Link to “Ratchet Molly Party”. Out of respect to the women in the video who do not want those images to be shown again, we are posting the song and not the video. Warning: Highly Offensive Language
A few days ago a video was released titled “Ratchet Molly Party.” I can speak for the women of Real Life Athena to state that this video/song’s misogyny coming out of OUR community hurt more than we could have ever imagined. This song and video was an attack on us as women, especially those women from Minneapolis who know the men involved in the video and consider ourselves a part of this community. The group “DAVIDBLAYNE” put out the video they claim to be “satirical.” The stars of this video are Dylan Leavitt-Phibbs and Malcolm Jamison and the director is Kale Eickhof. The song is filled with derogatory, misogynstic and violent language such as “shut up cunt”, “she’s swallowing my friend” and “put that body in a body bag.” My anger is difficult to compartmentalize but I am going to try.
After speaking with the main rapper in the film, Dylan Leavitt-Phibbs, he explained to me this was simply meant as satire to only be shared in his own circle. Quick side note, why is it fun to call women “cunts” even among your friends? Note, the tweet on the right is by the other “star” of this video, Malcolm Jamison (or “Alibastor Jones”) I think we need a little lesson in satire. Satire is NOT taking something bad, like the sexualization of women, and making it worse, like having a girl pretend to be giving oral sex to a guy at the end of the video. Satire is NOT further spreading the images of situations that in fact exist in our society, such as men grabbing women and shoving them into their laps. The latter happens on a frequent basis to women which, perhaps is seemingly small but speaks to a patriarchal idea of male entitlement to women’s bodies. True satire makes light by taking the reality and flipping it on its head, for example if the lyrics had been “shut up prick” instead of “shut up cunt.” That is satirical because it makes light by placing the oppressor group in the position of being oppressed. What “Ratchet Molly Party” did was simply heighten the current misogyny in our culture. When you place such images into the world like a woman who has no clothing on top, one moves from the self-proclaimed place of satire into the reality of misogyny.
I am going to be kind and give these men the benefit of the doubt for a split second and say they were truly trying to be satirical and make some sort of social commentary on misogyny in the world and more specifically in hip hop. But why wasn’t there a single woman, even the ones in the video, then consulted in this process? Just an FYI, when you try to make some sort of social commentary regarding a social group you are not a part of, it is a good idea to actually speak to someone who is in that group.
The men behind this video claim it as satire because they are so blinded by their privilege as men to see their participation in this culture of misogyny, rape, and sexualization of women. They see this as satire because they do not truly understand the reality of being a woman in our world.
I have a question for the women reading this, at what age were you warned about your potential future rape? Can you even remember? I cannot. I have known since I was too young to remember that walking down the street, going to a party, walking to my car or simply living life as a woman is not safe.
I speak of reality and part of that reality is that every two minutes in this country someone is sexually assaulted. One in five women report being the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. 66% of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows personally. These are scary numbers and perhaps to many men, they are just that…numbers. When numbers such as these exist, it is a cultural problem; a cultural problem that these men in this video are simply perpetuating. The makers of “Ratchet Molly Party” are too blind to understand that when they perpetuate words of blatant disrespect of women such as “shut up bitch stop talking, let my body feel your body” that has real context in rape culture because it normalizes objectification and violence towards women. Rape is about power, control and hate. One asserts this power over someone they do not respect and do not value. This line specifically is problematic in at least three ways: it replaces women with a derogatory term, it silences women, and it deals with a situation that is not consensual.
The line between these lyrics and the recent Rick Ross rape lyric is thin. In neither of these songs is the term rape explicitly used. In many of our minds we do not know the correct definition of rape. We think that rape is a man holding a woman down to a bed and she is unable to move. We think that rape is a man hiding behind bushes and then attacking. This is rape, but rape is also having sex with a woman who is too drunk to consent. Rape is entering one’s body without permission. The absence of a “no” does not confirm what has happened is not rape. That is where we are wrong and that is what so many men in this world do not understand. We have little language in our culture for sex and consent and therefore the lines of what is consensual and what is not is at times difficult to understand.
This conversation is bigger than three men from Minneapolis. This conversation is about a nationwide culture that objectifies women and disregards the notion that women are individuals with self-autonomy over our own bodies. This conversation is about a commercialized industry of hip-hop music that sets standards at shock level, resorting often to objectifying lyrics about women. We are not immune as a society to the culture that is presented to us, about us.
Again, this isn’t satire because this is the unfortunate truth in our society. Women are consistently told through our media, government and our everyday interactions that men know what women’s bodies need and deserve more than women do. Women’s voices are constantly silenced. My parents taught me to speak my mind and because of that lesson, I have been told since I was a little girl how cute and impressive my opinions are. It is expected in our society for women to not speak their mind. We are out of place when we do.
Let’s look at this tweet exchange to the right, regarding this video. Mike the Martyr tells Dylan to ignore the woman (“bitch”) complaining about the “Ratchet Molly Party” video and Dylan (who claims to be SO sorry for this video) is in agreement. Once again, our thoughts as women are dismissed. Throughout the past couple of days a twitter debate has emerged regarding this video. There have been echoes of shared horror but also tweets of not understanding the outraged. These conversations indicate that we have a cultural problem, not only in America, not only in the hip-hop world, also right in our nice hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
How do we fix a culture where women are disrespected, raped in large numbers on a daily basis and seen as objects? It has to start within our own community and that is why we will NOT fall back. We are looking at our community of Minneapolis hip-hop where individuals categorize themselves as “socially conscious rappers” and do not see their blatant sexism. Dylan Leavitt-Phibbs is a member of the local music collective Audio Perm. Two other individuals of this collective have known involvement in the “Ratchet Molly Party” video. One has a quick cameo in the video and one was promoting the video with enthusiasm on his Facebook and Twitter (see tweet below from Audio Perm producer Taylor Madrigal). In fact, when I commented in horror on his Facebook post of the video, he deleted the video and my comment without any response. I am close friends with members of Audio Perm and hold them to high levels of respect and admiration and therefore hold them to high levels of responsibility when wrong is done in our community. Audio Perm, how are you going to address this situation? We are waiting for your response.
I also need to address the fact that several women who were in the video did not know all of the details of the film such as the cocaine usage, naked women and even the full lyrics of this song. This is inexcusable and is another example of men deeming the viewpoints of women who they call friends as trivial.
Folks, this is a call to action. A call for women to fight back against misogyny and rape culture, and a call for men to stand up for women. This is not only a “women’s issue”, this is an issue of humanity. Men must recognize their role in breaking down our world of patriarchy, misogyny and rape and speak out. We need to not be afraid to speak out against those who we know on a personal level because we too are contributors to this culture.
Real Life Athena: A Women’s Collective (written by Sarah Brammer-Shlay on behalf of the entire collective)
P.S. For the men involved in this, here is a way to NOT apologize.
Resources on Rape Culture, Misogyny and Feminism:
Rape Culture 101: http://www.shakesville.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html
Men Can Stop Rape: http://www.mencanstoprape.org
Crunk Feminist Collective: http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/
5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not To Rape: http://www.ebony.com/news-views/5-ways-we-can-teach-men-not-to-rape-456#axzz2QTB9RXPe