Under a Microscope: Megan Thee Stallion trial shows how women of color are hypersexualized and criticized rather than protected

By: Talia Cabrera

*TW: Story about Victim of Assault*

At the end of 2022, Megan Thee Stallion entered a courtroom in Los Angeles, CA to face her assailant and finally testify in the court of law. For the past two years leading up to the trial against Tory Lanez, Megan Thee Stallion has dealt with the court of public opinion as she has defended her name and actions every time she stepped outside her home. At the age of 25, Megan Thee Stallion was a victim to gun violence, yet has faced an endless amount of public scrutiny.

From the moment Megan Thee Stallion was shot, every word and action she would do was under a microscope. Those who did not believe Megan was shot would doubt whenever she was silent after a question or make a video analyzing her body language to prove that she was lying. As if public scrutiny was not enough, Hip-hop artists were quick to capitalize on Megan’s trauma. Artists like Da Baby would retweet jokes about Tory Lanez shooting Megan. Even Drake made an insensitive comment about Megan’s credibility in his song “Circo Loco” rapping, “This bitch lie ‘bout getting shots, but she still a stallion. She don’t even get the joke but she still smillin’.” What’s funny about a woman being shot for no reason?

Megan Thee Stallion has been told she is too aggressive, sexual, and a liar. She was a victim of gun violence but was instead painted as a villain. Too many men continuously treat women as objects and find ways to justify their abuse.

In the height of the MeToo movement, women were empowered to step forward to confront a long history of being abused and taken advantage of. However, we tend to look at these movements with a white lens and never talk about the discrepancies women of color face. The hypersexualization of women of color is often the justification for abuse. Latinas are often described as “fiery”, “spicy”, and my least favorite thing to be called is “exotic”. This is not an experience latinas only face but is shared with other women of color. We are fetishized yet not protected. Women of color, particularly black women, are often not believed when they are victims of abuse. 40 percent of black women at some point in their lifetime will experience some form of physical violence. These high numbers are alarming but never given the same amount of attention. In a recent interview with CBS Morning news, Gabrielle Union points out how this discrepancy plays out in the media. In the new season of “Truth Be Told,” Gabrielle Union and Octavia Spencer are putting a spotlight on sex trafficking of young black and brown women and the disparity of media attention on this global epidemic. It is not the rest of the world taking initiative to report but instead it is in the hands of women of color to make sure this information is shared. Remember Gabby Petito and the endless reporting? Where’s the same outrage for black and brown girls being kidnapped? While there was extensive reporting around the Gabby Petito episode, the same outrage is not shown for black and women. 

The trauma Megan Thee Stallion has gone through and is continuously facing is an example of women of color, specifically black women, falling through the cracks of our community. We have failed to protect black women, yet they are the first to stand up for others. Without Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, there would be no #BlackLivesMatter. Black women and girls were in the shadows of the civil rights movement but nothing would have gotten done without their accomplishments. Megan Thee Stallion is a victim. The complexity of this situation is that “justice” was never served. Megan Thee Stallion should have never been shot and no man should ever think shooting a woman is ever justifiable. We need to do better in bringing attention to the harm women of color face on an everyday basis. In the meantime, women of color are going to continue to protect themselves since it seems like no one else is willing to.

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