Art & Culture



Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Call For Non-White Roommates At Universities Is Necessary

Photo via Createherstock

Early November a former college freshman was charged with a hate crime after allegedly tormented her Black roommate, whom she called Jamaican Barbie.

According to the Huffington Post , Hartford police arrested Brianna Rae Brochu after they say she admitted to committing a series of vile acts against Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe in order to get Rowe to move out of the dorm they shared at the University of Hartford.

Police said Brochu confessed to licking Rowe’s dining utensils and smearing menstrual blood on her backpack
, according to the Hartford Courant. However, she did not admit to any of the other heinous acts she posted about on social media, telling police that anything else she described was merely an attempt to “appear funny.”

On Instagram, where her account has since been made private, Brochu had boasted about putting moldy clam dip in Rowe’s lotions, spitting in her coconut oil and sticking Rowe’s toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine.”

This story was made news due to social media the hyper visibility it brought to the incident.  There are many people of color that have lived with white roommates and have been terrorized with micro and macro aggressions in the place they should be able to call home. At many universities the request for non-white roommates are on the rise. Many feel its with just cause,  but many universities don't oblige, and think it's racist.

Dylan's Candy Bar

According to the Independent, Kare Urena, a rising junior at Pitzer College, posted the housing advertisement on her personal Facebook page, saying she and two others were looking for a roommate. "POC only," the post reportedly said, referring to people of color. "I don't want to live with any white folks," Urena reportedly added.

The Independent included Facebook comments from other students who were taken aback by the seemingly racist nature of the post. Other students commented that they understood and respected the desire to create a safe space in one's home, free from racial divides.

Safe places to live, in college and beyond is important and very necessary. A few women shared their experience with horrible white roommates with us.
Trigger warning for some white fuck shit:
Story told by Victoria Mills

Black Opal Beauty Black Friday Banner

Another story by Iskae Khadiya Smith 

We received many stories, of unsanitary conditions, verbal abuse and white roommates  insisting it was the person of colors job to be their teacher of their race an culture. Coming home continuously to those behaviors, after already experiencing the the many isms in the world can be heavy on your mental health. The call for non-white roommates at universities is necessary.

Have you experience mental violence due to a roommate of another race? Please share your story in the comments below.

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How To Finally Get Your Damn Menstrual cup In. . . . . Because FUCK Twirling

Picture this: Squatting in a bathroom stall like a chicken about to give birth, trying with all your might, and then some, to force a small slippery silicone cup into the deep recesses of your bleeding, cramping, and pretty angry vagina. Getting PTSD style flashbacks of pure, unadulterated frustration and hatred? You’ve arrived at the right place.
Welcome to the wonderful world of menstrual cups! This edition: How the FUCK do I get it inside me?
The current instructions surrounding the Divacup center around 5 key principles:

  1. 1. Fold
  1. 2. Hold
  1. 3. Insert
  1. 4. Seal and Rotate
  1. 5. Remove
  2. Let’s concern ourselves with steps 1–4 which are seemingly straight forward because, honestly, removal is its whole own blog post.
    There are two types of folds. The U-fold (shown first) and the push-down fold, which I refer to as, the ‘triangle’ fold. 
See? It's totally a triangle
In an ideal world, you hold it between the thumb and forefinger pretty much like a tampon, insert it “straight back toward the tailbone”, slip it inside, give it a twirl. 
A "twirl" they said

it pops open, and you’re good to go. Simple right?

...but then why are you here?
I don’t know about y’all, but here is my first experience following the directions:
I folded the mentsrual cup, into the ‘triangle’ fold, sat down on the side of my tub, lady free bleeding into the void, inserted it just a bit, and got to my favorite part, the twirl. I honestly don’t know why the instructions refer to the motion they want us to accomplish with the cup as “a twirl”, because it’s not. The motion is more of a crank, which is in no way comfortable.
more of a crank, really 
As soon as it’s in your vagina, if there’s any sort of moisture on the cup, you will realize that it is slippery. There is almost no way to twirl anything because you need a serious grip on it and getting a slippery object to rotate in a tight space while avoiding certain unwanted scenarios involving your cup and the unsanitary flooring or toilet bowls is difficult.

This is an example of what you don't want
Instead of getting stumped and running up against the ‘WHY IN THE UNHOLY F*^! CAN’T I CONTROL MY OWN VAGINA AND ITS CONTENTS?!” issue, skip this awful time of trial and error and follow these instructions.

  1. Wash your hands. You’re putting them all the way in your vagina. They should be clean, or you can infect yourself. Point blank. Also, don’t leave soap residue as this can also irritate the vagina.

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2. Always use the “triangle fold” or the “push down fold.” To the “U fold” users, I honestly don’t know how you manage it. You guys are the golden unicorns of the menstrual cup world because when I tried it, I found that the edges of the cup actually bow outwards and make the whole thing slightly larger and more of a hassle to insert.
put your thumb over the red arrow
Pro tip! Don’t even hold it the way they tell you to! Put your thumb over the area with the red arrow, and grip the sides with your remaining fingers.

      3. Always use lubricant. Yes, the cup is slippery when wet. Yes, this can make it a pain to insert. You’ll just have to woman down, and get a good grip on it, because it still needs lube. Lubricant just makes the whole process run more smoothly, as I will explain soon.

Do NOT waste your time on the damned "twirling"
I cannot stress this enough; the “twirling” is a falsehood that will waste your time! Reclaim it now and don’t bother. Actually, my hack here is pure genius.

      4. So, now that you’ve got it into the “triangle fold” and have your thumb in the right place, insert the cup into your vagina until your thumb is touching your lady parts. Now, press down on the bump with your thumb until you feel the cup completely open up. Then, AND ONLY THEN, do you insert the cup the rest of the way in. WHEN IT’S ALREADY OPEN AND THE SEAL HAS ALREADY BEEN CREATED. This is why the lube is important. It helps you glide that sucker up there, after it’s all the way open.
The last part is finishing up. Yes, there are some finishing tips! These are just to make sure you get minimal leakage and your cup is properly situated. Trust me, the most annoying thing in the world is to go through all of this, only to realize the dang thing is misplaced. Then, you’d have to go through the separate hassle of getting it out (explained in another post ladies) and RE-inserting it. No, thank you!

     5. Make sure your cup is all the way in. You will can start to encounter some resistance once the cup is almost inside, especially if you have problems relaxing (a relaxed vagina is key with using a menstrual cup)

The little nub on the end
You will know the cup is all the way in once you’ve relaxed and you can no longer feel the little nub on the end outside of your vagina. After it’s all the way inside, you want to make sure your cup is fully open, which is step This is NOT done as per the instructions by “running your finger around the outside of the cup”. It’s almost like these instructions were made by a person who THOUGHT they should work but, and didn’t actually have a vagina to and test it out on.

You can actually do this by completely completely relaxing your vaginal muscles, and doing some hip openers. Not kidding. Relax yourself and get back into the bird-laying-an-egg pose (that ugly squat we do when no one is looking.) and just wait on it. You will know the cup is fully open, if it wasn’t already, because it will feel like an umbrella opening in a cramped hallway but, you know, inside of you.

There you have it! An entire article dedicated to making sure that your menstrual cup (whichever one you picked) is able to comfortably fucking function without frustration and anger inducing episodes on your toilet. All jokes aside, I truly TRULY love my menstrual cup! Making the switch to menstrual cups has really changed my life, honestly. It’s great for really heavy periods, great for saving money on menstrual products, even though I still use liners and pads sometimes but, it really cuts down on how many I buy. Honestly, as gross and corny as it sounds, using a menstrual cup somehow managed to teach me amazing things about my body and “my lady”.

If you somehow got to this article because you are thinking of making the switch and not because you are incredibly frustrated with the insertion process, I wholeheartedly say go for it! The literal ONLY draw back to menstrual cups that I can see, is that they DO have a learning curve to get everything situated properly and it’s a little strange and difficult to learn. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be less intimidated by your new menstrual cup or the idea of it and just jump on the this bandwagon of money saving, menstrual cup using, vagina templars!

-A. Smith

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What We're Watching: Gabourey Sidibe Directorial Debut With Tale of Four

Gabourey Sidibe. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Gabourey's new film, The Tale of Four, brings us into the lives of four Black women: Saffronia (Megan Kimberly Smith), Sarah (Ledisi Young), Peaches (Aisha Hinds), and Sweet Thing (Dana Gourrier). If these four characters sound familiar, it’s because they were drawn from the 1966 Nina Simone song, Four Women, and like the classic, The Tale of Four tells the story of multi-faced black women fighting for justice.
Gabourey's film was released in partnership with Refinery29's Shatterbox Anthology – a film series that gives 12 women directors the support to tell stories through the female lens. 

She uses Nina Simone’s timeless narrative to addresses the harrowing complex realities of the black mothers, daughters, and undaunted revolutionaries fighting back against police brutality and the epidemic of mass incarceration today.
In an interview with Refinery 29, Gabourey shares exactly why she chose to speak on these issues:
"As I do with most things I’m afraid of, I talk about them, make them audible, hoping that addressing the fear will alleviate it. That’s what the film is about: addressing it, saying it out loud, and hoping that through sharing my fear and my outrage that it will cause more outrage and more fear."
The film merges narratives from female activists, sexual assault survivors, and children of imprisoned mums and the most poignant thing about is that the film resonates as a portrait of contemporary American society still infected by the same racism, cruelties and prejudices against black people that Nina Simone sang about over 50 years ago. We really hope that things will finally start to change.
The cast of the short film also includes her Empire co-star, Jussie Smollett. The Tale Of Four premiered to rave reviews this past June at the Nantucket Film Festival. Watch The Tale of Four below.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Podcast Spot Light-Queer Woc Podcast: How to Set Boundaries In Intimate Relationships

📸 via IG: @stokeskennedy and the photo was taken by Gerry Maravilla.

An important lesson I learned late in life was the need for setting boundaries. Healthy boundaries were non-existent for a lot of my life. I assumed people would know how to treat me based on how I treated them, which has often proven to be false. Boundaries with intimate relationships were often an afterthought, but are presently a top priority in the many relationships I build with people currently.

While listening to the Queer WOC podcast during their Mental Moment with Money segament . One of the Co-host Montique, also a licensed therapist,  gives four tips for creating healthy  boundaries and sticking to them, and also explains why these steps are essential for firm boundaries in romantic relationships. This was great information that many people may use, here are four tips for creating healthy boundaries in intimate relationships. 

  • Recognize your own feelings and take time to name the boundary. This is essential in the process of creating healthy boundaries. I myself have a very hard time acknowledging the validity of my feelings, which always results in a boundary not being created. I'm the queen of the brush off; that being my default emotional setting for my life, has been detrimental for many of my relationships. This step os very important to me.
  • Convert that feeling into a boundary and write it down. Use those feelings to guide you to create that boundary. If I don't want to revisit those feelings I will construct a boundary as a preventative measure for myself. Also, writing them down makes the boundary real, and  gives you something to reference when you revisit where you wrote them. In the age of receipts, this will keep you in line and hold you accountable to the boundary you created for yourself. 
  • Recognizing when that boundary has been crossed and naming it. This part is just as important as naming the boundary. This is where you show the person you're in the relationship with the boundary you need to be acknowledged. I have an issue with being ignored, so when I communicate I expect my partners undivided attention. People will always test this, and it's your job to clearly make the line known, and enforce it not being crossed. 
  • Get Grounded. This is the part I plan to use  more often in my life going forward. Usually when a boundary of mine is crossed, It triggers an array of emotion and disorder. Money suggests doing things that make you feel grounded so you don't react in negative ways. She suggests deep breathing, focusing on a color you like, eating something crunchy and focusing on the sound. All things to help you get to the other side of that emotion so you may solve the issue of your boundary being crossed in a more productive way. 

If you want more Mental Moments with Money, be sure to subscribe to her podcast currently on Apple Podcast, Soundcloud and Google Play. Also take a listen here 

What are some ways you create and keep healthy boundaries in your life. 
Let us know in the comment section below!

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Message:Pay Attention to The Widening White-Black Wealth Gap

An amazing message about the wage gap among Black and white families, and why they exist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What We Hope Brands Learn From Dove

Image result for dove ad

Over the weekend Dove released a  three-second GIF, that featured three women, each removing her shirt to reveal the next. There's one part of the GIF that was alarming, a Black woman removing her shirt and revealing a white woman,  which had many calling Dove racist, all calling to Boycott Dove. For many, it brought back a time when Black people in the USA where use as racist punchlines in lots of advertising in the soap industry. 

Dove has also been known to use language that is extremely tone deaf (no pun intended) on the labeling of its products, such as "from normal to dark skin"  because naturally, the opposite of normal is dark skin.  this isn't the first time social media called out Dove on their advertising foolishness.

On Saturday, Dove — owned by Unilever — apologized, writing on Facebook: “Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity. In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused.”

Personally,  I didn’t understand the dove soap issue, but I’m all for people finding reasons to buy products by Black people. So either way, I was happy to see people seek Black own businesses they rather give their money to. Also, I critique everything sold to me, my money doesn't come easy so whether a good claim or not, being critical of companies is important. Seeing the full ad or not, we now know (or hope)  Dove knows not to be careless with Black imagery, you just can’t be. It’ll cost you, and that’s a great thing.

Bcbg Max Azria Group, LLC

All the “y’all race baiting” people make no sense and don't understand the overall critique of the careless use of Black imagery. It also shows how many Black people aren’t in these companies making these crucial decisions in advertising. The lack of diversity is the most evident issue here. Diversity would've given space for someone to tell, them "don't post that, you will be dragged" 
So, many may think it’s about crappy ass soap but it’s not. It’s about you, their Black consumer being an afterthought. Cause why care

Also, why is everyone up in arms at people for dragging Dove? A rich ass company that’ll be alright? All capitalistic structures that carelessly use Blackness should be dragged, daily. Who we dragging next?

By Queen 
Queen is a 30 something from the Bronx, NY. She created Ms. Vixen to spread her thoughts on feminism, Black pride, it's the first stop on her quest to be a media mogul. 
Follow Queen 
Instagram @TheQueenSpeaks_

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