Posts Tagged: black women

Aug 10

Black Women Run, Too

I recently received the Sept/Oct 2010 Women’s Running magazine and there’s a strong chance I may cancel the subscription. The magazine itself has some almost-useful-to-me information, but each time it comes in the mail, I’m reminded that the magazine is really not geared to me as a black female.

Women's Running magazine

Women's Running magazine

Just a glance at recent covers can tell you that. In the two years this magazine has been coming to my house, I don’t ever remember a woman of color on the front of the magazine. Inside the magazine, not one of the articles features a woman of color. Three ads contain a woman of color: One Latina near the beginning of the magazine, then on page 76 (this issue is 80 pages) in the lower left corner and again on the back of the magazine. The only time you see females of color accompanying an article is when they are children. Of course! It’s so uplifting to see young black and brown girls interested in fitness. *eyeroll*

Of course, this is nothing new. Women of color are be used to the dearth of useful information in magazines geared to (white) women. Self, Shape, Women’s Fitness, Prevention, and Fitness Magazine have never pretended to cater to me. That’s why I will never subscribe or read these magazines. But when I saw “Women’s Running” (previously Her Running), I had wrongly assumed that meant all women. If anything, this is extremely clear in the beauty sections, which mainly focus on products geared to those with fair skin and non-kinky hair. In other words, I’m not going to hold my breath expecting an article on which hair care products are best for black women who swim. Which is okay. I don’t need Women’s Running to change to fit me.

I think what astounds me most, is that when you consider the make up of the US Woman’s Track & Field team, it is mostly black women. I do not recall seeing them interviewed in this magazine. However, I do see many interviews from past white Olympians, including those who have never won a medal. When I go running in my neighborhood the young Latinas and older Asian women put rest to the belief that only white women run. When I join a race and see so many black women of various ages, I refuse to believe the image these magazines give me. There is a reason that I follow @blackgirlsrun on Twitter.

Sadly, there’s not many options for me out there. Heart & Soul magazine has a very, very limited fitness section. I used to subscribe to this magazine for years, but figured it was time to let go when I only wanted to read one article from it. Instead, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing; sending out tweets and blog posts asking black female athletes for tips. Word of mouth is strong among black women. We have that going for us.

Hopefully, I’ll learn of a useful-to-me magazine.

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Nov 07

Missing Women of Color and media disinterest

How many of you clicked every update and talked about your friends and/or family over the Emily Sander case? How much detail can you provide me? When it comes to missing females in the media, I admit to glossing over them. It’s usually a white, blond, attractive young woman. Ugly white ladies who go missing get more coverage than an attractive young black/latino/Asian female.

Early last month, I learned of Nailah Franklin. She was 28 yr. old who went missing after a series of vague text messages. Note I didn’t provide a link. Does anyone know much more about Ms. Franklin? Where did she live? Do you know what she did for a living. Did you know as much as Ms. Franklin as you do Ms. Sander? Do you even care? Note the past tense. I found about Ms. Franklin 4 days after her body was found.

Patricia Wilson-Smith says:

I want HOURLY updates on the Nailah Franklin case – I want consistent coverage on the progress of the search for her and I want it to go on forever or until she’s found, which ever comes first. In other words, I want her to get the same chance at the oh-so important exposure from the news media that any Natalee Holloway look-a-like would receive. In a nation that prides itself on its multi-culturalism, and that wants to believe it has left the specter of racism behind, why is it seemingly impossible for the media to give fair and equitable coverage to the missing/exploited minorities in this country?
(emphasis mine)

I admit to following stories of missing women of color closer than the media allows. I visit Black and Missing but not Forgotten. I’m always astonished at how little media coverage so many of those women receive. I’m amazed that our media has spent more time on a non-American white child missing in another country, than most of those American women combined. I’m am appalled that we get to learn (whether we want to or not) the details of Elizabeth Smart‘s hostage situation, yet Megan Williams ordeal was “too much” or “not family friendly” enough for the media. I’m blanking on the outlet, but I remember some spokesman said that the reason they weren’t covering it in detail was because there still needed to be a trial and they didn’t want to taint people. Yeah, I spewed coffee too. Considering mainstream media general seems to be judge, jury and executioner, I was gobsmacked reading that. Just a simple online search shows the discrepancy. Even though they have an almost even number of hits, Smart’s hits show many mainstream media stories, where Williams hits are mostly black bloggers blogging about the ordeal and the judicial outcomes.

Which brings us back to Sander. I saw a link earlier today that said something like, “Body found may be that of missing [wherever she's from] teen.” What I did not see was this headline: Body found of Latasha Norman. (You’ll note that most of the hits are also mostly blogposts). I found out on Thanksgiving that Ms. Norman was missing via black blogs.
From AP h/t to Black and Missing but not Forgotten:

Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin said Norman’s disappearance should get “the same kind of concern” as that of Stacy Peterson, 23, a white woman from suburban Chicago who has been missing for three weeks.

“As far as the interest by the national media in the story, I think race probably had an impact,” said McMillin, who is white. “It’s a small college in the South. It’s the daughter of simple people who maybe are not important outside of their circle, and maybe we don’t attach the same importance to them that we do for other people.”

I found out today via black blogs that Ms. Norman’s body was most likely found.

Aug 07

Being Black is a Fashion Don’t

h/t to Jezebel, I have no idea how I missed this…

First slide up: an African American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the ‘Glamour’ editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was ‘shocking’ that some people still think it ‘appropriate’ to wear those hairstyles at the office. ‘No offense,’ she sniffed, but those ‘political’ hairstyles really have to go.

Moe writes:

Um, hey, ‘no offense’ taken — my hair has been totally apolitical ever since I learned about the dangers of “Republican highlights” — but next time you tell a group of professionals they’ll need to submit to extensive regular treatments if they expect to survive in the corporate world, maybe try a crowd that isn’t so familiar with, like, the law?

(check the comments because there’s a lotta funny in there)

Now, we know about black women and our hair. Our hair can say a lot about us. When I worked in the corporate world, I had my hair straightened. I had to stop because it was getting to the point where I was gonna have no more hair to be straightened, so I went to braids. $400 every other month and I hated them. So I let my hair grow out and I started rockin’ a ‘fro. My 3 white, female bosses didn’t bat an eye. Neither did most of our other bosses, but that could have been because they worked in other cities hundreds of miles away. The one person who did say something, the big, dumpy white chick who wanted to be the office manager. Here was a girl who needed some serious tweezing, better clothes and some class approaching me to tell me she didn’t think my hair was professional because it was “too black”. I came thisclose to showing her how black I could get. I did file a complaint and she wound up quitting a few months later.

As far as my hair is concerned, I’m lazy. I hated doing my hair. I hated getting my hair done. I hated thinking about my hair. I locked it up. When I was on disability, I had my hair locked. When I went back to work, my 3 white, female bosses gasped, “You…you’re hair…oh…are those dreadlocks?” Yep! I was happy. One of my bosses would asked me daily, “Can you take them out if you…ah, wanted to?” I saw were that was going. Oh well, a few days after returning to work, I found out I was pregnant. That Friday I was laid off.

Now it’s 5 years later and I’m happy I don’t have to deal with corporate bullshit regarding my hair. I’ve seen Asian chicks come in with chunky blond streaks, looking stupid and no one says a word to them. I’ve seen white chicks come in wearing braids that got done two weeks ago in Cancun and no one says a damn word to them. Yet, have a black woman go from wearing a flip everyday for 4 months and to a curly ‘do the next and the whole office is talking “Oh, you’re always changing your hair! I never know what to expect!” Fuckers.
BTW, tell me, I don’t look good…
My nose ring