Megan Thee Stallion Is Not on Trial, but Misogynoir Is
Content warning: Mentions of suicide, intimate partner violence, and misogynoir.
Tory Lanez (real name Daystar Peterson) is on trial facing three felony charges in connection with the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion (real name Megan Pete) on the night of July 12, 2020. Despite these charges being brought on by The L.A. County District Attorney, Megan being the victim of violence, and her being just one witness of many, the artist has been under increased attacks leading to a spread of misinformation and disinformation online—especially by HipHop entertainment social media accounts/blogs. From comments from the paparazzi to people claiming that Megan has a “defense team” (even though she doesn’t have one because she’s not on trial), ever since the first day of taking the stand, the hate has intensified.
Let’s start with the fact that this is all straight-up misogynoir (misogyny towards Black women/femmes, especially but not exclusively by Black men). From her love of anime to her expression of femininity, people have hated that they cannot shame or control Megan. Instead of finding things actually worth criticizing or staying out of the conversation, people put her down (mostly online) because that is the closest they feel to empowerment—putting down Black women. As of late, that’s taken the form of slut-shaming her and continuing to downplay the shooting that took place in 2020.
Since the night she was shot onward, Megan has faced accusations and jokes at her expense from people in entertainment and online. At first, people didn’t believe she was shot at all and were calling her a liar even though there was video footage showing her bleeding. Once she shared medical images (which she didn’t need to), the public perception by many became “Well, if she did, she deserved it.” Since Megan has risen to superstar status, all of her unabashed art about her sexuality and dominance has been used against her, both in the case of the shooting and in fueling transphobic comments about her.
A few weeks before the trial, Drake and 21 Savage joined the millions of others (that includes Chrissy Teigen, LeBron James, and others) who downplayed this act of violence and/or called her a liar. This prompted an open letter from The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium to publish an open letter in support of Megan and denouncement of violence against women.
The real consequences of this smear
I can’t even be happy. I can’t hold conversations with people for a long time. I don’t feel like I want to be on this earth. I wish he would have just shot and killed me, if I knew I would have to go through this torture.– Megan on the first day on the stand.
Since the summer of 2020, more evidence has been revealed (such as gun residue on both Lanez and Kelsey Harris), corroborating everything Megan has said since the beginning. In each shift in public opinion, there are always people who stay behind and spew hateful comments about her. Now blogs and misogynists are trying to blame the fact that she was shot on the number of men she’s slept with. This is in step with Lanez’s defense, claiming that Harris shot Megan in a jealous rage. The Canadian rapper is trying to frame Meg’s shooting as a spat between two angry Black women over him.
This hate towards Megan and the need to vilify a Black woman has real-world consequences for Black women. Intimate partner violence is something that plagues every community, full-stop. However, a 2020 study by the Violence Policy Center found that in 91% of Black women’s murders in single victim/single offender incidents (where an offender is a man), they knew the killers. Of those women, 61% were murdered by a significant other (ex or current), and 90% of those murders were committed by Black men (It’s essential to note that cases and statistics like this are why intimate partner violence is brought up in conversations around gun reform).
Megan and others watching the smear against her in real-time understand how these things are connected. This is why Megan worked with the New York Times and others in her Protect Black Women campaign. Many online are opening up on how the attacks on Megan mirror their own experiences. “Recovering Lawyer” Stephanie (from Wine N’ Chill) did a breakdown of this case and dedicated this in memory of her friend Courtney. Stephanie and Courtney were peers from law school, and Courtney was murdered by her partner in 2021.
So what if Megan did XYZ?
To most of the attacks and accusations hurled at Megan, I have one question: “And what does that have to do with anything?” What if Megan slept with all the men and more, as many are claiming of her right now? What if Megan is a transgender woman? What if she said something meanie-bo-beanie to Lanez or to Kelsey? What does any of this have to do with Lanez (allegedly) shooting her twice in the foot? None of this warrants the shots fired at her and the daily reminder that most people don’t care about Black women.
If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource: 988 (the new number). You can also text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or chat here. Also, see Megan’s BadBitchesHaveBadDaysToo.com.
(featured image: 300 Entertainment, Megan Thee Stallion)
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