(For more on the “they”, please see Jill’s post below. Trigger warning, etc.)
Because that’s what happens when you’re a female foreign journalist in the Middle East. Get hurt? Well, you shouldn’t have been a female foreign journalist in the Middle East, and certainly not a BLOND one! In the immortal words of Eddie Izzard “those are the rules… that I just made up!”
Of course, they made it about Scary Muslims as well. Because the assault Lara Logan suffered in Cairo had all the right ingredients for a nice round of Bash the Muslim. Debbie Schlussel (who gets rape threats herself, but can’t seem to connect the dots and understand that this means that sexual assault is nothing to gloat about, JESUS CHRIST) went on her usual rant about “animals” and such, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So there’s Lara Logan and there’s narrative that she has used her looks to get ahead, and now she’s gotten punished, and hey maybe she was a crap journalist all along and we just didn’t realize it because she’s hot (of course, if Logan had not been conventionally attractive, then people would just make jokes about how she shouldn’t be on TV in the first place), and what the hell was she thinking – didn’t she realize that her looks were a liability in such an Uncivilized Place, and what’s up with these networks giving these little ladies such important, dangerous jobs…. and on and on and on the vomit stream continues. People want to blame Lara Logan, because it’s the easy way out. They want to construct an illusion that a journalist who was just doing her job had any control over the actions of the people who assaulted her to begin with.
I can’t imagine the horror Lara Logan went through, but I know all too well how such victim-blaming narratives play out. When I spoke about dealing with daily sexual harassment in Jordan, the most common response was, “Well, what can you expect?” It’s a neat trick, because the men around me were simultaneously reduced to Uncontrollable Animals and absolved of responsibility in the matter. It meant that my stories could be co-opted, used as Just Another Reason Why We Should Bomb the Muslims to Hell – or else used as an excuse to vilify the Slutty McSluts of the Western world, who made shows like “Sex & the City” popular (I SWEAR TO GOD, THAT SHOW HAS ALREADY BEEN BROUGHT UP IN RELATION TO LOGAN’S CASE, AND EVERY TIME SOMEONE DOES THIS, I EDGE CLOSER AND CLOSER TO JUST RIPPING OFF THEIR ARMS AND THEN BEATING THEM TO DEATH WITH THEM) and then get all uppity when people abroad get funny ideas about them.
The narrative in such cases also conveniently obscures just how pervasive sexual assault truly is, how it’s just about everyone’s damn problem, and, in this case, how Logan was probably not the only one who was attacked.
Logan’s case horrifies and terrifies me, because it hits so close to home. I’m not like Logan – I don’t have her experience, I wouldn’t go to war zones like she has done (I’ve dealt with enough violence in my life, so it’s not my journalistic cup of tea) – but when news of this broke, an American colleague actually went as far as write me and basically say, “Gee, this could’ve been you! Aren’t you glad you left the Scary Middle East? Haven’t I TOLD you that it’s not for women like you?”
Oh God, man, screw you.
Similar Posts (automatically generated):
- Lara Logan assaulted in Egypt by Jill February 16, 2011
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- Abu Ghraib Abuse Allegations Include Rape by Cara May 29, 2009
- Child marriage: sex and money, Juliet and Fawziya Ammodi by Natalia Antonova April 8, 2010
- Saudi rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes by Jill November 18, 2007