Originally Posted by Douglas
Why is gender a mutable social construct, but race is not?
I suppose I'm trying to point out an inconsistency in the application and interpretation of gender traits vs. racial ones within the ivory tower. If I am a man who chooses to dress like a woman, then it is my right to "identify" as whatever I want, and that may include being "switchy" and choosing however I want to choose, and the gender-studies types will virulently attack "intolerance" of my choices. Yet if Iggy Azalea wants to speak with an urban accent typically associated with African-Americans, she is "appropriating."
Why is it not "appropriation" for a woman to get a buzz cut? Why is it not "intolerant" to suggest that Iggy Azalea should speak more like the white girl that she is?
I don't know who Iggy Azalea is (the name is vaguely familiar in a pop culture association kind of way, but that's it), and you make some good points.
It is possible that what you're noting has something to do with vocal mannerisms as opposed to clothing or physical appearance? I mean, white suburban kids (and others -- like David Beckham, say) have been wearing clothing and hairstyles associated with urban African-American culture for years, and most criticism I hear of it has more to do with generational stuff than complaints about "appropriation" (although there's occasionally some of that).
But accents and vocal mannerisms (1) can be instantly turned on and off; and (2) have a long history of being an easy method of ugly mockery and caricature, such that there's an natural tendency to wonder if that's what's going on when someone affects them. At least, that likely would be part of my initial reaction, at least with someone I did not know well enough to judge whether that was their "normal" way of speaking.