Rosario Dawson, Hollywood starlet and activist extraordinaire – a thesbian who has involved herself in a plethora of admirable causes from environmental activism to racial equality, GLBT advocacy, women’s rights, global needs and domestic violence prevention – swooped in to save the day for embarrassed, close-mouthed molestees everywhere at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards.
It all started with a joke. The setup was that Eva and Paul had a “really funny bit” planned where he was going to grab her tits, but they were running out of time… and that’s when Paul Rudd grabbed her tit, apparently going ahead with the plan – a long walk for a lame, shock-factor half-a-laugh. Then again, award shows have gone downhill in terms of entertainment value lately, and the pathetic, failed grasps at humor have come to be expected.
However, the flaccid drollery had already been shamefully executed and the lights had gone down… and still, as the clip montage was running, Eva’s breast continued to suffocate in Paul’s grasp. Dawson told CNN what she was thinking as the moments crawled by:
“He did this vice grip on her breast, and I was like, OK, it was funny for like a second. But then it kept going and going and going. And then the lights went down and the clip started rolling and he was still vice-gripping her! I was sitting there with my fork like, ‘If he doesn’t stop, I’m going to stab him with my fork.’”
Sure enough, Rudd didn’t release his grip, and – sure enough – Dawson leaped onstage and stabbed him with her fork! But Rudd wouldn’t have it; he remained fastened to Eva’s chest… so Dawson did what she had to do, in the name of equality and protest: she grabbed his package. Mendes’ laugh had a touch of hysteria as she squealed, “What’s happening?” and her hands fluttered anxiously on the envelope. She read off the winner, sounding stressed and flustered.
The boob-grab/crotch-grab incident was criticized by some as an overreaction by Dawson to the situation; by others, it was condemned as a disgraceful lowering of the discourse; and others disregarded Rudd’s offense entirely, pointing accusatory fingers only at Dawson.
Racialicious.com’s Latoya Peterson said it best: “Activism is about education – but it is also about protest.”
The problem is, we don’t know what Mendes was or wasn’t thinking or feeling. It’s our job, as activists, to err on the side of caution – whenever we see a citizen in trouble; whenever we sense danger or encounter fear; whenever we perceive a sister to be in peril – we will be there. We will not hesitate, we will not fuck around.
Superman never twiddled his thumbs and neither do we.
Go Team Dawson!!