Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Must Read

This post about rape jokes:
So when rape is not depicted as a serious act, something that affects real people, something that women live with for the rest of their lives (because women aren’t real people), of course it’s not considered a serious topic. The stereotypical representation of rape is as serious as a fat waddling Southern man with a belt the size of a hula hoop. So when we trot out rape a a topic, unless the audience has personal experience with rape, we are all thinking of the Lifetime channel, or some hot hot scene from a movie, or angry-faced women on the news marching down the street all frumpy and queer. Of course it generates nervous giggles, and “edgy” humor, and is allowable conversation for not-so-secret misogynists — that’s what the cultural depiction of rape is meant to do. Humor that is degrading or offensive to oppressed populations has always operated as a pressure release valve for the things we know we are not “supposed” to say or think anymore. You might not be able to say you really don’t think 1 in 4 women are actually being raped, and if they are, they probably deserved it, and there are some circumstances where rape is okay – but you can sure as shit make a joke about it! And if somebody objects, well, here’s the built-in beauty of an oppressive system: that somebody is probably going to be a member of the oppressed class you are mocking. And it’s very easy to dismiss the opinions of oppressed populations. If we valued the thoughts, feelings, and desires of oppressed populations, we wouldn’t be able to rationalize and minimize the rape, torture, and murder of them.
It is an engrossing. long, incredible piece.

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