Angela Lansbury. The beloved “Mrs. Potts” from Beauty and the Beast. Star of Murder, She Wrote. But it wasn’t an acting role that thrust her back into the spotlight today. It was these comments, on sexual assault:
“There are two sides to this coin. “We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today. We must sometimes take blame, women.. I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.
She went on:
Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be! There’s no excuse for that. And I think it will stop now – it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.”
Well, Angela, I’m afraid it won’t stop. And part of it has to do with comments like these.
Angela Lansbury became a trending topic on Twitter for most of the day after these comments, with many weighing in, both defending and attacking her.
I don’t believe Angela Landsbury to be a bad person. At age 92, it’s no surprise that she may hold some, how can I say this, outdated views. As a woman, I’m sure she has had to put up with being harassed at some point in her life. I believe her to be well-meaning. She doesn’t deserve much of the vile comments that have been thrown at her.
But, I also find her to be 100% wrong. And here’s why.
Angela uttered that women do need to take the blame sometimes. That women have “gone out of their way” to make themselves attractive and that it has unfortunately backfired on us.
Her next few comments stating that women shouldn’t have to be prepared for this are true, but many used these words as a justification for what she originally said. Some blamed her age, but as far as I’m concerned, that excuse is invalid. Her comments are still incorrect and misguided.
The fact of the matter and the problem in any situation surrounding sexual assault is that oftentimes there’s always an excuse. She was too drunk to say no. She always wears short skirts. She was totally leading me on. No means no, and that should be simple. Yet this line is blurred by a battle of he said, she said. As much as “rape is wrong” or “harassment is wrong” are obvious statements, I’ve been personally appalled at the thought process of many in 2017 that still believe a woman should dress modestly to avoid the wrong kind of attention.
As a woman or man for that matter, to even suggest that the victim of a crime should be even 2% to blame is completely irresponsible, and that is exactly why. Those kind of sentiments, especially from an acclaimed actress, are dangerous because they give credit to those out there who do hold these troublesome beliefs.
In 2017, we should aim to change the discourse on sexual assault from “There are things women should do to prevent being raped or harassed” to “There are things men and women should do to convey the idea that rape or harassment is never OK, no matter the circumstance.”
To be equal in today’s society, a woman needs to feel safe in any space. Comments like Angela’s are irresponsible and do not aid that ultimate goal.