Msnowe's Blog

Victim, Damn Near Killed ‘Im

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on March 10, 2011

Wisconsin, Charlie Sheen, and Cleveland, Texas.

You might think these three things are quite dissonant, aside from the fact that all three have been a part of new coverage of late. But actually, they all have something else in common: Someone is being fucked over, dismissed, or totally obliterated due to a financially or culturally accepted mindset.

So, here are the three stories:

Wisconsin Limits Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Workers
Charlie Sheen, Domestic Violence, and You.

NYTimes on Rape of 11-year-old. Jezebel’s Response. Feministing’s Response. Heck, Ms. Magazine’s Blog Response.

While m.snowe could go article by article and break it down for you, she thinks that sites like Feministing have already done the heavy lifting in that way, so why sound like a broken record? What m.snowe wants to talk about is the idea of victim-hood, especially as exhibited in these three stories.

In one way or another, all the victims of these articles are stigmatized, or at the very worst, made out to not be victims at all. The Wisconsin public sector workers are by and large over-educated people who took crappy wages to do some of the most essential (and unpraised) jobs in their state–teachers, cops, nurses, firefighters. One of their only real benefits is pensions and decent health coverage. But, because of certain largely untrue stereotypes about state workers in general, including that they are overpaid and under-worked, the Republicans in Wisconsin can claim that every other citizen is actually the “victim,” and destroy a simple framework of rights for an already heavily dismissed sector. According to the Republicans, the public workers are the ones bleeding the government dry with undue cause. And therefore, it’s easier for some citizens to stomach it/legitimize it. I’d like to see the state representatives vote for requiring a state-wide referendum when they want their own pay raises above a certain level. Also, let’s not forget–unions were first formed in the United States to protect sweat shop and mill workers. Think of where we might be had those unions never been formed.

***

Charlie Sheen smacks around a bunch of women (repeatedly, at different points in his life), and it gets a blip on the gossip reels, and perhaps he’s given a slap on the wrist. But, he abuses himself and the reputation of CBS to a point of no-return, and he’s pulled off the air. Who’s the victim here? It’s certainly not Charlie. As Anna Holmes of the NYTimes puts it:

“But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)”

Basically, these women were asking for it. This is an example of what m.snowe likes to call, “The Dateline Effect.” M.snowe watched a lot of Dateline NBC as a kid–and almost unilaterally, all the murder-mystery stories were about pretty (usually blond) white women in their teens or twenties from a good quiet American town who were abducted or otherwise murdered by their husbands for no seemingly apparently reason. For a large bit of my childhood, m.snowe thought she was out of danger, seeing as she didn’t live in a quiet cul-de-sac, wasn’t named Stephanie or Mandy, nor had a cute dog and an adoring boyfriend who might turn violent. These are the victims we want to champion–the normal, the ones like us, or the ones that are the least offensive to the greater population. This of course was unsaid by news organizations, but absolutely implied. People of color, or differing orientations, etc.–anything outside the perceived norms of greater America. No one wants to say it, but this effect proves: some people stand by the idea that some people are “worth more” than others–and so when those with higher price tags are victimized, it defines the very top of victim-hood–young, innocent, beautiful, white, straight, etc.

But what happens when you are not at the top? Apparently, you’re disregarded when a celebrity shoots or hits you. Apparently, you are accused of asking to be raped at 11 YEARS OLD. First, m.snowe should say that there is a long history of all women (young, old, scandalous, virtuous) being somehow blamed for rape, as if rape would’ve been prevented by them, had they done something differently. The notion that a young victim should’ve dressed differently, or posted things on her Facebook page differently is complete crap. We created laws so that they can be enforced for all citizens. And no matter what, eleven years old is way, way underage for any kind of consent. This girl has only been alive for a decade. It doesn’t matter how she dressed, talked, etc.–she was taken into a house and battered and raped by 18 different, utterly disgusting creatures who like to pretend they are men. And the town? The ones that are commenting are more worried about the basketball prospects since two of the alleged rapists were on the team. Or they’re worried how the town will deal with 18 boys and men in jail. M.snowe is furious. You should be too. Who would defend a murderer by saying “well, that guy he murdered shouldn’t have worn that obnoxious shirt today.” The theory that men get some leeway because they are sexual animals who can’t keep it in their pants is an insult to awesome men everywhere.

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