Queer Black feminist scholar Moya Bailey appeared on Tuesday’s “PBS Newshour” to describe the concept of “misogynoir” with regard to Black female celebrities in the media.
Host Laura Barrón-López introduced the topic by remarking on the apparent backlash rapper Megan Thee Stallion faced from a revelation that fellow rapper Tory Lanez had shot her in the foot. Barrón-López compared this treatment of the rapper with past criticism of basketball player Brittney Griner as she was recently traded for her release from a Russian prison.
Bailey, who is an associate professor at Northwestern University, explained that this unique vitriol against Black women like Megan Thee Stallion and Griner is built in what she called “misogynoir.”
“I think you pointed it out, it is because they are both Black women that they are facing this unique, targeted harm. What I call that harm is misogynoir. There is a way that anti-Black, racist misogyny shows up, and it is uniquely targeting Megan, uniquely targeting Brittney Griner, and you can also add the other Meghan, Meghan Markle, who has gone through a lot of public vitriol directed her way,” Bailey said.
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She added, “There‘s a way that we think Black women are supposed to be strong and just endure the violence and harmful language that’s thrown at them, but we can see even with these three major celebrities, three Black women who are in positions of power and have a lot of media in support of them in some ways, we are still seeing this impact of misogynoir, and I hope it makes us think about Black women who are not in such privileged positions.”
Bailey also claimed that Black women shot and killed by police do not receive the same widespread support from the public that Black men have.
“You might remember a hashtag called #sayhername that was really trying to bring attention to the number of Black women killed, shot by police officers because they don‘t garner the same movement or attention in our communities that people have when it comes to Black men,” Bailey argued.
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She concluded that the backlash faced by Megan Thee Stallion, Griner and Meghan Markle will lead to further impediments against women to push back against attacks.
“I think it is another example of why women are actually very reluctant to come forward. For Black women who do come forward, there is this disbelief and the idea of, what was she wearing, what was she doing, what is her sexual history? We‘ve seen so much victim blaming both online and in the courtroom when it comes to Megan. I think it will actually be an impediment for a lot of women to feel comfortable coming forward when this is how they are treated when they are in the spotlight,” Bailey said.
Despite Bailey’s arguments, Griner, Markle, and Megan Thee Stallion have received widespread support from mainstream media figures. By contrast, many critics of these celebrities have faced attacks of their own. Most recently, Politico contributor Joanna Weiss received backlash after putting Markle on her list of “narcissist” celebrities.