Jezebel founder Anna Holmes has written a NYTimes op-ed detailing Charlie Sheen’s violent run against his fairer halves. It’s not only a smart piece about Sheen, it’s also an incisive look at how society devalues certain types of women, and the implications that that devaluation has:
The privilege afforded wealthy white men like Charlie Sheen may not be a particularly new point, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are endlessly derided for their extracurricular meltdowns and lack of professionalism on set; the R&B star Chris Brown was made a veritable pariah after beating up his equally, if not more, famous girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. Their careers have all suffered, and understandably so.
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.)
I had the privilege to speak with Holmes today by phone. While I haven’t always agreed with all of her viewpoints, I’ve constantly looked up to her and respected her as a writer and thinker, so it was a thrill to chat with her regarding her thoughts on the whole Sheen situation. We also discussed my (extremely negative) thoughts on Piers Morgan, as well as the fact that Jezebel was recently parodied by 30 Rock. I’ve released the conversation as this week’s Chencast.
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