thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

GLG Round-Up: The Oscars, Racism, Sexism, and Quvenzhané Wallis

In Oscars, race on March 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I will admit that I didn’t watch the Oscars as I don’t really like awards shows, I kind of really dislike Seth McFarlane, and last year’s Oscars were horrible (as were the years before). I expect the show to be simultaneously offensive and boring, but I did not expect the overt sexism and racism–and sheer disrespect even from red carpet reporters–directed at the incredibly talented and adorable (puppy purse!) star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhané Wallis. There’s been a lot of great (and not so great) stuff written about the Onion‘s unacceptable and racist tweet and McFarlane’s inappropriate joke about the nine-year old actress. We wanted to provide a space on GLG to showcase and highlight the conversation.

Crunk Feminist Collective’s Moya writes an awesome “Love Letter to Quvenzhané Wallis.

“He wasn’t nice. Some of the people who have interviewed you and are talking about you have been really disrespectful. You’ve done such a great job telling people how to say your name. It makes me mad that people still can’t get it. People think it’s funny to make fun of Black girls with names like ours. When I was little people would say my name wrong on purpose.”

Jessica Luther’s “On Quvenzhané Wallis,” at Shakesville, provides not only a great overview of the conversation, but also a really spot-on discussion (including the failings of white feminists this week).

She’s a young black girl in a country with a horrific history of racism and sexual exploitation of young black girls. Because – AND I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH – black women’s bodies have been sexually exploited, used, disparaged FOR CENTURIES. That’s great for you if that history doesn’t mean anything to you but that doesn’t mean that history isn’t real and isn’t present now. The fact that you don’t have to engage with that history when MacFarlane or the Onion “jokes” just means you’re lucky.”

Tressi MC asks and answers (with empirical analysis) “Did White Feminists Ignore Attacks on Wallis?

“In the final analysis, the white out on Quvenzhané and The Onion is gradational. Some feminist outlets covered the issue, if only tangentially. The notable exceptions are the biggest brands and the most corporate outlets. What appears to be closest to the truth of what happened, and what feminists of color are arguing, is that white feminists ignored how race made Quvenzhané vulnerable to attack and that race muted the intensity of the response from white feminists.”

And Arturo Garcia wrote “Apparently, People Have Beef With Quvenzhané Wallis,” over at Racialicious.

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