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.

Movie Review: Bridesmaids*.

 

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Diarrhea, vomit, the c-word, (Judd) Apatovian-esque.

Those are the plot points, along with Maya Rudolph’s character, Lillian, getting married, as her best friend, Annie, played by writer Kristen Wiig, struggles to come to terms with it, that have been floating around in the lead-up to the most anticipated “chick flick” of the year.

Let me say, straight off the bat, that I hate Judd Apatow movies. I find them crass and full of sophomoric toilet humour. Knocked Up was the worst movie I saw in 2007, and that was also the year of the first Transformers and License to Wed, so that’s really saying something!

So I was a bit apprehensive that the film was being compared to Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover. So if Bridesmaids was just going to be equating the feeling of sandbags to breasts and and showing crowning from a female’s point of view, you could count me out.

I’d been hearing about the hype surrounding the film for a few months on Jezebel and, in turn, the Australian media as its June release date came closer and closer.

I’m here to tell you that it does live up to said hype.

Bridesmaids deals with besties Annie and Lillian, and how their friendship begins to change—not for the better, in Annie’s mind—once Lillian gets engaged and fellow bridesmaid Helen comes on the scene.

Helen is played by Rose Byrne, who I’m not biggest fan of, but after seeing her in this, I have to acknowledge her acting chops. Byrne made my blood boil with her portrayal of Helen, an entitled Stepford wife who takes over the planning of Lillian’s hens weekend, bridal shower and—eventually—her wedding, too.

I audibly grunted every time she was on screen, each time more infuriating than the last, making her a contender for villain of the year, in my book.

Wiig was so endearing as Annie; someone you would want as your own best friend. Until she starts to let Helen get to her, subsequently ruining Lillian’s hens weekend with her drunken airplane shenanigans, and trashing her French-themed bridal shower, the idea for which Helen stole from Annie and claimed as her own… with take-home Labrador puppies as party favours! Animal cruelty, much?!

It is very easy to empathise with Annie. She dates a jerk who puts her down all the time and won’t commit, but is drop dead gorgeous (Jon Hamm, please stand up), so doesn’t realise it when an actual good guy comes into her life and is encouraging and supportive. She “opened a bakery in a recession” and went bankrupt thereafter, so she really can’t afford weekend getaways to Las Vegas or $800 (“on sale!” as Helen exclaims) bridesmaids dresses. She gets fired from her job in a jewellery store for calling a teen customer a c*nt, evicted from her shitty, housing-commission-esque apartment she shares with British brother-and-sister odd-couple, played by Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, and Australia’s own Rebel Wilson, and eventually ends up moving in with her mum. All of this on top of the end of her friendship with Lillian because of Helen’s interference. Or so Annie thinks, and whiles away her unemployed days watching Castaway and feeling sorry for herself.

The movie is worth it for the aeroplane scene alone, in which the funniest joke of the movie resides. I won’t give it away as I’m pretty confident most everyone—men and women alike—will go to see it. It’s like the Hangover for girls, don’t you know?

Not all chick flicks have to suck!

Images via IMDb.