The truth is that the vacuum that builds up in a girl’s stomach as she quickens her pace through a desolate road, looking back every other minute to ensure there is no other shadow lurking behind her, is nothing but fear.
Fear is the single common heirloom, that as girls in India, we all inherit from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends. Fear for self-preservation, and of men who can do things to hurt and shame us. We learn to weave this fear seamlessly into our lives and never even realize when it becomes second nature. This perpetual fear eats into a woman’s carefree spirit and keeps her on guard at all times.
We ought not to privilege some people with a higher status, absolving them of blame, according to our perception of them as a nice person. When we put someone up on a pedestal as a nice person, we fail to see them for what they really are: human. Humans are capable of anything, of rape, of murder, of assault. So what if they’re nice to their cat and they always send their gran a birthday card? The only thing we should judge people by are their actions and if one of those actions is rape, then they are a rapist, regardless of all the nice actions that came before the act of rape. Royse might easily believe that her friend was not to blame, but “mixed signals”, but for me? If a man penetrates an unconscious woman, that doesn’t make him a “nice guy”, as Royse calls him. And if a woman such as Royse defends the actions of a rapist? …Well, that doesn’t make her much more than a rape-apologist. Actions are what counts. Royse wrote a rape apologist article, and so she is a rape apologiser. It might seem black and white, but there is a very distinct line between consent and non-consent, between condoning rape and damning it.
Recently, a sandstorm has blown up surrounding a controversial article published on the Good Men Project. This article suggested that “nice guys” commit rape “too” – obviously there are the evil bad guys who lurk in dark alleyways, and then there are the author’s friends, who are granted the status of a “nice guy” since he ONLY penetrated a woman whilst she was a sleep, and anyway, the girl had TOTALLY been coming onto said rapist for weeks. Alyssa Royse, the author of this piece, said: “[S]he was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior.”  But somehow, her friend, though undeniably a rapist, is still a Nice Guy™. So, if the rape was not the fault of the girl herself, and Royse believes that the “problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist”, then what or who is truly at fault here? Like, duh, “mixed signals.”
How a sleeping woman manages to send anyone signals apart from dribbling on her pillow or the occasional foot twitch is beyond me. To suggest that anybody could think penetrating someone who is unconscious is okay-dokey is beyond the realm of belief.
The issue here isn’t a case of mixed signals. It’s a case of black and white: rape is non-consensual. Not enough education and sex guidance being given to teenagers as young as possible from school, from parents, from youth groups: sex without consent is always rape. It’s a case of not only does no mean no, but yes means yes. It is not enough for someone to reject consent. You must always check that you do in fact have consent. Your partner must say yes. If there is a chasm of communication, silence, unresponsive, avoidance, you do not have consent and if you continue to attempt to have sex with said person, you will be committing rape, and that is not the fault of mixed signals, but of yourself. This needs to be drilled into every single person from the day that they begin to learn anything about sex.
Though Royse doesn’t deny that the act was an act of rape, she softens the blow by listing off the girl’s credentials as a willing victim:
I had watched the woman in question flirt aggressively with my friend for weeks. I had watched her sit on his lap, dance with him, twirl his hair in her fingers. I had seen her at parties discussing the various kinds of sex work she had done, and the pleasure with which she explored her own very fluid sexuality, all while looking my friend straight in the eye.
Only she knows what signals she intended to send out. But many of us can guess the signals he received.
Royse states over and over again that she isn’t victim blaming or being a rape-apologist and then in the same breath goes on to say something that is problematic, but expects her credentials as a feminist to clear her of any suspicion.
This was an excerpt from my blog, click here to read the rest of this post.
In 2004, Britain updated its legal definition of rape in an attempt to modernise the law. It was extended to include the penetration of the mouth and the anus. This was a step in the right direction, but the law is still lacking and fails to protect rape victims, concerned more with protecting the rapist – this is troubling in an age when rape is so under reported and under convicted. Some sources even claim that Britain has the worst rape conviction rate in a study of 33 countries, citing lack of funding, failure to support victims and a lack of belief in victims of rape as reasons for this. But before we delve to deeply into the failures of the system and the challenges a victim finds themselves confronted with, let’s first consider the law itself.
Under section 1(1) SOA 2003 a defendant, A, is guilty of rape if:
_ A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B (the complainant) with his penis;
_ B does not consent to the penetration; and,
_ A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
We encounter our first problem in the first line. That this section is phallocentric is hardly surprising, but extremely troubling. It can only be called rape if penetrated with a penis. It can only be called rape if penetration itself occurs. This is completely ignoring girl-on-girl rape, rape that includes objects rather than a penis to humiliate the victim, and so on.
The most troubling issue and the one that I am going to focus on is the last line: “A does not reasonably believe that B consents.” This is putting the definition of rape itself into the hands of the rapist rather than the victim, which is hugely problematic and ignores the nature of rape itself.
Read the rest of this article here at my other blog, Sarah Gets Critical.
seeing as how so many rapes go unreported by the victims and even fewer get convictions, i thought there would be some kind of rapists database. the same thing exists for paedophilia. you know, you name and shame anonymously.
that way when another girl is going on a date she can check the database and see if her beau has been listed. a kind of girl-power street watch.
(and no, i really don’t give a flying fuck about the few poor menz who would be wrongfully named.)
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE
Old, white, powerful men know what rape is, much better, it seems, than rape victims. They are lining up to inform us that women – the discussion has centred around women and their lies even though 9 per cent of rape victims are men – do not need “to be asked prior to each insertion”. Thanks for that, George [Galloway], not that it’s just you.
As a culture, we still refuse collectively to accept that most rapes are committed by ordinary men, men who have friends and families, men who may even have done great or admirable things with their lives. We refuse to accept that nice guys rape, and they do it often. Part of the reason we haven’t accepted it is that it’s a painful thing to contemplate – far easier to keep on believing that only evil men rape, only violent, psychotic men lurking in alleyways with pantomime-villain moustaches and knives, than to consider that rape might be something that ordinary men do. Men who might be our friends or colleagues or people we look up to. We don’t want that to be the case. Hell, I don’t want that to be the case. So, we all pretend it isn’t. Justice, see?
Actually, rape is very common. Ninety thousand people reported rape in the United States in 2008 alone, and it is estimated that over half of rape victims never go to the police, making the true figure close to 200,000. Between 10 and 20 per cent of women have experienced rape or sexual assault. It’s so common that – sorry if this hurts to hear – there’s a good chance you know somebody who might have raped someone else. And there’s more than a small chance he doesn’t even think he did anything wrong, that he believes that what he did wasn’t rape, couldn’t be rape, because, after all, he’s not a bad guy.
Laurie Penny - It’s nice to think that only evil men are rapists - that it’s only pantomime villains with knives in alleyways. But the reality is different.
Bless this article
And it also makes it easier for rapists to alleviate their own guilt for the rape. I didn’t ask “prior to assertion,” yeah, but that’s perfectly normal. And besides, I’m not a rapist. I’m just a normal guy. Just a med student/banker/waiter/cashier. It was just a case of crossed wires.
Radical thought: stop listening to the rapists on the definition of rape and start listening to the rape victims.
(Photo) “‘No means No’ anti-date rape flyer”
Date rape doesn’t always equal not “understanding” no. Let’s not give rapists too much credit; most people understand damn good and well the difference between a straight-up “yes” and the least sign of hesitation or reluctance. Thanks to rape culture an appalling number of people think that it’s ok to do what they want when consent is absent or “uncertain”- the absence of “no” is taken to be “yes”, because it’s only “legitimate” rape if the victim is a demure, well-behaved virgin who kicked and screamed, and never so much as smiled at their rapist beforehand. Golly, anything less is just a tragic misunderstanding!
That doesn’t mean people don’t understand “no” when they hear it. All of those examples above? “Fuck off”, “Not now”, “Don’t touch me”, “I’d rather be alone”? There’s NO WAY any of those can be taken as a “maybe”, let alone a “yes”.
Rapists understand, “No.” They understand, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this.” They understand, “Not now.” They know, from millions of conversations with other human beings in which “no” comes up in non-sexual contexts, that an indirect “no” is not a “yes”. (A direct “no” can be seen as rude, so people often avoid saying it directly.) But they also know that if they come up with even the flimsiest of excuses, they will be forgiven for “not understanding” that there was not consent.
“We were drunk, I wasn’t myself.” “She was dressed provocatively, I figured it was what she wanted.” “He flirted with me.” “They stopped resisting.”
The problem is not consent and lack thereof being hard to understand. The problem is that our culture gives rapists the literal benefit of the doubt.
Rapists can say whatever the fuck they want and everybody will go, “Ohhh, yeah, that’s totally understandable. What you did was wrong, but we see where you’re coming from. Your victim’s response was ambiguous. THEY weren’t DIRECT enough.”
By all means, continue to educate people about lack of no not meaning yes, and to stop what they’re doing if there’s any doubt. But DON’T go around saying rape is “not understanding no”. It perpetuates rape culture. It implies rape is a misunderstanding, that the poor widdle rapist didn’t realize what they were doing.
Enough of that. That attitude is how rapists continue to get away with raping, and even playing the victim themselves if they experience any backlash. Hell, that attitude places responsibility on victims’ shoulders for failing to be direct enough for their rapist to understand.
That attitude needs to STOP.
Reblogging again for the commentary.
Would also like to add that the image above says “date rape = not understanding no” but this puts the definition of rape upon the rapist rather than the victim. We define rape through the eyes of the rapist.
What is rape? It is penetration without consent.
Here we privilege the rapist perception of the act over the victim’s, which, like the above commentary says, leads to the “misunderstandings” and the get-out-of-jail-free-card. The appropriate response would be to ask the VICTIM, did you consent? If no, it’s rape. Simple as that.
here is my journey's end: Fifty Things Wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey (see TW list bolded second paragraph)
This is the second post in my series on BDSM and feminism. My challenge to myself was to make a list of 50 reasons why the widespread appreciation of 50 Shades of Grey is not so ideal, despite the fact that I generally think women enjoying sexually explicit material is a good thing. I thought it would be difficult to think of all those things while pointing out new problems every time, not just giving examples. I was wrong. It was really easy.
Trigger warnings for discussions of BDSM, assault, child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and stalking. Also, spoilers through 50 Shades of Grey and the sequels.
Part One: Problematic Treatment of Consent in the books
1. Ignoring consent
2. Reacting to the sentiment “no, I don’t want to have sex with you right now” by threatening to tie the speaker up, taking their clothes off, and… having sex with them.
3. Not treating safewords as important
4. Not treating contracts as important
5. Joking about the importance of safewords and contracts in a D/s relationship
6. Having a partner sign a D/s contract without telling them it isn’t legally binding
7. Not exploring and explaining limits
8. Forcibly preventing a partner from learning about their limits
9. Forcibly preventing a partner from learning about a sexual practice you are encouraging them to engage in
10. Making a romantic relationship dependent on indulging non-mutual kinks
11. Taking sexual advantage of someone who is intoxicated
12. Refusing to allow a partner to masturbate
13. Pushing someone who has never experienced any sexual interest, including maturbation, into a sexual relationship immediately after meeting them
14. Pushing someone who has never experienced any sexual interest, including masturbation, into a kinky sexual relationship immediately after meeting them despite the fact that they have no knowledge about kink
15. Refusing to allow that partner any trustworthy source of knowledge about those kinks other than yourself
16. Forcing a partner to make specific decisions about birth control based on your preferences
Let’s wrap up!
Consent is really, really important. Consent is important because it differentiates sex from rape, and consent is important because it differentiates BDSM from abuse. So in a relationship like the one depicted in this series, you would think clear consent would be the number one most important thing. You would be wrong.
The worst part of how consent is treated is that the first book actually addresses the importance of negotiated and informed consent in a D/s relationship, and then procedes to undermine it. Christian, the male love interest, tells the inexperienced (with everything about sex and her body, and clueless about the existence of kink, much less its practice) Anastasia that he’s not going to do anything without a contract and a safeword in place.
Approximately five seconds later, he says “Screw the contract” and initiates sexual contact in an elevator.
All of bullet point number two actually happens. She was joking when she sent him an email saying she didn’t want to say him again, but he thought she was serious- and his response was to show up and tell her he was going to tie her up and then to have sex with her! He also has sexual contact with her after she drinks mulitple times, despite the fact that she has a low tolerance for alcohol (of course, she’s a helpless wilting flower) and they never, ever negotiate having sex is this context.
He refuses to let her get information about BDSM (if she could, perhaps she would realize what a deeply abusive relationship she’s trapped in). She is encouraged to look it up online, despite the fact that she’s absurdly computer-illiterate and the internet is not exactly full of super-reliable information about BDSM. She literally cannot even speak to her best friend about it.
There’s nothing wrong with having sex with an inexperienced partner, and there’s nothing wrong with controlling your partner’s orgasms in a negotiated D/s context. But you probably shouldn’t do both at the same time, since she basically doesn’t know what she’s giving up, and she isn’t given any opportunity to have anything like a normal learning curve about sexual activity. Instead, she’s pushed immediately into exactly the kind of sexual relationship her partner wants, which is clearly coercive without everything else bad that’s going on.
Part Two: Other Abusive Content in the books
17. Reading a partner’s email and phone messages without their knowledge or consent
18. Physically hurting a partner without their informed consent
19. Physically hurting a partner even though it causes them fear
20. Controlling who a partner can and cannot spend time with outside of the relationship
21. Showing up at someone’s house after they’ve literally just emailed you to say they don’t want to see you anymore
22. Routinely forcing a partner to eat when they don’t want to.
Let’s wrap up!
Okay, so Christian is exhibiting some classic signs of a controlling and abusive partner here. Normally, you could cut a guy some slack due to his extremely difficult childhood, but he is literally beating her.
It’s fine to hit your partner if your partner genuinely wants to get hit, but Ana in the books is ambivalent at best about any kind of S&M or painplay. There is one extremely telling scene where she is terrified that he’s going to spank her again.
Now, as someone who’s into this sort of thing, I can say that one of the more fun parts of the whole process is the anticipation. For me, at least, it’s arousing and enjoyable to not be sure whether pleasure or pain is coming next.
That is not the same thing as fear, which is how Ana describes her feelings. She says she’s afraid of him hurting her again. That isn’t something a submissive says, it’s something an abuse victim says.
And compared to everything else he does: controlling her other relationships and her communications, stalking her, and even deciding what she can and can’t eat after she repeatedly tells him she isn’t comfortable turning that control over—it’s a clear pattern of control outside of the bounds of any kind of negotiated D/s. He is infiltrating every part of her life and abusing her emotionally and mentally… and then causing her physical pain that scares her and that she doesn’t enjoy sexually or emotionally.
That sounds like abuse to me.
Part Three: Problematic Treatment of Women and other minority groups, Feminist Fails
23. The perpetuation of the idea that a woman has no libido or sexual desire of her own until it is “awoken” by a desirable man
24. The man as aggressor and the woman as, essentially, prey
25. Refusal to utter the word “vagina,” instead referring to female genitalia as “down there,” despite the fact that male genitals are described frequently and in often-bizarrely-metaphorical detail
26. A female character who is just so skinny and naturally feminine that she forgets to eat all the time! That’s… that’s not what people do. If you regularly forget to eat, you might have an eating disorder. And you definitely need to get that looked into.
27. The good-girl cures bad-boy trope
28. Stating marriage, babies, heteronormative normalcy as the ultimate goal for a young woman and lots and lots of kinky sex with multiple partners as the ultiamte goal for a young man
29. Racial stereotyping of a young man of color (the only vaguely significant character of color) as a scary probable rapist who nice white girls must be protected from, despite the fact that his behavior (which I am totally not condoning) is much less sexually predatory than that of the white male love interest
30. Complete erasure of queer people of all types
31. Typing- that is, the idea that a man only likes women of one physical “type,” and thus that his only possible interest in these women is their physical appearance, not their personalities or anything else
32. Excusing the rape of a young boy by a woman. The one good thing the female main character does in the series is condemn the woman who raped her partner when he was 14 and question his continuing relationship with her. However, he completely laughs off her objections and the overall plot of the books somewhat normalizes his sexual abuse.
33. Presenting the only dominant female character as a rapist
34. Treating female sexual pleasure and orgasm as something bizarre
35. Treating female sexual pleasure and orgasm as something belonging exclusively to a male partner, to bestow or not as he chooses
36. Presenting a character who has never felt sexual attraction to anyone, ever, and has never masturbated, as obviously heterosexual and ignoring the asexual spectrum completely
37. Consistent devaluing of female friendships
38. Painting the normal state of relationships as a dominant man and a submissive woman
Let’s wrap up!
My biggest problem with this book is its overall treatment of minorities and serious issues. It is dismissive and gross toward female-on-male rape (the legal definition of sex between the fourteen-year-old Christian and adult Elena). Although Ana actually is horrified by it (good for her!) her partner dismisses her discomfort about it and continues a friendship with this woman afterwards.
There are a lot of nasty sexist tropes in the books, listed above.
There are no queer characters of any type, and the only character of color at all is a rapist because he is deemed an unworthy partner for the beautiful virtuous young white woman.
This is a really, really problematic book, even barring the way it treats kink and the horrifically abusive relationship between the main characters.
Part Four: Kink-Shaming
39. Treating a partner’s kinks as something unpleasant to be barely tolerated
40. Someone seeking out a partner they know will barely tolerate their kinks because of internalized kink-shaming
41. Creating the sense that a character’s kinks must stem from some “reason” and thus the idea that kinks cannot be natural
42. Associating kinks with extreme trauma from early childhood
43. Treating a kink as something very embarassing, to be kept secret under threat of legal action
Let’s wrap up!
It isn’t really Ana’s fault that she’s shocked by Christian’s kinkiness. After all, she’s completely unprepared for it. But the narrative attitude toward his kinks, and thus toward kinky people in general, is remarkably kink-shaming and sex-negative for something that’s explicitly a work of pornography.
The storyline sets up Christian’s kink as the direct result of early childhood abuse. Although kink can be influenced by trauma, and many people find it a helpful way to deal when with a consenting and enthusiastic partner, it’s hardly the only way anyone could end up a sadist.
Literally, Christian’s reason for wanting to engage in BDSM with a long string of dark-haired pretty young women is that they look like his neglectful and drug-addicted mother. The only other kinky characters who get much of a mention in the book are his ex-sub, who goes insane and chases them down with a gun, and Elena, who molested a young teenager.
This doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of individuals with an interest in BDSM. Admittedly, Ana has a normal background, but she also doesn’t have much of an interest in BDSM. She only does it to please Christian, at least at first.
Additionally, Christian’s intense shame about his kink, to the extent of making Ana keep it a secret under threat of legal action (a provision of the contract that he neglects to tell her isn’t legally binding!) adds another level of shame for the reader to associate with BDSM. Finally, the plot tends to favor Ana’s desire to marry and settle down into a vanilla, heteronormative marriage, setting BDSM as an abnormal sexual fetish which doesn’t belong in a committed and loving relationship. A large part of Christian’s discussions with his therapist revolve around trying to “cure” his kink (something his therapist rightly says he shouldn’t do), showing once again how kink is treated as abnormal in the narrative of the series.
Part Five: General Shittiness
44. The phrase “laters, baby,” which is just obnoxious. And the whole “inner goddess” thing, which deserves a special nod for its sheer terribleness
45. Generally terrible writing.
46. Lack of aftercare. The whole second book’s plot could have been avoided if Christian weren’t genuinely a terrible Dom.
47. This one part where a female character puts her hair in pigtails to make herself look like a child to protect herself from the sexual aggression of her partner. And then he totally gets that that’s why she’s doing it, and says something along the lines of “that won’t protect you.” I actually cannot.
48. Plagiarism. Since when is it totes okay to make money off someone else’s copyrighted idea?
49. Coopting fanfiction and fanworks, by and large a feminist, queer-positive practice, to make money off an unfeminist, queer-erasing work
50. People are entering into D/s relationship based off the precepts the learned in this book, which is dangerous and frightening.
Criticizing the writing has little to do with my point here, but I couldn’t resist.
Perhaps 46 would have fit in better somewhere else, but I shoved it in here. That’s right, for somebody who structures all his relationships around D/s, Christian sucks at being a Dom. Maybe it’s because he learned it all from his rapist, but he’s fairly clueless. Except for rubbing some lotion on Ana’s butt one time, he’s not very sensitive about aftercare. He leaves her alone after a scene when she’s clearly traumatized, and lets her run out without even mentioning that maybe he’s sorry or something after he beats her until she safewords. There’s also the issue of his ex-sub, who clearly is still deeply under his influence. If he’d ended the relationship in a normal way, maybe she wouldn’t be under such an extended case of subdrop related crazy.
47. It happens. I actually can’t. Like really.
I’m so in favor of fandom. I’ve been a writer of fanfiction for years and years, and was in fact in the Twilight fandom for a little while. I’ve written more D/s porn than most people have read total words in their lives. I’m even in favor of writers finding ways to make money off the fic they love so much. Selling drabbles or auctioning off prompt fills, even changing stories to be original work… I had a friend once who did it in another fandom and was published. But she changed the character’s personalities and replaced the plot entirely, just keeping some of the sexy bits that were so thoroughly celebrated. I saw a comparison that shows that something like 93% of the text of 50 Shades is word-for-word identical to the original fic, and that just rings of plagiarism… she even kept Edward and Bella’s physical appearances.
49 is probably a whole nother post, about the value of fandom, so I’ll just save it.
And I left the worst for last.
D/s is awesome. D/s is fun. Go for it if you really want to.
But don’t fucking use Fifty Shades as a guide.
Read the books if you must- obviously, I did. But read other things too. Talk to people who’ve been in the lifestyle for years. Talk to me, if you can’t find anyone more, like, knowledgeable. Use a safeword. Don’t do anything that you don’t, really, truly, deep-down want to do.
There’s nothing wrong with reading problematic porn- I’ve done it, definitely. But don’t base your lifestyle around it, and try seeking out some other things. I could recommend you some really, really good fic.
Thank you for writing this and thank you to Dailymurf for guiding me to it. I actually bought the book last week with the aim to do something similar. It’s hard to criticize something without actually having read it afterall, haha. The problem with 50 Shades that I’ve had so far in my abstract knowledge of it is that when people crit it, people use the “immoralistic” sex as a reason for it being a bad and harmful book. (Yes, a “feminist” on the radio actually said that. Immoral. Right.) What you wrote about the BDSM-shaming within the book itself was really fascinating. How can you put something forwards as a “sexy” book and then shame the sex at the same time? Mind-boggling.
And as for the erasure of non-het people and near erasure and demonising of people of colour… seeing as it’s based on Twilight (100% het, can’t call a poc character apart from Laurent, was he described that way in the book or am I just recalling the film here, but anyway he whooo was also a viscious murderer). Can’t wait to get started now.
Anonymous asked: Did you even read Jessica Valenti's article? She says rape jokes can be funny. The rape jokes that attack rape culture and point out how horrifying it is. She's not defending Tosh at all. She's saying he is a main example of the stupid unfunny rape jokes. But comedians like George Carlin, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes joke about how horrific rape is and those can be funny because destroying and undermining rape culture IS funny.
TW: rape, victim blaming, rape culture, mention of sexism.
Hiya, I actually really appreciate you asking me this because since Valenti posted that article there have been several gifs from the comedians in question going around and it’s created a bit of a grey area - wrongly, I think.
The problem that I have with Valenti’s article you said yourself in your ask: “She says rape jokes can be funny.” That is the issue at hand. That is what I disagree with, and being that I’ve read a large body of Valenti’s work, that is what I was shocked at what she was arguing too.
Let me say very clearly - I understand the point she was making and I can see even perhaps WHY she was arguing that. Sometimes people of oppressed minorities, whether that be rape victims or non-hets or PoC, can find release and, yes, humour from mocking the system that oppresses them - in this case rape culture. However…
Rape culture is not funny either.
It’s a way of life for women*, and that number shoots wildy up for non cis women and non-white women. It’s not a joke; it’s a threat. As with Tosh, it’s something that can even be actively used against women should they try to argue against it. Valenti wasn’t defending Tosh, of course, and I never claimed she was. But she’s defending part of the SCALE that his jokes originate from.
With something as delicate and triggering as rape, it has to be treated as such. And making light of the situation (be that the act of rape itself or the rape culture that perpetuates systematic rape of women*) is not helpful either.
ESPECIALLY, the joke about I-can’t-go-for-a-jog-without-being-raped-so-I’ll-leave-my-vagina-at-home. That made me feel really, really sick. Because it’s TRUE. It might be pointing towards rape culture, but I can’t see one way in which it is “undermining” it (as you put it). It’s merely pointing out that it’s there. Observational at best. At worst reinforcing rape culture at the rules that women have to live by in order not to be blamed for their rapes - ie., out late at night alone in the dark, got raped… well, she “asked for it.” There is nothing funny about the fact that women* feel threatened going about their day to day lives.
To joke about “how horrific rape is” is to miss the point entirely. You’re creating this whole grey area which says “rape jokes can be funny.” This is completely neglecting the feelings and individual traumas of rape victims and the mindset that it is perpetuating: that rape/rape culture is something light-hearted to have a good chuckle about. The same could be said of sexism - jokes about women in the kitchen are undermining the system of traditional gender roles and highlighting how ridiculous that mindset is… but in reality? It’s kind of leaning towards a get out of jail free card for comedians LIKE TOSH who when they make a gaff and get called out can fall back on “I was trying to subvert the nature of rape culture,” because from where I’m standing, I reacted equally badly to his joke AND to the jogging joke (although I can see which one is more harmful).
What it comes down to is that it seems to be that when so-called englightened feminists make joke about rape, it can be lols. But when a misogynistic pig like Tosh makes rape jokes, then suddenly we’re all up in arms. They’re both equally harmful.
Rape jokes are not funny.
Jokes about rape culture are not funny.