Championing Diversity or Upholding White Supremacist Values?

In the wake of the violent Charlottesville rallies that happened last month, black Model.jpgtransgender DJ, activist and model Munroe Bergdorf called out white supremacy and structural racism in a personal Facebook post that went viral:

“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people anymore. Yes all white people. Because most of y’all don’t even realize or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of color. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***. Come see me when you realize that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege. Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.”

Munroe wrote this before she signed on with L’Oréal but it blew up when the Daily Mail caught wind of her post and published an article on it. On Munroe’s twitter she confirms that a white gay man named Adam Pennington had reported her post to the Daily Mail with the intentions of ruining her career.

She was receiving so much backlash that L’oreal made the call to fire her in the name of “championing diversity”.  They responded to Munroe’s comments with a Tweet.


A black transgender woman speaking out against the oppressive system that endangers her life and many others, is at odds with their “values”? They proved the exact point that Munroe was making.

The white people crying out “RACIST!” at Munroe Bergdorf for her “yes all white people” phrase is unsurprising. When people of color voice out their oppressions, the responses of white people is not how to dismantle these issues, but how to silence them.

If Munroe had chosen “some” over “all” instead, it would allow white people to be absolved from taking any responsibility for white supremacy. It would allow for them to remain complicit in their contribution to structural racism, which was never the intention of her post. Monroe didn’t care about the comfort of white people. It’s just unfortunate that the situation was handled by centering white people and their feelings at the expense of her career.

L’Oréal’s values and ideas of diversity actually mean tokenizing, exploiting and silencing the voice of a black transgender woman. Corporate feminism is a farce. These major brands learn how to use marginalized identities to sell their products, not to give them a platform. L’Oreal showed us that they don’t value trans women or women of color. We don’t matter to them because we’re seen as disposable.

This is a list of L’Oréal brand names that you can boycott, and here’s a list of black owned beauty brands as an alternative. Please also support trans organizations, whether nationally or locally, and give your time and money to them however you can. Check out organizations like Trans Lifeline and Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) for starters. Always remember to support and uplift the voices of Queer-Trans/People of Color (QT/POC) in your life.


mePliab (Plee-ah) Vang is Hmong American. A feminist. An undergraduate senior at St. Cloud State University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. She enjoys talking race, gender, class, social issues and pop-culture and is passionate about Asian American and Pacific Islander issues. Pliab is a Master of Procrastination. She spends an unhealthy amount of her time binging (but never actually finishing) TV shows, scrolling through Twitter, and hanging out with friends.


Kardashian-Jenner Sisters: Cultural Appropriation

Whether you’re browsing through TV channels or even looking through social media, it isn’t uncommon to accidentally come across new gossip about the Kardashian-Jenner sisters, or even their latest fashion go-to looks. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters are well known for their TV show on E, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But besides that, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are all over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and many other forms of media.

As I walked to class the other day, I was calmly looking around, gazing at different houses as I passed by them. One thing caught my attention in particular. In one window of an apartment building, there was a poster facing the street showing the Jenner sisters modeling. There is no doubt that whoever lives in the apartment building enjoys the Jenner sisters and perhaps they even look up to them. This made me think about how influential the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters most definitely have had a huge impact on the way people see themselves, others around them, and the world as a whole. I am arguing that this is problematic. I argue this because the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are guilty of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is a form of disrespect to another culture due to the unacknowledgement of why these elements are culturally significant.

So, let’s take a closer look at some photos the Kardashian-Jenner sisters have posted.


Almost a year and a half ago, Khlo‎é Kardashian posted this picture of herself on Instagram. She decided to caption this picture “Habibi Love.” In this picture, she is wearing a niqab. A niqab, not to be confused with a burqa or hijab, is a veil that some Muslim women wear on their face that does not cover their eyes. Wearing a niqab is a part of some Muslim women’s faith. For Khlo‎é to be adopting this significant element of another religion is disrespectful. It is disrespectful because Khlo‎é does not identify as a Muslim and rebranding the niqab erases its cultural significance.


Kylie Jenner posted this photo on her instagram and captioned it, “I woke up like disss.” First of all, we definitely know Kylie did not wake up with that hairstyle. We also know, that Kylie is guilty of cultural appropriation due to the fact that she decided to have a cornrow hairstyle. This hairstyle has historically been worn by black women and originated in Africa. Kylie’s decision to have cornrows is inappropriate due to the lack of acknowledgement of where cornrows came from and why they have been historically worn by black women.

Cultural appropriation eliminates the historical roots behind whatever is being culturally appropriated. The Kardashian-Jenner rebranding of other communities’ elements to be “trendy” is disrespectful and socially unacceptable. People look up to these women and when cultural appropriation is seen as the norm, people stop questioning it. It’s time for the Kardashian-Jenner sisters to stop culturally appropriating and start culturally appreciating.



heather-helmHeather Helm is a student at Saint Cloud State University. She is currently studying Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Human Relations. Heather is extremely passionate about helping others. She aims to apply a feminist framework to her anticipated career in the future as a Social Worker. 


Reflection from the Post-Production of That Takes Ovaries

By Ruth Sybil May

A few weeks ago, I participated in the feminist play titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Women, Brazen Acts by Rivka Solomon and Bobbi Ausubel; of which I was a cast member. The play is an adaptation of the book similarly titled, That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts, edited by Rivka Solomon. The framework of the book/play is a collection of true stories submitted by ordinary people recounting an experience in which they acted of courageously and bravely, told through first-person narratives. The play was organized by recruiting a cast of diverse community members to enact these true stories on stage in front of an audience, mixing activism with performance art in a way that is humorous, yet serious and inspiring at the same time.

Within the play, I played the part of Drake, a young, transgender man on a path of self-discovery and emotional bravery. During his scene, Drake works up the courage to come out to his mother as transgender despite knowing his mother would not react well. After sharing his truth, his parents are apprehensive at first, but soon do their research so they can better support and love their son no matter what, bringing their family even closer together than before.

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For My People

By Cassie Brown

For my people who are insecure
For my people who suffer from depression
Who also suffer from anxiety
For my people who don’t have many friends
Who feel alone during hard times
For my people who enjoy being alone
But don’t like feeling lonely
For my people who go throughout the day with a fake smile on their face
Who don’t like sharing their problems in fear of being judged
For my people who have scars to remind them how bad things are
For my people who constantly ask if it’s worth it anymore
And they feel the only escape from their pain is suicide

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Feminist Frequency Video

Good day!

FeministFrequency is a great outlet for folks who are interested in pop culture and sexism!  Anita Sarkeesian is a “media critic and creator of Feminist Frequency.”

Last week, Feminist Frequency released a new video in “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” a series that looks at some of the ways that women are portrayed in the prominent culture of video games.


Take a look at their website too!

Plus, Anita Sarkeesian will be at Minnesota State University, Mankato this Monday April 11th, at 7pm, for the 12th Annual Carol Ortman Perkins Lecture.  This lecture is presented by our fellow Women’s Center at Mankato State.  Here is a link to the event  and a link to the Women’s Center website!

Caucus? Caucus. Caucus!

March 1st is the Minnesota Caucus.

Still wondering what a caucus is? You’re not alone!  Follow the links below for information about what caucuses are, what they mean, why they are important, and how you can participate! (A very short and simple answer to all of those queries: you’ll be participating in selecting who political parties will endorse as their presidential nominee; this is an important step in the presidential election process, and youth votes are SO IMPORTANT SHOUTY CAPS ARE NEEDED TO DESCRIBE HOW IMPORTANT THEY ARE! If you are eligible to vote in November (i.e. will be over 18 or over by election day in November), you can participate in any party’s caucus. Follow the link below to find your caucus center based on your living address.)

Minnesota Caucus FAQ: How to Caucus
Find your Caucus Center
How to Evaluate a Candidate
Why each of us NEEDS to vote!

Elected candidates play key roles in the decision making that affects us all.  It’s so important that we educate ourselves on candidates, get out there, and VOTE!

What do you think about the caucus process?                                                                                   Have you been to a caucus before?                                                                                                     What do you think about some of this years candidates?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. : A Feminist Role Model

By Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who writes about feminism and  Nigerian history. She hails from Enugu in Nigeria and is a powerful leader in feminist culture, shining a light on marginalized people.

I see Chimamanda Adichie as a role model and a woman of strength. I look up to her for several reasons, the first being that she is from Africa. People do not see African writers often in American culture, so I see her as a gem. In America, people focus on white American writers, but there are many great people of color who are writers, and people should be experiencing a myriad of writing.  She’s also very well educated, and that reminds me that my education is important, too. The third reason I see her as a role model is that she is a great writer, and I love to write myself. Adichie writes about feminist issues and she focuses on racial issues, too. For example, my favorite book from all her writing is called Half of a Yellow Sun.

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By Mariam Bagadion

I want to talk about Viola Davis. In the span of two weeks, she made two great strides: being the first African American woman to win an Emmy for a leading role and (SPOILER ALERT) promoting the visibility of the bisexual community through that exact award winning role as Annalise Keating, the powerhouse lawyer/professor of How to Get Away with Murder.

Davis’s win sparked an age old conversation, one that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o did back in 2014: black women can win awards just as easily as their white counterparts, as long as they are given a chance. Davis was one of two women of color nominated for Leading Actress in a Drama and one of three (that’s right, one whole person more) women of color nominated for a leading role in anything, be it Drama, Comedy, Limited Series, you name it. So why is this a big deal? Why are these trailblazers so important?

It all comes down to one word: representation.

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