Serena Part One

serenaDo you remember the moment you found out that Martin Luther King Jr. cheated on Coretta? I do, and it felt like the history rug was being pulled right out from under me. It’s hard to find out your heroes are just regular old humans who sometimes suck a lot.

Today’s heroine-undermining is brought to you by Serena Williams, my former favorite. For some reason, in a Rolling Stone interview, she commented on the Steubenville rape case and her comments were uber upsetting:

“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.”

BLURGH. Tomorrow I’ll be posting something more coherent on this, but for the moment, I thought it’s worth running this through my favorite plugin, Jailbreak the Patriarchy. Jailbreak flips the pronouns and gendered words in internet content to help us realize our own gendered biases.

Jailbroken, Serena’s comment read like this:

“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the boy, 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. He‘s 16, why was he that drunk where he doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. He‘s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe he wasn’t a virgin, but he shouldn’t have put himself in that position, unless they slipped him something, then that’s different.”

It makes no fucking sense, right? We don’t tell boys not to take drinks from strangers. We don’t ask why 16-year-old boys like to drink a lot (because they’re teenagers and they’re stupid and they’re testing limits, same reason 16-year-old girls like to drink). The question of male teenaged virginity is one we’re never concerned with (as we shouldn’t be…) But mostly, the whole thing reads like gibberish.

Let’s push this to the extreme, just to test our hypotheses. Imagine it was a 16-year-old boy and he was raped by two other 16-year-old boys. Would we blame alcohol or poor decision-making? No, we would be appalled. It would be a crime. But the belief that women are supposed to be used for sex, and that they are responsible for protecting their bodies from being abused leaves us too addled to think clearly.

More tomorrow. Sigh.

Related Post: Other things we’ve jailbroken…

Related Post: On street harassment and catcalling

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8 Comments

Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Sex, Sports

8 responses to “Serena Part One

  1. Really a very sad statement on how some people still choose to blame the victim, especially when female and sad how someone who has such opportuunity and is a role model to so many perpetuates this attitude.

  2. Heart-breaking comments. One can only shakes one’s head.

  3. I almost went apeshit on my blog over her comments too. I can’t even validate her words with a rant. She’s an imbecile. I think before we say ignorant shit like this, we should all stop and ask ourselves, “what if the victim were my child?”
    I imagine a lot of people’s opinions would be more reasonable.

  4. I don’t think Serena realized what she said. Yes what happened to this girl is a crime and very sad.

  5. Pingback: Serena Part Two | rosiesaysblog

  6. Just to be devil’s advocate, I think the point she was probably trying to make was that we have to be smart and try not put ourselves in positions where bad things can happen to us (like drinking to excess, etc.), because there are people in the world who will hurt you and take advantage of you if they have the chance. But if that was what she meant, then yeah it did come out wrong and I don’t see how anyone could try and blame the girl for what happened. I find it really sickening when people say things like that. Obviously getting drunk does not give anyone the right to sexually assault you. Nothing does. And then I am just baffled by her comment “She’s lucky.” WTF?? This girl was raped and then ridiculed online, and harrassed and threatened! HOW was she lucky!? And just to clarify, I am in NO WAY condoning her comments or the actions of those boys, which are beyond appalling.

  7. Reblogged this on amen198266 and commented:
    hi

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