Megan Thee Stallion fans reject ‘misogyny’ amid Tory Lanez trial

Megan Thee Stallion fans are trying to divert public attention from what they believe to be a misogynistic narrative about the ongoing trial against Tory Lanez, who is accused of shooting the rapper in the foot.

Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, was charged in 2020 with assault with a semi-automatic firearm and carrying an unregistered loaded firearm in a vehicle, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said. Prosecutors added a third charge, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, earlier this month. Peterson pleaded not guilty; if convicted, he could face up to 22 years in prison.

Peterson’s legal team has called it a “jealousy case,” telling jurors that Megan Thee Stallion, whose real name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, and her former friend Kelsey Nicole Harris, who was also in the car at the time of the incident. , had gotten into an argument about Peterson and other men. The alleged fight is one of the talking points that have been highlighted by blogging Y commentatorsin addition to speculation surrounding Pete’s sex life and his intimate relationship with Peterson.

The public attention on Pete’s sexual history has sparked a backlash from his fans, who are taking to social media to show their solidarity with the rapper. Rather than allow slut-shaming or victim-blame to proliferate online, many “hotties,” as the rapper’s fans call themselves, have questioned why people are using Pete’s sexual history. to distract himself from the act of violence committed against Pete. its.

“I personally don’t care if Megan slept with the entire city of Houston,” one person wrote in a viral. cheep earlier this week. “WHY HAVE YOU BEEN SHOOTED?”

It was one of thousands of tweets about the trial this week. When Pete took the stand to testify Tuesday, some of his supporters rallied outside the courthouse, while thousands online used the hashtag #WeStandWithMegan to support her virtually.

The “beautiful” response to the trial and their vocal support for Pete is an example of “digital alchemy,” according to Dr. Moya Bailey, a race and gender scholar who coined the term “misogynist,” or the misogyny specifically against African Americans. women where sexism and racism intersect. Digital alchemy is the practice of black and colored women using the internet to combat and counter misogynist.

“I see Meg fans as part of a generation that is considering how women’s sexuality and black women’s sexuality is being attacked in popular culture,” said Bailey, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Social Studies. Communication from Northwestern University. “One of the ways to address that and respond is through Twitter, through hashtags, through these digital platforms.”

People demonstrate in support of Megan Thee Stallion in Los Angeles on Tuesday.Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

There are two types of digital alchemy, according to Bailey: generative, or the creation of content and hashtags to build support; and reactionary, that is, the strategic response to an inciting incident.

“I think it’s really empowering that people can find and use social media platforms as a space to get that other voice out there,” Bailey said. “So that the naysayers aren’t overbearing, so that there’s a real contingent of people saying, ‘Focusing on your sexuality is blaming the victim, it’s shaming the prostitute.'”

Luis Hernandez, who demonstrated in front of the courthouse Tuesday to “really stand up for” Megan Thee Stallion, was among the group of activists who organized the #IStandWithMegan rally. He said that he believes it is important to show solidarity with women who experience violence and harassment.

We know how often Black women are disbelieved, ignored, disrespected, and not treated gracefully, both in our judicial system and by members of the community.

Luis Hernandez, one of Megan Thee Stallion’s followers

“We know that very often Black women are disbelieved, ignored, disrespected and not treated graciously, both in our judicial system and among members of the community,” said Hernández, who she serves as the national director of youth campaigns for The Gathering for Justice, an advocacy group created in 2005.

“It was essential to be there [outside the courthouse] .. and making sure she felt loved, centered, and supported.”

Shani, a Megan Thee Stallion fan who asked to use her first name due to bullying fears, echoed similar sentiments.

“Because it could be anyone,” said Shani, who was not present in person Tuesday but expressed her support for the rapper online. “Especially for black women, violence against women in our community is very common.”

He noticed that online a lot of fans are calling out people who are highlighting Pete’s sexual history.

“We all know this is not relevant to the trial, because even if she did have sex with any of these men, none of that changes the fact that Meg has been proven to have been shot,” he said. “Like we don’t focus on her sexual past, we don’t focus on her online twerking, that’s irrelevant. None of that justifies what she happened to him.”

Even though Peterson is the one on trial, many people following the case treat Pete as if she herself is on trial, she said. Treva Lindsey, a professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at The Ohio State University.

“People have called it the trial of Meg and Tory when she’s not being tried for anything,” said Lindsey, author of “America Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and The Struggle for Justice.” “Something happened to her and she has to testify about it, even though she initially didn’t want to say anything about what happened to her.”

Pete told the court that in the months leading up to the shooting, she and Peterson had become friends and occasionally had a sexual relationship, the Los Angeles Times reported. But he expressed his frustration that the case had largely focused on whether she had had sex with Peterson.

“This whole story has not been about the shooting. It’s just about who I’ve had sex with,” he said Tuesday, according to the LA Times. “When people talk about Megan Thee Stallion being shot, all the headlines say that Megan Thee Stallion is on trial and I am not.”

Hernandez said supporters acknowledge that slut-shaming is used to discredit Pete and paint him as a flawed victim.

“It’s a tool used to shame and humiliate women like Meg the Stallion,” she said. “But we want people to know that this is not going to distract us, that it doesn’t change the facts of the case, and that it doesn’t distort the fact that she deserves our support as someone who has been a victim of gun violence and also discredited. due to the fact that she is a black woman ”.

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