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This is a rant.

Just wanted to clarify that for everyone who is going to disagree with me in the comments so you understand how deeply I DO NOT CARE.

Today I learned that the definition of “growing a pair”, as a facebook commenter so quaintly put it, means “sticking to your guns” when you issue an offensive statement with heavy racist and sexist undertones.

Because it’s satire guys. You can be a total jerk if it’s satire! I mean COME ON.

Thank you Facebook, for yet another enlightening lesson in how to be a horrible human being.

*slow clap*

The Onion

Let’s Review:

The Onion calls a nine-year-old Academy Award nominee a c***. Internet gets angry. People explain why it’s funny. Other, more reasonable people EXPLAIN WHY IT’S NOT.  Onion apologizes. People who think it’s funny accuse the Onion of being a bunch of pussies.

So, One:

I love how we all are so free with our relation to the female genitalia as something offensive. I mean that alone speaks VOLUMES.

In fact, from a literary standpoint, the choice of creative devices is outstanding.

In one sense you could be using a metaphor, evoking the visual imagery of Quvenzhané being nothing but her genitalia.

Or you could be using synecdoche, using her genitalia to represent her whole person.

You may be interested to find that this fits into traditional hyper sexualization of African American women, feeding into the colonial idea that all we are good for is labor and sex.

But this case is special because it has the added sexist bonus of ignoring labor altogether, not even mentioning that she is the youngest person ever, EVER, to be nominated for Best Actress. Ever.

No, we’re just going to use imagery that relates her to sex. Because it’s satire and THAT’S FUNNY.

Side Note: Did they do it on purpose? Maybe not. Does that matter in the least? Nope.

Two:

Why her?

No seriously. Why her? Tell me. Please. I want to know.

Because the joke is supposed to be that our culture is simultaneously obsessed with celebrities and with dissing them.

The Onion was making fun of us by picking the least likely person and then targeting her.

Right?

But did you take into consideration that she is nine. Anyone? Anyone at all?

Many people are making the argument that if she wasn’t nine there wouldn’t have been an apology (Same for if she wasn’t black or female).

And that’s a sad thought, but honestly the fact that she is nine does make this particularly reprehensible. And the fact that she is black and female makes it racially and gender charged. Also, she’s nine. SHE’S NINE.

And she got nominated for a freaking Oscar.

You really wanted to attack us about our obsession with celebrity culture? You could have made a joke about THAT, about how she is doing incredible things at the age of nine and what are we doing with our lives right now that even comes close to that. Comment on us dissing her while we avidly watch the Oscars, don’t blatantly insult her.

Fun fact: One of my favorite comments I saw on Facebook was from an elementary school teacher helpfully noting that Quvenzhané probably is a c***. Nine year olds usually are.

I do not know who you are but I implore you to find a new career because to underestimate and demonize our youth is to undermine the future of our country.

Three:

It wasn’t funny.

It wasn’t. It wasn’t.

Or it wasn’t to me. I hate to make assumptions, but I would guess that it was funny to some people who are not directly affected by the stereotypes and discrimination that fosters that kind of humor. But I don’t find this funny because it doesn’t shed any light on anything other than the fact that someone at one point on that staff thought they could get away with it.

And many people agree that they should have.

The Onion needed to apologize. I commend them for apologizing.

Because you know what takes balls? Looking at a patriarchal society with racist undertones and going “Hey. I was a part of this and I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

What is truly brave is acknowledging that that tweet attacked someone for no reason. What is truly wise is realizing it attacked more than that little girl.

Because the message in that tweet for me was this:

None of you are safe. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you’ve done, and I don’t care how hard you worked to get there. We may be afraid to say it but rest assured:

We’re thinking it loud and clear.

The only difference is that my translation isn’t 140 characters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.stein.37201 Robin Stein

    Thank you Briana, for your spot on commentary. The entire debacle is reprehensible – wrong in sooooooo many ways!

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