Tag Archives: everyday sexism

Why It’s Not Okay To Call A Nine Year Old Girl A Cunt

$1D7FBBEA90888EAI didn’t think my blogging-brain would be dedicated to telling people, today, that calling a nine-year old girl a cunt, in any context, is not okay.

But apparently some people need to read this.

First of all, if you’re not aware, this appened a little after the Oscars.

Here’s a screen grab of @BlackGirlNerds’ RT of the original tweet from @TheOnion:

 

Capture

This isn’t okay. It’s not okay because – contrary to all the guys (and so far, lest you think I’m exaggerating, they have – with one exception- all been guys) – this isn’t satire, it isn’t on par with the way women are picked apart by the media, and it isn’t funny. It’s also f*cking racist (nblo.gs/IFrim).

“Cunt” is a word that’s used to silence women. It’s regarded (rightly or wrongly, and I lived for a while in a country this isn’t the case, so my opinion on its use is somewhat more liberal than most people I’ve encountered in America) as one of the worst words our American-English language has when it comes to reducing women to their gender and excluding them from the conversation. (Interestingly, a major plot point in Netflix’s new “House of Cards” revolves around one character calling another this word, and even there, it was uncomfortable – but there, it was being used by fictional characters to prove a point, not flung by an anonymous intern at a child.)

An anonymous writer for a major satirical publication calling a woman (or a nine year old child) a “cunt” after a program in which a host known for racist and sexist “jokes” has been standing in front of America telling just those for three hours?

That’s not humor. It’s reinforcing the power dynamic of Hollywood and putting Wallis “in her place” for standing out. For being a child with distinctive early talent and the personality to express it. Intended as such or not, the message when reading The Onion’s tweet is, “keep your head down and your mouth shut, or we’re gonna shame your ass back to where it belongs.”

I leave it to you, dear readers, to imagine where The Onion’s anonymous Twitter-updater would think this should be.

There’s also a wave of people saying (again, I’ve seen mostly guys saying this) that it’s dumb for people to focus on one tweet as opposed to focusing on discussion of Anne Hathaway’s attire and how it did or did not ascribe to fashion culture and its demands.

Uh, fuck you. Women deal with this kind of discrimination every single day, we are not okay with it, and if you paid attention to campaigns like @EverydaySexism or @MissRepresentation (or, say, almost any piece of feminist writing for the last 30 years) these “nice guys” would see constant and vitriolic indictments of the ways in which media misogyny hurts women and girls in society. It’s not okay, and Hathaway has already been in the spotlight for inappropriate sexual commentary in the past, and as fans and women, plenty of people have had issues with it then, so don’t hold this up now as some kind of thing we ought to be paying more attention to than we already are.

If for one second you think it’s acceptable to tell me that The Onion’s tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis is less worth getting upset about than the hard time Anne Hathaway (a personal favorite, as celebrities go) got for her dress…well, shut up, save your breath, and learn how to be offended by more than one thing at a time.

As far as the people who say that raging about this because of Wallis’ age isn’t okay because it sends the message that it’s okay to use this word against women (as opposed to children): Uh. No. That is also not okay. But it’s especially disgusting that this word was used to attack a talented young woman of color on a night that should have been all about her professional accomplishments.

In some ways, The Onion’s “satirical” (read: chauvinistic and from within the power structure, not attacking or challenging that power structure, i.e. not fitting the definition of satire) is proof of what feminists have been arguing for years: that media slamming of women creeps ever more obviously into the limelight and becomes more “acceptable” with every airbrushed magazine cover that’s published.

What else is disgusting about The Onion’s attack on Quvenzhané Wallis? (Aside from the blatant misogyny and undercurrent of racism, which is better explored in the multitude of tweets @BlackGirlNerds has been RTing.) I could go on about it all day.

But following after a three-and-a-half hour session wherein Seth MacFarlane made clear his feelings on my gender and other races, let’s leave it at this:

This is probably the last time I’m going to bother watching the Oscars, and while they’ve now (as of noon today) issued an apology on Facebook (not that I can find a link to it on the front page of their website, where it belongs) I don’t think I’ll be reading much of The Onion for a while.

Is it because I have no sense of humor? I like to think not. It’s because I’m sick of reading things that denigrate my gender and having to take a step back and try to see things from the POV of the “satirist” in order to laugh. I’m tired of it. I want to watch comedy that’s actually funny, not comedy that spews insults and terms of abuse in order to prop up the insecurities of the comedian.

Update: While I haven’t posted this entry yet, The Onion has issued an apology for their tweet. It can be read at “http://www.theonion.com/articles/the-onion-apologizes,31434/” and undercuts the argument of anyone who thought this tweet fell under the umbrella of satire:

“On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.”

Damn straight.

(At the same time, a friend who called their offices to complain mentioned they’d redone their message machine to include a note to those inclined to rant re: reading the first amendment, so it would appear the spirit of apologetic remonstration is spreading through their offices in uneven fits and starts.)

Creepy Creepers and the Creeps Who Excuse Them

Pic gakked from paulocoelhoblog.com.             Creepy, huh.

Today, my friends, we are going to talk about some particularly heinous sexism, of the “It’s okay for men to be creeps because genetics make it so they can’t help being creeps” variety. What sparked this? A blog entry I read earlier today. Here’s a delightful little nugget:

“So ladies, next time some lecher is staring at your breasts instead of making eye contact, don’t get indignant; he can’t help himself. It’s in his genes, and he just wants to share them with you. It’s evolution.” – Evolution, the Visual Ape

Read the post if you want. You’ll be treated to x-rays, photos of oranges, mushrooms shaped like mammary glands, and particularly offensively, the idea that men just can’t help it when it comes to reining in their baser instincts.

Well, I call bullshit. You know who thinks it’s okay to stare at a woman’s breasts because he’s aroused in the midst of a conversation?

A creeper.

You know who thinks it’s okay to tell women that wanting to spread his progeny (i.e. make you have his babies) is justification for treating her with a lack of human respect?

A creeper. (Or maybe Todd Akin.)

You know who thinks it’s okay to belittle other men by saying, “Today, his [aggressive rapey creeper] progeny vastly outnumber those males who are aroused via the other senses, a group collectively referred to as “sensitive men.”?

A creeper.

A child in a man’s body.

Someone who thinks his desires – particularly his desires for sexual gratification – should be the top priority in every situation.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Here are the behaviors women endure because of Creepers who think the above are all just “part of evolution.”

“Because if I had to list every time a guy…

grabbed me, groped me, cornered me, pinched me, rubbed up against me, called me a “bitch,” a “whore,” a “cunt” (and I love it when they append “stuck-up” before the noun; as if that’s the insult), called me “opinionated” (’cause… women shouldn’t have one?), “confrontational,” “unladylike,” told me to shut the fuck up, told me I could never be good enough, that I was stupid, fat, ugly, that I “ought to make more effort in the looks department,” that I should wear clothes that “emphasize (my) assets,” that I “should have kids by now,” deferred to my male companion, spoke mostly to my male colleague, ignored me entirely or deigned to talk down to me, assumed I was incapable, assumed I couldn’t learn, treated me like I was deaf, or mute, or an idiot, or an object, catcalled or whistled at me, acted as if I were nothing but a disembodied pussy and tits, talked over me, shouted me down, looked past me, looked through me, tossed off a sneery “whatever,” took credit for my ideas, thought “no” meant “oh jeepers, shucks, I meant ‘go ahead’,” tried to infantilize me, tried to shame me

…seriously, y’all.  We would be here FOREVER.”

— Mere Smith on Everyday Sexism. (highly recommended post)

Now, maybe the author of Evolution: the Visual Ape thinks he’s being funny with his post about why he just can’t help being a Creeper. Some of his commenters seem to think that was his intention. I didn’t laugh. You know why?  Because everything he says in his post is justification for why some men think it’s okay to subject women to the behaviors Mere listed in hers.

And this guy isn’t just belittling women with his post. How about lines like: “Most women tolerate this reaction from their men, not because they believe the common refrain that it’s okay to look but not to touch, but because they have come to realize that there is no hope of altering this behavior. ”

Fuck that shit. Women tolerate this reaction from men (“theirs” or otherwise) because if we tried to fend it off 24/7 we’d have no time left to deal with the rest of our lives. Because we can either get into physical altercations and verbal arguments multiple times in a day, or we can shrug and say, “Fuck that, I have better shit to do.”

What’s more, I know plenty of men who don’t gawp at my cleavage every time I speak to them: smart, articulate, interesting, “sensitive,” manly, virile guys who know that the way to prove you’re a man doesn’t come down to sticking your dick in any hole within reaching distance, but by treating other people like human beings.

But no, this blogger says, men just can’t do that. He justifies visual lechery, normalizes it, saying it makes more sense than olfactory or aural stimulation because:

A female walking around in the hot African sun, covered with hair, unable to bathe properly because soap is still several millennia away, is not likely to smell like Channel (sic) No. 5. Have you ever seen chimpanzees in the zoo? They play with their feces? She probably smelled like L’ Air du Shit.”

“Unable to bathe properly.”
“Covered with hair.”
“Smelled like L’Air du Shit.”

Now women are chimpanzees?

Well, the writer of this blog is a creep. A creep trying to justify creepiness under the guise of bullshit pseudo-science that blends just enough jargon with just enough “layman’s anthropology” to put together a blog that excuses being a lechey creep.

If, that is, you’re a creeper.