On Rape Jokes and Sensitivity

Thaluikhain

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MeChaNiZ3D said:
If someone believes in equality I don't think they can be unknowingly perpetuating a system that is unequal when it is a subject of discussion often and they have plenty of opportunity to examine their actions.
I disagree with that. Even the best intentioned person can make a mistake, it's going to happen sooner or later. That's a big part of lots of social activism, that people accept mistakes and acknowledge them.
 

Souther Thorn

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The primary argument I've heard is that despite the individual telling the jokes set of morals and personal values against rape, that it fosters an environment where we are desensitized to rape, and allows others to play off in humor what they really DO believe in seriousness. Never was more shocked than swapping 'woman' jokes with a new associate, only to watch him smack his girlfriend within the half hour and joke to me that 'It's what the ***** deserved, right?'. Needless to say, I no longer had this associate, and I was very careful to be sure I was on the same page as far as integrity and humor with the next person I shared politically incorrect humor with.
On a more personal note, I still prefer what Whoopie Goldberg said about racist jokes, and I think it applies 'You laughed, some of you, you know you did so don't shake your head now. So...ask yourself, is it wrong because it's funny? Or is it funny because it's wrong?'
 

shootthebandit

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Rape is a horrible thing hence why people joke about it. You cant joke about nice things or else it wouldnt be funny

People use humour to deflect the severity of an issue. Youve all been in the situaution where your having a really uncomfortable conversion and you make a joke because the subject of the conversation is uncomfortable

Also i know its a little off topic but one issue thats happening today more frequently that really annoys me is girls that sleep with a guy and then claim they were raped afterwards. Not only is this disgusting as you could get someone arrested for a long time and basically ruin their life (ironically probably get them raped while they are inside )but you are also making a mockery of genuine victims of rape simply because you cant accept the consequences of a stupid decision
 

Something Amyss

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Abomination said:
Seems to be that if enough women kick up a stink about something and say something is the worst thing ever other people will feel compelled to believe.

Men just tend to sit back and nod because it beats arguing.
It sounds like your sum total of understanding of human nature comes from sitcoms.
 

Lieju

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Legion said:
Although personally, while I really don't like rape jokes, and am especially against people using the word rape when playing games ("You got raped" etc.), I don't believe people have the right to use "I find that offensive" to dictate what other people say. Unless it's harassment, unavoidable or promoting such behaviour, then I think people really do need to mind their own business when it comes to what they find offensive.
Well, it depends on how far the complaint goes, and what kind of situation we're talking about. I mean, we should be able to criticise language amongst other things, especially in entertainment or other non-private contexts.
A lot of the time people who use such language don't even think what it is they're saying, and especially in an online environment you come across people from different cultures, so even if you use the word 'rape' casually amongst your friends and it has no sexist connotations, someone from across the globe might take it differently.

Generally, I only complain to people about stuff like that if I have reason to believe they didn't understand how it might come across.
 

Techno Squidgy

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Abomination said:
Seems to be that if enough women kick up a stink about something and say something is the worst thing ever other people will feel compelled to believe.

Men just tend to sit back and nod because it beats arguing.

What's more funny? Rape jokes, dead baby jokes or slavery jokes?
Personally, dead baby jokes. Me and my friends have a whole collection of dead baby jokes, and the best part about them is knowing that regardless of how many of us are actually at any given social situation, we can always make other people laugh with them, just though the unrelenting barrage of jokes. It's all about delivery and intent.

They can see we harbour no ill will towards anyone's children (well most people's children) and the sheer absurdity of 2-6 people rattling off dead baby jokes back and forth without pause or hesitation is enough to make all but the most stone-hearted of bastards laugh.

shootthebandit said:
Rape is a horrible thing hence why people joke about it. You cant joke about nice things or else it wouldnt be funny

People use humour to deflect the severity of an issue. Youve all been in the situaution where your having a really uncomfortable conversion and you make a joke because the subject of the conversation is uncomfortable
There's also this, which I've been struggling to effectively put into words since I started taking part in these "discussions".
When tragedy strikes, you usually have two choices, laugh or cry. Some of us would rather laugh.
 

BM19

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Abomination said:
Seems to be that if enough women kick up a stink about something and say something is the worst thing ever other people will feel compelled to believe.

Men just tend to sit back and nod because it beats arguing.
It sounds like your sum total of understanding of human nature comes from sitcoms.
... Does yours not?
(Shoehorned Archer reference +1)

On topic, while there IS something to be said for those who are just looking to incite an argument or get attention, there's equally a number of others (mainly men, I'd wager) who respond by simply saying, "They're just out to ruin our fun!"
There's always an idiot on both sides, and they tend to stick with the extremes. Best to just diffuse/discredit and ultimately ignore them.

(This post in no way shape or form condemns anyone here as an "idiot"... Unless you are one, of course)
 

Something Amyss

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MeChaNiZ3D said:
I don't think I can define it properly being as tired as I am. For now, apply common sense. If someone believes in equality I don't think they can be unknowingly perpetuating a system that is unequal when it is a subject of discussion often and they have plenty of opportunity to examine their actions.
If someone supports equality they can totally UNKNOWINGLY perpetuate a system that is unequal. That's what unknowing is all about. Further, people tend not to self-analyse, so it's quite possible to not put much thought into this. That's why you have so many people here claim to be "equalists" then tell women to stop bitching in the next breath. They never think about it, so they never reach cognitive disonnance. Or they justify it. There's a lot of people who try and justify why, while they oppose racism, it's okay to try and prevent a black person from getting a home on the block or dating their child.

Humans are complicated and often operate on a level that belies thought or logic.

BM19 said:
I think that the problem is that most rape jokes are just poorly written and/or executed.
I don't think there's particularly much of an audience for even a well-timed rape joke, however.

I agree with the basic premise that anything can be a joke, and potentially even a funny one. The thing is, even most other touchy subjects have some distance. There are good jokes about the holocaust, some even by Jewish people who lost loved ones in Germany, but it's distanced by time. If the holocaust was going on today, we wouldn't be making those jokes. Well, some would, and then they would complain everyone was being "PC" for not lollllling along, but you take my point. There are people massacred every day and we tend to avoid joking about it.

And that's the crux. In a society where rape is still so prevalent, where the news about a rape conviction can be met with the public lamenting the boy's "bright future" and not the death of the girl who killed herself after the rape and subsequent bullying, it's hard to establish a market for this sort of thing. And honestly, this especially applies if you're a woman and you're looking down the barrel of that gun. The one where if you are raped, and it is statistically fairly likely, you will be ridiculed or downplayed or ignored and people will ask you to think of the poor little rapist.

I make controversial jokes all the time. I also use language I probably shouldn't. I also know my audience. I also wrestle bears. But enough about me, back to the topic at hand: bear wrestling. Wait, no, I did that wrong.

Another example: Louis CK (one of the best comedians alive) did a rape joke where he mentioned that rape is a terrible thing and should never be done. He then added, "unless you want to have sex with them and they won't let you."
The words endorsed the act, but his tone clearly conveyed "this is funny because it's terrible and only terrible people would actually think this way".No victim is mentioned, he's setting himself up as "the attacker" and then striking himself down. No one is hurt, the act is given appropriate weight, everyone moves along. No controversy.
Louis CK, of course, is an often shocking comedian whose audience expects it, however. There's less controversy because he's not in the middle of a trade show making that joke, for example. I mean, honestly he does delve into the tasteless quite often. Lucky Louie was actually sort of tainted by his attempts to be shocking for the sake of being shocking.

On the other hand, yes. He's done rape and racism jokes with little to no backlash.
 

Aramis Night

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Father Time said:
RT said:
Rape is the worst. Crime. Ever. Yes, worse than murder: at least killing somebody is fair: disgracing, shaming them and traumatizing their minds as well as their bodies is just inhuman, everybody that has raped should be quartered while being fully conscious.
You're suggesting that people have their limbs be torn off by horses and that's not inhuman?
I'm still a bit hung up on his whole "at least killing somebody is fair" part. As someone who has been both raped and on a separate occasion, beaten to the point where i genuinely believed i was going to be killed, i find this whole statement odd. Even my mother, who i got to watch getting raped(I was quietly hiding at the time so i wouldnt be found and killed by her rapist. I was only 4 at the time) would likely agree that it was preferable to dying. She must have gotten over it herself pretty quickly. She voluntarily was having sex with her rescuer 20 mins later.

My own rape experience still leaves me a little troubled to this day, but i would have to say that getting beaten to the point of near death has impacted me far more. As traumatic as rape is, i'm still glad to be alive. Rape is terrible of course but putting it ahead of murder is bad priorities.
 

Phearo

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ThreeName said:
Abomination said:
What's more funny? Rape jokes, dead baby jokes or slavery jokes?
Dead baby jokes. They never get old.
It ain't no joke when a mama's handkerchief is soaked with her tears because her's baby's life has been revoked.
 

BM19

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Zachary Amaranth said:
BM19 said:
I think that the problem is that most rape jokes are just poorly written and/or executed.
I don't think there's particularly much of an audience for even a well-timed rape joke, however.

I agree with the basic premise that anything can be a joke, and potentially even a funny one. The thing is, even most other touchy subjects have some distance. There are good jokes about the holocaust, some even by Jewish people who lost loved ones in Germany, but it's distanced by time. If the holocaust was going on today, we wouldn't be making those jokes. Well, some would, and then they would complain everyone was being "PC" for not lollllling along, but you take my point. There are people massacred every day and we tend to avoid joking about it.

And that's the crux. In a society where rape is still so prevalent, where the news about a rape conviction can be met with the public lamenting the boy's "bright future" and not the death of the girl who killed herself after the rape and subsequent bullying, it's hard to establish a market for this sort of thing. And honestly, this especially applies if you're a woman and you're looking down the barrel of that gun. The one where if you are raped, and it is statistically fairly likely, you will be ridiculed or downplayed or ignored and people will ask you to think of the poor little rapist.

I make controversial jokes all the time. I also use language I probably shouldn't. I also know my audience. I also wrestle bears. But enough about me, back to the topic at hand: bear wrestling. Wait, no, I did that wrong.

Another example: Louis CK (one of the best comedians alive) did a rape joke where he mentioned that rape is a terrible thing and should never be done. He then added, "unless you want to have sex with them and they won't let you."
The words endorsed the act, but his tone clearly conveyed "this is funny because it's terrible and only terrible people would actually think this way".No victim is mentioned, he's setting himself up as "the attacker" and then striking himself down. No one is hurt, the act is given appropriate weight, everyone moves along. No controversy.
Louis CK, of course, is an often shocking comedian whose audience expects it, however. There's less controversy because he's not in the middle of a trade show making that joke, for example. I mean, honestly he does delve into the tasteless quite often. Lucky Louie was actually sort of tainted by his attempts to be shocking for the sake of being shocking.

On the other hand, yes. He's done rape and racism jokes with little to no backlash.
Does walling off the topic entirely, then, really help? Or wouldn't that perpetuate it as a controversial topic ripe for picking easy laughs?

The problem is that you're never going to "get rid" of rape jokes just like you'll never get rid of any of these shock topic comedians. As long as a subject is taboo, it continues to be poked at by many who don't understand the full implications of the subject.
At the very least, then, make them GOOD jokes.

I suppose a part of it just comes down to viewpoint on speech. I'm somewhat liberal on that subject, though people should be accountable for what they say. You can't stop someone from breaching a certain topic, but you CAN ridicule them for doing it poorly or without thought.
The more thought-out jokes can also lead to conversations and discussions that make us examine rape in our culture. That's why I like comedians like Donald Glover and Dullaney who oftentimes bring up the implications for women, such as how the fear of rape for them can be damn-near constant, while also making the subject palatable through comedy.

As for "Lucky Louie", I can't say much about it since I've never seen it. It's one of his first big pushes, though, so I'd assume he was still nailing down his approach at that point. I've heard all of his standup albums, though, and while he DOES talk about controversial topics, he usually does it with a surprising amount of thought and subversion that makes him much more respectable as a comedian. (IMO, of course)
Louis CK is popular enough to show that comedy can be a bit more high-brow (in approach, if not subject matter, which is important) and still be popular. "Louie", in particular, is doing quite well and CK's approach to digitally distributing his material on his own terms has made enough waves that he's getting some of the recognition he deserves.
 

afroebob

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I really don't have a problem with 'offensive' jokes, but if this really was a rape joke (I don't think it was) there is a time and a place for it, and I don't think it is at a God damn press conference. I do agree however that putting rape jokes above things like murder and what not is really fucking stupid, no matter what the situation.
 
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Wyvern65 said:
All goes back to how we tend to view men and women in society. Men are seen as strong, and capable of defending themselves; women are seen as weaker and less able to do so.

As empathic humans, we don't like 'mean' jokes - jokes that are seen to be deliberately spiteful. The two crimes most viewed as distasteful to make jokes about are rape and domestic violence, because those are the two crimes which disproportionately target women.

We're generally made much more uncomfortable by humor which specifically targets those who are of lesser social status or perceived as weaker or victims. It comes off not as funny, but as bullying.

[Necessary Internet Disclaimer: nowhere have I endorsed the views that women are weaker or lesser than men or that men can't be victims - I'm trying to talk about how I think things are currently viewed by society as a whole, not judge it.]

A feminist would describe the situation as a result of patriarchy and highlight how these views disempower and stereotype women (oh, and rape culture of course.) A MRA would focus on the male disposability aspects. And they'd both have important points to make (if they could ever get over their endless squabbling with each other, and their need to win the Oppression Olympics.)

tldr; rightly or wrongly, we see men and women differently
It's interesting, but I'm not convinced that rape jokes are really gendered. I'm sure they can be, but... it's by no-means a given.

There are people who offend easily, and there are people who don't. Category A can be annoying to category B to the point where B gets off on defying A. You can't set up a no-go area for comedy without there being a reaction. Someone is going to come along and delight in smashing the taboo, and there's going to be an audience that appreciates it.

Why? Because "Fuck you, you can't tell people what they can and can't do".

People who object to dark humour have to understand that their being indignant is just fuel on the fire.

I do find it funny when people start throwing around accusations and moral-value judgements of others based on what they find funny. The implicit knowledge that the joke teller doesn't support what he/she is saying, and that they aren't actually like that are crucial elements of what makes the off-colour joke work. The nicer/more harmless the person telling the joke is, the funnier the joke is. A rape joke told by a known rapist?... ain't so funny.
 

Something Amyss

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Phearo said:
It ain't no joke when a mama's handkerchief is soaked with her tears because her's baby's life has been revoked.
I hear what you're saying, but I fear you might as well be walking on the sun.
 

omega 616

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May 1, 2009
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Lonewolfm16 said:
but I seem to remember the fact that Laura is merely strangled to death
1) Who is Laura? You mean Lara Croft? 'cos Laura is pronounced differently to Lara ... despite many American's saying it other wise.

2) that sounds quite shocking out of context, "yeah, just strangled, nothing interesting really" lolz.

ANYWAY, I shall refer to a person whom many consider a comedy legend, Mr George Carlin.


I'm with this guy, comedians HAVE to be able to joke about anything 'cos as soon as you say "you can't joke about that" you enter the slippery slope ... Well, if rape isn't ok, is genocide? If not get rid Hitler and WW2 jokes. What about terrorists? Serial killers, are they ok to joke about? Just 1 murder? Man slaughter? GBH? Getting away from bodily harm, what about special needs?

We have to let people joke about anything, joking removes fear and helps us deal with it.
 
Dec 16, 2009
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well, on another similar thread here on Escapist, i said this

Mr Ink 5000 said:
are rape jokes funny? if its between friends in private who like that sort of humor, then fine what ever, good for you.

in an open forum/social media/public venue, rape jokes are not funny. not while its still a risk in society today that pretty much any woman (and possibly men) could be violated by such a disgusting act.
we really could do with amalgamating threads