Another Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer + New Trailer and World At D23 in July!

18 Jun

There have been three Kingdom Hearts teaser trailers since 2013. Now, Square-Enix has given us a fourth. Now, things seem to be moving towards better development. For me, though, these teasers make fans even more hyped up, which can be good and disastrous at the same time (if the game takes too long to be released or if the game doesn’t meet expectations). Fortunately, we’ve been told that Tetsuya Nomura is a “perfectionist” and won’t release the game until it is perfect. Unfortunately, Nomura has also said they had to cut certain things out of the game to push up the release.

It has been more than 10 years since Kingdom Hearts II came out, and mostly the loyal fans (and the fans who can afford to) have played the side games (the most recent one being Kingdom Hearts 2.8). After looking at the reactions to this trailer, I was shocked. The fans really are still around!

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Coming December 2016 + Complete Kingdom Hearts Timeline Finished!

This new trailer was so popular, in fact, even among everything happening at E3’s event (and outside of it) a little over a week ago, Kingdom Hearts was the top story in the gaming world among stories missed, according to IGN!

Most Kingdom Hearts fans were expecting to see information about Kingdom Hearts III at E3. But, surprise! A new trailer was dropped at the Kingdom Hearts ORCHESTRA tour.

Of course, as a Kingdom Hearts fan, I was super excited about the trailer.

Let’s review the trailer, shall we?

1) We’re seeing more from the Olympus Coliseum “Hercules” world.

2) The Command Style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2 seems to be adopted.

3) Party member combination attacks seem to be back, but better than before.

4) Hercules is now a party member.

5) Hades, Maleficent, and Pete are back.

6) The “black box” was mentioned. All my fellow fans who watched the Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Back Story cinematic know where that line is going…

7) The magic has taken on the style from Birth By Sleep Fragmentary Passage 0.2. Awesome.

8) We see the drive forms have returned, along with the Sonic Blade command.

9) Sora is trying to bring Roxas back. Dream Drop Distance comes to mind. Sora made new revelations about the Nobodies, so I figured Roxas would come up sooner or later in KHIII.

10) I’m not seeing the “amusement park” attacks here. I hope they weren’t scraped.

11) Keyblade transformation seems awesome.

12) Shotlock has returned.

13) It looks like there will be a dive mode similar to what we had in Dream Drop Distance. Are they discarding the gummi Ship? I really liked the upgrades for the gummi ship in Kingdom Hearts II and was hoping to see better upgrades in the new game… Then again, it got annoying at times. Maybe the dive mode is back because Sora is trying to become what he couldn’t become in Dream Drop Distance… Ya’ll fans know what I’m talking about.

14) Aerial Finish is back!

15) Flowmotion has returned.

16) D23 Expo July 15, 2017 will reveal the trailer and a NEW WORLD. We already got the word that Big Hero 6‘s world will be in the game. I wonder if the new trailer will show a bit of it. This makes me excited, but I’m afraid of spoiling the game for myself. XD I’m so weak to these teasers.

I’ve been watching quite a bit of reaction videos, too. It’s strange when I watch reaction videos that question “the black box” and are confused about certain commands. The fan’s overall Kingdom Hearts experience is exposed when watching these videos, and it’s obvious when a fan hasn’t played the game since Kingdom Hearts II. XD The fans who have really been keeping up with things not only understand what’s going on, but they are creating solid theories.

 

There are many other reaction videos out there! It’s quite entertaining.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the Kingdom Hearts III trailer!

 

‘Wonder Woman’ (Quick Movie Review)

13 Jun

Last weekend, I had a movie day. I saw two long movies in one day at the movie theater. Spending money on movies isn’t normally my thing, but I needed someplace to cool down from the heat.

‘Wonder Woman’ was one I’ve been wanting to see for awhile.

I have grown up with the DC universe more than I have the Marvel universe. I watched the Batman cartoons on Cartoon Network as a kid, read Superman‘s comics, and was obsessed with Teen Titans. I know that’s not saying much in comparison to the serious fans, but it made Wonder Woman an attractive movie for me. Also, as a woman, why wouldn’t I support a female super hero movie?

That being said, let me sum up my feelings on Wonder Woman in one sentence: Your typical super hero movie.

Wonder Woman is getting quite a bit of praise from crowds. I can see why. It has the bells and whistles: Flashy lights, explosions, a moral center, and an attractive lead female character. Oh yes, and did I mention a lead female character?

Of course the feminists were going to eat this up. First off, it passes the “Bechdel test”, the test that requires a movie to have two or more women in a movie, discussing something other than men. With a look into the island of Amazons kicking this movie off, we are introduced to a warrior tribe of empowering women.

I was quite interested in this island. In fact, I found some of the other female Amazons on the island to be better representations of feminism than the leading goddess and would’ve liked to see more development for them. But no good movie can keep going without an idiot. Yes, the lead character has to be the “fool” otherwise this story wouldn’t have existed.

Yes, I said it. Wonder Woman played “the fool” in this movie. She was all brawn and no brains. I’ll give some spoiler examples…

When Wonder Woman, real name Diana, was trying to help the “strange American man” named Steve back to his home so she could “save the world”, there was this awkward scene with her speaking to him about the Amazons’ view of men, with her trying to understand why he won’t sleep next to her, and then her ultimately  convincing him that this is okay. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that she probably shouldn’t have been running away from all of her studies as a child. I’m sure the Amazons wouldn’t have just taught her how to wield a sword, but I’m sure they were adamant about teaching her the details of life. That is, if she had actually stayed in one of her classrooms. But because she focused so much attention on being strong, no one was able to teach her to be observant. If she had been observant, she would’ve been able to maneuver in the “world of man”. When the American man refused to sleep next to her, a shrewd warrior would’ve quickly caught on to the custom of man and kept a healthy distance.

When Diana first arrived in the world of man, she walked around sporting a sword and shield. A truly observant warrior would’ve observed the people around her and realized, “Hey, no one else walks around with their weapons drawn. I should keep a low profile until the time is right.” Without the careful shrewdness of a real warrior, I couldn’t take this Amazon princess seriously. Then again, I’ve never been able to take most super hero stories seriously, and I suppose this moment was to give us light humor and add flaws to her almost-perfect package, even if it didn’t exactly make her the “feminist” ideal. Furthermore, she wasn’t considered a real warrior. She clearly lacked experience.

I applaud the female director Patty Jenkins for bringing a female superhero to the screen, though. And she is exactly what all the other heroes onscreen have been: balls of power with dim wit. Very few heroes are depicted as intelligent creatures. She was treated equally, and that’s all we can ask for.

If there was one area Wonder Woman delivered on, it was on the battlefield. Sure, she’s stupid. But she’s not afraid to charge head-first into bullets and bombs. She shows no restraint or hesitation when she slices her sword through a man she assumed to be Ares (the villain she believes is responsible for causing WWI).

Still, her whole voyage was lead by her naivety.

I also wasn’t too convinced of her romance with American spy Steve. To me, from the first encounter, the romance seemed to be developing, which made it feel forced. It was bettered developed than the romances in other super hero flicks, but that doesn’t mean it was the best. I’m not one for romantic flicks much anyway, but the few that I’ve gotten into seemed to develop slower over time and moved about unexpectedly. I’ll take the Hermoine and Ron coupling for example (though I’m still team Harry x Hermoine). Hermoine and Ron’s relationship developed over the course of the series. Yes, it took several sequels to build them up, but for me, that’s how long it should take. In that sense, the romance didn’t have to stand in the way of the main plot and story. I can’t jump on the bandwagon of a love-at-first encounter match nor can I side with a story where romance becomes the center (or even a secondary plot) without the proper time.

Despite the hang-ups, Wonder Woman was still an enjoyable time. I particularly liked the scene where Diana (aka Wonder Woman) hopped out of the trenches, sword and shield in, and faced the guns firing at her, repelling bullets with her wrist guards along the way, too. Even though this part was in the trailer, something about this scene on the big screen brought out the best of the character: her determination and her strength.

Throughout it all, Wonder Woman also showed remarkable compassion for humankind, even when they showed more flaws than she expected. She was outspoken and spunky in her own way. She doesn’t have the slut-shaming mentality, so she doesn’t care if her skirts are above her knees, which made us all seem small-minded in comparison. She truly had a broader view of the world, even if the world wasn’t as idealistic as she’d assumed throughout the story.

Still, as “compassionate” as she was, she was blind to who her real enemies were and failed to truly investigate the situation around her. For example, I wish she could’ve talked to her indigenous friend a little more. So captured by her boyfriend-to-be Steve, it’s almost as if she ignored her comrades’ words regarding how Steve’s people wiped out tribes of other people. Once I’d heard of that, as a warrior, I would’ve immediately questioned Steve about it and that would’ve lead me to truly question the honesty and integrity of humankind as a whole. It could’ve opened a gate to more knowledge about humans and brought deeper truths to the screen.

But I forgot, Diana is stupid. And they obviously wanted us to continue to see Steve as tender and handsome. So, I guess some issues will just have to be tossed to the back.

And then her “compassion” did not compel her to spare a General’s life, even after she was repeatedly told that individual might not be who she thought he was. Heck, she failed to truly understand Ares, the God she was seeking. Her whole moral character seemed to sit only on the surface.

If you want to turn your brain off to real history, but you enjoy a slice of it with some mythological tales, lots of explosions, action scenes, and a strong female kicking butt, you’ll love Wonder Woman. If super hero movies are your taste, you’re in for a treat. It was a good movie, but for me, it could’ve been better.

I give this an 8/10.

Bratz dolls VS. Feminists: “Oversexualized” or “Empowering”?

16 May

Lately, I’ve been going back into the history of Bratz, where Bratz experienced a tremendous rise in the toy industry and where Bratz took a tumble downhill. As a major Bratz fan, I still have a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that these dolls are not going to be produced anymore, that they are discontinued, and that they are no longer popular. In 2016, MGA, the owners of the Bratz doll brand, announced that they were discontinuing the Bratz dolls after a less-than-glorious comeback from their hiatus the year before.

As a way to find a sense of closure, I’ve been researching all kinds of news articles on the Bratz, news that have been out since 2001. I’ve been going back into my own “archives” both online and offline.

In a former article, I reviewed what happened to the Bratz in the last couple of years, based on all the information I have: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

While flipping and clicking through everything, I’ve come to realize that feminists, moms, and Bratz dolls were never far a part from each other, but feminists and moms never really met eye to eye with the Bratz. It doesn’t surprise me that “soccer” moms are against the Bratz. Their name is “Bratz” after all. Parents may have heard the name and assumed that the dolls encouraged their girls to rebel against their parents.

However, I’ve found the Bratz to be a very empowering line of dolls in totality. That’s why it shocks me to read about so many feminists who are really against this doll brand. In fact, many feminists have openly been against the Bratz since debut. Therefore, I’ve concluded that the details that go into the Bratz’s  recent decline in popularity have at least a little to do with active feminists. How so?

Before I get into the details, let’s review how the Bratz came to be, how I got interested in the Bratz, and how (and why) they got so popular in the first place.

Bratz: The Urban Fashionistas

Carter Bryant was the original designer of the Bratz dolls who came up with the idea for the dolls after looking at a Steve Madden shoe ad in Seventeen magazine, photographed by Bernard Belair.

Bryant liked the “cartoonish” yet stylish look of the ad and wanted to create dolls with a similar appeal. To put it simply, Bratz were never meant to look realistic, but they were going to be displayed wearing the latest teen fashions.

Carter Bryant has also shared with me that he was inspired from the urban and punk scenes he always loved. He is an edgy man at heart and wanted to bring that to the Bratz doll line. When he brought the dolls to MGA, Issac Larian, the CEO, was skeptical at first, thinking their heads and feet were weird. But when Larian showed the dolls to his daughter, Jasmin Larian, she thought they were cool. The Bratz doll Yasmin was named after her.

At the Turn of the 21st Century, tweens (kids between the ages of 10 and 14) lost interest in dolls. With pop music spreading around the world, many girls were growing too “old” to be interested in toys (though I’d say it’s worse now than it was then, now that there’s this emphasis on smartphones and tablets). The doll market was experiencing a decline back then just as it is now. Many doll companies were interested in turning the new pop culture trend around in their favor. They wanted to make “up-to-date” dolls specifically for tweens so they could bring them back into the market.

Barbie was dominating the toy market, but by the 1990s, she was considered babyish.

Barbie was also criticized by minority ethnic groups for “lacking diversity” and outshining her more “diverse” friends. To many, Barbie was a sign of “White Supremacy”. After all, she was invented at a very tense racial time (1959).

Since the 1970s, feminist writers began examining entertainment designed for girls. Barbie came under fire several times throughout generations of feminists.

Feminists have been wanting to encourage self-love since then. Barbie was criticized for having unrealistic body proportions (like bigger than average boobs, a tiny waist, super thin lips, full hair, tiny feet, etc), body features that didn’t seem realistically attainable for every woman.

Bratz wasn’t the answer to everything missing in the doll industry (according to feminists), but they did solve the “diversity” problem.

The Bratz were released wearing “urban” fashions, a huge trend among youths at the Turn of the 21st Century since the rise in popularity of African American hip-hop and rap artists and labels in the 1990s. White people had also jumped on the urban trends (thanks to groups like New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys). Bratz had bigger lips than the average doll. They wore the “latest trends”, which often included cropped tops, baggy pants, and mini skirts, as well as tons of makeup. The dolls came in a variety of different “colors” and hair textures even if their actual ethnic backgrounds were left ambiguous.

I was a tween at the time of the Bratz debut in 2001, the target demographic. I was one of the children that stopped playing with dolls at 10 years old (thought I still liked to collect them as a hobby). I would say books, video games, anime, and internet consumed my life rather than pop stars and MTV. I still liked certain doll brands, like Magic Attic Club and American Girl, but I never played with the actual dolls. I mostly bought the books, not the dolls. I completely lost interest in the regular Barbie doll (though Generation Girl Dolls peaked my interest for a short time).

To me, as someone who lost interest in playing with Barbies at 10, Bratz were amazing. As an African American, I was happy to see dolls with full lips, full thick hair, and urban fashions commonly worn in my own black community (and not the cookie-cutter suburbanite outfits I often saw on my Barbies as a kid in the 1990s).

That’s why it was perplexing to find that most of the articles kept describing the dolls as “oversexualized” and “materialistic”. I couldn’t understand it at 11 years old. “What’s so sexual about them?” I kept asking myself. Their clothes were cool and urban to me, not sexual. I couldn’t see how baggy pants and beanie caps (included in the 1st edition of Bratz) were even “sexual” in nature. The dolls carried a lot of sass and attitude. They seemed bold and confident to me. The quality was impeccable and very realistic at the time. If anything, these dolls were gender-defying for me! They were not prim, perfect, pink, and prissy. They said “So what!” to fashion norms and boundaries that told girls to be “presentable, lest you tempt the manfolk”.

It truly surprised me to see so many feminists set against the Bratz.

As I got older, I began to understand the feminists’ concerns a little more than I did as a child, but I still don’t agree with many of their assumptions about the Bratz.

Let me give you a little history about myself.

I’m not your typical doll collector. I’m not only an adult, I’m an androgynous tomboy. As a child, I was a complete tomboy. My parents, particularly my mother, would often dress me in dresses, but she was very strict about how I should eat when dressed up, how I had to wear each article of clothing perfectly, and she schooled me on the people I had to please (particularly friends and neighbors). I got verbally (and sometimes physically) assaulted at times for wearing the wrong shoes with the wrong outfit. As I got older, because of these experiences, I began to reject social femininity. When I got more control of my fashion choices, I made sure to avoid dresses and skirts as much as possible.  I became mostly uninterested in clothes and makeup. I prefer to dress comfortably. I became convinced that “femininity” was all about conforming socially, pleasing others, and dressing the part in every situation. Social femininity was translated as “threatening” to me.

So it might make people wonder how I could be interested in such a fashion-conscious doll line like the Bratz.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t see what many of these news journalists and feminists saw in the Bratz. When I first saw the 2001 1st Edition Bratz, I saw their art versions, which displayed four girls in urbanized fashions in the sickest artwork ever. They all wore baggy jeans and sporty crop tops! If anything they looked like tomboys with makeup on!

The clash of femininity and tomboyishness made me feel thrilled and excited. Bratz did renew my interest in fashion, but not as a way to please or impress others. Bratz made me realize that fashion could be used to express oneself, to express ideas, to express art. Bratz inspired me to take my boyish looks to the next level which was why I got interested in different androgynous looks. I became unafraid to look different. I became unafraid of the controversy.

I was an outcast in middle school and high school. I was different. I was not only a tomboy, but a Black girl who enjoyed world music (like Japanese and Turkish music), among many genres including rock and roll, and enjoyed anime and video games. I never dressed up, so everyone thought I was weird. I looked like a 10 year old because I was so petite and never did my hair in the latest styles (which made me look even younger). I wore glasses and didn’t care for contacts. I would wear the same clothes year after year. I didn’t care, as long as they were clean. Many people thought I was a lesbian because I didn’t date in high school. Most of the guys thought I was too skinny to be attractive anyway. I didn’t have curves. When they discovered I wasn’t a lesbian, that confused them even more.

When Bratz were introduced, they were just the kind of thing I was looking for in the world. The Bratz not only renewed my interest in fashion but in the fashion doll industry in general. The dolls also helped me come to terms with my own individuality.

I always loved dolls, even in high school. I didn’t play with them; I just liked collecting them and taking pictures. I collected a lot of 18″ dolls mostly. After the Bratz came out, I was looking for fashion dolls like them. There were few dolls like them though.

I wasn’t ashamed of liking dolls, though I’m certain many teenagers would’ve been. I think after dealing with being forced to fit standards as a child, I had this counter-culturalist in me just waiting to break free. I didn’t think I was feminine at all, and so I rejected it in myself and in others.

Even though they were just dolls, Bratz helped me understand myself. My interest in them revealed something about myself. I realized I hadn’t lost touch with my femininity or my own sense of woman, I just had a different kind and that was okay. I realized that there were many ways to define  “being a woman”.

Bratz helped me at a difficult time, when I felt like I had to fit all of these standards. Unlike me, Bratz could do whatever they wanted to do. They had the courage and bravery, despite the backlash, to just be. It was obvious by their outrageous fashions, their exciting movies, and strong music that they just didn’t care. Much of their music still inspires me, like Bratz Forever Diamondz “Yasmin”‘s “Hang On”.

To me, the Bratz had a very strong empowering message of teaching girls to be confident and comfortable with who they are, no matter what anyone says.

When I saw their outfits, though, they seemed to wear mostly costumes rather than “regular” fashions. They reflected the latest styles with a twist. I was impressed with the detail, the various accessories, and the quality (hair that felt soft and thick, jeans made from actual jean material, etc), as well as the creative and bold themes.

Bratz also set many trends and broke many fashion rules. I liked Bratz because they reflected my own liberation from society’s norms. And at the time, they were the only dolls doing this.

Nowadays, there are many dolls empowering girls in many different ways. Many dolls out today have been inspired from the Bratz. Still, I have a special place in my heart for these dolls because they encouraged me to be bold and different, to be innovative and creative, and to think outside of the box.

My other favorite part about Bratz was that a blonde white girl wasn’t at the center. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with Barbies, too, which I’ll go into further later. But Bratz offered me something I never could let go of, something I could relate to more personally.

Bratz had a variety of different characters eventually, of many shades, with most being dolls of color. I was so happy when MGA released Felicia, an actual dark-skinned doll that was designed beautifully and stylish! Many other Black characters have been in the Bratz franchise as well.

Sasha looks gorgeous in her “natural” hair!

Even though the Bratz dolls came in many shades, Black and Latino culture initially influenced much of the doll brand. From the styles, to the music (as you could tell above), to the full lips and thick hair, down to the urban fashion, Bratz were meant to appeal to a wider ethnic demographic.

In the early 2000s, gangster rap was just sizzling down. Many people outside of the black community (and even some of the old-school generation within) looked down on “urban” fashions and felt it represented “deviant” culture. This is partially why Bratz carried even more controversy at debut. Many people compared them to “urban thugs”. But most of the fashion was widely accepted among black and Latino/Hispanic cultures.

The more rebellious Bratz appeared, the more I loved them. Did it mean I was a bad girl and that I didn’t want to follow any rules? Of course not. But I did recognize that I don’t have to let others define me or decide the type of clothing I needed to wear socially. The Bratz showed me that I can represent alternatives in fashion and let that make its own statement.

Of course, we do have to consider some things socially when picking our clothes, but adding a little creativity and imagination to our wardrobe also adds to our individuality (along with our personalities). Bratz taught me that.

Eventually, Bratz brought in wild lines like Tokyo-ago-go, Space Angelz, Rock Angelz, Pretty N Punk, and many others to the mix. That just gave me more courage to speak out and embrace my individuality.

Some Feminists’ Issues with the Bratz

It baffles me how many people don’t realize just how influential feminists and moms were when it came to the Bratz’s 2015 transformation and sudden decline. Yes, other factors contributed to the Bratz dolls’ decline in popularity (such as the ongoing court battles between Mattel, owners of Barbie, and MGA, owners of Bratz). But the recent comeback, as well as the one in 2010, was obviously specifically “watered down” to appeal to moms and feminists, which didn’t go over so well with many of the fans of the brand.

The moment MGA released the first batch of dolls in 2015, MGA shared a facebook post called New Bratz dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to be Yourself”. The article states that the dolls give a message that “won’t make parents cringe”. MGA must have realized that moms and feminists didn’t approve of the original Bratz and they wanted to ease the criticisms. Women have a lot of power and influence in the retail industry, believe it or not. MGA posted that article to show how Bratz have become more “innocent” in the last couple of years. They tried to put less makeup on the dolls, they made the outfits cuter, and made the eyes bigger so they wouldn’t look sassy or like they have “attitude”. It still didn’t work. Feminists still felt they were “underwhelming“. All it did was make the fans less interested in them and made the feminists criticize them even more.

The few feminists that are/were supportive of the Bratz have mostly been supportive of Bratz’s ethnic diversity and “ethnic” features (such as large lips, thick hair, and slanted eyes).

But most of these feminists overlook any of the positive regarding these dolls.

After reviewing many articles from feminists about the Bratz, I’ve learned that they take several issues with them (issues I find confusing):

  1. Their usage of makeup
  2. Their “sexualized” clothes and features
  3. Their unrealistic body proportions
  4. Their name
  5. Their “materialism”
  6. Their slogan

These Bratz dolls got an amazing feminist makeover

Tree Change

This artist is giving Bratz an awesome feminist Makeover

Bratz Is Not Happy That I Said Their Dolls Do Molly 

The Unsluttification Of Bratz?

Over-sexed and over here: The ‘tarty’ Bratz Doll

New Bratz dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to be Yourself”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-411266/Over-sexed-The-tarty-Bratz-Doll.html#ixzz4gPS3FGyI

How to Explain Monster High and Other Hyper-Sexualized Dolls to Young Kids

Now, many of these comparisons are made right alongside the Barbie doll. As mentioned before, feminists’ first gripe with the fashion doll industry came with Barbie. Barbie has been pretty influential in girls’ lives and she has been an icon of fashion and materialism. She has been a staple of femininity for even adult women. Many feminists have examined how Barbie influenced girls and were afraid the Bratz, who seemed to carry some of the same “problems”, would influence girls much the same way.

But here’s where I think some of these feminists miss the mark.

Yes, sometimes girls often imitate their dolls in various ways and grow up to be inspired by these dolls. However, from my experience working with children and being a child during the Barbie and Bratz era, I would definitely say it depends on the context and the way the dolls are presented. It also depends on one’s own life experiences. Barbie and Bratz gave me two different vibes and that influenced my perception of the dolls, myself, and womanhood in general.

I don’t think Barbie and Bratz give a similar message at all. I think the feminists that think they do only know that the Bratz are considered fashion dolls, but know nothing else about them otherwise. These feminists may have seen one or two lines with the Bratz in more “conventional” fashion, but more than likely they didn’t dig deeper than that.

Let me explain why Bratz and Barbie are so very different and how this affects each of their messages to girls.

Bratz Vs. Barbie

I will share the history of both brands a little more because I believe the very inspiration behind the dolls shows how each was meant to affect girls.

As mentioned before, Bratz was designed to represent a “cartoonish” and yet stylish look, while also reflecting underground subcultures in fashion. Their inspiration came from an ad in a teen magazine.

Barbie was thought up by Ruth Handler, a woman who often watched her daughter Barbara pretend her paper dolls were adults. Ruth saw an opening in the market for adult-designed dolls rather than the usual baby dolls and paper dolls available.

When visiting Germany, she saw the Bild Lilli Doll, based off the popular German comic strip character. Bild Lilli was a beautiful bombshell woman who worked but was not above using men to suit her aims. The comic strip and the dolls were designed for adults, but kids would often take the dolls and mix and match her fashion.

Arguably, Barbie is the inspiration for all fashion dolls that came afterwards, so all fashion dolls will be watched by skeptics. But the intention behind the doll is significant when it comes to the art and presentation of the doll.

Barbie was designed to be an adult figure for girls to imagine and aspire to be. Initially, she was presented as an ideal adult female figure (more so from the White upper-class perspective).

I can honestly tell you, as a 6 and 7 year old, that was exactly what I thought of when I played with Barbie. Barbie may not look totally realistic in her proportions, but she looks realistic enough from a child’s perspective, and she looks realistic enough for women to “aspire” to “obtain” her look. Sure, her breasts are bigger than the average woman’s, especially on someone that thin, but breasts like that didn’t seem impossible to me as a child. In fact, Barbie looked like many of the blonde women I saw on Baywatch (which I often caught glimpses of on tv in the 1990s).

Thus, it was obvious in my mind’s eye that Barbie fit a perceived beauty standard.

In my mind, Barbie had several differences from me. She was blonde, tall, white, and wore clothes only the wealthy could wear. I never aspired to be blonde and white like her, however she reminded me of all the adult women around me. I didn’t see too many women who deviated from the “norm” socially as a child. I would always imagine doing what my mother did when playing with my Barbies.

When I played with Barbie, I didn’t see myself, and that influenced how I felt about her as I got older. As I got older, I saw that I was not growing into an adult like Barbie. I began to disconnect with the doll. I saw my mother and everything she was: a glamorous working woman who could do anything she put her mind to.  I didn’t see much substance in Barbie at all, though. And that may imply that I really didn’t see much substance in the women around me. It implies it and it is true.

However, even though I couldn’t relate to her, I admired her pink empire. I longed to live her wealthy, high-class life, a life my broke Black behind would have a difficult time achieving.

In the 1990s, she came with literally everything. But she had no “real” set personality, no real individuality. All of her friends were just ethnic versions of her that you could hardly find in stores. They literally often wore the same outfits as Barbie, though it would sometimes be in a different color.

Yea, her hair seems nicer in the picture, but the actual doll is not the same!

As a kid, I wanted to be more “successful” like her, but I knew that I was too different to want to be like her completely. I wasn’t girly enough to pull of being a Barbie. Many of my other friends wanted to have straight, blonde hair like Barbie. They wanted the perfect body when they grew up, like she had. They wanted to drive pink cars like Barbie. They wanted to live in mansions like she did. They wanted a handsome boyfriend like Ken. Many of them ended up doing those things in the future, perfectly fitting the social package. I can amusingly say that they often look like clones of one another, trying to outdo each other when it comes to the latest trends.

Bratz, in contrast, never had a body to “aspire” to obtain. They literally looked like cartoon characters. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting heads and feet as big as theirs. In fact, big heads and big feet are normally considered ugly in America! The Bratz made it look cool. As someone who had big feet, I appreciated that. But I never heard anyone “aspire” to have a big head or big feet like them. It became clear that their proportions were not designed to fit an “ideal” but rather they literally were made to be disproportionate.

Sure, they were skinny. But their breasts were not large. Even being skinny, no kid would honestly think their bodies are normal enough to pay attention. My friends and I would always make fun of the Bratz heads and feet. We didn’t sigh with envy, that’s for certain. But the outfits were super creative. It was hard not to anticipate what they would think of next.

Each doll was different in some way from the other. Not only were there dolls of various colors, but each doll had their own wicked fashion sense and personality. They were very individual and not outshined by the “white” doll. The four core dolls were treated equally at debut, which I appreciated.

The Bratz were not designed to fit the usual beauty standard. They were meant to reflect the underground cultures, cultures that have developed a sense of community to help them cope with being an outcast. Therefore, in my mind, Bratz produced the opposite response of wanting to “imitate” and rather encouraged individuals like me to be “themselves” and strike out boldly. At 11, I was thinking that if each Bratz girl looks different, and has her own passion for fashion, that means all of us are different. We don’t all have to look and be the same. It encouraged me to find my own unique sense of style, not be the doll I saw in front of me (unlike with Barbie).

Barbie’s other media entertainment, like her movies, showed her as a gorgeous, glamorous lady who could do anything. Bratz movies showed four individual sassy teens who liked to hang out, dress up at times, dabble in their hobbies, and go on amazing adventures. The Bratz never seemed as shallow as Barbie.

Bratz Boyz were a stark contrast to Ken. Though they are all fashion dolls, the Bratz boyz weren’t just accessories for the girls. They had their own lines, several individual ethnic appearances and personalities, many different hair textures and styles, and just as much detail as the girls. Boys were not ashamed to admire them. Girls saw more than just boyfriends in these dolls. In fact, only one of the main characters “crush” on a Bratz Boy. But that boy has his own interests, his own personality, and his own style.

With the differences settled, let’s address these issues feminists have with the Bratz directly.

“Too Much Makeup”

Feminists across the board have been very critical of the Bratz’s overuse of makeup.

Some feminists believe that the Bratz have perfectly made-up faces, which teaches girls that they have to wear makeup to look perfect.

Among feminists, makeup in general has been controversial. Feminists are determined to break the social expectation that encourages girls to be too interested in their appearance. Unlike men, women are often expected to appear perfect, without flaws. This has been linked to women being treated like objects rather than creatures of “substance”. Many jobs around the world won’t hire women or will fire women if they don’t wear makeup. Feminists have been pushing for women to embrace their natural features and colors without a “mask”. They have been pushing for businesses to remove the makeup standards/policies or equalize them (pushing men to also wear more makeup).

One look at the first Bratz dolls, and a feminist would definitely think the Bratz’s usage of makeup further encourages these harsh makeup standards in young ladies. As someone who doesn’t wear makeup, I completely understand this concern.

On the other hand, feminists also preach against body-policing and believe that women should be free to indulge in whatever they enjoy. If a woman truly enjoys makeup, does that make her a product of the patriarchal system and less feminist?

Some feminists recognize that makeup can be used artistically. Many feminists believe that if women truly enjoy makeup, and don’t look at it as a necessary tool to hide their “flaws”, then it isn’t necessarily anti-feminist.

Some feminists don’t think women should be controlled to either extreme considering some companies also control how much makeup a woman wears, which isn’t fair either.

Still, there are feminists out there who believe a real feminist would not support makeup at all and they often do shame women who wear it.

Admittedly, Bratz are designed with a ton of makeup on. However, I think it would be unfair to compare Bratz’s use of makeup to other fashion dolls’ usage, like Barbie’s, or any other usage of makeup that is deemed designed to make someone look “perfect”.

When looking at Barbie, for example, Barbie’s “makeup” has consistently been painted on her face to give her the ideal packaged look for every generation. She is literally considered “gorgeous” with it on. She has the perfectly colored cheeks, darkened eyelashes, and perfectly lined lipstick. Her face is clear of blemishes, moles, freckles, and any other “imperfections” she could possibly have. Her eyebrows are perfectly arched and tweaked. Even the best makeup artist can’t get a real girl’s face that beat. Barbie is plastic perfection. Any girl who admires her will want to be plastic perfection as well. Her made-up beauty fits a conventional standard, yet no woman can ever really look like her 100%. Real women get older. Real women have wrinkles, freckles, beauty marks, moles, scraggly eyebrows, and all the other distinct features. And yet, real women do make themselves up to look like Barbie all the time.

Bratz’s use of makeup is/was entirely different.

For starters, the makeup wasn’t designed to hide any “imperfections”. The Bratz doll Yasmin had a mole under her left eye. Her makeup didn’t hide that mole. Other Bratz dolls had moles and freckles, too.

Though, admittedly, a lot of the Bratz makeup was polished, there were many times their makeup was experimental and could hardly ever really be called “perfect”.

Take Bratz Space Angelz Cloe for example.

What is perfect about her makeup? Nothing at all! Her lipstick is asymmetrical, hardly what I would call “designed to appeal”. It would be fair to argue that anyone who wears their makeup like this is looking for attention, but it’s hardly the sexual or attractive kind. While Barbie’s makeup was clearly created so she could look pleasing out in public, this makeup is hardly what I would call public-friendly.

Any child who imitated this would end up getting stared down by the public, and maybe even teased and mocked. I’m sure most children were/are aware of that. But it’s clear that the makeup is different and unique. Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to see that the Bratz are giving a different message with their makeup. They are showing just how artistic and creative it can be, even if it isn’t necessarily attractive! They are showing that it’s okay to do something different with makeup! It definitely doesn’t give the message that girls have to wear makeup to appear normal. In fact, the above doll line made makeup seem very unusual, almost abnormal. Even makeup’s rules were bent by the Bratz dolls!

Much of the Bratz’s other makeup was used to match up with the theme or subculture they represented. Pretty N Punk, for example, represented punk culture. Many punk princesses wear dark makeup to show their edge and fierceness. They don’t wear it to appear “attractive” or sexy or perfect. Male rock stars often wear eyeliner and black lipstick, too, and I’m sure it’s not to appear more attractive and perfect.

Most guys might think these styles are cool, but hardly any of them would consider these girls “bombshells”. It’s easy to tell that their makeup was purely designed to better make a statement rather than to appear perfect, without imperfections.

Again, Bratz used makeup in a variety of ways, even in more conventional ways. But because of their constant changes, they never managed to give the impression that they wore makeup to please others. They never gave the message that a girl had to wear makeup to appear attractive. They literally seemed to just be having fun with it. As a tween, I liked that.

Bratz may not have been the fresh-faced, innocent-looking, demure dolls mommies wanted, but they weren’t exactly anti-feminist either.

By feminists criticizing the Bratz usage of makeup, it’s as if they are placing a rule on who gets to be a feminist. So, are they implying women who enjoy trying different makeup tricks aren’t feminists? This leads to greater questions about modern feminism.

Sure, makeup was created by men and is a reminder of the “patriarchy”. But so is everything in our societies. Does that mean makeup is bad and can’t be used for positive and creative purposes? Absolutely not!

Overall, I’m not sure where some of these feminists are going when they attack the usage of makeup on these dolls. I think most of them are purely ignorant about the brand.

Bratz Are “Over-sexualized”

All the articles I’ve read from feminists, especially from Jezebel, have said that the Bratz are “hyper-sexualized” dolls. What exactly makes a doll sexualized? Short skirts? Cropped tops? Makeup? Pouty Lips? Glossy eyes?

And if they do, what exactly makes these things sexualized?

They are only sexualized when people sexualize them. To say that a doll with a short skirt is sexualized is indirectly saying a woman who wears a short skirt is sexualizing herself.

That would go against most feminists’ mantra: “My clothing is not my consent”.

Haven’t we gone beyond policing a woman’s attire and attributing her wardrobe to sexual and physical attention from the opposite sex? So why is it condemned when dolls reflect just that attitude?

Arguing about dolls being over-sexualized may be more appropriate for Barbie to a certain degree because of the “intent” of some of her lines. Most of her early attire is for the physical attention of her boyfriend Ken (though even she has moved beyond that point). Barbie has been a sex icon for most men for centuries. She was inspired by a “Call-Girl” doll, Bild Lilli, a doll meant for adults. Barbie has literally had lingerie lines. She has had “pregnant” dolls.

Barbie, sex icon

Sure, Pregnant Midge isn’t wearing a fitted skirt and a lot of makeup. But she’s pregnant! This opens the doors to other controversial subjects that kids really aren’t mature enough to be exposed to (though children often witness their mothers pregnant all the time).

Barbie is meant to be a blonde, gorgeous adult woman who does “adult” things like have sex and get pregnant. And she allows girls to imagine their lives as “adult” women through playtime with her. Children who play with her are reinventing an adult lifestyle. Sometimes, this produces controversy.

But even with Barbie, should we police all of her fashion styles and attribute it solely to sex and seeking male attention? Not all of it.

If we want to talk about something being sexualized or “hyper-sexualized”, we have to consider the context of the lines the dolls are released in.

The Bratz, on the other hand, have never initiated a sexual response to anyone who played or collected them. The context of their clothing, the intent of their lines, have never been to produce a sexual response. They were intended for a tween and teen audience. They were meant to showcase the latest fashions and the most revolutionary styles out in the cultural world.

In fact, if you look up “Bratz as a sex icon” on Google, hardly anything sexual comes up except these feminists’ articles! While Barbie has many photos of a sexual nature, Bratz don’t!

Most men do not see Bratz as sexually attractive. First off, their bodies are too disproportionate to even be considered “real”.

If you want to argue that Bratz’s skirts are too short, short enough to look like underwear, let’s consider the fact that Bratz hardly wore skirts in the past.

To me, the Bratz have mostly been presented as “fashionable”, not sexy. And if fashionable is considered sexy, women and men have a problem. Clothing itself is a problem. Taste and preference is a problem.

Dolls are designed to mimic the real world around us in some ways. If we don’t want dolls to mimic the styles we find “sexualized”, then we as women need to stop wearing makeup and fashionable clothes that are too sexualized. We need to go back to the point where our skirts were below the ankles and our collars were high. But feminists fought to move away from that point. Why? Because it was uncomfortable to walk in those long, horrible skirts. The collars were itchy and hot in the summer. And it didn’t stop women from being objectified or from being looked at as sex objects.

What is considered sexualized is subjective. In the above Bratz photos, I’m still trying to scan them for any hint of sex and I don’t understand it. Someone else may be able to spot it. If some of us, like myself, can’t spot it as easily, that means it’s not as “overt” as these feminists make it out to be.

Arguably, feminists come from all walks of life, from many different religious and moral backgrounds. Some feminists are Muslim or Hindu and believe in a certain form of modesty. But there are many village women out in the world who often go topless or wear crop tops, and it isn’t considered morally indecent. It’s mostly considered practical in the heat!

If we can honor that women come from all walks of life, we should also be able to understand that the Bratz represent those women that actually enjoy using fashion as a form of self-expression and connecting with group culture, especially sub-cultures. We should understand that the Bratz wear their short skirts and crop tops and think nothing of it.

The short skirts that they wear are simply fashion statements. The Bratz’s legs seem freer, which is why the Bratz give off the image that they are liberated from societal norms. But their lines are hardly ever to cater to male or female sexual fantasies.

The Bratz do often wear cropped tops. But cropped tops aren’t always worn for sexual attention. If we’re going to say that, we might as well condemn every woman who wears one in the summer, on the beach, or at home relaxing. Bikinis should be outlawed then. They’re revealing. If that’s the case, return to the 1800s idea of “fashion” when bathing suits weighed 8 lbs!

But women will not regress. Women have many reasons for wearing the fashions they wear and it is not always to seek male attention. Feminists are the ones who’ve educated the world on that. So why can’t they accept the Bratz dolls for wearing it?

The Bratz’s cropped tops are no different from the ones sported by empowering and feminist female pop stars and figures today.

And yet, most feminists’ honor these women as strong and empowering influences on girls. Are Alessia Cara and Pink seeking male attention with their cropped tops?

It’s true that fashion sends a message to others about us, even if it doesn’t tell others everything. However, if we look at the context of the lines produced, we can clearly see the dolls’ intended nature, even if they’re wearing cropped tops and mini skirts. From the Bratz, we can obviously see they are fierce, independent, and revolutionary dolls that simply want to take fashion to the next outrageous level.

When we look at Bratz fashion lines like Tokyo-ago-go or Pretty N’ punk, what message are the lines sending?

Bratz Tokyo a-go-go tells me that the Bratz are ready for a wild and fun Tokyo adventure, not a date with a hot guy. Their cropped tops don’t hint at any sexual message in this line. Pretty N Punk tells me that the Bratz are ready to listen to some rock music and party at a rock club.

Neither of these lines give the message that they want a male’s attention or that they even want to look sexy at all.

Many of the feminists that complain about the Bratz often complain about anything “too revealing”. If you wear skinny jeans, you’re sexualizing yourself to some of these feminists!

That’s why they were on my list of 7 Feminists That Make Me Cringe.

These feminists also associate makeup with sexualization. I think makeup makes people look older, especially children, but that doesn’t mean it’s specifically for looking older and hotter to the opposite sex. There is kiddie makeup out in the world that’s toned down and it’s a lot of fun to share makeup moments with mom. Spa dates aren’t sexualizing to a child.

Face paint can be a form of makeup as well. Face paint isn’t sexualizing. Bratz have often used makeup that way.

What really kills me about these feminists’ accusations is how they equate “features” to sexualization. I find it interesting how “big lips” and “glossy eyes” are associated with sexualization. Bratz have a vague “ethnic” look about them. They were meant to relate, again, to a wider ethnic demographic.

But some of these feminists have associated the Bratz’s big lips and eyes with sexualization. What?

Black women have bigger lips than other races. Are they sexualizing themselves when they wear lip gloss or lipstick on their lips? I think this goes back to a Eurocentric standard of modesty, where thin lips and big eyes are considered “innocent”, while full lips and almond-shaped eyes (more similar to other ethnic groups) are considered immodest and ugly.

I can understand how the Bratz could encourage thin-lip girls to get surgery just to blow their lips up. However, thin-lip dolls can just as easily encourage big-lip girls to get surgery to reduce their lips. I think the Bratz, who are widely looked at as unrealistic in form and design, make big heads, feet, and lips, once considered undesirable traits, more acceptable.

I grew up having big feet. Big feet run in my family. Many of the women in my family wear size 11. The smallest feet in my family have worn size 9! Most people have called me “long feet”. When the Bratz were released, I didn’t feel so bad about it. Their feet were obviously exaggerated though.

To me, the eyes showed attitude and confidence, not flirtation and sexuality. So if a woman glosses her eyes, she’s trying to flirt with someone? This contradicts everything feminists stand for!

 Unrealistic Bodies

Feminists have attacked dolls with skinny bodies for years. This is because many are afraid girls will strive to have unrealistic body weights, starving themselves or getting surgery just to appear skinny.

Bratz have very skinny arms and legs.

I can understand why feminists fear this. After all, many people desired to have Barbie’s figure after being exposed to her. However, we have to also analyze what the standard of beauty was before Barbie was released. Being slim, blonde, with thin lips, perky breasts, and blue eyes were always standards of beauty since the 1950s and 1960s. The media played it up. Barbie just reflected that standard in a perfect doll form.

http://www.thefrisky.com/photos/human-barbies-slideshow/barbie-valeria/

Bratz’s body design never reflected a particular standard of beauty from the very beginning, skinny or not. No one ever desired to have large feet and huge heads (at least in the west) with a skinny body. It never has been an ideal (at least in the west) and never will be.

If we look at Bratz as a doll brand separately from Barbie, objectively, Bratz don’t look realistic enough to begin with to cause children to want to look like them in real life. That’s like assuming little girls would want to look like a Powerpuff Girl just because they like the cartoon. Children are smarter than that. They know when something looks unrealistic.

Barbie and Jem dolls had more realistic appearances, appearances that seemed to fit media standards, so I can understand how individuals could strive to look like them. Bratz dolls have larger than life heads with huge feet. They look like they walked out of carnival fun house mirrors.

If you’re looking to bring body politics into the Bratz world, you’ve got a few things to consider.

First off,  keeping in mind their cartoonish look, they aren’t supposed to have realistic bodies. They are supposed to look weird and sort of funny.

Second, you have to consider what kids see when they look at dolls that obviously look disproportionate. I think children get the same vibe from these dolls that they do from characters in My Little Pony. Humans don’t have purple and pink skin, so we can’t be like the Equestria Girls. That’s the vibe I got as an 11 year old when it came to Bratz. In fact, I thought it was cool that they looked like funny, but edgy cartoon characters. Being skinny was not even a thought. I’m skinny, but their type of “skinny” was like watching Anamaniacs characters walk around.

Therefore, it’s simple to conclude that their “skinny” bodies do not honestly matter because the bodies aren’t mean to reflect real bodies at all. They could’ve easily had thick bodies with extremely small heads and feet. It would still look like figures in a fun house mirror, not a real body representing real figures.

The only things the Bratz mimic about humans are their fashion, accessories, hobbies, and personalities. Just like cartoon characters.

Please don’t come and tell me that Gumball toys, based off of the cartoon, make kids want to become clouds, cacti, and fish. Please. Those characters obviously look strange. The Bratz are more similar to them. Kids obviously know that the Bratz bodies aren’t normal and they recognize that they would get teased if they looked that way.

It’s not the same with Barbie or other fashion dolls like her, like Jem. If kids looked like them, they would be “praised” by beauty-conscious individuals.

“Bratz” for a name

Moms may have more of a problem with the name than feminists, but a few feminists have expressed their disdain for the name as well.

Sure, a “brat” is someone who is usually depicted as spoiled, misbehaved, and demanding. It doesn’t sound pleasant over all.

But considering Da Brat was one of my favorite female rappers in the 1990s, I didn’t have a problem with it. Like Da Brat, the name seemed designed to represent their urban, tough, and sassy attitude. It reflected their nonconforming nature. To me, Bratz represented individuality and the beauty of diversity (in style, ethnicity, and interests). The name just made their sass pop.

Da Brat took gangsta to a whole new level with her tomboyish looks!

Again, I can see how this makes the former generation uneasy. After all, they’re still getting used to gay marriage. They wouldn’t be used to a name like “Bratz” being used more positively. To the older generation, nonconformity is dangerous.

But as advocates of nonconformity, it shocks me that there are so many feminists who are so against the Bratz, name and all. I get that we want our little girls to be pure, wholesome, and solid citizens in society. But there should also be room for girls to be bold, innovative, expressive, and revolutionary. I think hijacking the name Brats, adding the “z”, and the halo is the definition of revolutionary and innovative.

Their Emphasis on Materialism

Bratz came with hundreds of accessories and clothes throughout their run. In many of their movies and in their TV show, they are often depicted shopping for outfits for each occasion.

This leads many feminists to believe that the Bratz encourage materialism.

I believe that, as humans, things are apart of our life. Sometimes, things have significant meaning in our lives. In many cultures, family heirlooms are passed through the family and they end up having personal meaning.

Of course, the Bratz’s accessories aren’t as meaningful as a family heirloom, but their items do reflect items we use or see in real life. It’s kind of cool to see miniature-sized items.

Material things are especially a part of being in the 1st world west. I do believe that our lives have been changed for the better by modern conveniences such as cell phones and tablets. I believe that makeup and fashion constantly updates, which says a lot about our culture, so people do spend a lot of money to look good. But I don’t think these things make a person bad or materialistic.

A materialistic person is someone who only cares about material things and can’t live without those material things. The Bratz have shown many layers throughout their shows and movies. Though they do love to look good, they also enjoy their hobbies and connections with friends and family.

Sure, the Bratz have shown that they love to shop. However, they often emphasized being resourceful or finding innovative ways to get the items they wanted. Shopping in bargain bins or designing their own styles were just some of the things Bratz have been shown doing to express their resourcefulness.

The Bratz have shown interest in other things such as sports, music, science, animals, among other things. I don’t think they’ve emphasized material things all the time. Furthermore, I think their use of material things haven’t necessarily made them seem spoiled or privileged.

However, there is nothing wrong with wanting or owning nice things and trying to enhance the quality of your life by collecting something you love or enjoy.

I personally find the Bratz items to be fascinating and enjoyable for playtime. Who wants a doll that comes with nothing? Kids want to bring the world of their dolls to life with mini models. Mini items add to the overall experience each doll line brings.

If we want to question whether we are instilling materialistic values on our children, we shouldn’t be buying them expensive I-phones and tablets. I’ve seen worse behavior come from children demanding the latest technology than from the influence of a Bratz doll.

“Passion For Fashion”= Obsessed with Appearance

Feminists believe the slogan suggests that the Bratz are completely focused on outfits and nothing else substantial.

But isn’t it possible for an individual to be interested in fashion, as a practice, and still have substance?

And why can’t there be substance in fashion?

I can understand if people mostly focus on fashion just to be pleasing or attractive to others. But the Bratz use fashion for many purposes, mostly to showcase many ideas and subcultures, not just to look “pleasing” or “attractive”. Quite frankly, many of the Bratz’s outfits don’t look pleasing. Midnight Dance, Pretty N Punk, and Space Angelz are not really of the “pleasing” sort, though some of the Bratz’s outfits are.

It’s clear the the doll brand is emphasizing not being concerned with pleasing others. Bratz are encouraging individuals to enjoy fashion without fitting into fashion molds. Fashion doesn’t always equal attraction and attraction doesn’t always equal fashion.

I believe the one thing that is lacking among girls today is passion. Girls are not encouraged to be passionate about the things they like and want. They are encouraged to scatter their interests, which makes it difficult for them to master a practice. The Bratz encourage girls to be all about their passions, despite what others think.

I also find it odd for feminists to be against having a “passion for fashion” when we consider the fact that the majority of fashion designers are male!

Females are still in the minority

I think the Bratz’s kind of passion for fashion encourages girls to be future designers and inventors. They don’t encourage girls just to buy clothes, but to also come up with their own ideas, to think outside of the box, and to express themselves in unique ways.

Using myself as an example, I don’t think I would’ve embraced my own gender expression as well had I not been introduced to the Bratz dolls. I don’t think I would’ve thought it was possible to see the individuality in fashion. I don’t think I would’ve found my own social identity.

When feminists began criticizing the Bratz, it affected the overall design of Bratz. MGA made things worse by dragging the brand into court with Barbie’s company Mattel, but feminists began growing in influence and they are the reason the latest Bratz design changed into something long-time fans could hardly respect or appreciate. MGA expressed that they wanted Bratz to have a “better image” for girls. Who made the Bratz image look bad? Why would they decide that the Bratz image wasn’t good enough? Someone had to be criticizing the brand in order for them to make that statement on Facebook. We have to acknowledge that feminists had some hand in the drastic change.

In my opinion, Bratz moved from a more ethnic look and vibe to a more “Eurocentric”-friendly design.

I know it seems like I learned a little too much from a line of dolls, and it may seem that I invest too much time appreciating these dolls, but that is partially why I have a special connection with this brand. I really feel if feminists’ had really and truly tried to understand the meaning behind the Bratz, if they’d actually given them a chance, they would see that the Bratz are/were not too far off from feminists’ goals.

I just hope that when, or rather IF, the Bratz return, they will return to their original authentic design. I hope they truly produce something earth-shattering, regardless of what anyone says. Even if feminists disagree, for me, that’s truly empowering.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think/thought about the Bratz controversy, feminists’ involvement in it, and the future of Bratz.

Ask the USA: “Why Do Americans Make A Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

14 Apr

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, one of the questions I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

“Why Do Americans Make a Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

Let’s just get one thing straight here. The USA is full of diverse people with diverse opinions. When it comes to race and ethnicity, people handle it differently here. Obviously, there are many people who don’t make a big deal about it. There are people who are actually prejudiced and don’t care about it. There are people who make a big deal about race and ethnicity and see them as serious issues. There are people who use these issues to “progress” in life and use it as an excuse to do whatever it is they want.

But those who understand “prejudice” will act against it, right? That group may not include those of a minority racial group. It may include those of alternative sexual orientations, minority religions, feminists who feel oppressed, and ethnic groups who live alternative lifestyles. With all of these people acting against prejudices of all kinds, they will obviously loudly act or speak against racism.

However, there are people in the above category (including those from a minority race) who really don’t care about racism either way.

Yet, we still have to acknowledge that people do make a big deal about these things.

So, let’s begin with a little history lesson…

How Did All of these Race Issues Begin?

America is still a young country in comparison to most other countries. It is exactly 238 years old (if we’re not counting when the settlers first arrived on the land and the thousands of years the Native Americans have lived on the land).

With that being said, many of the early issues that affected the USA still sort of affect us because they really didn’t happen that long ago (if you consider the fact our history is more recent than the histories of other nations).

This nation has a majority white population. But it wasn’t always that way. The Europeans did a lot to make sure it became that way. Their actions left a lot of bitter and resentful people. Unlike other countries, the USA began as a melting pot, with a majority Native American ethnic group, and ended with white people as the majority. It was never homogeneous. Let’s start with the original people.

Native Americans

The ancestry of these people trace back to Asia, so they weren’t always on the land, but they discovered it first, thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Before the Europeans arrived on the land, it was owned by the various indigenous tribes within. They divided the land up their own way, just to keep the peace among them.

They learned to work on the land, they hunted and/or grew crops, fished, and developed their own cultures.

The first Europeans to arrive were from Spain. Most were explorers. They were helped by the Native Americans. The Spanish traded with them, which was how horses were introduced into the different western tribes.

Eventually, though, they fought with the many Native tribes on the west coast, some of the southeast coast of America, and in present-day Mexico and took over the land. Most of those settlers were greedy for land. “Hollywood” now resides in one of those lands.

However, even though Spain fought many tribes, they also befriended many tribes, including the Pueblo. Eventually, some of the Spanish mixed with many indigenous tribes and formed the ethnic group of Mexicans (Mestizos) we are most familiar with today. They learned from the other indigenous tribes and lived peacefully for years.

Mexico eventually fought and won independence from Spain in 1821 (after years of revolt against Napoleon’s occupation of Spain). Mexico won all of the west coast from Spain and continued to live peacefully soon after.

The French came as well, but they were overtaken by the English. They had issues in their own nations, a feud with Great Britain, and Canada to manage as well.

When the Europeans from England arrived, they were escaping religious “persecution” in Europe, sent over to the land to chart it out, or sent there as a punishment for crime (since it was considered the “wilderness”, fairly with large forests and mountains and unfamiliar wild animals).  This means that most were looking to spread their own religious values, were sent to conquer the land, or were criminals.

Many of the criminals were trapped as indentured servants. Orphans and other lost people were sent to the land as well.

When the Europeans arrived, they didn’t literally have a thing. During the Starving Times, some people ate their own shoes.  The Native Americans helped out their foreign invaders, even though the Europeans had no business on their land “illegally”.

The Europeans were so brainwashed by their religious leaders, they truly believed “God sent them” to the New Land. With that being said, they also believed the Native Americans were heathens that needed to be “civilized”, like they felt they were. This attitude led to Europeans setting up missionaries and trying to baptize the indigenous tribes. Most tribes didn’t have a problem with this…until the missionaries started whipping people, even adults, for “breaking God’s law”.

Many of the Europeans also just didn’t understand other cultures. They weren’t exposed to anything different, but they had knowledge from books and affinity with writing. Most of the information was full of prejudice. They abused many Native people for not converting to their religions and yet consumed the resources of the land. The Europeans began to over hunt and over plow, overstepping the cultural rituals regarding hunting and agriculture. They were like guests who overstayed their welcome.  They were also not clean (hygiene especially) and were full of disease. That wiped out many indigenous tribes.

As more and more white people arrived, and shortly after the American Revolution (the colonists’ break from Great Britain), it was harder to divide the land. Europeans began complaining about the Native Americans. The Europeans eventually fought with the tribes on the East. They depleted their population and drove the natives out. They indigenous people were forced to the land west of the Mississippi.

Later, around the 19th century, the new Americans felt they deserved ALL of the land, even the land to the west of the Mississippi. They were greedy, experiencing several economic issues, and trying to fit all of these immigrants in the land. They made treaties with the Natives to the west, but broke ALL of their promises. Eventually, wars broke out. Some tribes were just killed off without even being involved in wars. The Native people surrendered, tired and looking for peace. The United States set aside land for these people called “reservations”. They were not considered citizens, they were just allowed on the land.

But when Americans found gold on the reservations, they kept making the lands smaller and smaller, just to get hold of the resources. They tricked, cheated, and harmed many tribes up until the 20th Century (1900s)!

They put most of all the Native children in boarding schools, forcing them to dress like Europeans, talk like Europeans, and prevented them from seeing or living with their families and friends. The children were brutally punished if they showed any connection to their culture. This is why the languages are hardly spoken to this day and why many cultural practices are lost.

To add insult to injury, the Native Americans were never granted citizenship until 1924.

Why does this matter to Native Americans today?

1.The reservations still exist to this day. The US government has yet to be apologetic about the land they stole, the promises they broke, the people they cheated, and the people they’ve murdered. The terror that they caused to these people has been tremendous. Sadly, many of the reservations are impoverished, crime-ridden, and full of drugs (like most low-income areas in the US, where minority groups often reside, thanks to years of prejudice and oppression). The reservations were stripped of resources, so many of the people couldn’t thrive. Their hunting practices were lost because they were often put out of their original hunting grounds. Unapologetic Americans, quick to release themselves from guilt, often retort “Just leave the reservation, then you’ll live prosperous”. Many Native Americans stay on the reservations as their last stubborn fight for justice. Unfortunately, it feels more like a losing battle at times.

The land the First Nations people were allowed to live on were stripped of resources, and if resources were found on any of the lands after the reservations were drawn up, the government would make them smaller just to access the resources.

The U.S. and state governments are still trying to take the little land they have away, just to get more resources and to build more homes over their lands. They are still breaking promises and still disrespecting the people by trying to take their lands away from them. They don’t care. They are getting rich, fat, and comfortable off the land they stole.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/new-north-dakota-wants-congress-modify-indian-reservation-system-turn-power-states/

This isn’t a historical problem, this is a MODERN-DAY problem.

2. Many grandparents and great-grandparents experienced the boarding schools, are living on the reservations, still are scarred by those times in history, and pass their stories down to their children as warnings, as teaching tools, and as truth. Those children carry those burdens with them. It eventually turns into anger, sadness, and bitterness that continues on with loved ones for generations. Who wants to hear that grandpa and grandma were harshly beaten in boarding schools just for speaking their own language? That’s frightening and fear leads to anger.

3. They are no longer the face of their own land. Thanks to most of the media, most of Hollywood, other countries, especially in far east Asia, consider America to be a land full of “blonde hair and blue eyes” or black people. And they aren’t wrong. Most of the Native people were wiped out by Europeans.

Therefore, the Native people get little respect and little representation. Without that representation, their struggles are forgotten, their history rewritten or unwritten, and their culture disrespected time and time again. From the late 19th century to the 1950s, some Native Americans, along with Africans, were kept in zoos!

To them, when they watch people across the world explain what an American is to them, it is likely to make them roll their eyes because they constantly hear descriptions of white people instead of them.

4. History books teach a distorted view of Native Americans, if at all. Thanksgiving is even taught all wrong to children. Many children even believe Native Americans (often called “Indians”) are fairy tale characters…

Arguably, before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans didn’t get along with one another, and one tribe may have just as easily conquered the others much the same way the Europeans did.

But I don’t think the issue is so much that they were conquered. I believe it was the way they were conquered. It wasn’t through a fair fight. There were lies and cheating involved, which was not the way many Natives fought. And the fight continued even through to the modern century, which made this more of a modern history issue that affects Native Americans today.

African Americans

Many African Americans are descended from various western tribes in Africa. The African and Arab slave trade was practiced for centuries before Europeans arrived on the continent of Africa. During wars, many of the losers would be taken as slaves. Around the 15th century, slaves were being sold outside of Africa.

There are many different kinds of slavery. The kind of slavery the Europeans introduced was different than much of the slavery practiced in Africa (though Northern Africans practiced a similar form at times). In many African nations, people would be enslaved as punishment for a crime or to pay off a debt. They would have certain rights and it was more like indentured servitude. Slave families could buy their freedom and become a part of the master’s family. Many dressed nicely and were fed well. Many were sent to work gold mines, to tend the land, or work in the master’s homes.

At first, enslavement was just on a small scale. But the demand for slaves in Europe and many Arab nations increased. Wars increased and slavery increased.

Many of the African Americans living in America today are descendants of the slaves bought by Europeans from Africa.

Europeans practiced a kind of slavery called “chattel slavery” where a slave had no rights and was treated like property or like an animal. America had the longest history of slavery in the world, practicing it up into the 19th century (1800s).

African Americans helped build the USA with their labor and brains, but they got little recognition or respect for it and often times white people took all the credit for things they did, which made black people appear as if they weren’t contributing much to American society. Many families were separated and unacknowledged. Their heritage was stripped from them, they were beaten for speaking their language and practicing their culture, and so the cultures were lost. Many African Americans don’t even know where their ancestors came from in Africa and are completely removed from their nations’ cultures.

There were some African Americans who came to America as immigrants but most came as slaves.

The American Civil War is what changed things for African Americans.

The Civil War was mostly about the division of territory, but slaves were swept up into the debate. Certain states were slave states. The South mostly relied on slaves. They were more agricultural. The North relied on factories and immigrants to thrive. They wanted to move America into the future with machines and technology. They felt the South was holding them back. They felt the way to force the South forward was to get rid of the slave trade, which would cut into the southern economy. The South felt that the North had no right to tell them what to do. As Americans expanded west, they began to debate over which states would be slave states and which would be free states. It moved from a debate into a war.

Eventually, the North won the war. African Americans were freed, but they still were not treated equally. They were given the right to vote, but hard tests were put in place to discourage African Americans, who couldn’t read, from voting and holding public office. Many places were segregated or didn’t allow black people inside, so many black people had nothing to call their own. They were forced to move into run-down neighborhoods with immigrant families.

The South made living there difficult when they put Jim Crow Laws in place, which were designed to prevent African Americans from progressing.

Many white people murdered black people from the end of the Civil War to the 1970’s, and no justice was served. Some cases didn’t reopen until the 1990’s, like in the case of the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls, and by that time many of the criminals had passed on, living most of their lives comfortably and guilt-free. Many cases still aren’t resolved and have gone cold.

The people who lived during that period lived in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and are still living as parents and grandparents today, and were greatly affected by the period mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.

A lot of people feel these issues have ended years ago and don’t realize how the past can affect the future. If a war between North and South Korea still exists, and the feelings are still holding true, what makes the feelings from those harsh racist times in America any different? The past affects the future.

How does this affect African Americans today?

The slave trade has had an affect on all of African Americans except the ones who migrated to America on their own. African immigrants wouldn’t relate to the actual history.

The history has affected the culture in various ways:

1.It influenced the way African Americans speak. African Americans grew up in the South. Much of the South was owned by France and Spain. African Americans developed a “cajun” accent. Even when the English took over, the accent remained. They weren’t taught to read and write, so many learned English simply by ear. Many spoke broken English as a result.

Once slavery ended, many slaves still didn’t have access to schools, as white people still kept schools segregated and made no efforts to build schools for the newly freed black people. Many had to migrate north for schooling, but many didn’t have the money or health to make it that far. So, the manner of speaking stuck. It traveled all the way to the present day.

Nowadays, African Americans receive an education and are taught the proper way to speak English. However, if their grandparents spoke that way, their parents did, too, and so the manner of speaking carried on into many African American households. Many black people return to the manner of speaking to relate to other people within their race.

2. It influenced African American music culture, American music, and their place in the music industry. Blues, rock and roll, pop music, and much of the modern music we listen to came out of the African American community. Black Americans didn’t have much to call their own, but they were able to make music. They used music to express their feelings in ways they were not free to express.

Unfortunately, many white people hijacked the genres and denied African Americans airplay on the radio, causing people to acknowledge white contributions over black contributions. For instance, Elvis Presley is considered the King of Rock and Roll though he did nothing to truly contribute to the genre other than moving his hips on stage. He stole the songs of many African Americans and brought them to the “mainstream” which was really just the “white audience”. Many African American rock and roll artists didn’t get respect until the 1990s and many still aren’t respected in the rock community. The Beatles get more attention and they aren’t even American.

That’s why African Americans today get so butthurt when white people get famous from things they’ve invented. They don’t feel appreciated or respected. They feel treated as inferior. This is why they are the first to pull the cultural appropriation card. They are afraid of their contributions being wiped under the rug like it once was before.

Even in movies, white people would often portray African Americans, and sometimes they would play up racist interpretations. This is where the “black face” stemmed from. Many of these interpretations put African Americans in inferior positions to white people. They put African Americans in a negative light and made fun of African Americans’ station in life, their culture, the way they spoke, etc.

When there were roles that honored a historical figure of color (like an African Queen), a white person would portray the person. This caused most of the world to believe that all the major royals of the world were white and that black people were always inferior. Movies were segregated and black people were not invited to play roles in major movie productions or in major playhouses. This whitewashing happened up until the 1970’s. Many of the executives and/or the families that approved of the whitewashing are still in control today.

This is why white-washing is so looked down upon by black people. This is why so much of a stink is made when white people are put in roles that could potentially go to other races of people. Many people of different backgrounds already feel undermined.

And then racism really does still exist. When the role is reversed, white people don’t like it either.

3. Like in Native American communities, parents and grandparents are still around to remind the younger generation of harsher times in history. They remind their children to be watchful of racism because they were victims of it. Of course hearing these stories are enough to make the newer generation more defiant of a system they felt betrayed them. It’s enough to make them angry and bitter.

4. It is the reason so many still live in low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Many businesses that are major in the USA today began as early as the 1700s. African Americans were enslaved during these periods, putting them behind everyone else in the job and business market. Laws interfered with their education and racism had a major impact on families. Even with the inventions created by black people, many had to go through white people to get it sold or to get it off the ground. They had jobs, but were underpaid and were paid less than white people up until the 1970s.

Angry about the injustice, many black people turned to a life of crime to take what they felt they deserved. They learned about gang life from the Irish and Italians who lived in the inner cities (before they learned how to integrate into wealthy and middle-class American society). Anger groups sprung up to fight white supremacy.

The “gang” mentality influenced the black community and eventually influenced the culture in both large and small ways.

As mentioned before, racism in the 1960s and 1970s had an affect on the grandparents and parents that are still alive today. Even when the Civil Rights Movement ended, some people were still bitter towards black people and found ways to keep them away from the working world. Most black people grew up in homes with parents who had low-income jobs as a result.

The children of these people grew up with little, which set them back. Many of them found success in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but if there were any other problems in the domestic structure, many continued to struggle. Poverty often leads to poverty, and it’s the very reason many African Americans are still in poor situations.

This made a lot of African Americans bitter towards white people.

5. Certain standards in a Eurocentric society come out of systemic racism. The European standard of modesty, beauty, manner of speaking, and even living washes over the nation and around the world. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with that standard is “odd” or “eccentric” or inferior. Black people get called “ghetto” or “uncivilized” if they deviate from the norm.

Black people deviate the most from these standards, simply because their culture is different and their appearances are different. This stands in the way of getting good jobs or getting elite positions in society, especially in an industry where presentation is important.

Black hair is considered unprofessional.

6. It is the reason so many African Americans struggle in school to this day and have a hard time achieving in society.

Before slavery ended, they weren’t allowed to read and write. Slave owners did this so slaves wouldn’t learn how to buy their own freedom and so they wouldn’t run away to free places.

Some black people taught themselves secretly, stealing books or overhearing conversations or listening outside of school yards. Some of the house slaves (slaves that worked in the master’s house and not in the fields) passed notes from house to cabin.

But most black people resigned to the fact that they would never learn how to read and write the language they were forced to speak. To cope with this fact, many developed pride in their ignorance, using it as humor and resisting White education altogether. After all, they felt, “Why should we have to learn English? Why should we learn at a white man’s designed school? Let’s resist them by resisting their education.”

Unfortunately, this established a rebellious attitude in the culture and made it difficult for them to assimilate into American society once freed.

Even after they were free, the Southern part of the USA, the part of the USA that mostly practiced slavery before losing the war, refused to establish schools for black children and some schools for blacks were burned down. Teachers and students were killed for helping, white and black. This scared black people off from an education.

Even after school became mandatory at the turn of the 20th century (early 1900’s), many schools for African Americans had little money to provide books for each student. Poor kids still had to work, so many black students worked while attending school. Many kids had to drop out to help their parents make ends meet. They couldn’t fund raise in the black community because most didn’t even have adequate jobs. White people were unsympathetic and felt freeing them was enough, so must didn’t put money behind black schools. And schools were segregated, or separated, between blacks and whites.

All-black schools continued to suffer up until the 1970’s, after the Civil Rights movement. But even then, progress was slow. The government began funding the money after schools were desegregated and everyone got their legal rights, but they were still way behind schools with a majority white population. And still some people were against the integration of black kids and didn’t want to help black people, just like some don’t want to today. They felt it was up to black people to fix themselves. But the problem was it was difficult to start at the bottom in a society with white people at the top. Progress would have to be slow if black people were to fix themselves.

And The Civil Rights Act didn’t end actual racism. Racism is an ideology that produces feelings, something the law can’t change. Racist feelings continued. The people who were mostly at the top found ways to implement that racism without being caught by the law. Many were successful at segregating black people from communities and businesses, using other means of discrimination.

Many black kids just gave up on trying to receive an education and gave up trying to assimilate into American society. That’s why we ended up with a culture heavily on welfare, strongly against authority, and uninterested in education as a whole. In many ways, it’s a courageous stand, but foolish, and it sets many black people back. The attitudes and behaviors that came from slavery give white people a reason to ignore black people and establish racist rules.

Racism still exists as a result. Because of racism, segregation still exists. Black people still end up with the short end of the stick. This is why black people are some of the most defensive minorities in the country. Many of them don’t trust white people, and it doesn’t seem many white people care to earn that trust and would rather ignore the issues.

Segregated Proms Just Ended in 2014 in Georgia

My Experience

I am a very open-minded person, and I have friends of many different backgrounds. From reading my various articles, most people know I’m not the first to pull the race card or jump on the “black power” bandwagon. But I know from experience racism, especially systemic racism, exists and/or has existed in the 21st century.

I graduated from high school about 9 years ago, but I still remember this incident.

All my life, I lived in an all-black community and attended all-black schools. Yes, my school was the stereotypical violent school. The school performed poorly academically (only 50% of my class graduated) and the behavior was off the charts horrible. I personally had good grades, but everyone around me didn’t really appreciate school and didn’t really respect the teachers or administration in place. Gang life was common. I was in a school full of people who glamorized thug life and would start a fight with each other if they were stared at the wrong way.

Of course, not everybody was like this. Some people were peaceful and involved in school. But they were considered lame or stuck-up to the other kids in the school. My clique was called the “Lames”. We liked rock music, anime, video games, and tried to have fun with school and such.

One year, I was taken out of that school and placed in a relatively mixed school, with the majority of students being white (though that majority wasn’t that large). Almost all of the teachers were white. In fact, I only remember there being one black teacher in the whole school and no black administrators at the District office.

I was really excited to go to this school. The school’s academic stats were high, they had fun activities that I was eager to get involved in, and I wouldn’t have to worry about people picking fights with me, threatening me, or any other nonsense like that. In my mind, I assumed that being at a black school was the problem. I used to be one of those people who acted like a coon, bad-mouthing black people and feeling resentful because I was bullied for being different. So, I was excited to be around people who might actually appreciate rock music or anime like I do.

After attending the school, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I did make friends of all races, don’t get me wrong. But everybody was so divided into cliques, it was hard to mingle. And then by the time I moved there, I was a Junior in high school, so everyone had already made their friends. Still, mostly it was peaceful.

However, I ran into this one group of girls (all white clique) who seriously looked down on people. They were racist, but they also looked down on poor white people, too. I remember one time, one of the girls bit off her cookie during lunch, came over to me and my friends’ table, and said, “Here you need this” to one of my poorer white friends, handing her the bitten-off cookie. This girl and her friends also used to make fun of a Middle Eastern boy at the school. I remember they would pronounce his name wrong on purpose and tell him he smells. He got so fed up one time, he almost dumped his tray on their heads.

And those girls were just laughing.

They would talk about my black friend, saying she tried to act white, talking about how ugly she looked, etc.

They didn’t bother me because at the end of the day, they weren’t in charge of my grades. And then they weren’t a bowl of cherries. They all had this ugly orange fake tan they got at a cheap booth, so there was a lot to discuss regarding them. 😛

But then, second semester, I ran into a racist teacher. That’s when it got tricky.

Because I was so excited to go to this school, and because I’d never been around too many white people, I assumed everybody was going to be normal or nice. Even if I knew some teachers might be mean or strict, I never expected them to be racist. Not in the 21st century, oh no.

Initially, a lot of black students warned me about her, but I didn’t listen to them because at my old school, kids would say teachers were racist all the time. And all of the teachers they said were racist would turn out to be nice to me. So, whether they were racist or not, this didn’t affect my grades. What racist teacher would want to work at an all-black school, under all-black administration, anyway? And some of those students were just awful bad and used the race card to avoid taking responsibility.

I didn’t personally have this teacher, but my sibling did. My sibling and I are the same age and we felt the same way about the school. At first, she didn’t listen to anyone around her who told her about this teacher. I didn’t either and just brushed it under the rug.

But when my sibling walked into this class, right away she felt something wasn’t right. My sister would say good morning to the teacher, like she did all her other teachers, but the teacher would never say anything back. But when the white students came in and greeted her, she would get into long conversations with them. My sister didn’t think anything of it at first, assuming maybe she didn’t say it loud enough or assuming she rubbed the teacher the wrong way. I assumed that, too.

The class didn’t have assigned seats, but the majority of the students of “color” or of a different ethnic group (black, Asian, Hispanic, Afro Latino, Muslim, etc) sat at the front of the room, while the white kids sat all over the classroom, with the majority sitting in the back. One time, my sister wasn’t feeling good and decided to sit at the back of the room. The teacher told her to sit at the front. My sister asked her why, and the teacher said she’s used to her sitting there and wanted to keep track of everyone in the room for attendance purposes. So, my sister didn’t make a big deal about it. But the next day, a few of the white students, who normally sat in the front, moved to the back, and the teacher didn’t say anything to them. In fact, the white students switched seats all the time.

Still, my sister just listened to what she said and didn’t really think she was racist. She thought the teacher didn’t like her for some reason, but she didn’t think she was racist.

The teacher would focus on the black and Mexicans kids, but some of them were bad.

But there were far more black students that cared about their education in this school. One of the black girls in the class was in the top 10 of her graduating class.

The first sign that the teacher was racist came with this student.

The white students in the class were talking in the back of the classroom. Whenever the other students of color talked, the teacher would issue consequences, but she never did that with the white students. In fact, she would laugh and joke along with them!

One day, they were talking during a lesson. She pointed out a black student, who had the highest grade in the class, and told her to stop talking. This student was very quiet and was writing her notes. She looked up surprised and said she wasn’t talking. The teacher told her not to talk back to her and she wrote the student up! The student was trying to explain that the students in the back were talking, but the teacher said she didn’t want to hear excuses.

Fortunately, the principal and administration weren’t racist. The student was able to talk to them and get the referral thrown out.

But it didn’t stop there.

The second incident came when a Mexican student in the class received a D as a grade in the classroom, even though he turned in all his work and said he’d gotten good grades on his work. He asked to look at his work and review it. The teacher refused. He stormed out of the classroom, yelling, “Racist bit**!” The teacher shrugged and said “whatever”.

The third incident came when the teacher kept telling one of the other black students to be quiet and the student refused. Of course, the student was being disobedient, which was bad. But the white students in the back talked throughout the whole lesson. The black student brought this to the teacher’s attention, stating “Why don’t you talk to them in the back? I can’t wait to move back to the city.” And the teacher said “Me too. I can’t wait until all of you go back.” My sister was thinking, “all of you”? What does she mean by that?

The final incident, the final straw, was when a final project was due and my sister almost failed the class because the teacher lost her assignment.

My sister and I have always been conscientious about our work. There was a big assignment that determined the final grade in the class. This assignment was to write a letter to Red Lobster. If the letter got to Red Lobster, they would send a letter back. So, there were supposed to be two copies: one for the teacher and one for Red Lobster.

My sister turned her letter in a week before the due date. Red Lobster sent a letter back to her; that’s how she knew she turned it in.

The teacher comes up to her and says she didn’t receive the letter. My sister reminded the teacher that Red Lobster responded, but the teacher said that if she didn’t receive a teacher copy, my sister would fail the class! My sister kept a couple of copies in her locker, and asked the teacher if she could go and get it out of her locker. The teacher said no, and said that that was that. My sister asked if the teacher could look on her desk again and check around. The teacher refused and told her to sit down. My sister was panicking, afraid, worried, crying.

Then a white girl comes up to the teacher and asks the teacher if she can get a pass to go the library to DO THE PROJECT. Girl didn’t even do it and it was passed the due date. And guess what the teacher said? “Oh sure, I’ll write you a pass.” SAY WHAT? It was then my sister realized the teacher was racist. She immediately told an adult, my family.

After that, you know fam jumped on the phone with the school board and the principal, explaining the situation.

They asked the teacher to search her stuff again. Guess what? She found it. Interesting… She told my sister it was somewhere on her desk…

After that, my sister realized she had come face to face with her first racist experience.

It’s not a big deal when it’s some person who can’t affect your life in any way, like that clique of girls I mentioned in the beginning of this story, but when it’s someone in authority, someone who can potentially stifle your growth, like a teacher, or put you in jail, like a police officer, that’s when racism is scary. That’s where it should be stopped. That’s when it gets serious.

After that, I never questioned whether racism existed. I don’t see racism in every incident, but I know it exists. Even though things may have changed since 9 years ago, I’m still watchful, still prepared to be disliked simply because I’m black. It taught me to pay attention to my surroundings and not to assume things have changed just because we’re in the “modern era”.

In that classroom, none of the white people realized how racist the teacher was. She treated them nicely. Of course, they thought we were all just pulling the race card. They assumed that because she treated them nicely. Some of them turned a blind eye to what was going on, just happy they were getting special privileges.

I think they had a hard time believing it because one half Mexican half white boy got away with sitting with the white kids. He dyed his hair, was pale, and didn’t have a “Spanish” accent. He blended in well, so the teacher treated him nice. He concealed his ethnicity the whole time and she never found out he was Mexican. I think that’s why my sister questioned herself.

But eventually it became clear.

People of a minority group are taught early on to recognize signs of racism as a result of the stories they’ve been told by their parents and the experiences of other people of color. Some miss the mark, paranoid of being treated unfairly, but others are very aware and on point.

Watch the movie Get Out. It’s really good about pointing out how deep racism can be seeped into the hearts of individuals and shows how black people are taught to recognize the signs.

Mexican Americans

At one time, the whole west coast of present-day USA was owned by Mexico. The Spanish settlers were the first to settle in the land. Many mixed with the indigenous people forming the Mexican ethnic group we know today. After they won independence from Spain in the 1800’s, they opened trade with the USA. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I already mentioned that white Americans felt they should own all of the land west of the Mississippi River. Eventually, Americans went to war with Mexico and managed to take much of their land. They didn’t take all of their territory, which is why Mexico is still standing today, but they down-sized it tremendously.

When cowboys and other outlaws entered into these territories, they tricked many Mexicans out of their land and stole their resources. Many Mexicans had been living on their lands for years and lost the papers to prove their ownership. Most didn’t speak English and were tricked into signing contracts that relinquished their control of their land. Mexicans lost their rights and were considered foreigners in their own land. They didn’t get citizenship until 1910, several decades after many of the states they lived in became a part of the US!

There are still signs that Mexico once owned the west coast. The states once owned by Mexico have Spanish names. California, Florida, and Texas were just three of the territories owned by Mexico. Many of the buildings and cultures within these states originated with Spain and Mexico, and there are visible signs of that cultural influence.

Nowadays, Mexicans are associated with illegal immigration. This deviation from their original station on this land has caused many Mexicans to resent full-blooded white people. Many Mexicans feel that the land should still be theirs and they may resent the takeover of Americans.

Many Mexicans work hard to assimilate into American culture, but are still treated as inferior in many ways. Mexican Americans aren’t honored or respected in the USA like they should be. Their language is now considered foreign. Their culture isn’t considered “American”. Their businesses and riches were stripped from them during the war and many of them had to start from scratch, amid prejudice. Some turned to a life of crime to make ends meet. This is why crime also seeped into their culture.

Asian Americans

Asian Americans haven’t had it as bad as other races and ethnic groups. Many came to America as immigrants, hoping to assimilate into society. But they brought their rich culture and language with them, mingled with westerners, and still had a nation to call home in case things didn’t work out in the USA (unlike many other races and ethnic groups).

Still, within the nation, America made it hard for Asian Americans to enter the land and grow. When Japanese people first started coming into the USA, most came illegally. Many were brought over by contractors who needed someone to work the land in Hawaii. The Chinese came to strike it rich during the Gold Rush and send the money back to their families. They were trying to escape harsh conditions after China lost the Opium war to the British, which allowed the British to take over different cities/provinces in China, placing many Chinese people in poverty. But even in America, they were placed in subservient roles and prejudice stopped many of them from getting the riches they wanted.

Still, Asians played a large role in the building up of America.

The Chinese especially gave their strongest efforts in America. Many helped with the Transcontinental Railroad project. When they first arrived to find gold, they were well-received. But when competition got stronger, many Americans began to dislike any immigrants coming into the country–including Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

The Chinese helped California’s economy tremendously, but they were still driven out of many cities. Eventually a ban was put in place.

After the Chinese Exclusion Act, many Chinese weren’t allowed into the USA. This affected other Asians, who were often confused for Chinese or pit in the same category. Later, another Act banned all Asians from entering the country. This is partially why Asian Americans are still the smallest minority ethnic and racial groups in America.

As such, they are largely underrepresented and unacknowledged. Without proper representation, ignorant stereotyping persists.

Most people today just consider them as foreign. Eastern culture is widely different from western culture, and some Americans (black, white, Hispanic, etc) are ignorant towards them because they don’t understand them. Many Americans associate the “look” of Asia with foreign or alien, even if the person was born in America. This greatly alienates Asian Americans, making them feel odd and out-of-place.

Today, middle easterners and west Asians are catching a lot of fire because of recent radical attacks in the USA. Even the people that aren’t Muslim are being scrutinized simply because they came from or their families came from a middle eastern or west eastern country. All Muslim people are categorized in the same place as one another, which causes frustration for the ones who are truly peace-loving.

People from the middle east and western Asia came to America between the late 1800’s to the 1920’s, escaping war and economic hardship. Because of the Johnson-Reed act, all Asians were prohibited from entering the USA. Again, this is why, of all the races and ethnicities, Asians are the smallest minority. They weren’t as welcome in the USA because they provided competition for White Americans.

Middle Easterners and West Easterners were normally darker-skinned and confused for being black. Many people treated them the same way they treated black people.

The act was repealed in the 1960s, which brought over many more Asian Americans. Still, by then, they were the smallest minority, which makes their ideas and interests largely underrepresented in politics and media.

White People

The modern white people have had to shoulder a lot of what their ancestors did. Because many of their ancestors from the 1950’s and 1960’s are still alive, some of them have carried on the same attitudes.

While there are now more sympathetic and open-minded white people today than there have been, many either ignore racism, have deep-seated racist attitudes, or just avoid getting involved with minorities and any issues regarding them for fear of offending them.

There are several reasons why this racism, indifference, and segregation continues:

1.Some white people have deep-seated prejudices. Even though nowadays most white people won’t treat another person of color mean or won’t openly discriminate against black people (though some do), many have in their minds that a Eurocentric way of thinking is the superior way to think. Many white people feel this is “their country”, the one they conquered, and they can’t understand a culture that’s different from there’s.

For instance, in black culture, it is customary to shout out loud when excited or congratulating someone during celebrations (like graduations, weddings, etc). White people might shout when excited too, but they tend to be more toned down. When black people are shouting or cheering, white people may think they are being “rude” or being “ignorant”. The cultures have differences, but white people may have been taught that their way of expressing happiness or excitement is the “proper” way. This often makes black people look bad when they might just be misunderstood. That’s just an example of a culture clash. But because the majority rules, the scales tip in favor of one over the other.

Some may also look down on tribal living, finding a progressive way of living, with Eurocentric laws, manner of dress, and manner of speaking to be the best way of living, while looking down on people who don’t live that way. And don’t get me wrong. Many people enjoy living in the land we call home with the freedoms we have, with the Europe-inspired laws and everything. But then again, most of us minorities were raised here and never experienced anything different.

2. Some white people are fed up with trying to be nice to minority groups, especially black people. There are some white people who feel that it doesn’t matter what they try to do for other communities, they will always come out looking racist or not doing enough. Many are still not aware of which phrases or words are racist and which words aren’t. They may know the obvious words like “ni****” and other such words. But they may not realize that generalizing all black people in certain categories could come off as racist, even if white people feel the generalizations or stereotypes are true in their perception.

And that fact makes them feel uncomfortable around other ethnic and racial groups, especially when they feel they have a real concern regarding these people. This gives them a reason to exclude other races and ethnic groups from certain events, schools, or businesses. Some don’t want the “damage control” issues that could follow.

Some white people do want “white only” spaces, spaces where they can talk comfortably with people who are similar and share the same culture or music. They may not necessarily hate other races or ethnic groups, they just want to spend time with people like themselves. Unfortunately, this increases segregation and causes controversy.

Admittedly, some minority groups do get angry over every little comment towards them or another person like them. Even a judgment of character is often referred back to racial issues at times. Some minorities do try to profit off of racism and “racist” situations and try to bring attention to themselves. Some minorities just find it easier to blame racism for some of the issues in the community instead of doing more to build up their communities.

This makes it frustrating for the white people that may not have initially had prejudices per se, but may have formed them based on reactions from minority groups. For instance, Mackelmore, a pop artist in the USA, marched in Seattle for the issues going on in Ferguson. Many black people criticized him, asking why he was there and stating that he just wanted attention. They were mad at him for taking home the best Hip Hop artist award at an awards’ show when he is 1) not considered a Hip-hop artist by most Hip-hop experts and 2) not considered the best Hip-hop artist to many in the Hip-hop community (who are mostly black and Latino). Most black people felt the award should’ve gone to Kendrick Lamar, but felt that Macklemore won because he is white. They felt he didn’t speak up then. So they felt he was only marching for the show.

This made a lot of white people angry, who felt that black people would find a way to criticize them no matter what. This disconnects them further from minorities and makes them just want to ignore issues. Some feel it’s better to ignore than to address it to avoid having their words and actions criticized.

3) There are white people who have been victims of prejudice, even crime, at the hands of those of a minority group, and so have a fear of them, which leads to hatred.

Remember I told you I attended a all-black school? Well, it’d be unfair to say no white people attended. It was a majority black school with two white people and one Asian girl. There was one white girl and one white boy who went to the school.

The girl was raised around black people. But the students, teachers, and administration made it hard for her in school. They were racist towards her, oh yes, racist.

The other black students would talk about the way the white student spoke, saying she was trying to “sound black”. She couldn’t help it because she grew up around black people and so she picked up their vernacular. But they wouldn’t let up.

Some black students would pick fights with her, intimidate her, and exclude her from things. And whenever she would tell the administration, they did nothing about it and asked her whether she “provoked” the situations. I literally saw one incident where a girl pushed her down for no reason.

This is what happened when she became the minority. Many white people are afraid of being a minority in this country because they are afraid of being treated this way by bitter people, but it would be on a larger scale. They are afraid of their rights being ignored. Then, they would have to face and carry the burdens of their ancestors.

How do you think this white girl fared? I’m sure that if she had became angry enough at her situation, she would’ve turned into a severe racist person.

The good thing about it is she did manage to make a few black friends. That made her realize not all black people were evil and pressed. I was one of those friends. Still, I don’t know what feelings she carried throughout her adult life.

And the ones whose family members were victims of crime by minorities will also resent them. They may attack everything about the criminal, including the race of the individual. This may cause them to be scared of minorities, and fear leads to hatred.

Are All White People To Blame?

No. The newer generation didn’t create the mess. It’s messed up that they are getting dumped on because of things their ancestors did or allowed. Many white people today treat others fairly. There are still ignorant people everywhere, but there are also nice white people out there, too. Everyone in America is diverse.

I think the issues started with minorities’ anger towards the government, a system that failed to issue liberty, freedom, and justice to minorities, but preached about liberty, freedom, and justice. I think most are bitter towards the system. However, mostly white people are in that system, and that is creating a modern-day race problem.

However, there are some white people that support that system and refuse to listen to any rhetoric that makes them feel guilty. And racism still exists. There are still people in power (very few though) like teachers, police officers, and mayors that are racist and use their power to execute discriminatory acts. But it’s important for those of a minority group to sift through foolishness and find the real racism, otherwise they risk losing any support to their causes.

Some minority groups get pretty triggered over little jokes or comments that may not even be racist and may just be “racial”. Some minorities may assume that any person like them getting arrested by a white police officer was “racially targeted”, which isn’t always the case.

Some people can’t handle history lessons and have formed prejudiced views of modern-day white people based on what they’ve learned about the past. Of course, this annoys many white people.

I think all ignorance would be diminished if people learned to walk in other people’s shoes. But maybe that’s way too idealistic.

I think in many cases it seems to some people that everyone else can learn to walk in a white person’s shoes, but it doesn’t seem white people are capable of walking in another culture’s shoes without judging or comparing it to their own culture.

For instance, other cultures and races around the world can watch a movie with a white lead and with European culture (like Game of Thrones) and relate to the humor and story of it, along with movies with lead characters of their own races. But white people can’t relate well to movies with black themes and leads, Asian themes and leads, or Native American themes and leads. To many people, they seem to be the only group of people who don’t know how to assimilate or adapt.

Even in Asia, Asians often speak of running into white tourists who are often confused as to why certain signs aren’t in English and why the people just don’t speak to them in in English. Some ethnicities have had bad experiences.

In South Africa, many white people protested against black girls wearing braids and Afros to school. IN AFRICA.

But there are many white people that do connect with other cultures and races. There are some that can switch between Harry Potter and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It’s senseless to put everyone in the same category. But sometimes these white people might feel rejected by the group of people they try to connect to. They get labeled “appropriators” or attention-seekers.

Some people use the race or ethnic card when convenient but have no real intentions on making changes. That’s when it becomes less effective and irritating. That really hurts the actual organizations out here fighting for true equality.

Why Would Something From Over 100 Years Ago Affect People?

Does Thomas Edison’s inventions affect us? Yes. Do we realize it all the time? No.

Without him we wouldn’t have light bulbs, movies, or sound recordings. We forget about his importance because other people have upgraded it, but he invented it and it still affects us today because we use these things.

Does the Korean war still affect South Koreans? Yes. In the same manner? No. The war happened back in the 1950s. However, because only a ceasefire was issued, the threat still exists.

History has an affect on us as humans, especially history that is 100 years old or less. As long as grandparents and great-grandparents live, history has an affect on everyone’s social, emotional, mental, and even economic health. It affects their children and grandchildren. Events in history just don’t happen, laws get put in place, and then it’s over. There is always an aftereffect. The aftermath can last for centuries, depending on the actions of all involved.e

So, Should They Be Mad At Each Other Forever?

Of course not.

However, some people have to overcome their pain and start the process towards healing. When people are suffering, it’s easy to try to find someone to blame for their problems. Many of these people need to find the courage to let go of the past, pick up where they left off, and make a new start.

The biggest reason these issues still exist is because there are no real solutions floating around. If people came together to actually discuss solutions, things might actually improve.

I hope I was able to answer all questions about this topic! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think or what you could add to the discussion!

7 Types of Feminists That Make Me Cringe

4 Mar

A Recap: 7 Feminists That Make Me Cringe

Generation Next

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There are several definitions of feminism out here:

  1. The advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes (Google.com)
  2. A range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. (Wikipedia.org)
  3. The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  4. Refers to any ideology that seeks total equality in rights for women and people who self-identify as women, usually through improving the status of females. (RationalWiki.org)
  5. Thedoctrineadvocatingsocial,political,andallotherrightsofwomen equaltothoseofmen. (Dictionary.com)

With the above definitions in clear view, we can conclude that overall the feminist movement is calling for equal rights for women, for anyone who identifies as women to be seen as equals to men, and for women’s “roles” in society to be respected. Some…

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Ask the USA: “How Did Donald Trump Win the Presidency?”

2 Mar

united-globe

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, the first question I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

‘How did Trump Win the Presidency?’

Since Trump has been running for office, he has been a topic all around the world. The news media hasn’t died down yet about him. This question was bound to come up sooner or later.

If you’re an American conservative, the answer is simple; if you’re an American liberal, this question may even baffle you.

However, I’m pretty independent. I try to remain objective and see both sides of this coin.

Here’s the deal.

Much of the media has painted the picture that the majority of America hated Donald Trump, America’s newest president. Many newspapers would reveal the polls back in October and November showing Hillary Clinton in the lead with the popular vote. And there are many Americans that do dislike Trump, including the news media.

But let me inform you about American politics:  during a political campaign, especially very close to election, it is normal to see “political propaganda”, propaganda that’s usually meant to discredit one candidate in favor of another. Hillary’s team was very effective in painting a negative picture of Trump by pulling out his dirt. She didn’t have to try. It was no secret that Trump “distrusted” most news sources, so of course most of them would help Hillary. Trump dug his own name in the ground with his careless statements. Trump gave the media many reasons to discredit him and he left a bad history of carelessness that allowed the media to take advantage of it.

So Trump ended up looking like the villain. After observing the things he’s said, most foreigners can’t understand how he could have any fans. Don’t get it twisted. Trump has insulted and offended many people across the board, and it was once considered a joke to even consider him the president of the USA.

But let’s also remember that what we see in the media isn’t always going to reflect the opinions of all the people in the nation. Despite his rhetoric, there are many people who actually agree with his ideas. Most people are just quiet about it.

trump-as-president

I don’t think most of us took him seriously like we should have. People felt there was no way this guy could be a president. He’s not diplomatic, he’s not well-spoken, he’s a rich guy who cares nothing about the “little man”. He was underestimated. This allowed him to make an impact on politics and maneuver things in his favor. There are many ways he managed to take the presidency from his last opponent, Hillary, despite what was fed to the media.

For the past decade, despite the positive reception Obama and his family have received, the average American did not reap many benefits from Obama’s presidency. He seemed more like a celebrity than a president; a positive figure rather than a man of action. He was famous for being the “first president of color”. He was diplomatic with many nations, giving the USA a good name to even our enemies.

However, he didn’t do anything impactful for his own nation (as far as we could see). He didn’t make any strong changes to the economy, he didn’t make many efforts to improve our overall security, and he seemed to sleep on many other matters that many Americans felt required urgency. Of course, none of us can pretend to know what it takes to do the job of president. Even the current president Trump is starting to see the challenges that come with it.

Still, Trump has things very few other candidates before him had.

Trump, the Business Man, Not the Politician

Trump may be blunt, rude, ignorant, and bigoted. But guess what? In a country that has honored and upheld the “freedom of speech” portion of the Bill of Rights (the rights in the USA that make up the first ten amendments to the constitution, the nation or state’s fundamental set of laws), in a country that has come to distrust government, Trump seemed to be the Honest John some Americans were looking for. He didn’t sugarcoat or take back his opinions. In fact, he is the first president to be truly active on social media, connecting with a wide range of people. With social media becoming a major form of communication, Trump is better able to get his ideas across on many different platforms.

When did America become so leery of their government, enough to trust a man who has spoken badly of so many people, people he’s supposed to help and protect? I would say since the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, people have been looking for an honest man in office. Watergate refers to the incident where someone broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, which was at the Watergate office complex. Richard Nixon, who was actually voted into office, tried to cover it up. An investigation exposed this and it lead to Nixon’s impeachment. Since then, most Americans have questioned their leaders, how their leaders are getting into office, and it even lead to people being more critical of the Republican party (the party Nixon was a part of).

But scandal from the Democratic president Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and little action during the Obama administration, has lead to a complete turnaround for the Republican party.

Trump has been super different from the “lying” politicians we’ve had before. Everyone doesn’t like what he has to say, but he says it anyway. I guess people figure if he was this honest about people as a candidate, what does he have to lie about as president?

Trump also became the hero or spokesperson for the “white, middle class, aged man” who has come under fire thanks to the “politically correct”. The politically correct far left have taken over media, politics in the last decade, and daily life. People have been slinging the word “privileged” around, which often refers to the white, middle class men in the USA, the people most assume never had to face prejudice and oppression, and the people who are assumed to actually have been and continue to be the oppressors. Our country has had a history of severe oppression, despite our “free” laws. This has been the reason many people are speaking out. I will go into more detail about America’s race and gender relations in future articles…

But people have been speaking out so fiercely in the last decade, white, middle class men have been fed up with being blamed for everything. They were tired for having to be apologetic to every sensitivity. Trump seemed to be the answer.

Before people began to really take Trump seriously, he was mostly funny, a celebrity, and a rich business man. His personality was definitely strong. But as propaganda began to reveal his derogatory statements, the media and the far left fought hard to keep him out of the white house.

It obviously didn’t work.

Trump is just too good of a salesman. Maybe it came from being a businessman for all of these years. Maybe he paid his way into the seat. Regardless, he was very clever throughout it all.

Speaking of businessman, because he was already a very rich man, he didn’t really need the charity of anyone to boost his campaign. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he had no reason to be so nice. He could pay off anyone he wanted, he could pay to run his own ads, and his name alone was promotion. He has had a book published, he’s spoken on several shows about the things he believes in, and he’s been a familiar figure in the entertainment world (and entertainment in the USA is a major industry). Really, there was nothing stopping him from being successful in this.

Hillary, on the other hand, was Clinton’s wife, and most people were done with the Clinton administration in the 1990s. Clinton seemed to be the same oily politician we’ve been seeing for years, the ones who lie and say nice things just to get the vote, just to let us all down by doing nothing remotely different. The only difference is she was trying to make history by being the first female president. But we learned that “different” doesn’t always make it better. Obama was a president that made history, but it didn’t make him a great president. He wasn’t bad, just not good enough. I think after Obama, we learned to pay closer attention to the campaigns. And frankly, Hillary’s campaign was weak.

Bernie Sanders, one of the original candidates during the early race, probably had a stronger chance with his campaign, but he doesn’t have a big name like Clinton or Trump. Most of the votes went to familiar names.

A Strong Campaign

That’s another thing. Trump had a really strong campaign. No, his ideas weren’t popular across the board. This is possibly why he didn’t quite take home the popular vote (though some argue he did, but if he had, it was definitely by a landslide). But he actually had ideas of his own. He wasn’t just mimicking politicians before him, like his opponent. He had real beliefs that he stood for, real solutions to these issues (even if they proved more difficult to implement than he planned), and the will to get there and make those changes.

In one interview, he said if he lost, all of this would’ve been a “waste of time”. You could say that he had a bad attitude about running for president, or you can say that shows how bad he really wanted it.  But it’s this will to win that has gotten him to the top every time.

He played into the sympathies of people. He reached out to those who felt victimized by terrorism. Since 9/11, many families of the victims’ of major attacks in the USA haven’t felt safe. They didn’t feel that true justice was served, not with the Bush or Obama administration. Media did have a hand in sensitizing these events, causing a “scare”. But the victims’ families, friends, and associates obviously didn’t need the media to feel angry, grief, or fear. And Trump offered strong solutions to this problem. It was a sure-fire way to gain the vote from those who would’ve otherwise voted for Hillary.

On the other hand, despite a need for stronger national security from terrorism, many of these people didn’t want their gun rights taken from them. I think I explained how loyal most Americans are to their Bill of Rights, correct? After the recent mass shootings in the USA, many in the far left wing of politics offered a solution: stricter gun laws. This was a threat to gun owners. Those same people who wanted to better screen immigrants did not want to better screen guns. Most were fearing a ban. Trump seems like a free-spirited man. He doesn’t seem likely to ban guns. Hillary, on the other hand, openly promoted stricter gun control, which wasn’t really popular among moderate liberals or conservatives. Trump hasn’t really addressed the gun culture in America…

However, he has offered to send martial law in Chicago and other cities to rid it of gangs, guns, drugs, and violence in general. Possibly, this is his solution to America’s “violent” culture?

Last, Trump offered to bring and keep jobs in America, something many politicians have been promising but haven’t yet pulled through. Since the recession in the early 21st century, people have been concerned about the shortage of lucrative jobs. Trump seemed like the man to fix the problem. He is a businessman, after all. He seemed to many Americans to be the most qualified to handle the economy.

Despite Trump’s unpopular ideas, and his spontaneous actions, he actually has beliefs and stands by them. Though most people dislike the way he goes about his plans, he actually does go about them. And if there’s nothing left to respect about him, people can respect the fact that he has taken action the moment he was ushered in.

Clinton, on the other hand, has changed and rearranged her ideas, ping-ponging when it came to gay marriage, national security, and many other issues. This made her seem weaker and more motivated by the public pulse. She seemed to side with whoever would give her the vote, and she didn’t seem trustworthy. Most people knew what they were in for with Trump. With Hillary, it was difficult to know. She changed her mind too often, and that left some Americans insecure.

There are many other ideas Trump gave, many other ways his campaign was strong, but those were the most popular ideas. Though most people were skeptical about how these ideas would be tackled, many people were ready to take risks and give new, more direct, more assertive suggestions a try. The passive-aggressive manner of tackling issues haven’t worked in years. People wanted someone who could make America “strong” and “sure”. Trump seemed to represent a stronger and bolder American identity.

Some democratic supporters that voted for Bernie Sanders didn’t vote for Hillary, and that left a divide on the democratic side. This brought strength to Trump’s campaign.

Electoral College

The final thing I want the world to know about American politics is the system.

I already kind of touched on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution (I will go further into it in the future).

But our voting system can be a little confusing.

Americans pride themselves on their right to vote. It’s one of the most important forms of “freedom of speech”. But our election isn’t completely influenced by our individual votes.

In fact, the popular vote (the votes cast by the people) only makes up 1/3 of the overall “vote”. The other votes are based on Congress (our body of people who govern the land) and the Electoral College. Of the three, the Electoral College tends to have the most influence.

The Electoral College was designed to be a buffer between the people and Congress. They are supposed to be unbiased people who hardly meet with one another enough to influence each other. The Electoral College also gives power to the smaller states.

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America is divided by 50 states. Each state has its own governors, laws, representatives in Congress. If the popular vote had that much power over the vote, the smaller states’ views wouldn’t really matter. Bigger states, like California, obviously have a larger population. Their votes would make the biggest difference in the popular vote method (unless the people were divided). In this case, most of our laws would be influenced by California, California’s laws, and California’s culture. This wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the United States, especially to the smaller states whose opinions would matter the least. The popular vote is influenced by the population.

History Central explains that “the founding fathers were afraid of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power.”

Hamilton and the other founders believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.

The electoral college is also part of compromises made at the convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less then 3. The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Obviously this creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more then those people living in medium and large states.

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the winner takes all the votes in the state. Therefore it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a recipe for one individual to win some states by large pluralities and lose others by small number of votes, and thus this is an easy scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This winner take all methods used in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century.

While there are clear problems with the Electoral College and there are some advantages to it, changing it is very unlikely. It would take a constitutional amendment ratified by 3/4 of states to change the system. It is hard to imagine the smaller states agreeing. One way of modifying the system s to eliminate the winner take all part of it. The method that the states vote for the electoral college is not mandated by the constitution but is decided by the states. Two states do not use the winner take all system, Maine and Nebraska. It would be difficult but not impossible to get other states to change their systems, unfortunately the party that has the advantage in the state is unlikely to agree to a unilateral change.

Trump has openly spoken against the Electoral College until it ruled in his favor. Despite him reaping the benefits of it, it has become pretty clear that the system isn’t perfect.

Even though Hillary may have gotten the popular vote, she couldn’t win over the “buffer” votes. Those votes added to the overall vote. So, for example, if Hillary was winning the popular vote because most of California and the rest of the west coast voted for her, a smaller state with the majority of Trump supporters wouldn’t stand a chance unless the Electoral College stepped in to supply them enough votes. These votes put all states, despite the population, on equal footing.

After the votes of the Electoral College, Trump won the vote. But this means he had to have been pretty popular to begin with as well in order for him to gain a complete win.

Should this system change? 3/4 of the states have to agree with the change and the amendment has to be ratified. Would Americans be so willing to change that?

I think at this point, times have changed since the days of our founding fathers. Because of all of these changes, it has become difficult for Americans to know which amendments should be analyzed, which amendments actually need amendments, and which should be left alone. Some people feel our constitution is outdated. Some people feel that the constitution was built to stand the test of time.

Throughout the decade, throughout the election race, and Trump’s new presidency, people have been paying close attention to the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press (1st Amendment), the right to bear arms (2nd Amendment), and even questioning whether cruel or unusual punishments should be inflicted, especially regarding those who commit horrible felonies (8th Amendment). People have also been observing the constitution in general, our laws.

With the temporary immigration ban set up according to religion, it has brought up serious questions regarding our 1st Amendment. Is the ban against that Amendment? Or is this just one of the loopholes?

Trump has attacked the news press time and again. Many Trump supporters feel there needs to be restrictions regarding what comes out of media. This calls the 1st Amendment to question as well.

Since people have been victims of mass shootings in the last couple of years, the right to bear arms has come under fire.

And since we have some of those mass shooters and terrorists in custody, avoiding cruel punishments for these crimes is definitely coming under scrutiny (since it could conflict with the 8th Amendment).

People are also really skeptical about the Electoral College.

In our country, the minimum amount of years they can stay in office is four years per term. A president can get up to only two terms. We don’t know what kind of president Trump will be within the next four years (or up to eight years should he be reelected). We only know how his campaign went. So far, we see that he is assertive, but very rash. Hopefully, though, something good comes out of his presidency for everyone in unexpected ways.

If not, there’s always impeachment.

Leave me a comment and let me know if this answered any questions for you! Americans, if you have more to add, please feel free to add!

I hope it was answered as simply and as down-to-earth as possible.

American Girl Introduces Five New Characters for 2017 (Logan, Tenney, Felicity, Z, and Nanea)+ “Perma” Panties

16 Feb

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Greetings readers!

Generation Next is back to talk about American Girl and their reveal of not one, not two, but FOUR new characters, as well as one comeback, released or coming out in 2017.

Many of these dolls have been rumored for months now within the American Girl community, but I thought instead of just making a review about “rumors”, it would be best to wait until the reveal of the products.

American Girl has not only released pictures of their newly released and upcoming products, but they have a live stream that goes into a little detail as well.

Check that out on Facebook!

There are plenty of changes American Girl, LLC is implementing this year. The changes, for many, are both exciting and a little overwhelming. I’ve heard the new changes are due to there being a new CEO at American Girl, LLC. I’m not sure her history with the brand prior to becoming “commander-in-chief” at the company, but I hope she actually understands the base of the brand enough to drive it forward.

Because so many changes and new products are hitting us all at once, I’m going to break down each release in detail (based on what we know so far about them), and I will be giving my opinions and my feelings on all the new releases.

I already did my review for Gabriela McBride, so I won’t go into any more detail about her.

My review will cover, in the order of release:

  • Tenny Grant and Logan Everett
  • Felicity Merriman
  • Z. Crew doll
  • Nanea Mitchell

Tenney Grant and Logan Everett

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Tenney Grant is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee who is trying to form her own band and get her music out into the world. Logan Everett is a boy who joins her band and they eventually become friends.

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Synopsis Book 3: Tenney & Logan are a harmonious match onstage, but behind the scenes, they are totally out of tune. With her recording contract signed, Tenney is ready to make the album of her dreams . . . she just wishes she didn’t have to do it with moody Logan Everett! They’re supposed to be songwriting partners, but Logan doesn’t even seem to be trying. Just when it looks like they’ve found their harmony, Logan suddenly disappears, and Tenney wonders if he has bailed on their act. A couple of months ago, Tenney would have gladly taken the opportunity to go solo. But as she learns more of Logan’s story, she begins to wonder: Do she and Logan need each other-and their music-now more than ever before?
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So we’ve got the story and we have pictures from her collection. Here’s my spill on it.

Dolls

Tenney

Tenney Grant is blonde with freckles, brown eyes (like Julie), and it looks like a little lip gloss…Her hands are molded to appear like she’s holding an instrument, which is different from older American Girl dolls.

I personally think that Tenney Grant is a cute little blondie! I love the freckles and I think she looks cute in her little outfits. She sort of reminds me of Caroline.

However, I’m not really interested in investing in another contemporary line outside of Girl of the Year. My budget isn’t wide enough for the leap.

And the fact that I have Caroline makes me less enthusiastic. There is really nothing that is compelling me to buy her. She just isn’t unique enough for me.

My thing is…this new line isn’t offering anything to me that Girl of the Year can’t offer. I get she’s targeted to older girls, and I’m sure her books will be interesting enough. However, as far as the doll goes, I just don’t understand why she couldn’t have been a Girl of the Year character with a male best friend…

Is she meant to only last one year and be gone like Girl of the Year? If so, why make this new line?

If she’s meant to last longer, that would be a plus. Girl of the Year has fans crunching and saving so that they can purchase a doll within a year. If this doll lasts a while, it would give fans a chance to purchase her. Still, the overall design and feeling of the line could easily be placed in Girl of the Year at a later date.

And now, we’ve got more modern characters than we need.

American Girl, LLC told us on facebook that this pair of dolls will be a part of a contemporary line that will be released at “random” and will just be a “side” thing. At this point, it doesn’t look like they will have a better name than “Contemporary Characters”, if this line really gets an umbrella name at all (considering the cover of her books just say “Tenney”). So there really isn’t any distinction between this line and Girl of the Year really.

That aside, we are expecting to get more dolls for this line throughout the years at random, much like how American Girl Beforever started. It won’t be a set date, like Girl of the Year.

With that being said, I don’t know if I’m happy that she is the first character for the line. She’s blonde, she’s trendy, she’s a singer. It just feels cliche, like your typical debut character.

I’m not even a huge fan of her clothes (not really my taste, though there is mix and match potential). I know what she’s wearing is the trend, but I’ve seen better from American Girl.

A lot of American Girl fans do not like Tenney Grant’s face tan and her “unflattering” freckles. I personally like the doll. I’m just not on board with the idea overall. I just don’t see the point.

The contemporary dolls are supposed to be more appealing to older girls in middle school. Girl of the Year has already jumped on the “middle school” bandwagon with Gabriela (who is in sixth grade). I don’t understand what this character is offering girls differently from the GOTY line.

Some fans also don’t like her lips, which appear “shiny”, like she’s wearing lip gloss. I personally don’t see anything wrong with shiny lips, as many 18″ dolls are carved or created with shiny lips. It does give her a more sophisticated look and it does make her appear different from the classic “American Girl”. But I don’t see the harm in makeup that subtle.

Despite how cute she is, I think I would’ve rather had Jaya, her Indian best friend, as the first debut character for the line. The only thing really driving this line so far is Tenney’s “best friend” doll, Logan.

Logan Everett

Logan is American Girl’s first ever 18″ BOY doll (they had a boy character in the Bitty Baby line). This has been rumored for awhile for those who have been in the “know”.

I’m going to be honest though. When I first saw Logan, I thought, “Finally, a girl character who doesn’t look like a stereotypical girl!” I would’ve been really excited if Logan had looked like this and been female. Talk about breaking gender norms.

But no. It’s actually a male character.

For many young male American Girl fans, this is a dream come true! Finally, there is a boy that represents them!

According to American Girl, LLC, fans have been begging for them to release a boy character. In this world, where diversity and inclusivity have become themes, this is American Girl company’s step forward.

As I said in my article about American Boy dolls before, I do believe that boys desperately needed dolls that mirrored kids their own age and were good, positive role models. Why should the girls be the only ones included?

However, I’m going to, once again, address the concerns I had back then. I’m not sure if having a boy character is good for the brand.

Eat me alive if you want to. American Girl is called American Girl. Why was American Girl such a big deal for girls? It wasn’t just because it provided wholesome dolls for girls with educational books and positive messages, something fashion dolls didn’t offer. It was also because most of history, prior to American Girl, was told from the perspective of males. Most of the heroes honored in our history books are male. Look at Marvel and DC comics, and you will see that even most of our modern heroes are male. Most action-adventure stories, like Harry Potter, have a male lead.

American Girl offered heroes for our little girls.

Nowadays, we do have more movies and shows about female heroes. But back in the 1980s, when American Girl first arrived, there were hardly any women taking on the “hero” title.

American Girl has been one of the first companies that brought these young females to the front. The contributions of women, especially little girls, may have been insignificant among other historical toys or books, but not in American Girl.

With the inclusion of a male doll in this brand, I can see why some American Girl fans are concerned that this brand will branch out. Some people have already expressed that they would like American Girl to honor mostly girls.

And this is not to say that Logan is outshining Tenney. However, with the success of Logan, will American Girl be considering more boy dolls in the future? We may start to see more male dolls in the future.

Some young male fans were hoping for historical boy characters instead. I think if Mattel creates another branch called ‘American Boy’ that might work. That way, it wouldn’t take away from the American Girl brand.

There’s another reason why I would’ve preferred another branch for American Boys.

  1. With Logan being a “best friend” to Tenney, he is nothing more than an accessory, like the other Best Friend characters were.
  2. With him being a male, it does leave room open for “romantic” playtime among children.

Logan is basically just “the boy”. He doesn’t get his own book. None of the books are told from the perspective of a male with a male author. He is an “accessory” to Tenney’s story, meaning he can be archived with Tenney if the situation calls for it. He is a background character, still not considered important. I mean, I guess I can just be happy they created a boy character at all. But this is one of the ways Mattel, the mother company to American Girl, has ruined doll lines before.

He seems meant to appeal to girls and not really meant to be designed specifically for the male fans, which I think is cheating our young male fans.

I also get the feeling he will be confused as the “boyfriend”. American Girl swears up and down that he is not a boyfriend character. I don’t think we should look at every male-female relationship as romantic, but it’s kind of hard to convince young girls that “shipping” two people with one another is wrong. And that is exactly what I think will end up happening with the two of them. If not while reading the story, just during playtime. What’s stopping a girl from pretending Logan is Tenney’s boyfriend? And so, here we end up with Barbie and Ken…

They kind of look like Barbie and Ken, too.

And why did they have to start off with a white male character? It would’ve been great if he’d have been Asian or something different for a debut. If they started this as a line of boy dolls, there may been a more diverse range of male characters.

It’s good I’m not too interested in this line. I’m happy there is finally a boy doll, but I’m just not happy with where he is placed.

The last issue I have with Logan is his AGE. Logan is said to be FOURTEEN (14) years old, according to American Girl’s facebook! He’s way older than the most of the target demographic. He’s not a kid; he’s a TEENAGER. His doll actually gives the illusion that he’s a 10 year old. I don’t know, but having crushes, whether on Tenney or not, wouldn’t be too far away from this character…

Story

I really get a ‘Taylor Swift’ vibe from the story. It seems cute enough. I’m especially interested in the story with her best friend Jaya. I wonder  why she didn’t get a doll…

I was hoping there would be a “singing” theme eventually with Girl of the Year, but now that the Contemporary line has it, that’s out for me.

Still, I was hoping the contemporary line would touch on the deeper issues affecting middle schoolers, something Girl of the Year has failed to do.

Remember those books by American Girl called The Care and Keeping of You? That book really helped girls as they were growing up and reaching puberty. I was hoping this contemporary line would be a good guide to giving advice for girls. But no. These books are just other forms of Girl of the Year.

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I read a preview of Tenney’s books, and honestly I just felt like I was watching a Disney Channel or Nickelodeon show. It lacked any real substance. But it’s cute enough.

Unfortunately, because the series is told from the girl’s perspective, Logan is given a bad-boy, mysterious, and moody personality that seems unflattering. He doesn’t seem created to directly relate to boys, but rather seems created to better appeal to females. The personality is reminiscent of male characters that are often found in female-driven literature…and these characters often end up being the “heartthrobs” (the moody Edward from Twilight is an example). They are designing a male ideal here, not really giving boys a good role model.

Unfortunately, what I’m seeing and reading are not enough for me to be interested in Tenney or Logan. However, I would definitely buy Tenney and Logan as a gift for kids. Just not for my collection.

One thing is for certain: We can call bull on American Girl claiming they were”moving from the best friend strategy”.

Felicity Merriman, American Girl’s Revolutionary War Character

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Can I give an outplayed “Yaaasss”? Guess who is back (again) out of the archives? Felicity Merriman!

They must have wanted to tie in with the new “Hamilton” popularity or maybe jump in on Shailene Woodley’s recent popularity (considering her first acting role was as Felicity).

Felicity is a long-time historical favorite. If you don’t remember, she represented the Revolutionary War era. She was our fiery, spunky, independent red-head (before Maryellen arrived).

I wrote about her archival, and I can’t believe I’m now writing about her return.

Remember when she was retired in 2001? Then she returned in 2005 and was retired again. Now, she’s back again. They really just can’t decide what to do with Miss Merriman!

Felicity is coming with a new Meet Outfit and a new book layout.

Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of either one. I like her blue dress better than her lavender one, considering the quality seems better, but something about it is unflattering. I think I’m just biased to her first Meet dress. It just felt more authentic, more natural. This new dress looks more like it was made for a Disney Princess character.

Still, I’m giddy one of my favorite characters are returning and I’m happy the American Revolution will not be forgotten in the Beforever line.

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My only gripe is that she will be released with Tenney, which takes away her shine. The website didn’t even update her “Play” page, she’s barely on the front home page, and she’s not boldly announced in the Shop section either. So far, she’s only come out with her new Meet outfit, which isn’t much fun…

I also heard she doesn’t actually come with a shift or hair ribbon, which is really cheap.

The worst part is she’s only being sold online and at the three major stores in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

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Z. Crew Doll

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Z. Crew started off as a stop-motion series (created by American Girl) about a Korean American “character” doll named Suzie Yang who creates her own vlogs online, often using her “American Girl dolls” (usually minis) as themes. Obviously, American Girl company was inspired by actual American Girl fans who often make their own stop-motion videos or often make videos in general using their dolls. It definitely put all of those people out of business…

Well, now, Z is getting her own doll! (Though technically, this doll has been around awhile now. #40 anyone? #64 anyone? #30?) And I suppose this is American Girl’s response to more diversity and that push for an Asian American Girl doll?

Here’s why this character does not suffice:

  1. She is not the historical Asian character we asked for.
  2. She is another contemporary character, competing with other contemporary characters.
  3. Most of her clothes from the series are borrowed from their Truly Me line (their line of customizable contemporary dolls…)

I’m sure most of us already have some items similar to what American Girl is offering for her or will buy the clothes and put them on dolls we already have.

Most people have not been asking for a modern Asian American doll. Most people felt pretty satisfied with Jess (even though she was part Asian). But we have been asking for an Asian character for Beforever, one that wasn’t just an “accessory” doll (like Ivy was to Julie), and one that has her own story and moment in history. And what did they give us? This.

I’m not going to say I hate this character. I think she’s really cute and unique. Her stop-motion series is cute. But again, why so many contemporary lines? And why all at once, in the same year?

The content and themes being pushed by American Girl for these random contemporary lines could’ve gone over well with Girl of the Year. I really don’t understand the point of the Z. Crew line. Maybe the stop-motion series is so popular, kids wanted to buy dolls inspired from the series. But I’m just not that in love with the character to feel compelled to buy her. And if you already have #40, it’s a wrap.

She’s also getting a book, for whatever reason, and a live-action movie (and cringey Amazon Prime is doing it again).

I wonder if Z’s whole crew is joining her in this doll line…That might make things a little interesting. Still, I can only see myself purchasing Z after making other major purchases…

Z is supposed to come out in April, but already she has quite a bit of competition this year. Why would they release their only Asian American character amidst so much competition? It’s not fair. They are setting this doll up to fail.

But for anyone interested, I think she will be a unique and diverse addition to any contemporary line, considering they don’t have many Asian American characters, and none that are Korean at that.

However, I don’t think she will last more than two years. Stop-motion can get old after awhile. There needs to be something else driving this line.

For anyone interested, her doll is set to be released April 27, 2017.

Nanea Mitchell, Hawaiian Character from the 1940s

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The rumored Nanea Mitchell has finally been unveiled!

And yes, she is just as I feared: ANOTHER 1940s character.

Nanea Mitchell, 1941
She’s a Hawaiian girl who does her part to help and heal during wartime. 

Nanea Mitchell learns the importance of generosity and sacrifice throughout her stories. 

Set for a fall release is Nanea Mitchell, a Native Hawaiian girl growing up during World War II in what was then a U.S. territory. “Nanea’s stories teach girls that kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—sometimes require sacrifice.” NBCNews

Her stories take place around the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many speculate that she will live in Oahu, Hawaii, close to where the events occurred.

I am excited to learn more about Hawaiian history and culture. I am interested in learning how this story differs from Molly’s (if it does). Don’t get me wrong.

But I don’t care how beautiful Nanea is. I don’t care how touching her story may be. All of that superficial crap does not disguise the real problems I see. I still feel cheated.

1.Instead of giving us a new era in history, American Girl decided to “rinse and repeat” an era. 

I mentioned before that it felt like American Girl was running out of era ideas. Nanea, to me, is proof that they really couldn’t find any other different eras in history. I said this before: I’m not interested in reading about WWII twice. Especially not before we touch on eras that have never been touched on by American Girl. I’m still waiting on the 1920s. And I don’t care how diverse this makes the brand, history is a priority of mine. I care more about diverse and accurate eras in history than I do about the color of dolls.

Unlike other fans, I don’t like this brand for its dolls alone. I was drawn to this brand for the history. And I am eager for American Girl to introduce new history to kids. We’ve talked about WWII with Molly. What about eras we haven’t talked about, like Western Expansion? The Roaring Twenties? Early Exploration (Pilgrim)? I would even go with the 1980s. I get there are many perspectives in each era in history, but we haven’t even touched on ONE perspective in those eras I just named. Let’s double back AFTER all ground has been covered.

This story of Nanea’s even sounds similar to Molly’s (pulling together, lending a hand, helping the war effort, and making sacrifices). I can’t say her descriptions sound original or unique. Felicity carried unique themes like Loyalty and Independence, something not shared by other American Girls. Nanea is carrying the same themes Molly carried. And that’s just not very appealing to me.

You know what’s going to end up happening with most Molly fans? They will just be taking Nanea’s collection and putting it with Molly. And if Nanea’s collection is bogus, which something tells me it will be, she will be archived soon and replaced with the original Molly.

Or it could be the other way around, where Nanea is bought more and just dumped with Molly’s collection. Either way, the lines are now interchangeable and less unique.

Fortunately, Nanea is cute enough to go over well. And if they focus on her culture, instead of over-emphasizing WWII, I may be able to deal. Otherwise, I’m sorry. I can’t get excited about an era I already know so much about.Well, I can’t get as excited as I could if this were a new era in history.

My other concern is this: Will this new “rinse and repeat” method continue? Are they going to make two girls each era? I don’t know if I would like two 1960s characters. For starters, the character would more than likely be white. Then, if she’s really popular, she would diminish the importance of Melody significantly (because we all know she would sell better).

The “doll a decade” thing worked so well because one doll could get so much in her collection. Now, with two, one doll will get the things the other won’t, just to promote them differently. There is still a possibility Molly will come back. After all, she does have a big picture on the front cover of American Girl’s new Story of America book. American Girl is still selling her books and movie. Because she’s still being promoted, there has to be a line between what we can find in Molly’s collection and what we could find in Nanea’s, just to make them both uniquely appealing.

Nanea isn’t going to get as many “WWII” types of items like Molly did considering her era takes place much earlier before the war began to really affect everyday life. The things Nanea does get will probably look (or will actually be) exactly like Molly’s! Since I already have Molly, I’m hoping there will be some differences. Hopefully, the setting and culture (Hawaii) can provide some unique items that can last longer than two years.

I’m also hoping that there will be new 1940s references within the story. Molly already had a hula costume, so I don’t care much for a Hawaiian get-up. Molly introduced us to strap-on skates, newsreels, girl scout camps, patriotic songs that were especially sung at school, the popularity of tap dancing, the Three Stooges, the Red Cross, rationing, victory gardens, Halloween, snow globes, and so much more. I really don’t have a desire to hear about any of those things again. I don’t even want to hear a similar manner of speaking. Molly and her friends often said “Gosh” and “Golly” and such. I don’t want anything redundant. I will end up comparing everything to Molly.

I had the same problem with Cecile and Marie-Grace back in the day, but I warmed up to them. Maybe I will warm up to Nanea.

2. Is she the “Asian American” character we asked for? It doesn’t seem like it.

Most of us asked for a JAPANESE AMERICAN character, possibly, but not definitively, living in Hawaii. Yes, I heard all of the requests. Most people did not actually ask for a Hawaiian character. In fact, most fans hoped internment camps would be apart of the story.

I’m not sure of the actual ethnicity of this “Hawaiian” character, but it doesn’t seem like she will actually be “Asian”. Nanea is a Hawaiian name. Mitchell is an Americanized surname. The worst case would be if she was a mixed half white, half polynesian child. That would be the dumps.

American Girl has not truly been answering our call for diversity. They’ve been skating around the real issues. Even with Gabriela McBride, they’ve just pulled out an old retired doll, came up with some random modern outfits, and released her. That’s not really developing a Girl of the Year.

And this “Hawaiian” character is not exactly what fans wanted. Most of us wanted an Asian character.

Now, I do know some people who are excited about Nanea because they missed out on Kanani and may have wanted some pretty Hawaiian doll with a tan to add to their collection. I was not one of those people. So, I hope she has some Asian blood running through her veins. Otherwise, I will boycott this doll like the plague.

American Girl has already come out with a doll that brought out Hawaiian culture and that was Kanani. But which Asian character in American Girl truly brings out Asian culture or history through her collection? NONE. This is why we have been asking for an Asian American historical character,

They only made Nanea because they wanted to lighten the perspective of “internment” and they wanted to bring a doll out with a tan, hazel eyes, and wavy hair. Not truly to add diversity, but to cash in on Disney’s Moana’s success.

The thing is there are more eras they could’ve done the Hawaiian historical character. They could’ve made her from the 19th century, during the Annexation period and European-Asian contact, during the reign of one of the last queens in the west coast, among other interesting historical events. She would’ve really looked like Moana then.

But there are not too many eras that truly affect Asian Americans in the USA. WWII would’ve been the perfect era. It was an era that truly affected Asians, and the Asian struggle during the period has been glossed over largely. Instead, they gave us Moana, excuse me, Nanea.

And most people are probably thinking that there’s no difference between an Asian and Hawaiian…The ignorance of it all. I’ll bet American Girl thought the same thing when they made her.

3. She seems like a modern doll.

When I first saw her, I swear I thought she was another contemporary character. There is nothing “staple 1940s” about this character. When we look at Felicity, we know she’s colonial. When we look at Kit, we know she’s from the 1920s or 1930s. When we look at Maryellen, we know she’s from the 1950s. We know these things based on the clothes. That was the most fascinating thing about the fashion. The fashion reminded us of the era.

I do not see “history” when I see Nanea. It’s almost like they specifically designed her to look more “modern” so that she could appeal to the next generation. She looks like a “modern version” of the 1940s.

Her name isn’t even very historical either (even if a few people did have it in the 1940s). Nanea didn’t become a popular name until 2005. It’s like they chose the most “easy to pronounce”, remind-me-of-Moana name and slapped her under the label of Beforever. It is ridiculous. If people were thinking that American Girl is moving away from their historical emphasis, this would really validate their fears.

There used to be a time when the dolls were created as a compliment to the book series. This is why there were more accessories and dresses, and why there were pictures. This was also why it made sense to design a doll an era. Everything that was in the books was made for the dolls, and most of the books’ “timeline” lasted two years at times, allowing for a multitude of items to fill a decade. Samantha’s stories began in 1904 and ended in 1906. Molly’s stories took place from 1943 to 1945. Kirsten’s stories took place from 1854 to 1856.

Nanea is mostly supposed to cover 1941 and maybe a scrap of 1942. Just like Marie-Grace and Cecile, who only covered 1853. And trust me, the books felt very short and rushed as a result.

Now, the stories are mostly made to compliment the dolls. They create the dolls first, and then add or fix those details in the books later. The history is an afterthought now. Stories are not nearly as important as pretty dolls.

I feel like this story was thought up to create a pretty Hawaiian character, one that replaces the popular Kanani, not truly to add more history to this line of dolls.

4. She looks like a Wellie Wishers Doll or Another Brand’s Doll Entirely.

I really thought Nanea was from another brand. Her face mold looks different. She almost feels out of place in the Beforever line up. She doesn’t feel American Girl. Therefore, it’s hard for me to warm up to her. She somehow looks older…She doesn’t have the sweet, young look the other dolls have.

She really looks similar to a Wellie Wishers doll. It cheapens her a little bit. I hope they also reduce the price.

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5. She’s another character with wavy hair and hazel eyes.

More hazel eyes? Really, American Girl? If I see another hazel-eyed character, I’m going to snatch myself bald.

What happened to the days when American Girl characters had the features and combinations of real girls? What happened to the days when a girl living in the 1940s would actually be depicted with the braids most girls had in that era in time?

Nanea is over-glamorous. She just doesn’t feel like a natural little girl from the 1940s.

Maybe this is why I’ve always been so attached to my Molly. She had glasses. She had pigtails. She was unique. She was simply irreplaceable. Nanea is another hazel-eyed, wavy-haired glamor girl.

But what can we expect? She’s pretty and photogenic. She should sell well to the fan community.

Oh well. Maybe she will teach me something different about Hawaii and WWII (hopefully). I won’t know until she is officially released.

She will officially be released August 24, 2017.

I’m hoping she has some Asian background, and if not, I hope they design an Asian American character set in the 1980s or some other time period in the future. It’s time for American Girl to stop skating around. Nanea is nice and everything, but she’s not going to make up for the Asian historical character you lack.

Permanent Underwear

I may sound a little negative in this article. I am feeling rather negative. Perhaps I’m a little frustrated with American Girl because of their push for the new “permanent underwear” for some of their dolls.

If you haven’t heard, American Girl announced that the new “permanent underwear” will be sewn on to all of the new modern dolls as well as some modern Beforever characters (Maryellen, Melody, and Julie, fan favorites).

This is very infuriating. This takes away the whole point of doll playtime, which is really to mix and match fashion. And if someone wants to change their doll into a different era, like into the colonial era, they won’t be able to do that without looking at the permanent underwear.

American Girl claims they are doing this because they’ve noticed that some kids have been losing their dolls’ underwear.

“We assure the design change was made only to make play easier for some children and to ensure the underwear cannot be lost.”

But it doesn’t make play easier for all children, does it? Just some. And it definitely takes away the value for collectors.

This move to ensure children don’t lose the “underwear” is utter cow manure. It’s like saying, “We want to sew all of the clothes to the doll so the kids won’t lose the clothes”…It defeats the entire purpose of PLAYTIME. Children WILL lose items at times. They will mix and match or replace those items with something else. That’s the fun of it. It simply makes no sense to sew them on the bodies.

They may be trying to move toward “modesty” with these dolls. Some people feel that American Girl is teaching girls to be ashamed of their bodies by sewing on panties.

If they are trying to move towards modesty, it’s the stupidest move they’ve ever made. Honestly, the dolls’ bodies never looked realistic in the first place! They don’t have female parts underneath their clothes. They have a soft, stuffed torso overall.

What this really does is put restrictions and limitations on playtime. And it tightens everyone’s pockets.

American Girl claims it shouldn’t stop girls from mixing and matching the fashion, but it does, especially if you want your Julie to become “Elizabeth” from Felicity’s books or something of that nature.

It also can ruin photos and make the bathing suits on top of the underwear look chunky and awkward.

People speculate that American Girl’s introduction of the “beautiful” Nanea this early in the year is a “distraction” to coerce American Girl protestors into buying their dolls, despite the fact they are ignoring fans’ complaints. Some people have been persuaded to make one more purchase, but will only be buying Nanea and none after. Some will only be buying the dolls that don’t have the underwear (which puts Maryellen, Julie, Melody, and all the Truly Me dolls in a bind). Many are boycotting the purchase of all dolls until this is fixed.

It has really come to the point where the quality is being called out. Unfortunately, American Girl is confident that their dolls will sell, no matter what they dish out at us. And they have every reason to be. Tons of people on Youtube and beyond can’t resist Nanea.

And there are tons of parents and feminists that support the “sewing” of the underwear.

Me, personally, I could look past the new boxes and the new zip ties. I was a little more incensed at the new vinyl for the mini dolls. Many American Girl fans could not handle any of those changes.

But I draw my line at sewn-on underwear.

On facebook, Aryn Bedrick said, “The point is that AG is supposed to be authentic and geared towards intelligent play. The target age for these dolls is 8+. This move makes you look cheap and generic, like many of your other recent changes like the move to zip ties from strings, and packaging that requires clothing be attached with plastic tags that screams ‘throw me away’ instead of ‘save me for your future daughter’ as your original, classy packaging did. You are losing the things that set you apart in this industry.”

Many people consider a lot of these new body changes, packaging, and zip ties as a sign of disloyalty to the brand. I personally felt that the whole idea of Tenney, Logan, Z. Crew, and Nanea was breaking “loyalties” as much as the other new changes. But American Girl has been going down that road for the last couple of years, especially after the launch of Beforever.

The funny part about it is, for me, I’m more angry that Nanea Mitchell is sharing a decade with my beloved Molly. I’m more angry that another more interesting era was not chosen. I’m more angry that there are now more contemporary characters in this brand than there needs to be.

I don’t like the movies being produced out of Amazon Prime. I don’t like that the Wellie Wishers face mold and packaging are taking over the brand. I don’t like that Logan is Tenney’s sidekick and/or “boyfriend”. I don’t like that Z. Crew is so boring as a doll. I hate the new bodies with the new zip ties.

And the icing on the cake was the sewn-on undies.

I’m sorry this article is so negative. I tried so hard to be positive in my spirit, and maybe my views will change with time. But right now, my collection days feel very close to coming to a close. I’ve been with American Girl since 1997, and maybe it’s just time for me to retire. American Girl really needs to fix what’s broken and leave the fun stuff alone.

Well, that’s all I have to say. Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the new releases and all the different changes.

“Ask the USA”

11 Feb

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Hello readers, this is Gen Next talking to you straight.

I want to start a new series on this blog called ‘Ask the USA‘. This series will tackle questions about the USA asked by people from outside of the USA, questions coming from Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and on this blog.

What inspired this series? Much of American entertainment and news are available around the world thanks to the internet. The news media and internet have turned American issues into global ones. American topics are beginning to affect people around the globe. Because of that, many foreigners are watching and wondering about some of the things going on in the USA. American issues also affect the responses people of the world get from Americans on social media websites, chat rooms, news websites, and other places that provide an opportunity for comments.

As a result, I’ve heard so many different questions about the USA. I’ve heard some of the same questions about the USA so often, I feel compelled to respond.

It’s natural for people to be curious about other nations, especially if people plan to travel one day. I’m naturally curious about issues going on in other countries as well. With that being said, I think a lot of people around the world would benefit from reading the articles in this series.

People from the USA may find these articles interesting as well. Other Americans may even want to add to these articles in the “comment” section.

I felt the need to write these articles because I’ve been in discussions with people from different countries and they’ve come to me about many things they’ve heard or experienced in the country and online with the citizens.

As a natural-born citizen, an African American woman, an adult working citizen (I pay my taxes), I think I am fully qualified to answer some of the questions people around the world have. I also think I’ve improved on my writing well enough for most people to understand. Hopefully, my humor has improved as well. Forgive me if it hasn’t. XD I’m working on shortening my articles as well.

I planned on starting this series in January, but so much has been going on in my life and in the world, I just couldn’t start this series that soon. Hopefully, I can start the series sometime this month or next month.

If you’re from outside of the USA, and you have questions, you can leave me a comment with your question and I will try to answer it in this series. Of course, the priority questions will be the questions that more than one person asks. Please be patient for all other questions. I will try to get to everyone’s questions.

So far, the topics that have been of interest include:

  • Donald Trump’s presidency
  • Racism and Race relations in the USA
  • Native Americans
  • The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • American English versus British English
  • Americans’ Views on Women and Sexualization

These topics are just a starting point.

I am really excited about this series and I hope that I can answer everyone’s questions. Don’t be afraid to ask!

~From Generation Next

 

7 Types of Feminists That Make Me Cringe

5 Feb

 

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There are several definitions of feminism out here:

  1. The advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes (Google.com)
  2. A range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. (Wikipedia.org)
  3. The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  4. Refers to any ideology that seeks total equality in rights for women and people who self-identify as women, usually through improving the status of females. (RationalWiki.org)
  5. The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. (Dictionary.com)

With the above definitions in clear view, we can conclude that overall the feminist movement is calling for equal rights for women, for anyone who identifies as women to be seen as equals to men, and for women’s “roles” in society to be respected. Some feminists even define feminism as something that helps both sexes achieve equal rights.

I feel that all women can and have benefited from feminism in their own ways. We can’t deny that. Feminism has been a movement that has existed since the 1800s (when the first suffragists rounded up and organized their movement to push for the right to vote). And these movements have shaped the “feminine” identity to this very day.

All women who work, go to school, have sexual relations freely, chose their partners, wear short skirts, pants, and shorts, speak their minds on the internet, and vote should thank the efforts of both peaceful and radical feminists. Women today can’t help but be feminists. As Oprah Winfrey put it, “I don’t think you can really be a woman in this world and not be.” I completely agree with this statement.

I myself, as an African American woman, continue to benefit from the movement. I work, I’ve graduated from college, I have assumed a leadership role, I write this blog to speak my mind publicly, I’m single and love it, I adore androgynous clothing, and I have interests not assumed by most women (such as loving to play video games).

However, I believe it is possible to benefit from feminism, to support equal rights, without agreeing with what every feminist says or thinks. Not all feminists have the same intentions regarding feminism, and it is safe to say that “Third-wave” feminism (modern feminism), the feminism that exists today, has taken a completely different turn.

Julienne Davis, a feminist writer, spoke out about the “third-wave” of feminists in her article “How Did Feminism Get Hijacked By Man-Haters”. Her article inspired me to write this one.

Many feminists are very effective when it comes to pushing women towards a more “inclusive” future. This article is not for those women who really and truly want to help all women.

I want to assume that most feminists have good intentions, but based on some articles and comments I’ve read on the internet, in books, and in essays written by those who were associated or identified as feminists, I can definitely see why some people are no longer taking the feminist movement as seriously and why some women don’t even want to be associated with the movement.

After searching around, I’ve discovered 7 Types of feminists that not only irritate me, and others, but make us all literally sick. In no particular order, I will discuss what is so irritating about them.

The Slut Shamers

The Body Shamers

Ms. Double Standards

Lady Feminine and Lady Masculine

The User and Abuser

Feminazi

Transfeminist Dictators

1. The “Slut-Shamers” (SWERFS)

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I felt this was important to talk about first because it has increasingly been affecting movies, music, music videos, video games, and even TOYS.

There are two reasons why the “slut-shamers” make me sick:

  1. They fail to understand the historical sexual restriction placed on women and how that continues to impact women.
  2. Their nit-picking to producers has been effective in limiting female artistic expression and creative female representation in media and other entertainment avenues.

Many feminists are against the exploitation, objectification, and over-sexualization of women, particularly when done by men. I can understand this well. Obviously, women don’t want to be looked at as “objects”, as tools of men, and want to be respected beyond their appearances. Mutual consent is an important topic as well as how sexuality in media influences young girls, who normally aren’t ready to handle the consequences that come with a sexual identity and sexual experience. Of course, mothers don’t want to encourage their daughters to sexually exploit themselves and they want to get a hold of teen pregnancies (which is said to claim over 700,000 teen girls a year). Teen pregnancy affects a female’s body and socioeconomic conditions severely. I get this.

But I can see why the “Feminist Sex Wars” ensued. There has to be some sort of balance, where women are both in control of their sexuality as well as free to express it.

These Feminists Set Us Back to the 19th Century

For centuries before the 1920s, sexuality was considered strictly for men. In fact, doctors in the 19th century believed that women felt “little or no sexual desire, and that only abnormal or ‘pathological’ women felt strong sexual desire” (“Women in Literature”, Kimberly M. Radek-Hall, 2001).

However, once women began to openly speak about their own sexualities, their right to choose their own sexual partners, and their right to express their sexuality “creatively” or in entertainment, men apparently seemed too “on-board” with this transition, to the point women became looked at as sexual objects by some men. That’s when the new wave of feminists began to debate whether women should be “sex-positive” or “anti-pornographic”.

I personally feel that the feminist movement should support all women. With that being said, I believe that women should have the right to express themselves in any way they like IF they are at a responsible age to handle the consequences. Each woman should be in charge of her “image” towards men or anyone else. If she wants to be looked at as an “object” by men or admired for her body, who are we to tell her she can’t? Or if she just wants to wear less clothing because she lives in a warm climate or because she wants to show off the latest fashion artistically, who are we to tell her she’s wrong? If we are at a point where we believe women should be on the same social plane as men, we should extend those rights we give to men that we give to women.

In fact, I feel we slut-shame women more than we do men, when statistics show that there are more teen dads out here than teen moms, and with more than one child! So much more so, in fact, that they can’t even keep a consistent count! And men are not shamed or protected by their families. I feel it would be more useful to try to get control of these young men because apparently they have the issue here! But if we are not going to say or do anything about our sons, why even try with our daughters? We can’t limit one side of the spectrum without limiting the other.

I especially find it to be super judgmental and contradictory to try to control what a female wears by shaming her into fitting another woman’s standards of beauty and decency. For many slut-shaming feminists, acting sexually isn’t the worst part. Dressing “sexually” is condemned by these feminists as well.

I can understand if someone wants to restrict a child from wearing revealing, see-through clothing and walking around as if she wants male attention. Obviously, a child is not mature enough to advertise herself in that manner. But a grown woman, with her own job, house, and car is old enough to do what she wants with herself. She’s fully prepared to handle the consequences, and no one should stop her from doing what she wants.

And some of these feminists define “sexualized fashion” as a tank top and shorts. These are the feminists that won’t let up on females even if it was 100 degrees outside!

They fail to understand that what one person finds “modest” and “beautiful” is not going to be the same for another person. They fail to understand that climate and weather impacts the way a woman dresses. And they fail to understand that styles always change. Before the 1920s, a one-piece bathing suit was considered indecent. Now, these slut-shaming feminists have suddenly become accepting of it. Why? Women show more skin in a bathing suit than they do in shorts and a tank top! But a mini skirt is worse than a one-piece bathing suit?

There are women in warm climates around the world who live and work in villages and move about their day-to-day life topless. And only western feminists will garble about how these women are “objectifying us all”.

Then, there’s the issue with their “attack” on makeup. I can understand that in our culture, women have too many expectations on them to look beautiful. I understand that feminists should push for women to be more natural. And for those women who want to be all-natural, I think it’s a great stand.

However, we shouldn’t condemn a woman who likes to wear makeup, and we especially shouldn’t assume they want male attention and that they are “sluts”.

Makeup has been worn by people (not just women) for centuries, even in the Egyptian empire. Men and women in Korea wear makeup. It is an art form. Makeup can express many different feelings at one time. People who enjoy art enjoy makeup. But slut-shaming feminists often lack an appreciation for art. Makeup is just associated with “sexualization” and “the search for male attention”.

It’s worse when these women are guilty of the same things they condemn other women for.

Instead of focusing on how women are dressing or how much makeup they’re wearing, maybe we should be focusing on the men who only see these women as sex objects and work on getting them some mental help instead.

Next, I want to talk about pole dancing, prostitution, and erotic dancing.. I do understand that coerced or forced prostitution (prostitution for money as a result of poverty, rape, pimp rings, etc) and sex trafficking are both dangerous and horrible ways for women to live. These issues should be addressed. But if a woman decides she wants to become a prostitute, and use her tricks to create a business, why shouldn’t she? I don’t think this should be illegal and I don’t think we should judge these women or men. They aren’t harming anyone, they’re just trying to make money using the only resource they can at the moment (even if that “resource” is their body). I mean, it’s their body and no one else’s.

The SWERFS believe that prostitution came from an “oppressive patriarchal” society. They believe it emerged at a time when women couldn’t make enough money to feed themselves and so resulted to giving up their bodies and being sex objects to get paid. But if we really think about it, just about everything a modern woman does and wants to do came out of a “patriarchal” society. Jobs like being a secretary, homemaker (stay-at-home moms), and maids came out of an oppressive patriarchal society, and yet we don’t suddenly condemn them or exclude them, even though those jobs put women in submissive roles. So why condemn porn stars or prostitutes just because they have jobs that came out of an oppressive patriarchal society? And if the women enjoy doing it, why comment at all?

Slut-Shaming Feminists Have Destroyed Artistic Expression

Though both sides are in the war, the “anti-pornographic” feminists have mostly dominated in the 21st century, influencing movies, tv shows (like the Powerpuff Girls), music videos (like Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj), video games (like Tomb Raider), and even toys (like Bratz, Barbie, Betty Spaghetty, and even Monster High).

In most cases, too, these kinds of feminists take their criticisms too far. As a major toy and animation fan, I have personally witnessed how slut-shaming feminists have destroyed amazing, creative, and empowering doll lines, fun video games with iconic characters, and lovable cartoons with their nit-picking.

While I admit that Tomb Raider‘s Lara Croft gives an above-average body portrayal (more on this later), she’s also pretty daring and edgy, really showing that women are capable of anything. It’s no different from the body portrayals of Captain America, Superman, or Thor (which women ironically support and “eat” up). Yet, the feminists picked at Tomb Raider video game so long and so hard, the producers had to alter this iconic character. Many people claim that it had nothing to do with feminists, but we all know feminists have been complaining about that game (and many others) for years now. I don’t understand. What’s wrong with a woman who has a big chest? Some women have it, some don’t. So what? She’s not meant to look real, just like Superman and Thor.

Next…

While the Bratz dolls have been known to wear some of the most outrageous fashions and makeup, they have broken many fashion molds for a doll line. While most girls are expected to look “cute” and “modest”, the Bratz dolls have proven that a passion for fashion and breaking molds can be just as empowering. They were targeted for a tween to teen audience, and didn’t mind dressing like rock stars, jungle queens, Tokyo tourists, you name it. Makeup was used as an art form on the dolls. The Bratz never cared about the social rules. They never let these restrictive “standards” define them. Until the slut-shaming feminists got a hold of them.

Ironically, Bratz dolls have been one of few that have been respected by a male audience. While most of the males did focus on the “fashion” that the Bratz wore, most never looked at them as “sex icons”. They had big heads and big feet; they looked too much like cartoon characters to have been taken as the same sexual models we see in Playboy or Sports Illustrated magazines. Many males have stated that they liked the Bratz dolls because “they [were] unique and appealing”, “unique, cute, adorable, and wonderful”, “the look, the fashion, and the movies and episodes”, and the “high-quality clothes”. To most males, the Bratz are “unique”, well-dressed, with good movies and shows, not overtly “feminine” and “girl-centered” like other doll lines. None of the guys think these dolls are “hot” or “sexy”, but rather bold and original. So, the only ones seeing the “sexualization” of these dolls are feminists. The rest of us are seeing the sass, the boldness, and their girl power.

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From what angle do these feminists draw their conclusion? I grew up with Bratz. Am I a prostitute? No. Was I a teen mom? No. And my vision of the Bratz as a tween was that they were strong, bold, and passionate young teens, ready to take the world by storm (similar to how I saw the Spice Girls). It would’ve been different if they were designed as sexy, attractive girlfriends for a line of male dolls. But the Bratz never portrayed themselves nor never have been portrayed as sex icons, not by males, not by fans, not by anybody. I see more sexual innuendos out there for My Little Pony than I do the Bratz. And what is wrong with having a passion for fashion? Didn’t anyone get the memo that the fashion industry is dominated by male designers? We need to encourage our ladies to think outside of the box, to be the inventors, the designers, the inspiration behind everything. We should be encouraging girls to push the envelope, to explore their passions.

Even young ladies today (the ladies who haven’t been brainwashed by these feminists’ propaganda) can clearly understand that the Bratz are an example of “self-expression” through fashion, and these dolls boldly announce that women can show skin (artistically) without necessarily trying to be attractive to a MAN. I have yet to speak with any tweens or teens that referred to the Bratz as “sexy”. You can see this from some of the comments on Youtube and other SNS websites dedicated to the Bratz. The only people who don’t seem to understand that are the slut-shaming feminists. They want to believe there’s some deep-seated misogynistic feelings these young ladies are “inheriting”… I hardly call the Bratz a form of “male hate” or “male supremacy”, but imagine whatever unicorns you want, my dear.

Moving along…

I want to talk about the new re-vamped Powerpuff Girls cartoon and the controversy regarding Ms. Bellum. I understand that Ms. Bellum’s design was just a body in a sexy suit without a face. But she actually had more of a role than these feminists think. She was the power behind the mayor’s incompetence, she was a confidante for the kindergarten superheroes and a female figure in these girls’ lives, and she was a single, hard-working lady, strong, sexy, and beautiful. Her role had many other messages and undertones. Without her in the series, something is missing.

But apparently, slut-shaming feminists don’t want to leave room for a diverse range of female representations. They would rather all women be the same dry, covered up, stiff women they’ve been since the 1800’s.

I don’t hear these feminists attacking Twilight for having an above-average, full-figured teen male in the story (Jacob Black). I don’t hear the feminists come with the pitchforks against Shoujo anime with these “cardboard box”, super tall, crazy athletic males. Whenever a woman objectifies a male in a written story or movie production, I don’t hear a peep from the slut-shamers.

This extends beyond the realm of toys and cartoons, and even affects famous movie stars and music artists. While many artists want to be respected as artists regardless of what they wear or how sexual they are, many have found a way to balance both an appealing look with a powerful message (like Beyonce).

But the slut-shaming feminists have fired at artists like Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Salt N’ Pepa, you name it. If they aren’t covered up like old grannies, like Adele, they are a “bad influence”.

Ironically, these same feminists don’t go after male artists like Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, and others who actually DO the objectifying and talk more about sex than any other artists.

I seldom find young women who get interested in sex because their favorite female artists are into it, and I’ve been working with kids and teens for five years now. Honestly, how many teens can say they did it because Nicki Minaj said it was okay? But when teen girls’ favorite MALE artists are into it, teen girls seem more influenced to explore sex and sexuality. Or better yet, when some guy at their high school tells them how special they are, they are more than likely to do it no matter who is on a movie or music video screen.

I doubt Nicki Minaj got girls more interested in sex than One Direction did or Justin Bieber or Nick Jonas. So, should we shut down all the “heartthrobs” that come onto the music scene just because they express their sexuality and turn teen girls on? We are so quick to attack a female, we hardly think to look at the male stars that influence young girls way more than female stars, who have actually done the opposite!

If you don’t want your kids to be exposed to certain things, fine. As a parent, you have that right. But I don’t agree with taking someone else’s right to expression as the solution to raising individual children. Censor what you expose your kids to in your own homes, and give the rest of us a choice to enjoy what we enjoy.

This is not to say that I feel women should always be about their bodies and their appearances. I’m not that into mine. I do feel that it’s best for me to be natural and I would like my kind to be seen as beautiful, too. But to me, it’s perfectly fine if other women feel that their expression and confidence comes from a different avenue than mine. I feel that is what makes us all amazing; our diversity is what make us great.

Therefore, I can’t hang with the slut-shaming feminists. They make me sick.

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2. The Body-shamers

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These types of feminists make me feel sicker than the first one I mentioned.

Feminists all around have been advocating the #loveyourself campaign. Feminists have been speaking out about the media and how it pressures women into thinking they have to fit a “mold” to be beautiful, to feel feminine, or to be looked at as a “real” woman. This goes hand-in-hand with the women’s “strike” against makeup and plastic surgery.

Even music artists like Alessia Cara have been singing out about the entertainment industry and how women have been trying to fit this ideal to feel worth.

Of course, the world-wide standard has always been “the skinnier, the better”, which has caused millions of girls to basically starve themselves or get plastic surgery in order to reach this ideal. So, feminists have mostly been encouraging women to enjoy having a little “weight”. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I’m on-board with this. My whole life I was sized up by people based on my physical appearance. In the African American community I grew up in, looks mattered a lot as regards to femininity and womanhood, so I understand this campaign as a whole.

However, I feel that some feminists have transferred the shame from those who are thicker to those who are thin, and that isn’t right either.

Again, feminists should support all women, thick or thin, and it isn’t right to go against a thin female just because she is thin. As a thin female myself, this always triggered me.

Growing up, being skinny hasn’t been a good experience for me. In the black community, being thicker is prized. A woman like Nicki Minaj is more than likely to be considered “sexy” than a woman with a tiny butt, tiny waist, and small breasts. Constantly, I was told I looked sick and that I was ugly. Aside from the fact that I enjoyed baggy t-shirts and jeans, which probably made me look “ugly” to certain people, I never really cared about my weight that much either. I stayed as active as I always have been. Still, the comments hurt at times, especially when I was a teenager.

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As a young woman, I once looked to the feminist movement for support. I wanted to love my body and the way I am, just like all the other ladies. But I often ran into feminists like “Ms. Body-Shame”.

I have spoken out on my blog about being skinny and how other people considered me unattractive. And what did I get as a comment? “Backhanded compliments are not attractive, dear.” Like my experience, my life, isn’t worth fighting for or worth acknowledging because I fit a perceived “standard”. This was the beginning of my disconnection with the modern woman and the feminists that shame bodies like mine.

I read the comments (from men and women) on Ariana Grande’s and Miley Cyrus’s videos about their bodies being skinny and ugly, about how they look like 10 year olds, and how only thick women can look sexy twerking. While some “anti-porno” feminists may feel that is an insult to thicker women, because it may sound as if men are objectifying thicker women, it’s an insult to the skinny girls as well, the girls who aren’t truly considered sexy without some “Hollywood” magic.

I had one person tell me that my physique was considered attractive in the 1920s, but is no longer what men are looking for. I was fine with the comment, because I am not looking for a mate. Still, this just proves my point. Feminists need to understand that body-shaming takes a broader form in today’s society. You can’t support one group of women but ignore other women, and then call yourself a feminist.

If most body-shaming feminists actually stopped and researched what men actually wanted from women, they would come to find that the ideal is NOT skinny or thick. Men want that “girl in the middle” with fat in “all the right places”. And the media ideal is dependent on the male’s opinion (if sex does indeed sell). Check these out:

Men Prefer Curves, Not Skinny

Perceptions Of Perfection: What The ‘Ideal’ Female Body Looks Like Across 18 Countries

What the Ideal Woman’s Body Looks Like in 18 Countries

three-body-types-and-the-real-male-ideal

Maybe I fit the women’s ideal, but men most definitely wouldn’t find me to be the ideal. So why hate on me for being skinny?

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“Feminist” comedian Julie Klausner is one of the “feminists” that make me doubly sick. If I wasn’t skinny before, she’s gonna make my skinnier because reading her comments make me vomit. That’s how I know her acts towards “feminism” are not helping and she is definitely harmful to my very nature. Her biggest attack was on Disney Channel star Zendaya. She made some nasty comments, those same bullying comments that made me want to literally hurt somebody at one time, and then she gets called a “feminist”?

Comments like, “And thinspo model for your impressionable tweens”, “Zendaya’s ultimate retort to Giuliana Rancic is starving herself down to the size of one of her elbowz”, “You don’t have to have an eating disorder to attend the Kids’ Choice Awards….but it helps!”, did more than just irk me.

Ironically, where was her behind when Adele was winning Grammy’s? An unhealthy body weight can exist in both extremes, and if you don’t think a skinny girl can be a good “role model”, I don’t understand how staying silent about obese musicians/actors and discouraging exercising does the job any better.

It’s as if she feels all skinny girls are skinny because they starved themselves…She doesn’t realize that some of us eat only three meals a day, have a fast metabolism, and EXERCISE.

If we’re trying to get women to be seen differently in an “image-conscious” world, shouldn’t the woman’s merits matter more than her appearance, thick or thin, to women? If “body-shaming” feminists are so concerned with a woman’s image, they aren’t any better than society as a whole. In fact, they are a part of the problem and will produce an opposite extreme.

Pharrell Williams is a skinny man. But nobody makes a peep about him when he wins awards. That just shows the double standards (which I will discuss more about later). These feminists make it more and more difficult for women to be seen as equal to men. You might as well not call them feminists.

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I also want to talk about Lynn Cloud and her petition to remove Eugenia Cooney from Youtube. Clearly, the body-shaming feminists have gotten to this young lady, too. I understand that Eugenia looks sick (she’s skinnier than normal), but I have seen several men on Youtube that look just as sick. So why are we so focused on Eugenia’s image? Because she’s a girl? This never happens with men.

If you are sick, or have a sickness like Cancer or Sickle-cell Anemia, and you happen to be skinny, are you not allowed to make Youtube videos? Last I heard, anybody is allowed to post videos, no matter their appearance. She could be a spokesperson for all the other people who are sick and can’t gain weight. Is that a crime? We don’t know her personal circumstances or why she’s skinny. But who are we to silence her? Is she supposed to stay miserable her whole life and never try to adorn her body? She might have a disease that eats away at her flesh. So, she can’t post a video about herself? You people must think teen girls are so stupidly impressionable that they can’t obviously recognize that she’s sick. If anything, I’m sure her fans feel sorry for her.

Instead of trying to get this girl removed from Youtube, maybe she should be helped by people. The petition should say, “Petition to Help Eugenia Cooney”. Women should be trying to get to the root of her body weight issues and should try to get this girl some help. But banning her from Youtube will just result in her starving herself more and making her feel unwanted. The outcome could be even worse. It also limits this individual’s right to free speech. This petition will definitely create adverse effects.

And why hasn’t Ms.Cloud attacked the number of obese people on Youtube? They may not influence girls to starve themselves to look like them, but they do discourage girls who are already obese from getting active, exercising, and staying fit. Both images are damaging, but these body-shaming feminists are obviously walking contradictions.

And what about the skinny girls who have to watch a curvy woman with big boobs get all the attention from the males in the comments’ section on Youtube or everywhere else on the internet?

https://mediaoutrage.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/guess-who-13/#more-33592

I don’t see a petition to ban these women. You don’t think curvy women are influencing these girls to eat more and more fatty foods and get plastic surgery? No one gets plastic surgery on their breasts and butt to be skinny, do they?  As a teenager, watching other teens with curves get all the attention made me want to stuff my face with all kinds of foods, get plastic surgery, and wear pads to make myself look thicker. I can imagine it has the same effect on other skinny girls. But if no one is out there to make them feel beautiful, if we have body-shaming feminists influencing the average feminist, who is supporting them?

And I’m not hating on a curvy, bodacious woman. That’s her body. The point is we should love all body types and stop the concealed jealousy.

That’s why I don’t have time; there is no room in my life for the body-shaming feminists. Good thing I learned to love myself without the help of these feminists.

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3. Ms. Double Standards

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If you thought the first two were bad, just wait until you hear about Ms. Double Standards.

There is nothing that irks me more than a woman who calls herself a feminist or benefits from feminism but places “masculine” standards on men. Nothing irks me more than a woman who believes she’s free to do whatever she wants but a man is not allowed those same freedoms. I don’t like when men have double standards either, but feminists with double standards irk me more because they put on the “face” of equality when really their own self-interests are a priority.

I could go so far as to call these women “misandrists”, but not all of them hate men. Some of them just want the perks of living and working in a “man’s” world while maintaining certain traditional boundaries. I’m here to tell you ladies, that’s almost impossible in this world.

There are several double standards that have come up and out of women’s mouths, from both feminists and those benefitting from feminism, that irk me:

His Role is Provider?

There are many women who consider a father without a job a “bum”. In my personal life, most women never consider a stay-at-home father as a hard-working man or the one “taking care of his family”. He is simply referred to as the “bum” by most women, including some so-called feminists.

Did it ever occur to some of these women that he may be the one cooking and cleaning for his family while his wife works? But oh no, that makes him a moocher. That means he’s not fulfilling his role as a “man”.

But who are women to decide what a man’s role is? You are not a man! And women would be up in arms if a man decided her role in life!

Why do these feminists believe that a man should be the one to work, but they have the option to work and/or stay-at-home? If a man is a bum for being a stay-at-home dad, guess what that makes a stay-at-home mom? A BUM. And don’t come and tell me that all stay-at-home moms always have a 24 hour job cooking and cleaning. Some of these “homemakers” are reading a book and watching daytime television all day…And dinner is from a fast-food restaurant.

I can’t stand a woman who gets upset when someone attacks her contribution to society, but has all of these expectations of men. If you’re going to question a man’s role in life, you’d best be contributing something too, instead of waiting on someone else to take care of you. Especially if you call yourself a feminist, the one who is supposed to be fighting for the same “social rights” as men.

And don’t come to me with the “men are supposed to take the lead” crap. If you’re the boss of your own company, ladies, you aren’t letting the man take the lead, now are you? If you are running for president, ladies, you aren’t letting the man take the lead, are you? If you are the superintendent of your schools, manager of your store, General in your army, you aren’t letting the man take the lead, are you? If women feel they can do all that, without a man’s leadership, women shouldn’t be whining and complaining about who takes the lead in their own households.

How about this…You and your spouse both be the adults and WORK TOGETHER. There’s no sense in preaching that women should have equal rights if you aren’t a practicer of what you preach.

Who Proposes to Who?

I can’t stand a woman who calls herself a feminist, but waits around for a man to make the first move in her relationship.

Readers, I listen to a lot of early morning radio shows before I go to work. Most of the people calling in are women. One particular woman called herself a strong, empowering feminist who intimidated men. She claimed her biggest dilemma was getting her boyfriend, who she had been dating for 10 years, to marry her. She believed he felt intimidated by her because she made a lot of money and had a leadership position in life.

And all of the radio djs were just like, “Ugh, what’s taking him so long? Tell him how you feel and get him to propose!” No, woman. You propose! Maybe he’s not proposing because you can’t make up your mind as to whether you’re a strong, empowering woman or a wannabe timid mouse.

Yes, I believe that if YOU, the female, are the one who is ready to get married, YOU, the female, should be the one doing the proposing. You’re a grown woman, right? You call yourself a feminist, right? Well, if you want the same equal rights, to speak your mind, to choose your own partners, speak up! YOU go out and buy a ring. You plan the date and pay for the dinner. Why have we settled with the submissive role when it comes to relationships, when we women feel we can march on Washington for equal rights, become the bosses of our own companies, and fight hard to be president of the USA? But you’re not “equal” enough to actually do the proposing? Why not? That would be the perfect way to get the answer out of him; you’d finally figure out whether he’s ready or not, instead of twiddling your thumbs while you wait for him to make a move. Passively-aggressively whining and complaining isn’t going to get the results you want. It never works.

Some of these women cry “equal rights” when it benefits them. But when they actually have to take on a “leadership role”, they suddenly succumb to the submissive role. I’ll talk more about this later.

I also have heard on the radio about some so-called feminists who have asked a man out to dinner, but then expected him to pay the bill. That tradition has phased out. It worked back in the past, when women didn’t ask men out and didn’t really have decent jobs. In this modern world, women are making a pretty penny. In this modern world, women are taking more of the initiative. And if YOU are the one asking him out, don’t choose the most expensive place and expect HIM to pay. YOU asked HIM! You should be trying to impress him in that instance. He didn’t even have to say “yes” to you. That’s like asking your parents out to dinner, but then leaving them to pay the bill. That’s like asking your colleagues out to dinner, but then leaving them to pay the bill. It’s shady.

A woman who is like that is showing she is self-entitled. And when the feminist title is placed behind her, it just makes her seem more about “herself”.

A Boy’s Not Allowed to Like…

It sickens me how some women, who claim to be feminists, attack a man for liking something directed to “girls”. I ran into such a feminist on Youtube. She attacked a teen male for liking My Little Pony the tv series.

And yet, she praised a teen woman for being interested in Spiderman, Power Rangers, Clarence, and Naruto… So, again, why is it okay for a woman to like Power Rangers, but not for a man to like My Little Pony? In this “patriarchal” world, it’s alright for a woman to be interested in male-directed tv shows/cartoons/anime, but men are not allowed to enjoy or respect female-directed tv shows/cartoons/anime? He will be called a pedo, but she…is empowering? He has “Peter Pan syndrome” and is a “loser”, but she’s…empowering?…. He’s gay, but she’s…empowering?

It sickens me when women, who claim to be feminists or benefit from feminism, allow their daughters to buy video games, trucks, and footballs, but won’t buy their sons a doll…

I Like My Men Masculine/I Believe A Man Should Be a Man (or Masculine)

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As I said before, I listen to public radio early in the morning before work, and I hear a lot of crap from these wannabe feminists. There is one popular segment of most radio shows that allows someone to try to reach another person after a date that supposedly went “well”, but fell off. The radio dj will try to reach out to the partner that went “silent” and try to reunite the two, hopefully paying for a second date.

What normally happens is that we, the djs and the listeners, discover that the date was awful from the other person’s perspective.

Keeping that in mind, one guy was trying to reach a woman he’d been on a date with. He said he had a blast with her. When the djs reach her, she says she cut him off because his side job was “embarrassing”. His side job was to be an elf for Christmas and hand out presents to little children. I thought this was the sweetest thing.

But so many women called in, women who said they were lawyers, mechanics, CEOs, saying they would be embarrassed by him and said it just wasn’t a “masculine” job. Fine, you are welcome to expect all of this masculinity from him, because women should have the right to their standards, right? But don’t get angry when a man becomes “intimidated” by you and doesn’t want to marry you because you’re in a “not-so-feminine” role.

What made this segment so sickening was that the female radio dj host was the MAIN ONE saying his job wasn’t masculine enough. Honey, you’re in a male-dominated field! And this dj has preached, and preached, and preached about how she is the only one in her field and how males don’t respect her in the industry. She is often the main one saying that a woman can be a radio dj and still be feminine. She is often THE MAIN ONE saying that a man can’t define her femininity. But suddenly, he’s not man enough because he defies the gender stereotype?

So I ask you, ladies, who are you to define a man’s masculinity? Who are you to judge a man who is trying to spread happiness and cheer during the holidays? Women preach that they want a nice, sensitive man who cares about the family and children. But then reject that man. I can’t stand it.

I can’t stand when a woman goes around saying, “I believe a man should be a man”, but she works a 9-to-5 job, is speaking her mind on the internet or radio, and votes. Don’t these ignorant women realize that at one time, these things were considered masculine? If you aren’t willing to fit your feminine role in society, why can’t we start to see masculinity and manhood differently? It’s as if these women want the best of both worlds, and see men as a threat in BOTH roles. It’s only fair to let men define their own masculinity just as you expect to define yours.

And if you’re going to have these double standards, don’t go around calling yourself a “strong empowering” feminist. Really, you’re not one.

Want to Read a Really Ridiculous article written by a “wannabe” feminist? 10 Things Women (Still) Expect Men to Know How to Do

I can’t wait to see how triggered she’ll be when the “female” equivalent of this article comes out…

Men Shouldn’t Care About A Woman’s Appearance or Occupation

This is the subject feminists preach high and low. I understand why feminists believe we should be beyond appearances, especially when it comes to the workforce. Not everyone was born beautiful, but good people can always do good things. I do believe people should let their merits shine.

Still, in relationships, people have the right to decide what they like, both man and woman.

Feminists are not so lenient when it comes to men in this regard. As soon as a man expresses his desire for a bombshell woman who is a stay-at-home mom, these feminists are on the prowl. I can understand…unless this feminist gives the pass to a woman who expects a bombshell man with a well-paying job.

So often, I’ve heard women complaining about the kind of “job” their boyfriends/spouses have, or what their man wears or what they don’t like men wearing (the man bun, socks with sandals, etc). And that’s fine if you have standards. But he’s entitled to standards as well. If you don’t want him judging the way you look or your occupation, why are you doing it?

This is made worse when it’s coming out of the mouth of a so-called feminist or a “perceived” feminist.

These feminists get angry when men are talking about how hot a female celebrity is, but have no qualms with talking about how hot a male celebrity is. Really?

This is especially common in the Kpop industry. There are many articles about the objectification of women in the industry, which is noticeably true, but the industry’s fans are dominated by females…making the male idols ten times more popular. And it’s not because these guys are the most talented guys in the world. It’s mostly because they look good. Thus, the male “idols” are ten times more objectified than their female counterparts. They are literally just pretty “ideals” to most of these teen girls and young women (2030 crowd). It’s gotten to the point the Kpop male stars wear makeup and get plastic surgery just to appeal to these fans!

And yet, all anyone wants to talk about are the females wearing makeup and getting plastic surgery…

If we’re going to stop objectification, we need to stop it everywhere. But if you still want some hot guys to look at in the entertainment industry, why not let men have the same pleasure?

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Men Can’t Hit a Girl, But a Woman Can hit a boy

I’ve run across many feminists who abhor physical abuse, and I don’t blame them.

However, it’s oddly silent when women are doing the abusing. Most feminists assume that women have good “reasons” for being physically aggressive to their spouses/boyfriends.

In my honest opinion, physical aggression and violence is physical aggression and violence, and it’s never right.

Consider the Chris Brown and Rihanna issue. We don’t know who started that fight, but we know Rihanna was left with bruises and had to be hospitalized. Chris Brown went down for that, and rightfully so.

Solange attacks Jay-Z in an elevator, got caught on camera, with Jay-Z not hitting back, but she gets cheers from feminists…not criticism.

Anna from Frozen punched Hans in the face, when he never touched her once throughout the film, and yet this movie is for feminists? Let’s reverse those roles and see how fast the feminists come marching in front of the cinemas…

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So many times while I’m working with my children, the girls will hit, push, and shove the boys, and get away with it, causing the young men to get angry and cry about the injustice. And remember, when boys and girls are children and adolescents, the girls are usually taller and stronger than the boys. Why do we condone physical abuse from women, but pull out the pitchforks exclusively for men?

We need to stop physical aggression across the board. It’s never right.

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4. Lady Feminine and Lady Masculine

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Next, I want to talk about Lady Feminine and Lady Masculine. I will start with Lady Feminine.

This is the kind of feminist that believes a “real” feminist is a woman who honors femininity and doesn’t “act like a boy”. She never truly knows how to define what she means by “boy”, she just knows a girl shouldn’t act like one. Yes, I know, surprising, right? There are self-proclaimed “feminists” out in the world who use these kinds of derogatory statements, statements often used by male chauvinists.

But she calls herself a feminist…

This is the feminist that took on the title because it gives her status in the female community. She never really researched the term, it just makes her look good to call herself that.

I ran into such a feminist once. We were on the subject of Frozen Versus Mulan. I spoke about how Mulan was just as empowering as Anna and Elsa, if not more so, how Mulan saved all of China basically by herself, how she saved her own love interest, how her dreams consisted of bringing her family honor, and how she took initiative in her relationship. I felt that Anna and Elsa did nothing by themselves, I spoke about how Elsa ran away from her responsibilities, how Elsa acted like a victim, how Anna received help to get up a mountain (but Hans and his men found it only having been in the land a short while), how Anna’s dream consisted of dancing at a ball and meeting a prince, and how neither saved the day in any way (without destroying it in the first place). You know, similar to a topic I’ve written on this blog. And you know what she said? “Well, at least they didn’t have to dress like a man to prove how strong they were.”

Dress like a man? I asked her, “What do you define as dressing like a man? Last time I watched, Mulan was wearing armor and her hair up in a bun. Who said that a woman can’t dress like that and still be considered ‘dressing like a woman’?” No reply. Maybe she felt I was trying to strawman her, but the statement still stands. Clearly, she felt that to be a truly empowering, strong, “feminist”, you had to look like a “woman” (i.e. wear a dress) and represent everything girly.

This poster had several supporters, those who felt that womanhood should be honored and that women should stop trying to be more and more like men, and should try convincing men to be more like “women”. And I’m assuming their definition of woman was “wearing skirts and dresses and dreaming of romance”.

I understand their point, but again, how do we define this “womanhood”? Because my “female” experience never consists of dresses, hardly consists of makeup, and is hardly domestic. I truly enjoy being able to speak my mind on the internet, hold leadership positions, and I enjoy being single, without man or children.

And if these women wanted to step away from being more and more like men, maybe we should revert this society and take it all the way back to the 19th century. Perhaps these women should leave the internet and stop speaking their minds. That was once a male role. Maybe they should quit their well-paying jobs and stay at home, waiting for their fathers to take care of them or a good (or bad) husband. Maybe these women should stop wearing pants, shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers…

Oh, but they won’t. Somehow, now these things have become a part of being feminine.

If feminine qualities have evolved and changed over the last century, there is no way femininity is that limited.

Feminism is advocating that women receive the same “social and political rights” as men. I’m sorry, but these women are doing the opposite by claiming that a “woman” can’t wear armor without being labeled as “looking like a man”.

Despite that some cases like the one above exist, however, there are actually far more feminists against the traditional “feminine” values. I don’t think it’s any more progressive to be Ms. Masculine and assume that a woman that upholds traditional feminine values can’t equally want other social and political rights equal to men. These women tend to just want a balance for everybody, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are things she likes about the patriarchy and things she doesn’t.

If feminism is supposed to allow women to have more choices in the world, why are we trying to limit any woman’s self-expression? And if we want a woman to wear armor and still be labeled as “looking like a woman”, we equally shouldn’t consider “dresses” a “woman” thing, but a human thing, right? We should just look at these things as clothing styles, tastes, and interests. The sooner we start accepting that clothing varies by culture and taste, the sooner we realize that clothing doesn’t define gender or sex, the sooner we all can move along happier in our lives.

The sad part is, though, men aren’t lucky enough to have the same “social rights” as women regarding femininity in today’s society. So I guess that would give women more rights than the ones men have. And thanks to Ms. Double Standards, it enables men to continue to see these roles as separate (since they are stigmatized by these women from entering into the feminine world). Since all they have is what is deemed “masculine”, men will hold onto it, even barring women from it, just as they have been “barred” from what is deemed “femininity”. This means we really need to get pass the gender stereotyping.

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5. The User and Abuser

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The title refers to women who use the feminist title just for gain, perks, to get back at people, or to get out of sticky situations, but have no real interest in issues that affect women. Thus, she ends up abusing the title of “feminist”. This title could also refer to a woman who uses feminism as a title when convenient, but drops it when she has to do physical or laborious work, work actually considered “for men”.

She’s different from Ms. Double Standards in the fact that she may not actually have double standards. However, she recognizes that feminism gives her a certain power that it doesn’t give men, and she’s willing to fall back on it when she makes a “mistake”. She also knows when to play the “feminism” card and when to play the “traditional” card, making her a walking contradiction.

If you’re not following me, let me start giving examples. I knew of one young lady in college who liked the attention and company of many men. She slept around with most of the guys on her campus. In high school, her parents allowed her to get plastic surgery on her chest and butt. She definitely took advantage of the male attention.

Of course, she ended up pregnant. The moment she ended up pregnant, she claimed the man who impregnated her actually “raped” her and she filed a claim to get him kicked out of college. When the school refused to do this, she gathered some feminists from her school, rallied against the board, claiming they ignored serious issues that affect women.

Now, sure, she may have been raped. We don’t know what happened behind closed doors. But there was no real way of knowing whether she was lying or telling the truth, either. There was no physical evidence that she was raped. And the feminists that supported her only supported her because she was a woman who used the magic words.

The real problem is the fact that the young woman may have felt she had to lie. Our society has made it so a woman feels like a slut when she makes a “consensual” mistake. It is easier to catch a woman who made a mistake than a man (women get pregnant), so she often gets called the “stupid” one. And the physical consequences are more severe for a woman than a man (though a man may experience social/financial consequences), so women often try to find any support they can.

But lying and tearing someone down because of a mistake you made? That’s not only irresponsible, that is anti-feminist. It makes women seem like manipulative and fickle creatures who aren’t capable of making their own responsible decisions. It should not be supported by other feminists. I think more investigations should go into these “rape” outcries.

Anyway…

There are other incidents of the “users and abusers” I’ve encountered when working with children. Yes, it starts as early as five years old. I think I’ve mentioned how girls will often hit and shove the boys without consequence, right? Well, often times, I run across girls who are vicious bullies, but as soon as their parents are called, they turn on the tears and blame the male for “provoking them”. The manipulation works, with the male often being blamed as the bully, even when facts prove otherwise. I don’t blame the girls, who are just children. However, I blame society for enabling this manipulation, the feminists who support this destructive behavior or choose to ignore it, and the parents who just don’t have a clue.

Another example of this kind of feminist is one who has failed at a sport, job, debate, or anything else, provided that the “rules” were just and fair, but complains that she was discriminated against because she “is a woman”. Feminism does promote women receiving the same equal opportunities as men to go for the same jobs, play the same sports, and enter the same mental competitions. However, there is a difference between opportunity and success. Sometimes, some women just can’t do the job. Sometimes, a woman may lose a debate or a chess match. It’s not always the system setting up the women to fail (though it can happen and has happened at times). Many times, some women just can’t do the job as well as another person, and that is okay. We can’t blame the system when it is convenient and march our way into all the colleges we don’t get accepted to or into all the sports teams we’ve been rejected from. Sometimes, we have to be objective and analyze whether we were denied based on gender/sex or based on our actual skills (or lack thereof).

There is another type under this User and Abuser label. She’s the woman who is always strong, powerful, and in control until she really has to do a “man’s” job. What do I mean by that? I mean the one that has to serve in the military.

Luckily, in the USA, many women don’t have to experience being drafted into military service. But in many other countries, the draft is a very real part of life. Often times, women are exempt from military service because they are deemed too “weak” to do the rigorous training the men do.

Most feminists have been offended by this, but I recently ran across a self-proclaimed feminist who said she did feel women were “too weak” to be drafted in the military. In one conversation, she mentioned how women should be allowed in male-dominated fields, how women were strong, and how they were capable of having children and then going back to work. But when the topic of military service came up, she mentioned how her “menstrual” would hold her back and how she wouldn’t be able to take having to exert herself physically because of cramps.

Well, no one said military service was easy. Even men struggle through it. But there are many ways women could serve in the military, offering their intellect, their agility, hands or anything else. I presented this idea to the “feminist”, and her response was “That’s just not for women”. This was coming from a woman who claimed women were “strong” and capable of handling male-dominated fields. But as soon as the idea of mandatory military service came up, she was suddenly the docile mouse. This showed me that she was ready to use feminism when she wanted to use it, but not ready to assume the responsibilities that came with feminism. If we advocate that women be treated equally to men, we should expect the same things of women that we do men. They should have the same responsibilities. They should take responsibility for what they’re advocating.

Apparently, some women just aren’t ready for true feminism-the kind that doesn’t make their life more cushy, that is.

These kinds of feminists confuse the heck out of everybody, which sets the feminist movement back. What do you want? Do you want equal rights or not?

All of these gray/grey areas leave room for anti-feminists to poke holes.

Did I mention that some of these women get paid off of feminist propaganda? It’s more of a business for them, nothing personal.

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6. Feminazi

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Yes, I used it. I used one of the worst insults to describe a feminist. I don’t always like to throw this word around, but if you’re acting like one, you are. Many people throw this word around unjustly, but there are a group of “feminists” that this word applies to.

Before I lay it thick on them, I do want to admit that I respect the feminazis more than all of the above feminists. No great movement is good without radicals, right? A radical movement can be an effective movement. For starters, at least most of them know what they stand for and aren’t full of the major contradictions other feminists are known for (unless they also fall into the other above categories). These women have gone beyond just fighting for equal rights; they are ready to destroy any “male-dominated” society. These are the women that are strictly focusing on the “patriarchy” and nothing else.

While I applaud them for getting down to the gritty business, sometimes these women seem to be trying to create their own little strict feminist regime. They are “puritanical” in a way, insisting that everything caters to women, the female sex, and her issues and needs, whether it be in a movie, music video, song, or book (like Nazi Germany). In fact, she may insist that there not be a male present AT ALL when the story is directed to a female audience. Romance is misogynistic to most of these women.

This is the woman that gets angry if she goes into a movie and sees one or less lead female characters. This is the woman that can analyze and find all the misogynistic undertones of everything, intentional or not. She can see the misogyny of video game characters wearing pink, the misogyny of a female character crying, the misogyny of women talking about their relationships, the misogyny of reality show fights… I have to admit she does her homework.

Despite her “intelligence”, she can be very annoying. I can’t understand how these women can enjoy anything when they are constantly worrying about how men are perceiving them or representing them all the time. If these feminists were really so tired of the misogynistic undertones, wouldn’t they have made their own little collection of cult films, books, and music exclusively for women, by women, with female leads by now? That would work better than trying to boycott or protest every little bit of entertainment because of some “misogynistic undertones” they’ve discovered. And it’s easy for them to find, too. They can read misogyny in the different ways we perceive the color of the sky. That’s how obsessed they are.

These women are also very particular about who should benefit from the movement and who should be supporting the movement. Oh yeah, some of them want to control who supports the movement. I’m sure most of us are aware that men can be feminists, right? Not the feminazi.

These are the women that aren’t just looking at feminism as a movement for equal rights. They include all the issues women face in the world, no matter how crazy or petty, like fights with their families and friends and women-on-women crime, among others.

You will certainly find some man-haters among them somewhere, too. They aren’t too friendly with men. In relationships, they are very particular about the men they like, if they like men at all. But these women are often so sensitive, even lesbian women have a hard time dealing with them (since they like to point out how we are all so conditioned by the patriarchy every 5 minutes).

All cynicism and sarcasm aside, I understand their need to bring “light” on issues that truly affect women. I appreciate the points they bring out regarding the social restrictions, expectations, and labels that have been placed on women. However, the feminazis need to step back and look at the forest sometimes. They are too caught up in these ridiculous, petty, and really unimportant details. After reading their propaganda, it’s hard to enjoy anything anymore.

Most of the feminazis are so caught up in getting rid of the “patriarchy”, which is riddled with some things that limit women and which do encourage women to be more “like men”, they forget that there are also good things that have come out of patriarchy that we can and have benefitted from. GASP. I don’t think the feminazis can handle that sentence. But it’s true. We all enjoy male inventions, like Apple, internet, cars, and much more. Sure, they were created in eras where women were limited, and yes the efforts of women to bring those inventions out there have been ignored, but they are still good inventions. If you don’t want a patriarchal society, move out to a remotely isolated place and create your own town full of women. That’s what a few Kenyan women did. See? Women of action, not talk.

And there are privileges, especially in western societies, that women have enjoyed as a result of this “oppression”. Women have never had to be drafted, they’ve been able to mostly stay at home instead of slaving in the outside world, and men have been expected to show chivalry towards women (even if some didn’t) by opening doors, pulling out chairs, and giving jackets to women when they’re cold.

Some of the women from the good ole’ days would hardly agree that they were actually oppressed. Many agreed with their set “roles”. Of course, some women didn’t, because we’re all individual. But neither did some men. We have had very defined separate roles in society, and much of the “rules” were written by both men and women. These “roles” were always decided by the lifestyle lived by both the men and women. If a woman lived an agricultural life, she wasn’t expected to work in the home. If a woman lived in an urban area, she was expected to do housework. And some women took pride in being homemakers. I hardly call that oppression, considering the term refers to prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. There may have been more boundaries, but that was for both men and women. Some women in the west were not treated cruelly, unjustly, or controlled at all. Many women decided the roles they wanted and lived comfortable lives.

As long as men exist, patriarchal thinking will exist, and as long as women exist, matriarchal thinking will exist. Each gender thinks about their own self-interests, first and foremost. We can’t get rid of one to uphold another. The only way to live peacefully with one another is to work out our ideas together, to remove the ideas from both systems that just don’t work or don’t lead to a comfortable life, and keep the things that enhance the quality of all of our lives. As an African American, even though White Supremacy exists, it’s not realistic to try to remove white people from positions of power. It’s best to rise in that system and then implement our ideas, causing a blend. I feel the same way about Male Supremacy.

While most women want to be seen as strong and independent heroes, we are also very individual and don’t mind seeing romance here and there. There is nothing wrong with marriage or relationships. It’s how we continue our human race. There’s also nothing wrong with a man saving a woman, as long as we know that the feeling is mutual. Women can’t always do the saving. That’s just not realistic. While we do want to focus on shedding stereotypes, it’s not always bad to enjoy or even fall into some of them every once in a while.

There are women out here who really do need to fight their patriarchal systems. They are in countries that truly oppress women. We should observe how their patriarchy is destroying them, especially if there is nothing good coming out of it. But some of us are actually living in a society where it’s really not fair for either side, men or women.

The feminazis have to ease up a little. That’s all I’m saying.

The following videos are not by a feminist, however, I think she makes some interesting points:

Food for thought…

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7.  Transfeminist Dictators

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For those who are unaware, Trans people are people who are labeled a certain sex at birth, but identify as the opposite gender.  There are many transmen and transwomen who also identify as feminists, and often times stand with other kinds of women against rape, sexism, and misogyny.

Despite this, however, there are some trans feminists who criticize other feminists in an effort to protect their identity.  This is what makes some of them the most cringeworthy feminists of all.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a trans feminist, especially if you are a transwoman.  After all, feminism is for them as well, supposedly, right? However, I do have a problem with trans people trying to “censor” certain topics, and I do have a problem with trans people dictating the way other women in the movement address their own anatomy biologically.

I get that trans women want to feel included in the movement, and certainly there are certain aspects of the movement that apply to trans women.  However, not everything in the movement has to apply to trans women and women should not be forced to censor themselves when talking about issues that affect their everyday life. What they fail to understand is that many feminists experience oppression based on their biology and not just because of social gender representation. Trans women must respect this.

Examples of topics that trans people have tried to censor include:  pregnancy, abortion, menstruation, breast cancer, vaginal disrespect, and/or Uterine diseases or conditions, along with other biologically “female” issues.  Many trans women are sensitive about these topics because most of these topics do not concern them and their own biological make up.  As a result some trans women have even said that women should not talk about these issues at all in order to avoid “excluding” trans women.  One example of this involved the latest Women’s March On Washington, when women dressed as vaginas in order to make a political statement.  Transwomen criticized the movement, and it was not because the costumes were ridiculous, not because women were representing genitals in front of thousands of children, but because they felt the march was “transphobic” and “cissexist” and exclusive.  Yes.  They did not like the idea of women wearing what they referred to as “pussy” hats or vagina costumes, making the trans women feel somehow like they are less than women.

Apparently, the trans women did not get why the women were marching with vagina hats and costumes in the first place.  This was a political statement, a statement to a man they felt offended the vagina or “pussy”, a genital that the majority of women have in the world.  So why should they not wear vagina hats and costumes? I understand that some trans women have different genitalia, but that does not mean the feminists should not speak up when they feel vaginal disrespect.  Just because you’re the kind of woman that doesn’t go through this, doesn’t mean majority of other women don’t.  Feminists should be able to address all issues that affect all kinds of women without feeling guilt. A woman should be allowed to talk about her body and her own anatomy. After all, that was one major issue throughout history. The vaginal anatomy has been the root reason why women have always been considered sexually inferior, considered unclean, and receptive, not assertive. Their genitals affect them as women, so these women should be able to speak on it. Walking around with “vagina” hats wasn’t the best way to get the idea across, it was a little extreme, and it doesn’t actually define a woman totally, but regardless of my personal opinions about the costume, they should be allowed to try to get their points across without being labeled “cissexist” or “transphobic”. It is not “cissexist” or “transphobic” if they talk about their biological bodies, especially if it has something to do with the way they are treated in society.

Historical “science” used to distort all kinds of “facts” about women based on the “uterine” genitals. Therefore, it is not right to repress their voices just because it makes you, as a trans woman, feel “uncomfortable”.

There are issues trans women go through that other women do not experience, and that is okay. Would it be right for other women to try to censor a trans woman’s voice because other women do not experience the same things? No, it would not, because those issues are serious and need to be resolved for the mental, emotional, social, and physical health of society. It is the same thing when it comes down to women with vaginas.

These kinds of trans feminists also try to “censor” other feminist causes, too.  They even try to censor the feminists’ use of words.  They insist that feminists not refer to their own anatomy as “female”, despite the fact that scientifically the definition of female involves a certain kind of anatomy and function.

The hypocritical part about these trans feminists is that they will be the first to tell you that you cannot define them; they insist they can only define themselves. So why is it their job to dictate what another feminist defines as female?

Oh, and by the way, not all feminists like the word cis either, though most trans women insist that women who are not trans refer to themselves as such. A cis woman is a woman that identifies as the gender aligned with her sex. What about the feminists that don’t honestly believe in gender?  This is what I mean; trans women cannot tell other women how and in what manner they should identify themselves and their anatomy.  It would be best if these types of trans women stopped insisting that every issue in the movement be about them. I get the feeling that some of the feminist trans women are just too sensitive to be in any movement.  They are apparently sensitive to almost everything in every movement.

And this is not all transfeminist, mind you. I have run into some very supportive trans feminists, women who talk about their own issues as well as the issues others face. Those women are helping us all move forward. But those women that get whiny over every little thing in the movement? Just have several seats.

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At this point, I want to wrap this up by re-emphasising my appreciation for most feminists and their efforts to try and push us toward a more inclusive and progressive society. However, I just had to bring this issue out. There are certain feminists that have been evolving out of the movement and I think it’s time someone warned others about them. They are mostly holding women back.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my list. Do you agree with my list, that these feminists are cringe-worthy? Are there any others

you would like to add? I’m open to discussion.

American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2017: Gabriela McBride! + ‘Girl of the Year 2017’ Is Set To Last More Than A Year!

31 Dec

In West Philadelphia, born and raised

On the playground is where I spent most of my days…

You readers like that ‘Fresh Prince‘ reference right there?

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard about American Girl’s newest Girl of the Year 2017.

If you don’t know what American Girl is:

American Girl is a premium brand for girls and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT, www.mattel.com), a creations company that inspires the wonder of childhood. Headquartered in Middleton, WI, American Girl offers an inspiring world of dolls, content, and experiences that nourish a girl’s spirit and help develop her strength of character. Best-selling lines include Truly Me™, Girl of the Year™, Bitty Baby™, WellieWishers™, and the classic historical character line BeForever™. The company sells products through its award-winning catalogue, on americangirl.com, in its proprietary U.S. experiential retail stores, and at select specialty retailers nationwide. Outside of the U.S, American Girl products are sold in specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ in Canada and El Palacio de Hierro locations in Mexico City. By inspiring girls to be their best, American Girl has earned the loyalty of millions and the praise and trust of parents and educators.

If you’re a fan of the American Girls, but have been out of the American Girl loop for awhile, you probably don’t know why I made that reference in the introduction. Let me introduce to you GABRIELA MCBRIDE.

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Gabriela is a true talent who gets creative for a cause. She is considered a quiet, creative girl growing up in a family of artists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (exactly why I made that Fresh Prince reference). Her mother is especially passionate about the performing arts. Her mother is founder and director of the arts center Gabriela loves and her dance instructor.

Gabriela is also interested in the performing arts (particularly tap, hip-hop, and ballet) and poetry. Aside from dancing and poetry, Gabriela also helps run a sandwich shop.

Gabriela has a reason she’s so quiet: She struggles with stuttering.

In the first book, Gabriela is said to be “going into the 6th grade”. Still not sure of her age, but she may be the “oldest” Girl of the Year produced.

Gabriela is a true creative talent who uses the power of poetry to help her break down barriers and overcome a personal challenge with stuttering.

Gabriela inherited a love of the arts from her parents, especially her mother, but spoken word poetry is becoming her own passion. Although Gabriela often finds herself in a battle with her own words because of her stuttering, she discovers that her poetry, filled with wit and honesty, helps her speech flow more easily and gives her the confidence to find her voice to help save her beloved community arts center from being torn down.

American Girl Press Release

Despite Gabriela’s struggles, she’s still witty, honest, and courageous!

Her book cover and synopsis are out. Are you ready? {insert drumroll}

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Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Yes, believe it. Finally, finally American Girl has released their first African American Girl of the Year character!

After seeing the name Gabriela trademarked, most assumed the character would be of Latin/Hispanic heritage. It turns out it was set aside for an African American character.

Gabriela is set to have a series of FOUR books (yes, four, 4). The first book will be out in January. The next one comes out in March. The other two will be released throughout the rest of the year.

Book synopsis 1: Gabby loves expressing herself — especially in the dance studio — but lately, poetry is becoming her art form of choice, and for good reason: Gabby struggles with stuttering, and spoken word poetry helps her speech flow more freely. Still, compared to how confident she feels on the dance floor, speaking up can be scary. When the city threatens to close her beloved community arts center, Gabby is determined to find a way to help. Can she harness the power of her words and rally her community to save Liberty Arts?

Teresa E. Harris is the author and it is her first time writing for American Girl.

*This will be updated as more information is released.

And now, what all American Girl fans have been waiting for…

The reveal of the doll!

 

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More items and one of her books will be available Spring 2016.

Gabriela’s doll is really adorable in these pictures, but…

This is where my excitement diminishes. I came to the realization that she’s not just a doll of color. I came to the realization that if I look beyond her color, I have very mixed feelings…

 

Gabriela McBride is considered by many of the American Girl Fan Community to be the LAST GIRL OF THE YEAR.

For those who don’t know, there have been rumors that American Girl plans on ending the Girl of the Year line after Gabriela (possibly to make room for their rumored Contemporary line). I’m not sure how true the rumors are, but it is a FACT that there will be changes to the Girl of the Year line in 2018.

In American Girl’s press release, they stated:

Additional Gabriela products and books will be available starting in spring 2017, and—for the first time—the new Girl of the Year collection will be available for a full 12 months and beyond.

On facebook, American Girl has confirmed that they have plans to release their next girl of the year in 2018. So does this mean Gabriela will be available along with the new Girl of the Year?

American Girl said they don’t have plans to retire the GOTY line, but they’ve been known to hold back from revealing a retirement or archival before.

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One part of me is happy that she will last long enough for me to save for her collection.

Another part of me is sad that I may not have a Girl of the Year to look forward to next year. It was sort of an American Girl tradition.

And another part of me is just a bit frustrated with the design of the doll and her collection…

Here…at this moment…I have to analyze this objectively.

This Girl of the Year is really mediocre as a doll in comparison to dolls prior.

Here I am, being the Negative Nancy. Call me a self-hating black woman, a coon, whatever. I’m know I’m going to hear it all. I don’t care. I can’t fully accept her as a “great” Girl of the Year character, not under the current circumstances (with this possibly being the final GOTY doll).

If you’re an American Girl fan, you can probably better understand where I’m coming from. Newcomers may find her to be a great doll addition. And she isn’t garbage, but she has flaws.

I fell in LOVE with Gabriela’s story. I love the fact that she loves poetry and how she uses poetry to overcome her own disability. I think she’s a good role model for girls. I fell in love with this story so hard, even though I haven’t read it all, I want to buy two copies.

However, I have my hang-ups.

First off, this doll is #46 from the Truly Me line. She doesn’t just look like #46. She IS #46.

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Truly Me #46

I always thought that doll was beautiful. I was sad when she was retired. And I am personally happy to see her return (especially because I don’t collect the Truly Me dolls). But I know plenty of people who said they already have this doll. This means there will be quite a few people who aren’t interested. It always leaves me uneasy when I hear that people don’t want to buy a doll of color. It’s especially bad because Gabriela is the only African American character (in 15 years) to have been produced (or rather “picked”) for the line AND she is supposed to remain in the line through 2018.

Some fans have expressed that American Girl, LLC has put a lot of effort into making the Caucasian American Girls look different and unique, but clearly didn’t do the same for Gabriela. Some feel they didn’t really plan on making an African American character for the line. Some people feel the company rushed production of her because the demand was so high. Basically, they pulled out a retired doll, put clothes on her, gave her a story, and called her Gabriela. Some people feel Gabriela is recycled and doesn’t reflect the same effort the company has put into former Girl of the Year dolls.

I can see their point. Maybe they have given up caring because they wanted the line to come to an end. Maybe they recognized the popularity of #46 and wanted to make her into a character.

Regardless of the reason, this part has been disappointing for most fans.

I don’t have #46, so I feel compelled to get Gabriela, but I wish she was designed in a way that would compel others to want to buy her.

The second problem I have with Gabriela is the fact that she is a DANCER.

I have to be fair about this. I talked about Isabelle being another dancer, I talked about Lea being another tropical princess, so I can’t let this slide.

This Girl of the Year is supposed to last for more than 12 months, she is the ONLY African American character, and you stick her with one of the most unoriginal themes? It doesn’t hurt the story, which incorporates poetry and overcoming disabilities, but it certainly hurts the collection.

Marisol was a tap dancer, ballet dancer, Mexican folk dancer, and jazz dancer. Isabelle danced ballet and modern dance. And now Gabriela! How many dancers does Girl of the Year need?

Because other “dancing” dolls came out, I’m not really interested in the majority of Gabriela’s playsets or accessories.

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What would I need with two ballet barres?

I just can’t get excited AGAIN about another dancer when American Girl has done the theme TWICE before.

I know there are other people out there feeling the same way. And I just don’t like the idea that the first African American character in this line is not unique enough to be a MAJOR sell-out this year.

The final insult is that American Girl has stated on their facebook page that they don’t have major plans to release a movie for her! It takes at least a year to create a movie, so if they haven’t thought of one now, I don’t know if she’s ever getting one!

Still, she’s going to be around in 2018, so only time will tell. But she clearly seems slapped together.

Despite all of that, there are some American Girl fans who are excited about Gabriela. Some are even willing to buy her even though they already have #46! Some people like her dance collection the best out of the three. And some people are new to American Girl and missed collecting the other dance items.

Since Gabriela will be out more than one year, at least none of us have to worry about her selling out within one year. People will have the opportunity to save up for her and have a chance to get her between this year and next year.

That wraps up my review of the new Girl of the Year.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you all think of the new Girl of the Year and my article!

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