On the (Rest of the) Net.

In the wake of her death, Tracie Egan Morrissey discusses Cosmopolitan founder Helen Gurley Brown’s feminism. [Jezebel]

Jodie Foster weighs in on the Kristen Stewart cheating scandal. [The Daily Beast]

Rachel Hills gets in touch with her vagina. [Daily Life]

When “Embarrassing Nightclub Photos” means “Embarrassing Slutty Nightclub Photos of Slutty Sluts”. [Jezebel]

In which a woman who was born from coercive sex and into the cycle of abuse and poverty contemplates being aborted objectively. Harrowing yet eye opening stuff. I wish we could all talk about abortion as openly as this. [MamaMia, via Role/Reboot]

Weird story of the week: the Vatican’s newspaper appeals to Mattel to sell the Bald Barbie in stores. You know the world is coming to an end when the Vatican is more progressive than Barbie! [The Guardian]

“The white male liberal gaze.” [Overland]

Yet another successful woman who conducts herself in a feminist manner we have to add to the list of successful women who don’t want to be thought of as conducting themselves in a feminist manner: Melissa Leo. [Jezebel]

Image via The Guardian.

My Thoughts on Chris Brown*.

 

So the interwebs were all aflutter last week with talk of Chris Brown’s Grammy performance, nomination and subsequent win, starting with a Tweet (or several, as the screenshots will attest) from a young girl who didn’t know what Rihanna was complaining about: she’d love it if Brown punched her.

Wow, just wow.

Following on from this, I read this fabulous post from Sasha Pasulka on HelloGiggles on why she wasn’t okay with Brown performing at the Grammys and why you shouldn’t be either, and another great blog post in which Michael Fassbender was vilified for allegedly beating his girlfriend whilst simultaneously being lauded for his acting skills in the media.

Now, I’ve never seen anything Fassbender’s been in, but my housemate is (or was, until I linked him to this story about the assault) a fan, so I’m familiar with his work.

I linked the above news story (is TMZ considered news?!) on Facebook admonishing Fassbender, and a friend asked me if I was going to boycott everything anyone with a dubious personal life has been in, like David Boreanaz, for example. I replied that cheating may be immoral, but it’s not illegal, whereas Brown and Fassbender (along with my favourite, Charlie Sheen) are accused of intimate partner violence, which is never okay.

Now, I’m not really a fan of forgiveness and second chances, personally, but I do agree that Brown and Fassbender should be given second chances so that we can say they have when they inevitably fuck up again and then expunge them from society. Some could argue that Brown had his when he trashed a dressing room on Good Morning America and threw a chair out of a window. From experience, I know that violent men hardly ever only hit once and will always revert to their old ways.

The abovementioned friend who asked me if I will boycott all Brown, Fassbender, Sheen et al. projects (and so far I have successfully done so) said, after reading the TMZ piece, that Fassbender’s girlfriend should have left after he dragged her from a moving vehicle causing injuries to her knee, ankle and a blown ovarian cyst.

Sure, to anyone safely removed from that situation and reading about it from the comfort of their own home, the seemingly logical thing to do would be to leave after the first push, slap or abusive comment. But that reeks of victim blaming; abusers are highly skilled in manipulation and will make you feel like you have no other option but to stay. That it’s your fault. That they only hurt you because they love you so much. That they promise they’ll never do it again.

And, in the case of Brown, to allege that Rihanna deserved it because she sings about “S&M” and “Breaking Dishes” (more on this to come next week) is abhorrent! Those songs are what Rihanna does for a job. Furthermore, S&M is a consensual sexual act with “safe words and boundaries”, as one commenter on this MamaMia thread put it. Intimate partner violence is not consensual and there are no safe words. “Stop!” “You’re hurting me!” and “I can’t breathe!” are not enough to stop those who are mentally predisposed to hurting their lover with violence.

I thoroughly urge you to read the HelloGiggles piece if you haven’t already. In it, Pasulka uses quotes from the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Carrie Underwood, who said what a tragedy it was for both parties involved in the assault at the time. Oh yeah, it’s really tragic for Brown to have his name dragged through the dirt for a crime he actually committed. I guess it’s kinda tragic for Rihanna, too, as she was beaten to a bloody pulp by the man she loved and trusted and was then disparaged for it by the public.

Pasulka also cites the statement from the producers of the Grammys in which they insinuate that Brown’s attack on Rihanna the night before the awards three years ago was an inconvenience to them. Yeah, I’d say it was pretty inconvenient for Rihanna, too.

Also troublingly, going through the screenshots of all the Chris-Brown-can-beat-me-all-night-long-if-he-wants Tweets, they are primarily from young, white girls. To me, that signifies the trope of black-man-as-predator. Yes, this probably didn’t even cross the girls’ minds, but that they’re seemingly willing to be with someone who is a known wifebeater because he is attractive (personally, I find him ugly, but then I’m biased) not because of his race is a problem within itself.

In the comments thread on HelloGiggles some commenters raised the question of why is Brown being so vigorously vilified while other known/alleged wifebeaters such as Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson go by unscathed. Is it because he’s black?

And they raise a good point. Personally, I don’t think it is, but it baffles me as to why people jumped at the chance to follow Sheen on Twitter, get tickets to his My Violent Torpedo of Truth tour and lament the fact that Two and a Half Men is apparently now less funny with fellow douchebag Ashton Kutcher at the helm. (Gibson suffered considerably more public scrutiny for his racist and anti-Semitic vitriol, but was still cast alongside one of his defenders, Jodie Foster, in The Beaver. That he was replaced in The Hangover with Mike Tyson is just as bad: substituting one violent racist, sexist alcoholic for a convicted rapist. Nice.)

Brown responded to his haters after winning a Grammy with the above Tweet. Take from that what you will but, to me, that doesn’t sound like a man who’s remorseful for physically assaulting his girlfriend and deserving of a second chance.

*Trigger Warning: This post deals with domestic violence and may be upsetting to some.

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

Minus Two & a Half Men. 

Rihanna’s “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Her Other Stuff?

Elsewhere: [HelloGiggles] I’m Not Okay With Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys & I’m Not Sure Why You Are.

[Feisty Feminist] There Are People on my Dash Posting About How They Think Michael Fassbender is Wonderful Etc.

[TMZ] Girlfriend Fears Inglorious Basterds Star.

[MamaMia] Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys is Not Okay.

Images via The Vine, MamaMia.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 3.

 

From “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun”, a dialogue between The New York Times’  chief film critics, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, on The New York Times website:

“The question is why are so many violent girls and women running through movies now, especially given that the American big screen hasn’t been very interested in women’s stories, violent or not, in recent decades, an occasional Thelma, Louise and Jodie Foster character notwithstanding. There are other exceptions, of course, usually romantic comedies that are so insipid and insulting I want to kill everyone on screen. Wait a minute—is it female rage fueling this trend?

“It is interesting how frequently the violence of these girls is overseen or inculcated by a father figure who is not always a literal dad: Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass, training his killer pixie to use sharp blades, big-caliber guns and foul language; Scott Glenn in Sucker Punch, urging his girl warriors into battle; and Eric Bana in Hanna, sending his darling out to fight the wicked witch (Cate Blanchett). Are these paternal figures reassuring or creepy?

“The bad seed isn’t new, but what seems different is that young women and girls can kill today without being necessarily and fatally pathologised.

“It used to be easier to make movies with women. You could put them on a pedestal and either keep them there (as revered wives, virginal girls) or knock them down, as with femmes fatales.

“[David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]… movie will be better than the Swedish model because he’s the superior director, but I also hope he will more forcefully engage the theme that was blatant in Larsson’s book, as evident in its blunt original title: Men Who Hate Women.

“I think the first [Lisbeth] Salander movie ran into a serious problem when it tried to translate Larsson’s anger about pervasive sexual violence into cinematic terms. It is in the nature of the moving image to give pleasure, and in the nature of film audiences—consciously or not, admittedly or not—to find pleasure in what they see. So in depicting Salander’s rape by her guardian in the graphic way he did, the director… ran the risk of aestheticizing, glamorizing and eroticizing it…

“The risk is not dissolved but rather compounded when the answering, avenging violence is staged and shot in almost exactly the same kind of gruesome detail, since the audience knows it is supposed to enjoy that. In other words, even though the earlier violation can be said to justify the later revenge, that logic turns out to be reversible. You could call this the I Spit on Your Grave paradigm. It is definitely at work in Sucker Punch, which gains in sleaziness by coyly keeping its rape fantasies within PG-13 limits and fairly quivering with ecstasy as it contemplates scenes of female victimization.

“The gun-toting women and girls in this new rash of movies may be performing much the same function for the presumptive male audience: It’s totally ‘gay’ for a guy to watch a chick flick, but if a babe is packing heat—no worries, man!

“Jean-Luc Godard posited that all he needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun… To put the gun in the hands of the girl may be a way to cut out the middleman, as it were, and also, as you suggest, to maximize commercial potential by providing something for everyone…”

Related: Sucker Punch Review.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 2.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Elsewhere: [NY Times] Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun: Women as Violent Characters in Movies.

Images via The Independent, The New York Times.