Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

In defence of Shonda Rhimes

This is in response to a terrible article by a woman called Alessandra Stanley. Whilst it's not very "sisterly" please forgive me as I was white hot with outrage at the time. I am so ridiculously pleased to see women succeed and rise to power, especially in competitive sectors like TV production/writing, that I feel anyone that does is an inspiration. So here's my defence of a woman I admire very much, Shonda Rimes, who, once a penniless scriptwriter has gone on to be an inspiration for women writers everywhere.

Here's the original article that sparked my ire.

Wrought in a white woman's image

When Alessandra Stanley writes her autobiography, it should be called "How to get away with being a bigot, posing as a journalist".

Her rambling, incoherent, piece about Shonda Rimes immediately failed the simplest litmus test for both racism and sexism:

Would this article have been written about a white, male, writer and producer? No. It wouldn't.

Ms. Stanley already has a reputation for being a lazy writer, who doesn't check her facts. Apparently, even her editors and subs keep clear and wash their hands of responsibility.

Rumour has it that a personal copy checker is employed just for her. I can't help but wonder why the "Bigot" klaxon didn't go off, or if anyone bothered to read this prior to publication.

This "angry black woman" to which she refers is as much of a racist stereotype as "Mammy" in Gone With The Wind. One would hope that with the success of extremely talented and successful women, who happen to be women of colour, there was a positive story here about strong, independent, interesting female role models ... but perhaps that was too taxing for Ms. Stanley to investigate.

Instead, we have an embarrassing attack on Ms. Rimes, black actresses, black characters and even Michelle Obama. It's quite an astonishing read. Apparently, the problems are the designer clothes they wear, their sexuality and the complex but successful characters they represent. Perhaps Ms.Stanley would prefer black women were "kept in their place"? Whatever she thinks that is. Those slippered feet in "Tom & Jerry" come to mind.

This inane article is all over the place. Attempting to "praise" Ms. Rimes's work, whilst belittling it at the same time; it's an insult to her and all women - a classic case of knocking someone at the top of their game. I had thought only us British did that.

Within this there is a message for The New York Times and their management of this "problem employee" who continues to make a once highly admired publication a laughing stock. Have a read of Ms Stanley's peculiar outpourings and ask yourselves - does this reflect your publication's brand and reputation? If not, consign it to the spike, where it belongs.

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