Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve been aware that there has been controversy over rape jokes. Which ones are funny, which ones aren’t. The question of what makes a good rape joke has been debated ad naseum this summer, in light of the Daniel Tosh routine. The feminist conclusion seems to be that jokes that use rape as a punchline aren’t funny, while jokes that make fun of rapists or rape culture are.
Unfortunately, given the number of staunch defenders of rape jokes, we can still expect to hear jokes that use rape as a punchline. So here is some advice from Divorce Divorce on handling rape jokes. I was especially surprised to hear that Divorce Divorce’s author is a 33 year old man. He is Daniel Tosh’s target demographic, but he is writing with advice on how to handle a rape joke. Allies come in all shapes and forms.
I think the best response to a rape joke is this:
I don’t get it.
Persist until they explain, explanations always being the death of any joke, funny or otherwise. Persist until they reach the point where they have to say “she got/gets raped”.
And nod, slowly, looking a little confused.
This method works for all methods of offensive jokes. Avoiding confrontation may change minds in a way that direct activism might not.
Any other advice on how to handle offensive jokes? Leave suggestions in the comments.
- Rape: it’s no laughing matter (theage.com.au)
- Because We Are Over It (confessionsofalatteliberal.wordpress.com)
- How Not to Host a ‘Rape Joke’ Debate (jezebel.com)