Kirsten Dunst rails against the “rape-me” vibe

The actress casually blames the victim, not the person in power, for unwanted sexual contact

Topics: Kirsten Dunst, Feminism, Sexual abuse, Rape, acting, Sofia Coppola, Women's Rights,

In a recent interview in W Magazine, Sofia Coppola asked Kirsten Dunst, the “Two Faces of January” actress: “What if a director pounces on you while working? Has that ever happened?”

Dunst replied:

“No [laughs]. I don’t give off that vibe. I think that you court that stuff, and to me it’s crossing a boundary that would hinder the trust in your working relationship.”

In other words, Dunst seems to think unwanted sexual advances, such as harassment, assault, abuse or rape by a person in power, should be blamed on the recipient of said advances. Which is to say: if those young women had not dressed a certain way, or talked a certain way, or perhaps sat a certain way, these men wouldn’t inconveniently have gotten the wrong idea. Needless to say, such victim-blaming logic is not useful. It is exactly why models and actresses — whose job is, many times, to look  or dress or sit a certain way — are so powerless in the face of alleged sexual predators like Terry Richardson or Bill Cosby or R. Kelly.

Sadly, Dunst is not alone in the belief that men “can’t help it.” A recent report shows that many young American believe that sexual harassment and assault is a normal part of daily life.



This is not the first time Dunst has unwisely weighed in on male-female relations. She seemed determined to set feminism back by a solid century in a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, saying that women need a “knight in shining armor” and that “relationships work” because you “need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman.” For better or worse, our celebrities can be catalysts for a huge amount of social change. Fortunately, Beyonce has more a lot more cultural sway than Dunst.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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