News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

'Misogynoir': Prejudice uniquely dealt with by black women




Actress Leslie Jones arrives at the Premiere of Sony Pictures' 'Ghostbusters' at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California. Jones has been on the receiving end of increased online harassment this year after starring in the film.
Actress Leslie Jones arrives at the Premiere of Sony Pictures' 'Ghostbusters' at TCL Chinese Theatre on July 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California. Jones has been on the receiving end of increased online harassment this year after starring in the film.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Listen to story

13:29
Download this story 19.0MB

The reboot of Ghostbusters is on its way out of theaters, But the hate being hurled online at one of its stars, Leslie Jones, just doesn't seem to stop.

Last week, her personal website was hacked, reportedly displaying images of private documents and nude photos.

Soon after, social media was flooded with messages of support from fans and fellow celebrities...

Including singer Katy Perry who tweeted - "Do not give your eyeballs to this racist, hate-filled, misogynoir crime."

For more on this term and the specific challenges black women in this country face today, Take Two's Alex Cohen was  joined by two guests:

Brendesha Tynes , a USC professor specializing in social media and cyberbullying.

And Roxane Gay, author of the essay collection, "Bad Feminist."

On the definition of "misogynoir" and how it relates to prejudice towards black women

Roxane Gay: "Misogynoir is misogyny that is directed specifically at black women. It's designed to tear black women down because of their blackness and because of the ways in which they do not conform with standard ideals about beauty and how women should comport themselves."

"We have a standard idea of beauty in this culture that is generally the white woman who is thin and athletic and blonde, submissive, ideally. And any woman who does not conform to that ideal is subjected to all manner of misogyny. But Black women... that misogyny seems to go a step further. We are attacked for our very being. We are criticized for our looks. We are often compared to animals. We are seen as undesirable and unnecessary and it's a particularly virulent kind of misogyny."

On why racism and misogyny intersect so easily

Brendesha Tynes: "I think it's sort of rooted in American culture. Misogyny and racism intersect in uniquely horrifying ways. They're represented as Gorillas, as men. Some of my participants in my study talk about how men have threatened them and said that they would rape and then hang them. And this isn't happening to other nonblack participants in my study."

Gay on the harassment that she regularly receives

RG: "Well I receive it every single day. To the point now where I get called the N-Word so often that it no longer registers in the same way that it used to no matter what kind of opinion I express online. I might say 'It's a nice day.' and someone will say, 'Shut up N-word,' I'm attacked for my looks all the time. I'm attacked for my size. It's just a constant level of harassment because I dare to be a black woman who believes in herself and dares to have an opinion."

On how the internet has helped perpetuate misogynoir

BT: "I think what is happening is you have video, you have memes, you have texts. And it's proliferating throughout internet spaces. I think people are modeling this misogynoir and socializing their network to normalizing these types of behaviors and so it gets perpetuated through the [content]."

Gay on how she responds to the insults she deals with online

RG: "It really just depends on the day. If I'm having a good day, I just try to laugh it off. But most days, you're up and down. When I get these messages at first it's just this breath-taking moment of I can't believe a human being said that to another human being. And then I think about how hated I feel in that moment."

"I push back oftentimes because I think that we have to stand up and say, 'You can't talk to me that way and get away with it.' But there's really not a lot you can do. You can tweet back and there is this brief moment of catharsis in not allowing yourself to be bullied, but they just keep coming. What happens when you're visible is that they often times, they do this en mass. We say this with Leslie Jones where it became a directed campaign. When it's one or two people it's painful. But when it's a 100 or 200 or 1000, ... it's destroying."

On the fact that Katy Perry, a white woman, informed a lot of people about the term 'misogynoir'

RG: "I don't care how people come to the light as long as they come to the light. I think it's fantastic that someone like Katy Perry is aware of the term and used it correctly. If that makes more people go out and learn about misogynoir. In a perfect world people would learn about it from a black woman, but whatever it takes. Katy Perry has visibility and I feel like if Rihanna had used the term we would not see the same level of interest ... Hopefully more visible women will use the term and bring awareness to a very real issue that black women face. "

On how to combat the negative stereotypes of black women

BT: "I would like to see us talk about how to address it in our daily conversations. People sort of suggesting books that folks could read so that our discussions aren't rooted in these one dimensional ideas of black women, but texts that represent them in their full humanity."

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.