B-Sides: Tila Tequila Vs. the World
Last Friday night, reality TV star/pop singer Tila Tequila was attacked by concertgoers at the 11th annual Gathering of the Juggalos in rural Southern Illinois. But you probably already knew that. It's a story made in gossip blog heaven; a Playboy-model-turned-Myspace-celebrity-turned-reality-TV-star being attacked by the fans of the self-appointed "Most Hated Band in Music." Yet, both Tequila and the Insane Clown Posse are comparatively unpopular and disrespected, so why is it that Tila Tequila is the one getting the bad rap?!
Pelted with bottles, human feces, rocks, and firecrackers, Tila Tequila suffered from several cuts and bruises during her performance at the festival. Interestingly, the performance took place during the Gathering's first ever "Ladies Night"; Camille Dodero, an editor at the Village Voice who was onstage during Tequila's performance, noted that ICP's label, Psychopathic Records, conceived of the Ladies Night "to establish a female face." Juggalo culture itself is decidedly misogynistic, so the label's attempt to reach women is interesting, if not questionable. Writing for the Bygone Bureau, Jeff Merrion defines a Jugalette (the feminine incarnation of a Juggalo) as, "Inherently weaker than her male counterpart because of her vagina," in comparison to the Juggalo, an "adherent to the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) credo of beating women and gays."
Misogyny aside, Juggalos and Jugalettes were angry at the fact that such a mainstream reality TV and pop star was coming to perform at the Gathering. It has been speculated, including by the members of ICP themselves, that the attack of Tequila was planned in advance.
According to Dodero, and the video of the performance leaked to TMZ, the situation went something like this: Tequila took the stage, but the crowd was booing her incessantly and immediately began hurling objects. The crowd started yellling at her to "show her tits." In an attempt to win over the crowd, Tequila did just that, but it didn't work. She was rushed off the stage, only to be chased by a mob to her trailer, where they rocked and smashed the windows. She was later chased to her SUV. In the wild west of blog comments, though, Tequila is squarely to blame for the attack. Jabs like..
"The Insane Clown Posse should be destroyed for making me feel even an ounce of sympathy for Tila Tequila. What is this world coming to?!"
"HAHA what a dirty whore."
"This story just gets better and better. This Ho-bag got everything that was coming to her. Karma is a bitch."
pepper the comments section of nearly every blog post and article on the attack. Indeed, the general consensus seems to be that Tequila is to blame for her treatment. Eyewitnesses claim that Tequila was egging on the crowd. The CNN report interviewed an anonymous witness, who said, "She was taunting them... She didn't know how to handle them. She didn't understand the dynamic." (God help us if we ever understand the Juggalo dynamic...). A statement released by the Gathering's organizers similarly noted that, "Ms. Tequila was made aware, in advance, of her unpopularity with many Juggalos at the Gathering, but she insisted on performing".
In other words, Tila Tequila deserved it. She's a dirty whore, ho-bag, a slut, a bitch. She isn't to be trusted or believed. It's hilarious that she was pelted with objects and chased by a mob of hundreds, because she's a attention-seeking fameball.
Yet, it seems fair to dig back into Tila Tequila's history. Back in January, Brian Moylan called Tequila the "World's Worst Person" on Gawker. Why? Moylan speculated that she used the death of her fiancé as an opportunity for publicty. She also had her NFL player boyfriend Shawne Merriman arrested for "allegedly choking her." The charges were later dropped, and Tila Tequila was rumored to have used this allegation of domestic violence purely for publicity.
Tequila will do "anything" to achieve stardom. In the realms of the Celebrity Industrial Complex, her desire to achieve superstardom is far more transparent than most, and her transparency is read as desperation. Thus, when Tila Tequila took to Twitter to publicize her attack at the Gathering, the blogosphere took it as another publicity stunt made up in order to garner attention. After TMZ released the video of the performance and confirmed that the attack was, in fact, legitimate, Tequila was still dismissed as merely a famewhore. The attack, then, was funny. It was, as Sean O'Neal opined on the A.V. Club, an incident where "nobody wins except the Internet."
Ultimately, though, Tila Tequila is still taking the brunt of the blame for the attack against her. She KNEW that the crowd didn't want her there, but she antagonized them anyway. She KNEW that Juggalos were prone to throwing objects during performances, so she can't complain when they did. Certainly, in a subculture where misogyny is worn like a badge, where ICP spouts out lyrics like, "bitch call me sexy sex sexy sexist," an attack on a woman during the Gathering's first-ever Ladies Night is not entirely surprising.
Does that make it OK, though? Why is it that Tila Tequila is said to have "gotten what she deserved"? Could it be that, much like many victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence, she's seen as "asking for it"? Like a woman in a short skirt, Tequila is responsible for being attacked, and the blatant misogyny condoned in the Juggalo community is just "boys being boys."
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