Backtalk: White Fragility & South Africa’s Queer Femme Web Series

This week on Backtalk, Amy and Sarah get into the nitty gritty of calling out the centering of white voices in popular media, and chat with our special guest and Bitch Media Global Feminism fellow Maneo Mohale about the queer web series of South Africa.

Recently, headlines about NBC’s development of a show called Mail Order Family and Tim Burton’s cluelessness on the very white casting in his films have sustsained conversations around the whiteness of Hollywood. Last month, American writer Lionel Shriver gave a keynote speech admonishing the idea of having to ask “permission” to write outside of her experience as a white person. These stories highlight how problematic it is to frame white narratives as neutral and apolitical, and how stories can be told about anyone—as long as it’s done well. Some excellent reading around the Shriver fiasco: “As Lionel Shriver made light of identity, I had no choice but to walk out on her,” by Yassmin Abdel-Magied, ”Who Gets to Write What” by Kaitlyn Greenidge, “What are White Writers For?” by Jess Row, and “Being Asian Isn’t an Identity,” by Kazumi Chin.

Plus, Sarah and Amy chat with Maneo Mohale about subversive stories coming out of South Africa. Check out the South African feminist webseries she recommends: The Foxy Five and Women on Sex

On Backtalk, we always share one thing we read, heard, and saw this week. 

SAW: Amy is watching the latest Marvel series on Netflix, Luke Cage features a majority Black cast in this superhero saga without a cape in sight. 

READ: Kiese Laymon’s collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, is Amy’s recommended read as it feels like a love letter to his younger self and to Mississippi.  

HEARD: Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch is the vampire-themed “menstruation concept album” you’ve been waiting for. 

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by Amy Lam
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Amy Lam was a contributing editor and co-host of Backtalk at Bitch Media. Find her at & Twitter / Instagram.

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