Leslie Jones Nude Photo Hack Is ‘Misogynoir’, Says Katy Perry. Here's What That Means
The Debrief: 'Misogynoir' was invented by Moya Bailey, here are black women's descriptions of what it means...
Leslie Jones, comedian and actress in the re-make of Ghostbusters, is here to make our lives, our pain and our struggles, a little lighter. Her job is to crack jokes, make us lol. And some people can’t handle that so much that they persistently abused her on Twitter. As a result, one of the ringleaders of the abuse - who won’t be named, because he is pretty much the worst person ever and definitely Googles himself, if his rabid followers don't first - was finally banned from Twitter.
Weeks later, nude photos of Leslie Jones have surfaced online, having been procured by a hacker who definitely has a lot of friends and love and joy in their life. The hacker also put a video of Harambe, the gorilla who was killed at Cincinnati Zoo and has since become meme-famous, onto Leslie’s website.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, while some shared the images and made jokes about them and Leslie, others stood up for her. Lena Dunham tweeted: ‘Let’s turn our anger at trolls into love for Leslie Jones and into strategies to protect all the heroines who don’t deserve this bullshit.'
Queslove, of the band The Roots, tweeted: ‘These acts against Leslie Jones are sickening. It’s racist & sexist. It’s disgusting. This is hate crimes. This ain’t “kids joshing round.”’
And Katy Perry tweeted: ‘Do not give your eyeballs to this racist, hate-filled, misogynoir crime. I #StandWithLeslie <3’
Misogynoir and intersectionality
But what is misogynoir? It helps to understand intersectionality first. In 1991 Kimberlé Crenshaw, now a professor of law, coined the term ‘intersectionality’. She said ‘It simply came from the idea that if you’re standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you are likely to get hit by both.’
If intersectionality is the theory that black women are on the receiving end of racism and sexism, entwined, ‘misogynoir’ is the name for that toxic combination.
What does misogynoir mean?
The term 'misogynoir' was coined by Moya Bailey who wanted a word that combined misogyny and racism ('misogyny' is hatred of women, 'noir' is French for black or dark) She first wrote about it in the brilliant-sounding Crunk Feminist Collective blog in 2011 to ‘describe the particular brand of hatred directed at black women in American visual and popular culture’.
Where does misogynoir happen?
Later, black feminist commentator Feminista Jones told The Guardian: ‘Misogynoir provides a racialised nuance that mainstream feminism wasn’t catching. We are talking about misogyny, yes, but there is a specific misogyny that is aimed at black women and is uniquely detrimental to black women.’
Another recent example of misogynoir played out in real life is when London club DSTRKT refused entry to two young black women on the basis they were ‘too fat’ and ‘too dark’. Activists picketed the club, while the club denied responsibility for the actions of a promoter. Over in the US, Black Lives Matter was founded by three queer black women to make certain that black women’s voices were not left out of the fight against police brutality. Patrice Cullors, one of the women, told The Debrief: 'It’s talking about all black lives. Black people with black kids, black people, black women, black people with disabilities, black queer folk.'
How big a problem is misogynoir?
Brendesha Tynes, a professor of education and psychology at the University of Southern California specialising in social media and cyberbullying, told the New York Times that this is part of ‘a serious anti-black woman problem in the US’.
Sameer Hinduka, professor of Criminology at Florida-Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center said Leslie has done so much for those who have been victimised, by standing up to her attackers: ‘She was an advocate for others that have been victimized and heaven’t spoken up, and that has led to more attention, and has, perhaps, indirectly, led to policy change on Twitter’s part’.
Knowing about misogynoir means we can recognise it when we see it and fight against it - as individuals, allies and advocates. Oh, and it goes without saying that it helps absolutely no-one to look at the nude photos of Leslie.
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