“Elle” makes a mockery of Gabourey Sidibe’s cover girl moment

What do you call a top fashion magazine that features a plus-sized African American actress on its cover? Progressive? Revolutionary? If you’ve read recent Internet reports of Gabourey Sidibe’s October Elle cover, you might call it “racist,” “offensive,” or, as Salon puts it, “a weird fetishization that borders on patronizing.” Allow me to explain. In… Continue Reading →

Playing Housewife: Beyoncé in “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

Beyoncé’s new video for her track, “Why Don’t You Love Me?” has been a hot topic of debate recently on a bunch of blogs we read. The clip features Beyoncé as “BB Homemaker,” a character that pokes fun at stereotypical depictions of both the pin-up model and the seemingly-happy-but-secretly-unhappy 1950s/1960s housewife. “Why Don’t You Love… Continue Reading →

Black Barbie Dolls Leave Much to Be Desired

As we found out from The Root, Mattel is releasing a new line of Barbie dolls that are getting a lot of attention. The new line, called “So In Style,” or “S.I.S.” are supposed to be African-American and to have more “authentic” facial features. The S.I.S. dolls are sold in pairs, with one adult doll… Continue Reading →

Michelle Obama: A Political Body

From the moment the Obama family moved into the White House, our newest President and his wife became instant American icons. A beautiful and intelligent African-American couple, the Obamas exist under a social microscope with the media reporting on virtually every aspect of their lives. In the midst of all the Obamamania, one of the… Continue Reading →

A Brave Step for Mainstream Rap: Webbie’s “Independent”

If you have seen popular music videos recently, you know that women are often wearing little clothing and dancing provocatively around men. The lyrics to these songs can be just as oversexualized, if not more so. Although there is no shortage of music featuring women in these second-class roles, there is a brave new popular… Continue Reading →

“America the Beautiful”: Why beauty is out of control.

You’re reading the About-Face blog, so I’m gonna guess that you’re interested in the various messed-up ways women and girls are portrayed in media, and how it can really damage our self-esteem and self-respect. Well, now there’s a movie about it! It’s the new documentary “America the Beautiful,” and you should really go see it…. Continue Reading →