Now that Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan has conclusively and inexplicably proven that social justice warriors and the KKK are equally evil, you might be tempted to think that the age of advocating for socially progressive policies is over.
The truth is that Corgan probably hasn't picked up a history book in a while. If he did, he'd know that most of today's hot-button topics have been on the table way longer than his attention span can handle ...
7We've Been Obsessing Over Black Women's Butts Since 1810
When Kim Kardashian "broke the internet" with her champagne-and-booty-poppin' photo shoot, people were quick to point out (NSFW) that the celebutante's pose was ripped from a 1978 photo collection called Jungle Fever, because fuck subtlety.
Paper Magazine, Xavier Moreau Incorporated
The series fetishized the black models' bodies, particularly their rear ends, implying that objectification and violation were acceptable things to do to African-American women. From the way this article has been going, you've probably guessed that this specific form of racism dates back even further than the '70s. In the 1800s, Saartjie Baartman was essentially a freak show exhibition. Nicknamed the Hottentot Venus, Baartman was gawked at on account of her large backside.
Bibliotheque Nationale de France (NSFW)
"My lord, Rebecca. Gaze upon her posterior."
On account of this being the 1800s, though, Baartman was also subjected to humiliation and sexual abuse until she sadly died (NSFW) of venereal disease at 25. So maaaybe Kardashian's magazine cover isn't the most offensive moment in the history of this pose?
6We've Been Debating Gender-Neutral Pronouns Since The 1800s
Gender-neutral folks aren't a new thing, but as more and more people find the courage to speak out about their preferences and alignments, we find ourselves considering alternatives to choosing between the binaries of "he" and "she." The surprising thing is that we've been working on that elusive pronoun for over 150 years.
Long before everyone hashed out Caitlyn Jenner's pronoun switch in their heads, grammar nerds were already on the case. Not because gender transition was an everyday topic of conversation in the 1800s, but because the English language sucks at pronouns. Unless you explicitly reference the gender of a person you're talking about, you're forced to use "he or she" or "they" later in the sentence. "He or she" is clunky, and "they" is inaccurate, unless the person cloned himself or herself before you finished your sentence. You can see why grammarians have got their panties or man-panties in a knot.
According to linguistics professor Dennis Baron, as early as the 1850s, someone was asking for a gender-neutral substitute. The writer adorably asked for grammar makers to "fish us one," as if A) There is such a thing as a grammar maker and B) He or she fishes words from a word pond.
"You're lucky we don't drown you in the word pond for writing 'be got over.'"
By the 1880s, the calls for a new pronoun weren't just frequent -- they were desperate. Among the suggestions were ip, ne, nis, hiser, thon, hi, hes, hem, ir, hizer, ons, e, ith and his-her, because why mess up a good thing?
Despite all the well-intentioned attempts to create a gender-neutral language, all changes have ostensibly failed. The best explanation we have for this is that the changes have been purposefully engineered, and language evolution tends to stick best when it's organic. So it seems we all simply need to chill a bit and things should start looking up.
University of Tennessee
Just act natural.