1995 Alanis Was My Spirit Animal

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A week ago, the internet was set on fire when someone dared to criticize Alanis Morissette’s multi-Grammy winning album, Jagged Little Pill. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not a current Alanis fan, however, there was a time when I fiercely loved that album and her. So, much like when things have ended with an ex, and you may not currently be in love with them, there will always remain the good memories of your time spent together, and in a way, you will always defend those memories. That’s exactly how I feel about Jagged Little Pill. Living in southern Italy during my youth, it meant that I was bombarded with female musicians who only sung of their broken hearts, begging for ungrateful exes to return to them, or images of TV hosts where they were barely dressed, showing off huge breasts and silicone enhanced lips. To be a woman meant to be passive and beautiful, almost like a pretty Christmas ornament.

But I couldn’t relate to those women, and thus felt very much an outsider living in a town where men stared at you like you were a pretty piece of flesh and that you were obligated to think that cat-calls were compliments in disguise, cause, after all, it only happened to the pretty girls. It also meant having nothing in common with any of the girls living in that town, who would spend hours sitting in the town plaza waiting and hoping for their crushes to pass by with their mopeds. When I’d declare that I wouldn’t wait for hours for a guy to show up I’d be seen as “weird”. Other times, people assumed I lacked passion simply because I refused to be a human doormat for men. I was very passionate as a teen, especially when it came to the guy I was majorly in love with, but I also loved myself enough not to be willing to wait six hours in the town plaza in hopes that maybe the guy would show up, to only be stood up. Cause more often than not, that’s how events played out for my friends.

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I don’t remember exactly how I came across Alanis, but probably it was through the radio (southern Italy didn’t get MTV) and I believe it was the song, You Learn, cause in patriarchal Italy, that was the least offensive song of the album. But for me, You Oughta Know was my jam. I remember playing Jagged Little Pill uber high that the walls would shake and my neighbors complained. They couldn’t understand the rage I felt, after all, I lived in a society that expected me to just be pretty passive. I was considered a freak for wearing dark blue nail varnish, fishnet stockings with Docs, and coating my lips in dark shades of Vermillion. In other words, I didn’t look “safe”.

Alanis was my gateway drug to Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani (No Doubt heyday was angry, not like today’s pop persona), and Shirley Manson, women who were even angrier and far more outspoken than her. I’m not trying to say that Jagged Little Pill saved my life, but it made it more bearable. It made me feel that there were other girls out there who had a similar rage and outspokenness. That there wasn’t anything wrong with me for wanting to reject the notion of what a woman should be, whether or not others agreed with me.

In 1995, Alanis was pretty much the rock goddess of angry rock that we all needed (I know I did), so to compare her legacy and efforts to a childish song like Baby Shark is not only insulting but downright cruel. I may not be into Alanis’ music nowadays (she’s too mellow for me now, and I never outgrew my anger and angst), but I’ll always defend the woman and the album that made an outcast not feel so much alone. I may have been out of place in Sicily, Italy, but I knew that belonged somewhere. Where the legions of angry girls resided.

1995

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Asia Argento: “Jimmy Bennett raped me.”

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Asia Argento and former child star Jimmy Bennett

The saga between Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett seems to be one of those train wrecks that we can’t bring ourselves to look away from. One of the reasons is because every day new allegations and discoveries are made that the truth is slowly getting muddied up in drama.

To recap, Jimmy Bennett claims that Asia Argento sexually assaulted him when he was seventeen and for several months had been extorting her for money (which the late Anthony Bourdain gave in hopes of keeping him quiet and from disclosing a very incriminating photo).

The photo was recently disclosed which depicted Argento in bed with Bennett, both of them looking blissful, basking in the afterglow of their recent romp.

GENTE ASIA  ARGENTO  Y  JIMMY BENNET FOTO TMZ

This photo discredited Argento’s claim that she hadn’t had sex with Bennett at all (which even if consensual could still be seen as statutory rape because he was 17 at the time, and she was 37, and the age of consent in California is 18).

To also discredit Argento’s claim was non-binary model Rain Dove’s leak of their texts where Dove asked Argento if she had sex with the minor and she replied with, “Yes, it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor till the shakedown letter.” This was enough proof for Italy’s X-Factor to fire Argento from her judge role and for CNN to pull any episodes of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where the actress appears.

Rose McGowan, who is dating Dove, has distanced herself from her former friend and urged her to tell the truth and act the way she wished disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein should’ve acted. Argento and McGowan are no longer on speaking terms.

In retaliation, Argento called Dove a “monster” for selling her private texts to TMZ, and McGowan a “liar.”

Now, Argento’s attorney is claiming that the actress was actually the one to be sexually assaulted by Bennett (which is something she DID say to Dove in the leaked texts where she wrote, “The horny kid jumped me,”). Although when Dove questioned to clarify in the texts if Argento had been raped she wrote back, “It wasn’t rape but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me that I had been his sexual fantasy since (he) was 12.”

A note written to Argento by Bennett using the hotel’s stationery from the day of the infamous encounter reads: Asia, I love you with all my heart. So glad we met again and I’m so glad your in my life. – Jimmy (ending with a smiley)

The saga gets even more intricate when recent discoveries have been made where Bennett’s ex-girlfriend had issued a restraining order against him in July 2015 due to stalking. His ex-girlfriend hadn’t gone to the police just for the stalking, but also because she wanted to press charges against Bennett for having sex with a minor (she was 17, and he 18) and child pornography. She explained that Bennett had talked her into having sex with him and that he had manipulated her into sending nude photos of herself in which she stated, “Caused me emotional harm by leaking them via Snapchat.” The ex also confirmed that she feared for her safety when she got back with her ex-boyfriend because Bennett threatened to “get back at her,” if she did.

Bennett who blames Argento for his lack of employment due to the trauma that she caused him by having sex with him, probably doesn’t want to acknowledge the simple truth that as a child actor transitioning into adulthood, like many others before him, he probably just didn’t make the cut.

So what can we learn from said train wreck of a saga? That Argento most likely did get raped by Weinstein. That Bourdain did pay Bennett to keep him quiet because he didn’t want a scandal to erupt. That Argento and Bennett did have sex. That Argento denied having sex. That most likely said sex was consensual between the two parties, but Argento being the adult in the situation shouldn’t have partaken in any sexual activities with a minor no matter how much he may have seemed consensual at the time. That Bennett was facing harsh economic issues due to his parents having spent most of his child acting money and now blames Argento for his lack of adulthood success.

Maybe if both parties would begin to say the truth then perhaps this mess could actually get resolved. But as it stands, this scandal is going to keep on piling on nuances worthy of the best soap opera.

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Asia Argento: From Victim to Whore

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Despite the fact that the majority of people are appalled over the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Asia Argento seems to be getting the short stick of solidarity in her own home country, Italy. After Ronan Farrow’s lengthy article about the movie mogul for The New Yorker went viral, most people reached out in support of the victims. The opposite effect happened to Asia Argento in Italy. Not only was she victim blamed and ridiculed, but major Italian newspapers ran articles with titles such as, “First they gave it away, and twenty years later they whine,” (referring to all the actresses that had been sexually harassed and/or raped). If that alone doesn’t make your skin crawl with anger, you must not have a heart or conscience.

The Italian public has always seemed to have an unspoken dislike for actress Asia Argento since the very beginning of her career. I don’t know if it has to do with bearing an important last name (her father is the famed master of horror, director Dario Argento) that has led to the hate, but it’s always been there. For years people questioned her talent, stating that she was only getting roles because of her famous dad (despite the fact that she’s won TWO Davide di Donatello awards, the Italian equivalent of an Academy Award). There’s always been a certain jealousy surrounding her because her father wasn’t just famous in Italy, but worked with many actors in America and was considered a huge influence on the horror genre worldwide.

Another reason the Italian public has always had issues with her is because she’s always been open about her sexuality (and somehow in a patriarchal society, that is frightening). And I don’t think her public image ever truly recovered from the time actor Sergio Rubini pursued her whilst still married to Italy’s beloved actress Margherita Buy.

Are all these reasons valid to drag Asia Argento into the mud for actually speaking up on a harrowing incident? NO. And yet, the likes of Selvaggia Lucarelli (famous Italian journalist) and Vladimir Luxuria (famous transgender member of the Communist Refoundation Party and LGBT activist) have ruthlessly attacked, bullied, and ridiculed the actress for speaking up, ultimately trying to pass her off as an attention whore, or just plain whore.

Both Selvaggia Lucarelli and Vladimir Luxuria should be ashamed for shaming a rape victim. The violent backlash that Asia has had is sickening and proves time and time again exactly WHY women often don’t report rape or sexual harassment.

Rape is rape.

And Asia Argento is a victim of rape and as such should be applauded for her courage, not demeaned.

By: Azzurra Nox