Branded Feminism

When I was five, my mom bought a silver iPod with bulky, rounded corners and a perpetually dirty screen. I would always listen to her vast array of songs while sitting in a shopping cart at the grocery store or in Walmart. On special occasions, like my birthday and Christmas, she’d let me pick songs that we could buy the music videos for. And more times than not, I’d pick a song by Taylor Swift.

Back in her country days, Taylor Swift was a drama-free, curly-haired bundle of joy. I thought she was just the coolest anyone could get. However, as she got older, (and I as well) my opinion of her changed.

I grew up with my sister constantly educating me about different aspects of feminism, from the everyday struggles of women of color to how to have inclusive discussions about class, race, sexuality, and gender. So, when Taylor Swift proclaimed herself a feminist, I was excited to see what a person with her following could inspire. To my dismay, her “feminism” did the opposite of inspire.

In fact, recent studies have shown that when a major celebrity calls themselves a feminist, it makes people care less about feminism. Feminism has become a hot topic of discussion over the past few years. When a celebrity talks about feminism, it usually is just to build their image, not to bring awareness to its issues. Even if Taylor Swift is a feminist, some things she does demonstrate outdated views in equality, as feminism changes every day.

Photo Credit: http://www.cosmopolitan.com

For example, while her “girl squad” may promote girl power and sticking together, to many in Hollywood it is just like a high school clique. Stars, such as Miley Cyrus and Chloë Grace Moretz, have spoken out about it. One such star is the Disney star, Rowan Blanchard, who said, “The ‘squads’ we see in the media are very polarizing. Feminism and friendship are supposed to be inclusive, and most of these ‘squads’ are strictly exclusive. It makes feminism look very one dimensional…’Squad goals’ can polarize anyone who is not white, thin, tall and always happy.”

Mostly, this band of models and singers is just a way to uphold Swift’s pristine image. I mean, if Swift were really about girl power than why would she use her group of friends to diss other women, like in the “Bad Blood” music video?

As a women who believes in empowering other women, Swift is in plenty of celebrity feuds. With a list including Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, among others, she can’t just be an innocent girl getting bashed on. Naturally, people are going to disagree on social media, but the fact that remains is that Taylor never really owns up to her mistakes, and yet she still has a pristine image in the eyes of many.

Finally, she doesn’t have the best track record with treatment of people of color. The reason she invited Zendaya and Serayah McNeil (two very successful women) to be in her “Bad Blood” music video, was probably because she had recently been called out for only having white friends. In her “Shake It Off” music video, she had black women twerking all over the camera, but no black ballerinas. Of course there would be black girls twerking in her music video, but generally that form of dance isn’t seen as very classy, as opposed to ballet. Ballet is graceful and fluid, and there are plenty of black ballerinas that could be included. In Taylor’s “Wildest Dreams” video, which is literally set in Africa, there was not a single black person. While these examples aren’t very apparent and could be skewed in many ways, they reflect the microagression that people of color experience on a daily basis.

With all this said, I really hope Taylor’s feminism grows in the future. It’s been quite a while since she’s been on tour or released new music, so maybe she’s taking the time to think of new ways to help educate the masses about inclusive feminism.

An Open Thank You to the President

Thank you for the past eight years.

Although I’ve only seen two presidents in my life, thank you for all that you’ve done.

Thank you for allowing people to criticize you before and after winning the election.

Thank you for being a benevolent spokesperson of the United States, and for meeting other leaders with dignity and class.

Thank you for letting me decide what I can do with my body. Thank you for opening some up to the idea that women deserve free rein of their bodies just as much as men do.

Thank you for creating an affordable healthcare option, so that we can have a healthier country. Thank you for disregarding the talk about money and future, and for providing safety for those who didn’t think they’d have it.

Thank you for your comedy, from talk shows to the White House Correspondents’ Dinners.

Thank you for your light-heartedness around children. It’s not every day that the president opens the White House for a Halloween party.

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Photo Credit: twistedsifter.com

Thank you for talking about tough issues with an open outlook. Thank you for disregarding taboo and speaking about what truly needs to be heard.

Thank you for sharing the love story between you and your wife for all the world to see. Thank you for sharing your elegant family with the public.

Thank you for being historical and inspiring people of color to pursue their dreams.

Thank you for showing me the good in the United States, and for accepting the bad.

Thank you for running down the halls of the White House with your dog, Bo.

Thank you for appreciating and lifting the spirits of people of color, LGBTQIA people, disabled people, and every other kind of person.

Thank you, Barack Obama, for being this country’s humble, kind, and amazing 43rd president.

Queen Bey Stings Again

On November 2, the 2016 Country Music Awards were held. Usually filled with the many familiar faces of country music, this awards show’s 50th year was different. In a surprise performance, Beyoncé, accompanied by the Dixie Chicks, shocked fans with a performance of her song “Daddy Lessons.”

Photo Credit: http://www.billboard.com

This performance didn’t come without controversy, however. It surprised many that Beyoncé, usually an R&B artist, would even release a song like “Daddy Lessons.” The song itself has been hotly debated on whether or not it should even be considered as country. This debate intensified when the song wasn’t nominated for the CMA’s song of the year, causing an uproar from the Beyhive, Beyoncé’s fan base. Whatever your opinion may be on the song, one thing is certain: Beyoncé knows how to change things up.

Her career started when she was in Destiny’s Child. She left her Texan girl group behind and started her affluent solo career 20 years ago. Throughout her time in the music industry, her voice and style have changed immensely. She’s shifted between R&B, pop, and now, is dabbling in country. Her song “Daddy Lessons” is rich with new instruments and its lively tempo is something the Beyhive has never heard from their favorite artist. She continues to shake up Hollywood with her cryptic songs and surprise albums.

On Wednesday night, Beyoncé’s performance just reinforced her skills. She transgressed through genres, something that not many artists know how to do. Her first country song was performed at a country awards show. With many different options, the show’s curators chose her, as unlikely she may be for the position. She didn’t disappoint, as shown by the audience’s loud cheering at this unique performance. So, whether or not you like Beyoncé or her work, there is no denying she knows how to shift between genres of music.

The New America

Photo Credit: http://blog.collinsflags.com

It’s 2015 and all the good values in Americans are dead. This generation is disrespectful, uninformed, more interested in what’s trending, and drinking overpriced coffee, than finding success in life. There was a time where Americans took pride in their work, when they respected the President, and families talked about their day at meals.

What happened to the hard-working American? The ones that took pride in their work and came home each day satisfied and tired? Nowadays everyone complains about their work; they think being a barista is a career, and that their life’s so hard.

60% of United States citizens don’t graduate college. If anyone from that 60% says life is hard, they are full of crap. They do less than the 40%, and they complain just as much. How hard can their job be?

If anyone comes home from work not tired, they did it wrong. This is America, what was once the best nation in the world. What happened to this generation? How did one generation completely ruin all American values? I am ashamed to be a part of the worst generation in American history. What happened to the good old American ideal that we could always do better?

The lazy baristas and interns aren’t just bad employees; they are just plain disrespectful. Everywhere I go, I will see at least one kid being extremely disrespectful. There’s a difference between teenage trouble making and pure disrespect.

The disrespect is  rudeness, like knocking stuff down and not picking it up because it’s not their job. It’s okay to not agree, but to disrespect publicly is wrong. Everyone from my generation, including me, does this. I’m not proud when I do it, but it’s just something everyone does now.

This is the generation of social media where we can say anything without repercussions. Free speech is great, but what no one understands anymore is just because it can be said, it doesn’t mean it should be. I would classify myself as a Republican, but I don’t trash talk Obama.

In fact, I think Obama has done a damn good job. Obama is a great example to show what’s wrong with the nation. When I say that, I don’t mean the government; I mean the people in it. What is wrong with people who think it’s okay to question whether Obama was born in the states?

What happened that made it okay for the media to falsely state Obama’s plans? The biggest incident was post Sandy Hook, when the news was telling everyone Obama is taking their guns away. But in reality, he has done more for gun nuts than against.

I’m not saying it’s the parents of this generation to blame. It’s the biased news that is viewed by everyone, manipulating the public. It is the uninformed social media users spreading non-factual crap that makes the government look like a joke. What makes this country so bad? It’s the people who say the country is bad, but don’t realize that they are the ones who need to change it. They are the ones who make America bad.

I hope that someday people once again look up to the President with the highest level of respect, even those that don’t agree. The people make the country, not the government. It’s the whole damn reason the government was designed the way it was.

Country!

You have to hand it to them, country music singers can say some pretty stupid stuff.

That right there is one of my favorite clips on youtube. When even the three stooges on Fox and Friends make weird faces at what you say, you know you’ve got some problems.

But other than the F-150-driving, ‘Murica-loving xenophobes like Hank Williams Jr. and Toby Keith country has some pretty awesome musicians. Hank Williams SENIOR, Jimmie Rodgers and even, to a point, Johnny Cash know how to carry a tune.  As far as the greatest songs of ALL TIME go, I’m so lonesome I could cry is up in the top three. TB Blues makes it up there too (just go listen to the slide on that song).

As far as “new” country goes (I put new in italics because it’s not really new), BR5-49 takes the cake as the best. This type of country can be enjoyed by every Prius driving, Cafe Late drinking xenophobe who likes good music. Just…forget about Hank Williams Jr. and listen to some good country.