rashida jones whores tweet

You may remember back in October when Our Collective Imaginary Best Friend/”Parks & Rec” actress Rashida Jones gave everyone a big case of the “UGHs” when she took to Twitter to complain about the over-sexualization of female celebrities. In a series of tweets, Rashida mused “she who comes closet to showing the actual inside of her vagina is most popular” with the hashtag #stopactinglikewhores and urged us “to take a look at what we are accepting as the norm.”

I didn’t disagree with Rashida Jones’ observations. But using “whore” as a derogatory term? Not cool. And implying women are “whores” for behaving sexually in ways you may not like? Really not cool.

In the January issue of Glamour, Rashida addresses the blowback to her remarks and how she was “shocked” (really?) by the responses:

“I’m not gonna lie. The fact that I was accused of ‘slut-shaming,’ being anti-woman, and judging women’s sex lives crushed me. I consider myself a feminist. I would never point a finger at a woman for her actualsexual behavior, and I think all women have the right to express their desires. But I will look at women with influence—millionaire women who use their ‘sexiness’ to make money—and ask some questions. There is a difference, a key one, between ‘shaming’ and ‘holding someone accountable.’ So back to the word whore. My hashtag was ‘stopactinglikewhores.’ Key word, acting. Like I said, I’m not criticizing anyone’s real sex life; as George Michael tells us, ‘Sex is natural, sex is fun.’ But the poles, the pasties, the gyrating: This isn’t showing female sexuality; this is showing what it looks like when women sell sex. (Also, let’s be real. Every woman’s sexuality is different. Can all of us really be into stripper moves? The truth is, for every woman who loves the pole, there’s another who likes her feet rubbed. But in pop culture there’s just one way to be. And so much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure.)”

She is, of course, correct that stars like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and (decade-old example) Britney Spears are selling male fantasies of sexuality, not sexuality the way women actually experience it. I wish she had just focused on that point, though, because she ended up muddying the waters of her own argument by judging other women again.  Elsewhere in the piece, Rashida Jones explained that it’s not sexual women that she has a problem with, but too much sexual women:

“I understand that owning and expressing our sexuality is a huge step forward for women. But, in my opinion, we are at a point of oversaturation. It’s like when TV network censors evaluate a show’s content. Instead of doing a detailed report of dirty jokes or offensive words, they will simply say, ‘It’s a tonnage issue.’ One or two swear words might be fine; 10 is too many. Three sexual innuendos is OK; eight is overkill. When it comes to porn imagery and pop culture, we have a tonnage issue. … Let’s at least try to discuss the larger implications of female sexuality on pop culture without shaming each other. There’s more than one way to be a good feminist. Personally, I loved the Lily Allen ‘Hard Out Here’ video — a controversial send-up of tits-and-ass culture. She helped start a conversation. Let’s continue it.”

Sure, there’s more  than one way to be a good feminist — but setting limits on what’s acceptable behavior for other women and policing with the word “whores” isn’t really one of them, Rashida. That’s a form of control and name-calling is a type of punishment, even if she truly meant her criticism with good intentions. There are ways to critique “raunch culture” — a term coined by The New Yorker writer Ariel Levy in her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs — which don’t shame and blame women’s sexuality. Shame, blame and punishment should be the province of old, white Christian Republican men who want to contain women’s power so they can add to their own power, not feminists.

Rashida Jones is still a funny actress and I’m glad a funny, bright, Harvard-educated woman is succeeding in Hollywood. This defense — not an apology at all — was all just a messy disappointment, though. I’m afraid her Glamour essay on made it all worse and I’m sorry to see Rashida just not getting it.


The Frisky

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.


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  • Anthony

    I know this is not my fight, but if Rashida Jones likes that Lily Allen video, it is clear to me that she does not see herself as a woman of color. I really like her as an actress, but I don’t see her as part of my community.

    • RJ

      @Anthony, I disagree that this is not your fight. If you have a black mother, sister, daughter, cousin, autie, grandma- than your voice is needed and wanted.

      However, I too find her acceptance of the Lilly Allen video questionable. I bet her sister, who used to date Tupac and was one of Aaliyah’s closest friends, would have a different take.

      I do think that we have seen alot of black celebrities co-sign white artists BS with a big thumbs up. So I am not sure she doesn’t see herself as black, but is just another it’s all good celebrity.

  • I agree with her general views, but there is something about her and her $50 word vocabulary that rubs me the wrong way. I don’t care who her father is, she comes across as an uptight white woman who probably shouldn’t even be speaking on something she can’t relate to. Young Hollywood is what is it. I’m not a Miley Cyrus, Rhianna, or Brittney Spears fan and when they are on TV for whatever reason, I turn the channel. Miss Rashida, while entitled to her opinion, should do the same.

  • Good for her. Glad she didn’t backtracked, and sticking to her guns.

  • CommonSense

    It doesn’t matter how she said it, but that she did mention it. I agree with her about the raunchiness that is abundant in pop culture and I don’t feel it is a good thing. It is NOT about women reveling in their sexuality, because you don’t have to get naked or act like a porn star to do it. And once the Mileys and Rihanna get older and wiser, they will realize this also!!! I think this raunch culture is just to get attention. It seems to be the only way these record executives know how to achieve it. Sad, but true. Perhaps someone who actually has a brain and some real creativity will come along and show them the way!!!!!!!!!!

    A woman who is comfortable in her sensuousness does not have to get naked, she can seduce you with a nun’s habit on!!!! LOL! It is not just about the body, any woman knows that, it is the body as well as the BRAIN!!!!! Everything has to be in sync.