Daniel Tosh & The Rape Joke That Wasn’t

Daniel Tosh is a stand-up comedian who hosts Tosh 0 on Comedy Central. Recently, he was embroiled in controversy regarding a woman who went to one of his shows, was exposed to a number of rape jokes, didn’t find them funny, called him out on them, was labelled a heckler by Tosh, who proceeded to ask the audience “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and resulted in her and her friend leaving the room.

Do read this post by the woman in question for a first-hand narrative: http://breakfastcookie.tumblr.com/post/26879625651/so-a-girl-walks-into-a-comedy-club

And now I shall be adding my angry 2 cents.              

To those justifying Tosh’s behaviour saying “that’s just what he does” – well, murdering people is just what a psychopath does. Normalizing it doesn’t make it right.

To those justifying him saying that he used his freedom of speech – well, I’m using my freedom of speech to denounce his disgusting act.

And to those justifying him saying that she should have looked him & his humour up before going to one of his shows – was she also supposed to have known that she would be used as bait to instigate a gang-rape? Oh waiiit. It was supposed to be funny! Oh right… a person being intentionally and vehemently sexually, psychologically, emotionally, physically, and often socially demolished… Of course that’s funny! The crude factor attributes to its hilarity! I must be a complete moronic spoil-sport if I don’t find that funny! OF COURSE she should have known!

This was Tosh’s formal ‘apology’ to the ensuing uproar:

“The point i was making before i was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies

Firstly, she did not ‘heckle’ you. She called you out on a joke that she thought wasn’t funny, and of all the ways you could’ve chosen to handle it, you chose to disrespect, humiliate and victimize her. That too, by asserting your (arguably) chauvinist power over her. And yes, although rape victims aren’t exclusively female, females are the large majority of victims, and rape is a crime of power.

Secondly, calling her a heckler is kinda sorta washing any remorse or irresponsibility off your own hands; so if that statement was meant to be any kind of apology, it didn’t leave a mark.

Thirdly, yes there are awful things in the world, and they can be funny, yes including rape, and I don’t mind Tosh or any comedian using black comedy in the least bit. It’s fine if a comedian jokes about something serious to make light of the situation for humour, but to blatantly tell someone it would be funny if they got raped is disgusting. Additionally, using rape as a shock tactic to garner laughs is just abysmal. He wasn’t ‘joking’, he was using humour to diminish her voice, to remind her of his power over her and to shut her up using her vulnerability as a cheap tool.

Finally, & funnily, I don’t actually see the word ‘sorry’ or ‘apologise’ once in this heartfelt apology. I guess I must be too old fashioned and out of the loop.

I’m all for making light of serious situations. When life and circumstances leave you stuck in a pit, sometimes all you can do is laugh at it, at yourself, at others. But sometimes, it isn’t external circumstances that put you in that pit, it’s people like Tosh, who can’t seem to distinguish the line between inappropriate/dark humour and personally victimizing someone and causing them distress.

I’m also all for dark humour. Many social issues are made light of; many ethnic, ableist and ageist stereotypes are laced with humour, and I really believe that making light of these stereotypes is a method of devaluing them in meaning, making them less valid and true, which is beneficial. And I’m not appalled when my friends say “Dude that test raped me”, but making light of issues like rape the way Tosh did takes it a step ahead by normalizing a serious, atrocious crime through the excuse of humour, far more than mocking mere stereotypes. Lastly, Tosh didn’t just attempt to normalize rape by making it ‘funny’, he essentially contributed to perpetuating a pseudo gang-rape by making it ‘funny’.

Tell me cracking jokes about the hilarity of the Twin Towers crumbling in front of a kid who lost his father to 9/11 is okay.

Tell me cracking jokes about gassing Jews in front of a Holocaust survivor is okay.

Apparently cracking jokes about rape in front of (possible) rape victims is okay.

This is a country where a woman spills coffee on herself and successfully sues McDonalds for it. Yet we see a famous comedian getting away with normalizing and encouraging a vindictive crime that leaves someone (and an entire half of the human race) reeling in discomfort, shame and humiliation.

Stay Bold,

Mallika

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Yes, this

“What’s the worst possible thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now.
You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!), skank.
Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term “mangina.”
Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up.”
― Jessica ValentiFull Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters

Top 6 Feminist Characters in Mainstream TV/Movies

We’re going to get a tad down and dirty now. We’re talking F-word dirty.

From the 20s First Wave Movement that gave us the right to vote (yay we’re considered human!) to the 60s Second Wave Movement that brought about the coveted contraceptives and the recognition of domestic violence as a crime, and finally the current flavor of the F-world – Third Wave Feminism, focusing on unifying women of diverse cultures, religions and sexualities, to sum it up, women have come a long way.

What IS the F-world?

Here’s a short test you can take to decide if you are part of the F-world:

  • Do you/have to/would like to go to school?
  • Do you work in a top firm or a loving home?
  • Would you like to drive a car? Or maybe a bike? Or a bus? A boat? Maybe all?
  • Would you like to dye your hair blonde? Maybe blue after that?
  • Would you want to get a boob job?
  • Would you never want to get a boob job?
  • Would you cuss/punch a guy who hits your sister?
  • Does your wife/girlfriend buy you a present and you love her for it?
  • Would you like the option of wearing a bikini? Or a burqa?
  • Do you like to be in stable relationships? Or do you like to play the field?
  • Or keep a baby? Or not keep it?
  • Do you like to choose?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are a feminist.

Feminism has this off-putting quality of being considered a cuss word or an anti-men word. It means nothing like that. Being a feminist doesn’t mean going braless or being lesbian and hairy. But it also does. In effect, it all boils down to choice – to make a conscious choice about what you want, not what John or Jane or Johannesburg wants.

It isn’t about hating men, in fact, Feminism BENEFITS men. See, we know women are manipulated by the media, etc. etc. To put it simply, women are inundated with media images on the quintessential beauty – look like Kate Moss and you’re gold. This pressure culminates in various adverse effects like poor self-image, depression, eating disorders, etc. But here’s the thing – this pressure isn’t limited to women. More and more men are exposed to the pressures of being the Alpha male – characterized by big muscles, high virility, deep voices, etc. (Think Johnny Bravo). Feminism makes us challenge these ideals. It also takes pressure off men to be the primary bread-winners of the family (quitting your loathed job and vacationing in the Bahamas doesn’t sound like a bad idea now eh?)

Also, the stereotypical emotions and professions targeted at men and women are being challenged. Jane wants to be an engineer? Awesome! John wants to be a nurse? That’s great! He wants to cry if he sees a patient in terrible condition? Bring on the waterworks!

Feminism is about breaking barriers and being who you want to be – defining yourself – be it as a man, woman, lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer or a cheetah. YEAH YOU GO BE A CHEETAH IF YOU WANT TO.

Now that I’ve given you a short albeit hopefully helpful intro into The F-word; let’s move onto the F-list.

Top 6 Feminist Characters in TV/Movies:

1. Grey’s AnatomyPretty much all the characters

Right from the women – Bailey juggling being an excellent mother and an excellent surgeon and Christina choosing her career over a baby, to the men – Derek supporting Meredith through the hurdles of their marriage (albeit with some compromises on part of each); Grey’s is the epitome of Third Wave Feminism, comprising of women of color in strong positions, homosexual couples (Calzona make the best couple of the show, IMHO) and men who support their wives/girlfriends, are strong men, and form an equal relationship for the most part with their female counterparts.

2. Peggy Olson – Mad Men

Set in the 60s, Peggy could’ve pretty much set the ball rolling for the Pay and Employment Equity Act. Hired as a female typist, she rose to the position of a female writer, and demanded to be seen a writer, wanting the symbolic eradication of the ‘female’ bit; in other words, she wanted equal pay for the quality and quantity of work she invested.

3. Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) – Titanic

A 17 year old girl rebelling against the gender and class boundaries set for her by society. Sounds inspiring. Back in the 20s, even more inspiring and perhaps unheard of. She followed her heart supported by a strong mind, an independent outlook and a fiery passion – qualities I admire in any person.

4. Miranda Hobbes – Sex and The City

Although Sex and The City proclaimed itself as a ‘modern feminist’ show, I do have a couple of bones I could pick with a few characters. However, Miranda was an open feminist – she is ambitious, independent and won’t settle for less-than-best. Although many shows have ‘feminist’ characters with the aforementioned qualities, they often end up showing these ambitious women to be cold, calculating, ruthless, perhaps even shown to be misandrists (Read: Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada). Miranda has this realism to her – she falls in love, gets cheated on, forgives him because she wants to, has kids, and is a successful career woman. She may not be the best mother but that’s fine – she defies the primary label that often gets crowned upon a woman when she gives birth – ‘mother’.

5. The Women of  The L-Word

This might be a controversial one; so here’s a disclaimer: I find the characters of L-word pretty feminist (Read: Bette Porter, Dana Fairbanks, Tina Kennard), however, the show itself (albeit a pioneer for their portrayal of the LGBTcommunity in mainstream American TV), plays into the same stereotype it attempts to defy – portraying these multidimensional characters in a unidimensional, titillative manner.  The characters themselves portray a wide range of sexualities, professions, relationships and emotions, but the show seems to put these at the background, making the show’s USP (in the words of a male friend) one abundant with ‘wicked hot lesbian sex’.

6. Rick Santorum, Rick Santorum

Although Rick may not be considered a feminist at first glance, upon further insight into his views on various issues, HA I’m just messing with ya – happy late April Fool’s Day!

 

6. Monica, Phoebe and Chandler FRIENDS

My favourite show EVER!

Monica follows her passion of being a chef and rising to the top, wants kids, won’t settle for a guy who will have them for the sake of being with her. Supported by the ever-charming Chandler, who in his own right, is very feminist – supporting his wife’s decision to follow a career over living with him in Tulsa and being supported by his wife through his trails, tribulations and Janice.

Phoebe has her own weird beliefs that she follows to a T, coupled with a pretty rough childhood and having made it on her own through it. She goes through life from one relationship to the other, being open about her demands, and doesn’t settle.

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What do you guys think? Let the F-word out!

Stay Bold, Your way.

–  Mallika

Welcome to our Audreable World

Hi!

We’re two best friends, living in Canada, currently in university, making our mark in this world, a li’l titbit of which is this blog. We started this blog on an enthusiastic whim fuelled by our desire and constant effort to strike a balance between mountain-loads of work, severe lack of monetary resources and trying to have a smidge of a social life. See we love you guys so much that here we are providing you with a ‘balancing-life’ blog whilst buckling over our butts to cater to your every need. We have a flair for bad jokes and sarcasm. ‘We’ are Mallika and Sam, by the way.

Just a little intro to each of our colourful personalities:

Mallika likes:

– Books

– Travelling

– Katy Perry

– Third Wave Feminism

– You 🙂

Mallika dislikes:

– Super sappy movies

– Super serious people

– Jersey Shore

– Narrow-mindedness

– Lizards

Sam likes:

– Friends

– Jack Johnson

– Scarves

– Our lovely readers (I swear I’m not just copying…)

– Being active

Sam dislikes:

– Super scary movies (cannot handle them)

– People who think they’re better than everyone else

– The Kardashians

– When the traffic light turns yellow and you’re driving…

– Spiders

So, hopefully that gave you a little bit of an insight into our spacey minds (spacey because it’s so big  and full of random stuff). Sorry about the bad humour, please brace yourself cause this is how we roll 😉

Oooh also, in case you haven’t noticed via our highly hilarious header, we are in love with Audrey Hepburn.

And, just a little note: we are not experts or health professionals, we simply write through our own experiences and research.

Until next time, tootles!

P.S. Sam on the left, Mallika on the right