Why We Just Love To Hate Women Like Amber Heard
What we are witnessing today is a tale as old as time
She is the Devil incarnate.
She is mentally unstable.
She is a bitch.
A psychopath. A liar. A slut. A temptress. A gold digger. A cheater. An attention-seeker. A witch to be burnt at stake.
Everything she does is scripted, conniving, and manipulative.
I’ve never seen a famous man become a target of hate and vitriol as Amber Heard has.
And I’ve watched closely and written about several other high-profile cases in which men were accused of far worse things than what Heard allegedly did. But none of them was ‘lucky’ enough to receive the same treatment she is receiving now.
None. Not even during the peak of the #MeToo movement.
But seeing millions of people all over the internet hate a woman they’ve never met in real life with such intensity and passion makes me think their loathing has to do with something bigger than just Amber Heard.
Why does the crowd love to hate women, seemingly since the beginning of time? And what does it mean for the rest of us?
The mob has always attacked those outside its walks of inclusion
When witch-hunts were all the craze — between the 16th and 17th centuries — they largely persecuted society’s most marginal and powerless members — poor, enslaved or single women.
In Salem, 14 of the 19 people found guilty of and executed for witchcraft during that tumultuous year of 1692 were women. Across New England, 78% of alleged witches were female. In Scotland, that percentage was actually higher — 85%.
And even when men faced allegations of witchcraft, it was usually because they were somehow associated with accused women.
Because it’s women who are the descendants of Eve, the original Evil Woman, who got corrupted by the Devil himself. Because it’s women who are the reason sin was introduced to this world. And if we won’t manage to tame their sinful and seductive nature and force them into a patriarchal cage of submission, we ought to burn them.
It’s their own fault anyway. They weren’t pleasant enough. Or obedient enough. Or modest enough. Or bred enough healthy children. Or maybe they did exactly what men do and get away with, but everyone knows we can’t possibly hold women and men to the same standards, now do we?
Just burn them, and your land will become free from sin and evil once again. How very convenient.
But witch trials weren’t just about accusations that today seem baseless. They were also about a justice system that escalated local grievances to capital offences and targeted a subjugated minority.
Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
Although we like to think we’re better than the people who hunted witches, witch-hunting still happens in the world today. And sexist prejudices that led to them still exist.
We continue to portray women as evil, possessed, corrupted, hysterical, crazy, mentally ill and promiscuous — just like we did with witches hundreds of years ago. We continue to treat women as outsiders. As ‘the other.’
And hating, mocking and berating those who are ‘other’ has been popular entertainment at least since the Middle Ages and possibly even earlier than that.
The only difference is that today memes have replaced the stones. And social media platforms have replaced the town squares.
But we’re still casualties of a society created and controlled by powerful men.
‘We just want to hold abusers accountable’
Ever since the defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard started, I’ve seen quite a few people throw a load of virtual excrement on her but simultaneously say, ‘we’re just doing it because we want to hold abusers accountable.’
Oh, do you now, really?
The last time I checked, it’s Johnny Depp who was found guilty of most alleged assaults on Heard and lost a similar trial a couple of years ago in London. He was even denied permission to appeal it. Not many people today seem to remember that fact at all. Besides, this year’s trial isn’t over yet.
But let’s forget about all that for a second.
Let’s forget about the English court’s ruling two years ago, about all the texts Depp sent calling Heard a ‘worthless hooker’ or suggesting to his friend they should ‘drown her before we burn her’ and then ‘fuck her burnt corpse afterwards.’ And let’s assume Amber Heard is the abuser here and Johhny Depp the perfect victim, the quirky, misunderstood romantic who is wrongfully accused.
That being said, is the public backlash she is receiving right now — surrounded by countless conspiracy theories and misinformation, by the way — fair and comparable to anything else we’ve witnessed in the last decades?
Where was all that energy to ‘keep abusers accountable’ and berate them by all means available during Harvey Weinstein’s trial — a man who raped and sexually abused 87 women? Or during Bill Cosby’s trial — a man who raped, drugged and assaulted approximately 60 women and children?
Or when it comes to dozens of other men accused by multiple people of rape, sexual harassment or domestic abuse like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Marilyn Manson, James Franco, Louis C.K., Dustin Hoffman, Steven Seagal, Kevin Spacey and many more?
Or — if you really want to keep women specifically accountable — during Ghislaine Maxwell’s recent trial, a woman responsible for recruiting and grooming countless teenage girls as young as 14 years old?
Sure, some of these people received public backlash for a month or two. But not nearly to the same extent Amber Heard has in the recent weeks.
And I’m guessing the only reason Maxwell wasn’t turned into a meme and ridiculed in every corner of the internet is that she was covering for many powerful, wealthy men who used to pay her to fuck little girls. This is probably also why we still don’t know the names of all the ‘John Does’ she named. Of course.
If you genuinely want to keep abusers accountable, that’s great. Let’s hold them all accountable.
But if you’re just going to hyper fixate on one woman instead of having the same energy with every other monster out there and the systems, norms and environments that allow predators to thrive, you don’t really care about holding abusers accountable.
You’re only doing it because you’re a misogynist prick.
The vilification of Amber Heard, not surprisingly, serves the interests of some
When a woman does the same thing men have been doing to us for centuries, or merely a fraction of it, too many of us can’t wait to drag her to the town square, set her on fire and dance around her burning body in glee.
Because she represents every evil, wicked, disobedient lying woman ever to exist in our mythologies, books and history.
She is Eve who disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. She is Pandora who was tricked into releasing the ills of humanity into the world. She is Medusa who was cursed for being raped.
And she is all the real-life ‘witches’ burnt at stakes centuries ago.
We just love to hate women who disobey, don’t we?
And to make an example of them as well. Even if they were framed, tricked or unjustly accused. It doesn’t matter. Their greatest sin was being born women, after all.
But by turning a blind eye to the scale of these modern witch-hunts, we’re not only punishing one individual in the process — in this case, Amber Heard — but also other women. Because all the sexist stereotypes that are now used to discredit her the same way they were used on ‘witches’ back in the day might one day be used against us. Or the victims of domestic abuse, sexual harassment and rape.
They already are to some extent, but it could get worse from that point onwards.
No wonder a recent investigation by a media non-profit called the Citizens revealed that a lot of the anti-Amber propaganda has been actually pushed by a conservative media outlet, The Daily Wire. They run — and still do — multiple ads on Facebook and Instagram that include misleading information about Amber Heard and the trial against Johnny Depp in 2020. They even claimed Depp was able to disprove 12 of the 14 allegations against him when in reality, it was the exact opposite.
Who would’ve thought, huh?
Oh, and did I mention that this outlet is also funded by the spokesperson for incels everywhere, Ben Shapiro?
I highly doubt they spent a big chunk of their advertising budget because they care about domestic abuse awareness. Or Johhny Depp. But I do, however, believe that they could’ve done that to push their own agenda and lure more men into far-right politics. Just like Gamergate did.
Because once you successfully put women back in their rightful place in the society while burning some of them, you become a land free of ‘sin’ and the influence of the Devil, right?
What’s happening to Amber Heard is quite honestly frightening. I’ve already written about this whole mess before when the trial was in its early stages.
But it definitely got worse since then.
I imagine that the more women will push against the boundaries of what it means to behave, the more cases like this we will see.
And the more people will want to go on witch hunts like this one instead of focusing on what really matters: holding all abusers accountable, dismantling the systems that allow them to thrive and supporting all abuse victims.
But it’s not as ‘fun’ and easy to do the latter.