The evolution of Barbie™ has been shaped over the years by feminist interests, as Mattel responded to complaints when aspects of the toy’s design and character were deemed problematic by various women’s groups. Today’s version is available with a wide variety of styles and accessories representing different career and lifestyle choices, as the market has demanded this character be made in the image of what feminists want modern women to be. Modern Barbie™ really has her shit together. She’s not just pretty. She’s proficient, professional, powerful, and poised.
How about predatory?
That’s probably not a word the doll’s creator or the studio planning to make a movie based on her would like to see associated with her character… so why is an actress with Amy Schumer’s history being considered for the part?
Perhaps it’s because one particularly disgusting part of that history has not had the scope of news coverage or caused the degree of social outrage that have been the response to similar actions done by men.
To recap: In her speech at the 2014 Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women, Amy Schumer detailed an incident from her college days in which, while sober, she chose to have penetrative sex with a person she knew was so stinking, stumbling drunk he couldn’t maintain erection or consciousness during the act.
To compare, seven months after Schumer’s speech, an incident involving two very drunk college students resulted in the male student’s arrest, trial, and conviction on the basis that engaging in sexual touching with a person so stinking, stumbling drunk as to be unable to maintain consciousness during the act is illegal.
Brock Turner, 20, met his 22 year old accuser at a party on his campus. The two left the party to return to his dorm room, but were so drunk they fell down in a nearby alley, where according to Turner they began kissing and she verbally consented to further sexual activity. According to evidence police submitted in the case, Turner’s blood alcohol level was double the legal limit for driving, and the woman’s was triple. California’s legal limit is 0.08%, so that would put Turner at at least 0.16%, and the woman at a minimum of 0.24%. The U.S. Health & Human services department’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s page on alcohol overdose classifies anything from 0.16 to 0.3 as “Severe impairment,” symptoms of which can include dangerously impaired judgement and decisionmaking, significantly impaired ballance and coordination, blackouts, and unconsciousness.
Witnesses testified at Turner’s hearing that the woman was unconscious some time later when they found Turner fondling and attempting to digitally penetrate her genitals. The witnesses’ testimony, bolstered by the woman’s claim that she did not remember the event, was believed by the jury, while Turner’s insistence that the woman was conscious the whole time was not believed. The young man was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 6 months in jail. Why 6 months? Because while the jury did not believe Turner’s claim that the woman was conscious, the judge did believe Turner’s claim that she had given him consent to have sexual contact with her.
Turner’s claim that he and the woman walked to the location of the incident together and mutually engaged in foreplay before they were interrupted is either true, or false. If it is false, he would have to have carried a full grown woman out there unnoticed by the rest of the party’s attendees while his balance and coordination were likely to be significantly impaired. If it is true as the judge admitted to believing, then Turner’s conviction was handed down because while his own judgement was dangerously impaired by his level of intoxication, he failed to cease engaging in sexual touching with a partner when she passed out, a condition which by his own testimony he failed to notice.
Feminists were outraged at the sentence, preferring to label Turner a dangerous predator and the incident a rape. The main outcry was that the sentence was too short. When the young man was released after serving only half of it, armed protestors disrupted the peace of a residential neighborhood full of unrelated people to demonstrate outside of his family’s home “to make a militant feminist statement in favor of self-defense of would-be rape victims,” according to protest organizer Micah Naziri. Mr. Naziri carried .300 Blackout semi-automatic rifle during the protest, a gun which can penetrate brick walls or multiple layers of wood.
Yes, that is correct: Feminists and their supporters brought military assault rifles to a residential neighborhood full of uninvolved people to protest the early release of a guy being punished for being too drunk to notice his previously participating sex partner had passed out, and for consequently failing to stop. They would be outraged at my having described the incident that way and accuse me of rape apology, even though I have not said what he did was not wrong, or that he should not have been convicted and jailed for it.
By comparison, Amy Schumer’s own speech contains an admission that, while completely sober, she entered the home of a man she knew was so intoxicated he didn’t notice that he stank and couldn’t keep his balance when interacting with her. In other words, his coordination and judgement were markedly impaired. If this does not put the guy from her story at a level of drunkenness which fits the NIAAA’s description of “severe impairment,” the fact that he lost consciousness multiple times during the encounter does. It indicates that he was as drunk during his encounter with Schumer as Turner’s victim was during her encounter with him.
Amy Schumer’s admission is equal to what Brock Turner was convicted of doing, despite his refusal to admit having done it. Her admission is equal to the actions which, when a young man did them, feminists labeled “rape,” and were outraged when a judge chose the label “sexual assault” and gave a sentence too short for their standards. What Schumer says she did when she was in college is the same as the behavior which inspired feminists to bring guns that can shoot through wood, brick, and mortar into a residential neighborhood to express their objection to a convicted man’s release from incarceration.
What has been the response to finding out that feminist-identifying comedian Amy Schumer did the same thing as a man they so vehemently and publicly condemned?
And in response to Thought Catalogue’s article “Wait a second, did Amy Schumer rape a guy,” feminist blogger David Futrelle engaged in the exact same rationalization of her behavior that feminists would condemn as “rape apology” had the sexes been reversed, claiming it’s not rape if the person passing out during sex consented prior to becoming unconscious… even if he was totally trashed… as long as it was his idea. It is probably not likely that many feminists would accept the argument that a woman’s initiation of sex when she was that intoxicated would absolve any man of accountability for engaging in it with her after she passed out, but if you reverse the sexes, that’s exactly the argument Futrelle makes in his article. Interestingly, Futrelle frothed with outrage when some random guy in a pick-up artist forum made crude versions of the same arguments regarding the Brock Turner case.
Mainstream news media has not touched the accusation that what Amy Schumer described having done was rape.
Has that lack of coverage left Sony and Mattel unaware of what she has admitted, or are the two companies accepting the behavior based on the word of these feminist writers?
Schumer is being considered for the role of a character which feminists have for years demanded the right to mold in their own image on the basis that she is a role model for little girls. A role model for little girls may be played in a live-action movie by a feminist comedian celebrated by feminist journalists for admitting to the same behavior for which the same ideological group thinks a young man should be condemned forever. What does that say about feminism’s goals for little girls? What does it say about Sony’s and Mattel’s roles in meeting such goals?
Will the next feminist contribution to the evolution of Mattel’s Barbie™ be connecting her to one of the ideology’s most starkly sexist double standards, that what is rape when it happens to a woman is not rape when a woman does it? Will the toy which has been labeled a role model for little girls become an ambassador of feminist rape apology?
If so, when can we expect the shelves at local toy and department stores to be stocked with the new Date Rapist Barbie™ play set, complete with Drunk as a Skunk Ken?
- Relational aggression and victim gender – a tale of two standards | HBR Talk 165 - January 14, 2021
- Antifeminism, relational aggression, and the men’s rights movement | HBR Talk 164 - January 7, 2021
- Update with Deborah Powney | HBR Talk 163 - December 31, 2020