Tag Archives: opinion

The Oxymoronic Rape Joke

12 Jul

I take no small amount of pride in calling myself a feminist.

The last few days have been very hectic, hence the lack of time to post anything (sorry), but this is a topic that’s been on my mind a lot recently. It’s also popping up in the media more and more, and after an overheard conversation a few days ago, I decided I needed to write my own feelings on it.

The topic is, of course, the prevalance of sexism today-and particularly the use of rape jokes in society. Now, to any sane person that should itself be an oxymoron. How can there ever be anything funny about rape? How could anything to do with rape ever make anyone laugh? But somehow it does.

A few years ago everyone was using them (“the wind just raped my hair”, “I’m just raping the chocolate off this biscuit”, “you raped my make up!”), but thankfully this has died down. Not the use of “gay” before anything considered vaguely uncool (which I also hate passionately) though.

But I realised how common the thoughts are on the bus the other day. The conversation in turn was from a group of 17 year old boys on a bus. Now, brief context-these boys go to an all boys school, and all have since the age of at least 11. They all have girlfriends (and the conversations they have about sex, how “needy” their girlfriends are, and what they’re going to do to their girlfriends routinely turn my stomach). But in this case, they were talking about raping each other. I can’t promise an exact transcript, but I’ll do my best.

A: Oh yeah, I totally find you really hot. Come here and we’ll do it now, in front of everyone.

B: Ah, no, I don’t want to, I’m not feeling it.

A: I’ll just have to go over there and rape you, you know you want to really.

(Cue hysterics)

And there was more (which was worse), but I can’t remember it exactly. Suffice it to say I wanted to punch them by the time I got off.

But those boys (there’s no way they can be descirbed as men, despite their age), are meant to be the next generation. They’re not stupid, they’re not uneducated, and they’re supposedly not unaware. So why do they look at something as horrific as rape, and find it hilarious? I’m a seventeen year old girl, and whenever I go out late at night in the dark, I get prettily easily spooked. All you ever hear on the news about 17 year olds are horror stories about attacks (and prejudicial stories against them). So it’s no wonder that the sight of a man standing on a street corner alone late at night scares me. And it shouldn’t; that man is in all likelihood completely innocent of any thoughts I might suspect him to have. But I feel like you can’t be too sure. It’s not even that bad for me, I don’t live in a particularly crime ridden city. But still I feel I fear. If I do, what must it be like in cities like London or New York?

And those boys, who spread the jokes about rape, who act as though it’s hilarious, have no idea. No concept, and no imagination to even try.

It would be wonderful if I could feel reassured that not all 17 year old boys think that way, but sadly the misogynists on the bus are my only point of reference. And they scare me more than anything else.