Friday, January 30, 2009

Octuplets Madness

Call me a horrible person, but all this talk about the women who gave birth to octopulets makes me think of Apu and Manjula from the Simpsons. Now, I don't want to get all judgmental about her situation. As a young woman, I can't imagine popping out eight kids at once. The thought kind of makes me want to throw up. All of you Jon and Kate + Eight watchers know what I'm talking about. Kate's stomach in the opening credits is nasty.

And she already has six kids. How much do you wanna bet they'll be debuting on Oprah in the near future? How long before TLC offers them their own show?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama Proves to be a Gentleman

So, Barack's first bill signed into order was a women's rights bill.

Check it out:

The Lilly Ledbetter Act is supposed to guarantee equal pay for women.

Ledbetter sued her former employer, Goodyear, when she found that she had been receiving less pay than her male counterparts for years. She has said that coworkers informed her through anonymous messages about the disparity, which she realized could only be attributed to her sex.

Ledbetter lost her sexual discrimination case against Goodyear Tire Co. in Supreme Court in '07. She went on to campaign for women's rights, transforming into somewhat of the poster child for equal pay. She appeared on various TV shows as an advocate, pouring out her heart to the likes of Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. And she appeared at '08 Democratic Convention.

You can read about her case here:

Does equal pay mean we are where we dreamt of being in the 60s when the Equal Rights Amendment was cooked up (and rejected)? This is great progress. But do you think a bill is going to change our patriarchally-dictated society. I don't expect glass ceilings to crash down on us any time soon.

We can look forward to equal compensation, but will we get equal promotions? Equal hiring? Equal chances to move up? Considering how few female CEOs there are, I doubt it. But I hope I'm wrong! What do you guys think?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A day at the Beauty Store...

De's post reminds me of an experience I had at a popular beauty store.

I went to this shop with my aunty to pick out foundation and other makeup products for her to use on her son's wedding. We went to seek the advice of a beauty consultant (I use that term loosely) as to what shade and foundation type would work best for her. Much to my surprise as I was browsing the house brand, there were absolutely NO shades that would suit "women of color." Now I don't mean they didn't have Sable (usually the deepest of colors) but they didn't even have a shade that would work for a lighter skin women of color. They completely ignored us! They only carried five shades that ranged from the lightest of skintones to that of the light olive complected.

I began to question my beauty consultant as to why there were absolutely NO shades that would suit us. After all, I was in a western Chicago suburb, with a sizable South Asian/Asian market base. Wouldn't it be smart to cater to a noticeable ethnic population?

The consultant seemed really apologetic but then focused our attention to the pricier studio lines of makeup. She immediately reached for the darkest shade in that line, tested it on my aunt's face, and seemed satisfied with the results. Now my aunty is not the darkest complected woman, but something irked me about the lady not even trying out different shades. Us brown girls know that even the subtlest variances in skintone and undertone make the difference for our makeup. We aren't a one-shade- fits-all kind of people.

Since we were convinced that this specific line was the only one that had foundation that worked for her, my aunty purchased it.

The day of the wedding comes along and to her horror, my aunt discovers that the foundation was actually too dark. In the store light, the makeup didn't look bad...just a bit makeup-y if you know what I mean. But in the natural light, the makeup did not suit her at all.

I got so discouraged and angered by this. You have a beauty consultation and spend the extra money to buy quality makeup. It's discouraging because it seems like the more pigment you have in your skin, the more limited your makeup selection is. The mainstream brands can't even get it right!

Another experience reaffirms this. Clinique, for example, hires really bad staff or just has truly shiteous products for deeper skinned gals. My mom went into the department store to buy face-powder from the line. She comes home with the deepest shade that had a reddish-undertone...It looked awful on my mom's skin! My mom is bit of a novice when it comes to beauty products so she did not really question the Clinique consultant.

Either these brands invest in shades that suit a whole spectrum of skintones or remain mainstream and cater to women with lighter skin (who supposedly make up 80% of population, according to makeup brands). In the mean time, this is why makeup designed for "women of color" must clearly designate that.


"Women of Color": Love It or Hate It?

Back in college, when we conceived the idea for this blog, Cris and I dreamt it would be a publication with a message of empowerment for women of color.

That's still one of our main focuses, but as you may have noticed, we've branched out a bit with our topics.

Now to me, that terminology evokes the image of strong women. Women who, after so long being regarded the "other" in juxtaposition to white women, have taken back by their power in proud proclamation. Plus, that phrasing sounds so much better to me than minority women or ethnic women.

However, I was on lunch break (I know everything happens on lunch) with my boss, watching Tyra Banks. At some point during the commercial interruption, we watched an ad for make-up that was targeted at "women of color." My boss, who is white, was upset. She believes that color implies that she has no skin pigment. And that color hearkens back to a time when all people were broken down into the categories of whites and coloreds.

Honestly though, I do think it is necessary to market this special make-up as foundation for darker-skinned gals can be harder to find. And really, since race is not scientifically based, but rather a construction based on factors such as our skin color, I think it's fair for us to say that we are "of color."

As for white women being offended at being called color-less, I say deal with it. We've got our whole lives defined by our brownness, dark or light as that may be. Since our coloredness has so long been our identifier, and with as many things that have been ascribed to us because of our non-whiteness, I see no reason to be inclusive. Call it reverse discrimination, whatever. But I don't know of too many cases in which peach-skinned Americans were treated poorly because of their skin color. Things would be different if colors, black and white, weren't also used as racial categories.

Let us reclaim this term for ourselves. As women of color, we could let ourselves be weighed down by our double burden - sexual & racial discrimination, barriers, and glass ceilings. Our we can celebrate our awesomeness. I like to use the term to do the latter.

But enough about what I think. What do you think?


Monday, January 26, 2009

What the eff is going on, ICELAND?!?

As of January 26th, Iceland's current government has "resigned". The coalition government collapsed after over zealous banking industry fudged up big time and owes waaaaaaaaay more than it can pay back to its lenders. All the while their currency has plummeted, prices have skyrocketed, unemployement has risen, and the general population is seriously pissed off.

Why does this matter? Well it not only shows how connected global processes all the shite in Wall Street can lead to political and financial turmoil of effin Iceland. But this has come as a suprise to me because in 2008 Iceland was #1 on the UN's Human Development index.
That's right. That means that the of all the places in all the places of all the cities of all the countries, the BEST place to live in was ICELAND!! For comparision's sake, US was only #15 on the list. Gosh, political scientists must be having a field day with this.

The collapse is said to have been started by the lack of regulation and control over Icelandic banks.

One year Iceland has the highest quality of living, and the next year it doesn't have a government, its people are dissenting, there are no jobs and they need the help of the Internationl Monetary Fund (you know, the organization that also lends money to poor African nations). What the eff is going on?!?! And moreover, what other disaster will this lead to?

Millionaire Dollar Prizes

At the risk of alienating my fellow desis, especially in light of my first blog posting, I need to get something off my chest. Last night, I caught the Screen Actors Guild Awards on TV. And Slumdog was awarded the most coveted prize of the night, best cast.

Since it's an event that recognizes actors and not the film as a whole, there's no best film, just best ensemble in a movie. While I agree with Slumdog as a choice for best film, or best director, or best score., I can't let my homeland pride blind me to the fact that the acting in the film was just average - at least from the adults.

The kids in Slumdog were amazing. What's even more amazing is that some of those children were actually picked out of the slums. That they were able to act so intelligently, to speak English so well is telling of their talent. I love that the people behind Slumdog set up a trust fund for the kids, so they could get a real education and get out of the slums one day, with less trouble than Jamal had.

The adults were OK. Not great. Any one could have been in Anil Kapoor's role. And the female character mostly was just there as eye candy. And Jamal is a bit goofy looking. It's speaks volumes that Dev Patel was nominated as in the supporting actor category, rather than lead actor.

Honestly, I have to say the cast of Benjamin Button deserved it. Individually, they all gave incredibly touching performances. I'll admit it, I cried when Ben's mama died. And the actors from Dark Knight should have at least got a nod.

It's been said that Slumdog's gaining so much recognition because it neatly fits into Western notions about Eastern culture. Could it be that critics and Academy members are indulging in a bit of Oriental fetishism? Or you do disagree with my opinions about the movie? Let us know.
- De

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dream On

Today I was planning to cover so many other topics. In fact, I had a whole counterpoint to Cris's first posting laid out. But then my emotions took over. I experienced something today that paraphrases just exactly how MLK's dream was not realized in Obama's election/inauguration. Just because a (half) black is our new president doesn't mean racism has disappeared. Or even lessened.

It's just manifested in different ways. I wish that people would no longer be judged by the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character. Every time somebody calls me a foreigner, I am acutely aware things have not changed.

This afternoon, my co-worker and I were watching Divorce Court on our lunch break. For those of you who've never seen it, you're not missing anything. Trying to pay attention to it just makes your head hurt. The couple in question was black. And they were stupid. But there's no correlation between these two factors.

For some reason, I chose to care about the episode. I asked my coworker, somewhat rhetorically, what was wrong with the couple. I didn't believe their respective cases had any merit. And she replied, "I don't know what to tell you, they're n*ggers. You know how black people are." She said something more implying that stupidity is characteristic of African-Americans, but I didn't catch it all.

She's lucky she was leaving the room and I was momentarily blindsided by her blatantly racist comment. Cuz I would have let her have IT. As a girl of color herself (and Asian immigrant), I expected more from her. Although I had no respect for her before, I shall not even grant her the courtesy of polite conversation. I find her too ignorant to converse with.

The fact that someone would say such a hateful thing without realizing just how bigoted they were being just goes to show you, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Girl Power

Rarrr! You can Obamafy yourself too. You know you wanna:

What is it with black women and their hair?

Oh Lordy! Miss Tyra Banks is at it again. Sure to be an enlightening episode, Tyra is inviting people to be on the show tentatively titled: ARE YOU A BLACK WOMAN WHO HATES NATURAL OR UNPROCESSED KINKY HAIR?

Can't WAIT for this episode.

See, our unnatural obsession with the show stems from our college experiences and more specifically a course that we took called Fashion of Politics-which we'll probably refer to as FOP since we're going to bring it up so much. We had a few classes dedicated to "ethnic" hair, so there is much to discuss indeed.

Stay tuned people.

If you can't get enough of Tyra then you can catch tonite's episode: "I am a straight male who makes gay porn"

God Bless Tyra Banks!

Oscars Newsflash

Not only was Slumdog Millionaire nominated for a whopping 10 awards (quite a feat for a little film that I'm sure some voters would have liked to relegate to the foreign film category), M.I.A got a nod too! Maya Arulpragasam (as she's listed on the ballot) has flown under the radar for quite a few years. But with this year's monster jam "Paper Planes," she suddenly became 2008's It Girl. Even though she's super-pregnant, here's hoping she takes the stage Oscar night and livens things up.

- De

Bush said NO to Soldiers' funerals.

Watching MSNBC is like a drug to me. Rachel Maddow is cute-as-a-button and don't get me started on Dan Abrams, rawwwr. It may be too left-ist for most people's liking, but it's entertaining as all heck.

While watching Hardball with Chris Mathews last night on the same network (you know that guy who coughs up a lung everytime he speaks), I learned some very disturbing piece of news. How I did not know about this before? I have no idea!
Yesterday I learned that Pres. W Bush would not go to any funerals of fallen military men and women. Nor will he let media take pictures of the coffins of those soldiers arriving onto Deleware shores. Here's an article from 2006 discussing it.

Something about that piece of news really hit me hard. It made the war that much more real.

I guess in terms of his policies, why would Bush go to the funerals? It would be admitting defeat against the War on Terror and lower morale. Deep down I just think his conscious couldn't take it either.
But is ideological upkeep worth it when things are going terribly wrong?
Should Obama attend military funerals? Discuss.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Post-Inauguration Madness

The Presidential Oath happened in a flurry. Apparently at noon, before the swearing in, Obama automatically becomes president. I'm sure there's a celestial, astronomical meaning but I don't want to go to much into that right now.

You may have heard the usually cool as a cucumber President fumble a bit during swearing-in.
He re-took the oath today after Chief Justice Roberts flubbed it! Conspiracy, I say!

Here are some funnies to keep the Inauguration spirit alive.

The Top Google searches of the day and opinions courtesy of
Chicago Tribune's Rob Manker:

"Presidential oath"
Just say the words. Any order you'd like.

"Dick Cheney wheelchair"
The Bush administration said the outgoing vice president pulled a muscle in his back while moving boxes. Of what? Halliburton checks?

"How old is Obama"
Roughly 15 years younger than how he'll look four years from now.


"Barbara Bush"
Still looks great on the $1 bill.


Monday, January 19, 2009

An appropriate beginning...

Today seems like an appropriate day to post our first blog. New year, new president. How fitting is it that MLK Jr. Day and the Inauguration of our nation's first black president are so perfectly aligned? People are drawing similarities between the two figures and some people refuse to associate them together.
You have to admit, though, there is significance in seeing these events so close together. By electing Obama, a part of Dr. King's dream has been realized....undeniably Obama was elected on the basis of his character and not solely on the color of his skin.

You don't have to be black in America to be impacted by Dr. King and other civil rights activists. Whether we are black-, white-, yellow-, brown-, red- (sometimes orange-) Americans, we all stand on the shoulders of our brothers and sisters in the past who sacrificed their time and their lives in hopes that their children will recieve equal treatment and opportunities irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, color of skin, economic class, etc.

As an Indian-American, I can see many of my fellow brothers and sisters being boastful of their "model-minority" status. But ask yourself, where would you be right now if abolitionists did not fight for suffrage and citizenship rights for both whites and blacks (and future minorities)? What if people like Sourjourner Truth did not stand up for both female suffrage and rights of colored people? When would I, a female minority, been able to vote?--and vote for a colored president at that.

When we are in positions of privilege it is easy to forget what it cost to get us to this point. So today serves as a reminder to pay respect to the likes of MLK Jr. who represents how hunger for freedom and democracy and humanity can lead to such great progress. A kind of progress where fifty years from now our children are judged on merit and not externalities...where prejudice is an affliction of the past....where they are inspired to build better lives for themselves and have all the tools and support in the world to do so.

Tomorrow is proof of that progress. Whatever qualms or doubts you have about our next president, just take a moment and let it sink in: It took 233 years after our nation was created, 144 years after our civil war, 55 years after blacks and whites could go to the same school and 45 years after the Civil Rights Act to come to this moment in history. It's time.