Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our New First Lady's Fierce Physiognomy

A friend shared a Salon.com column by a woman called Erin Kaplan in which she discusses the ways in which seeing a strong black woman, intelligent, working class, successful, and with a big booty, is so empowering to her. Now empowered has become a bit of a trite US american cliche, I realize this. But there is something to be said for "visibility" notwithstanding the ambiguities and pitfalls of essentializing people, of chromatism, of making easy assumptions about people and classifying them using fixed terms. Of course a "mutt" like myself (I LOVE President-elect Obama for using the vernacular, in PR we would say "sato" which is one of my favorite slang words from the Island and means just that - mixed breed dog of indeterminate origin), knows all too well the dangers of trying to fix identity. In any case, like Kaplan I can unabashedly celebrate Obama's racialized physiognomy - a powerful woman with a very large ass. Not a subject of shame, a mark of over-sexualized abandon and danger, an index of barely-suppressed racial miscegination (in my case), or a cause for alarm when trying to aspire to the pancake ass, concave chest cavity, bony extremities and pinched face beloved by Anna Wintour and her kin. All easier said than done if you have my kind of ethnic makeup, no matter how hard I starved myself, the booty wouldn't go away, luckily I realized it was an asset not a liability!

Read Kaplan, it's far more amusing than I could ever be:


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