Your favorite terrestrial commoners are back! For our first episode of the new THIRD season, we’re talking about popular culture, the cult of celebrity and influence, and how they undermine radical movements for change.
What’s the Word? Postfeminism. Originally used to describe the backlash to the second wave feminist movement, postfeminism is an ideology that suggests we no longer need feminism because we have accomplished the goals of the women’s movement. This ideology is expressed culturally in TV, film, and other forms of media.
What We’re Reading. “Divas, Evil Black Bitches, and Bitter Black Women: African American Women in Postfeminist and Post-Civil-Rights Popular Culture” by Kimberly Springer in Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture. In this essay, Springer contributes a racial analysis to the critiques of postfeminist media, examining the presence and absence of Black women in television and film in order to promote the idea we’re living in a postfeminist and post-Civil Rights Movement world while making us responsible for racial uplift.
What in the World?! In this segment, we discuss the infamous ‘submission’ interview between Shan Boodram and Jasmin “WatchJazzy” Brown, why withdrawing from labor does not confer the same status as it does for white women; why Beyonce and prosperity gospel is not going to save us and actually perpetuates the oppressions that hold us down; Meghan Markle and her feminism without teeth; and the difference in the smoke the internet has for Tiffany Haddish compared to Aries Spears being a reflection of the way Black women are required to be responsible for the race.
Zora’s Daughters Podcast: Season Three, Episode 1
Co-Hosts: Alyssa A. James and Brendane Tynes
Title: Dangerously in Love with Celebrity
Total Length: 01:17:03
[00:00:48] AJ: Hey everyone! It’s the season premiere. [Imitates record scratch] Pre-pre-premiere! And we are here to welcome you back to Zora’s Daughters, the podcast where we share Black feminist perspectives and close read pop culture and other social topics that affect Black folks. I’m Alyssa and I use she/her/hers pronouns.
[00:01:17] BT: Hey y’all! I’m Brendane and I also use she/her/hers pronouns. We’re back, live, and direct, as my brother would say, for our third season. This year you’ll have 16 episodes of Black feminist anthropology goodness featuring us—the coolest anthropologists in town—and some incredible guests throughout the season.
[00:01:40] AJ: There is something oxymoronic about cool anthropologists but—
[00:01:46] BT: You know [laughter]—
[00:01:47] AJ: We’ll let it slide. You all will let it slide, I hope. I really can’t believe we’ve been doing this podcast for two years! Time flies, season three. Bizarre.
[00:02:00] BT: Time flies and we’re still in school, but [laughter]—
[00:02:03] AJ: Some are closer to being done than others.
[00:02:09] BT: Fingers crossed.
[00:02:10] AJ: But this year we will be changing things up a little bit. We’ll be keeping the same format you all love with our three segments but instead of scripting our “What in the World?!” segment, we’ll actually be freestyling it. We’ll be shooting the shit cause we know how you all just love to hear us riff and chat so much. Also, we have a new member of the team, Mia.
[00:02:36] BT: [Imitates shooting sounds]
[00:02:38] AJ: Aye, aye. If you haven’t seen our social media posts, head to Instagram, head to Twitter, head to Patreon and you will get to see a little more information about her. Mia is our new Social Media Assistant, so she is the one who is going to be, pretty much be having the run of our accounts. So, if you’re active there, please send her a message. Say what’s up, hello, welcome and if you want to know about her, you can check out the “About Us” highlight on Instagram.
[00:03:09] BT: Now, before we get into the episode, we would like to give a huge thank you to all of you—our listeners, our supporters, our lovers, and our haters. There are a couple of y’all out there. So, whether you love to listen or hate listen—honestly honey, do you—it’s still a listen, right? And the algorithms can’t tell the difference. So, we are not a podcast that advertise brands and we rely on folks like you to keep our proverbial and actual lights on. If you would like to become a patron, you can support our work for as little as $3 a month. So, if that interests you, head to patreon.com/zorasdaughters to check out the different tiers and join the community. You all help keep our podcast accessible in so many more ways than just one. Now, we know some folks don’t have the coin to spare and we totally understand. I mean we are still graduate students.
[00:04:13] AJ: It’s a whole pandemic, it’s inflation up in this bitch—
[00:04:14] BT: It’s a pandemic, inflation, a housing crash, and a car market crash. It’s a great time to buy a used car [laughter] that’s what I been reading up on lately. Life is just expensive even if we weren’t in the midst of the “fall of capitalism.” Fingers crossed [laughter]. If you still want to support the podcast without having to spend your hard-earned money, please share this episode on social media, share it with your friends, your family, those frenemies, those work folks that need to learn a little more education but you ain’t got the time to teach ‘em. And be sure to tell people why you enjoyed it.
[00:04:54] AJ: Yes, that is key. That is key. Also, we will be announcing our book of the semester soon. So, for those patrons who are at the novelists and above tier, we send out books every semester. That is, of our choosing. The summer term, I guess we can call it, was Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation by Ruth Wilson Gilmore. Let’s see what’s coming out. You can add some picks to your library. And okay, wow, we’re doing a lot of promo today but it’s a new season, you all need to know what’s been going on for us. So, we have brand new merch. Most of our pieces we completely redesigned, overhauled, redid. Instead of the “What in the Misogynoir?!” t-shirt, we actually have a tote bag in our very cute blue color. We have new t-shirts with our new logos on them, we have mugs, we have sticker sheets. We even have a learning with ZD notebook, so that’s gonna be—besides one of us being right next to you—that’s gonna be probably your next best companion to every episode, you know.
[00:06:11] BT: Honestly [laughter].
[00:06:12] AJ: You can order them online at zorasdaughters.com/shop. And if you already have our merch, please share some photos on social media and tag us, we love to you all rocking our “I am Black Anthro” shirts. And if you’re like, “Well, weren’t you guys just talking about all capitalism?” Again, all capitalism. We do not make that much on the merch, it’s really just for you all to, you know, to enjoy us, to show your support to us and to help other people see us. And it helps us with the production of the podcast costs effectively, so.
[00:06:29] BT: Yes, it takes money to do this [laughter]. So, I am really excited about the Zora Taught me shirts.
[00:06:39] AJ: Yes.
[00:06:39] BT: I—like some of the shirts, I was like, okay. So, you know, my next little semester check, let me pick up a few things. Um [laughter]. And I think those are really going to be a hit. And the heather color options, the navy-blue options, it’s just, it’s lit y’all. Really, honestly, check it out.
[00:06:59] AJ: Yeah, I ordered the heathered green and I cannot wait. Alright, so now we’re going to talk about the episode, what we’re doing today, which you all are about to listen to. We’re going to be talking about postfeminism, the representations of Black women in TV and films, and the problems with looking to celebrities as role models and representatives of what is good, right, moral. Effectively, the cult of celebrity and why it’s problematic and vaguely anti-Black and misogynoir-ist. But wait till we get there. So, we will be referencing archetypes like the sapphire and the mammy, so we highly suggest heading back to our second episode ever—see us coming full circle, whatnot—so, our second episode from the first season to review where we covered some of those archetypes. Other good episodes that you might want to have a look at again before getting into this episode is season one, episode 20, “Black, Like Kim K,” where we read bell hooks’ Eating the Other, and season one episode 14, “Afropessimism: Anything but Black,” because we talked about Meghan Markle. The Meghan Markle situation and Oprah. And we might get into that today, so let’s see. Let’s see what happens. But let’s get into the episode. Brendane, what’s the word?
[00:08:26] BT: The word for today is postfeminism. So much like the waves of feminism, which we discuss in season one, episode 17, “Hot Girl Semester”—that was a good one—the term postfeminsim has taken on a variety of meanings over time. So, in the 1980s, postfeminism referred to the backlash against feminist politics that demanded women’s equality. In our meeting today, however, the term is used to encompass a set of assumptions that describe the pastness of feminism. Post-feminist discourse, which is most readily seen in media representation, suggests that we no longer need feminism because we have achieved the equality that second wave feminists demanded [laughter]. And those who create postfeminist content characterized in the literature by shows like Ally McBeal and Sex in the City, right, depict the world where women are reaping the benefits of the women’s movement without actually having to be “feminists”
[00:09:29] AJ: Exactly. And if you can’t already see the issues, they’ll need to go back to the beginning. Go back to the beginning of the podcast [laughter]. And so, this is something that we often see when the prefix post is added to a term, especially a term that’s used for social critique. So, in heritage studies, for example, we speak of the phenomena of firsting and lasting. So that refers to the power required, and prestige conferred when claiming something as the first or the last, like to being the first person to discover a place or being the last living survivor of the middle passage. So, it shows up in my research when I say Martinique was the first producer of coffee in the New World. You know, peoples’ eyes widen, and they’re so intrigued by this whole thing. They’re like, oh, really? I didn’t know that. So, what does posting do? I’m making this up. This is, I have, no one said this but me. Well, maybe, but I don’t know.
[00:10:29] BT: It’s your theoretical intervention.
[00:10:30] AJ: It’s my intervention. What does this posting mean? Right? Like when we speak of the post-racial, post-Civil Rights, postcolonial, postfeminist? What does that mean? What does it do? It operates to make us believe that we have transcended particular forms of oppression, or that struggles for liberation are behind us. And that’s why the work of critique is so important. It’s there to point out the ways we are not. We ain’t post nothing, we ain’t post naything.
[00:10:59] BT: Nada [laughter].
[00:11:00] AJ: Nada. These oppressions are still with us. You know that to quote Saidiya Haartman “we live in the time of slavery.” We ain’t post, we ain’t post, naything.
[00:11:10] BT: Naything. We ain’t post shit [laughter]. We honestly couldn’t even go one episode without bringing in, you know, my girl Saidiya. And honestly, why would we even try? What is Black studies without her work?
[00:11:24] AJ: [Laughter] Why? Why would we? But I think one important distinction to make is that postfeminism is not a politics. And of course, it has political stakes. And if you remembered that episode one, one episode where we talked about politics of, aesthetics of politics is about power, about what we can and cannot do. And so postfeminism in that sense isn’t a politics. It’s an ideology that is expressed culturally. So, we see it in TV shows, music, films and just the general understanding and opinion around the certain topic in society and the people that we speak to. It’s one of the ways that we see this is that certain women—wink, wink, nod, nod—will agree with certain feminist principles, like say equality, but hesitate to use the label. So, I feel like the person who’s coming to my mind the most is Taylor Swift, she was like, I’m not. I’m not a feminist. Honestly, even Beyoncé had an issue with the word. Fairly early, earlier on in her career, she would not. She said that she wasn’t a feminist, I’m pretty sure.
[00:12:29] BT: Wow.
[00:12:30] AJ: Please don’t have the Beyhive come for me [laughter].
[00:12:34] BT: Whew. We gonna get to it later. I could see why—
[00:12:38] AJ: I’m confident that she did say that.
[00:12:42] BT: Yeah, I mean, I could see why the Aryan Princess, Taylor Swift would not do it, but—
[00:12:49] AJ: Yeah, she was very much like, I’m not a feminist, I don’t really even know what it means.
[00:12:54] BT: [Sigh] So she’s alienating her fan base?
[00:12:56] AJ: Yeah, she’s living it up in a postfeminist world in her mind and through her connections. And so, another way we see this postfeminsim is through the commodification of feminism. So, where feminism becomes consumed and popularized, and then through that process defangs it, right? It’s naturalized and therefore neutralizes its radical potential, so feminist politics and concerns are silenced in a culture that believes in postfeminism.
[00:13:29] BT: Periodt. And one of the most glaring silences is, at least to us, right, is that of race? So, postfeminism actually centers the advancements of affluent, elite, upper class white women and actually erases race and especially Blackness. Which—to go back to what Alyssa was appointed out, right—is that the whole reason why we need critique in this society, right, that loves to say that progress and posting—and not posting on Instagram, but post-ing everything that is radical. And that’s exactly what we’ll be looking at in the next section when we take on a racial analysis of the critiques of postfeminism in popular culture. So, Alyssa, what are we reading today?
[00:14:22] AJ: We are reading—whew, I love this title. Okay, Kimberly Springer brought it. She brang it. “Divas, Evil Black Bitches, and Bitter Black Women: African American Women in Postfeminist and Post-Civil Rights Popular Culture.” It’s written by Kimberly Springer. Kimberly Springer is the curator for the Oral History Archives at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She holds a Masters of Information Science specializing in archives, preservation, and social computing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Springer obtained her doctorate from the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Her research and publication areas are born digital materials, artists’ studio archives, social media, social movements, and television studies as they intersect with race, gender, and sexuality. Springer’s publications include Living for The Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968 to 1980; Still Lifting, Still Climbing: African American Women’s Contemporary Activism; and Stories of Oprah: The Oprahfication of American Culture; as well as several articles in several journals and edited volumes. And so, this essay that we will be discussing today, it was published in 2007 in the edited volume Interrogating Postfeminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture.
[00:15:57] BT: So, this essay—and I wanted to have opportunity to say the title, so—”Divas, Evil Black Bitches and Bitter Black Women,” takes on postfeminist and post-Civil Rights Movement discourse in popular culture. And Springer adeptly takes us through cultural factors in the 19th and 20th centuries that would even allow for some—wink, wink—to claim that we live in a postfeminist and post-Civil Rights world. And these discourses as we’ve mentioned, right, often omit race, and I would add specifically anti-Blackness, right, as the rubric of understanding the world. And they omit how these rubrics shape representations of women in popular culture. So, in this article, Springer aims to examine both African American women’s presence and absence, in postfeminist manifestations of popular culture. Now don’t be fooled. Springer is not over here are human for more just representations of Black American women in popular culture. Like we moved past the representation, optics phase of things. Post op, post that [laughter]. I’m just kidding.
[00:17:13] AJ: Post representation politics [laughter].
[00:17:17] BT: But instead, she situates her analysis in describing how postfeminist and post-Civil Rights Movement thinking takes us back—and I would say take us back to slavery, but she doesn’t quite go that far—and actually works against women’s interests in general. These discourses actually politically “pick up where misogynistic and racist stereotypes, often now implicit, left off, taking them to a new level of identity construction.” We won’t be able to capture all of the nuances of her article. She has a lot of examples and things that really kind of flesh out her argument. But we’re definitely going to encourage you all to read it for yourselves.
[00:18:00] AJ: Yes, and also keep in mind it was published in 2007. So, one of the things we will be talking about in the next segment will kind of bring some of her analysis into 2022 and the wonderful influencer culture that has been added to celebrity culture and forms of popular media. Alright, but we only have an hour, so let me just—let me just keep going. Let me keep going. Get into it, you know? She begins by defining postfeminsim and post-Civil Rights using an intersectional analysis to show how they work together to produce certain cultural stereotypes about African American women. We already defined postfeminsim for y’all earlier, so we’ll define post-Civil Rights discourse as something that is based in the belief that Black people and other people of color have achieved equality because slavery is “over,” and the Civil Rights Movement has netted gains for Black people. Mainly the “end” of segregation and the passing of the civil rights law—Civil Rights Act, sorry [laughter][sigh]. Okay, I mean, redlining and all of the other incarceration situations don’t count, of course, of course.
[00:19:17] BT: Again, the post is not posting, the post is not posting [laughter].
[00:19:23] AJ: The post-Civil Rights Movement discourse is essentially the backlash against the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. Postfeminist critique in particular is rooted in what Springer names, as a “liberal, pluralist feminist framework of equality.” This critique flourishes in today’s world because we encounter feminist language that has been torn away from feminist struggle that it perpetuates a conservative and sexist stat status quo. So, post is actually a misnomer because the same shit has been happening pre and right now. And if we don’t do something, shit don’t change. [Crosstalk] The post is the pre is the present. Y’all can quote me on that [laughter]. It’s important to distinguish between language and struggle because the use of feminist language is actually how postfeminism exploits liberal feminism’s weakness and inability to account for race.
And so, we briefly touched on this in previous episodes, but the post in both of these terms is something that is obviously not true. Springer mentions this towards the end of the article, and this is something that I’m actually thinking through with my own research in Martinique. You know, I asked what is the post in postcolonial really doing when we continue to revive and market and commodify colonial commodities and products? So of course, it is those in power who benefit from making us believe that we are beyond colonialism, beyond class, beyond race. But it’s not really doing much for us, right? Like that’s why we’re saying it’s not a politics it’s an ideology, but it does have political stakes, and these are the political stakes.
[00:21:09] BT: Makes you believe you’re further than where you are. So, there is lots to be said about the whiteness of the post marker. Um, again, steeped in power, prestige, especially when we still live in a world that is marked by racial, gender, class, and ability differences. And so, Springer brings our attention to the fact that feminists of color, particularly Black feminists, have long argued for radical social transformation, particularly in the United States, where equality discourse is rooted in a founding national document crafted by slaveholders and begins with the words “All white men are created equal.” So, with this right, Springer actually exposes the racial agenda of postfeminsim. Which is the erasure of progress that, you know—and the word progress for me is a very troubling word, but it’s the word that she uses—the erasure of the progress of racial inclusion in the mainstream feminist movement since the 1980s. And how does it do this? It actually does this by making racial difference and feminism commodities for consumption in the pursuit of being the woman who, “has it all,” right. So, this woman, the postfeminist woman, has beauty, she has meaningful work, she has meaningful middle-class work and a family. And so, we can see this in the rise of the BBL, across all races. And now the backlash for that. Now we’re entering into the—moving back to thin girls’ era if y’all haven’t noticed.
[00:22:50] AJ: Okay, when they started saying that low cut jeans are coming back, I was upset. I was like, give me my high waisted jeans. Like [pause] no. I mean I’m keeping mine.
[00:23:03] BT: I’m. I mean, I’m keeping my high waisted jeans. I mean, I was never on trend, I think. Never, never been on trends. So I’mma just stay where I’m at. But the Britney Spears of the world—and this no tea, no shade to Britney Spears—but the Britney Spears of the world want their low-cut jeans [laughter].
[00:23:20] AJ: They can’t not have them. They can’t not have them. Springer traces the role postfeminism plays in the post-Civil Rights era by exploring the origin of the welfare queen trope that dominated political discourse. The welfare queen stereotype arose as a backlash when, “white slave bastards no longer profited from Black women’s offspring,” by claiming poor Black women profited off tax dollars by having children they couldn’t afford to raise on their own. So, when Clinton passed welfare reforms, the image of the welfare queen morphed into the crack addicted mother. Which served its own purpose in the war on drugs. Ultimately, Springer argues that the iconography of the mammy, the jezebel, the sapphire, the matriarch, the welfare queen, the crack addicted mother still exist in popular culture. But they have new updates for the postfeminist post-Civil Rights Movement era. These updates include the diva, the Black Lady and the angry Black woman, images that dominate popular culture representations of Black women. She ironically asks if we are beyond discriminatory behavior, how do we account for the diva, Black lady and angry Black woman images that populate the current cultural landscape? How Sway? How?
[00:24:39] BT: How? Well, this is how, through postfeminist and post [laughter] Civil Rights era discourse, right. So, she then takes us through several representations of Black women in popular culture and media, namely reality TV and movies to illustrate her general theory of Black femininity within postfeminist and post-Civil Rights Movement discourses. And shows examples of this kind of backlash representation. So, there isn’t enough time to read all of her examples. I mean, in the essay she’s like, I’m doing an inexhaustive read, but you get quite a lot of detail. Shows that I have never watched I now know enough about to be like, absolutely-the-fuck-not. But I think it’s important to summarize some of her findings, and so that’s what we will do for you all today, alright. In regards to the popular image of the diva, Springer asserts that it’s applied unevenly along the lines of race. So most often we see women of color being called divas. Mariah Carey has reclaimed it. It’s like, yeah, this is who I am. Beyoncé has also “reclaimed” diva in one of her songs. But typically, in kind of a mainstream culture, when you call someone a diva that usually means that they are unhinged, right? They have unreasonable demands, and they act without any kind of basis for their behavior. And for Springer, the diva label “is ultimately just another form of categorization that classes women according to how well they adhere to race, class, and sexuality norms.” And so, for those women who are poor versus those who are middle class versus those who are upper class, right, they have different access to the label of diva.
[00:26:34] AJ: And it comes with different meanings as well. So, in a postfeminist world, Springer underscores that racial and gender stereotypes have become the “commodity that make difference legible and popular culture.” Reality TV has adopted the stereotype of the angry Black woman, the jezebel, and the nurturing mammy, and with the rise of the Black middle class, these stereotypes have also become classed. The loud, bitchy Black woman signals poor or working-class behavior. While the Black lady is the epitome of respectable femininity, to the extent that Black women can be considered feminine. And if you’re like what does that mean? Y’all just have to listen to our—to the entire body of our work [laughter]. The Black lady role is designed to counter the anti-Black image of the whore and to say that one can be middle class if they work outside the home in a respectable profession.
In today’s world the mammy has been resurrected in the Black lady where “maneuvering through this, modern mammy requires a delicate balance between being appropriately subordinate to white and or male authority yet maintaining a level of ambition and aggressiveness needed for achievement in middle class occupations and from maneuvering to occupations.” That was a quote from Springer. She cites Condoleezza Rice as a prime example of the Black lady. Other examples include Black lady judges and Black lady cops. By presenting these images of Black women, modern shows can evade accusations of racism while portraying subservient Black woman. And so, I wonder. I wonder how Michelle Obama would play into this. Like, if she had—if she had published this article in 2017. I wonder how Michelle Obama would play into this stereotype or this role? And then of course, she also talked about Oprah. Oprah is like your—another one of your classic Mammy figures, became successful coddling white women on television—mostly white women.
[00:28:40] BT: Yes, I mean, whew, how else you become a billionaire? I don’t know [laughter]. Yeah, I think—I do think that Michelle Obama would be a Black lady. I think she would be a Black lady ’cause she’s definitely not any of these other types for sure.
[00:29:02] AJ: As much as they tried to portray her as such through a variety of representations, comments, and the like.
[00:29:14] BT: Yeah, skin color and body type had a big—played a big role in that. And yeah, so if the Black lady is the modern resurrection of the mammy, then the evil Black woman is the modern re presentation of the sapphire. And these Black women have no place in a white world because they are not subservient. So, though they drive up these reality TV ratings, right, their portrayals as evil and hard to work with typically prevent them from being successful in their own professional lives. And many of these Black women, when they reflect on their TV experiences—and Springer kind of goes through this and much more detail in the article—they talk about how they were inaccurately portrayed by the editors, right. You know, I’m blaming on the editors all the time, right? Springer really launches into an interesting conversation about the role of “truth” in reality TV. And as we all know, reality TV is not actually real, right? But it does provide some sense of realness otherwise we wouldn’t engage with it.
But I won’t go into the nuances of her argument, but I will read her bottom line so, “Reality TV participants benefit from this regime of truth only to the extent that they adhere to dominate ideas about race, class, gender, sexuality and physical ability…However, when it comes to racism and sexism, subjective experience is usually discounted as paranoia and outside the regime of truth when confident Black women…refusing to conform to these criteria, as well as projecting historical perceptions of Black women as only existing to make white lives better do appear in reality TV competitions, not only do they lose, but they also end up maligned.” In one of the examples that she uses right is actually she talks about a Black woman on The Apprentice show who was blamed for undermining the Black man. But she was kicked off the show much more earlier than the Black man was, like he was actually second place.
[00:31:35] AJ: Omarosa, yeah.
[00:31:37] BT: And so, I didn’t watch that show. So, I’m like, I don’t want to, I don’t talk too much about it just because of you know, who it’s about. But like these ideas that if you’re not a subservient, mammy type of Black woman, that you are in fact compromising racial uplift, right? Or compromising, you know, white people’s comfortability. So, then you are an evil Black woman. It actually complicates what we receive in popular representations of Black women. So, in short, Springer says “Reality TV cannot accommodate Black women who do not fit the fuse sanctioned contemporary roles, which are the ubiquitous Black woman judge, the abusive single mother, or the police captain without a capacity for significant action.”
[00:32:34] AJ: [Laughter] I just rewatched The Mentalist and I concur with that last one. But one of the things that I was thinking about when you were talking is just reality TV and whose reality is actually being depicted in those shows. And last night the fiancé had some friends over there doing their Game of Thrones watch party thing and all this stuff. And they were talking about how they were all of these critiques of the shows and how there were no Black people in them and know people, very few people of color and things like that. And I was like, but that’s the white fantasy, right? Like for there to be a world free of racial complications, free of Black people, especially. And I think it’s similar with reality TV, right? It’s like every day typical Black people don’t exist in their reality and in the reality of the producers who are coming up with the show. So yeah, you’re not going to see multi-dimensional representations of Black people and especially Black women, because they don’t exist in their reality. Just like it’s a postfeminist world for Taylor Swift in her reality. But that’s not the case for most people living on this planet. That’s what you get represented on reality television, its someone’s reality, but not the reality of the people who are actually on the show.
[00:33:55] BT: Right and also, I’m just say this and I’m gonna leave it alone. Why do people want Black people to be on a show that’s about incest and white war? I don’t. That doesn’t make sense to me. That Game of Thrones, I was actually kind of upset. Like, why are there? Why are there Black people in this? This is not—
[00:34:15] AJ: I think Amanda Seales said that she was like, I don’t—I think it was Amanda Seales she was like, I don’t need to see Black people this shit is so gory and just violent. I don’t, I don’t—
[00:34:26] BT: I don’t need to see that.
[00:34:27] AJ: But I mean that that that’s something that we need to talk about is like Bridgerton and all of these “post-racial” shows where they’re casting people of color in roles that they would not have actually held historically in the places that they’re talking about them. So that’s. Maybe, maybe we’ll talk about that, because I’m still trying to decide how I how I feel about it.
[00:34:54] BT: Yeah, bookmark.
[00:34:56] AJ: Bookmark. Thank you [laughter].
[00:35:00] BT: Bookmark.
[00:35:01] AJ: Springer asserts that postfeminist discourse, like post-Civil Rights Movement discourse, ignores the history that makes these Black women angry. In postfeminism the angry Black woman is always already angry, and her inclusion in popular culture is enough evidence that feminism is no longer necessary. In the post-Civil Rights Movement era “inclusion means merely having a presence, not empowerment in terms of self-determination.” The final popular culture image Springer explores is the bitter Black woman. The bitter Black woman is one who is married to a Black man who works hard to make sure he achieves his dreams and then when he’s good and ready, he leaves her broke and destitute for a white or light skinned woman. So, the bitter Black woman shows where postfeminist and post-Civil Rights discourse intersect. When she is humbled and forced to return home to her family and the Black community she neglected or to her circle of sister friends. The post-Civil Rights Movement assumption here is that Black woman who move to high above their social standing lose their connection to Black culture. The postfeminist angle here is that she returns home to become the mother, daughter, sister, and, or friend that she never was or failed to be. It’s a return to her rightful place. These stereotypes demonstrate the general postfeminist message for Black women is that they need to stay in their place within racial and gender hierarchies.
[00:36:29] BT: So, some of the examples that Springer brings up are Waiting to Exhale, which not gonna lie, love it. Loved that movie. Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I grew up in the cult and so the only thing that we were really allowed to watch were like “Christian” things and Tyler Perry was a staple of my upbringing. So that movie also has a special place in my heart but—
[00:36:58] AJ: And Beauty Shop.
[00:36:59] BT: Right if you—Beauty Shop?
[00:37:01] AJ: With Queen Latifah.
[00:37:03] BT: I didn’t—with Queen Latifah was also another example. Queen Latifah returns home to be a business owner. And so on one hand, uncritically, right, these films are positive, right? They show Black women coming back to themselves, you know, right. And what is really, I guess, disturbing, if you peel back what is presented to you, is that even in these fantasies, Black women cannot escape the work of racial uplift. No matter where you are, right, Black women even in the fantasy of coming back to herself, you still got to, you know, get your asses up and work. So, they are still required to work as they have always been asked to do. And as Springer states “postfeminist and post-Civil Rights discourses require Black women not to have it all, but to continue to do it all,” right, “middle-class Black women are marginally afforded status as women or ladies, more specifically if they conform to a politics of respectability. If they do not conform, they are relegated to the evil Black woman category, along with poor and working-class Black women.”
[00:38:20] AJ: The work, the labor, the everything.
[00:38:24] BT: The labor. Everything. It’s part and parcel, what it means to be Black.
[00:38:27] AJ: Yeah, I guess [mutters]. Well, with that said, I think Springer’s conclusion leads us nicely into the next segment. She updates Audre Lorde’s metaphor by saying that “the master’s house has not in fact been dismantled, but instead has added additional rooms and annexes in which two harbor oppressive variations of racist, sexist, classist, and heterosexist themes.” All of these additional rooms and annexes actually give us more reason to be critical of the media we consume and the images we align ourselves with, so we might actually be working against our own liberation. And that is why we do this podcast and include the social media popular culture stuff. Because we’ve got to be critical of it [crosstalk]. That’s how it goes. That’s how it is.
[00:39:26] BT: Yeah. Uncritical consumption leads to mess, which is where we about to [laughter] to talk about. So, let’s move to our next section. What?
[00:39:39] AJ: What?
[00:39:40] BT: What in the world?
[00:39:41] AJ: What in the world is—?
[00:39:43] BT: What in the world is actually fucking going on? I [laughter]. No, I really want to know.
[00:39:53] AJ: Alright, so, this was not originally on the list that we had talked about, but I really as I was reading Springer’s essay, I was like, we have to talk about Watch Jazzy—the Watch Jazzy interview with Shannon Boodram. So, if you are not familiar, Watch Jazzy—I think she’s a YouTuber or something. She’s some kind of influencer and she is now dating—or at the time of the interview was dating Tristan Thompson, who is a football player I believe. [Pause] You know what, y’all? If I get it wrong, I get it wrong. But the point is, she’s dating someone who is also who is a high-profile man.
[00:40:38] BT: Was that the one who kissed Jordan Woods?
[00:40:40] AJ: Could not tell you. Could not tell you who this man is.
[00:40:44] BT: Okay, alright [crosstalk][unclear].
[00:40:45] AJ: Shan Boodram is a Canadian sexologist, sex instruct[or]. Yes, I can’t even remember.
[00:40:53] BT: Yeah, she does sex and relationships [crosstalk].
[00:40:56] AJ: I actually really like her as an interviewer. It’s a good podcast. In any case, the topic that they were discussing was submission. Now Watch Jazzy, Jasmine, that’s what she wanted to talk about. She wanted to talk about how great it has been to be submissive. How she—how she babies her man, how she takes care of her man, how [laughter] the ways that she looks after him and does anything that he asks her to do. Including sexually, even if she does not—even if she’s not particularly willing or open, she will submit herself to him in all of those kinds of ways. And I just—it really got—It got me thinking about all of these conversations that are going on right now with the Black masculinity folks. And if you’re like, what are you guys talking about with this Black masculinity and divine femininity stuff?
Another question I have is, is this very particular to the Black community or are other communities having these kinds of conversations? But anyways, you all can listen to our episode “Villain Origin Story” with Anuli Akanegbu and then you can brush up a little bit on what we are talking about. And so, in these conversations, men are like, oh, Black women, you need to submit, you need to, you need to be willing to stay home and, you know, raise children, and look after the households. You all are meant to be homemakers. But Springer points out—and this is very important—that Black women are and continue to be necessary to the workforce. And these postfeminist representations make it clear that Black women actually cannot achieve the status of the Black lady, of lady, by withdrawing from the workforce like white women. So, we are required to labor. Like when she said we have—to have it all means to do it all, it’s not like white women where having it all is like, oh, I can do a little bit of this, I can do a little bit of that, little bit of this. No. Black women have to do everything for everybody and be happy about it. And now Black men are asking us to do it with a smile on our faces.
[00:43:21] BT: I mean, for me, there are lots of things to say about this. I. And it goes back to what we talked about like. Part and parcel of what it means to be a Black woman is to work right. Like Blackness, by definition is defined by, you know, chattel slavery. So, this idea that Black men and Black women have different roles is—it’s not historically true, given the fact that during slavery, Black men and Black women were out there working together. The only thing that Black people with penises couldn’t do was give birth, right? So that kind of reproductive labor was part of what it meant to be an enslaved Black woman, but outside of that, you were pregnant and picking cotton right next to the other niggers. So, I—I mean I think what’s happening here, and it’s always been happening with this kind of Black masculinity, whether you want to label it as toxic or not, is that Black men really want to be white. And they see that ascension to whiteness through—as like, the only way for that to be possible is through the oppression of Black women, right?
So, they assume that they can mirror what white men do in their homes and it will lead them to the same result. And of course, we know that that requires a certain kind of psychic split of just like, well you know, what about the fact that you are still, you know, Black? And like even if you dominate and violate etcetera, you still have to deal with being Black in an anti-Black world. So I, right, like what you’re saying about Black women always having to work, and this idea too, that submission is not work, it’s—I don’t know. Like I—there’s so many, I guess, mean things I could say. The least mean thing I will say is why should I submit to a man, who was probably less educated than me, who probably makes less money than me, who probably statistically doesn’t have the same skills that I have, doesn’t—and like his whole being is staked around me being lesser than him. But there’s no concrete evidence that’s the case. I can do everything you can do and—
[00:46:00] AJ: And more.
[00:46:01] BT: —give birth. And more and give birth. So, it’s really, it’s really giving this is nonsensical in a lot of ways. But also, what I saw, I saw someone talking about online is that the rise of all of this kind of men belong in the workforce and women stay at home mess is partially because people are trying to ignore the fact that we are entering into a depression—people call it a recession but depression, right? Economic depression. And when that happens, there is always this kind of reversion to these conservative values. My hope and prayer for people who are already oppressed by cis het life is that they get free and understand that like aspiring to whiteness is not going—it’s not gonna get you where you want it to be. It’s not.
[00:46:57] AJ: I saw an Instagram post, I think it was by a professor and it was just like, the hets are not—the cis hets are not okay. It was—there was actually another one of these like relationship femininity influencer people doing an interview talking about how—she was like, I don’t correct my man. She’s like, I don’t correct my man. I never. He’s not a child. I tell him what I think should be done and he makes the correction on his own blah, blah, blah. And she was just like the cis hets are not okay. But I do wanna go back to this, this question of Black men wanting to be like white men. Which if on the off chance they find this woman, who does want to be a homemaker or stay-at-home mother. You’re still not going to achieve the status that a white man has by having a white woman working in or being a homemaker, being a stay-at-home mother, because of what Springer wrote that we are, Black women are necessary to the workforce. It doesn’t come with the same prestige. It actually brings associations of the welfare mother. That is the kind of idea that’s going to be sparked like, oh, you’re a Black woman that doesn’t work, well you must be on welfare, or you know. Those kinds of things.
[00:48:32] BT: Yeah, I mean even the gold digger kind of archetype is kind of like a modern update or whatever you wanna call it, of the welfare queen, right? The Black—the young sexy Black woman who “takes advantage of men with money,” right? This idea that money is something that’s just not supposed to spend but horde. Again, that white supremacist thinking. And also, this idea that like being in relationships with people, regardless of whether you have sex with him or not, but like actually being in relationship with people is work, is labor, right? It requires affective labor. It requires emotional labor. It requires all of these things. And even in that interview that you were talking about with Jasmine, the amount of emotional and affective labor that she has to do. She’s like, you know, I anticipate my man’s needs before he even says it. That’s—honey—that is abuse. Like this is like a abusive dynamic, which I think Shannon does a good job of kind of saying that but not being too direct with it, not shaming her, but just saying like this actually does not sound safe. Um, and she talked about like having anal sex with whoever she’s with, right? Even though it hurts her, right? That is not [pause]. That’s not okay, right? That is not the cost of being in a relationship and having your bills paid and making sure your nails get done and you can buy the purse you want, right? Like that’s.
You know, and the same people who say these kinds of things will then turn around and say demeaning, derogatory, discriminatory things about people who do sex work, right. And say, well, you know? Women who just “trade” their bodies for things they want are not good women. And we all know that is based in like, misogyny as well. And so—[laughter] because there was Jazmine Sullivans album, one of the things she said that one of the people that she had on from Heaux Tales was like, y’all wanna talk about the women who, you know, selling their bodies or whatever but you sell your body to your husband when you want a new purse, you sell your body to your husband when you wanna, you know, blah blah. So, like all of these false values that people have that are just really entrenched in like white supremacist and anti-Black thinking [crosstalk]. And it really just doesn’t, right? That just works against what we need as women, which is self-determination. Like I want to live in a world where if I choose to work, I could work. I don’t know why I would choose it, but I, you know or if I wanna, you know sit at home and be a stay-at-home blank—don’t, I don’t even know. I don’t wanna be a stay-at-home mom or, you know, wife or whatever, then I can do that too.
[00:51:39] AJ: Yeah.
[00:51:40] BT: But that’s not like what people are reaching for with this submission thing. And also, the other thing, again, I was raised in a cult. People don’t understand that all this talk about submission comes from the Bible that was curated in the 1500s to justify slavery. So, all these verses that people are actually referencing about submission that they don’t understand is actually coming from the Bible was actually written to encourage enslaved people to listen to their masters. So, in the same section of the Bible where we they talk about why submitting to husbands, they talk about slaves submitting to masters. So, whenever you engage in to end this kind of submissive dynamic that’s outside of, of course, BDSM stuff, ’cause, that’s a different whole different conversation, you’re actually entering into kind of Christian, Fascist slavery stuff, sorry. Just throwing it out there.
[00:52:42] AJ: I think one thing that I want folks to think about is, you know, on whose back are you going to be enjoying this soft life, right? Like originally it was—
[00:52:51] AJ: —it was Black women, right? I recently saw this post where in South Carolina, white women basically started complaining to government officials. They were like, there aren’t enough Black women working, so I don’t have anyone to clean my home or to cook for me or to launder my clothes for me. So, they actually passed a law in South Carolina in a town—I forgot which one it was—that required Black women to work, even if they didn’t need to. So, at the time it was during the war. So, at the time there were a lot of Black men who were at war, so, Black women, their wives were getting their stipend checks and so they didn’t need to work, and the women were like, we don’t need to work so we don’t want to. And it became illegal for Black women to refuse labor, to refuse work, so I just.
So originally, it was us, it was Black women. Now people are like, alright, we need an underclass of people who can continue to clean our homes and do our laundry and to cook for us and to do all of these things, even if it’s just takeout. Like, think about who works in the backs of those kitchens where you’re ordering takeout from, right? So, all of these like moves to bring back this the old ways, these traditional, the traditional wife, the housewife and all these things. It’s completely postfeminist, is couched in this language of choice, but it ignores the like class part of it where we need an underclass of people to make your divine feminine dreams come true. And so that is what I would like people to think about. As we talk about class we’re going to talk about Beyoncé and how Beyoncé actually inspired this episode [laughter] we haven’t talked about her yet [laughter].
[00:54:50] BT: Honestly, she did. Gotta give the Virgo queen some credit. And I say Virgo queen not [crosstalk][unclear]. No, no, no. Not even really disrespectfully either, because I. Again, I don’t mean to disrespect her. I say Virgo Queen as in the label that I’ve seen people give to her, but I in no way worship Beyoncé. That’s it. That’s all.
[00:55:21] AJ: Perfect. That’s wonderful. So, you know, so we did hire social media assistant. We did a lot of interviews which everyone was so wonderful, and all of the applications were great. We just want to throw that out there. We’re so grateful for our audience and the people who listen and the people who are out there who want to support us. One of the questions that we asked was what are you following in popular culture right now and every single person said Renaissance. Beyonce’s album.
[00:55:50] BT: Talk about a throwback.
[00:55:52] AJ: Yeah, yeah, her album dropped, I think maybe the week before we started doing our interviews. Of course, people are still kinda talking about it, although the news cycle has moved on. But people were really blaming her for the situation with Kelis, they were like, oh this, this music is wrong, this word is wrong, this term is wrong. And I’m like, why? Why are you all looking to Beyoncé to be a feminist? To be a Black feminist, to fight the patriarchy, to eat the rich like this? She is the rich.
[00:56:25] BT: She is the rich.
[00:56:25] AJ: She is the rich. At home, her husband Jay-Z—for those of you who don’t know who is her husband—Jay-Z made that very clear when he was like, capitalism is an invented word that they—and I’m assuming they referring to white people—came up with to keep the Black man down, to keep the Black man poor. I’m like, why are you all surprised that they don’t have any like class gender critique like in their heads from this like prosperity gospel ass couple? I think there’s two things going on here. One is we need to stop looking to celebrities to dictate what’s right. And I really take an issue with people who are like, well, this person is a role model, and they should be doing this and they should be doing that. They are humans and they’re humans with a lot of money who are hoarding capital. I really don’t think that your expectation should go any further than like, do they entertain me or not? Which of course also brings up like the whole dancing monkey on a stage situation when it comes to Black entertainers, but we’ll come back to that another time.
[00:57:47] BT: Whew. Boom cat.
[00:57:47] AJ: Like where what [unclear]? And then I think that it also just, like, reeks of people wanting to be rich because they think it’s going to help them avoid suffering, rather than actually trying to eliminate the suffering that we can eliminate.
[00:58:04] BT: Boom, boom.
[00:58:04] AJ: So, I’d say shame on y’all like, there’s so much Marxist critique that was done by Black people. And you think that they—read white people—made it up to keep you down? Like, bro, you’re a billionaire?
[00:58:23] BT: I agree with you and going to cite my upbringing again, right? I grew up my formative years, adolescent years, whatever you wanna call them, in cult like church that basically regarded Beyoncé as like the devil. And so, it wasn’t until I got to college that I met other people who were like, you know, isn’t that kind of misogynist? And then I was like, yeah, actually let me, let me take a step back. Um, but I actually [laughter], so I have not listened to an entire Beyoncé album. I have not spun Renaissance one time. Every clip I hear of it I don’t like. And lots of reasons. I think Beyoncé, as a light skinned self-proclaimed Creole plus Negro woman, escapes a lot of critiques. Creole [laughter] Creole Bama woman, right, escapes a lot of critique because of her popularity. But that popularity really, we have to look at and like index like the fact that she is popular because she’s a light skinned Creole Bama woman, right. She, in my opinion, was not the most talented person in Destiny child and so, but because her father and her mother had the positions that they had, they were able to position her in a place where she could be the best pop star that we have out here. And that I won’t take from her. Like that is, that is where she is. But to know that this person has so much power that during a depression—cause, it’s not a recession—she can upload to her website mystery boxes that cost not one or $2, but $50. And people can buy multiple of them, right? Even if
[01:00:26] AJ: it was 35 dollars. We may or may not have two
[01:00:29] BT: Oh, it was 35 somebody told me it was fifty [crosstalk].
[01:00:32] AJ: You know we may or may not have two of them. I was upset though.
[01:00:34] BT: But, you know, Devin works.
[01:00:26] AJ: I was like y’all came by a couple. Of course, I come home. Why are both of them open? Fiancé was like, yeah, yeah, we’ll save one will keep it in the wrapper and you know, maybe it’ll be a collector’s item. It’ll be worth something one day. Why do both of them have the wrappers off anyways? Sorry.
[01:00:51] BT: [Laughter] But yeah, so fiancé. But fiancé has a job and can afford that. I’m talking about people who are like, you know, you choosing between whether you gonna feed yourself and buying a box. And that, and the choice being, I’m going to buy the box because Beyoncé said it. Like, I think that kind of hold that she has as a celebrity over people is scary. I think that’s very scary, particularly because she is not very vocal, but she’s married to a man who continues to abuse her and cheat on her, right. We talk about Beyoncé not being a feminist, right. She isn’t. She is hog tied to this man and they’ve come forward about the abuse that she’s experienced in that relationship. And so, for him, for him to say capitalism is a made-up word to keep Black men down. He is sitting right, you know, hopefully laying right next to her in bed, talking about this shit, you know? I’m. I just, I think folks are much more willing—
[01:01:59] AJ: I’m sure Beyonce feels the same. She just wouldn’t say. I think she believes the same thing, but she just wouldn’t say out loud.
[01:02:04] BT: She wouldn’t say it out loud. And then even Renaissance right? This album of queer Black house music that was made by a ten toes down cis het Black woman. And folks are reluctant to name and critique that because of who she is. It really troubles me. It really troubles me because we know, right? Every five- or six-years Beyoncé reinvents her sound to whatever is hip, whatever is going to sell, right? And so, to even say that this is an homage to the queer folks in her life in the way that Kendrick Lamar made a song that was an “homage” to a trans relative. Right? But not too really formatively include Black queer people and diverse range of Black queer people and Black trans people in the imaging, and you know, the rollout and all of these things troubles me. And that troubles me, and I think yeah, I think we give celebrities a pass because just like what you said, right, people are not making the link between being rich as a way to avoid suffering versus like eliminating suffering. And so, if we really are, are truly holding onto the words of the Combahee River Collective and Black feminist thought. Radical Black feminist thought, let me say. They said we reject being on pedestals. And yet here we are saying that, you know, a celebrity is the pinnacle of Black feminism. It really, it troubles me, and I think—I mean, that’s all I’m gonna say on it. But that, that’s all I got to say for people—
[01:03:59] AJ: She is—for those of you who don’t know, I love musicals and I was recently re watching some clips from Dreamgirls. And many of you may know that Beyoncé was cast as Dina in Dreamgirls.
[01:04:20] BT: Who is supposed to be Diana Ross.
[01:04:21] AJ: Who becomes the lead singer of the trio, the Dreams. And there is actually a scene where Curtis, who is supposed to be—who becomes her husband but is the manager of the group and her mother—the character, her mother—are watching her sing for the first time while she’s singing lead. And he says, “Oh, she has something special.” And the mom says, “You make her sound like a product.” And he was like a product, I like that. I like that. And it’s like, yes Beyoncé now is a product. She is a brand and if y’all don’t see the slavery connotations that come along with that, regardless of her owning her sound, owning her music, owning her companies and all that kind of stuff then I mean, I’m not, I don’t know. I don’t have, I don’t have much hope for the world. I don’t.
[01:05:17] BT: I’m like, yeah, no, I don’t have much hope. Because Renaissance can’t be the soundtrack of liberation. Ain’t nobody liberated. I just, you know, you could tell me all day to quit my job, but—but where? What? What do you know about it? What do you know about a nine to five?
[01:05:37] AJ: I mean, I’m not gonna lie, she probably works more than a nine to five than most of them, but like the rest of her, life is nice. It’s not like she’s working at nine to five like you or I were. Not only are we working a nine to five, but then we have to come home and clean our own apartments and do all of our chores and ting and tings try and figure out, navigate this ridiculous world that we live in. But I wanted to go back to the her being light skinned Black woman. Start thinking about have our last and final little convo around Meghan Markle and her new podcast, and how irritating I find her, have found her. Even though I’m very intrigued by her life as a Duchess, but whatever y’all. Commonwealth country person, what can I say? I just think that she is kind of the epitome of this postfeminsim requiring a racial analysis because she’s very vocal about being a feminist, right, about how like women need equality and things like that, but she is not vocal about race.
And when she does try to talk about feminism, there’s just, there’s no teeth to it. It’s so—it’s such like a washed-out thing, like it’s just more like a we need to be equal. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t seem to have any grit, any fire, like anything that has any potential for change. And I just every time I hear her talk about it, I’m like, you’re not talking about race. Only to find out she only recently started feeling like she was treated like a Black woman. Did you hear about this? Did you? Did you hear what she said? It was on her podcast episode with Mariah Carey? So, they did an episode together about being biracial and she said that. She was like, when I grew up, I was always treated as a biracial person, as a biracial woman. And it wasn’t until I started dating Harry that people started treating me as a Black woman. I was not a Black woman. I was a biracial woman until I started dating a white man is just [sigh] weird to me.
[001:08:01] BT: It’s very strange. I, you know, in situations like these, you gotta blame the parents.
[01:08:07] AJ: But her, mother is Black like, that’s the thing.
[01:08:10] BT: Her mother is Black. Some people, some Black people, though, have Black bodies and white minds? I don’t know. Whatever, [crosstalk] [unclear] [laughter]. So, I just feel like, I mean, I don’t know her mother at all. Can’t speak to it. But I would, I would imagine that for that to be a realization, her mother did not really have long, serious conversations about what it meant to be Black with Megan. And possibly because, I mean, if you look at, if you look at Megan too fast, you don’t see it. So, I could. There could be a whole bunch of reasons for that. As a darker skinned Black woman, I don’t have any type of knowledge of what it’s like for someone to look at me and not see Black. And so I can fathom it because of the abjection of my experience. But I can’t, like you say, like it just, it’s something that still feels a little incomprehensible to me. And I would be interested to listen to Mariah Carey’s take on what it means to be biracial, particularly because once she became famous Mariah Carey has always kind of been like, okay, she’s just Black. And that kind of erasure of her biracial identity after certain, I forgot which album it was, but it was kind of like, after this album, she’s not biracial no more, Mariah Carey’s Black. Yeah, that’s so interesting to me to also hear you say that like feminism without teeth. That to me though, I would connect to her own claim of like whiteness in her own experience of whiteness. Like you can afford to have a feminism without teeth if you’re white because their feminism, your feminism is I want to be a white man, whereas like Black feminism is actually this whole structure of gender. Okay, I’mma say radical Black feminism is this whole structure of gender, this whole relation of race, this whole thing about ability, this whole thing about sexuality in class needs to be deconstructed. And so if, yeah, if you’re whole goal is to be a white man without some of the equipment, then have at it. But that doesn’t mean I got to join you in it.
[01:10:47] AJ: I really do want to understand what it was that—what it was that she meant by that by being treated as a biracial woman. And then being treated as a Black woman.
[01:11:02] BT: Well, definitely the—well Patrice—
[01:11:05] AL: What does it mean in American society. That is, I guess my question.
[01:11:08] BT: Yeah. I would say Patrice Douglass’ work is actually really interesting in thinking about Black gender. And basically, what her one of the major theses of her work is, you know a woman is Black by what has been done to her, right? So, this idea that like Blackness opens up a body to all different types of gratuitous violence, right? So maybe Meghan Markle lived life as a biracial girl then woman, right? And didn’t experience the violence that Black people experience until she went to the homeland of colonization, and they said, wait a minute you, you just like the rest of them, honey, she’s just like the rest of them. And so maybe that violence is like the distinguishing factor between what it means to be biracial and what it means to be Black. Now, the biracial people that I know that have white mothers had experienced violence in their white families but maybe she avoided that because her father was not really a part of her life, so she didn’t have that experience of like dealing with racist grandma and uncle and auntie.
[01:12:34] AJ: I think he was, but I don’t know what the details are on that. But I think, I think that’s a really, I think that’s a good place for us to wrap things up, sending people over to Patrice Douglass’ work to think more about what Black womanhood means.
[01:12:56] BT: Oh, that’s last thing I want to say. This is it because we haven’t, we didn’t mention—content warning Aries Spears, Tiffany Haddish situation, but again cult of celebrity. One thing that I noticed speaking of Black women social position is that people are going ham on Tiffany Haddish but they’re not quite going ham on Aries Spears and that is because people expect for Black women to be mammies all the time. And so, when we hear that Black women commit violence, it is like, oh my gosh, how could you do that? Because you’re supposed to take care of us.
[01:13:32] AJ: You’re supposed to take care of us. You should have known better.
[01:13:34] BT: You should’ve known better. Yeah, with R Kelly, you need proof. But with Tiffany Haddish. Oh, I know she did it. Here’s all the points. She was eating chicken at that thing. That’s how I know she would be. And it’s like, y’all are so many complicated things—
[01:13:51] AJ: But I think [crosstalk][unclear] actually, she represents one of these archetypes as well, right? Like she’s kind of. She’s this loud, lower class Black woman. She was living in her car until she became famous, and so she she’s like an errant, wayward Black woman. So of course, she would be blamed for these things. She’s getting put back in this role. Like, yes, she may have overcome, but she’s that kind of like new, new age jezebel/welfare queen kind of woman, and she’s being punished for that as a result.
[01:14:38] BT: For sure. And by punish we’re definitely not referring to the allegations by any means, or the bringing them forward. That is not what we mean by punish. We mean punishment in the in the public eye. That kind of thing. We want to be clear about that.
[01:14:56] AJ: And the way she’s being dragged compared to others. Definitely not. Yeah, ’cause I think that’s the word that their lawyers have been using, is that the mother has been trying to punish them. That’s definitely not what we mean. But yeah, let’s wrap it up. Let’s wrap it up. Bring it out. Take us out.
[01:15:20] BT: Yeah, that’s all we have for y’all today. Welcome back. Welcome bike. Thank you all for listening. This episode was produced by Alyssa James and Brendan Tynes and distributed in partnership with the American Anthropological Association. This season of the podcast is generously funded by a grant from the Arts and Science Graduate Council, the Heyman Center, Public Humanities Graduate Fellowship, and donations from listeners just like you.
[01:15:48] AJ: Yes, thank you all for your support. If you liked this episode, please share it via social media, WhatsApp, or on a bumper sticker. I don’t know. Do people still use bumper stickers? Tell us, should we make one for merch [laughter]?
[01:16:03] BT: Yes.
[01:16:04] AJ: And we’d love to hear what you have to say about this episode, so be sure to follow us on Instagram @Zorasdaughters and on Twitter @zoras_daughters. Please, please, please, y’all are probably not listening to this part of the episode, but I’m just gonna peer pressure you a little bit right here. Leave us a rating and a review. I was gonna say even if it’s not a five-star review, you can still read, you can still, you know, leave it ’cause it just shows that people are engaged and listening. But just leave us a five-star review. Like, why would you anything different up? For transcripts that syllabi and information on how to cite us or to become a patron, and being a patron is very fun, visit our website zorasdaughters.com.
[01:16:52] BT: And last but not least, we must remember that we must take care of ourselves and each other.
[01:16:58] AJ: Bye.
[01:16:59] BT: Bye.
[01:17:03] [END OF RECORDING]