Black women in the limelight are not only scrutinzed by onlookers and consumers. They are often devalued, hypersexualized, and fetishized in ways that render them mere objects.

On July 3rd, Zendaya called out this horrible tweet.



Zendaya responded to the troll with this.

And, while her response is perfect, it is sad she had to say anything to him at all.

This initial tweet is misogynoir at its highest level, due to its objectification of black women. In fact, the dehumanization of celebrity women is something of a trend in media, music, and every day conversation. The nature of celebrity is admittedly odd and impersonal, as the mass public is fed an image of a person stripped of their human qualities and paraded around as the pinnacle of success and beauty.

But celebrity women are still human. Famous black women are still women. Joking about raping women, even women with whom you will likely never come in contact with, is a dark and sick revelation that you do not see women as humans worthy of respect or honor.

Lena Dunham wrote a Facebook post wherein she calls out Kanye West for a similar type of dehumanizing misogyny for his use of Taylor Swift’s image in his “Famous” music video. While Dunham herself has some progress to make concerning humanizing black women in her own work, she makes a notable point. Kanye’s use of Swift’s image, as well as Amber Rose’s, Anna Wintour’s, Rihanna’s, Caitlyn Jenner’s, and his own wife’s in bed with each other and other men to suggest sex or intimacy reduces these women to the sum of their parts. Their persons, their dignity, and their human nature is stripped away and all that is left is their naked bodies.

Of course, Kanye’s video is based on a work of art—even the above tweet is based on a movie about a dystopian future wherein all crime is suddenly permissible. But what does it say about us when our art, our imaginary, includes violence against women? Specifically, violence against women of color?

There is no need for all art to be PG or even PC, but we must find a line between simply glorifying depictions of women as sexual objects and valuable artistic expression.

This type of minimization of non-consensual sex between famous women and men perpetuates further disrespect for women, their wishes, and the control they have over their bodies. Flippant remarks like the tweet mentioning Zendaya and even something more purposeful like Kanye’s new video both proclaim the same thing: women do not matter and they are not more than their bodies.

Kudos to Zendaya for pointing out the darkness of this tweet. We must continue to call out misogyny wherever present.

Photo Creds: luisstuto1, Flickr