In this month's Vanity Fair, Taylor Swift was interviewed and asked how she felt about the ribbing she got from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes. (Fey and Poehler teased Swift to "Stay away from Michael J Fox's son!" and that the serial dater needed some "me time".) Swift clearly was not amused and answered by quoting Katie Couric quoting Madeleine Albright that there is a "special place in hell for women who don't help other women".
This is one of my favorite quotes in the world, and Taylor's misuse was like nails on a chalkboard for me. First of all, I highly doubt this situation was what Ms. Albright or Ms. Couric meant by this statement. Secondly, Ms. Fey and Ms. Poehler handed her some really good advice. I've been trying to find a way to explain why I am so upset about this for a week now.
I found my reason in my break room at work today. Two co-workers were talking about the recent conviction of two teenage boys for sexually assaulting a girl, bragging about it on various social media sites and making a YouTube video. These women were discussing how these boys lives are ruined. How this could have been "some fast little girl" and there are two sides to the story.
What the what? I had to ask to make sure I was hearing this correctly. Two women in my office were taking the side of convicted rapists. Then I started listening a little harder. Numerous main stream media outlets have also reported how this conviction is affecting the SEXUAL OFFENDERS. How their promising futures are ruined. How they will never overcome this tragedy they have suffered. Many of these commentators are women.
Let me be clear. I too am saddened that these boys threw away their promising futures by sexually violating an incapacitated girl. Note the change of syntax. They ruined their future with their actions. I too wonder what their parents are thinking. I wonder why they never taught their sons that sex is to be shared between two consenting adults and that if the woman can't consent, then she is saying No. I am confused why two young men who committed the most adult crime were tried as juveniles and will, in fact, have ample opportunity to move on with their lives.
What we as women need to do is take a stand and help this young woman (you know, the REAL victim here) know that her attackers behavior is not acceptable. We need to stand up and demand that these boys be treated as the criminals they are. We need to demand that those coaches and other adults who were complicit in attempting to cover this crime be held responsible. Obstruction of justice is a crime, regardless of football season.
So, Taylor, on the off chance this comes up on your google alerts, being gently teased about your very public behavior is not going to earn Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a seat in that special handbasket to hell. Turns out, it's already full of women who aren't helping women with real problems.