Wednesday, February 18, 2009


One of the long time accusations toward feminists, at least white ones, were that we are humorless. Even a comedian I love a great deal, George Carlin, made a joke along this line - I believe the 'joke' was, 'Imagine Elmer Fudd Raping Porky Pig.'

Two things make that joke more funny than other rape humor, which is to say not much. One, the figures are not only fictional but cartoons. Two is that it is rape of a man by another man, which carries an additional "they deserve" it weight than even rape of a woman by a man.

"You deserved it" is the implicit threat of rape. Usually the "deserved it" is justified by a presumed poor decision on the part of the rape victim/survivor. Just about anything is a poor decision by this rubric: wearing too much clothing or too little; going out or living along; letting a male friend sleep over; being someplace in public; having male friends; touching male friends. You'll note the entire previous list presumes the victim/survivor is female, implicitly if nor explicitly. That is largely because, for all intents and purposes, only one form of male on male rape is acknowledged - prison rape - and there the "you deserved it" is being a criminal. Or, rather, being prosecuted by a court of law, which is not necessarily the same as being a criminal. Male on male rape outside of prison is barely ever mentioned, and female on male rape is considered a joke by a distressingly large number of people.

I'm not touching racial or sexual orientation issues very much; a lot of this is because I'm not sure of them, but I will note in passing that there is history of accusations of rape being used as a "you deserved it" for murdering black men, which is unacceptable, and that men of color are disproportionately sentenced to more and longer terms in prison, which opens them up for a higher likelihood of rape. I'm sure there are many more intersections, such as appearance and fat biases, and caregiver rape of their clients which is under-reported and also often used as a punch line.

Recently, someone I find quite funny and appealing and even a bit hott made reference to a longstanding joke about a "rape van" with pokemons and lolipops in the glove compartment. It stems off of a recent addiction of mine, Repo: the Genetic Opera (if you like dark, love music, and can handle a bit of gore, this movie may be for you), specifically something said by TZ, one of the two authors and an actor in the movie, about the presumed target audience and their presumed attitude toward women (I htink; I can't find anything on the original instance). I haven't yet decided, outside of this post, how I'm going to address the comment by TZ (if at all), and I didn't have the ovaries to talk to FAH (funny, appealing, hott) person who made the reference, but someone else did and he rapidly dropped it without any sign of defensiveness, which should be normal but is phenomenal.

At least some of my hesitancy was that old insult about humorless feminists. I consider myself rather funny and witty, and I had accepted wholesale that being a humorless feminist was a horrible, awful thing to be, but I've changed my mind.

I'm ok being humorless in some things.

Rape isn't funny.

Jokes about rape carry an implicit "you deserve it" which is unacceptable to anyone, male of female, because at the end of the day the "you" includes all of us.

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