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Every so often, a positive topic/hashtag creeps it’s way onto social media that we just can’t help but to appreciate— if for no other reason than that it’s a refreshing break from the norm of insulting memes, unsolicited hatred and redundant bickering frequently found on Twitter.

The #HBCUMenInSuits and #HBCUWomenInDresses are two of those trending hashtags that you’ll find yourself addicted to without even trying. Not only does the growing barrage of photos place the spotlight on dozens of college-educated, well-dressed young Black people, it’s also a view of our young people in a positive light amidst the seemingly endless amount of negative press they garner on a daily basis.

Celebrating our young people for pursuing their education while also being unafraid to present themselves to the world as handsome, dapper young men and beautiful, tastefully stylish young women is a trend that we all should want to take part in, both on and off of the Internet. If you’re not quite as well- versed in Twitter hashtag happenings as you’d like to be, then you may also not know that the #HBCUMenInSuits hashtag is a follow up to the #HBCUWomenInDresses trend from last week that made rounds rather quickly.

Will these hashtags or trending social media topics change your life or bring about world peace? Probably not. But they DO provide the world with a look at our young people through a slightly different lens where the next generation of upcoming black excellence is given a spotlight for pursuing their academic goals and looking great while doing so.

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  • Eduardo

    It’s interesting that after so many years of feminist activism (particularly second-wave) I can still see so many women (not just the ones in these nice pictures, but of all races) unambiguously feminine -or to be politically correct, conventionally feminine. The Beauty Myth came out 24 years ago and made waves in feminist circles, but the female desire to be (conventionally) attractive has proven to be largely resistant to feminism. Whenever I make this observation every few years, I find it very remarkable that the female impulse to be desired is as strong as ever. Perhaps something stronger than society and upbringing is at work, such as human biology. Most women I see today do not present themselves like feminists Mary Daly or Judith Butler, but rather in a very clear feminine way. There have been transgressive movements for as long as I can remember -both for women and men- but none have become the norm. Eventually we go back to accentuating the differences between men and women.

    • K.C.

      Why is a woman who chooses to engage in a “conventionally feminine” look not considered as much of a feminist? I will tell you why. Men establish the feminine aesthetic but they are terrified of it too. A strong and independent woman who likes to present herself as ultra feminine is confusing to men. They can’t have their whore and saint in one woman. They need it compartmentalized. Men need to grow up. So do feminist women who think lipstick makes you less of a strong woman. I am a feminist and very feminine.

    • Eduardo

      “Why is a woman who chooses to engage in a “conventionally feminine” look not considered as much of a feminist? I will tell you why. Men establish the feminine aesthetic but they are terrified of it too.”

      Please elaborate, because I disagree with who establishes the feminine aesthetic. Don’t women have any agency regarding how they present themselves? Many prominent women sexualize themselves day in and day out. Unless someone put a gun to their heads, both Rihanna (Pour It Up) and Beyonce (VMA 2014) chose to present glorified stripper shows. Other women chose not to. It seems to me that women had more than a little influence in establishing the feminine aesthetic. This goes against the feminist dogma of rejecting the “male gaze”. For some reason Clutch looks down on proper citations, so go ahead and Google the article “Beyoncé: being photographed in your underwear doesn’t help feminism” by Hadley Freeman. That article is an example of what I’m talking about. It’s interesting that feminists and religious conservatives are on the same page when it comes to the female wardrobe. The religious people have their reasons (propriety, temptation) and the feminists have theirs (patriarchy, objectification) but the result is the same: both sides want women to dress rather modestly. Perhaps we agree more than we disagree, but the evidence available shows that women know exactly what they’re doing, and I cannot see them as passive in the construction of the female image.

    • K.C.

      I am not going to get into it with you because I can see your post comes off as judgmental. Men traditionally in every society establish the aesthetic that has been imposed on women for centuries. Surely, you are not questioning the power of white patriarchal society and how it sets the tone for how women should be? Women are finally getting more power in controlling images of themselves. Rihanna dressed close to nothing or Beyonce dressed close to nothing is not a shameful thing for me. I don’t align that to strip shows as if strippers have some stigma too. No one shames the men who spend money and support strip shows but we shame the strippers? Also, Beyonce and Rihanna are bosses. Literally. They employ people, have 100s on their payroll and control a huge part of the music industry. Yest despite this power, you seem to think they don’t have the right to do as they please with their bodies? Boy, please. Women have the right to dress as they please and they also have the right to not be harassed for it. We are so ashamed of bodies in American society. Repressed white patriarchy who behind closed doors is exploiting women anyway. They just don’t want it in their faces. We need to stop pointing the fingers at women. If a woman is dressed feminine and in a sensual way, it is not for the male gaze. If it is at times, that is her choice too. If the male gaze takes it in as his then that is for him to work through. I don’t get up in the morning thinking I need men to look at me and thus put on a cute blouse. I put it on when I feel good about my body, when I have been to the gym and feel healthy and cute. Nothing to do with men. Go figure, we don’t think about y’all every single minute. lol. Now, if I am going on a date, I will wear something very cute to attract that mate. Sure. As he does things in his realm of masculinity to attract me too. It is a mating game. Old as time. Animals do it. Peacocks do it. Last note, women are not passive in the construction of the female image. We are in charge of our image. We are not in charge of how y’all choose to misinterpret it.

    • Eduardo

      “Surely, you are not questioning the power of white patriarchal society and how it sets the tone for how women should be?”

      Not at all. I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of women who complain that men see them as sex objects (many rap videos illustrate this) while celebrating women who present themselves in a highly sexualized way. I question that Rihanna and Beyonce dressed the way the did in those videos simply because they “felt like it” or because “they had the right to”. To put it simply: I posit that they deliberately profit from a culture that objectifies women. It’s all calculated and there’s nothing incidental about it. Like I said, they know exactly what they’re doing.

      “Women have the right to dress as they please and they also have the right to not be harassed for it.”

      I agree with this, but there’s a small problem. People’s bodies do not exist in a cultural vacuum and both of them are
      completely aware that we live in a society that commodifies women’s bodies. Like I said above, what Rihanna and Beyonce did makes more sense as a business decision than as a statement about femininity or themselves. It makes more sense that they simply want to cash in on their sexuality. Of course they have the right to do this, I only have a problem calling it anything other than what seems to be the simplest explanation (as Rihanna put it: “dollar signs”).

    • K.C.

      Yup, as I assumed. You are one of those men who love to shame women. You are too mired in your sexism to not see that a woman can complain that a man treats her as a sex object and yet still have the right to present herself in a sexual way. Her presentation is her choice and her authority. Being objectified is not her choice. That is MEN’s choice. Men are adult enough to not objectify a woman even if she is walking around naked in front of you. You are not animals. You know right from wrong. By the way, NEWSFLASH: women dressed in burkas, covered up etc STILL GET OBJECTIFIED. Female girls get objectified for goodness’ sake. Women don’t have to do anything for sexist men to objectify them. Continue to have this conversation by yourself.I know a sexist man with an agenda when I see one. I could sniff you a mile away by your first comment. I hope you resolve your Mary Magdalene versus Saint Mary issues. Seems a lot of men can’t handle the two existing. My tits hanging out are not for you to touch. They are for me to have hanging out. Period. End of story. Rihanna’s decision to present herself in a sexual way to make money is every bit her right, by the way. Y’all know how to make dollars, why can’t she? Doesn’t matter, it is her right. It is Beyonce’s right. Yup, black women making cash and dressed like they want. We ain’t your whores, your saints or your object. Get over yourselves. Take a few seats back. Your sexism is boring.

    • Eduardo

      You’re going to have to do much, much better than that. You choose to fall into the tired trope of women as victims. My argument is that Beyonce and Rihanna understand perfectly that people’s bodies do not exist in a cultural void, and they take advantage of a society that commodifies women’s bodies. They are complicit in the objectification of women’s bodies, but let’s go back to one of my examples: Watch “Pour It Up” and tell me that Rihanna is not chosing to be objectified; that video doesn’t exist in a cultural vacuum and is not trying to subvert any patriarchal narrative -in other words, Rihanna knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s enriching herself on the back of female oppression. Why is that so hard for you to understand? She’s using female oppression to her advantage. Your victim-narcissism doesn’t let you see my argument.

    • K.C.

      Child, if I want to have this conversation, I will have it with a progressive man or with the man I am dating who is a FEMINIST. His father was a feminist too, in the 60s. Black men fighting the good cause. Like I said before, I don’t have time for your Mary Magdalene versus Saint Mary conflict. That is for you to work out with your shrink and your mom. I smelled you on your first post. You are looking for attention. Carry on. Have this conversation by yourself. The better I have to do is to ignore your trolling, sexist and female-fearing boring self. You are a scared boy. Work out your virgin and your whore on your own. Bye. I have given you enough attention. Clearly you are not getting it anywhere else so you come on a female-empowerment blog to talk jibberish. I have seen your previous posts on other topics. I smelled you early. Carry on. Talk to yourself troll.

    • Eduardo

      Please, at least make an effort. Instead of resorting to name-calling you could make an attempt to refute my argument, or simply to educate yourself. Just so you know, you are on the wrong side of the debate here. As a start, there’s a documentary that you need to watch (or re-watch): Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. Among other things, it talks about the role that women play in their own objectification. Women are both victims and perpetrators. Watching that documentary you’ll quickly realize how little things have changed in nearly ten years. We can discuss this in a civilized, rational manner. The way to do this is not by presenting anecdotal evidence (and of course not by throwing around unfounded accusations to your opponent) but by referencing studies or well-researched cultural critiques. Then we can move on to more encompassing works, like those of bell hooks. But make an effort to educate yourself.

    • K.C.

      Hahahahaha! Still looking for attention. I know the likes of you. Every post of yours has been to passive aggressively put down women. I smell and sniff you my boy. You HATE when people ignore you. Hahahaha. Nope, talk to yourself. You are a sexist. Keep talking to yourself. My points are made above. Call your mom and your shrink to work your stuff out. BYE! Ooh, anecdotal evidence, oooh, ouch, ooooh, he smart and stuff. He know the word anecdotal. Oooh, he so smart & educated and stuff. Ooooh, ohhh, aaahhh! BWAHAHAHAHA!

    • Eduardo

      So far your line of argumentation and your conclusions -not to mention the way you express yourself- are more suited to reality TV than a serious discussion. It’s as if you wear your ignorance like a badge of honor. I understand that there is a strong pressure to be “authentic”, and that’s why you react strongly against education. Being uneducated allows you to project the image of “keeping it real”. If you want I can provide you with some interesting links on this subject; there are decades worth of research out there. From bell hooks to Chuck D, you can find many people with interesting things to say about education.

      Let’s try again: in the aforementioned documentary two Spelman professors (Jelani Cobb and Beverly Guy-Sheftall) discuss hip-hop in the context of violence and objectification.

      “Music videos […] have taken a view of women of color that is not radically different from the views of 19th century White slave holders”.

      With regards to women in rap videos: “It is true that these women appear not to be resisting. What I would hope, however, is that these women understand the extent of which they are participating in a culture which commodifies women sexually”.

      If you won’t listen to me, perhaps you’ll listen to Spelman professors. So we have a conflation of the effects of slavery and segregation on one side, and women abetting their own objectification on the other. Do you understand this, or is it all “jibberish” to you, as you wrote earlier?

    • K.C.

      Hahahaha! Right, women’s opbjectification according to sexist men are WOMEN’s fault. Uh huh, yup. Oh not so revolutionary for you sexists. Par for the course. De rigueur. Nothing new little boy. You want my attention. Keep writing to yourself and have this conversation for yourself. You breathed a sigh of relief when I responded to your first post. It was what you were looking for. I removed the lid and you jumped out. You need me to respond. The world is big and scary for you. It is full of women crashing down your sexist door and you can’t handle it. The only thing you have is an online black female blog to come and spew your paranoia and fear. When you don’t get a response, you taunt the person and try to take jabs by saying it is because they do not have the intellectual capacity to challenge you. Cause you know, you are a man and only YOU have the intellectual finesse to you know argue that you know women you know are responsible for you know their own objectification. You know the old “she asked for it argument”. Then you know you throw in bell hooks so you can show that you know you edumucated on women literary work and stuff and you know then throw in Chuck D cause you know you saw Do the Right Thing and you know you smart and stuff and you know you are a man and stuff and you know you smart and all that and you know women are not as smart as you and you know women, women oh women and then women.It is their fault. Always their fault. Mommie shoulda nursed you to toddler years or at least given you a hug. Did you schedule your shrink yet? Mary Magdalene. Saint Mary. Confusing huh? Bwahahahahahaah. Go on boy, keep posting. Carry on. You need this forum otherwise this big ol world with those scary arse women would be TERRIFYING for you.

    • Eduardo

      K.C. talk to me. Why are you so quick to dismiss the opinion of two Spelman professors, who have studied more than you ever will? What is it about education that is so threatening to you? It is known that “It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them”, but can you try to educate yourself in this topic? Learn something beyond your own experience, or to put it in other words, stop referencing anecdotal evidence and find arguments that are representative of a larger number of women. Can’t you see how much women contribute to their own objectification? Focus on my argument, which is: Women like Rihanna exploit the fact that we live in a culture that objectifies women. She is dancing (so to speak) to the tune of the patriarchy, she is not subverting anything by dressing like a stripper.

    • K.C.

      There is a 15 year old girl right now who a grown white officer in Texas sat on her nearly naked body to suppress her all because she talked back to him and asked someone to call for her mother. Go to your computer, sign a petition, contact the Texas Governor, start mobilizing people, do something on behalf of this young girl. These are dire times. I don’t have time to communicate with you in order to satisfy your bullying and sexist attitude. I told you in my first sentence I categorically and fundamentally disagree with you. Nothing you say will convince me. Nice try. I think you are a sexist. I think you have issues and this conversation satisfies your insecurities. This is the last response you will get from me because I don’t talk to sexist men. I really don’t. Now, back to my original task at the beginning of my post: say something for that 15 year old girl. Stand up for something. Our children are in need. Stop wasting your time trying to desperately get people to abide by your skewed sexist outlook on things. Instead, do something positive in the name of this child. Do that. You don’t have to admit it here but do that. I am sorry but you will have to continue to talk to yourself. These are dire times. Hope you resolve your issues. It is clear they run really deep. I felt it the first sentence you wrote. I wish you luck in resolving whatever it is that is at the core of your hatred for women. You take care. Carry on. I will not respond to you any further.

  • [email protected]

    Bless HBCUs.

  • Mahogany

    Gotta love those nupes.

  • Staci Elle

    Black is beautiful

  • Mary Burrell

    So fresh and so clean