A couple weeks ago I got into a debate with some people on twitter over whether or not rape jokes were funny. It was mostly people just telling my how stupid I am for thinking rape jokes are funny, I must be immature and ignorant and a bigot, one even went so far as to say that only rapists find rape jokes funny. Au contraire, I have never raped anybody before and I laugh at a good rape joke as much as I laugh at a good (Insert topic here) joke. Does this make me a terrible person?
I will not try to convince anybody that rape jokes are funny, what is funny is completely relative and it would be stupid to try to convince you otherwise. The core of my argument is that you should be allowed to laugh at anything without being judged harshly. What I find funny has little to do with my morality, especially if what I’m laughing at is a joke. I am not laughing at rape, I am laughing at the rape joke. I do not think rape is okay, I think rape jokes are okay. There is an immense difference between the two and I cannot understand how people get them confused so easily. The people I was arguing with on twitter brought up some interesting points that I would like to discuss in moderate detail now.
The first reason I heard for why rape jokes are wrong is that it desensitises society in believing that rape is okay, which in turn promotes rape by belittling the consequences. Fair enough, that sounds good but really think about the logic behind it. Do the jokes that we tell really desensitises us to whatever we’re joking about? Will making 9/11 jokes make another 9/11 more likely to happen? Does joking about murder make murder more prevalent? Because rappers have been talking about murder like it’s no big deal for the passed few years and murder rates have dropped dramatically, so that argument is standing on fragile footing already. I find it unsettling that some people are so easily swayed by popular opinion that they believe rape will be somehow glorified if we joke about it. I consider myself very sound when it comes to decision making and I can tell you right now, even if the government paid citizens who committed rape, I could not do it. Even if the entire world is joking about it, that would not effect my judgement about it whatsoever, I know that it is wrong and no amount of jokes could cloud that.
Let me make this point too, I don’t think that people should joke about rape. And that makes it funnier when people do. Streakers should not run across fields naked, but that’s why it’s funny. Comedy is about the unexpected, pushing the limits has always been funny and will always be funny. Take Jackass for example, they should not have done any of the stuff they did, and that made it funny. Rape jokes are wrong because it makes rape victims relive their horrible experiences in some way, but let me then ask this..Pretend a female got raped near a road, then someone told her the joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Would said female not relive her experience in the same way? (Assuming it reminded her of the event.) Where do we draw the line then? I say we do not draw a line at all. If you are offended by a joke, that is okay, be offended. But judging people who are not offended as bigots and idiots makes you seem foolish and rash, albeit you would be on the more moral side of the argument.
The point is normal people can laugh at terrible jokes without becoming terrible people. And if I am wrong then I am a sexist and a racist and a terrorist and a rapist, so let’s hope for my sake I’m right.