Whoa Internet, you are so cool in many ways, but today, definitely less so. Generally, when celebrities post pictures of themselves hanging out with other celebrities, the people go absolutely wild. We love the idea that famous people are friends with other famous people, and the wackier the combo, the more we roar with terrifying approval. So when 50 Cent posted pictures of himself with Meryl Streep and Kobe Bryant, a lot of the Internet voiced their loud approval.
D'awwww, isn't it cool that Meryl Streep is so current that she hangs with raps stars? How did they even meet? Oh my god look at her getting all gangster with that pose?!?!? While some out there were bouncing with joy, gleefully clicking through every photo and wishing desperately that they had been there, I wasn't one of them this time, not for this particular celebrity "friendship."
At the heart of my distaste is that 50 Cent is essentially all that is wrong with hip hop in relation to women's rights, and on the very same Instagram that now plays host to pictures of Meryl sitting courtside with 50 Cent at a basketball game are quotes and images that make a mockery of feminism, and encourage women to look and act like porn stars to "keep their men."
Are these suggestions as super-de-duper-cute as Meryl pretending to be a gangsta is? Do you feel the need to share them with all your Meryl-loving friends? No, no they're absolutely not, and here's to betting you won't. But for every little girl out there who wants to grow up and have a career like Meryl Streep, her hanging out with Fiddy makes everything that 50 Cent represents becomes that much more acceptable, and that is terrifying.
Now, the fact that Meryl Streep has become something of a feminist icon is not necessarily of her making, and it is well within her right to watch basketball with whomever she pleases. However it is unquestionably our responsibility to think for a second and consider the implications of praising her for hanging with 50 Cent before we repost the image on Twitter or Facebook a thousand times, heaping praise on a man whose past is peppered with blatant and unapologetic misogyny.
50 Cent only recently got out from underneath a lawsuit that alleged domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend Daphne Narvaez, and the fact that he weaseled out of jail time is no testimony to his innocence. Add that to his blatantly negative representations of women in the lyrics to some of his most famous songs and we have a person who subscribes to negative female stereotypes, unapologetically treats them as secondhand citizens, and is rewarded for it by hanging out with a feminist icon. Sorry but... what?
Meryl has, throughout her career, played strong women, and famously advocated for women's rights all over the world. So for her to go and hang out with 50 Cent is, quite frankly, odd, and a little mystifying. It sends the confusing message that, for example, women's rights in Afghanistan are important and worthy of our attention, but when a rapper goes to his girlfriend's home and supposedly kicks her on our home turf, well, we can overlook that for just a night, right?
It's not simple fun when a feminist icons' power over impressionable young women is used to justify the behavior of chauvinistic and largely anachronistic rappers like 50 Cent, and I truly believe either Meryl Streep or someone on her team should've thought about that.
Meryl might love to work out to "In Da Club" like everyone else, but she is smart and well known enough to have considered what the fall out from an evening with 50 Cent might be, and if she didn't well, then that responsibility falls to us. It's not adorable, it's not hip, and it's not worthy of our praise and traction when what we're implicitly supporting is an extremely flawed attitude toward women. I'm gonna throw some more 50 Cent Instagram treats your way, just to bring you up to my level of irritation here.
Okay, I need to stop before my head explodes but I feel the message is clear.