Monday, 25 February 2013

Because rape culture is just so darned attractive

When you think of rape and/or rape culture, what kind of person immediately comes to mind? Is it a big, scary, burly-looking man hiding in an alley? Is it someone who should emanate waves of rapey-warning-vibes?

But he's such a Nice GuyTM

When I think of the embodiment of rape and rape culture, this is the image that comes to mind:

I'm not being sarcastic, and I'm not accusing Seth McFarlane of being a rapist. I am saying that this guy is a big proponent of rape culture. From his tv shows, to his movies, to his Oscar-hosting duties, he's all about making light of rape at every turn.

And he's not even close to being an outlier. Rapists and rape apologists are so often charming, handsome, and charismatic. They make people laugh and feel comfortable around them, and at the same time push their boundaries to make them feel uncomfortable and laugh off their discomfort. They aim to get people to laugh at themselves when they are offended and to see their offense as the butt of the joke. They get others to side with them in pressuring people to ignore their discomfort and laugh instead of challenging the parts that made them legitimately uncomfortable.

It's a good trick, and it's not a new one. These are the tools that rapists rely on in maintaining a rape culture. So long as we think that rapists and rape apologists are this ugly "other", then we can ignore the attractive, funny man with the great smile as he makes sexual innuendos about a 9 year old girl. So long as we help him deflect criticisms as people being "too sensitive", he can make jokes about getting to see actresses breasts in movies, including during rape scenes.

Don't tell me he was being edgy, because this is the same schtick we've seen from him throughout his career, and there is a well-worn path preceding him. He is just a younger face of rape culture and demonstrates quite clearly how unabashed it is in keeping itself to the forefront of our "entertainment".

This is one of the reasons why rape culture is so deeply ingrained and so difficult to talk about. Because the people who most eloquently support it are just so darned likeable. How can someone so charismatic steer us wrong or do us harm when his only goal is to "entertain" us? Maybe we should start asking, "If he's so invested in making us laugh, why are we the ones berated when we don't find him funny?"

Thursday, 14 February 2013

February 14th events

There is plenty going on in Toronto and around Canada today that doesn't revolve around blind consumerism and disappointed lovers.

2013 Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women

The poster is for the event in Montreal:
Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Missing Justice) invites you and yours to attend, spread the word about, and participate in this year’s Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women on Thursday February 14th, 6pm at St. Laurent metro.
The first women’s memorial march was held in 1991 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on Powell Street in Vancouver. Her name is not spoken today out of respect for the wishes of her family. Out of this sense of hopelessness and anger came an annual march on Valentine’s Day to express compassion, community, and caring for all women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Unceded Coast Salish Territories.
Twenty-two years later, the women’s memorial march continues to honour the lives of missing and murdered women.
This year, Montreal holds it’s 4th Annual Memorial March.
****There will be a bus this year from Kahnawake, and back, organized by Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services. The bus will leave the KSCS Parking lot at 4:30 pm and return at approx 9 pm. Start (drop off) at St Laurent metro and pick up (to return home) at Parc des Ameriques- St Laurent and Rachel street.***
If you can’t be there in person, tune into CKUT 90.3FM or CKUT will broadcast live from the event from 6-7pm. You can find the podcast here after.
There will also be a march in Toronto:
Toronto's 7th Annual Rally for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
Tuesday February 14th 2012
12:30pm to 1:30pm
Rally Starts: Police Headquarters 40 College Street at Bay, Toronto
Feast at the 519 Church Street Community Centre; 519 Church Street
following the Rally.
Please signs and banners about the missing and murdered women only.
Tokens will be available at the rally.
There's also the new event, One Billion Rising, spear-headed by Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues:
ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.*ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITYONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTIONOn V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.
What does ONE BILLION look like? On 14 February 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being
And, this is also the auspicious one-year anniversary of the launch of the Feminist Armchair Regime.

Have a good day, everyone, however you decide to spend it.