Annals of Victim Blaming: First Serena, Then WhoopiePosted: June 20, 2013 Filed under: Crime, Criminal Justice System, misogyny, open thread, Violence against women, War on Women | Tags: Barabara Walters, Margaret Cho, rape culture, Serena Williams, Sherri Shepherd, Steubenville rape case, The View, Whoopie Goldberg 23 Comments
You probably heard about the remarks tennis star Serena Williams made about the victim in the Steubenville rape case in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. According to Deadspin,
The RS story is by Stephen Rodrick, author of the new book The Magical Strangerand this great Dennis Rodman profile that you can read at The Stacks. He visited Serena in Florida three months ago, and she gave him, well, a few pungent quotes.
Here, for instance, is Serena with an unfortunate “she wore the dress” take on Steubenville:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
Now Serena has publicly apologized for her insensitive comments, and according to ESPN she also
spoke to the victim, her mother and a family lawyer for about 30 minutes Wednesday….”Serena was very nice, very sincere and it was a very well-received conversation among two women and a young lady,” attorney Bob Fitzsimmons said Thursday….
The victim’s family welcomed Williams’ apology in its own statement Wednesday, saying it was “proud of her” for the updated remarks.
“We are sure Serena has & will continue to use her God given talents to advance women’s equality and send the message that rape is never acceptable under any circumstance,” according to the statement released by Fitzsimmons.
“We are fans of Serena and will continue rooting for many more championships but more importantly watching her advance the cause of rape victims who are never to blame.”
Unfortunately, the ladies of the View decided to discuss Williams’ remarks yesterday and managed to dredge up lots more victim-blaming stereotypes. Whoopie was the worst, but some of the other women said offensive things too. Luckily Margaret Cho was there to counter some of the nonsense. Here’s the video:
And some commentary from Jezebel:
In the segment’s intro, Whoopi says that the Steubenville victim was “allegedly” raped, later in the clip, Sherri Shepherd says that boys who rape are “just as culpable” (not more) than girls who go out and drink too much and Barbara Walters, when discussing convicted rapist Mike Tyson, feels the need to qualify that Tyson is now “a wonderful performer.” (Thank the powers that be that Margaret Cho was there to act as a voice of reason and empathy, otherwise our collective head might actually explode.)
As a closer, Whoopi — she of the infamous rape-rape comment — turned the conversation into a discussion of women’s personal responsibility in situations like the Steubenville one. While she would like for boys to better respect women and maybe not rape them, she put more emphasis on what girls should do — which is always wear clean underwear (???), carry cab money and avoid getting drunk. Congrats, Whoopi! You just solved rape!
“Neither party comes out of this well,” she says at the end of the segment. “So we have to do a better job with our young women.”
What is wrong with these women? None of them even seemed to notice that the Steubenville victim was an underage child! Isn’t it bad enough that we have to put up with these kinds of excuses for rape from a lot of men? But let’s face it, plenty of women buy into the rape culture. I can almost understand it from Barbara Walters who is older than dirt–but even she was more in touch with reality than Whoopie Goldberg who is quite a bit younger than I am. How does someone move in 21st century entertainment circles and hold onto such 1950s attitudes? I just don’t get it.
Please discuss or use this as an open thread.