultural and/or racial norms. More specifically, the snap is the actual act of disidentifaction, because it invokes a performance that allows you to play with the power spectrum of identity, race, class or gender and re-invent it for your own identification and to define how you WANT to be seen. The individual snap, forces the viewer to see you for what YOU define yourself as and not how they SEE you.

"Don't mess with a snap diva!" but I say "Don't mess with the snap." The diva is an add on, an act, that heightens the power you have in the actual act of snapping. The snap gives you, the objectified, the power of the viewer because the "snap" shocks the viewer's gaze and forces them to actually see the process happening before them. The snap, more importantly, thrusts reality upon the viewer and forces them to understand that they are no longer watching but being watched and the power they THOUGHT they had is now GONE!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Manly Man, Manly Man, Where are You?

To All the "Manly" Men,

How many guy's holding guns are in this video? How many fast, expensive cars weave in and out of streets or flip over and crash? How many women are used as objects? Where is masculinity in this video?

Let the Masculine Mystique Begin:

Pure from Jacob Bricca on Vimeo.

The progression of this video presents the problem with masculine culture today: It's been hijacked by the patriarchal ideal of how men NEED to act and not HOW to act. The idea behind this video is to depict the POWER and the VISIBILITY that comes with that POWER in Visual Culture and then how it is interpreted and LIVED by men who long to be "manly men."

Is there such a thing as the "manly man" in visual culture or is it all just a glimmer of the ideal that androcentrism and patriarchy want me to become. The men, in these videos, are to run around with guns, blow things up, bleed, possess women and progress the ideal that MEN need to do all these things in order to embody the idea of the "manly man." If they don't, they visual culture and society in general depict a very different type of man; one that can never possess these "qualities" of masculinity but rather someone who can only look in from the outside.

Sex, Power and Dominance, three ingredients that shouldn't mix but seemingly do across not just visual culture but culture in general.

To All Those Who "Love the Way It Hurts"

Dear "Catchy" Eminem Song,

It seems to be the "song of the summer." Eminem "Love the Way You Lie Feat. Rihanna" has been atop the Top 40 Countdown and blaring from people's cars. However, have you ever really stopped to listen to what he is saying or watch the video? I have many problems with the so called "reformed" Eminem and although I don't really care how many times he calls Elton John a day to talk about his deep seeded issues or discuss the problems in Pakistan, Eminem's social commentary has moved from the gay community and onto the women and domestic violence. When does a song stop being just a song? More importantly, watch for yourself and see (If you need a clue, it's right about the time Eminem says he's going to trap his woman in the house before she leaves him again and BURN it down):

I don't know what is worse: The fact that Eminem uses Megan Fox (a clearly sexualized symbol used by the male community and seen on many posters on boys (and girls) walls) and "that" guy from Lost to depict a couple struggling with domestic abuse, trust issues, anger, or depression or the fact that all of these SERIOUS problems can be solved by the fact that the girl secretly loves it and it all can be solved by CRAZY, BOTTLE BREAKING SEX against a wall?

What is "visual culture" now if we look at it through this particular music video? Who has the power? and more specifically, who is watching whom? People all over the world suffering from these exact issues are not empower that Eminem and Rihanna have made a song that clearly categorizes their problems into neat, sexually attractive problems. People suffering from domestic abuse and sever anger issues in relationships are the victims of a culture that has depicted their problems as so easily solvable. Just "fuck it out" as I believe Eminem would say or simply "watch me burn because I like the way it hurts."

Eminem presents culture with a new way to look at the power struggle of between the victim and the abuser because he throws the entire system into chaos. No one has power in this music video. The abuser cannot live without the girl (and he's willing to break some bottles over people's heads to prove it) and the girl likes the abuse and loves the way it "burns." Where's the power? What is power in a relationship that is clearly bent on the possession of it? Eminem, the magical lyricster of Detroit, take power out of the equation completely because even the viewer of this video cannot find the power within it for they too are then seeing a mirror into their own life or the life of someone they know of. The issue of domestic violence is the ultimate "7 Degrees of Separation" and not something to be into a lyrical ballad sung by tweens around the world who could possibly suffer the same fate one day.....

....But hey, remember, Rihanna,the girl who was also beat by her boyfriend Chris Brown, sums up the major problem with the misogyny present in this video: She likes it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Dear Feminism,
What feminism is in the 21st century? Where is the movement going?
Why are there still people that only associate it with women? These images to me say it all.

Feminism is a changing face not unique to gender. Feminism is a belief and active movement that transcends gender.

Men care about equal opportunity too. This one does, so lets get active and shake up the idea that women are the only active feminists.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Norms Oh My!

To Whom It May Concern,

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


Dear Heelarious,
There is something completely wrong with the image of a 0-6 month old baby being paraded around like she is on a cat walk in Milan. When did being a baby turn into something that had to be sexualized? Is forcing her to wear heels at 9 months preparing her for back pain, hyper-sexualization or years of appealing to a male standard of beauty? You describe your product as:

hee • lar • i • ous [he-lair-ee-uhs] - noun
extremely funny, completely soft
shoes for babies 0-6 months
designed to look like high heels

Are we just designing our babies to look like mature women now? Did I miss something? I believe in innocence and children running around enjoying their childhood! Not prancing around on the Today Show wearing Heels, no matter how soft they are. When will it end? When your daughter is 13 and asking for plastic surgery or when she sees pictures from her childhood and is embarrassed? For me, Bobbi Thomas said it all:

“Little girls can get a jump start on their strut and be top-models-in-training before they leave the crib”

When will we start empowering our girls

again? Instead of forcing our girls to be objects of beauty why don't we empower them to become the next President of the United States or anyone she wants to be?

We all need to take a note from Elizabeth Cady Stanton's speech "Our Girls" and learn how to be parents again!