Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week's most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Because every day on this expiring planet is a fresh, flaming hell, an anonymous fuckbro or a group thereof have hacked into Leslie Jones’s personal website and posted all manner of horrifying things. The website’s since been taken down, but according to the New York Daily News, the hacker(s) “filled the page with images of the Saturday Night Live star’s driver’s license and passport, revealing her personal information,” posted a series of nude photos of Jones, and, at the top of the page, posted a video of Harambe, the gorilla who was killed this summer at the Cincinnati Zoo.
This isn’t the first time Jones has been the victim of sickeningly racist, sexist internet attacks; earlier this summer, she was targeted by dozens of Twitter users who bombarded her with repugnant racial epithets and doctored photos of the comedian. At the time, a devastated Jones took a few days off Twitter.
Jones has yet to respond to today’s hack (wow, it really sucks that she’s going to be expected to respond to this shit), but, somewhat heartbreakingly, her most recent tweet is evidence of her typical, irrepressible joie de vivre in the face of humanity’s most defective representatives.
The Solution: I cannot properly evoke the infernal rage I’m experiencing with words alone, so suffice to say,
For those of you wondering, “But why Leslie Jones, of all people?”: It’s important to remember that Leslie Jones is a (1) woman who is (2) black and (3) unapologetic about both of these things — even (gasp) ebullient about them. The idea of “Leslie Jones” as a concept threatens the very fiber that binds the white-supremacist underworld together, keeping a cabal of deeply mediocre white dudes in positions of (relative) power, keeping women and people of color suppressed, keeping Reddit in business. The twisted logic that fuels these tragic, pitiable sacks of baggy, medium-wash denim: “If Leslie Jones is allowed to succeed — to be happy, to make money, to create art — then what’s next? Will a woman or a person of color take my job? Be my boss? Steal my dungeon wife? And what then? Surrounded by smart, talented people who’ve been overlooked for centuries, what will I look like in comparison? Will everyone be able to see how idiotic and worthless I truly am? Will they suddenly realize that I have spent the majority of my wretched life masturbating to a photo of a dead goldfish and/or crying into an empty Pringles can for muffling purposes? No. This cannot be. I must make sure that Leslie Jones does not upset the delicate balance that allows me to contribute absolutely nothing of real worth to society, but be blindly accepted by it all the same. Should I wash my dick today, or is it fine because I haven’t gone outside in six weeks?”
Oh, right, the solution. The best thing to do, at this point, is to keep on being ebullient-ass motherfucking women and ignore these extremely pointless men. Also, let’s all agree to never fuck any of them.
On the Leslie Jones front, my friend Viviana has a brilliant idea. Slide into her DMs if you’ve got the necessary supplies.
The Lady Problem: I am about 3,000 existential miles away from the Spider-Man Cinematic Universe, so bear with me here as I attempt to analyze it from my Lady Problems satellite. This week, it was revealed that Zendaya would be starring in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s love interest who has, historically, been drawn and played by a white girl with red hair. Because the Venn diagram of “Easily Provoked Comic-Book Fans With a Little Too Much Time on Their Hands” and “Racists/Sexists” has a not-insignificant overlap, the backlash to Zendaya’s casting was swift and predictably racist/sexist.
ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer has a great piece on the issue; in it, he says that within 24 hours of the casting announcement, he received comments like the below:
• “Why can’t they just cast a REAL, good-looking redhead?”
• “[She was] hand picked to appease the PC culture that is LITERALLY RIPPING OUR NATION APART!”
• “Retroactively changing the race of an existing character with an established skin tone and/or physiognomy is just dumb. No one enjoys this pitiful practice in pandering.”
Of course, scanning the internet, these are some of the kinder responses. In essence, and as usual, the Sad Men of the World Wide Web (see above) are hiding their bigotry and misogyny behind criticisms of “PC culture” and “feminazis.” These are the rallying cries of the white-supremacist underworld we’re temporarily vacationing in for today’s Lady Problems. These are the things white Republican uncles say at Thanksgiving when they’re explaining why they “just don’t get” Nicki Minaj. These are the things that the SMOTWWW are going to tweet at me when I publish this article. These are the days of our lives.
The Solution: Memo to Marvel: Make this movie. Promote the fuck out of Zendaya’s role. Put her on every billboard, splash her on a zillion magazine covers, sit her ass down in a Carpool Karaoke. Once anticipation for this shit is at a fever pitch, show these Trumpbois their own receipts. Don’t let any of the Comment-Section Haunters see Spider-Man: Homecoming. Deprive them of their lifeblood: fantasies in which an average white guy is deemed heroic for strapping on some latex. Make millions. Donate a portion of those millions to Planned Parenthood (these guys hate Planned Parenthood). Next time around, make Spider-Man gay as hell.