The Disposable Woman by Anna Holmes
Kudos to the New York Times for getting a conversation started about our apathy towards misogyny.
Here’s the evidence of Sheen’s violence against women:
Our inertia is not for lack of evidence. In 1990, he accidentally shot his fiancée at the time, the actress Kelly Preston, in the arm. (The engagement ended soon after.) In 1994 he was sued by a college student who alleged that he struck her in the head after she declined to have sex with him. (The case was settled out of court.) Two years later, a sex film actress, Brittany Ashland, said she had been thrown to the floor of Mr. Sheen’s Los Angeles house during a fight. (He pleaded no contest and paid a fine.)
In 2006, his wife at the time, the actress Denise Richards, filed a restraining order against him, saying Mr. Sheen had shoved and threatened to kill her. In December 2009, Mr. Sheen’s third wife, Brooke Mueller, a real-estate executive, called 911 after Mr. Sheen held a knife to her throat. (He pleaded guilty and was placed on probation.) Last October, another actress in sex films, Capri Anderson, locked herself in a Plaza Hotel bathroom after Mr. Sheen went on a rampage. (Ms. Anderson filed a criminal complaint but no arrest was made.) And on Tuesday, Ms. Mueller requested a temporary restraining order against her former husband, alleging that he had threatened to cut her head off, “put it in a box and send it to your mom.” (The order was granted, and the couple’s twin sons were quickly removed from his home.) “Lies,” Mr. Sheen told People magazine.
Lies? Why is it the public hates a woman that “slanders” a man’s “reputation” yet allows men to do it – and get away with it, with ease? Holmes, the writer, notes how Sheen is idealized, while the women in his life, who’ve suffered from his abuse, are slandered:
This hasn’t been the case with Mr. Sheen, whose behavior has been repeatedly and affectionately dismissed as the antics of a “bad boy” (see: any news article in the past 20 years), a “rock star” (see: Piers Morgan, again) and a “rebel” (see: Andrea Canning’s “20/20” interview on Tuesday). He has in essence, achieved a sort of folk-hero status; on Wednesday, his just-created Twitter account hit a million followers, setting a Guinness World Record.
But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers — pornographic film stars and escorts — whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)
Others, namely Ms. Richards and Ms. Mueller, are less-famous starlets or former “nobodies” whose relationships with Mr. Sheen have been disparaged as purely sexual and transactional. The women reside on a continuum in which injuries are assumed and insults are expected.
“Gold diggers,” “prostitutes” and “sluts” are just some of the epithets lobbed at the women Mr. Sheen has chosen to spend his time with. Andy Cohen, a senior executive at Bravo and a TV star in his own right, referred to the actor’s current companions, Natalie Kenly and Bree Olson, as “whores” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on Tuesday.
I couldn’t even fathom hearing similar epithets from a group of women discussing men – first, it wouldn’t get aired; second, if they did it would be rightfully called a man-hating bitch session, to put it mildly. But slam women, most of whom have been victims of Sheen’s own misogyny, and get worshipped. What does that tell you about the climate we live in?
Objectification and abuse, it follows, is not only an accepted occupational hazard for certain women, but something that men like Mr. Sheen have earned the right to indulge in.
Sheen treats women the way he wants – getting his own way and attacking – verbally and physically – those that dare go against his wishes. His backtalk against his bosses is what brought him such media attention, while his treatment of women has gone virtually unnoticed. Even colleges are asking for him to be their commencement speaker. This would never be acceptable if he treated another group like this – it’s time we treat misogyny with the same contempt as anti-semitism and racism.