New York Times: The Disposable Woman

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.

The Today Show again misses the boat on domestic violence

The Today Show played a 911 call from Paula Abdul, who plead to be let out of a car this past Valentine’s Day. The driver was, allegedly, her boyfriend. On the call, Abdul sounds panicky, perhaps afraid, until finally, the driver comes to a stop. And, somehow, the Today Show thinks this call will “tarnish her reputation.” They talk about her “antics” in the past — so, apparently, they think her plea was just another crazy “antic” and not really a call for help. I realize Abdul has had controversial behavior in the past, but comparing this 911 call to an “antic” was troublesome. 

The Today Show has also disregarded domestic violence allegations in international child custody cases (despite evidence indicating many of these cases do involve domestic violence) and has offered a lot of sympathy to misogynist Charlie Sheen. 

Not a very good record at all, I’d say.    

Here’s a video clip: Today Show

Charlie Sheen: Hollywood’s highest paid misogynist

The other day, on a talk show, I heard a host say Charlie Sheen was displaying arrogance, selfishness and anti-Semitism. And, I thought, how about misogyny?

It’s on blatant display both in his personal and work life. I stopped watching Two and a half men when they started having so many scantily-clad women on the show – I had been putting up with the horribly negative stereotypes of women (and often enough, men), but the stupid but perty women did me in.

And then today – finally, New York Times writer David Carr – and hallelujah it’s a male!! – wakes the public up to the misogyny in Sheen’s personal life:

Insulting Chuck Lorre, Not Abuse, Gets Sheen Sidelined

In 2006, his wife at the time, Denise Richards, filed a restraining order, charging that Mr. Sheen had pushed her down, thrown chairs at her and threatened to kill her in person and on the phone. The couple eventually divorced.

Mr. Sheen then had a series of very public relationships with sex film stars, which is certainly his prerogative — talent is as talent does — but he also continued to exhibit a pattern of violence toward women.

Mr. Sheen was charged with a felony for an incident on Christmas Day in 2009 in which he threatened to kill his wife, Brooke Mueller, while holding a knife to her throat. According to the police report, Mr. Sheen “started to strangle Mueller then he pulled out a knife he always carries on his person and held the knife to Mueller’s neck and threatened, ‘You better be in fear. If you tell anybody I’ll kill you.’ ”

Last fall, Mr. Sheen went on a rampage in the Plaza Hotel in New York. A hired escort who had locked herself in the bathroom claimed he had put his hands around her neck and threatened her while his former wife Ms. Richards and his children slept down the hall.

Yet none of these incidents got Mr. Sheen fired from his lucrative day job as a sitcom star, not even suspended. What did? He insulted his boss.

 Mr. Carr, we are familiar with this scenario. Violence against women teeters on one of the lowest rungs on the ladder of priority, especially when it comes to men who are celebrities, politicians, athletes, or anyone whose career is more important than assaulting women (and that includes almost all men). Even harming animals (remember Michael Vick?) gets more outrage than harming women. So, insulting a boss? Yeah, far more important than harming women.

Carr mentions some men who’ve lost their jobs due to committing violence against women; but in my experience, many men (even police officers with guns) get to keep their jobs and hit their women, too. (I’ll try to put some resources up on a post later.) After this, Carr says:

Is Mr. Sheen excused because he manufactures laughs, not widgets, for a living? For years on the show, Mr. Sheen has been playing to type as a naughty boy in a man’s body: the result was often scabrous and funny and a hit in the ratings. It also fits another depressing pattern. From “Animal House” to Howard Stern, from “Pretty Woman” to “The Hangover,” Hollywood has long had a soft spot for male misbehavior and, in claiming to parody childish misogyny, it seems to provide an excuse to indulge in it further.