Obviously, a lot of women feel uncomfortable about rape jokes because rape is an ever-present background threat to daily life for us, not just a bit of regrettable “bad sex”. Melissa McEwan at Shakesville has written quite a lot about how rape jokes bolster rape culture, and posted an excellent essay on the subject of rape jokes this week, and it highlighted a point I hadn’t especially considered, and which I wish I had considered: that rape jokes are Post-Traumatic Stress Triggers for those who have been raped.
Seriously? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I will never understand why anyone wants to be the total douchebag who blindsides someone by evoking her (or his) memories of being raped, in the guise of “humor.”
Meanwhile, I added Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn to my ever-growing list of comedians I don’t watch, because—silly me—I don’t like being slapped upside the head with rape jokes when I’m trying to have a good time.
Quite honestly, it’s not even because I particularly find the jokes personally triggering anymore; I generally just find them pathetic and inexplicable. I’m more bothered by the fact that the jokes normalize and effectively minimize the severity of rape and thusly perpetuate the rape culture. And I’m bothered by the thought of a woman who’s recently been raped, who’s just experienced what may be the worst thing that will ever happen to her, and turns on the telly to watch her favorite comedian and have a much-needed laugh—only to hear him using that horrible, life-changing thing as the butt of a joke. About cologne. Or a bad movie. For fuck’s sake.
I still don’t understand—and I don’t believe I ever will—why anyone wants to be the guy who sends that shiver down her spine, who makes her eyes burn hot with tears at an unwanted memory while everyone laughs and laughs.
Still. Not. Funny.