This week, the American Ballet Theatre announced casting for its 2018 Fall season, and it includes an empowered focus on women’s roles.



This Week In Women: Mixed Agendas

This week has certainly been a politically surly one as early and absentee voting is underway across America. Already GOP efforts to quell enthusiastic Democratic voters are becoming more evident with widespread stories of rampant voter suppression in North Carolina, Georgia, and North Dakota, where the stakes are high for Republican control of the Senate. On top of that, Trump has also announced plans to crack down on protests outside the White House.

In the midst of the chaos and corruption, other public figures are vying for their moment of attention. Let’s take a closer look; it’s time for This Week in Women! 

T.I. Tweet and “Naked Melania” is a Low Tactic 

T.I., in a bid for some viral attention, released a one minute preview for his new album DIME TRAP last Friday with the tweet, “Dear 45, I ain’t Kanye.”

The accompanying video included cutaways of Trump boarding a helicopter and riding a golf cart in Mar-a-Lago. T.I. is in the oval with a Melania-doppelgänger (yes, she’s even wearing the controversial Zara jacket) stripping for him.

Here’s what is problematic with the video: Using misogyny to promote an agenda is just as disgraceful as Trump’s past and present treatment of women. The storyline of punishing Trump by getting with Melania is continuing the conversation of exploiting women as an accessory, whether that is for pleasure, revenge, or all of the above. The administration’s use and abuse of women and their voices is shameful, but so is T.I.’s in this moment for the true intention of moving the needle for DIME TRAP promotion. Those who call for a boycott of T.I. need to check themselves at the door, because they are the same that support a sexual-abuser in office; however, in a time when women are struggling for parity, equal rights, and for respect, this promo trailer sadly escalates continued mistreatment.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Upsets Native American Communities, Feeds Republicans 

As Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren explores a bid for a 2020 presidential run, she has taken the opportunity to confront Trump over his past derogatory remarks of repeatedly calling her “Pocahontas”—a racial slur that was meant to ignite his base (as he has done in the past with other examples of “birtherism”) and demean Warren for her claim of Native American heritage.

On Monday, her campaign released a DNA analysis from geneticist Dr. Carlos Bustamante, and even a fact-checking website for proving her ancestral ties, as well as the tweet, “NIWRC is a nonprofit working to protect Native women from violence. More than half of all Native women have experienced sexual violence, and the majority of violent crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives. Send them your $1M check, @realDonaldTrump.”

The problem with all of this is that it has done nothing to quell some Republicans, giving them more fuel for their racist fire. More importantly, Warren’s attempted media coup was read by many as a co-opting move by white people on Native American heritage, for the sole purpose of advancing its social position when most expedient—angering many native American communities, including the Cherokee Nation. “The American public doesn’t understand the difference,” said Dr. Kim TallBear, author and professor at the University of Alberta. “We have additional ideas about how to identify when one is Native American that aren’t really consistent with the way most Americans think. Our definitions matter to us.”

American Ballet Theatre Reinforces Commitment to Female Creatives 

The American Ballet Theatre announced casting for its 2018 Fall season, and it includes an empowered focus on women’s roles. The illustrious New York-based company celebrated the occasion with a gala at the David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday evening, and featured speeches by Misty Copeland and Lauren Post. The company has also decided to commission at least three female choreographers this year. This significant direction is a welcome commitment to change, after the ballet world has experienced it’s own #MeToo movement and revolution, following systemic oppression and the open secret of sexual harassment across companies and genres.

“I do feel like it’s easier to connect with them as a woman myself,” ABT principal dancer Isabella Boylston said regarding working again with choreographer Twyla Tharp. “I think in general they are a little more sensitive, there is a different voice that comes through.”

Featured image via American Ballet Theatre

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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