Yesterday, I wrote this throwaway post about how Chris Brown said “fuck the haters!” in which I pointed out that people don’t hate him because he was a scrappy underdog, they hate him because he beat his ex-girlfriend and that police reports made it very clear that he was trying to kill her. And then I got this e-mail from a woman:
Hi. I just wanted you to know that this is bullying . Chris brown made a mistake which he has apologized and is reaping the consequences for those actions. Let the man live his life before he decides to do something drastic that he thinks will get everyone’s off his back. Your no better than people who bully others because they’re gay or different. You need to look into the NoH8 (no hate) campaign to learn something.
And then I took a second and thought “I didn’t know that the lobotomobile was making its rounds again.”
I suppose it’s better than the women on Twitter talking about how Chris Brown can beat them, but this is not logic. This is leucotome thinking.
Because, sometimes, people disapprove of people not because they’re “bullies” or “haters,” but because those people have done something very hurtful, and then went jet ski-ing. Chris Brown is a man who, today, thinks that his behavior is a charming joke that can be turned into a pick-up line. That is not an example of “being remorseful.” Being a good singer does not excuse being a bad person.
For all Chris Brown’s fans seem to want to exclaim “only God can judge!” that’s… not true. We have a legal system, as well as a code of commonly accepted societal ethics. And one part of that code that is really near and dear to my heart is “you don’t beat women until you almost kill them.” You just don’t. And I know it has been three whole years, and, well I guess that just doesn’t strike me as all that long a time.
And it especially doesn’t strike me as a long time when he shows no remorse for his actions. Remember when he was asked questions about his behavior on Good Morning America and responded by throwing a chair out the window? That doesn’t really seem like a contrite response. Turning the fact that you beat a woman severely into a pick-up line doesn’t strike me as a contrite response. Telling the haters to fuck off because you’ve got a Grammy doesn’t strike me a contrite response.
And I can see how Chris Brown still might be an appealing figure to men who, maybe, kind of, sort of, want to punch their girlfriends really hard in the face and then go merrily on with their lives. I get that. It’s terrible that some men really like Chris Brown, but it is comprehensible without assuming that someone must have had an icepick lodged behind their eyeball.
Look, women, writer of this letter: it’s not okay for men to hit you. It’s not okay for men to hit you. It’s not okay for men to hit you. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. It doesn’t matter if you were “egging them on”. They are bigger and stronger and it is not okay for men to hit you. It is not okay if they are good singers. It is not okay if the have a grammy. It is not okay if they have green eggs and ham. It is not okay. It is never okay. It never will be okay. [tagbox tag="Chris Brown"]
This is not a reflection on “not letting people with pasts move on.” You have something in your past you’re not proud of? We all do. Everyone. Lady, you likely did not beat your significant other until they had to go to the hospital. And if you did, you aren’t blithely dismissing it and turning it into a fun joke.
This is not something that should be controversial. Chris Brown is not a controversial figure. He is a man who beat a woman until she had to go to the hospital. And it seems like if, as women, we say “that’s okay because he’s good looking and can do high kicks” we are admitting that we don’t care at all about men’s character. Just, not even a little bit. We are saying that we are willing to date people who behave like monsters, because we don’t feel that we, as women, have enough worth not to merit really, really bad treatment. And we are saying that if someone is rich and famous then they are not obligated to treat us with respect or decency.
And we deserve that. Always. Even if the person you are dating is super cool in other ways, they cannot beat the shit out of you. We need to make it clear that men who hit you are not good people – not in a “oh, I know it’s wrong, but Rihanna is assertive and I’m SURE she started it” way, because that is meaningless. It doesn’t matter if she started it. It’s still not okay. Ever. And if someone does it once, there is a very strong likelihood they will do it again, especially if they are a “dealing with problems by throwing chairs out of windows” kind of a guy.
Because if we don’t remember that all the time, we are telling the next generation of women that it’s okay to stay with men who hit you repeatedly if they have “other qualities.” Well, everyone has other qualities (not everyone can do fun Peter Pan flips, but everyone has other qualities). And it’s absolutey not okay.
It’s just not okay.