In light of a week where first-person narratives are so crucial in how we cope with the world’s darkness, Wondering Sound’s Claire Lobenfeld wrote an essay about finding solace in Fiona Apple and Lil’ Kim after she was raped as a child. She explores the idea of seeking comfort in one’s own body after dealing with traumatic assault, and it’s hugely powerful.
A Canadian radio show host who came under investigation recently after many women came forward with horrible accounts of workplace harassment and violent sexual assault, Jian Ghomeshi, was arrested and charged for his crimes. Here is a timeline of the events and public accusations leading up to Ghomeshi’s arrest. (Note: It includes language and recounts stories that some might find either offensive or triggering.) Ghomeshi is, by all accounts, a lifelong offender, with allegations going as far back as his college days.
One of the women who came forward about her experiences with Ghomeshi, Lucy DeCoutere, released a statement in the wake of his arrest, saying, “The past month has seen a major shift in the conversation about violence against women. It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victims’ voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”
My friend Alanna McArdle, the singer of Joanna Gruesome, has written an op-ed for Pitchfork about Ariel Pink’s recent headlong dive into the River Douche. He’s a colossal troll, much like the kind of guy who only speaks up in class to “play Devil’s Advocate.” He tries again and again to, as Alanna writes, “make himself impervious to criticism by hyperbolizing his offensiveness.” Being a middle-aged white dude, he seems to think, is such a misunderstood position, that when he makes women mad with his insensitive, misogynist comments, he honestly feels that he’s doing the right thing by “bullying the bullies.”
Alanna’s simple assessment of why this isn’t revolutionary is spot-on: When you’re marginalized and you face this sort of mistreatment every day by virtue of who you are, it doesn’t seem particularly novel coming from someone whose records you likely pay money for. She nailed it. And then, the internet stepped in to ruin everything: On Pitchfork’s Facebook page, over 250 comments were posted to her article, with a majority coming from dudes. Some implied that the author was stupid and just didn’t get his music, others decried feminism and social justice, and some were downright threatening and peppered with hateful slurs. This is known as Lewis’s Law, which declares that “comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” Defend women in music at all costs, y’all. Misogyny, sexism, and male violence affect all of us: those who speak out, as well as those who don’t.
For those following the recent rape and sexual harassment accusations being brought against Bill Cosby, the news that Cosby once traded an exclusive interview to the National Enquirer in exchange for their silence comes as no surprise. In 2005, Cosby admitted under oath that he traded an interview to the paper in exchange for them not running their interview with Beth Ferrier, who said that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her. At the time, Cosby was already in the middle of dealing with another sexual assault case, and felt that another testimony would hurt his image. The paper took the exclusive interview with Cosby, the testimony went unpublished, and the woman’s story went unheard.
In the above article, it also came out that in 2000, Cosby had threatened to sue the National Enquirer for $250 million if they ran a woman’s account of him sexually harassing her at a dinner. At least 15 women have come forward so far, with more stepping forward every day, to accuse Cosby. Many of them recount similar experiences of being drugged and waking up during or directly after being assaulted. Finally, we get to hear their stories.
I loved reading the singer Antony Hegarty’s thoughtful interview with Flavorwire about her career and Turning, her recent film collaboration with video artist Charles Atlas. Hegarty discusses depictions of transfeminism, artistic performance, and the elements of our lives that inspire her “sense of urgency” in creating art, like the patriarchy and the decline of the environment. In turn, she inspires me (and many, many others) with her brilliance and bravery. ♦