Month: December 2016

Why Jennifer Lawrence’s Apology Won’t Suffice | Emma Cárdenas

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We all have problematic faves. Jennifer Lawrence, or “JLaw,” as tabloids have dubbed her, is a critically acclaimed actress who is the youngest to be nominated for four Academy Awards. In addition to being a favorite within the academy and amongst others working in her profession, Lawrence has won over much of the U.S. — and the rest of the world — with her “quirky” and seemingly down-to-earth personality. At awards shows, instead of talking excitedly about designers and gushing about other celebrities, Lawrence is often quoted talking about how hungry she is or how much she wants pizza. This behavior has made Lawrence a fast favorite amongst young girls, especially those who followed her work through The Hunger Games film series; and people, like me, who appreciated Lawrence for the body-positive love for food she exhibited, empowering her young followers to eat what they like.

In a recent appearance on the British talk show, The Graham Norton Show, Lawrence recently unveiled herself to be another problematic fave. The clip from this appearance is attached below, although closed captioning was not available. In the clip, JLaw talks about a time when she was shooting for one of The Hunger Games films in Hawaii and was wearing nothing but a wetsuit. The place they were filming at has large rocks, which are spiritually significant to the native Hawaiians, who view these stones as their ancestors. These rocks are sacred, and as such, people are not supposed to expose their genitalia to them. Lawrence said she used one of the rocks to scratch her butt while she wore the wetsuit. She disclosed that she scratched so vigorously against one boulder that she dislodged it, sending the stone flying down the mountain, wiping out a sound equipment set-up and nearly impaling a film crew member; and resulting in the native Hawaiians viewing it as a sign of a curse. Lawrence disclosed all of this while laughing, and wrapped up the story saying, “I’m your curse. I wedged it loose with my ass.”

White people disrespecting indigenous culture, land, spirituality, and identity is nothing new — it’s the literal basis of this nation’s founding. This disrespect is evident in the recent actions happening out at Standing Rock in North Dakota over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, in disrespectful Halloween costumes, in the use of traditional headdresses at music festivals by non-native people, and even in our team names, such as the National Football League’s Kansas City “Chiefs” and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland “Indians.” However, the fact that this blatant disrespect is still the norm does not excuse it; especially not by someone with such a powerful platform as Jennifer Lawrence, a highly successful actress with especially great influence over young folks everywhere.

Although the clip from the show has been widely shared for its “comedic value,” it has been shared even more largely with disappointment and disdain. Lawrence and her fans have since tried to defend the storytelling, which happened a few years back and was initially shared in 2013 on the American talk show, Live With Kelly and Michael, by stating that JLaw didn’t know that the stones were sacred at the time. Even if this is the truth, it still doesn’t let her off the hook. Lawrence still took this experience and story as an opportunity to joke about the entire thing, rather than apologize for her ignorance and actually put forth any effort to become more educated so that similar situations could be avoided going into the future. The biggest problem with JLaw’s story is that it was rooted in ethnocentrism. She spoke about the rocks and the native Hawaiians’ beliefs in a way that implied savagery and stupidity, a painful common theme in the treatment of Native Americans and Hawaiians throughout this country’s history.

After this clip went viral, calling Lawrence out for this story, the actress issued an apology:

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When she was called out, Lawrence cried “self-deprecation” — that she never meant offense, disrespect, or ethnocentrism and only meant to make fun of herself; but ethnocentric offense and disrespect is exactly what she did. It is evident through her Facebook-issued apology that Lawrence needs a lesson in “intent versus impact,” as well as how to be respectful of indigenous cultures, traditions, spirituality and history. Jennifer Lawrence needs to be held accountable for her actions, behavior, and half-hearted attempt at an apology. Thankfully, when celebrities fail to hold themselves accountable, we can always count on the internet for help on calling people out:JLawFix.jpg

It’s also important to note that both of the other guests were also white, wealthy & powerful celebrities who failed to speak out against Lawrence’s story. Although many internet users have suggested that Chris Pratt, seated to Lawrence’s direct left in the clip, seemed uncomfortable or disapproving of her tale; the blame, although belonging predominantly to Lawrence, also falls on Pratt and Jamie Oliver, the famous chef who is seated next to the acting pair in this clip. They also should have spoken out against Lawrence’s blatant ethnocentrism; and for failing to do so, they should issue apologies, too.

We sincerely hope that Jennifer Lawrence will use her power, wealth, strong platform, and white privilege to educate herself and others about the injustices that occur against native peoples today and historically, the dangers and effects of ethnocentrism, and how to be a white ally. Just because you can count on the internet to call you out when you’re wrong doesn’t mean a lazy apology is excusable. Do your research, get woke, and don’t be a lazy apologist or ally.Hold yourselves accountable when you make mistakes — and hold others accountable, too. Growth comes from conflict and discomfort, so lean in.

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Ableism Is alive and well in 2016 | Charlotte Theriault

Trigger warning for ableism, sexist language, bodily fluids


Following the shocking results of the election, many people took to social media to express their thoughts, fears, and concerns about the bigoted President-elect Donald Trump as well as the majority republican House and Senate. It quickly became apparent that the people of the United States were deeply divided, and that we needed to take a hard look at our governmental and political party systems. One of the reaction videos that was suggested to me on youtube was Glitterforever17’s video with the title “Cutting My Hair Off *TRIGGER WARNING*”

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      As someone who struggles with mental health and has a very complex relationship with the hair own my own head, I clicked the video link. The first thing I noticed was that the video had no captions, which is annoying but common in videos I find on youtube. The video opens with Glitterforever17 saying things like “I would just die if [Hillary Clinton] lost [the election].” as  she’s pretending to watch the election results. After Donald Trump is named president the screen turns black and white and you can hear the phrase “it’s Britney, bitch” with the sexist slur repeating over and over again as Glitterforever17 runs her hands through her hair. Finally, she decides to cut her hair off. The song ‘Gimmie More by Britney Spears continues to play as she cuts of chunks of her hair dramatically. The screen goes white and the words “The Next Morning…” appear. Suddenly we come face to face with Glitterforever17 sobbing, holding her chopped hair. She sobs to the camera, saying that “Hillary was my life, and like, her becoming president was my life… and now that she’d not president it’s eating me alive inside”.

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    She expresses that she doesn’t know what happened last night, and even throws up thick green slime on camera. Crying over the state of her hair and mental health, she says that she needs to go to the hair salon because she is so ugly now that she cut her hair. The video goes white once again with  “…”  displayed across the screen

     Suddenly, Glitterforever17 pops up, in full glam hair and makeup, excitedly saying “Just kidding!” Any traces of her mental breakdown or her being sick are gone, because they were fake. She confesses to lying about having a breakdown over the election, saying “I was just joking! Please don’t kill me!” She goes on to say that she didn’t have an opinion on the election. Then she tells the audience to thumbs up if they voted for Clinton and thumbs down if they voted for Trump, and jokes that that’s how she gets the thumbs up on her (seriously ableist) video.

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     Glitterforever17’s video currently has 72,450 upvotes, and 62,970 downvotes. While I’m sure many people voted based on how they felt about the election, I personally downvoted the video because it was so ableist in nature I felt a direct hit to my mental health. Let me just break down this video and explain why it was so problematic. First of all She made a direct reference  to Britney Spears’ mental breakdown in 2007, where Brittney completely shaved her head. While people speculated that Britney shaved her head to avoid being tested for drug use, others claim Brittney said she shaved her hair off because she was““tired of plugging things into it. I’m tired of people touching me.

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     Britney at the time had been under the micro-management of many people, who were all controlling her image through telling her everything she could or could not do. No one argued that Britney didn’t have a mental break down, because it was very apparent through the act of her shaving her head. Although people made fun of Britney’s decision, she utilized her breakdown as a turning point for not only her career but for herself. Today she is doing much better, but still acknowledges that her breakdown was a huge part of what shaped her as a person today. Glitterforever17’s use of Britney’s mental breakdown not only is ableist because she’s making fun of someone’s struggle with mental health, but because she’s doing it for shock factor and clickbait.

     I personally found it disgusting that she gave her followers a mini tutorial on how to make their own fake vomit. I find it disgusting that she would cut up a wig on camera and make herself up to be mentally and physically ill.

     I do not find it funny in the slightest. Mentally ill people are not here for your entertainment. We do not exist so that you can do something “crazy” and get new subscribers and likes.

     Hollywood has been using disabled people for decades, we’re always the villain, always the monster, the psychopath, the circus freak. Half of American Horror Story’s plotline revolves around the physically and mentally disabled, painting them as dangerous creatures that need to be avoided.

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     As someone who is both physically and mentally disabled, I am constantly humiliated and “othered” by people who make fun of the disabled. The word “trigger” has become a constant reminder that when I have flashbacks because I hear a certain song or read a certain name that they aren’t seen as valid. I cringe when I watch videos like Glitterforever17’s; I am not a character trope, I am not disabled for your entertainment. I am a real person and so are many other’s that have mental and physical disabilities and illnesses. I will not be linking the video because I do not want to give her more views and make her think that this kind of behavior is okay. 

Please remember that disabled people are human. Have a great break and I’ll see you in 2017 Spartans!