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Zeba Blay

Entries by Zeba Blay

What Little Boys Hear When We Tell Them To 'Be A Man'

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2015 | 1:05 PM

What does it mean to "be a man?"

It's a simple question, but one that yields complex and thought-provoking answers in a new clip from Cut Video. In the three-minute clip, boys and men ranging from the ages of five to 50 are asked to do word association in response to the phrase "be a man."  

Unsurprisingly, the youngest participants, respond with words like "tough," "courage," "strong," and "insult." But as the men in the video get older, some of their responses become more nuanced. 

"[It's] misleading," one 21-year-old says. "I've learned that being a man doesn't mean to shut out your feelings, it means to embrace them." 

A 15-year-old adds, "I feel like that's kind of sexist, when someone just says 'be a man.' There are strong women as well."

But amazingly, amidst thoughtful responses questioning the implications of a phrase like "be a man," many of the participants in the video, even up to the age of 50, still use words like "provider," "strong," and "unafraid." 

The clip, which you can watch above, proves that gender stereotypes can harm men as much as they do women. The trick, it seems, is to teach boys early on that being a man isn't only about being strong. 


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The Response To Stoya's Allegation Proves Rape Culture Is Alive And Well

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2015 | 10:22 AM

On Saturday, adult film star Stoya publicly accused fellow porn performer and ex-boyfriend James Deen of raping her. Stoya's tweets, frank and to the point, have sent a shockwave through the porn community.

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Azealia Banks Says She's Not A Feminist, And Her Reason Might Surprise You

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 2:53 PM

Azealia Banks has garnered a reputation for saying exactly what's on her mind, even when what she has to say might rub people the wrong way. 

On Sunday, the 24-year-old rapper devoted her latest online rant to feminism, declaring that she does not consider herself a feminist --...

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National Day Of Black Consciousness Celebrates The Beauty Of Afro-Brazilians

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 11:32 AM

Today is the National Day of Black Consciousness in Brazil, an important holiday in a country notorious for its problems with race. 

Brazil is South America’s largest country, and has the largest black population outside of Africa.  And yet, black people in Brazil experience...

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Apple Exec Apologizes After Mansplaining Music To Women

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 10:22 AM

Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine has drawn the outrage of The Internet this week after making some ridiculous comments about why women need music. 

Iovine appeared on Thursday's broadcast of "CBS This Morning" with Mary J. Blige to promote Apple's new series of ads directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Blige, Taraji P. Henson, and Kerry Washington. 

Explaining the inspiration behind the ad Iovine said, "So I always knew that women find it very difficult at times, some women, to find music. And [Apple Music] helps makes it easier with playlists -- but they're curated by real people."

He added:

"I just thought of a problem. You know, girls are sitting around talking about boys, or complaining about boys, when they have their heart broken or whatever. And they need music for that, right? So it's hard to find the right music."

Iovine drew criticism for "mansplaining" the app to women, and for implying women only need music for stereotypical things like "complaining about boys." Thankfully, the exec has since apologized for his comments.

Iovine's comments were not intended with malice (which is the case with lots of sexist language), but they were tone-deaf at best and emblematic of the subtle sexism in the tech industry at worst. His approach to the ads, which have been largely celebrated as empowering displays of sisterhood, isn't surprising -- just very disappointing. 

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Janet Mock Asks 'Who Am I To Me?' In Powerful New Clip

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 12:42 PM

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The Amazing Black Activists We're Thankful For in 2015

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 10:20 AM

Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on what and who we're most thankful for. This year has been, without a doubt, one of the hardest for people of color. From Ferguson to Mizzou, racial tensions in the United States seem at an all time high. But there are activists -- online...

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The 11 Blackest Moments In The Obama Presidency

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 9:57 AM

Earlier this week, President Obama clapped back at a CNN reporter's question with one of the blackest phrases ever:

The moment quickly went viral, generating memes and even an awesome remix -- all in celebration of the president being unapologetically black

As the first black president of the United States, Obama has always been in a precarious position where his blackness has been at various times a political hindrance. Remember when he was criticized for using the n-word, in context?

Obama has mastered the art of code-switching that so many black people have to learn early on in order to navigate a white dominated world, but in glorious moments like "If folks want to pop off..." his blackness shines through. Below are a few of Obama's best, "blackest" moments during his presidency: 

1. When he sang a moving, soulful rendition of "Amazing Grace" at the Charleston memorial service for Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney.


2. When he code-switched his handshake with Kevin Durant. 


3. When he had jokes on jokes, on jokes at the 2014 White House Correspondent’s Dinner: “I’m feeling sorry for the Speaker of the House, as well. These days, House republicans give John Boehner a harder time than they give me. These days, orange really is the new black.


4. When he said "wha gwan Jamaica" at a Jamaican press conference in April. 


5. When he did the smoothest swag walk ever after announcing Osama Bin Laden’s death. 


6. When he sang Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” to the First Lady at a New York fundraiser in 2012. 


7. When he referred to Donna Brazile (Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee) as his "homegirl" in his 10 year Katrina anniversary speech. 


8. Whenever he dances like your turnt uncle at the family function. 


9. When he got his hair cut at the iconic Emersons Barbershop in South Carolina, highlighting the cultural institution of the black barbershop. 


10. When he straight up played the GOP during his 2015 State of the Union Address with this back to back sting: "I have no more campaigns to run… I know, because I won both of them."


10. Let's not forget, when he made this face after he was asked about his nuclear plans against Russia at a White House press conference in 2014.


11.  When he let this little boy touch his hair in the Oval Office and got us all right in the feels. 


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Someone Remixed Obama's 'Pop Off' Comment Because Dreams Do Come True

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 2:27 PM

On Monday, a CNN reporter asked President Obama why we can't just "take these bastards out"...

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Caitlin Stasey Breaks Down Why Hollywood Sexism Is Just 'F**king Lazy'

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 10:38 AM

In the latest video from StyleLikeU's "What's Underneath Project," actress Caitlin Stasey shares some powerful truths about navigating the sexism in Hollywood. The ongoing video series captures diverse people stripping down to their underwear while candidly answering questions about identity, body image and self love. 

In the video above, published on Monday, the 25-year-old Stasey reveals that sometimes being the "pretty girl" isn't so pretty. 

“I wore high-waisted jeans to an audition once," Stasey said. "I then got a phone call from my manager saying, 'The director doesn’t think you’re sexy anymore, he thinks you’re just a mouthy girl next door.'”

The actress went on to explain that while, as a white woman, she sees herself represented in media, the representations are nearly always based on the sexualization and objectification of women. 

"Some of the greatest female heroines have been born in the hearts and minds of men. That's my difficulty -- watching old white men write for young women, or write for any marginalized individual, because they just have no f***king idea what they're talking about," she said.

Stasey's frustrations don't come from having "pretty girl problems," but from understanding that Hollywood is often more interested in her beauty as a commodity rather than her talent. 

“People are genuinely f***king lazy. They know that the quickest way to make a dollar is to objectify and humiliate women.”

The Australian actress has been a consistently outspoken critic of misogyny in the entertainment industry. In July, she called out a magazine for pulling an interview with her because she refused to pose nude for the cover shoot


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The Badass Women We're Most Thankful For This Year

(1) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 11:49 AM

Thanksgiving is mostly about eating until you can't zip up your pants, but it's also a wonderful time for remembering the things -- and people -- we are most grateful for.

In honor of the holiday, we're highlighting some women we can all be thankful for this year. These women are...

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Powerful Video Reveals What No One Tells You About Sexual Assault

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 9:46 AM

When it comes to surviving sexual assault, there's power in refusing to be silent. 

A new video from Buzzfeed Yellow beautifully brings this message to light, with three very different survivors of assault, one of them a man, reciting a poem that describes "what no one tells you about being assaulted." 

The first three lines of the poem, recited by each member of the trio, emphasize the ongoing stereotypes about victims of assault:

"It happened to me even though I'm a guy."

"It happened to me even though I wasn't wearing revealing clothing."

"I wasn't drunk or inebriated." 

The poem goes on to describe the many challenges that some survivors must face, including being in a "perpetual state of PTSD," and feeling guilty, embarrassed, and afraid of sharing their stories.

But the poem ends on a hopeful note.  

"I am not a victim, I am a survivor," the trio recite together. "It happened to me, but I am more than a statistic. I am not damaged goods. I am healing."  

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Cynthia Nixon: A Woman's Story Doesn't End When She Has A Kid

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 10:16 AM

According to Cynthia Nixon, not every woman's goal needs to be "having it all."

The 49-year-old actress is perhaps best known for playing the cynical Miranda Hobbes on HBO's seminal comedy "Sex and the City." But while Miranda ended up with a successful career, a husband, and...

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The Psychological Toll Of Racism In The Wake Of Mizzou

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 2:22 PM

When news of the incidents at Mizzou and then Howard University first broke, I was numb. As a writer, and a black woman, I felt a kind of obligation to write something, to say something that could make a difference. But I was coming up empty. What more can...

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Woman Shuts Down Dude Who Demanded $5 Back For Coffee Date

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 12:00 PM

We've all had at least one date from hell, but how many people have been asked to "pay back" a date who they've rejected? It happened to one U.K. woman, Lauren Crouch, as chronicled on her dating blog No Bad Dates, Just Good Stories

In a blog...

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Why You Should Never Assume That A Black Person Can't Be Latino

(2) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 2:16 PM

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Watch This Badass Victoria's Secret Model Shut Down A Sexist Question

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 11:03 AM

Magdalena Frackowiak was not impressed by sexist backstage questions at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

A TMZ reporter gained behind-the-scenes access...

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Watch Toni Morrison Break Down Why Racism Is A White Problem

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 12:54 PM

Toni Morrison is without a doubt one of the greatest novelists of all time, and one of the most profound thinkers on race and identity politics in America. Naturally, Morrison gets asked to share her thoughts on race all the time, but perhaps one of her most profound answers to the question "How do you feel about racism?" comes from the 1993 Charlie Rose interview above. 

"That's the wrong question," Morrison responds. "How do you feel?" 

What follows is two perfect minutes of Morrison's poignant thoughts on how racist ideology affects white people as much as it effects people of color. 

"Don't you understand that the people who do this thing, who practice racism, are bereft? There is something distorted about the psyche. It's a huge waste, and it's a corruption, and it's a distortion. It's a profound neurosis that nobody examines for what it is," Morrison says.

Morrison's final thought in the clip, which has been shared widely via Youtube and Tumblr, is probably the most important. She says: "What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Still smart? Do you still like yourself? ...If you can only be tall because someone's on their knees, then you have a serious problem." 

In light of the recent events at the University of Missouri, as well as the overall racial tensions in the country, Morrison's words are much-needed food for thought. So much of the conversation around racism hinges on how it makes black people the victim, but how does it make victims out of white people?

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Claire McCaskill Kindly Encourages Men To 'Shut The Hell Up'

(9) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 11:51 AM

In what is possibly one of the greatest videos to ever grace the Internet, Sen. Claire McCaskill has released a public service announcement encouraging all men everywhere to "just shut the hell up."

"As one of just 20 women currently in the Senate, it's important to me to encourage more women to run for office," McCaskill said in the clip, which aired on last night's "Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

"But equally important is encouraging more men to sometimes just shut the hell up. It's not that women don't value your thoughts, it's just that we don't value all of them. The world doesn't need your opinion on everything. For example, what women do with their bodies. Hush."

McCaskill then went on to share a few of the topics women no longer need or want men's opinions on, including "'Star Wars,' pantsuits, selfies, Shonda Rhimes, curtains, carbs, millennials, body hair removal, religion, gluten, Harry Potter, nut allergies, 'Star Wars' again, all art in general, whether or not to  brine the Thanksgiving turkey, and ethics in gaming journalism." Brilliant.

Thank you, senator, for saying it so we don't have to. 

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What The Entire Country Needs To Learn From The Students At Mizzou

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 9:43 AM

Here's what we know so far about what led to University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe's resignation yesterday: We know that in September black students at the school publicly decried a series of racist incidents which included several students -- among them the school's student body...

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