“That awkward moment when you randomly target a girl for rape and it turns out to be your sister….Christmas is going to be uncomfortable this year”
It’s that time of year again, so I felt inspired to share that lovely festive joke a male friend of mine told me recently. I may be bias due to my feminist sensitivities, but hearing such vile words, and from a friend I’ve known for nearly 10 years was both shocking and disappointing.
I challenged him about the inappropriate nature of the joke, but he proceeded to defend his statement vehemently – claiming that is was black humour, a little harmless satire that doesn’t hurt anyone. We debated furiously about the issue over the next week.
While his joke mocks a violent and unspeakable act experienced by 1 in 6 women during their lifetime, it was also his inability to understand the degree of damage rape jokes can cause that upset me.
The debate about whether or not rape jokes are ok is highly controversial. Understandably, no one wants to live an uptight, PC culture. Some say it’s freedom of speech, satire or simply “just a joke” and feminists should all have a collective un-bunching of our panties.
But researchers at Western Carolina University have found scientific evidence linking rapes jokes to the promotion of violence and prejudice.
“Humor, as a medium of communication, changes the manner in which we interpret a given message. The levity of humor invites us to treat a sentiment, whether decent or reprehensible, as a matter of play. Sexist humor—the denigration of women through humor—for instance, trivializes sex discrimination under the veil of benign amusement, thus precluding challenges or opposition that nonhumorous sexist communication would likely incur” (Boxer, Edel, Ford, 2007) Continue reading