Posts Tagged sexism
In case you did not already know (and I did not know) purity balls [insert your own joke here] – where “ball” refers to a social gathering or dance, such as a prom, not a hairy gonad as I first thought – are a religious rite wherein girls pledge not to have sex until they’re married.
Photographer David Magnusson captures the, creepy, may I add, institution of the Purity Ball in pictures where young girls pose with their fathers who glow with pride at the thought that their little girl’s vagina is safe and sound in their arms, protected from the evil penis.
It’s like the fathers own their daughter’s vaginas (just like they think they own every woman’s uterus and vagina and everything) and they are holding that “high priced” possession, that family heirloom, in front of them, like a trophy, so that everyone really understands that this vagina here, with the woman/daughter attached to it, really is theirs to give away and do with what they want, and no one else’s. The guardians of the pussy, the purveyors of all of womanhood’s sexual organs.
I must say that this one of the most fucked, creepiest and most inappropriate things have I have seen in a long while. It is amazing that this is a real thing in the world.
Now, many of you may agree that this is messed up and creepy and think that this sort of thing is confined to a few lunatics on the fringe, the extremes.
But it is not.
A lot of men, especially Christian men, do believe they have some kind of a say to and ownership rights over a woman’s body and what a woman does with her body – vagina and uterus included- especially if that woman is a relative or spouse.
Just enter the world of anti-choice legislation where women are treated as incubators who apparently owe the world babies.
Also look at how women in porn, for example, are referred to as “whores” and, generally, a culture that places a woman’s value as a human being between her legs, which is why porn stars are viewed as whores and thus worthless. In fact, any woman who is confident in her sexuality and has a sex life similar or comparable to that of a man is valued as less than women who are “virtuous.”
The Purity Ball images by Magnusson are a stark, obscene and visual depiction of the culture of misogyny.
The same culture that puts rape victims on trial; the same culture that values a fetus more than it values the person carrying it; the same culture that works hard to subvert a woman’s agency and bodily autonomy by closing abortion clinics or else working on taking away a woman’s right to choose, which includes access to affordable and safe abortions.
It is the same culture that disbelieves rape victims and puts them on trial as opposed to the perpetrator; the same culture that pays women less than their male counterparts for the same work; the same culture that pays for a man’s erection pills, penis pumps and vasectomies, but takes a woman’s access to birth control pills to the Supreme Court so that some dusty old relics who neither have uteri and whose penises haven’t been functioning for years can decide whether insurance companies should pay for that woman’s birth control; the same culture that holds women to standards men are rarely held to. Note that there are no sons in any of these images, only daughters.
It is easy to view and dismiss misogyny as a relic of the past, as something that is going away, as something that only “those extremist” nut jobs engage in.
However, when talking about and looking at misogyny and the mechanisms and institutions, as well as mind-sets, that perpetuate and uphold it – in very real policy terms, it becomes apparent just how deeply misogyny is ingrained and interwoven into our society, determining ultimately how we treat women.
In other words, Purity Ball images, as creepy and amusing they may be, are not the only depictions of misogyny. They are a blatant and obvious part of it, something we can point the finger at and ridicule, even admonish, but it does not end there because misogyny is real everyday for countless women and it is deeply ingrained in our society and its institutions, from gendered slurs, jibes and insults to unequal pay and everything in between.
It is real for your daughter, your mother, your sister, your female girl-friend, your grandmother, your wife and battling it requires awareness every step of the way not just when some messed up fathers pose for pictures with their daughters whom they have shamed into thinking that sex is a terrible, sinful thing and that it was their job, a man’s job, to tell them what to do with their bodies. These girls, when they do get older, will then just replace their fathers who tell them what to do with their bodies, with another man, such as a boyfriend, spouse or a Justice of the United Stated Supreme Court.
In Islamic countries women are not allowed to show skin – or hair – this is the case even if they want to go swim, or especially if they want to go swim in, say, a pool, lake or ocean. I mean, sure, women are allowed to set foot into the water, Islamic laws and their henchmen are generous and enlightened like that, but they have to fully cover up so that, god forbid – literally – other people, especially lecherous men, cannot make out their female shape because that would be terrible too.
Of course, the question that arises for skeptical fools such as myself is why even bother making women the way they are if you don’t want men to look at them? Why not make them all in the shape of a potato-sac without any defining features? Or why have two sexes at all? Or why have sex at all? Why not just make people one shapeless thing? It works for amoebas and a host of protozoans. Why give humans a libido and sexual desire if it is a bad, filthy thing?
Oh yes I forgot, this god, in all his wisdom, likes to make you one way and then set the rules at the exact opposite so he can punish you when you transgress them (or for his amusement – whatever he feels like that day I guess). Where do I sign up to worship such an excellent decision maker? Oh yes, in this case, the Koran.
After watching the entire first five seasons of Mad Men in two weeks I realized that I fucking hate Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and that despite all the talk about how cool and suave he is, I have found him to be nothing but a philandering, obnoxious, selfish, disloyal, sexist, unpleasant asshole incapable of love.
He is handsome. He is sexy. He is a panty creamer. Absolutely. But that is were the fascination ends.
Let’s recap Draper: he cheated on his first wife Betty (January Jones) at every opportunity and when he got caught he only apologized because he did not want to mess up his perfect little white picket-fence life with the good, gorgeous and dutiful wife and the model kids by his side (and not because he really regretted what he had done). As a matter of fact, he kept cheating on her while he was temporarily moved out and supposedly regretting what he did and he continued to sleep around when she forgave him.
After she eventually found out about him and his secret past and his affairs, he threatened her and called her a whore. When she had gained weight due to emotional problems and a health condition, he called her a fat whore.
He uses people and treats them, especially women, with the same care as the cum stained tissues amidst his luxury satin sheets. For years he took advantage of and disrespected Peggy (Elizabeth Moss), talking down on her and letting her do all the work while taking the credit for it, including awards. Despite her stellar work he pays her a fraction of what he pays his other, mostly untalented, male copy writers; she landed them account after account and when she asked for a raise or at least recognition he reached for his pocket, threw a handful of dollar bills in her face, literally, and patronizingly told her that she would go to Paris after all. He never apologized to her and on the same day he threw a wad of money at her face like she was a whore, he made Joan (Christina Hendricks) partner after having her sleep with the head of the Jaguar account
He is a lousy father to his three children whom he treats like puppys in a pound he occasionally agrees to take for a walk and he is never there while their mother dearest goes psycho on them.
After all the quality women he has met so far, he chooses to make his sweet-brained secretary Megan (Jessica Pare) his wife whom he pretends he is totally in love with (as if he could) and who of course gets billing before Peggy at his firm for the sole reason that she is pretty and fucking him.
Yes, the 50s Sucked for Everyone Who Wasn’t a White, Straight, Male
This is what the culture was like in the 50s and 60s. I understand. However, it seems as if the admiration for the magnetic, charming sexist, straight, white, racist homophobe Playboy was not just confined to that era.
Don Draper today is a source of fascination and admiration in our pop culture. Ask Men asked why people want to be like Draper. The answer was evident: he is, after all, a real “man” because he is so unlike the chronically unmotivated, sexually clumsy, socially inept, economically immobile, and childish boys in most of today’s movies such as Knocked up and The 40 Year Old Virgin; movies filled with “men” who are really boys and obsessed with fast food, video games and bodily functions.
As if there were only two kinds of men: the chic, suave, handsome selfish assholes like Draper who treat getting married or being a father like it’s doing someone else a favor, or the Seth Rogen, stoned-all-day slacker with no motivation or checking account. Uh-huh.
A Man’s Man
AskMen praises Draper’s “masterful manhood” and most importantly his professional and upward mobility above all, because god knows upward mobility and “the accumulation of wealth” as someone once told me after I asked them what they wanted out of life, are the things that truly matter in this country and define one’s manhood.
It doesn’t surprise me that despite all his other very serious character flaws such as his infidelity, his disloyalty, his lack of compassion, his misogyny and cowardice the one thing people know him and admire him the most for is the fact that he is good with hot women and upwardly mobile. Nevermind that he regularly fires people for things that are his fault or things that he does himself but judges others for. Or that he fired a gay employee because he did not want to sleep with a client, or when he made his secretary and long term friend sleep with a client to get the account, and when he drove a business partner and close friend to suicide by refusing to give him a break after that friend had a temporary laps in judgment. Nope, that is no big deal. As long as he is sexy and rich doing it, it’s endearing.
The only things he is criticized for are his chain smoking, his alcoholism and generally unhealthy vices. He is rarely, if ever, criticized for his deep misogyny and just the shitty way he treats people in life. Ironically, his wife Betty is considered the least popular character on the show while Don the most popular, even though he is the philandering asshole.
A Woman’s Man
As AskMen put it “even those who consider themselves died-in-the-wool feminists — admitted that Don Draper represents just about everything they want in a man: not only is he tall, dark and handsome, but he is commanding, enterprising and always — always — in control. When we have, on occasion, pointed out to these same women that he is inwardly unavailable, hopelessly uncommunicative and serially unfaithful, many of them have conceded that, as one friend put it, “he would probably make a lousy husband and a bad dad in real life.”
Umm…no. I don’t know who all those legions of feminists are that AskMen is referencing here but no feminist would find a manipulative, abusive man like this “everything they want in a man.” In fact, I doubt that any woman with an ounce of self respect and aversion to abuse would want a man like Don Draper in their lives.
Aside from his aforementioned blatant and obvious misogynistic and cruel ways (qualities I cannot imagine many people finding attractive or enticing), Don Draper – as a partner – a husband – insistently wants his women to be someone that they manifestly aren’t, which is classic emotional abuse dynamic. Draper does not respect his partner’s agency and consent and he is someone who continually asserts to know their partner’s needs and desires better than themselves. Thing is, someone who is emotionally manipulative, sexually coercive, and conditionally affectionate will never just be okay with accepting their partner’s feelings for what they are, or respecting their boundaries.
When you watch Don Draper interact with women – his lovers, girlfriends and wives – what you really see is a horror scene, set to romantic music.
So, when AskMen asserts that Don Draper is what women really want, especially feminist women I a) highly doubt that the editors over there at AskMen know diddly about what either women want or what constitutes feminists and b) I am horrified that there are young men, lots of young men (and even women) watching this show and then reading articles like this thinking that this is what women want, that this is what women should want and that this is how men should behave because… this is what women (allegedly) want.
They walk around thinking that these kind of relationship dynamics are the norm, healthy and desirable. That if you are a man and you act like this, you are cool – and that if you are a woman accepting a man acting like this, you are romantic, when in reality Don Draper and his behavior isn’t a model for romance. It’s a blueprint for abuse.
It is certainly not what woman want. Or what women who want to be in emotionally healthy relationships with men who respect their agency and boundaries, should want.
It is ironic that the editors at AskMen agree with one of the male copywriters in the show who once told Draper that women basically just want a man and that they’ll buy anything that’ll help them get a man.
Of course AskMen portrays Draper as the kind of guy not only all women want, whether they know it or not, but also as the kind of man most men wish they could be. You know, being “able to drink and smoke with abandon, womanize with impunity, […] rule over everyone while being ruled by no one [despite being] an alcoholic, a chain-smoker and a depressive introvert.”
Note again, that nowhere are Draper’s misogyny, lack of compassion and bigotry mentioned as character flaws. Apparently in the world of Men, that is a non-issue.
So Why Does Everyone Want to Be Don Draper?
Because in essence not much has changed from the 1950s/60s with respect to the patriarchy and how our culture sees the two genders. I bet a lot of men watch this wishing things were that way again.
It is not surprising. After all, we live in a culture that considers “men” who are self-reliant, shrewdly ambitious, emotionally inaccessible and
philandering misogynists to be the ultimate hallmark of masculinity.
The article laments manhood and white, male privilege of the 50s as a lost opportunity; a fall from greatness that still somehow appears to linger in the hearts and minds of men today who look at it fondly exclaiming that “if only things hadn’t changed…a man could still be a man“.
Ah, the 50s and 60s – the decades where men could be men instead of human beings who are no better, or less, than any other human being around them, male or female, black or white, straight or queer, thin or fat, handsome or ugly.
That is, of course, a very outdated and primitive notion of what constitutes masculinity. Or is it?
The patriarchy teaches young men, even today, that anger is safe and manly. Hurt equals weakness. If anyone questions your masculinity you must fight. Be assertive, be in control. Only a sissy pussy is not in control and so forth.
Don Draper is the opposite of that and according to AskMen, those are the hallmarks of not only real masculinity but also success, attractiveness and sex appeal.
The brilliance of the show is that no matter how redeemable Don Draper is made out to be and no matter how much sensitivity and vulnerability he is shown to possess, at heart he is a sexist and a bigot and overall terrible human being who does not believe that women (and gays and blacks) are deserving of and entitled to the same rights as men. He does not see them as equals, no matter how much he may ultimately care for one of them on the personal level – such as Peggy or even his own daughter Sally.
His misogyny is so rooted in him, such a fundamental part of his core, that he cannot part from it. And the writers don’t try to. They do not try to all of a sudden make him an advocate for equal rights or an enlightened man who really stops to check his immense white, male, straight privilege.
For Draper, women being nothing but child bearers, sexual conquests, housewives and neat accessories at parties to show off are a given that will never change.
The fact that our pop culture of today looks at someone like Draper and laments his greatness and masculinity that somehow seems to be amiss amidst all the equal rights mumbo jumbo, says a lot more about how far we have come (or not come) in that area rather than how bad things used to be.
When people look at a black man like Obama running this country and yell “we want our country back“, Don Draper and the world of Leave it to Beaver and housewives like June Cleaver are what they are referring to. That’s the America they want back. The America that was great for no one but straight, white men; for the Don Drapers of the world.
The truth is that the masculinity of men in the 50s and 60s and thus of Don Draper – much like the masculinity of men today – is a mask; a facade hiding a person deeply out of touch with who he is on the inside.
It is also a mask that allows them to navigate the world unhindered and thus without ever having to question the status quo. After all, why would you question a world that is so perfectly suited to and tailored towards your needs as a straight, white man?
On a personal level, feelings and emotions are tools that help you deal with life and when you constrict them the results are people like Don Draper in the 60s and a culture that considers everything Draper stands for, some 5o years after he stood for them, as the gold standard of masculinity and success ultimately.
Mad Men is a brilliant show and I thoroughly enjoy it, but the hype about Don Draper is just that. He is nothing but a pretty face in a nice suit attached to a big dick.
I enjoy following his journey but boy, I can’t stand the guy. Especially after he got married to his office bimbo and penile-equivalent Megan – whom they are trying to pass up as a really interesting person – I lost whatever little hope I had that there may be a worthwhile human being behind that spineless, quivering soul of his.
In Mad Men, Draper is portrayed as a complicated man. Even Hamm, in his recent Rolling Stone interview, admits that Draper is a “complicated man”. Someone lost in the woods, halfway through the journey of his life, who ends up exploring hell. Only that Draper is not that complicated man going through hell. Unlike Dante, Draper is part “The Inferno” – including, and especially, his fucked up sense of masculinity which – more than anything – is the source of his ruin and distorted sense of self, rather than its consequence.
Two members of the high school football team that is the pride and joy of Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl in a case that bitterly divided the Rust Belt city and led to accusations of a cover-up to protect the community’s athletes.
God and misogyny forbid that a 16 year old girl who was raped stand in the way of a long established and beloved football tradition in a town filled with righteous townsfolk and faithful church goers.
As it is the case with rape trials, rape apologia and victim blaming followed the case almost immediately because this is how the rape culture we have created operates: go after the victim, question her and her integrity and make it look like she was responsible for her assault in one way or another. Or go after her parents, friends, teachers and everyone for the rape. All but the actual rapists.
The two juveniles, who I am sure will grow up to be formidable misogynists and rapists, got off the hook easy with the verdict, as both Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were tried as juveniles, receiving merely delinquent verdicts on all three charges. Delinquent is the guilty equivalent for juveniles. They were both convicted of digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, and Mays was also found guilty of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.
If they had engaged in copyright violation no doubt they would have been tried as adults.
The “boys” will serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility until they turn 21, which effectively means they’ll probably be out in six months and welcomed back to the warm bosom of the Steubenville community that will treat them like long, lost sons that were unlawfully sent to the front but are finally returning to their rightful place on top of the football team throne, while their nameless victim will be traumatized and has to go into hiding for ever having dared to accuse her tormentors.
A guilty verdict in a juvenile case also means little given because their records will be sealed after they serve their sentence. Erased. Invisible to the outside world. If they move in your neighborhood or seek employment in your company or non profit, no one will know what they did. In other words, there will be no real consequences for them as a sealed document for a juvenile case may as well not exist.
And that is the problem isn’t it? As long as we allow such actions to remain without consequences, we will only add to the problem and encourage it or at the least send the message that there is little consequence to committing such a huge crime.
As it is to be expected, after the verdict was announced, message boards and commenting sections of news articles and blogs were inundated with comments by people, some of whom think they are acting in good-will, lecturing the girl on how she needs to be more careful in the future and that hopefully she learned her lesson to “not get drunk” again so as to avoid getting raped, as clearly, she not only invited the rape but she is also the one person who needs to learn a lesson from this, namely to not get drunk or engage in other behavior that might prompt otherwise stand up young men like these to rape and assault her.
Some even wondered why parental supervision was missing.
Very few comments, if any at all, were criticizing the rape culture we live in and the values we raise young boys with. No one commented on the culture problem with young men or with bystanders not stepping in. No one commented on the fact that we need greater socialization of young men to appropriate masculinity so that honorable behavior and mutual respect are encouraged.
Instead everyone engaged in a cover up and burst into tears when the two men got what they deserved.
When these boys see that an entire community charges to their rescue, tries to cover up their crime and then bursts out in a hail fire of tears and sobs after they get their well deserved guilty verdict, how will they ever internalize the truly horrendous act they committed?
If I was one of the boys sitting on that chair, watching everyone cry for me and defend me after I did such a horrible thing to someone else, I would not think what I did was all that bad. I would just be bitter at the justice system that has come after me in the first place and failed me.
Note how the socialization works even at this stage: these boys are being treated as unfairly judged, misunderstood. Not as truly guilty. Sure the law says so, but just look at the support they are getting from their community.
I must say I was and remain very appalled and disturbed by all the rape apologia comments.
Instead of Asking “How can we create a culture in which men stop abusing and raping women?”,We Are Striving to Create a Culture in Which We Teach Women How to Not Get Abused and Raped
As if it was on them to not be violated, as opposed to those committing the crimes.
Telling a woman that if she had not been drinking, she wouldn’t have been raped – no matter how well meant (it is not) – shifts the blame to the woman “see, this wouldn’t have happened if only you had behaved.” Such attitudes and notions are destructive and callous and once again shift the burden onto the victim instead of to the perpetrator. As if some men just couldn’t help but raping and abusing (and thus as if it was somehow their natural birth right or something the world and their victims had to just deal with, like thunderstorms and earthquakes), so it was up to women to make sure a man doesn’t t get to engage in both or either behavior.
Let’s be clear on this, rape apologists and victim blamers:
1) Who brought alcohol to the event is irrelevant as that doesn’t make it ok or understandable to rape someone.
2) Lack of parental supervision doesn’t make it ok or understandable to rape someone.
3) The victim having been inebriated, dressing a certain way, behaving a certain way and talking a certain way is neither an invitation to rape nor does it make rape understandable and/or acceptable.
4) That these were 16 year olds as opposed to 26 year olds, doesn’t make the crime less heinous and it doesn’t mean their punishment is to just sit one out as opposed to seriously pay for their cruelty – which means being tried as adults as well as receiving counseling and an education vis a vis their actions.
Nothing makes rape ok, understandable, acceptable or invitational. “Oh sorry ma’am, I saw you dressed in this sexy outfit so naturally I thought you enjoy a little raping, no?”
There is nothing this girl – or any rape and sexual violence victim – did to cause, justify, excuse or make more understable the assault on her person. Period. It is not even a matter of opinion.
We do not accuse murder victims of having brought it on themselves, asserting that they, after all, behaved in a way that invited murder and then dismiss the case. Why is doing the same with rape ok? Again, I point to our rape culture where sexual assaults are far more forgivable offenses than other acts.
See Mike Tyson and his revival onto the grand hall of fame of legends for something or other ( I mean what is Tyson good for anyway?) and promising return despite being a convicted rapist. Cast members of The Hangover 2 – most notably Zach Galifianakis – wanted Gibson’s Hangover 2 cameo cancelled, but did not ask the same when Mike Tyson got to have a super duper cameo in the first Hangover. On the contrary, he ended up being portrayed as the sensitive, cool dude everyone was honored to meet. I mean MIKE TYSON. Yeah!!
This is the rape culture I am talking about.
Mel Gibson bad (for hating blacks) Mike Tyson redeemable (after raping and assaulting women).
I wish instead of trying to engage in the same old victim blaming and gas lighting rhetoric, people would just admit that what these two did was hideous and wrong instead of sitting here trying to assign blame to everyone but the rapists.
I am not even going to comment on the irony of casting a violent, convicted rapist in a show that claims to be all about condemning heinous, sexual violence.
Instead, what I am going to comment on is the fact that we live in a culture in which a sex offender is being treated like some fallen-from-grace-knight who allegedly served his time and is now finally getting to return to his rightful position on the throne of fame, wealth and luxury – which he and everyone around him believe he’s totally entitled to and deserving of after the brief “hiccup” that was his trial and conviction for rape.
Mike Tyson is untouchable. He cannot ever be asked to talk about or even reflect upon his heinous crimes. Instead, everyone is working diligently to have his reputation rehabilitated, while his victims remain forgotten and the veracity of their testimonies questioned to this day.
Clearly, in the rape culture we are fostering – from lawmakers who believe that there is such a thing as legitimate rape and the House GOP attempting to redefine rape altogether so as to apparently make it easier for the perpetrators to navigate the murky waters of the legal system after having committed such an act, to rape jokes that signal to and encourage male sexual aggression and support violence against women, to those who believe that a pregnancy resulting from rape is something god intended – it’s the accused, the criminals, and not the victims, who need looking after and given second chances. That is especially the case when those accused are “legends” and famous and especially if the second chance means not actually doing three of the sixty years you were supposed to – which I call a huge second chance – but the return to fame and fortune instead.
Mike Tyson is a man who was convicted of rape, has a history of violently beating and abusing his wife, is someone who assaulted and bit off part of another boxer’s ear during a boxing match and who possesses so little integrity, compassion and just dignity that he got married a mere two weeks after the death of his 4 year old daughter.
Speak of your terrible human being.
Yet, to the world, those things are beside the point apparently.
He is being graciously invited to talk shows, was invited by a major network to have his own show, he has been offered cameos in highly marketed box office hits; in 2008, a documentary painting him in a sympathetic light was released and he has been asked to give his opinion and expertise on domestic violence. Heck, he was even asked to participate in what they think is a skit filled with hilarity at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, where he gave Joe Jonas a haircut and was, once again, painted as this really cool guy for an audience of children who aren’t old enough to know how horribly violent this man is.
His come back has included receiving top representation in the industry and a management team that’s been working hard to fix his brittle image to insure a swift return to fame and fortune – which he is clearly entitled to.
The Culture of Victim Blaming
The mechanisms of the rape culture we live in work in subtle, yet effective ways. Putting Tyson on stage with the Jonas Brothers, for example, makes him cool as hell to a certain young, female as well as male demographic who see this guy palling around with the likes of Joe Jonas and think that’s cool because you gotta be cool to be hanging around with the Jonas brothers.
When those kids, who are not old enough to remember what he did, then go looking up Tyson on Wikipedia and find out that he was a convicted rapist, wife-beater and just overall violent piece of shit abuser who thinks that women are nothing but fuck-holes to be “boned” – as he once eloquently put – the message inevitable get is that rape is no big deal; that violence against women is no a big deal because, hey, look at Tyson: this guy is still famous and cool hanging around with the likes of Joe Jonas. What he did was no big deal. In fact, he must be ok and what he did must be ok too.
A message that prompts the kid to not only not see anything wrong with this picture, since clearly Tyson – despite prison sentence and conviction – still managed to come out on top – but to also subsequently rationalize that stuff away as “everyone makes mistakes” and “such is life”, ultimately leading to narratives that make excuses for the perpetrators and trivialize their acts while simultaneously creating a culture that blames victims and engages in rape apologia.
Doing Three of the Ten Years You Were Supposed To Is A Second Chance
To be clear, I am all for giving people a second chance, although – as mentioned above – it can be argued that facing 60 years in prison, actually getting sentenced to 10, and only serving 3 out of those 10 is a second chance in and of itself. But still. Everyone has a right to find a way to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, a right to bodily safety and autonomy as well as a means of maintaining their health.
However, no one is entitled to fame and fortune and a place in the spotlight.
Putting a violent sexual offender – who doesn’t even have any remorse for what he did as he still denies it and who fifteen years after the first time he raped Desiree Washington talked about wanting to rape her again and who still maintains his innocence despite all the evidence to the contrary – back in the spotlight just normalizes, if not trivializes his crimes – treating the restitution he was forced to make as if it was some bureaucratic checklist one had to go through to no longer be considered an outlaw under the law. As if there weren’t actual victims who are seriously damaged and harmed by the abuses and which is the reason that “restitution” had to be made in the first place.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that tends to exactly do that, trivialize crimes that involve violence against women by rewarding the perpetrators with the kind of empathy and understanding they never granted the victims.
I have noticed that over the years, and especially after the trial and his conviction, the tone and direction of the news outlets discussing Tyson’s comeback have been overall accommodating, warm and sympathetic; like some long, lost hero had finally found his way home after he had been unjustly made to stand trial and pay for his crimes. As if some great injustice had been done to this grand man who had to give up a promising career as a violent miscreant getting his skull smashed in for craploads of money but now was finally returning to take his rightful place in the spotlight, just like he had always deserved but was robbed off with that pesky lawsuit.
As the New York Post put it
“Tyson served three years for rape in the mid-’90s and effectively ended his fight career two years later by biting Evander Holyfield during a bout. But he is now well on his way to remaking himself into a sensitive guy. He cried on Oprah’s show last year and starred in a stunningly candid documentary about his life, “Tyson” (which many in Hollywood believe was robbed of an Oscar nomination). “
Notice how he is being described as having been robbed of an Oscar nomination, as if he was entitled to being nominated for the Oscar and instead was robbed off that opportunity that rightfully belonged to him by that damn slut who was raped.
And then we are supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy when he declares that “I never hurt anybody until somebody hurt one of my birds.”
Yeah, sensitive guy my ass.
I Was Just Depressed I Couldn’t Bone Her No More
During an interview this past April, Tyson discussed the day he walked into ex-wife Robin Givens’ house to find her in bed with Brad Pitt. As Tyson put it with the delicate sensibilities only a sensitive guy like him can:
“One day, I’m going to her house to bone her again and no one’s home, and I’m leaving and she’s pulling up with Brad Pitt, and I’m sad. He wasn’t Brad Pitt back then. He was just some little beach-bum-looking dude. […] “I wasn’t thinking about attacking him,” Tyson told Global Grind. “I was just depressed I couldn’t bone her no more.”
Sensitive guy my ass.
During the notorious Mike Tyson/Robin Givens interview some twenty years ago, the majority of people sympathized with Tyson, not Givens, who was being accused of being a lying gold digger who had no right to talk about their personal life to the public with him sitting right next to her. Apparently having the living shit beaten out of you is personal dirty laundry that ought not to be shared with the world. It took a freaking rape conviction to take her seriously and even then, the victim blaming continued.
When Tyson was tried in Indiana, his accuser, Desiree Washington, was also called names – from a filthy lying whore to a gold digger who was falsely accusing this pillar of a man and was after his wealth. She was being shredded through the press as someone who was just crying wolf with a “history of at least one false accusation of rape“.
And here we are, over twenty years later, and still no one is asking about either Washington or Givens or any of the people Tyson has hurt.
On the contrary, in countless magazines, interviews and all staples of the entertainment business, including Wikipedia, all sorts of doubts are being cast on their reputations and motives just so that Tyson’s can be rehabilitated.
One look at the commenting section of any article concerning Tyson’s come back and it is abundantly clear who people empathize with and pity. Either that or they see a commercial opportunity to exploit the situation, giggling that putting a freak like Tyson in their movie would be just so much fun and hilarious. Hardi har har har.
Never mind that he doesn’t have any remorse for what he did and in fact in an interview in 2006- while lamenting the “hard life” he faced after his conviction and incarceration for the rape of Desiree Washginton – not only still denied that he raped Washington in 1991 in an Indianapolis hotel room, he also said that the burden of being labeled a convicted rapist made him want to do it now even more.
“I just hate her guts. She put me in that state, where I don’t know,” Tyson said. “I really wish I did now. But now I really do want to rape her.”
Sensitive guy my ass.
He cannot even admit to having committed a crime. How can people think he paid his dues and made amends and then
forget about it altogether celebrating him as if he was a war veteran on the return?
Should he be able to make a living? Sure. But making him famous and rich? Some kind of a public figure people inevitably look up to?
All such behavior does is sweep a history of violence under the rug rather than confront how well that violence is abetted and normalized by the wider culture that tells women and other victims, over and over again, that violence against them is tolerated and will be fought even if it means dismissing their rape claims as mostly a result of “miscommunication” or a sex act gone wrong, as opposed to a serious crime.
Entertainment Value Continues to Trump Appropriate Human Behavior
We’ve heard the story before when Michael Vick strolled out of prison right into a new multi-million dollar contract and thus back to that high status with all the privileges therein. He couldn’t even be bothered to serve as a messenger to all those kids that look up to him explaining why it’s wrong to torment and abuse weak, defenseless and innocent creatures.
Instead, he just went back to the high life signaling once again to society that there really are no serious consequences to your crimes against women as long as you have the privilege of maleness, wealth and fame behind you.
You Can’t Rehabilitate Someone Who Denies Any Wrong Doing
Ultimately, if there is a chance for Tyson to be truly rehabilitated, with which I definitely don’t mean the rehabilitation of his career but of his person as a human being – it is doubtful that rewarding him with wealth, power, entitlement and with it unlimited privilege would accomplish that. In fact, those are the very things that give credence to his behavior and are likely to exacerbate it.
Being famous inevitably puts one in a leadership position as people, in one way or another, look up to the famous person. While I’m not suggesting Tyson wear a scarlet letter, I must point out how reprehensible it is to use his image and persona in such a way as to suggest that his violent past, including rape, is no big deal. When Tyson realized that the world was welcoming him back with open arms, the message that was sent to him, all males, kids who admire him and the whole world as such was that Hey, what you did was no biggie. We’ll understand. Life throws you a curve ball every now and then. We get it. Note that if he had murdered someone, like OJ Simpson, it is highly unlikely that he would have been welcomed back. But rape – we can work around that as no sexual offense is heinous enough that fame and fortune would not take you back.
Is it then any wonder that our very own legislators dismiss and trivialize sexual violence against women with a straight face, trying to redefine rape, even going so far as to believe there is such a thing as legitimate rape? Judge for yourself.
I should make a blog entry for each entity the NRA and advocates of unregulated gun ownership come up with as being to blame for the Sandy Hook shooting that cost 20 children and seven adults, most of whom teachers and educators, their lives. Seriously. I guess you’ve gotta give right wing nut jobs some credit, because every time one of them sets the bar preposterously low by posting some paranoid, racist, sexist screed, another one comes by and manages to set it even lower.
Today this person is Charlotte Allen from the conservative outlet the National Review Online who believes that women and womanhood in general are to blame for the shooting and the resulting carnage.
We had a good variety with the NRA and their scapegoating of all sorts of people and entities for the Sandy Hook shooting, from liberals, video games, Hollywood, everyone’s favorite fall guy Obama, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, to the mentally ill and the absence of guns. Every single one of those entities was responsbile for the shooting, except for guns of course.
In her piece in the conservative “news” outlet National Review, Allen was basically stating that Lanza could have been stopped if more men who had played high school football and even “some of the huskier 12-year-old boys” had been present instead of pesky women whose mere existence apparently attracts criminals who can sense the “helpless passivity” pathetic women exhume, according to Allen.
Yes, you read right, she believes that even 12 year old boys, had they been taught a little bit more about the virtues of great male aggression, could have been useful in stopping Lanza. She went on complaining that “there was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. […] There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. […]
As if that heaping pile of excrement coming out of her head was not enough, she went on to say that
“a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.”
A day later she put down more mind excrement on paper defending her position. She didn’t even have the backbone, as it is expected with unembarrassed hypocrites like her, to stand by what she had said the day before, namely that she basically blames the feminized staff, an thus the victims, at the school for the outcome. Instead, she said that she blames “our culture that denies, dismisses, and denigrates the masculine traits—including size, strength, male aggression and a male facility for strategic thinking–that until recently have been viewed as essential for building a society and protecting its weaker members.”
What truly depressed Charlotte Allen was not that twenty families will be burying their children this Christmas but that “a visit to Sandy Hook’s staff website is a depressing experience, the sea of women’s names” and that “another depressing page on the Sandy Hook website is the “Safe Schools Climate” page. It’s a page of links to “anti-bullying” resources”
Anti bullying resources? What a dirty trick. Who needs anti bullying resources when you can teach children how to be bullies?
Dear Charlotte Allen…
I cannot believe the heap of unfounded, ignorant, misogynist, vile garbage that came out of your sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being mouth. And even though you shamelessly deny it, everyone knows – including yourself – that you were essentially blaming the victims. You don’t even have the backbone to at least stand by your own garbage, callous convictions. Pathetic, but expected.
I also can’t even begin to express how utterly offensive, bigoted and truly ignorant your statements were. Translation of your mind vomit: You didn’t fight back against a person with a gun pointed to you, you’re own fault if you get killed.
That is called blaming the victim, which is the same tactic used in rape culture where the victim is being accused of having somehow provoked an assault on her becasue of how she behaved or dressed, as if behaving or dressing a certain way was invitation for being raped, abused and beaten.
And then the dismissive way you spoke of the principle whom you believe merely “seemed to have performed bravely.” What do you mean with she “seemed” to have performed bravely? The woman is dead trying to protect her students. In fact, these women you spit on and dismiss —educators, administrators, staffers–put their lives on the line and in some cases died, to protect their students. They were courageous on a level that I can’t even imagine. How did you manage to turn something like that into a hideous, ugly thing and blame the victims?
You also seem to be forgetting that it was male aggression in the form of Adam Lanza that got us into this. Yes, you are right, there was not one man on the campus, well except for one: the shooter.
In fact, none of the perpetrators of mass shootings have been female, they all have been male. So much for male aggression being good for society.
To hold women and woman hood, and thus oneself, in such contempt by excreting such massive vileness is truly below even a worthless human being such as yourself.
The alternative to the allegedly overly female school you describe is a school built like a bunker, with black-uniformed, rifle-carrying male officers guarding the entrance and patrolling the hallways. This kind of thinking is basically just one more step toward an American police state. And wingnuts, such as yourself, are 100% behind it.
You hide your callous and contemptible views behind politeness and decorum but don’t for one second believe that such a tactic impresses anyone but the ignorant tools you call your audience and who share your paranoia and bigotry.
People like you will keep their Second Amendment fixation right up until the Second Amendment is the only part of the Constitution that hasn’t been destroyed or hollowed-out.
The only difference between George Orwell’s 1984 and the American Gilead people like you are building is instead of a stern atheist Big Brother always looking out at everyone from countless billboards and posters, we’ll have Uncle Ronald (Reagan) littering the landscape, with his genial smile hiding the same evil intentions, trying – and failing miserably – to lend a civilized veneer to a sinister reality.
In conclusion, I must say that it does take an incredible amount of willful blindness to talk about how male aggression is needed to stop such shooters without seeing the role male aggression played in creating said shooters. If the idea is the protection of women and children, and men’s aggression is just a force of nature in your world, only women and children should be allowed to owns guns then.
With your two posts, Ms. Allen, you have just sunk below the deepest layer of prehistoric frog shit at the bottom of a New Jersey scum swamp. Congratulations and Merry Christmas.
Oh how much misogyny is plaguing this world, let me count the ways…
The July 2009 issue of GQ magazine featured Sasha Baron Cohen on its cover nude. Nothing was hanging out or anything, but his bare naked ass was showing and clearly that is considered pornography and perverse, literally, as newstands have been covering up the front page. But a tipster at a Hudson News in Manhattan noticed the decision had lead to some interesting juxtapositions. On the left is the nude body of model Bar Rafaeli on the cover of Esquire magazine – which, if you compare to the one of Cohen, pretty much exhibits the exact same level of skin. It was even taken from the same angle. Yet Cohen’s body on the cover of GQ is covered, while Rafaeli’s is openly on display right next to it no less.
Clearly, while women’s bodies are meant to be put on display, stared at and objectified, doing the same thing with a man’s body is nothing but dirty, filthy pornographic material that needs to be covered.