This is gonna be a long one, folks……
I hate that we live in a society…still, after all these years…where women are treated the way they are. Forget the simple “equal job for equal pay” argument. This is about more than just that. This is about abuse and violence and assault and people actually justifying it.
There are so many recent, high-profile examples to choose from:
Christy Mack is an adult film star and was physically obliterated by “War Machine”. If I came home and caught my wife messing around with another guy, I would probably lose my mind. Would I get violent? I would like to hope I wouldn’t, but it’s hard to say not being in the situation.
John “War Machine” Koppenhaver was NOT married to Mack, though. In fact, they weren’t even exclusively dating at this point (at least if you believe her side of the story). He entered the home (using a copy of her keys) and caught her and her NEW boyfriend sleeping together and lost his frickin’ mind. Not only did he bash in the boyfriend’s face, he then brutalized Mack in a way that justifies his silly MMA-inspired name. He made her shower naked in front of him and then beat her up some more. He then cut off some of her hair with a dull kitchen knife before going to the kitchen to look for a better knife.
Koppenhaver is now facing life in prison and 32 felony charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault, battery, and burglary. There has been a ton of support directed to Mack in her time of recovery, and rightfully so. There is, however, a large contingency who blame her for the whole situation. Those “arguments” against her include:
- He already did time in prison for felony assault so this was her fault for dating him in the first place. The exact quote I read online was “it’s Koppenhaver’s fault for beating her like it’s a lion’s fault for mauling people who sneak into the pen at the zoo.” I mean…seriously? Sure, he had a history but he wasn’t living with her at the time!! She had moved on. Is her house now the lion’s pen at the zoo?
- She deserved it for sleeping around. The thought that even IF they were dating, that this was behaviour to be expected…it’s just laughable to me. If they WERE still dating, that still wouldn’t justify what he did to her. At all.
To me, this baffling “it’s kind of her own fault” mentality is sickening. It really shows a deviant mindset and makes me question society’s morals. But this one example certainly isn’t the only one…
Jennifer Lawrence was among a number of female celebrities recently who had personal photos hacked from their lives (whether it be via iCloud or iPhone or another way all together) and displayed for the world to see. Private, personal photos that included nude and non-nude. For Lawrence, this is actually the second time in less than a month that it has happened to her. The outrage has been all over the place, and justifiably so. Again, however, there were a large number of people who actually found a way to blame the celebrities for the situation:
- Because they are celebrities, they should know that their phones will eventually be hacked and their privacy compromised. Thus, again, it’s their own fault for taking the photos to begin with. A quote I saw was, “If she didn’t wanna risk them leaking, she shouldn’t have taken them.” That mentality was recently displayed by a female radio disc jockey the other day on air, and she laughed at the celebrities. I was a bit taken aback and slightly offended at the ignorance, actually. I mean, what if this was your credit card information? What if it was your banking information? What if it was ANYTHING that was personal and private to you and happened to be on your phone or in your laptop? Is it my fault that I was banking online and that information was stolen? Is that fair to say in our society now? Is there NO privacy available to anybody?
- Many of these women have either been naked on screen or scantily clad, so why is this any different? They don’t have the right to be upset, apparently. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that what I do behind closed doors in private is completely different than what I do at work…even if there are similarities. It’s not the same thing. Work is work….home is home.
- These women should “own it” because they’re beautiful. The quote I saw was, “If you looked like Jennifer Lawrence you would be quite happy to let those pictures be seen everywhere. Own it.” They do own it…which is why their bodies weren’t sold to the highest bidder. THEY own their bodies and THEY are the ones who should decide how they are seen in public. Just because they are attractive doesn’t mean they should “own” the fact that their privacy was illegally compromised.
Listen…there is NO justification for having your personal property stolen and then displayed for the world to see. Regardless of whether they were nude photos or intimate photos with their children on Christmas morning opening gifts; their personal property was stolen. Because they are celebrities or public figures, it does not give the public ANY right to see every aspect of their private lives. While some people may think that they are somehow being supportive by telling these women to “own it”…they are, in fact, sending a pretty harmful message that women should simply give in to the notion that their bodies are public property.
Again…a sickening display by humanity desensitized to our individual rights to have private and personal things remain private and personal.
Finally, there is the situation with former NFL running back Ray Rice. Many people were livid at the fact that a man who admitted to striking his (then) fiancé and dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator would only receive a 2-game suspension from the NFL. When he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, I read a quote on Facebook that defended Rice in a very peculiar way:
- “In my opinion, whether you’re a man or woman, you should not lose your job due to an event in your personal life. I’m referring to the guy who lost his pro football job because he knocked his girlfriend out. Sure, he’s an asshole, but not unemployable. I’ve had lots of asshole work for me.”
Where does one even start with this quote? Ignore the fact that the NFL has a “Personal Code of Conduct” policy in place that Rice obviously violated. It’s simply a matter of doing the right thing. Rice wasn’t just “acting like an asshole” when he cold-cocked that woman and dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator. That’s a violent, illegal act that shows just what kind of person you have working for your organization. If you can’t see the difference, then that says more about you than anything else.
But it’s not just people defending him, though. His (now) wife defended him and the entire situation, too:
- “No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is!”
So here’s the thing: she’s obviously COMPLETELY clueless as to why Rice was fired by the Baltimore Ravens and then suspended indefinitely by the NFL. This isn’t about ratings and this certainly isn’t about hurting them or taking their happiness away. This is about doing the RIGHT THING because there is no place in the NFL for a person like that. Heck, there is no place in my office for a person like that. I’m sure he’s sorry and she has obviously forgiven him…but that doesn’t change who he is or what he did. During the initial press conference back in the spring, SHE apologized for being involved in the situation, NOT him!!
That, my friends, is weak sauce. More than that, it’s bullshit.
She did NOTHING wrong. She’s not doing herself any favours by placing blame on people other than her husband, because he is the only one to blame in this situation. I’ve read that Rice is going to counseling and seeking advice through church & religion in order to move on with his life in a positive way. If that’s the case, then good for him. Maybe…perhaps…one day the NFL will forgive him and allow him to come back to the NFL. But judging by the line of people in Baltimore who took up the offer to return their Rice jerseys and exchange them for another player, he won’t be forgiven any time soon.
Whether it’s people blaming a porn star for getting beaten half-to-death or blaming the celebrity for taking nude pictures in the first place or the victim blaming themselves for the actions of their other party, our world is not moving ahead as quickly as it should when it comes to gender equality and violence. I would be livid if one of these situations happened to one of my own children. Hell…I’d be pissed if somebody hacked MY computer and simply posted some private pictures onto the Internet that I didn’t endorse or approve of.
Sometimes I wonder if our society is truly evolving. Sure, we’ve “allowed” women to vote and everybody can sit anywhere they want on the bus…but has it really changed that much? I’d like to think that we’re a society that’s evolving and growing and becoming better people…but then situations like these come up and I question it all over again.