How Haters Are Treating Kesha Is How We Treat All “Girls Like Her"

She brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack. She’s got glitter on her eyes, her stockings ripped all up the sides. The beat is so phat, it’ll make her come … over to your place. Equal parts rebellious pop rocker and unrepentant party girl, it’s almost impossible not to have an opinion about Kesha. You are just as likely to hear devoted fans gush “OMG she’s my idol” as you are to hear “Ew, she’s trashy.”

Kesha took over the airwaves during the late 2000s. “Tik Tok” was everywhere in 2009, followed by other hits like “We R Who We Are” and “Blow.” She followed up with Cannibal in 2011. When she released Warrior in 2012, her legion of fans, known as “Animals” (after her debut album title) rejoiced in a flurry of glitter. Her lyrics are party pop gold. “Just grab a bottle, some boys and let's take it back to my basement and get sleazy,” she sings on the Cannibal track "Sleazy.” On Animal’s “Party at a Rich Dude’s House,” she brazenly shouts “No we don't give a sh*t, come on let's do it. Dance 'till your pants come off, come on get naked.”

But now, it’s 2016 and Kesha hasn’t released any new music. How has she not put out anything since her collaboration with Pitbull on the single “Timber” in 2013? Since 2014, Kesha has been locked in a legal battle with her producer Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, or Dr. Luke, as he is known in the industry. Dr. Luke is the owner of Kemosabe Records, a label owned by Sony Music. She filed a lawsuit in California against the producer with the intent of voiding her contract with Sony and any of its subsidiaries.

Kesha alleges that she has sustained ongoing sexual and emotional abuse from Dr. Luke for the last 10 years. Kesha asserts that Dr. Luke has had sex with her after drugging her, forced her to snort illicit drugs, and has threatened to end her career if she told anyone about the abuse.

What all of her haters are doing to Kesha underscores the rape myth narrative that there are just "some girls" who are putting themselves at risk for sexual assault simply because they present themselves a certain way. After all, the girls who flirt, drink too much, and dress provocatively are the ones who are “asking for it.”

On Friday, New York Justice Shirley Kornreich denied Kesha’s request for an injunction that would end her recording contract with Kemosabe and Sony. The NY justice denied the injunction due to lack of medical evidence and/or hospital records. Dr. Luke's lawyers issued a statement following the ruling, which reads in part that "Kesha never reported any purported abuse or rape to any law enforcement authority, or even to Sony Music, and further swore under oath in another matter, while accompanied by her team of lawyers, that it never occurred. The goal of Kesha’s counsel throughout has been to obtain a more lucrative contract through a shameless campaign of outrageous claims they will never stand behind in a court of law."

Until recently, Kesha stylized her name with a dollar sign. She wore a garbage bag to the 2010 Video Music Awards. She douses herself in beer and rolls around in glitter. Even her voice has the lazy, hungover drawl of someone who was “so wasted” last night. Nobody would take Kesha seriously as a performer if she didn’t rock her party girl aesthetic. It would be incongruous for her to sing about booze, sex with mulleted men, and puking in Paris Hilton’s closet if she arrived on stage dressed as a librarian. Kesha produces fun, danceable music that makes you want to grab your friends, throw on a ton of makeup, get the drinks flowing, and shake your ass. Kesha has us believe that any party she’s throwing is bound to be a good time.

But her deliberately unpolished and rebellious persona are exactly why some people are so quick to write her current legal battles off. For every person preaching solidarity for the pop star, there are just as many detractors. Sure, dozens of celebrities have Tweeted their support for Kesha. Taylor Swift has donated a quarter of a million dollars to help with her legal fees, Demi Lovato has been exceptionally vocal about the #FreeKesha movement, and fans have demonstrated their support both online and in person. But not everyone has been supportive. Unsurprisingly, many are dismissing her as attention-seeking and money-grubbing. Many Internet trolls are clinging to the fact that Kesha swore in a 2011 deposition that Dr. Luke didn’t assault her.

What all of her haters are doing to Kesha underscores the rape myth narrative that there are just "some girls" who are putting themselves at risk for sexual assault simply because they present themselves a certain way. After all, the girls who flirt, drink too much, and dress provocatively are the ones who are “asking for it.”

Reinforcing these popular rape myths is incredibly damaging, because they serve to legitimize sexual assault while silencing the survivors. As the Huffington Post points out, Kesha is a “wealthy, beautiful, white celebrity working at the upper echelons of an elite industry.” Despite all of this privilege at her disposal, she is still being victimized. What does that mean for the rest of us party girls?

This weekend, a young woman is going to go to a house party or a bar. She might have a little too much to drink, she might be wearing a mini skirt and she might have on tons of dramatic eye makeup. Independently, those factors mean nothing. But she might also meet a boy at this party who doesn’t understand that no really means no, that consent often can’t be given while intoxicated, and that just because you dress a certain way doesn’t mean you’re “asking for” anything.

When famous celebrities like Kesha are given no recourse in the legal system, its sends the message that none of us should even bother trying to seek legal action should we experience unwanted sexual advances. In a country where 68 percent of sexual assaults are unreported and 98 percent of assailants will never spend a day in jail, how the legal system is treating Kesha and all the “girls like her” is indicative of a much bigger issue.