Three years ago, R&B artist Chris Brown beat his then girlfriend Rihanna, leaving her with two contusions on the side of her head, a split lip, a bloody nose and bite marks on her arm and fingers.
Five days ago, Chris Brown performed at the 2012 Grammys and snagged the award for Best R&B Album.
The morning after, Buzzfeed.com highlighted tweets from 25 women who all said things along the lines of "Chris Brown can beat me up anytime he wants."
On Facebook, my friends lamented the stupidity of fantasizing and joking about domestic abuse; of a culture that idolizes and awards those who plead guilty to felony assault; and of the apologists who defend Brown by saying, "That was three years ago--he's paid for his crimes," or "Why crucify a talented black entertainer when there are other abusive men out there?"
But these 25 women fantasizing about Brown aren't alone. Not at all.
One of my favorite gay porn blogs, QueerClick.com, has at least seven posts about Brown's sizable bulge since he beat Rihanna back in 2009. Heck, even Rihanna herself has taken to flirting with Brown via Twitter with messages like, "I'll always love you #1love."; they could even be back together for all we know.
Some QueerClick commenters complained about making a pin-up of a woman beater who regularly makes anti-gay comments. In response, QueerClick said that you can find someone hot without endorsing their behavior.
But these women specifically mentioned being beaten in their lusty tweets. So are they stupid, just fantasizing, both or something else?
I've heard "X can Y me all he wants" applied to all manner of baddie: from muscular drawings of Satan ("He can damn my soul to Hell all he likes") to the mugshots of serial lady-killer Ted Bundy ("He can bludgeon me all he likes").
Tasteless, yes, but such comments acknowledge a villain's horrendous qualities while admitting attraction in spite of them. As such, they don't mean to glorify the violent act so much as admit the taboo of their attraction.
But taken another way, the tweets can also be seen as rape fantasies not so different from the idealized prison rapes or sexual harassment scenes of porn films. Yeah, actual prison rape and sexual harassment are awful, but such fantasies appeal to our darker natures and people should decide for themselves whether to indulge such degradation.
As comments keep piling up on Chris Brown and his 25 willing victims, I'm left with the belief that he's actually a red herring or simply symptomatic of two larger discussions: misogyny in music and social acceptance of the abusive male--both have contributed to Brown's image as the unrepentant bruiser and to the ideation of those who would gladly take a busted lip in exchange for some eight-inch dick.
Combatting the attitudes condoning abuse would help more than just discussing Brown and these women--it could actually change minds and save lives.