Know what? I’m not entertained anymore by Charlie Sheen’s shenanigans and not only because he’s a cracked egomaniac who should be receiving treatment rather than accolades. And it’s not only because I fear getting my kicks off the ravings of a lunatic who may end up dead soon.
I’m not paying attention to Charlie anymore because I’m tired of acting like guys who beat up women are okay in my book. In his long career, Mr. Tiger Blood has shot ex-fiancé Kelly Preston (John Travolta’s wife), got sued by a college student he knocked in the head for not sleeping with him, had restraining orders filed against him by his wives and had several adult film actresses accuse him of throwing them around a room. The reason dude’s kids were finally taken away from him last week was because he supposedly threatened to cut off their mom’s head and send it to their grandmother in a box.
Oh, Charlie, you old kook!
In most of these cases, Charlie pleaded no contest and paid a fine or settled out of court. Though in a couple instances, the accusers never followed through with their allegations, I think we can safely assume Sir Smirk n’ Chin hits women. But as most of those ladies were porn stars, strippers, hookers, addicts and gold-digging starlets, they seem to be considered the kinds of low-lifes for whom abuse is inevitable, perhaps even justifiable. Thus, as a great piece in the New York Times suggests, these gals are deemed “disposable.”
I realize the futility in suggesting a serial abuser shouldn’t be rewarded with a multi-million dollar television contract and a star on the Walk of Fame. Some of the most celebrated, even admirable, characters in the history of the world have been bastards and weirdoes. I’ll also let someone else wonder why Mel Gibson’s stock is waning while Charlie’s is on the rise or why Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna cost him his career (race? the value of a pop star over a porn star?) All I want to know is why instances of abuse toward women aren’t more regularly met with horror.
In the same week of Charlie’s meltdown, I read about a monstrously successful online comic called Penny Arcade. A strip about video games, Penny Arcade has spawned a massive movement amongst gamers and geeks. However, the creators of the comic got into hot water last year for publishing a strip in which characters were repeatedly raped by “the Dickwolves,” monsters who looked like wolves and had penises for hands.
When female fans took offense, the creators issued a smartass, flimsy apology. The notion being these ugly feminists couldn’t take a joke. Meanwhile, male fans harassed the women online by, among other things, posting pictures of mutilated women and creating Twitter handles like @teamrape and @rapefatchicks. The most vocal female fan, a rape survivor, even received death threats.
I love men. I know they’re smarter and more sensitive than the culture gives them credit for. But I don’t understand why so many of them are clueless about violence against women.
Maybe because abuse is swept under the rug when prominent people like Charlie Sheen do it. Maybe because when women are raped and mutilated on cop shows, they’re found in “do me” poses, wearing matching lace panties and bra sets, as if violent death is so darn sexy. Maybe because men have no idea what it’s like for us gals to live with the threat of violence every day of our lives.
Every male who walks behind you, every overeager guy hitting on you at a bar, every man staring too long at you on the bus, every creepy taxi driver ogling you in the rearview mirror, every date with a stranger, every escalating fight with a husband, every unlit street, every empty subway car, every parking garage creates a moment and place where every woman knows something horrible could happen. Statistically speaking, every woman has experienced violence, some of them victims of the most horrible cruelty imaginable. And believe me, it ain’t funny.
For all I care, Charlie can continue his rampage of derangement and reap all of its glorious plunder. It’s not his fault no one cares about the women he hurts. But I do want to live in a world where ravaging females, regardless of their station in life, is no longer entertainment or a joke. Maybe ladies have to keep letting folks know the pain of what we go through. Maybe one day, they’ll believe us.
[Photo of Sheen accuser Brittany Ashland from Jezebel.com]
*Reprinted from Laura K. Warrell's blog Tart & Soul at www.TartandSoul.com.