Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Radical Idea

Not an actual woman.

In a recent interview, Charlie Sheen was asked if he has ever hit a woman. He replied, "Women are not to be hit. They are to be hugged and caressed."

I don't know much about Charlie Sheen. Or anything, really. But that one sound bite is enough for me to determine that he is an asshole.

Women are not to be anythinged, Charlie. They are neither your punching-bags, nor your body-pillows.They do not exist for your use. They are just people.

There are a lot dudes who are like Charlie Sheen. They say, "I'm not sexist! I think women are pure and lovely angels, who should be put on a pedestal." And when women prove to not be angels, but people with inner lives and ambitions and standards, these guys show their colours as the kinds of misogynists exhibited at man boobz - those who cannot comprehend that women do not exist for their personal gratification.

There's this idea in our culture that is perfectly expressed by FCUK's ad copy. "This is the woman. She is a very special thing." That is to say, "You don't get to be a full human being, but don't feel bad about it, because you're still so special." The idea is so ingrained that it even shows up in washroom signs.

Who wants to be a person, when you can be a beautiful, delicate flower instead?

Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler wrote that, "feminism is the radical notion that women are people." It's clear that the idea remains a radical one.
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  1. Seriously. You think charlie sheen thinks women are pure and angelic. You think mr "I'm gonna lock a hooker in the closet" puts women on a pedestal. Really? That's not quite what I'm picking up.

  2. Like I said, I don't know anything about Charlie Sheen. I just came across that one comment. But like I wrote, when the guys who put women on a pedestal meet women who are not perfect, they treat them like trash. So the locking-a-hooker-in-a-closet thing fits with that assessment.

  3. I agree with you on the ridiculous nature of comments like Charlie's, although indeed Charlie Sheen may not be the most fortunate example to illustrate a social phenomenon... But wouldn't you agree that the grain of the problem already lies in the question? Because what answer would have satisfied you? 'Yes, I hit women, just like I hit men'? I think that the gendered perceptions that 'we' as a society still hold true already show from the fact that an interviewer finds it an interesting and legitimate question whether someone has ever hit a woman - rather than whether (s)he's ever hit a person. Apparently, it's no more than normal that Charlie would have hit men, that's not worth inquiring after...

  4. That quote creeped me out, too, but I couldn't articulate why. Thank you for clarifying it for me.

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