Sunday, 25 May 2014

Twitter, rape 'jokes' and being a dickhead

Sorry, everybody, but it's time for another serious blog post. Two in a row. I know, I know. Don't worry. My next one will be back to the usual crap.

Anyway. A couple of days ago, a female agent I follow on Twitter retweeted a reply she received after she mentioned a particular author known for their, frankly, foul views on a few subjects including homosexuality and rape. Simply because I don't want to send traffic to the poster, I'm not linking to the actual tweet. Its content is more than enough.

Now, rape isn't that bad. Without it, you wouldn't even be here.

For the sake of argument, let's say the poster's intention was an off-colour joke. And here's the thing - some people find the blackest of comedy to be funny.  Some people find stuff that 99% of others consider offensive to be the height of hilarity, but even a person with a dark sense of humour knows there is a line between their comedy and abuse. Personally, I don't believe this poster meant it as a joke. Nothing in subsequent tweets suggests it was a gag which leaves one alternative. Abuse. And behind the abuse, we have the intent of intimidation, the intent of saying to the woman 'you're wrong so shut up with your worthless opinion.' 

Whether that intent comes from anger or fear, I don't know. Don't really give a shit, to be honest. Guys like this will always come out with their ugly statements and, if pushed, will react with it was just a joke or more abuse. When you're sitting behind the wall of Twitter or Facebook or anywhere online, being foul is easy as hell especially when the site does next to nothing about it or when others don't do their absolute best to hammer it into your head that this stuff is not acceptable. For what it's worth, I don't believe men who abuse women online will ever change. They won't stop at a certain point and realise that jokes about rape or threatening rape and violence are wrong.  But. Having no faith in an arsehole's ability to change does not mean I think we should stop calling them out on it because if we do, we're almost as bad as they are, and another potential arsehole might see people standing up against abuse and think twice. Maybe.

On a final note, it's not enough for men to point out that not all of us are total dickheads. Of course we're not. Women know that. Saying so isn't the issue. Telling other men to not be that dickhead is. Standing up against abuse, verbal or physical, is the issue.

So, if you're thinking of cracking a rape joke online or threatening someone with it, then do yourself a favour. Do humanity a favour.

Shut the fuck up.


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