Saturday, July 28, 2012

Violence, Humor and When Women Expect Rape

*Trigger Warning*

"The problem is that every woman in her entire life has that one moment when you think, 'Oh! Here's my rape!'"
---Ever Mainard

Earlier this month, there was an uproar over a very unfunny joke, made by comedian, Daniel Tosh. Tosh made a joke, suggesting that rape is worthy of laughter. It went down like this: A woman and her female friend went to the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, where Tosh was performing. Tosh made several rape jokes, to which an the woman rebutted; "actually, rape jokes are never funny." Tosh defended his ego but saying, "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…"

Not only is what Tosh said unfunny, but it is anti-feminist and pro-male privilege. I can't speak to Tosh's experiences. I do not know if he has been raped. But, I can certainly say that as a man, he is less likely to be a victim of rape. Tosh ignores the fact that there may have been rape victims in the room. I'm going to go out on a limb, and say that he probably doesn't know that many women expect rape. A rape joke affects those who have been raped, a rape joke affects those who know others who have been raped, and a rape joke affects those who expect to be raped, a rape joke affects those who fear rape. A rape joke affects women.

Tosh isn't the only comedian to have made rape jokes. The "joke" I am most familiar with comes from George Carlin. A man whom I have often find crude, hilarious, witty, and inappropriate.

Below is the transcript from a Carlin show.

Well, sometimes they'll say, well you can talk about something but you can't joke about it.
Say you can't joke about something because it's not funny. 

Comedians run into that shit all the time.
Like rape. They'll say, "you can't joke about rape. Rape's not funny."
I say, "fuck you, I think it's hilarious. How do you like that?"
I can prove to you that rape is funny. Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd.
See, hey why do you think they call him "Porky," eh? 

I know what you're going to say.
"Elmer was asking for it. Elmer was coming on to Porky.
Porky couldn't help himself, he got a hard- on, he got horny, he lost control, he went out of his mind."
A lot of men talk like that. 

A lot of men think that way. 
They think it's the woman's fault.
They like to blame the rape on the woman. 

Say, "she had it coming, she was wearing a short skirt."
These guys think women ought to go to prison for being cock teasers. 

Don't seem fair to me.
Don't seem right, but you can joke about it. 

I believe you can joke about anything.
It all depends on how you construct the joke. 

What the exaggeration is. What the exaggeration is.
Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion.

Carlin gets it right when he tells us that rape is not a woman's fault, but he zips right over common sense, when he tells us rape jokes can are appropriate. Ask a rape victim, and see what they say.

What is also just as unfunny is that, as mentioned earlier, many women come to expect rape or expect to be in the face of danger. I won't post statistics about rape, here. They're out there. Work some Google magic, and you'll find a lot, that speak to the depressing fact, that the odds are against you the moment the doctor exclaims, "It's a girl!"

I of course encourage women to be cautious but I would never encourage women to go through life on edge, fearing every man they meet or every man they don't. And taking time to learn how the rape statistics apply to you, is not fun. But if you do make yourself privy to the dangers, your stomach is likely to churn. Being female is all it takes. And what a crippling thing it is, to know that on some level, any level, a woman might expect rape.

Below is footage of comedienne, Ever Mainard (Great name. If I wanted children and I had a girl, I'd want her name to be either Story or Ever) joking about rape. According to notes attached to the YouTube video, the incident was her own and it occurred just days before her performance. That certainly tells us how this woman is trying to grieve and cope.

She is certainly not joking about rape in the same fashion as Carlin or Tosh. Mainard is bringing levity to the issue of how rape culture affects the way women feel.

"Here's Your Rape" - Ever Mainard - Chicago Underground Comedy - January 31st, 2012

The debate as to whether rape can be funny or if feminists are working hard to be "thought police" will be an on going one. Rape itself is on going. So, as long as rape exists, we might want to be mindful of how rape culture makes a woman feel. Rape culture not only frightens, saddens, angers women, but it is so prevalent that women expect it. Now, how is that funny?

To learn more about Ever Mainard, click here.


National Domestic Violence Hotline (24 hour) 1-800-799-SAFE

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