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Category: Art and Entertainment, Violence against Women

Rape Joke Supercut: I Can’t Believe You Clapped For That

July 14, 2012


It's not that we're grateful to unfunny comedian Daniel Tosh for attacking an audience member from the stage of a comedy club in L.A. by saying it'd be "funny" if she "got raped by, like, 5 guys, right now"—but it's been a gorgeous thing to watch the way the feminist community stepped up when it happened. They quickly moved the conversation from whether Tosh is a jerk and a hater (obviously) and whether free speech guarantees him immunity from criticism (obviously not), on to a conversation that's much more nuanced and more important: is there any humor to be found at all in the subject of rape?

There are those who will say "no, never." Considering that rape is both brutal and—especially for women—horrifically commonplace in American society, it's not hard, if you are a person with a vagina or a soul, to understand that take on it. But it's also worth examining the role that comedy can play in subverting dominant paradigms, since rape culture is in urgent need of some subversion, and ASAP.

Our Video Content Manager, Elisa Kreisinger, has created a new video, "Rape Joke Supercut: I Can't Believe You Clapped for That." A collaboration between Elisa and us at the Women's Media Center as well as Fem 2.0 (a project of Turner Strategies) and Jenn Pozner at Women In Media & News, the video aims to suggest that there is a crucial difference between playing rape for cheap laughs, and mocking or exposing the deep-rooted sexism that feeds and sustains rape culture.

Check out the video, and for just a few of the many other thoughtful examinations of this question that have come out of the feminist blogosphere this week, see Lindy West's How To Make a Rape Joke at Jezebel; Kate Harding's 15 Rape Jokes That Work, and Progressive Women's Voices alum Jessica Valenti's Anatomy of a Successful Rape Joke at The Nation.

Tags: rape, sexism