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Azealia Banks Sucks. But So Do We.

photo from Stereogum

Ok I know, I know I know. I went into the Azealia Banks piece by PAPER MAG rolling my eyes, but I came out of it ALSO rolling my eyes… while also becoming a bit more enlightened. Bear with me. [BREATHE IN.]

She’s so right in that men in the entertainment industry are ALWAYS excused eventually for bad behavior, if at all possible (provided the dude isn’t a serial killer and the crime was *just* sexual assault against a woman or throwing public fits. Chew on that for a bit, because they’re pretty equal in the media’s eye.) R. Kelly raped a girl and married 15 year old Aaliyah. Dude was a rapist and potentially a pedophile. Kobe Bryant OPENLY ADMITTED HE RAPED A GIRL. Dude is the most celebrated person in sports. Kanye West is ABSOLUTELY bat-shit crazy and we write it off as “wacky old Kanye, being annoying” but dude sells millions. These are also, of course, BLACK men. Because rich white dudes? We don’t even remember their crimes. They’re not even really media-worthy. Whenever an article takes the time to provide a comprehensive list of men (black and white) convicted of sexual or physical assault who are actively celebrated within the NFL, it trends for a day… and then is promptly forgotten. Literally no one cares, outside of hyper-liberal ranters on Facebook. (😘)

But of course, when young women cannot be cut and pasted into a cookie-cutter template pre-provided by the entertainment industry, or the entertainment industry cannot grasp the persona they bring to the table and make it monetizable, they’re demonized and marked with a red A until they “seek professional treatment” and publicly apologize their crimes. Their punishment is humiliation until exoneration. They’re held to a higher standard of silence and complacency than men, forever. This by no means excuses Azealia Banks’s temper tantrums or racist, homophobic fits. But I will remind you that Mel Gibson is still getting lots and lots of work. And Donald Trump is president.

So at the risk of sounding Carrie Bradshaw, how can we sit here and pretend that sexism doesn’t exist, when it’s SO. FUCKING. OBVIOUS. in entertainment––the industry that places a microscope upon societal culture, thus exemplifying mainstream society as a whole? (I went back and forth on considering the redundancy of that phrase, but think it makes sense.)

The point is women deserve a chance to make mistakes, famous or no. And Azealia Banks has said some horrible things and acted a fool. But so have I! If there was a headline created from all of my mistakes (accompanied by philosophical commentary on the type of person that *MADE* me, FOREVER) from the ages of 12-27, I’d probably be shut into a dark cave somewhere, restrained in a straight jacket and lobotomized. I have also been the worst. Repeatedly. (These mistakes have made me who I am, and blah blah blah…)

I know this may strike you as obvious. But it’s always a relevant subject to consider. Until we figure out a way to face this situation head-on, and celebrate women as much as men from the day of their conception, women will always be the Monica Lewinski and men will always be the Bill Clintons.

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Chloe Newsom - Dive Bar Desperado

Chloe Newsom - Dive Bar Desperado

I like kittens, 40s, cupcakes, pizza, metal, thigh-highs, weekends, travelling, and parks. Lemmy is god. That's...that about covers it.

  • Bingo Cimo

    Actually Kobe Bryant never admitted to raping Katelynn Faber. He admitted to having an extra-marital affair with her, but not to rape. Ms. Faber had a history of mental illness, including attempts at suicide, prior to the sexual encounter so there is evidence that there may have been more to what occurred. In the end criminal charges were dropped and the civil case was settled out of court. I think in this case we may not ever know what truly transpired. Kobe has since fathered three daughters and hopefully he learned valuable lessons in how to interact and treat those around himself. His popularity also suffered as a result and outside of Laker fans, he was vilified for the remainder of his professional career.

    I do agree with the premise of you article. I think when it comes to legal cases we need to make sure that cases get tried in the courts of law not public opinion.

  • Chloe1984

    Don’t be so naive dude. Via The Daily Beast:

    On Sept. 1, 2004, one week before opening statements were to be made, the case was dismissed after the accuser, who had been dragged through the mud for months by the media and Bryant’s defense team, informed the court that she would not testify. The woman had filed a separate civil suit against Bryant, and had agreed to dismissal of the sexual assault charge against him provided the athlete issue the following apology to his accuser, which was read in court by Bryant’s attorney:

    First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colo.I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.

    The accuser’s civil suit against Bryant was ultimately settled in March 2005, and terms of the settlement were undisclosed (the total amount civil juries in Colorado could award at the time was $2.5 million). And the accuser, it should be noted, came from a wealthy family.