Monday, February 25, 2013

Is Nothing Off Limits?

[Content note: misogynistic slur]

When you're married to a filmmaker, the Oscars is a pretty big night in your home. We look forward to it for months and try to see all the best picture nominees by the big night. It's an all around fun time for us and certainly something I typically enjoy.

So you can probably guess I didn't expect that I would go to bed heartbroken. My heart broke for nine year old actress, Quvenzhan√© Wallis. I had tears in my eyes thinking about the words of this post.

You see, Wallis made history by being the young person ever nominated for an Oscar for her role in Beasts of the Southern Wild, quite an amazing accomplishment. But before she even made it in the door, she had to defend her right to be called by her own name.  And then, in front of millions of people and a room full of laughing, strange adults, she was made a sexual object by host and professional scumbag Seth MacFarlane. Then to top if all off, the Onion tweeted a "joke" calling her a cunt.

Before I go on, let me lay this out right now...I've heard the many defenses of these "jokes" so spare me. I get that they are supposed to be satirical and/or aimed at Clooney not Wallis, but can we just pause for a moment and remember that this is a CHILD? I mean, I wish that we could turn the whole culture of awards show humor around--it's sad how they are just aimed at mocking the stars present. But at least the other 99% of those stars are adults who went into it understanding what would happen. How are Wallis' parents going to explain to her what was said, and more importantly, why should they have to? And even if we buy the line that the jokes aren't about Wallis herself (not saying I do!) are we really going to be OK with a child serving as a punchline? Is nothing off limits?

Beyond the fact that this a NINE YEAR OLD CHILD, the racism and sexism run so deep here, it's astounding. And spare me the "but that's what's funny!" BS because it's amazing how Amy and Tina hosted the Golden Globes without making and comments nearly that disgusting and still had the audience rolling.

Unfortunately, this will not be the last time that a brown girl will do something really amazing but then have to deal with everyone shitting on that. It's something we see over and over and over.

I agree with with what FemmeFrustration wrote on Tumblr, "I hope Quvenzhan√© never finds out what evil people are throwing her way. I hope she goes to the parties tonight and gets a ton of compliments, and a ton of awesome free stuff. I hope she goes home with her family and spends the next few days celebrating." I also hope that when this type of shit happens, the outcry continues to grow louder and is heard. Because it might be a small victory, but at least the Onion took down that heinous tweet and made a decent apology. It's the very, very, very least they could do.

Further reading:
On Protecting (White) Children
A Love Letter to Quvenzhané Wallis

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