Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Author: Renee Martin
Charlie Sheen is currently the highest paid actor on television. With performances in movies like “Platoon”, “Wall Street” and “Cadence”, Sheen has long since established himself as an A-list actor. His role as a so-called loveable bad boy on “Two and a half Men,” apparently largely based on his persona, has garnered him several award nominations. Audiences adore Sheen’s work as a fictional scoundrel, but the mirror image in real life is hardly entertaining.
On Christmas day, Sheen was arrested in his Colorado home after a 911 call from his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen. According to MSNBC the police document accused Charlie Sheen of stating:
“You better be in fear. If you tell anybody, I’ll kill you.”
“I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won’t leave any trace.”
This was apparently said while he was allegedly straddling his wife and choking her on a bed, all while holding a knife to her throat.
If Mrs. Sheen’s allegations are correct, Charlie may be a bad boy but he is far from loveable. This incident is only one of many that involve the mistreatment of women by Charlie Sheen.
* In 1990 Sheen accidentally shot his then fiancée Kelly Preston in the arm.
* In 1995 he was sued by a UCLA student who claimed he struck her in the head back in 1994 after she refused him sex. The case was settled out of court.
* In 1995 Sheen admitted to utilizing the services of the famed madam Heidi Fleiss, for the purposes of procuring call girls.
* In 1997 Sheen plead no contest to battery charges brought by former girlfriend, model-actress Brittany Ashland, who claimed that Sheen threw her onto his kitchen floor and split her lip.
Sheen is a man with a history of violence and drug abuse, yet he has not suffered any noticeable setbacks professionally. It is interesting to note that recently, Tiger Woods admitted to engaging in extra marital affairs which involved no violence, and yet he was dropped by sponsors and became the standing punchline of comedy routines. The fact that Tiger Woods is seen as Black, while Sheen as White (Sheen has Latino heritage, of course, but he is mostly understood as being just one of the white guys), might have a little something to do with the disparity with which these two men have been treated.
White guys like Sheen have the ability to act with impunity, because socially, they are still on top. This in combination with Sheen’s personal wealth ensures there is little beyond personal morality to act as a stop gap against acts of anti-social behaviour and violence.
This is why the rogue that Sheen plays on “Two and a half Men” is so “charming.” The character acts like a misogynist and has a history of using women like disposable sex toys. He is the latest modern incarnation of the playboy. All he is missing is a mirror on his ceiling. In fact, upon “Two and Half Men”‘s first airing since the arrest, the show garnered 11.1 million viewers. By now, there is more than the supposed female fascination with the bad boy, it is representative of cultural acceptance of violence against women.
When Janice Min, the former editor of US Weekly, was asked on television, if Sheen will get a pass, she responded:
“Absolutely, women for better or worse often forgive these bad boys. The fact that you are showing the Ferris Bueller clip now; for a lot of women this is the kind of bad boy that they like and remember.”
Women don’t control the media and they certainly do not control the justice system, and therefore, the very suggestion that we are enabling Sheen’s behaviour is stupid. The majority of writers for situational comedies are men to begin with, yet it is still women who get the blame for buying into the bad boy persona, which is ridiculous.
Here’s a newsflash: no woman enjoys being battered by her lover or spouse. There is also a difference between liking aggression or toughness in a man and actually approving of violence. Sheen’s behaviour continues to be ignored, but not because of his prowess as an actor, or his ability to sexually stimulate women; it continues to be ignored, because it supports the supremacy of sexist White guys in our society.
When feminists speak out about the misogyny aimed at women in the media, they are been ridiculed and silenced. Yet when television programs repeatedly show women as disposable, is it really surprising that the violence of someone like Charlie Sheen is pretty much given the go-ahead by society at large?
It is up to the state of Colorado to decide whether it has a vested interest in adjudicating this case. If they decide to proceed, Mr. Sheen is most certainly facing jail time. According to People magazine, the Sheens are about to commence couples counselling, with Charlie participating in anger management classes. For the sake of their twin sons, the Sheens must find a way to interact with each other, but what is most important is that Charlie learns how to control his temper and interact with women. His previous history reveals a man that has no problem resorting to violence to obtain whatever it is he wants. Couples counselling will not force him to admit his undeserved privilege or the damage he has done in the name of it.
From Teddy Kennedy to Charlie Sheen, men with race and class privilege are enabled and protected. We must begin to dismantle what it is that makes them so “special,” if we are to end the systemic inequality that often leads to violence and even death. Out-of-control “bad boys” aren’t so “lovable” after all, and it is about time that we stopped discovering this the hard way.
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