What Kathy Griffin Did Hurts Women Everywhere
Image Credits: Getty Images
This week, we witnessed comedy taken to a place that just wasn’t funny. Comedian Kathy Griffin, with the help of provocative photographer Tyler Shields, released a photo of her holding a mask that looked disturbingly like the decapitated head of President Trump. Promptly, the Internet exploded with criticism from both sides of the aisle.
At first, I just felt disgust. I’m well aware that President Trump has said offensive things. He might even be the most controversial figure in politics today. However, that doesn’t excuse what Kathy Griffin did nor does it give people a window to be nasty “because Trump is.” Michelle Obama so infamously said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” Kathy Griffin went lower and she emulated behavior that she claims to despise.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all made mistakes and done things that we like to think don’t define us as people. Obviously most people have never – and would never, might I add – gone to the extent that Griffin went. For a moment, let’s look at her like a human who made a really awful, terrible mistake. She tried to be provocative and edgy – she knew the photo would be controversial from footage taken at the actual shoot – but she crossed the line so far that the line is no longer even in the rear view mirror.
After seeing the reaction, Griffin released a video. She apologized to the public and her fans rather than the Trump family, on Twitter. I found the apology rehearsed and a little insincere, but she apologized, which says something at least. I think many people probably considered forgiveness. It seemed Griffin’s career was showing vital signs on life support.
Then, everything changed. What I thought was a poorly-judged mistake was revealed as a ploy for attention. Griffin announced that she was now being represented by lawyer Lisa Bloom and had scheduled a press conference for Friday morning. In a press release tweeted out by Bloom on Thursday night, Griffin said she endured “bullying” from the Trump family, which is probably the only “comedy” she’s given the world this week.
Her press conference was a performance. She seemed to proudly wear the victim card. With Bloom looking adoringly at her, Griffin cried what appeared to be fake tears and proclaimed that “old white men” and “sexism” were to blame for the events that followed the release of her photo. Finally, she broke down and admitted, “Trump broke me.”
As a young woman, forgiveness for Kathy Griffin went out the window after Friday’s press conference. Watching a woman, especially one who has influence and power over pop culture, refuse to take responsibility for her actions and blame men was disheartening. No one forced her to take that photo, especially not the “old white men” she cried about. Being a strong woman means acknowledging your mistakes as your own. Blaming society or men for actions that you know are wrong just doesn’t cut it. Strong women don’t play the victim card. Instead, they take responsibility for their actions.
So, dear Kathy Griffin, your pre-planned ploy for attention is shameful. You have abused the situations of women who have actually been oppressed and bullied by men. If you, and other women, continue to use sexism as a scapegoat, real instances of sexism lose their credibility. That’s wrong. Participating in that photo shoot was a bad choice, but your choices that followed the release of that photo might even be worse. You denied that you made an autonomous choice. In the process, you have hurt women everywhere.
Karly Matthews is a student at Temple University, where she is majoring in political science and journalism while minoring in Spanish. At any given moment, Karly can be found talking about Marco Rubio and advocating for conservative values with a large coffee mug and color-coded planner in hand.
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