An Open Letter to Liberals Who Loved Eminem’s Rap:
By now most of you have probably heard (or least heard about) rapper Eminem’s brutal takedown of President Trump. At the BET awards on Tuesday night, Eminem performed a freestyle rap in which he eviscerated the president on everything from his spending to his racism to his tax cuts to his ‘orange’ skin to his hypocrisy.
My fellow liberals loved the performance, and people like Keith Olbermann, Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick raved about the rapper’s bravery and skill. Even Ellen herself sent a heart emoji to Eminem on Twitter.
There’s just one problem with all this love. It happens at around the 40-second mark. Eminem raps:
“Imma walk inside a mosque on Ramadan
And say a prayer that every time Melania talks
She gets a mou… Ahh, Imma stop.”
Blink and you’ll miss it, but what the rapper is implying is that every time our First Lady starts to speak, she gets a mouthful of you-know-what. Yes, he’s referring to oral sex, or really rape, as Melania’s consent is not needed or considered necessary here by Eminem. (Not to mention the fact that he’s disrespecting Muslims everywhere).
To say this line is disgusting would be an understatement. No matter what your politics, to intimate that the First Lady (or any woman) should be on the receiving end of sexual violence simply because you don’t like her is horrific and misogynist and worthy of nothing but scorn and horror.
But, instead, Eminem is being lauded on social media and beyond. Liberal icons like Ellen herself are applauding Eminem, giving props to a man who even outside of these lyrics has been a mouthpiece for violence against women as well as gays. Wow. To say 2017 has made for strange bedfellows would be an understatement.
I ❤️ @Eminem.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 11, 2017
And, listen, I get it. I consider myself a feminist and a leftist and a supporter of the LGBT community, all things that could put me at odds with this administration.
But I am also a woman. A woman who believes in sisterhood. In strength. In solidarity. In speaking out when I see a woman—any woman—being demeaned and dehumanized. A threat of sexual violence against a woman, whether she is a Democrat or Republican or Antifa, is a threat of sexual violence against all women.
Once we allow and even applaud men who make such statements about certain women, we create an environment in which sexual violence becomes something that some women just deserve. We create an environment in which sexual violence is a punchline, something that can be treated lightly and made into a mockery. We create an environment in which men are given a smiling nod or a blind eye when they disrespect women.
I am here to say I won’t stand for it. As a woman, I won’t stand for it. As a mom of 3 boys, I won’t stand for it. My kids like a wide variety of music, but like a lot of boys (and girls), they can rap some of Eminem’s songs word for word. I crack up when my boys speed-rap Eminem’s “I’m a Superhuman,” and even though it’s not my cup of tea, I can appreciate Em’s talent and the fact that he has inspired and entertained millions.
But here’s the issue: Despite Eminem’s creativity and writing ability, he still resorted to throwing a threat of rape against Melania. Why? If you want to criticize Trump, there are so many things you can say (and as liberals, we say them a lot), so why does Em even need to go there? I suspect he chose to do so because a line like that is low hanging fruit. Because it’s good for a cheap laugh. Because it speaks to his core audience (angry men) and it gives him a chance to dehumanize and demean a beautiful, powerful woman, which in turn makes him feel powerful and important.
That explains his motivations, but liberals, here is my question for you: Why are WE supporting this? Why are we retweeting his performance and showing him love?
After 27 years of doubts about rap I am now an @Eminem fan.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 11, 2017
Really, Keith!? Really?
I try to lead by example and teach my sons about consent, respect, and equality, but when celebrities are giving the “heart emoji” to songs that suggest rape against the First Lady and political pundits say it’s the “best political writing of the year,” it can feel as though I am fighting a losing battle.
Add in recent events like what is happening in Hollywood with Harvey Weinstein, and it’s easy to feel defeated. To feel as though my little voice in the fray doesn’t matter. To feel like my fight for consent and sexual equality for all adults is one that won’t be won in my lifetime. I bet you probably feel the same way, if not about this issue, then about some other issue which you are passionate about.
But here’s the thing: As tired and as disillusioned as I get sometimes, I firmly believe that when we step forward without fear, others will follow. When we act in the name of justice and truth, the universe is ALWAYS served. When we use our voices (small though they may be), there is always someone listening. Maybe it’s your teenage sons. Maybe it’s your best friend. Maybe it’s your Facebook follower. Maybe it’s just YOU, you hearing your voice speaking up boldly, bravely, and righteous in truth and power.
So, today, that’s how I am going to use my voice. I am going to join women like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd who have been speaking out all week against Harvey Weinstein, and I am going to send my voice up to the heavens and say to Eminem, to Ellen, to everyone who liked his rap:
No. Get another hero. Get another anthem. A song that glorifies and excuses raping the First Lady does NOT deserve applause. It doesn’t deserve a write-up in the New York Times. It doesn’t deserve a heart emoji from a woman and a LGBT icon. Hate the President all you want, but once you start making light of forcing a woman to perform a sexual act, you become the force you claim to hate. You become the p*****y grabber. You become the hypocrite. You become the problem.
Take a knee, Eminem. Not for the flag, but for the women of this country. You owe us an apology. Start with the First Lady first. You know her address.