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racism

Connecting with WOC and Sexuality

Ever since puberty, I found my body to be a site of shame, something I desperately wanted to escape.

A transplant to predominantly white Catholic schools on Long Island, I was immediately deemed ugly. I had an older sister, but we were close enough in age that we were navigating puberty around the same time. As second-generation daughters of immigrant parents, we were on our own as far as navigating the personal and social meanings of our bodies.

A lot of hurdles were awkward for me. I grew flustered and self-conscious when relatives felt no qualms about making unsolicited comments about my body.

“You’ve got boobs now,” an aunt told me bluntly when I came over with my mother once. How could she mention them? I was mortified.

I could avoid it for a while by wearing starchy undershirts under my school blouses, but soon, I couldn’t hide my growing breasts anymore. I crossed my arms over my chest in an attempt to hide my nipples as they showed through my shirt, but I might as well have be

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Yay, I'm Bisexual! How Can I Block Out All the Negative Messages & Stereotypes I Hear About It?

bifabulous asks:

I recently acknowledged to myself that I've liked girls as well as boys for a while now. I often find myself frustrated when people assume that my romantic interests in other women "don't matter" because women get romantic feelings for each other all the time, that girls don't count when it comes to sex and kissing, that because I say I'm bisexual I'm secretly straight and will end up with a guy in the end. I'm afraid of being fetishized. I hear men laughing about how hot Asian women are, how much they'd want a threesome with lesbian Asian women, and it just makes me so angry that I don't know what to do. I want my love to be for me, and I want other people -- my peers, family, friends -- to recognize and respect that, but I know that I live in an imperfect world where the ideal isn't always reality. I don't want to be a angry, bitter person all the time. How can I make sure that the relationships I pursue are for me and my partner only, when I feel frustrated by all the stereotypes that surround bisexual women, particularly Asian women and their supposedly submissive nature?

Decoding Sex in the Media: How Lily Allen's "Hard Out Here" (Sadly) Missed the Mark

I really wanted to love Lily Allen’s new song and video, “Hard Out Here."

The British artist, who took time off to start a family, has recently burst back into the music scene with a punchy, sarcastic pop song that slams the widespread objectification and harsh criticism of women’s bodies in so much of modern media. Far sharper than Beyonce’s generic brand of girls rule!, “Hard Out Here” addresses specific feminist issues with acuity and wit.

She discusses the double standard surrounding women’s sexuality (“If I told you about my sex life, you'd call me a slut/when boys be talking about their bitches, no one's making a fuss”), the unrealistic beauty standard for women (“You should probably lose some weight/'cause we can't see your bones/you should probably fix your face or you'll end up on your own”), and even makes a jab or two at Robin Thicke’s rape-y hit song with the sarcastic lyrics like, “Have you thought about your butt? Who's gonna tear it in two?”

It’s about time for an empow

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How are we supposed to know what’s wrong if we don’t know what’s right?

Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.

I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.

On what she wants people to know about young wome

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The holidays are here, and so are uncomfortably racist conversations with family!

The holidays are here and you know what that means! Well, if you're a person of color in an interracial relationship, it may mean having to sit through yet another uncomfortable, racially-charged conversation with your significant other's fam. I know I have, and December's barely here. When your significant other's (SO) parents tell you that they wished they had an African American relative in their ancestry, just to spice things up a bit, and then correct themselves to say that, really, any person of color would do--you've got a problem on your hands. Or when they joke about how they "thought you were Mexican" when you're Japanese (both are comments that I've encountered in the course of my dating history), playing on the 'they all look alike' myth, haha--Not. So while one of the best parts of being in a new relationship has been being made a part of my SO's family, the hardest part about being in a new (interracial) relationship is the culture shock of getting to know the peopl

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The Sticky Situation of Interracial Attraction

Are you in an interracial relationship? Do you have the hots for someone of another race? Attraction is all well and good until someone gets targeted for their race. Here’s the scoop: attraction is different than fetishism. People can have fetishes about all kinds of objects and acts, which can be part of a normal, healthy sexuality. Fetishes about people—particularly about specific races—are more complex than having a fetish about feet or breastfeeding, for example. Let me give my distinction between attraction to those of a certain race and fetish. Attraction is finding a person beautiful or sexy, part of which may be their race. A fetish is finding an object (or a huge, diverse category that someone perceives as an object, like say, race for example) sexy. The key here is looking at the whole person, not how their racialized characteristics fit into your preconceived expectations of them, and seeing that person as a person, not as an object.

Another distinction is that fetishes are

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MEMO: Race is not just a POC thing, we all got it!

Okay, quick quiz: What do these things have in common? Getting accepted into college, meeting people for the first time, walking down the street in your neighborhood, going to the airport. Answer: In all these situations, your race affects how you are perceived and treated by others, as well as your own outlook on the situation. This doesn't only go for people of color (POC), but everyone. Okay, now I'm going to blow your mind: everyone has race, even white people! It sounds silly, but people forget this all the time. Race is a big part of who we all are as individuals, and logically, it also factors into our sexual relationships in a major way.

The reason that race is such a big issue comes from our long history of racism: slavery, genocide (see Jessica Yee’s post), rape, persecution, the list goes on. That kind of history doesn't just go away. And it's reflected in the more subtle (but still destructive) racism that POC regularly experience in the United States today. Becau

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Rape, Racism and the Media

If you are in Italy these days and spend some time watching the news and talking to Italians, you'll notice that there is one topic on everyone's minds and that's rape. In the past few months, there has been extensive media coverage of several rapes that have been perpetrated in the big cities. There has been a huge public outcry coupled with a large demand for more police presence and tougher punishments for rape. Just last week, Prime Minister Berlusconi responded by passing emergency laws to deal with the situation.

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Chlamydia on the Rise, Particularly for People of Color

From the Kaiser Health Disparities Report: A Weekly Look At Race, Ethnicity And Health:

Blacks were disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infection rates in 2007, including chlamydia rates that reached a record high and syphilis rates that increased for the seventh consecutive year, according to a CDC report released on Tuesday, Reuters Health reports (Dunham, Reuters Health, 1/13).

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Bloghopping: October/November 2008

Often, Scarleteen content is quoted within other blogs and articles, and my favorite thing about that is seeing how what we've done here can further other conversations and ideas; how others take some of what we've done in a different direction or to a further point.

Here are a few recent blogs and articles who have quoted or used some of our content to help address an array of topics. To check out the whole of the pieces, just give the links a click.

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