In short: Women suck, Batman rulez.

Reports are out that Christian Bale, star of the new hit Batman movie, has been arrested in London for the alleged assault of his mother and sister. I will admit that when I saw these reports this morning, I had that brief moment of disbelief – “Him? Could he really do that?” – that is so common when apparent “good guy” actors get accused of stuff like this. As if being a great actor makes one immune to doing fucked up, ugly, or violent things; as if one could possibly know anything about stars from the little that filters through the media or their performances; as if violent, abusive acts are only committed by people who have been doing so from birth. (I’ll also admit feeling a rather base and thoroughly selfish sadness that the news could seriously taint my viewing of The Dark Knight, a movie that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and am planning on seeing very soon. Suckily frivolous and beside the point, I know.)

I guess it was my morning to be shocked by things that are sadly par for the course in our fucked up, sexist society, because I was even more shocked by some of the responses that people have had in the comments of news sites and blogs reporting the incident – many people insisting that we not prejudge Bale before the full facts come out (sure, OK, I’ll give you that) while judging his mother and sister as lying, greedy, scheming vultures in the same breath. See here, here and here, where one guy goes on the defensive before anyone even talks about Bale and complains:

I hope you’ll indulge my annoyance, but I’m getting a little tired of the “guilty until proven innocent” anytime someone accuses some dude of domestic abuse.

Oh yeah, because that’s how it usually plays out. Same with rape allegations. And especially when a celebrity is involved. Yeah, no one ever doubts, slanders, and pillories the women in question! Give me a fucking break.

Between the people so quick to absolve a man and condemn women, the ridiculously imbalanced treatment of a rich famous white dude by the London police (wonder if a poor/non-famous/non-white person would be given time to take care of business before getting hauled in?), and the allegations themselves, the whole thing is pretty sickening.

(And yeah, I hope that somehow the allegations are untrue as well, but because I hope that women weren’t assaulted. That should be the most important thing here – not people having their movie superhero’s rep go untarnished.)

cross-posted at Feministe

ETA: I changed the name of this post from “Because clearly, Batman is the true victim here” because that didn’t really get at the point I was trying to make. I don’t know if this one does, either, but it annoys me less. Sometimes I hate coming up with titles for these posts!

6 Responses to “In short: Women suck, Batman rulez.”

  1. 1 Dex

    Thank you. Whatever went down, this situation gives me a sad feeling for a bunch of reasons. But what’s the worst is what you pointed out – people jumping to defend their *hero* and directing anger and blame at the mother and sister. If people want to say “innocent until proven guilty” (which I would, y’know, hope they would extend to people who aren’t “Batman”), sure, fine. But then turning around and trying to point the finger at the complainants? Doesn’t follow and is just plain messed up.

  2. 2 Dex

    And – this incident really just reinforces for me the tiresome, obnoxious, and childish nature of a celebrity culture where people feel that they can and must weigh in on the personal lives and motivations of famous strangers we don’t know AT ALL except through bulls**t gossip, as if we all have a personal stake in definitively declaring someone like Christian Bale to be A Good Person. I was reading a thread today where commenters were basically trying to piece together a psychological profile through quotes and snippets from trashy celebrity gossip rags and websites, and I just got fed up.

    And it’s all so arbitrary.

    “Oh, but I’ve had a crush on him since I was 12, and he’s always seemed so nice to his wife and is so sweet with his daughter…” –> Good Guy.

    “Ew, he’s so NAST and just *looks* like a frat boy sketchbag. He so did it.” –> Bad Guy.

    They’re just people, folks, people that we don’t know s**t about. It’s okay to admit that our ideas of them are based largely on fantasies, and that our opinions of their private lives, and whether or not we like them, are pretty much founded on empty images.

    (It doesn’t mean that at the end of the day, I’m going to stop swooning over, say, Morgan Freeman. It’s just knowing that I don’t actually have a clue about what he’s really like or what makes him tick.)

  3. 3 Jack

    Totally agreed, Dex. All of these judgments on whether celebrities are bad are good are indeed really arbitrary, though probably tinged with not-so-arbitrary biases based on looks, race, class background, etc.

  4. 4 Dex

    Yes, very important point, Jack re: the not-so-arbitrary parts of it.

  5. 5 PseudoAdrienne

    […]people so quick to absolve a man and condemn women[…]

    Meh. At least they let you know right off the bat how much of a misogynist they are, so you can avoid- and ignore them.

    guilty until proven innocent

    Unless a person is in the potential jury-pool and a case is going to trial, I’d say one is safe to express all the prejudiced reservations about a particular incident–and its accused and accuser–as they want. Really, how many of these apologist-whiners who come out of the woodwork whenever an incident like this come up, are residents within the jurisdiction of these cases’ voir dire?

  1. 1 Links for July 28, 2008 « Doing Feminism
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