Baby, It’s a Wild World: Navigating Popular Culture as a Feminist.

Recently, a friend questioned why I listen to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast when he’s a known intimate partner abuser. He makes a fair point, as I have shunned Sean Penn and Michael Fassbender movies and R. Kelly and Chris Brown’s music (not that I really had an interest in them to begin with) because of their woman-hating ways. But by the same token, I listen to 2Pac, John Lennon and Prince despite knowing their histories of similar assaults.

I replied that you can’t watch, listen to or read anything these days where the creator and/or their characters haven’t committed a crime or moral transgression. There’s Woody Allen, Game of Thrones, Michael Jackson and, to varying degrees, Bryan Singer, Fassbender and Halle Berry of the current X-Men film.

A lot of the pop cultural morsels I’ve mentioned above I first consumed before I knew about their creators’ wicked ways. I got into professional wrestling and all its problems, rap and hip hop and their misogynist lyrics, and the Beatles and MJ as a teen whose feminist ideals were in their infant stages, but by no means as staunchly militant as they are today. It’s easy to make the conscious effort not to consume products made by artists whose questionable morals you’re already aware of, not so much when you’ve already got a passion for them. (I’ve had conversations with people in recent weeks who did not know about Singer’s rape allegations nor Fassbender’s violent streak; their inner torment about liking something made by someone reprehensible [or at least someone who’s committed reprehensible acts] was evident in their pained, conflicted responses.) When I pointed this out to my abovementioned podcast friend, he asked whether that meant I thought I was exempt from examining the issues with famous men being rewarded for their transgressions just because I happen to like the stuff they produce.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. But by the same token, if we were to avoid problematic pop culture, we’d never leave the house!

I think the most important thing is not to make excuses about the problematic pop culture we choose to consume. I can’t say if I’ll continue to listen to Austin’s podcast but if I do I’ll be sure not to be hypocritical about it. No excuses here.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [The Smoking Gun] Stone Cole Steve Austin Roughs Up Girlfriend.

[Lipstick Alley] Flashback: Sean Penn Beat Madonna for 9 Hours in 1987; Charged with Felony Domestic Assault.

[TMZ] Girlfriend Fears Inglorious Basterds Star.

[Village Voice] Read the “Stomach-Churning” Sexual Assault Allegations Against R. Kelly in Full.

[MTV] Chris Brown Police Report Provides Details of Altercation.

[Lipstick Alley] Why Isn’t Tupac Remembered as a Rapist?

[Listverse] Top 10 Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon.

[Daily Mail] Sinead O’Connor Talks About Punch Up With Prince.

[Vanity Fair] Mia’s Story.

[Jezebel] Game of Thrones, Sex & HBO: Where Did TV’s Sexual Pioneer Go Wrong?

[Wikipedia] 1993 Child Sexual Abuse Accusations Against Michael Jackson.

[Slate] What We Know So Far About the Hollywood Sex Ring Allegations.

[People] Collision Course.

[TheVine] Can a Feminist Love Professional Wrestling?

[TheVine] Wonder Why They Call U Bitch.

[Social Justice League] How to Be a Fan of Problematic Things.

5 thoughts on “Baby, It’s a Wild World: Navigating Popular Culture as a Feminist.

  1. Pingback: On the (Rest of the) Net. | The Scarlett Woman

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  3. “I have shunned Sean Penn and Michael Fassbender movies and R. Kelly and Chris Brown’s music (not that I really had an interest in them to begin with) because of their woman-hating ways. ”
    I just can’t with this dumb superficiality.. Is it so difficult making a difference between proven,substantiated cases(Penn,Kelly,Brown) and shady,unproven cases(Fassbender)?And no,his case is not only unsubstantiated because according to TMZ (!!!!!)his ex,a rich and well connected woman,dropped her charges,in a pretty laughable way,I’d add… and not after the news was on TMZ,of course. A bit strange for a person who is not in their news now,let alone when he was the “Inglorious Bastards actor”.. Even keeping apart his ex’s history of past allegations or the fact that,allegedly,Fassbender wanted to sue her ex (the producer of Inglorious Bastards),a restraining order,without any medical evidence,required when the person is not even living in the same country anymore,is not a proven fact,sorry.If there had been police reports or medical files on the incident there’s no way the charges would haven’t been filed,with or without her cooperation,because the District Attorney can proceed with the case, whether or not the alleged victims think they need protection. In fact according to the Irish Daily Mail the case was investigated,obviously without finding any evidence to support her claim. How is this possible with serious medical reports? Fassbender doesn’t have any pattern of abuse,who works with him speaks highly about his attitude and none of his other girlfriends has never reported anything off. Everyone claiming to be a victim should never be dismissed,but if this person lies,then the person falsely accused becomes the victim A damaged reputation is one of the worst things for an actor with a rising career. Branding a person as an abusive asshole, with “woman-hating ways”,without any evidence is irresponsible. There are other ways to address this topic,if you want.

  4. Pingback: Blogging & Jogging & True Blood: When You Realise You’re No Longer Passionate About Everything You Used to Be. | The Scarlett Woman

  5. Pingback: World Wrestling Entertainment Will Never #GiveDivasaChance As Long As It Prioritises Bad Men. | The Scarlett Woman

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