Alleged Acts of Racism and the Definition of Racist

What do we really mean when we say ‘racist’? According to the dictionary, a racist is a person who believes their racial group is superior or that another racial group is inferior. There is no list of actions, words or feelings in that definition. That’s it. And yet, when I discuss race on here, I inevitably get comments that focus almost completely on actions. White-face is a prime example. There have been movies in the past decade where black men have worn makeup to look white. If black face and red face is racist, isn’t white face the same?

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Are There Issues for Men’s Rights Activists?

“I don’t like the way men are portrayed in that movie,” said my boyfriend when I asked if he wanted to see 50 Shades of Grey this weekend. His response surprised me for two reasons. 1) He has read all the Twilight books, seen all the movies and enjoyed them all. I think he enjoyed them more than I did. 2) When was the last time you heard a man complain about how they are portrayed in media? It’s been a rarity in my life, for sure. In a way, I like that this was his response and that he was offended by the idea that the most desirable men are aloof and sex obsessed.

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Voluntary Amputation: The Model of the Future?

Viktoria Modesta calls herself the model of the future in a music video that has me thinking about Ghost in a Shell. To make a long story short, Viktoria is missing one of her legs from the knee down. In the music video, Prototype, she hold this up as something to be desired. The video tells the story of a movement, of people wanting to be just like her and of some who go through extremes to be her. My first thought was that the video was creative and interesting. I love how she depicts her missing limb as a thing of beauty, even going to far as to have a provocative scene where we see the stump of her leg. I know this has been asked of every single celebrity ever, but is this going too far?

Already, people are getting plastic surgery to look like the people who entertain our television screens. Is the model of the future one where limbs are cut off and replaced with flashy, bionic parts? Is that a healthy future to see?

Once upon a time, the television was a revolution. It was this amazing wonder and I don’t think anyone stopped to think, “should we allow this new wonder, or will it grow to cause us harm?” Now, we live in a world where there is a large amount of correlation between the number of hours people spend in front of their televisions and their health. This is what lead me to Ghost in a Shell. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the series, but I remember the concept. The line between man and machine had become so blurred that you practically had to be an expert to tell the difference. Almost everyone had these fancy eyes implanted. Imagine everything you can do on your smartphone literally being in your eye. That was part of the story. The villain in the first season hacked this system, so he could only be seen by people who hadn’t had their eyes replaced.

Imagine being the person to create something like that. People will never lose their phones again! They will never have to truly be away from work or entertainment. The whole of the world offered on  the internet would be available right in their eye. Would that creator ever stop to think, “should I be encouraging people to replace their eyes with my technology?”

Yet, here we are, one step closer to that reality. Here we have a video where a girl sees Viktoria and proceeds to rips a leg off her doll. We see a photo of a man who appears to have just cut off his leg, proudly displaying his bleeding stump. What is Viktoria’s reaction to this? She smiles, switching to a scene where she dances with a spike in place of her missing leg. Words proclaim, “Some of us were born to be different. Some of us were born to take risks.”

Perhaps I’m the odd one out, but I can’t help but love this video. Some may say she should sing, perform and not rely on her missing leg to make her way up in the world. Yet, her missing leg is what makes her different and unique. Is it not what makes each of us unique that provides our place in the world. These celebrities we often fawn over, don’t they have some quality or skill that makes them stand out among the rest? So what if Viktoria is riding on her missing leg?

What I love about Viktoria’s Prototype video is that it makes out people with missing limbs to not only be ‘normal,’ but to be desirable people. They are people worth emulating and worth being. She’s not standing up and saying, “my disability holds me back.” She’s not even saying, “I can be successful in spite of my disability.” Viktoria is proclaiming that her so-called disability propels her success further. I love that message.

Now, as a perform, she certainly needs to be more than her missing leg just as much as Nicki Minaj needs to be more than her rear end and Jessica Simpson needs to be more than her bosom. When I first saw Prototype, I thought it was Viktoria’s first video. Turns out, she has released a lot of songs and none of the videos I watched so much as eluded to the fact she didn’t have a leg. Prototype isn’t her first and certainly won’t be her last hit.

As I wonder if her message is healthy for us to consume, I think the most important question is if she is any more or less problematic then any other celebrity. Certainly Viktoria’s video is as likely to convince a person to voluntarily cut off their leg as watching Anaconda is likely to convince someone to get butt implants.

At the end of the day, I really don’t have a problem with videos and messages of celebrities saying, “isn’t it great to me awesome, successful, attractive me?” The only real problem is not having much diversity there. A skinny person deserves to be just as proud as a larger person. A person with all their limbs deserves to feel just as bad ass as Viktoria Modesta. In short, any single song or music video isn’t a problem. The culture and/or business who assumes only one body type deserves an anthem is the problem. I, for one, am happy to see Viktoria proudly being just who she is meant to be. We should all be so happy and proud.

What do you think of Viktoria Modesta’s Prototype video? What do you think of the imagery and the music? Do you think her message is a positive one, or will it do more harm than good? What songs or music videos trouble you the most?

The Boy Next Door: Thriller or Victim Blaming?

Have you guys tired of my posts on alleged attacks against the family. While I have a handful left, I’m going to take a bit of a break to focus on some other topics that have been on my mind lately. The Boy Next Door has gotten a lot of publicity lately, given its release date was this past Friday. This movie focuses on a sexual experience an adult woman has with a 17-year-old boy, whose age she presumably did not know until she sees him show up in her class. This boy has recently moved next door, hence the name of the movie. Am I alone in feeling something a bit off about this? Nothing I have seen so far speaks of controversy or drama surrounding the movie, but I have a major problem. From what I’ve seen so far, this movie victim blames the 17-year-old boy for his seducing ways, playing the woman as the actual victim. Um, WHAT!?

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