1.13.2010

Wednesday WTF/Words Mean Things: Rape, again

Or, rape: it does not mean what you think it means.

I’m sure we’re all unfortunately well-conversant with the habit entirely too many (male) people have of using “rape” as a metaphor for any unpleasant experience. “I got totally raped by that test!” “Wow, [insert team here] really raped [insert other team here]!” “Shit, the zombie horde totally just raped you.” But “humor” columnist Matt Labash takes abuse of the word rape to a whole new breathtaking level of WTF in his inaugural column “Ask Matt" for just-launched site The Daily Caller. Observe the asshattery (via):

(when asked what three government programs he’d stop if he could)
Legalized rape. What’s that you say? Rape isn’t sanctioned in this country? Then you must not live in a city with red-light or speed cameras, where it happens every day. Forget for a second that in one-fourth of all automated ticket cases, the ticketed car owner wasn’t the one actually driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction (what other crime-fighting technology do we consider reliable that nabs the wrong person 25 percent of the time?) Just as heinous is that every year, more and more municipal governments pretend that they plant these all-seeing menaces in the interest of “safety.” Yet every year, their revenues tend to increase from the very same technology. Meaning that the only deterrent effect the technology has is deterring your government from being honest about raping its own citizenry. If you’re going to slide me a roofie, Government, at least take me to dinner and a movie first.


There are just buckets and buckets of WTF to be parsed here. Leaving aside the question of whether or not speed/red light cameras are an invasion of privacy or a revenue-gathering tool entirely, the man just likened getting caught running a red light to being drugged and raped.

You know the really sad part? I thought, for a brief, sparkling nanosecond, when I read those first couple of sentences (quoted out of the context of the article), that there might be a discussion of rape culture and the ways in which rape is subtly condoned about to begin. Legalized is a bit strong a term for it, I thought, but hey…wait. What? The government is forcibly violating peoples’ bodily autonomy and sexual agency by…posting red-light cams? Really? Oh, and it’s no big to be drugged and raped while you’re unconscious, so long as your rapist gets you dinner and a movie first. Cause we all know that’s how the evening ends, amirite? You buy her dinner and go to a movie and then you fuck! And if she doesn’t wanna, you drug her and fuck her anyway!

Memo to all you conservative douchefucks out there who keep. on. fucking. doing this. RAPE IS NOT A METAPHOR FOR YOUR UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCES!! I get that you don’t like red-light cams, and that you feel your privacy has been violated by them. But your poor widdle fee-fees being hurt does NOT compare in ANY fucking way to the actual experience of being raped. Was your body used without your consent and against your will for the sexual gratification of another who, for whatever reason, felt entitled to use you in such a way? No? Then shut the FUCK up and quit. calling. it. rape.

Before anyone feels the need to start in on me for being a Humorless Feminist™, I get the “joke”. Haha, he’s calling it rape because rape is a Serious Thing so that juxtaposition, something relatively harmless being talked about like it’s something Serious, isn’t that high-larious? Except no. Some things are just Not Funny. Ever. Minimizing rape by making it a punchline to a bad joke is not funny, and it never will be.

So remember, conservadouches: if the unpleasant experience you’re all testerical about did not actually involve forcible sexual use of your body against your will, YOU. WERE. NOT. RAPED. End of story. Find some other way to express the tantrum you want to throw over it.

[Author's note: originally the last sentence read "...express how butthurt you are over it." It was brought to my attention in comments that, although I didn't intend it that way, such an expression might be seen as itself euphemistic for rape, so I've changed it for now and will be considering whether or not to continue using the phrase in the future. My apologies to anyone who saw it and was upset by it.]

9 comments:

mschicklet said...

Came here from Shakesville. THANK YOU for saying this.

Vanshar said...

Also from Shakesville. :) Is butthurt also a euphemism for rape? I always assumed it was, and haven't used the term in years, but if it means something else maybe I can use it again.

Anonymous said...

Here from Shakesville too. I was also a little taken aback by the use of the word butthurt. Maybe there is an explanation of that... but did catch me really off guard.

WitchWords said...

Thank you all for clicking through, and for commenting! My sincerest apologies if my use of butthurt made you uncomfortable. I've always taken, and used, it in the sense relating more to the phrase "chapping one's ass", as in "something chapping your ass about this?" If something is chapping one's ass, one's butt would be hurt, hence "butthurt". I can see how it could be intended or taken in a different, and distinctly more offensive, light, though. Damn, I hate to lose that particular phrase, it's just so satisfying to say. I'll remove it from this post, though, and I'll think about whether or not to use it in the future. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

Nepenthe said...

I always thought that "butthurt" referred to hemorrhoids.

WitchWords said...

Lol, Nepenthe, that never occurred to me, but it could totally work!

defiantcreatrix said...

Also from Shakesville, and I'd like to point out that it's not just men who use "raped" in an inappropriate (as in not meaning sexually violated) way. I've been working at a dorm at a major state university for the last four months, and the (primarily freshman) girls are almost as likely to use the term in conversation with each other.

WitchWords said...

defiantcreatrix, that's really depressing. One of those things where I would like to think the women, being people much more likely to be at risk of experiencing the real thing, would understand how fucked-up it is to trivialize it by throwing the word around casually like that.

I said (male) people, with the male in parens, because in my experience - and most definitely wrt the world of punditry - it's overwhelmingly men who are using "rape" like that. Not to exclude female people who do it, because obviously they exist, but I wanted to quietly make the side point that those people most likely to be saying shit like this, are not coincidentally also the people least likely to experience the actual event.

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