On Saturday night, it came to my attention that 21 Savage had some unsavory thoughts about women. I say “came to my attention” because I am in no way ever interested in anything 21 Savage does. But when I learned that he essentially declared that he felt women owed him sex because of his fame and success, I was immediately rapt with attention. Kylie Jenner’s worst troll tweeted, “I work so hard I feel like the ladies [supposed] to f**k me and let me do my thing. It's mandatory you please me for all this hard work baby!"
Hard to believe that is the truth but I promise it is. Before you try to tell me it’s an “alternative fact,” there are screenshots. If this disgusts you, as it rightfully should, don’t worry, someone on his management team has already had the tweet removed. If it doesn’t, consider the striking similarity this statement echoes to that now infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump, the new leader of the free world, said, “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p***y. You can do anything.”
Yes, consider now the complicated threads that misogyny has weaved throughout society. Rape culture is real. Both of these men, in one way or another, are demanding that women succumb to their will based on their privilege and position. How lucky for them to be men. How lucky to not be on the receiving end of this ideology. I couldn’t help but also think of the 35 women that came forward in 2015, accusing Bill Cosby of various accounts of sexual assault and rape. It is undeniable that Cosby also subscribed to this school of thought; namely, that as a man of power he is owed whatever he wants — even if he has to take it.
But if we are going to vilify Nate Parker, which we have, we cannot let any of these other men sneak by unscathed. One can argue that they’re not getting away as Cosby’s trial has defaced his legacy and Parker’s Birth of a Nation made all the splash of a pebble in the ocean. And we all know who our president is now. Even more dangerous, though, is the rape culture that is not a shout but a whisper. It is particularly vile because people will say, “it’s not that bad” or “he didn’t mean it.” But 21 Savage meant it. He meant that he thought women are supposed to f**k him. That’s exactly what he said, so why would we pretend any different?
My question now is: And what of these women? What then after they give their due diligence to Mr. Savage for his “hard work baby!” and to Mr. Trump for being “a star”? If Drake and French Montana have anything to say, these “tings” are immediately discarded without so much as pillow talk. I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually assaulted dozens of times in my life and walking down the street for me literally feels like a battlefield. I don’t know when it will be popular for men to see women as people, let alone equal, but as long as our cultural heroes are also purveyors of misogyny, it will be never.
Today at the gym, someone asked me what Saturday’s march was about. It was about this. Yes, sure, women have equal rights, technically. Black lives matter, technically. But anyone with half a brain knows that these are “alternative facts.” As long as women are treated as subhuman — and, if you ask me, rape culture constructs us as such — then we’ll have to keep marching. Forever.
Feeling the elation from Saturday’s Women’s March, it is easy to be caught up in optimism when your fellow women (and men) are so visibly resisting the patriarchy. The inauguration on Friday highlighted the lack of diversity and tolerance that will represent America for the next for years. While millions of people recognized this as undoubtedly problematic and are bravely pushing for a new narrative, it only takes about half a second on any social media avenue (and one tweet from 21 Savage) to deflate that hope and to help realize the things that women are tirelessly fighting for are still too painfully prevalent.
I was blindsided by that 21 Savage tweet because he is anonymous to me but not to his 754,000 followers. The more misogyny is dissipated in the ethos, the worse it is for all of us. He has yet to issue an apology. Bill Cosby has yet to issue an apology. Donald Trump has technically apologized but his cabinet and his policies reveal exactly what he thinks of women. Saturday’s march was the beginning of a long, long road. All of the young girls holding signs of hope in their tiny hands broke my heart because one day they will meet a man who will rob them of their humanity in some way or another. I vowed in 2017 that I would use my voice and platform because I have one. I’m writing this for them, for myself and in the hopes that some man who might have high-fived 21 Savage over that tweet might now change his mind.
(Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
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