Sunday, 6 May 2018

Sunday Shorts: Seriously, stop making rape jokes.

Two screen grabs of a tumblr post, side by side. There are four panels of gifs from a TV show showing John Barrowman and another man. Transcription below. 
Two screen grabs of a tumblr post, side by side with text. Transcription below 


Picture 1:
[straight-as-a-protractor] Screen capture of John Barrowman presenting a gameshow. The caption reads: "On a clothing care label, which instruction is indicated by a solid black triangle with a cross through it?
Screen capture of a white, bald man on the gameshow. The caption reads: "This is where we want the women in the team back, don't we?"

Screen Shot 2: Continuation of the post by [straight-as-a-protractor]. Screen capture of John Barrowman . The caption reads: "Or maybe you could help with the cleaning of the clothes every so often.
Screen capture of John Barrowman, smirking.

[mmmahogany] #John Barrowman is having none of your misogynist bullshit.

[xgenepositive] I love that Barrowman's response also distances him from the contestant.
"hahahaha women do laundry, right John? you with me john?" 
John "don't lump me in with you, you fucking martian"

Picture 2:
[solarbird] This is what I am talking about when I say that men have to deny the endorsement. This guy wanted Barrowman's tacit support or agreement for his sexism, as part of bonding through humour. John went nope.

The rest that follows is my contribution:

I've been wanting to write a post about this for a couple of days but have struggled with words. However:

Tacit support or agreement for his sexism, as part of bonding through humour

is actually the exact phrase I was looking for.

At the weekend I was crewing an event. At one point I was chatting with another member of crew when another guy came up and joined in. I can't even remember the original thing we were joking about but the following exchange happened:

guy 1: I would totally do X thing.
guy 2: I would have to rape you to death if you did that.
me: Oi, less of that.
Guy 1: I don't mind
Guy 2: I didn't mean it
Me: Well I mind and I don't want to hear that kind of shit from anyone.

The two skulk off.

And it really bothered me. Because yes, I know that Guy 2 didn't actually mean it. It was clear it wasn't an actual threat of genuine sexual violence toward Guy 1.

 It was however, a joke about horrific sexual violence that actually happens in our society and that statistically  happens to minority groups (including women, trans people, non-binary people, disabled people - women in particular -, gay men, ace people, bi people and lesbians) far more frequently that to straight white cis guys like them. It is something that is statistically more likely to happen to me as a visible member of more than one of those minority groups, than to them.

So while it isn't those two guys seeking tacit support for sexism, it is those two guys seeking and expressing tacit support for a culture that includes the violent rape of minorities and bonding over that through humour.

And it is gross.

It immediately made me feel less safe around them. Not threatened, but certainly less confident that I could count on them to be problem free, people I would be happy to be left alone with or depend on in an emergency.

That's why sexist jokes are bad. That's why rape jokes are bad.

Because they seek tacit support and agreement for sexism or abuse as part of bonding through humour. 

I'm not fine with it. You shouldn't be either.
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