Downtown Sweetheart Vashtie checked in with Complex’s sneaker-themed YouTube show “Full Size Run,” where she discussed the nascent days of downtown New York street culture and also talked about being the first woman to co-design an Air Jordan shoe, the Jordan Retro 3 Violette.
Hosted by three men, the show predominately books male guests and as is often the case when women enter such spaces, Vashtie was on the receiving end of a question that, unintended or not, pit her against her female peers.
When host Matt Welty asked her about “girls” who “get a lot of traction on social media posting half naked with Jordans,” Vashtie gave a deep sigh and followed with an honest assessment. She explained, “If I’m looking to the positive side, you there’s moments for all of it, right? Women aren’t just one-sided. They’re not just librarian 24-7, you know completely clean cut, some days they want to get a little hood, a little ratchet. I feel like it’s okay. I think that sometimes where it is frustrating to look out is when a girl has figured out a [formula]. Oh, ‘video game console, Supreme, Jordans, but let me just make it still me where I’m in a thong.’ And I feel if it’s too much of that, it feels forced and I think it does create challenges for women who are really into those things.”
While granted it’s a pretty minor thing for Vashtie to be asked about scantily dressed women on Instagram, in reality it’s a very predictable (thus Vasthie’s sigh!) line of questioning women and other minorities are subject to whereby they’re asked to pass judgement on their minority peers solely because they’re a member of that minority.
In Vashtie’s case, asking about how Supreme has changed over the years makes sense because she has a lot of expertise on the topic. Conversely, there’s a good chance she doesn’t know or care about women on Instagram who court an almost entirely male following.
We’re familiar with this dynamic in the music world in interviews with female rappers who are often asked to choose a side in the Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B beef or are only asked to weigh in on other female rappers.
The good thing is that it’s fairly easy to avoid this type of bias in interviews. Simply don’t assume the person has an informed opinion based solely on their race, age, sex, sexual identity, etc. And even if they might have an opinion privately, consider that in a public forum there’s a good chance s/he doesn’t want to take a position against one of her/his own just for the fun of it.
In addition to asking that one lame exchange, the guys on “Full Size Run” also asked Vashtie a bunch of great questions. Check out the interview below.