Cancel culture is a myth and it’s only a matter of time until I’m forced to listen to another one of Maher’s offensive and terrible bits.
CW: Mentions of racism, sexual assault, fatphobia, and Islamophobia
By Reina Sultan
I am relieved that I live in a world where powerful people face consequences commensurate with the harm they cause, often after being called out on social media.
Scarlett Johansson, famous tree, has been canceled after whitewashing characters, defending Woody Allen, and trying to play a trans man in a movie. Her punishment: a standalone film in the MCU. How will she recover? Thank God we’re through with Lena Dunham and her white feminism. I couldn’t bear it if she was adapting the story of a Syrian refugee woman for film. After admitting to being guilty of sexual misconduct, Louis C.K. is playing several sold-out shows. I am simply giddy that justice has finally been served. Stanford’s star rapist, Brock Turner, is free after only three months in jail. Cancel culture wins again!
That amount of sarcasm frankly exhausted me more than the people on Twitter constantly decrying cancel culture and mourning its many, many victims.
The fact of the matter is that cancel culture doesn’t exist. The same people who lamented the surge of political correctness have moved their target to so-called cancel culture. This group wants free reign to mock or harm LGBTQ+ people, Muslims, indigenous folks, sexual assault survivors, and everyone else without consequence. That’s why they take aim at any perceived loss of freedom of expression, no matter how evident it is that that freedom was never lost in the first place. Marginalized people on Twitter expressing pain caused by powerful—often famous— folks are not depriving problematic people of opportunities, fame, or money. Social media has just given historically silenced people a platform on which to discuss the abuse we’ve suffered at the hands of powerful people.
Even with the ability to rapidly and widely share a person’s wrongdoing, it is immensely rare for anyone with real power or resources to face consequences more damaging than embarrassment. Often, they don’t even have to acknowledge causing harm.
Bill Maher is a frequent “victim” of cancel culture. It seems as though every time I open Twitter I am inundated with yet another instance of him being offensive, rude, disparaging, or vicious toward entire communities. If canceling people was so effective, why is Bill Maher still being paid for his bad opinions and tired jokes?
In 'Booksmart' the characters of color are flattened and serve purely as plot devices for the white leads. By Noor Al-Sibai If you read reviews in Jezebel, The A.V. Club, or Screen Rant, you’d think Booksmart, actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, was
Dunham has shown us who she is, and white women have continued to support and uplift her as a feminist hero.by Sherronda J. Brown and Lara Witt This essay contains discussions of sexual violence, including r/pe and molestation Last week, a writer at The Guardian posed what she no doubt thought was a poignant question: “Lena Dunham is a hugely original writer. Who cares if she’s a good person?” Before you ask—yes, she is. See, Martha Gill is deeply invested in protecting a fellow white woman from the consequences of her actions, and she is willing to tell lies about Lena Dunham’s talent, ignore truths about her poor character, and gaslight the people who have and continue to rightfully criticize her and her dangerous white feminism in the process. Just a few days after Martha's contribution, Katie Herzog wrote "The Pleasure of Hating Lena Dunham Is Less About Her And More About Us" for The Stranger. All things considered, it looks a lot like Dunham or someone close to her enlisted white women writers to do proactive damage control ahead of her latest apology in a long, long string of apologies for shitty behavior. Even more frightening than the idea that this might be premeditated apologism on her behalf, is the fact that white women reflexively feel the need to defend Dunham in the first place, because like so many terrible white men artists and literary figures, she is a terrible white woman who makes media that they enjoy. So they stand by her in the name of abusive white feminism, and perhaps like the terrible men, they feel that she too deserves a chance to stand separate from her art, able to continue succeeding while she uses the bones of Black and Brown women as her throne. Gaslighting us, shifting the animus for the criticism of Dunham onto people of color rather than Dunham’s proven record of investment in white supremacy, is easier than interrogating themselves and the white womanhood that connects them. When Aurora Perrineau revealed last year that she had been raped by Murray Miller, Lena Dunham called her a liar. Dunham, who has long used “feminism” as a platform for herself, her voice and her work, issued a statement along with Jenni Konner, co-showrunner and writer of “Girls” stating, “While our first instinct is to listen to every woman's story, our insider knowledge of Murray's situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we'll be saying about this issue.” But it's Dunham who was lying. As part of her recent PR run—which comes after the death of her website, the dissolution of her production partnership with Jenni Konner, the very public and controversial resignation of a Lenny Letter writer, and a call for women of color to no longer work with/for her—she has now apologized for this damaging lie one year later. And in classic Lena Dunham form, she centered herself and her own feelings in her apology for a lie that harmed a Black person who was sexually assaulted at 17 years old: “I didn’t have the ‘insider information’ I claimed but rather blind faith in a story that kept slipping and changing and revealed itself to mean nothing at all,” writes Dunham. Aurora Perrineau deserved far better, but women like Dunham are only consistent in perpetuating white supremacy and, in particular, misogynoir.
SUPPORT WEAR YOUR VOICE: DONATE HERE
May white feminism stay and die in 2017. They have really outdone themselves. My newsfeed curation is constantly being managed by my trigger-happy fingers that have turned ‘unfollow’ into a reflex reaction. Yet, I can be laughing uproariously at some delicious