Why Miley Is The Queen Of White Feminism

Why Miley Is The Queen Of White Feminism

All hail the queen...
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Last week, Miley Cyrus hosted the MTV Music Video Awards and as expected gave us a lot to talk about. The pop star was given a chance to redeem herself after her controversial performance with Robin Thicke two years ago. This time, she disappointed us with her further insensitivity toward the Black community and their culture. So much so, she was called out on it by Nicki Minaj after her comments about Minaj speaking up about the mistreatment of Black women in the music industry. For someone who self identifies as a feminist, Cyrus's actions speak louder than her words. Just in case you've lost track of her inappropriateness, here is a list to remind you why she represents white feminism at its finest:

1. She built her career on the exploitation of black culture.

Like her character Hannah Montana, Cyrus enjoys getting the "best of both worlds" by immersing herself in "ratchet culture" while reaping the benefits of white privilege. Bandanas, gold grillz, big hoops, and provocative clothing historically belong to a community that shares a struggle Cyrus has never had to endure. Miley has the luxury of taking off her "costumes" and living her life as every other wealthy white woman does. Cyrus has also made a huge profit off "twerking," a dance that was adopted by a New Orleans' Hip Hop movement that focused on good times and small pleasures in an otherwise marginalized setting. Miley uses twerking as one of her method's of sexual empowerment. Yet although widely criticized, she is under the impression that the backlash she receives is solely based on her sexual behavior rather than her racial ignorance.

2. Uses women of color as "human props."

Remember when Gwen Stefani was called out for using Japanese women as accessories during her musical career? Add Cyrus to the list of white woman in the music industry exploiting women of color in music videos and performances. Even though she has been repeatedly called out for it, she refuses to acknowledge that surrounding herself with Black women and basically saying "look at me, look at me!" has some serious racist connotations. Using Black women to gain "urban" credibility is not okay. Oh, and just for the record, having the approval of two or three rappers does not justify her behavior.

3. Expects her thoughts on sexism to be heard, but silences women of color.

It is already so hard for women to be heard as is. Being of color just makes that struggle twice as hard. Instead of listening to what Minaj had to say about the music industry, Cyrus blamed her for making it about race. In an interview, she said, "If you want to make it about race, there’s a way you could do that. But don’t make it just about yourself. Say: 'This is the reason why I think it’s important to be nominated. There’s girls everywhere with this body type.'" Not only did Cyrus silence a woman who had the guts to speak up, she also tone-policed her. Feminists are constantly criticized for the tone they use when talking about female oppression. People of color are constantly told they are overreacting or being too sensitive. News flash: if you are being marginalized being polite is irrelevant.

4. Perpetuates racial stereotypes that hurt Black women.

Cyrus also said, "What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know Nicki Minaj is not too kind. It’s not very polite...But I don’t respect your statement because of the anger that came with it." Once again, a Black woman speaks up and she is stereotyped as the "Angry Black Woman." Black women's activist efforts are constantly derailed by this stereotype. As if their points were less valid because of the emotion that comes with them. You can't minimize someone's experience just because you feel uncomfortable with the emotions that they ensued.

5. Seems to value Black culture, but not enough to value Black lives.

Lastly, Cyrus insinuated that she did understand what it meant to be Black. "I know the statistics. I know what’s going on in the world." Interestingly enough, Cyrus has never used her love for Black culture to raise awareness about the hundreds of Black men and women being killed every day. They say, "white silence equals white consent." It couldn't be more obvious that the only Black lives she cares about are the ones that dance in her videos and the ones she smokes weed with.

To sum it up, Cyrus is white feminism at its peak. What she calls female empowerment, I call "Miley empowerment." Using feminist wisdom to support her agenda is totally missing the point. From her blonde dreads to her offensive language, Cyrus deserved to be called out. She needs a harsh reality check.

Cover Image Credit: Thefourohfive.com

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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