[Content Note: Rape culture; rape jokes.]
Another tiresome article about whether rape jokes are funny, giving lots of space to women who say they are and complain that criticizing rape jokes is asking survivors who process with humor to not process their assaults.
I've said pretty much everything I've got to say on this exhausting subject here, although I will underline once again that I am a survivor who finds value in processing via humor. I just also happen to be a survivor who understands and respects that not all survivors do—and that even those who do don't necessarily want to stumble across rape humor, even if it's another survivor working through her shit.
Which means I'm a survivor that understands the value of a closed group and a public space. I have friends, some of them also survivors, with whom I can safely make rape jokes (of the sort where the punchline is that rape is horrible and rapists are gross) and they can make them to me. In private. Within the safety and trust that comes with the intimacy of friendship.
Someone who argues against public rape jokes isn't telling me I can't process that way. They're not stopping me from doing what I need to do. And I don't feel the slightest bit limited in my ability to explore whatever dark shit I need to explore because I restrict my gallows humor to spaces where I know it isn't going to harm anyone.
In the age of social media, the boundaries between private and public are ever blurred, and I certainly think this is part of why rape jokes are proliferating at this particular time. But during an election year in which lack of agency and consent are central to virtually every major policy issue, the gravity of public rape jokes should be evident.
If one supports reproductive choice, if one supports ending foreign wars, if one supports closing Gitmo, if one supports rescinding invasive TSA policies, if one supports same-sex marriage, if one supports trans* protections, if one supports immigration reform, if one supports prison reform, if one supports environmental policies that don't harm local residents, if one supports universal healthcare, or any one of hundreds of other issues that are predicated on respecting other human bodies and choices, one needs to rigorously uphold consent, agency, and bodily autonomy in all arenas. The end.
Because the issue is not really whether rape jokes or funny. The issue is whether they're dangerous. And they are.
Posted by Melissa McEwan at Friday, February 24, 2012