Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and rape culture discussion follows.
What do we value more than women’s [fill in the blank]? Sadly, in our culture the blank in question has far too many options. Opinions. Bodies. Lives. Of late, our cultural discourse has turned to what we value above women’s accusations in regards to rape. The catalyst for this discussion has been the resurfaced and renewed allegations of sexual assault by once revered comedy icon Bill Cosby.
No one needs any introduction of who Bill Cosby is. We named ugly sweaters after him and ate Jell-O because of him and felt a little better about race relations in 80s America because of him. He was Cliff Huxtable and everyone loved Cliff Huxtable.
But the man is always so much more complex than the myth. At this point, I’ve honestly lost track of the number of women who have come forward to share their all-too similar stories of unwanted sexual encounters with this man. Yet we clung to the myth until their chorus of accusations became an impossible-to-ignore din.
For decades, his positive public persona was more important than the women who dare to crack its highly polished veneer with the truth.
I’ve mused over the difference between the art and the artist more times than I wish I had to here in the past. Powerful men getting a pass on past misdeeds against women is a sad theme in our society. Roman Polanski. Woody Allen. Terry Richardson.
These men all still have careers and work with respected colleagues and companies because we choose to believe their reputations over women’s voices.
The he/said (or whatever configuration) of sexual assault is almost always weighed against the victim. The shame and the disbelief are the burdens the victim alone must carry. What was she wearing? What did she do? Why didn’t she go to police? The question is almost always why she didn’t do something. It is very rarely why didn’t he not rape her.
It’s the strangest thing, how we think about rape accusations. If I walked out of a building declaring I was robbed, people would gasp and help me call the cops. But if I walk about of a building and declared I was raped, well, is there proof? Were charges filed? Was he convicted? Did he go to jail?
As such, the evolution of public perception of Bill Cosby has been grimly fascinating to watch. The truth is these rape allegations are nothing new. They’ve been around for decades. But until the last few weeks, they’ve only been badgering whispers around the dark edges of what everyone assumed was a great man. They never took hold because of who was accusing him. A bunch of unknown women? Pshaw.
No, we didn’t pay attention until a male comic, Hannibal Buress, dared to utter the allegations out loud. And a clip of his talking about Cosby’s rape accusations went viral. Oh, wait, now a man said it? Hold on. And then, things went even farther still after a famous woman, Janice Dickinson, added her accusation into the chorus. Well, OK, this is a female celebrity – guess we can’t blow her off like the others. Netflix hold his comedy special. NBC cancels his show. TV Land pulls his reruns.
The simple fact is one woman’s voice was not enough. Nor were two. Nor were three. Nor were fourteen.
But what we have to ask ourselves, what we must change, is why. Why wasn’t it enough? Because we value so many other things – fame, entitlement, power, respect, male voices – more than women’s accusations. And until that changes the Woody and Roman and Terry and Bills of the world will keep getting away with it.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and rape culture discussion follows.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
She did all eight covers for Orphan Black Issue #1. Three of the eight have been released and, guys, they’re so good.
Speaking of good things, did you catch Cat and her wife Amanda Deibert in that Target ad? Ack, so much good it’s making my face hurt from the smiling.
Awwww. Good, right?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Still not over this preview. Not even a little bit. I could watch Dr. Lauren Lewis hurl that throwing star on an infinite loop. In fact, I think I will.
p.s. For a more verbose breakdown of the first full preview for Season 5, check out my post from AfterEllen this week.
p.p.s. I think the fact that they show Dyson/Bo action, but no Doccubus action is actually a good thing. Bait and switch, amirite? Or, you know, wishful thinking.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Oh, show. What are you doing to us, show? Remember wayyyy back this summer when that little rumor that Gillian Anderson’s DSI Gibson and Archie Panjabi’s Dr. Reed Smith would have a “sexual encounter” on the new season of “The Fall.” Then the good doctor checks out Stella’s nail length in the premiere, a clear sign of lesbian flirting. And now this new promo image from episode 3 has set those rumors on fire. As in, oh hey look, there’s a fire in my pants. Gosh, those two look awfully cozy. Someone tell me their shipper name immediately, if not sooner.
This cheeky reply from Gillian about the possibility of Stella’s bisexuality doesn’t hurt either.
Right, sorry, regain composure. Act like an adult. Be professional. They’re probably just discussing very serious and important police-related matters. In each other’s pants.
Whoops, sorry. Slipped up again. On a related note, I’d like it ever so much if you took the time to check out my recaps of “The Fall” over at AfterEllen. The first one posted yesterday and you can expect them Mondays throughout the season. I know, I know – tough gig staring at Gillian Anderson’s face for hours on end.
Monday, November 17, 2014
It’s Monday. Sorry about that, that bit is outside of my control. What I can control is how you start your Monday. I think a lesbian answering questions from straight folks is a great way to start. Especially if those answers are equal parts funny and true. Please enjoy Cameron Esposito’s Ask a Lesbian series for Buzzfeed.
p.s. She is not wrong about the side mullet thing. Or vests.
p.p.s. Not that I have a side mullet. Just that it reads Tegan & Sara-level gay.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The most extraordinary thing about the Jane of “Jane the Virgin” isn’t that she is a virgin. Sure, her chasteness is the gimmick that gets us into the irony of her pregnancy. But the real thing that makes Jane unique is her honesty. Jane is the most honest character on television right now. And much of the humor and complications come not from lies – like on so many other shows – but from simply telling the truth. It’s a neat trick for a show that is essentially a very smart take on a telenovela.
Much of the show’s greatness also comes from Gina Rodriguez’s portrayal of Jane. She is earnest and charming and empathetic and goofy. She feels like a real girl you’d meet and probably like. Except, again, she is probably more honest and open than most. None of it would work if Gina wasn’t so darn likeable. But she is, she really is.
Not to say there isn’t a healthy dose of scheming and backstabbing in “Jane the Virgin.” But the various scrapes and predicaments Jane gets into are because of the less than honest actions of others. Speaking of, have I mentioned that there’s a hot lesbian affair on this show? Really, you should be watching this show. Happy weekend, all.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
*Siren Blares* *Lights Flash* Sorry, I get a little excited sometimes when my gaydar gets pinged. Too much? NEVER ENOUGH. In the course of researching the new season of the BBC Two series “The Fall” (starting today in the UK, lucky UK), I came across the new character PC Hagstrom played by Irish actress Kelly Gough. I don’t want to tell you your business, but, yeah. Siren, lights, PING.
Now comes the disclaimer where I tell you I have absolutely no idea whether this new police constable character is a lesbian or now. But her folded arms, slicked hair, hands in belt, general aura all reads G-A-Y. My most sincere hope is that this new PC Hagstrom is a love interest for Niamh McGrady’s returning character PC Ferrington. Her adorable ginger constable needs some loving.
If you’re looking for a less flaily preview of the new season, please check out AfterEllen later today. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. Not just because of femslash I’ve made up based on two promo photos, but also because this series is very good and very smart. Even though it’s about a man who kills women, it’s also about women navigating (and kicking ass) in a male-dominated world.
And there isn’t an actress working today who is aging more exquisitely than Gillian Anderson. I mean it, I think the aliens did take her because there’s no other reason she should be even more talented and more beautiful with each passing year.
p.s. I will be recapping this season of “The Fall” over at AfterEllen as well. Such hard work screencapping Gillian. Much toil.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
You deserve this today. I mean it. You’ve earned it. You’ve earned two gorgeous magazine covers featuring two talented out gay women. You deserve Ellen Page in that Marlene Dietrich tux. You deserve Samira Wiley in those Josephine Baker pearls. You deserve it all.
The actresses are among four covers for this year’s annual Out 100 list. (Their male counterparts are Zachary Quinto and Sam Smith.) The images are beautiful, naturally. But I was even more interested in the small interviews with each woman. Ellen, again, eloquently describes her feeling of responsibility and relief she felt coming out. And then there’s this gem about the lesbian trend canard:
“Even if it did become a trend, who cares, right? Let being yourself become a trend.”
Samira’s interview is equally interesting, but for different reasons. For one, it’s another non-coming out coming out. It never directly mentions her sexuality, but it does mention her girlfriend/OITNB writer Lauren Morelli. And it also talks about her upbringing being raised in a family filled with acceptance and faith. Isn’t it sad when that’s the exception and not the norm. As she says:
“I feel like oftentimes in the church people get caught up in literal translations of the Bible. But that’s not the home I grew up in. I was just taught that love is the most powerful thing. And being able to see that and see my parents on the forefront of that made such a big impact on my life.”
See, I told you you deserved this.
p.s. In case you feel you deserve more there are also nice photos/items on Evan Rachel Wood, Ariel Schrag and Angel Haze among others in this year’s list.
p.p.s. Oh, and do not forget to click both the pictures to embiggen them. You really, really deserve that.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Some actors you just wish well. Whether you like the show they happen to be on or not, you root for them. Paget Brewster is one of those actors. I’ve watched “Criminal Minds” on and off over the years – though thanks to the power of rerun marathons I’m pretty sure at this point I’ve seen every single episode. And I’ve always enjoyed the Paget season the most (we shall not talk of the abomination that was the Ashley Seaver Season – shudder). But now that she has left the Special Agents ranks once more (and this time likely for good), I was wondering where she might land. And yesterday I found out, she is joining “Community” for its sixth season. The former NBC-turned-Yahoo show will return in early 2015 with Paget as “Francesca ‘Frankie’ Dart, a consultant brought in to help shape up the school.” If you are among the people scratching your head wondering why that lady cop from the serial killer show is on a sitcom, scratch no more. Paget got her TV start on “Friends,” and has subsequently brought the laughs on shows like “Huff,” “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” and three very funny, very drunk episodes of “Drunk History.” (Seriously, Google them.) Bottom line, lady is funny.
So in celebration of this wonderful news, please enjoy Paget reading a REAL-LIFE dirty love letter from James Joyce to his wife, Nora. I cannot overemphasize how incredibly DIRTY these love letters from 1909 truly are. Like, for real, wear headphones. This is NSFW defined. Yeah, that’s right, the dude who wrote “Ulysses” just put all your naughty sexts to absolute SHAME.