HUGE big TRIGGER WARNING HERE- I get angry and say the R-word a lot. This post could upset you via the links I have posted, too- if you feel at all triggered, don’t worry about reading them. The safe one is the one about burlesque.
People have warned me, through blogs, that I would lose friends over what happened to me. Rape is a word people don’t like to use, but often when they do, it is all in the wrong contexts.
This is what happened today.
Let me set the scene. A friend of mine is a burlesque artist, fire eater, stilt walker and all-round amazing performance artist. She had posted a rant about a certain so-called “feminist” comedienne who had done a piece about burlesque, supposedly both taking the mick and making it “feminist” at the same time. What she was actually doing was making a fool of herself in front of an audience of idiots. Apparently, bashing other women is a “feminist” thing now, too. See it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/02/25/nadia-kamil-feminist-burlesque_n_4853522.html
The taking the mick out of burlesque part I thought was childish- burlesque IS feminist, and actually pretty difficult to perform. I have worked with a burlesque dancer, and she pulled no punches. She booked her own shows and bought her own rhinestones, and knew that mostly, her audience was couples and women. She is a true businesswoman, has a degree, and has met important political figures. I actually thought the routine this comedienne did would have been helpfully corrected by burlesquers, and she would definitely have been lectured on her lack of feathers or rhinestone. (See here for a much better refutation of the burlesque side than I have just written- https://lililascala.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/feminist-burlesque-dont-make-me-laugh/ )
What actually had me fuming, and feeling sick, was that the comedienne decided that in her routine, there was going to be a tasteless moment involving a true fact about rape. I watched that, and the bile rose in my throat.
So, as I do if something affects me, I posted it to my Facebook page. I was very much aware that I was skirting close to what has actually happened to me, but I knew that most people I know have seen posts about abusive relationships that I have uploaded. I have admitted to my depression there, but not the rape. I don’t know when, or if, I will be strong enough for that, but those closest to me have already guessed or I have told them.
Anyway… We all have those friends who seem to think they cannot be wrong, and they are so intellectual that everyone else is dumb. I had one of these friends- let’s call her Silly for now. Silly has had not the greatest of upbringings, and has used drugs and drink, but is apparently clean and sober and actually living life properly now. She has been obnoxious since her parents split, and always picks arguments for the sake of arguing. I have tried to explain away her behaviour for years- she has been a good friend and she can be very funny- but she has insulted people close to me, and now they won’t speak to her. I have constantly tried to be a good friend to her, by being understanding and supportive, but the fact remains that she can be very offensive. Silly will pick the wrong side of an argument, and she will argue til she is blue in the face to prove it right- I mean, I wouldn’t put it past her to say that torture was right and acceptable just to piss the other person off, and prove how wonderfully intelligent she is.
Silly saw the post, and this is exactly what happened.
She wrote something like what are you objecting over with the rape joke? I thought it was a pretty good one and a very true statement.
I saw red, and replied with my view- rape jokes are never funny. People in the audience who had been through this shit would have to face that in an evening of comedy, which is not what they had signed up for. She was still using the piece of information about rape in a sexualised context, so it still meant she didn’t take it seriously. Feminist my ass. For some people, even the word triggers flashbacks. I agree completely with what was on the piece of paper (100% of rapes are the fault of… the rapist) but to display it in that way was quite frankly disgusting.
I thought she would understand. Why oh why did I think that? Did I not know Silly? Had I not been there as she insulted her way through our mutual friendship group, in the name of intellect?
Silly then came back with the following:
Also, comedy is a great way for many people for dealing with things like this- by subverting the issue and pointing out how silly the whole of rape culture is- and the more people realise what a ridiculous joke rape culture is- the less people will be buying into it!
Anyway, there’s a whole bunch of articles out there who cover this far more eloquently than I can, like this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/can-rape-jokes-be-funny… , but I’ll also leave you with this super funny video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded…