Straight Stuntin is a hip-hop/pin-up magazine I stumbled on, and I probably should be completely offended by it, but I'm absolutely fascinated instead.
Some of these women's asses seem to defy gravity. I am actually dumbstruck by them. I know, I know we aren't supposed to relegate a woman to her parts, but I just feel kind of humbled by the two asses in the third picture. Kind of like being in ass church. I feel reverence and awe.
Do these women have cellulite that was Photoshopped away? Or do darker skin women just not get cellulite the way my white ass does? Or is that one model onto an anti-cellulite secret with her cupcake diet?
Even among other women--among other so-called feminists--our physicality is deemed freakish, something to be weighed and pondered and questioned. And I do realize that the OP is a biracial/black woman and several black women, including a model who will appear in a future SS issue, participated in the comments thread. The fact remains that for the majority of readers, this post represented a bit of cultural tourism, as evidenced by the comments and questions about black beauty standards and black women's bodies that the piece elicited.
The Celebration of Exploitation
I mentioned that I might have been less bothered by the SS post if it has appeared on a black feminist blog. But the truth is, I'm fairly certain that Aunt Jemima's Revenge or Womanist Musings or What About Our Daughters or any of the myriad black women-run blogs would never write a positive post about "Straight Stuntin.'" Black feminists have long spoken out against hip hop's degradation and objectification of black women, and we have seen first hand the results of this brand of sexism on our communities, on black relationships, on young black girls' self-esteem, on sexual violence. Of course, the positioning of black women as sexual objects did not start with hip hop. The Sapphire stereotype is at least as old as the slave trade. This is the baggage--baggage that our white sisters don't share--that we bring to analysis of magazines like "Straight Stuntin.'" This is a know your history moment. How can you analyze "Straight Stuntin'" outside of the aforementioned context?
I should add that I believe in sex positive feminism (though I suspect that the Jezebel writers and I might disagree on what exactly that is) I am not zero-tolerance on pin-ups or porn. (Far from it.) But there is a difference between finding enjoyment in sexuality and the female (or male) form and viewing another human being as an inaminate receptacle--a "trick," "ho" or a "chickenhead." The SS view of women is not about celebration, but almost Biblical disdain and distrust of women as anything beyond sexual tools. Consider this advice from a SS article "10 Model Commandments:"
Ladies, one of the worst things in the whole wide world has to be a [sic] unsanitary female. Body odor or not being shaved at the right time in the right places are definitely not a go. Your parents should have taught you about hygiene when you were younger or you should've learned it in hygiene class when you were in school.
Ah...yes...I remember well when my mother and I had "the talk" about Brazilian waxing..."Unsanitary female?" WTF? Other "commandments" caution women not to steal, lie, have "attitudes," or use "your coochie with everyone who makes you a promise." How novel an idea--black women as dirty, tricky whores!
The Double Standard
so, if it is a black magazine featuring a fetishized body part ( ass..) then ...IT IS OK? And the fact that the men are dressed and the woman reduced to their body image..that is ok?
I am speechless............This magazine is like many others of the same genre,...exploiting and degrading........regardless if the "ladies" are NOT white and/or size zero.
Why so little criticism of "Straight Stuntin'" on Jezebel? Is it because readers believe the magazine has been endorsed by the black OP? (In a reply to the above commenter's post, the OP said she does not endorse the magazine, but finds it "intriguing," which I think is kind of a hedge.) Is it because white feminists don't "get" objectification of black women? (Like how many black feminists were turned off by Hillary Clinton's embrace of BET founder and black woman exploiter Bob Johnson, while white feminists overlooked it?) Is my baggage coloring the way I respond to this post?