To catch up, read this and this article by Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones. And then read everything on bad_dominicana‘s Twitter feed from December 6, 2013 — I felt confused and conflicted about Rashida’s articles until I read bad_dominicana’s alternately brilliant, enraging, and hilarious analysis. For example:
so men said you a hoe if you dont wear clothes (indigenous women are hypersexed, surprise!) so i gotta comply as…freedom? u confused.
— dulce de leche (@bad_dominicana) December 6, 2013
So let me just give her the credit for anything sensible I say in today’s post, as well as to other women such as TheHomieAP who jumped in on the conversation with additional astute analysis. You can find bad_dominicana’s Twitter here and blog here.
I found both articles entirely obnoxious. Rashida’s basic argument is to say, “I don’t shame ANYone“ before proceeding to do exactly that in an analysis capped with the hashtag “#stopactinglikewhores.”
“It’s not about slut shaming, it’s about holding women accountable.” Accountable for what, exactly?
— Autumn (@thehomieAP) December 6, 2013
Artificial/celebrity or not, these women are free to do whatever they want without “classy” feminists like Rashida policing them. I say “classy” because Rashida is expressing mainstream classist notions of sexuality: women who embrace one brand of sexuality are “trashy” while other women can wear equally small amounts of clothing on the cover of mainstream magazines (*cough*Rashida in her lingerie all over GQ*cough*) but still be considered “classy,” worthwhile, correct, marriage material, and/or elite by comparison.
oh no I spy a visible nipple of @iamrashidajones in GQ too in addition to the racy antenna mag cover. somebody call the modesty police!
— dulce de leche (@bad_dominicana) December 7, 2013
I reached out to bad_dominicana via email to discuss this post and she noted, “Notions of what’s classy are racialized and thus antiblack too. Hence why her whiter upperclass type sexy is supposedly automatically more ‘conscious’ than that of any black woman, rich or poor. So she supports a lot of antiblack hypersexual tropes by pointing fingers at black women and reducing them to tropes with no agency.”
Also, what does this mean? “I would never point a finger at a woman for her actual sexual behavior, and I think all women have the right to express their desires.” How is Nicki and Rihanna’s behavior not “actual” sexual behavior? Economic behavior IS “actual” behavior. All human behavior is “actual” behavior. Celebrities do not live in an alternate reality separate from mere mortals. Celebrities are humans and they are influenced by their surrounding cultures and face complex choices in their daily reality, just as much as any human. And women celebrities have to deal with the sexism, and women celebrities who are anything but white or passing for white have to deal with various degrees of racism on top of the sexism. How does policing and criticizing these women’s sexual identities and career choices help women at all?
“I look at women who use their sexiness to make money–and ask questions.” If you can’t profit off of your own sexiness, who can?
— Autumn (@thehomieAP) December 6, 2013
Is it the fact that they are getting rich off their sexual performances that offends Rashida? Why? Poor and middle class women often have to use their sexualities to achieve their economic and survival needs. If not through overt sexual behavior, then definitely through behavioral modifications designed to serve an oppressive patriarchal system. Ask any woman in the service industries – food, cleaning, retail, airlines, “personal assisting” rich people, administrative work, all of which I’ve done – how their customers and bosses expect them to behave. The answer: Subservient and Smiling About It.
What kind of woman is REWARDED economically in our society for her behavior?
If Rashida and her supporters really want to combat the fact that many women HAVE to exploit their sexualities and entire identities in order to survive economically or to achieve anything resembling economic parity with men, why doesn’t she take it up with the rich white men who are very likely making most of these pop stars’ money??
“…don’t sit around and let women beat one another up.”
- Rashida Jones
Rashida’s right, someone stop her.