Its been awhile since I’ve blogged on here – life seems to keep getting in the way – but I feel compelled to put my two cents in on some recent drama. I expect most of my readers are already more than aware of the ridiculousness that got us here (click, in case you’re not) so I’m just going to jump right in…
The whole Daniel Tosh scandal honestly didn’t get me much at first because, well, look at the source… did I expect better from the man responsible for this segment, [Serious, serious, trigger warning if you click that link] making fun of an actual sexual assault caught on video? No, no I did not.
I did, however, expect better of Louis CK and of the feminist blogosphere as a whole. I’m willing to give Louis the benefit of the doubt and assume that he really didn’t realize what was going on when he tweeted Daniel Tosh, but I can’t give a pass on the rest of this.
“I think you should listen. If someone has the opposite opinion as mine, I want to hear it so I can add to mine. I don’t want to obliterate it with mine. That’s how I feel. Now, a lot of people don’t feel that way. For me, any joke about anything bad is great. That’s how I feel. Any joke about rape, the Holocaust, the Mets, whatever.
But now I’ve read some blogs about this whole thing that enlightened me to things I didn’t know. This one woman said how rape is something that polices women’s lives. They have a narrow corridor. They can’t go out late, they can’t go in certain neighborhoods, they have to dress a certain way. And that’s part of me now that wasn’t before.”
This is a great statement – something that shows growth, and insight, and… oh… there’s more? How about we read the rest of the quote:
“…But now I’ve read some blogs about this whole thing that enlightened me to things I didn’t know. This one woman said how rape is something that polices women’s lives. They have a narrow corridor. They can’t go out late, they can’t go in certain neighborhoods, they have to dress a certain way. And that’s part of me now that wasn’t before. And I can still enjoy a good rape joke so I have both now.”
I’m not saying that Louis CK is a bad guy… but I have lost a decent amount of respect for him in all of this because he came so close, SO FREAKING CLOSE, to getting it… before losing it all in that last sentence. What Louis (and many many people weighing in on this) don’t seem to realize is that many people don’t have the privilege of “having both now” and those people are the ones who are hurting right now.
If you live in fear of being raped, or live with the memory of being raped, this little quote about the policing of women’s lives isn’t just a cute little anecdote, it is your life. Its not something that you can choose wether or not to get all riled up about, as people like Louis can, rather it is the reality that punches you in the gut every time you’re reminded of your own rape.
This reality can send someone into a cold sweat at just the thought of running across campus after dark, or going to that party with the people you don’t know so well… sure, not all women live in this world (and not all men live outside of it, plenty of male survivors exist as well) but for the people who have experience with rape as a reality… they don’t get to have both.
As I have written before, I think jokes about rape can be funny, when they are done well and aimed at the powerful,not the powerless. It is not my goal to silence anybody – yet that is how I am painted when I speak up against humor that pressures survivors of rape and sexual assault to stay quiet, lest they take away from everyone else’s “good time.”
The real joke here seems to be how loud Louis CK and other Daniel Tosh defenders have gotten in the wake of this scandal – how powerfully they are raising their voices to drown out the voices of survivors. In a way what Louis did hurts more than any of the mindless Tosh apologists, because he heard us. He heard us, he got it (at least well enough for a quick talking point), and then he told us to shut up so he could go back to enjoying his rape jokes.