By now, many have heard of the situation surrounding SNL cast-member, comedienne, Leslie Jones. Jones’s troubles started with the July 2016 release of the all-female remake of Ghostbusters. Though she’s not the first female to be hacked, or have nude photos leaked, Jones’ case underscores or highlights what many black female bloggers have dubbed, misogynoiry (misogyny + noir) or the hatred or abuse/harassment of black women.
Attacking black women isn’t new, nor will it go away, but as The Establishment writer, Talynn Kel highlighted in her article on Jones’ case–black women are the least defended group, and are therefore deemed safe targets for trolls. The dating site experiences of black women, along with Psychology Today’s article: Why are black women ugly, both drive the point home: the world wide web is a scary place for black women.
With the rise of black women–the most educated group in America–and women in general, white men have become defiant in their opposition to sharing power, which they see as a zero-sum effect.The Ghostbusters remake was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as it resulted in an active campaign to destroy the film.
A similar curated movement originated in the science fiction writing community, wherein a group calling themselves the Sadpuppies (comprised entirely of white males) led campaigns (2015/16) to flood out Hugo-nominated novels written by POC authors. They too have anointed a villain for their attacks: black female SF writer, NK Jemisin, one of the most outspoken critics of them.
Jones has sadly found herself the center of these troll movements. Like Jemisin, Jones represent what white males oppose the most (POCs and women). Like Serena Williams before her, Jones does not fit into the feminine ideal set by white males. Like Serena, she’s physically big, dark-skinned, and in Jones case, she’s pushing 50. By all means, these traits should render Jones’ a non-factor in Hollywood. Yet, despite being a dark-skinned older black woman, Jones is successful.
Serena Williams has been dealing with similar attacks on her personhood/womanhood, and her crime appears to be winning–at the expense of skinnier, younger, whiter women. Indian Wells CEO, Raymond Moore, defended his sexist comments against female tennis players by saying he found Genie Bouchard and Garbine Muguruza attractive, and believe they could take up the mantle of [generating interest for the WTA] when Serena was no longer there. In another incident, a Russian Tennis coach was fined for calling Serena and her sister, “The Williams Brothers.” And, I have come across more than one photo likening Williams to a simian, similar to the photos likening Jones to Harambe, the popular gorilla killed at the Cincinnati zoo in April 2016.
Some other factors to consider. Jones is the only cast member of Ghostbusters 2016 with an active social media account. Jones is not only on social media, but has embraced it.See her Tweets about the Rio Olympics. Moreover, Jones made the mistake of fighting back, which is a no-no against Trolls. The more one fights back, the more she encourages trolls.
Patriarchy plays a role. One of the “privileges” of patriarchy is female protection. Many women can bank on men to protect/defend them. That is true, except for black women, especially those of a certain hue and age. Sojourner Truth’s Aint I a Woman, too, is a must read for the ways in which black women never benefited from patriarchy.
Jones’ very presence offends her detractors, who believe wholeheartedly that someone who looks like her shouldn’t be successful. For years, they dogged Serena Williams, who, like Jones, has challenged her lesser position in a white male society, and defied the odds.