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Zendaya in a warrior posture!

Zendaya Fights the Rape-Joke Meme that Proves The Internet Is Still Not Safe For Women

Modern life means new opportunities convenience and communication, but it also provides new and ridiculous ways for women to be harassed. Women have spent decades — hell, centuries — walking through life dealing with the threat of catcalls and physical violence daily. And in the last couple of decades have women had to endure it on the Internet as well.

This week, 19-year-old Oakland-raised actress and recording artist Zendaya was the object of a rape joke that was reposted 150 times. The idea was: who would you rape if you could not be prosecuted? It references the movie franchise The Purge.

Beyonce, Zendaya, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj were all objects of this disgusting joke.

Beyonce, Zendaya, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj were all objects of this disgusting joke.

While the other women ignored it, Zendaya was not messing around. She stood up for herself and the other women in the process, saying “This is absolutely disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. Is this really what my generation thinks is OK?” Her tweet resulted in more than 35,000 retweets and nearly 50,000 likes.

Totally fucking clueless.

Totally fucking clueless and without respect.

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It took a 19-year-old girl to shut this shit down. Luckily, many more people were in her corner than the rape apologist troll who started the Purge joke.

However, it only takes one person to hear the message that it’s OK and apply it to real life, victimizing women and other folks in the process.

This is what makes rape culture so dangerous.

Sadly, this is the perfect example of rape culture, too. “Jokes” like this are not actual jokes; they are a reflection of the toxic masculinity that creates the space to allow women and femmes to become objects for consumption. To make it clear, it’s “jokes” like this that perpetuate violence against women. Male and masculine allies must stand up and say, “This is unacceptable” or simply “Not cool, man” when they see things like this. We all have to call it out, hold each other accountable and do some work to break the cycle of ignorance.

People like to make fun of millennials, but this 19-year-old woman just shut a toxic “joke” down. She may have even prevented more physical violence against women in the process.

Thanks for showing folks what needs to be done, Zendaya.

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Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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