Thursday, 17 May 2018

the world is moving and so are we

Been feeling very uninspired blog-post-wise! Recently, my life has just consisted of writing essays, spending too much money (especially on food???) and working on/publishing my zine. It just came out, so if you wanna cop yourself a cute zine with amazing visual art/written work by black women/femmes, then buy here! <3

Gah, what is life? I've been working pretty hard to get my work done so I can enjoy the summer, so I can genuinely feel free. I can almost feel the open-ended summer days and spontaneous summer nights. I think I can smell Brick Lane, the vintage clothes, the food stalls. It's all so close and I'm pretty excited. I'm reminiscing about these two summer blog-posts I made after I finished my GCSEs (wow that was a long time ago. Who was this lil kid???) Also, here are some visual vibes that I am trying to cultivate this summer! (That large sun hat tho!)
All found on

Anyway, yesterday I made a small Instagram story talking the #RoyalWedding - particularly about the significance of all of the rhetoric surrounding Meghan Markle. We (Britain) have been pretty jokes about the whole thing, from what I've seen. To some extent, I don't even know why I'm writing about this because I couldn't care less about the spectacle, and I am actually wholly against the amount of money this royal wedding costs at the expense of, well, everyone but the royal family. Nevertheless, Meghan has received a lot of backlash and fuckery from the media, a lot of noise that Kate Middleton, as the second most recent wife of the royal family, did not. Here's an article by the Daily Mail (ew) recounting Meghan's ancestry - on her mum's side of course. I was particularly drawn to the "Now that's upwardly mobile! How in 150 years, Meghan Markle's family went from cotton slaves to royalty..." part of the headline. I just feel like there is something really insensitive, transparent and harsh about the rhetoric surrounding her life - whether it's her looks, her career background or her 'black' family history. 

On top of this as well, there are actually people who believe that Meghan and Harry's wedding is somehow ground-breaking for race-relations in Britain, with numerous articles arising about the UK's growing "mixed-race" population. It's as if the world has suddenly realised that non-white people exist and this one marriage has essentially ended racism. I disagree. The royal family isn't just any family - for the outside world they are very much a spectacle. Sure, they are real people who sleep and eat and poop and what not - (even the Queen lmao) - but their existence is quite material, which dissociates them from the 'normal' public. The idea of 'progressive race-relations' has the same aura - it is very much a visual concept. I also think it is harmful. I remember seeing a newspaper headline from the METRO: "It’s a great day for interracial relationships and mixed race girls everywhere." Here's a link to the short article online. These lines in particular caught my attention:
"Meghan is going to be the role model for every non-white girl in this country. She’s going to be proof that beauty isn’t alabaster, that colour isn’t a hurdle to jump over, that you don’t have to be white to be rich, successful or in power."
To some extent, I agree that having a black woman enter the royal family is a ground-breaking concept, historically. It does reduce the stigma of interracial relationships, particularly between black and white people. When criticised or opposed, it is usually black women at the end of the stick for many reasons. But where this article goes wrong is suggesting that she is a "role-model" - this implies that we must look up to Meghan in some way. 

What is there to look up to? That someday we (black women) may, too, marry into the royal family? That one day we can be made worthy by being chosen by a white prince? Asking black women and girls to answer whether she is an inspiration is basically asking us to confess that she gives us hope that we can someday be validated romantically by a rich white man. It's so backwards and further emphasises the "White Savior Complex" - the idea that Harry is saving Meghan from a life of oppression.

This article is also quite hilarious in saying that Meghan is proof that "beauty isn't alabaster." It is as if the writer has never seen a picture of Meghan, or heard about the notion of colourism. (A system of privilege that disadvantages people of a darker skin tone. A reality that many people choose to ignore).  Meghan's blackness is 100% valid. But at the end of the day, she is a very pale-skinned mixed-race woman who conforms to European beauty standards. For the woman who wrote this article to say that it shows that "colour isn't a hurdle to jump over" is playing herself. And it's disappointing and adds to the harmful rhetoric surrounding the so-called progressive nature of this marriage. To put it bluntly, if Meghan was a darker-skinned woman, would the royal wedding even be happening? I would probably be excited and more interested in the whole thing if Meghan looked like me. And this is arguably a hypocritical thing to say, because it is totally valid for a mixed-race girl to be saying the exact same thing, right now. But when you take into account the implications of colourism, you can only go so far to say that beauty standards are being slain and deconstructed.

Right, enough of that. What are you guy's opinions on the Royal Wedding? Do you agree/disagree with what I've said? 

In other news, it's been a quite a breezy first year of uni, despite the stress I have felt! I feel like I am doing the right course, that I'm in the right place. I am very thankful to be surrounded by so much knowledge. I am grateful for books and information and being taught. I always remember that some people can't even get an education, and it's so natural to us that we almost take it for granted. Beyond the horrific stress of revising for exams and imminent deadlines... sometimes it's good to just stop, take a step back, and relish all of it. It's been an interesting year to say the least. In my first blog post after starting uni, I said that "Things have been ... strange, new, exciting, scary, frustrating, long, fast, expensive, cringy, slow, weird." Has anything changed? No, lol. Apart from spending a lot of time looking at hilariously-relatable university memes. Here are some of my favourites. Enjoy. 

Hope this gave you some food thought or made you giggle or smile! 
~peace out~ and see you in the next post! Zoe xo