Isn’t Charlie Sheen hilarious? Talking about tiger blood, goddesses, being a winner. Gosh, he just never stops giving us amazing quotes. Mental illness coupled with drug addiction has been given a comedic makeover thanks to him. Yay.
I’ve written before about Charlie Sheen exemplifying a harsh double standard in Hollywood. I’ve also talked about how disgusting it was that Two & A Half Men was only shut down after Sheen made anti-semitic remarks about the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre. Production wasn’t halted after his escapades at The Plaza or his domestic abuse towards ex-wife Brooke Mueller. It only occurred when he upset the show’s creator. Got the message, Hollywood. Anti-semitism = bad. Violence towards women = meh.
Anna Holmes—creator of Jezebel and all around feminist badass—has contributed an op-ed to the New York Times in which she examines the media’s blind eye towards domestic violence. She writes, “Observers still seem more entertained than outraged, tuning in to see him appear on every talk show on the planet and coming up with creative Internet memes based on his most colorful statements. And while his self-abuses are endlessly discussed, his abuse of women is barely broached.”
Holmes has touched on something very important here. Charlie Sheen is a well-known drug addict with a lesser-known penchant for beating up women. For example, did you know that he shot fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm in 1992? Because I didn’t. Having such a disturbing incident be glossed over in the narrative of Sheen’s career is, quite frankly, disturbia. In the past weeks, his antics have transformed him into a celebrated pop culture icon—someone to laugh at rather than scorn. One can only imagine what the case would be if the gender were reversed.
A large factor contributing to the media’s blasé attitude about Sheen’s proclivity for violence is the kind of woman he abuses. They are typically porn stars and hookers—the dregs of society who are looked down upon with contempt. Holmes writes:
A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal. The promise of a modern Cinderella ending — attention, fame, the love and savings account of a rich man — is always the assumed goal. 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.
In other words, these girls are not Rihanna. They’re, as Holmes puts it, the disposable woman. Their mistreatment does not come as a surprise and garners little sympathy. Maybe if Sheen beat up a hot young actress, the media would start to condemn him for his actions. But it’s disturbing to think of the lengths Sheen would have to go to for people to start giving a shit about his abuse towards women. When the hoopla around Sheen inevitably dies down, I hope people stop getting distracted by the things he says, and start paying attention to the awful things he has done to women.
Edit: Charlie Sheen has just been officially fired. Sweet. Wish this would’ve happened eight abused porn stars ago though.