There’s something to be said for staying in your lane.

For most of Stacey Dash’s career, that lane has been in being extremely attractive, then having people project their desires upon that attractiveness. A few days ago though, Dash took a little spin into the lane of Twitter-based political advocacy and got hammered. But while many were quick to point out her race for why so much vitriol was directed to her endorsement of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, I have another suggestion:

LOL Why is Stacey Dash giving out political endorsements?

This isn’t really about whether she should or shouldn’t. Dash is a citizen. She has a right to vote. I’m glad she’s passionate about it and plans on using it. But when you’re not known for jumping into the political fray and people already have an inherent bias against Pretty Women Getting Out of the Pretty Woman Lane, you will learn that despite living in the modern age, the democratic and anonymous nature of the Internet lets people sling vitriol and sexism at you like it’s 1865.

You can be smart. You can be pretty. You can be pretty and smart, but to pull that off (and wander into the blow-back friendly world of politics) you have to be all that and SERIOUS.

SERIOUS is defined by things like Jessica Alba, despite being an uneven and sometimes horrible actress, won’t take off her clothes for a part, despite people repeatedly trying to reduce her to simply that because … SERIOUS. Jessica Alba wants to be taken seriously. She wants to be a serious actress. And even if she’s not that great at it, she’s not willing to leverage that seriousness for a quick buck off of showing her boobs. Now, I don’t know why you can’t be taken SERIOUSLY and still show your boobs. I don’t make the rules of sexism. But sexism decided long ago that naked women weren’t serious, so you better make those nudes artistic and tasteful. Naked boobs are supposed to mean things like “a good time” or “something I can use to sell things” to the patriarchy. Not “math teacher” or “political pundit.”

Boobs, as society teaches us, tell people to not listen to what you have to say and instead just focus on boobs.

Dash — unlike fellow Professionally Pretty class members Scarlett JohanssonKerry Washington and Eva Longoria — has not spent most of her career trying to get people to take her seriously in equal measure with getting her age-defying looks in Playboy. She’s just been hot. And being hot was fine for a lot of folks who treated Dash as more pin-up than person. But pin-ups aren’t allowed to have opinions unless you have spent years preparing folks for those opinions.

She has not primed the pump with in-depth interviews of her THOUGHTS on SERIOUS, HEAVY THINGS. She’s not anyone’s groomed surrogate. She doesn’t speak at length about method acting or her volunteer work or her degrees. Washington, even when in decidedly unserious films like I Love My Wife, is still dripping with the SERIOUSNESS of “This is a job, and I’m working it.”

And because she hasn’t done that she was slammed. She was attacked. She was mocked. Because she – either by her own hand or the limited way society can process boobs – was roundly told “Shut up, boobs. You’re an object! You don’t have an opinion!”

I don’t really like it. But I get it. Putting your opinion out there publicly is muddy business. I’d imagine that if I, after years of SERIOUSNESS, decided to put on a bikini and try running solo across a beach, I too, would get pounced on and made a fool.

I’m sure if Dash knew who I was, she’d chuckle to herself “LOL why is that random blogger in a bikini?

Or at least, I hope she’d do that, rather than doing what those crazy folks on Twitter said to her.

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  • She is a black woman and she is backing a candidate that will harm many black women and other people of color. Her looks are not the issue. It’s the fact that she is supporting a troll.That is the problem. Backing Mittens is far worse than backing Herman Cain. Mittens can and will do serious damage to America and the world if he is allowed to.
    That’s the issue, Ms. Benton has over analyzed and gotten her analysis all wrong.

  • Dee

    Stacey Dash is an actress not a political activist or someone that would steer my vote one way or another. I’m not even sure why it was published who she is voting for. Its kind of like positng who Nikki Minaj is voting for…Who cares??!

  • LEOII

    why should it matter? Democrats especially in the last campaign have a strong inclination to use things like the support of entertainers, singers, and actors/actress to bolster their support with the ranks of the ill informed and uneducated. Personally i am insulted when a politician attempts to think that my support is based on such vanity. The Democrats are historical abusers of this. This one black woman voices her support for a non democrat(who happens to be white) and people are up in arms. Hypocrisy is a word that should be in their vocabularies, not traitor.

  • Now that it is proven Obama is a liar and Obamacare is a failure, how smart does Stacey look now? And how stupid do all you liberal sheep look.