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The Oscars and Rape Culture

oscars 2

(Anna Seward)– [Trigger warning for sexual assault] Even if you didn’t catch the Oscars Sunday, you’ve probably already seen rundowns of the sexism Seth MacFarlane displayed throughout the evening. In case you haven’t, they include, but aren’t limited to discussing Quvenzhané Wallis’s potential relationship with George Clooney (she is nine years old), a date rape joke about Chris Brown and Rihanna, calling Jennifer Aniston a stripper, and the joke about Jack Nicholson’s house, which I didn’t even catch until later. The main “joke” I’d like to talk about here, though, is the “We Saw Your Boobs” song.

Just on a surface level, the whole premise of this song is fucked up. Forget talking about how well actresses evoked their characters or the time they devote to transforming themselves for a role, let’s just talk about how many times we saw nipple. No actors would be subjected to something like this. When Michael Fassbender did some serious full frontal nudity in “Shame,” he certainly got quite a few jokes (mostly good natured ones, like George Clooney passing on the torch at the Golden Globes) but his performance was never distilled down to his nudity and catalogued with other actors who have gone full-frontal (which would be a pretty long list, by the way) and danced to on such a national scale.

Beyond this basic problem with the “joke,” there’s another level of misogyny that comes through in the song. Four of the examples of nudity mentioned: Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry,” Jodie Foster in “The Accused,” Jessica Chastain in “Lawless,” and Charlize Theron in “Monster,” happened in rape scenes. Are you kidding me. So not only was Seth MacFarlane objectifying women, he was objectifying them in scenes while they were being raped. MacFarlane is certainly not the only one to blame here, I’m sure there were a lot of writers who signed off on the idea as well as producers of the show itself, and that’s what makes it so sad. It’s not just one guy who makes sexist jokes, it’s a culture that supports and rewards him for it. The audience laughed. Two of the people who didn’t were Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron, both mentioned and panned to but who didn’t crack a smile. They did a powerful thing by not pretending to find their own objectification funny, and it’s a step we all need to take in the face of such blatant misogyny. [Edit: it’s been pointed out to me that their responses were pre-taped–change of dresses, etc. but as detailed in a comment below, this really doesn’t make it any better.]

My feminist theory class invited Suzanne Coffey, Director of Athletics and Title IX Coordinator (yeah, no conflict of interest there) and a member of the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct to answer questions and discuss their report, “Toward a Culture of Respect: The Problem of Sexual Misconduct at Amherst College.” This discussion was thoroughly disappointing. When a student asked, “What do you think are the causes of rape culture?” Coffey refused to respond in an official capacity. When a student asked her to call rape by its name and not hedge with a phrase like “mistake,” she responded defensively by saying she could get into much more explicit and graphic language if that student desired, completely ignoring how that could be triggering for members of the class, and whenever she referred to rape directly later in the discussion she looked to the same student again to ask, “Was that strong enough language? Should I say something more?” When asked why misogyny and sexism didn’t play larger roles in the report that largely focused on issues of space on campus and alcohol abuse, Coffey said that if the committee had more time it would certainly have been featured in a report. That if this report could be the “first chapter” in a larger debate on sexual respect, issues of sexism would certainly feature “in the second.”

I don’t know what other proof you need that today’s culture is hostile towards women. The Oscars was watched by 40.3 million people Sunday night. These sexist jokes were supposed to appeal to over forty million people. This kind of mass-scale objectification leads to a really dangerous rape culture. Because if it’s okay to list how many times you’ve “seen their boobs” on screen, basically to view women as a collection of body parts, it becomes okay to ignore a woman’s autonomy and rape her. This is not a second chapter on discussing sexual assault, this must be the first.

I’m tired of talking about the dangers of the socials or being told to watch how much my female friends and I drink. Women aren’t raped because we are drunk. Women aren’t raped because we go to parties that are within ten feet of a rapist’s bedroom. Women are raped because we live in a culture that says it’s our fault when violence is done to our bodies. I’m ready for a second chapter.

About annacse

wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment

24 comments on “The Oscars and Rape Culture

  1. Ethan
    February 26, 2013

    Not to object to the point of this post (in fact to emphasize it), but I would point out that the reaction shots of Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron were pre-taped (you can tell because their outfits were different). Which meant that their unamused reactions were in fact supposed to be PART of the joke – as in “haha, look at the women offended by boob jokes! Doesn’t the idea that people will find this offensive just make it funnier?”

    Of course, that just makes it even worse, and underlines for me what I think MacFarlane’s biggest problem was. It wasn’t even just that he was “offensive:” he was blatantly unfunny. Almost all of his humor lied in the notion that just bringing up hot-button topics like Chris Brown and Rihanna would be inherently hilarious. There’s something deeply wrong about that. I’m not one of these totally anti-MacFarlane critics and I think it could’ve been a good show if he had been willing to truly subvert his usual image – but he insisted on being arch and ironic and “edgy” and now we have this mess. Disappointing.

    Finally, AwardsDaily blogger Sasha Stone makes an excellent point – for all the ink spilled over how sexist and racist and whatever else Seth MacFarlane was, does anyone want to talk about the far more subtle and sinister way that the Oscars themselves remain staunchly sexist and racist? No female directors nominated, one female screenwriter nominated, maybe two or three people of color nominated…Hollywood remains ass-backward when it comes to promoting diversity in the industry.

    • annacse
      February 26, 2013

      Wow, I completely missed the fact that it was pre-taped and you’re right, it does make it even more disgusting, especially since both clips show Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts not only not laughing but actively uncomfortable. Slut-shaming at it’s finest.

      Also I think you make a really valid point about sexism in Hollywood, I was going to address some of it–specifically the snubbing of all female directors (even though Brave and Zero Dark Thirty were both nominated for the Oscar in their respective movie categories and Brave even won), but I wanted to get to talking about Suzanne Coffey and it felt like too much for just one blog post. For a more comprehensive list of female directors who were snubbed, I really love this video:

      Thanks for the feedback, Ethan!

  2. Logan Rees
    February 26, 2013

    First of all, learn to take a joke. As a fan of comedy, it still amazes me when people get ‘offended’ by comedians. It’s an essential part of a comedian’s repertoire to offend people. Like when a comedian might make fun of members of the audience. They’re doing it to get a reaction. It’s a part of their act. If you get offended and leave, you’re just giving them exactly what they wanted. If you’re a strong person with just a little bit of self-esteem, you learn to laugh at yourself and take the jokes, because it’s all in good fun. The same concept applies on a large scale. Comedians throughout history have set the precedent that nothing is outside the scope of comedy. From Lenny Bruce to Louis CK, the comedians that stick out from the mold are able to take the dark aspects of humanity and make us all laugh at them, because if we don’t, then those dark aspects really are in control of us. Even the great female comedians, from Joan Rivers to Sara Silverman, have all made the sexual objectification and social injustices of women a part of their act. They’re not doing it to promote these attitudes, they’re doing it to ridicule them. Seth’s song was about how simple-minded people can be by ignoring actresses’ performances for the fact that they show some skin. He was in no way encouraging this type of behavior. By singing a ridiculous song about it, he was in fact ridiculing the whole mentality of it.

    This is an age old argument going back to whether or not the king should kill the jester. We go to these types of people to be ridiculed. That’s the whole point. We need them in our society to poke fun at the things we hold dear, subconsciously pointing out to us that those things are in fact pointless. This is a social and mental exercise that we engage in knowingly, because we need to be shown that even our golden calves can be slaughtered. Personally, I’m grateful to live in a society where jokes like MacFarlane’s aren’t censored by some authority. Comedy is freedom of speech at its finest, and I’m glad it’s not restricted because some people can’t take a joke.

    • annacse
      February 26, 2013

      God, I love when people consider sexist jokes and attitudes edgy and provocative. Yeah, they’re super edgy, really hearing a lot of new material. It’s not like oppression of women has been in place for centuries. Oh…. wait…

      These aren’t harmless jokes. This kind of casual sexism is what gets into the attitudes of mass groups of people that subtly make it okay to think and act on sexist attitudes. I’m in no way saying he shouldn’t have freedom of speech or “be censored,” but that’s for his own shows and not for widely broadcast events that a lot of other people have a say in the material for. And honestly, you have no idea how infuriating it is to hear that I “can’t take a joke” (which is what I assume you meant by your last line). These aren’t jokes. They’re cruel and triggering and honestly? Not funny.

      • Logan Rees
        February 26, 2013

        K so I didn’t say that his jokes were edgy or provocative. Trust me, I’ve heard ALOT worse. (Ever heard dead baby jokes?) Also didn’t say that the oppression of women hasn’t been around for centuries (try millennia) or that it isn’t a serious matter. I’m simply arguing that comedians exist to joke about serious matters so that we as a society can put them into context. It’s ridiculous to suggest that joking about boobs leads to rape. When you hear a joke about how a black man can’t get a job, you don’t think ‘That makes me want to not give a black man a job.’ It makes you aware of the issue, but still allows you to laugh at it. We need to laugh at things like racism and sexism and oppression, because it helps us realize how ridiculous they are, and that we need to change them. Is it a coincidence that the most oppressive societies also have the most censorship in their media? It’s because they don’t want people thinking about those issues.

        Entertain a hypothetical for me if you will… If a woman had gone up and made the exact same jokes, would you still consider them offensive?

        P.S. To defend my argument that you can’t take a joke, consider:

        “Two of the people who didn’t were Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron, both mentioned and panned to but who didn’t crack a smile. They did a powerful thing by not pretending to find their own objectification funny, and it’s a step we all need to take in the face of such blatant misogyny. [Edit: it’s been pointed out to me that their responses were pre-taped–change of dresses, etc. but as detailed in a comment below, this really doesn’t make it any better.]”

        That was hilarious! Keep those coming and you might have a shot at hosting the Oscars some day!

        P.P.S. if you think Hollywood doesn’t promote diversity, you’ve obviously never been to Hollywood… some cuhraaaaaaazies up hurrrrr

    • Anonymous
      February 26, 2013

      “learn to take a joke.”
      I’m sorry, is 1/3 women’s trauma funny?
      how about, “learn to understand your audience.”

  3. Everyone
    February 26, 2013

    It was obviously a joke, after watching the academy awads I can reassure you that nobody was encuraged to go rape. Also they didnt laugh because they were probably told to ahead of time. He is not doing with to bring out all woman everywhere, he was doing it because people think its funny

    **this comment has been edited by the ACV editors for profanity**

  4. Anonymous
    February 26, 2013

    You write about clooney’s acceptance speech. his jokes were ten time more offensive than the “we saw your boobs” jingle. he distilled an actor’s career into his penis size. clooney said he took over that role. not that he was a young, up and coming actor, but that his sole purpose is to take over the full-frontal role. you’re telling me that’s more offensive than seth noting nudity in movies? don’t sensationalize a stupid joke. it was dumb. don’t give it the time of day.

  5. Ethan
    February 26, 2013

    Been to Hollywood. Cool, tolerant, diverse place. Doesn’t change the fact that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is 94% white and 77% male, or that only 5% of Hollywood films are made by women. I don’t see what’s wrong with suggesting they can do better.

    Regarding MacFarlane, I just don’t get exactly what the joke was supposed to be. Saying “boobs” is funny? OK? Haha, hilarious? He wasn’t laughing at sexism. He was laughing preemptively at all the people who “couldn’t take a joke.”

    Also, you keep talking about censorship. Why? Is anyone saying MacFarlane shouldn’t have the right to go up and make stupid boob jokes? No. Do Anna and others have the right to say why said boob jokes offend them? Yes. Some people can’t take a joke, but apparently others can’t take criticism.

    • Logan Rees
      February 26, 2013

      If you don’t think the word boob is funny, you know nothing of comedy my friend.

  6. Meghan Maynard
    February 26, 2013

    In response to Logan:
    There is a fine line between a joke that is making fun of an oppression and a joke that facilitates oppression. I think that if this was a joke between friends that had a mutual understanding about the motives of a joke than it could be okay. However when we are broadcasting a joke that objectifies women or reinstates sexist, racist, classest ideologies to millions of people I don’t think that’s okay.

    By saying that everyone should take the responsibility to read into what someone is joking about (to find their motives) is in a way blaming the victim. I am tired of people telling me I have no sense of humor when I am offended by rape jokes, I think have a great sense of humor actually, but I find it really sad when people tell me that I have to build up barriers and laugh it off. Rape isn’t funny, especially when the same people who on a daily basis objectify women feel validated when joking about rape. We live in a culture in which racism, sexism, and rape is validated and rewarded, that is not a laughing matter. A society in which 1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted or raped. I’m not trying to say that I think people shouldn’t have freedom of speech, what I’m trying to say is that people need to be more aware of how their jokes and actions affect other people. It shouldn’t be up to me to reevaluate what you are saying and make sense of it in a way that is not reaffirming sexism and racism, it should be up to me to reevaluate the language I use to be more inclusive and to not use language that ostracizes people and makes people feel like shit.

    Sure, you have a first amendment right to say whatever jokes you want to, but this goes beyond law–this is about human dignity, this is about people who don’t feel safe even admitting that they were raped because of the culture we live in. I’m not sure how effective joking about these issues is in overcoming them, it’s not very constructive.

    • Logan Rees
      February 26, 2013

      You don’t have to read into the jokes, just listen to them. He never not once not even a little bit joked about rape. His one joke about violence towards women was ridiculing Chris Brown, not validating, ridiculing. And if broadcasting it to millions had any effect, it was making it clear that this kind of violence is not acceptable.

  7. zm91
    February 27, 2013

    Love it when some entitled American women claim that “women have been oppressed for centuries”. Well, news for you: men have been oppressed, too – the reason why so many men deny this is because part of their oppression has been to disregard any kind of oppression against themselves and “take it like a man”.

    • "oppressed" male
      February 27, 2013

      Cite even one legitimate example of male oppression not originating from some isolated tribal group that is even remotely intellectually honest.

      • zm91
        February 27, 2013

        Here goes:
        1. Disposability of males in war. Young men, throughout history, have been forced to fight and die in meaningless wars started by the top 1-5% of people who rule everyone else. Females are largely exempt from this requirement. Even today, conscription in many countries is implemented for young men only.

        2. Disposability of males in general – i.e., it isn’t much of an outrage if males are the victims, as opposed to females.

        For example, the first thing which comes to our minds atrocities in Bosnia are mentioned is the mass rape of women. But very few people know of the fact that thousands of boys and men were rounded up and massacred, including in the infamous Srebrenica massacre. Even when it is acknowledged, it is never presented as what it is: gendercide. It is taken for granted that if there are victims, horrible as that is, then let us hope it’s men instead of women and children.

        3. Males are valued for how much they can earn instead of their inherent value as human beings. A female with no accomplishments can still become a mother. A male with no accomplishments is better off dead, let some more successful male sire the children. It is an oft-cited fact that around 80% of women throughout history have successfully reproduced, while only 20% of males have done so.

        4. While it is true that wives have throughout history have been “owned like chattel”, men have throughout history been owned as beasts of burden. Men are the ones expected to be breadwinners, the first ones to make sacrifices for their families and communities. Even today, after feminism and movements of gender equality, the fact is that couples where the wife earns more than the husband have a significantly higher rate of divorce. In other words: society can’t accept males other than as a source of income and production, i.e., a farm animal.

        5. Belief in the impossibility of female-on-male crime. E.g. “Don’t ever hit a girl, just take it like a man.” When wives report domestic violence to the police, due to VAWA and all that, the husband will be arrested immediately. On the contrary, husbands who report domestic violence to the police, will either be
        a. Laughed at, if they’re lucky, or
        b. Be arrested by the police for suspicion that he is actually the one assaulting his wife.

        6. Belief in the impossibility of males being sexually assaulted: even right now, the FBI definition of rape requires penetration. So if a woman drugs a man, ties him down and forces him to penetrate her (or more accurately: forcefully envelopes his penis), it’s still not rape.
        Additionally, males have been taught that if a woman has sex without their explicit consent, it’s something to be proud of.

        7. Prison rape, despite mostly occurring to males, is treated like a joke, because the people there “deserve it”.

        8. The constant denigration of males and masculinity, i.e., misandry, in mainstream media, in political discourse, and in Amherst College. Whenever we’re talking about say, the lack of female scientists, we peg its causes to discrimination and environmental factors. We don’t blame it on femininity. However, when we’re talking about rape committed by males, it is blamed on masculinity.
        In other words, because I happen to be born with a penis, then I have to accept the fact that there is an inherent part of my being, i.e., my masculinity, which is prone to sexually assaulting others, especially women. The fact that I myself may have never committed any sexual assault, may have never even heard of the concept of a rape joke before feminists talked about them, is irrelevant: I’m male, therefore I am dangerous.
        Now, I’m not saying that’s a false statement, I’m just pointing out – would such an utterance be acceptable if committed against other groups of people?

      • zm91
        February 27, 2013

        Additionally, there is the general truth that despite the fact that most societies have been patriarchal throughout history, the only males enjoying the benefits of such rule over others are the top few percent. The rest of the males are worse off than the women. And even in patriarchal societies, a lot of effort has always been committed towards making the world a better place for women and children, not necessarily for the men themselves.

        I myself witnessed this kind of differential treatment several times back in 11th grade or so, when as a class we went out camping in a place which had very bad facilities. Everybody had to sleep in a big room together. But the boys and girls had to be separated. Despite the fact that there were 4x more boys than girls (traditionally a boys’ school), the facilities were divided 50/50. Five or six girls shared two of the best bathrooms. The 20-30 or so boys had to make do with the same number of bathrooms, but dirtier ones.

        Did more boys positions of power and prominence in my school? Of course. It was patriarchal. But only ~5% of the boys got to enjoy the benefits of power. On the other hand, 100% of the boys had to endure the expectation that they would have to cede priority to the girls in terms of facilities and comfort.

        This is of course just a small example; of course there’s no need to feel sorry for the boys – they’re men, and they have to “take it” of course! Oppressors!
        But this example is reflective of what actually often happens in society.

    • Anonymous
      February 28, 2013

      wow. now, here we have an example of something that I think everybody can agree is a joke.

  8. Context
    February 27, 2013

    From your completely decontextualized description of the song, I find it hard to believe you even watched the Oscars. Did you not catch the bit, not even bit, overarching theme that went on for about 20 minutes, where William Shatner phones in from the future to tell Seth MacFarlane that his Oscar hosting was the worst of all time. Seth then inquires as to why his performance was so horrible. It’s only after this that the song is shown. The song was supposed to appear distasteful and offensive. It supposed to appear “blatantly unfunny” as someone above ignorantly put it. That’s why, in William Shatner’s future reality, it was the worst Oscars ever. Then, on to Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts. They weren’t the only ones not laughing, in that alternate reality where he does the song sans the pretext that it’s a horrible song, NOBODY IS LAUGHING, especially not the aforementioned women. And I think that reaction would have been realistic. The joke wouldn’t have gone well if he had just gotten on stage and sang the piece live. So, either you had a really basic misunderstanding of the humor here or you didn’t watch the Oscars; that’s the only way this makes sense. In regards to nature of the humor, looking at your above comments, I don’t think you would have liked it regardless. And that’s fine, the ridiculing of an issue you find so serious may be offensive to you. But you completely misrepresented what Seth was trying to do here. He was ridiculing a serious issue, and like I said, that’s not everyone’s cup of comical tea. But I don’t believe there was any serious promotion of “rape culture” here. The joke was intentionally portrayed as distasteful, lurid, and objectionable, and that’s the fucking point.

    • Context
      February 27, 2013

      That was a little more offensive in its language than I intended, so I apologize in advance.

  9. Chris
    February 27, 2013

    “This kind of mass-scale objectification leads to a really dangerous rape culture.”
    Where exactly are you making the jump from males’ natural attraction towards women’s physical characteristics to this “rape culture” you speak of?
    Looking at, enjoying, and joking about revealing video of attractive women, individuals who consented to the videoing, is natural, and I would argue, perfectly acceptable.
    Posturing that acceptance of this norm makes rape become ok is abhorrent, and quite frankly, ridiculous.

  10. Adron
    February 28, 2013

    I think it’s quite a stretch to say that a song about boobs contributes to a culture of rape, or even that it objectifies women. Yes the skit was juvenile humor, but it was done in a very self-aware manner. McFarlane was being warned from the future that he was about to offend everyone in the room by singing an inappropriate song. Then, they play the song, before he decides to go with a less controversial skit. The whole point of the joke is that he realizes how juvenile his “original” joke was.

    From my perspective, it seems as if you expected him to be sexist, and are reading sexism into his skit. I found the whole thing very funny, and so did Jennifer Lawrence. It was an exercise in self-mockery. In no way did he diminish the actresses or their accomplishments. In no way did he objectively women, it is possible by the way, for a man to talk about a woman’s body without defining her as an object. He never mentioned rape, sexual disrespect, or anything of that nature.

    With regards to the Chris Brown/Rhianna joke, the whole point is to shock and make people groan. I’m not sure why this kind of humor is funny, but I do laugh at this kind of joke without feeling as though it legitimizes domestic violence. That is kind of like saying that McFarlane’s joke about Lincoln’s assassination promotes a culture of assassinating Presidents. He’s a comedian, comedy is art, and we should be very very careful about taking art literally. There is a rape scene in the movie “The Accused”. Does that promote rape culture? No, because you have to consider the context of the movie. The context of McFarlane’s jokes are equally important.

    With regards to the Wallis joke, I think you’ve completely missed the boat. The joke came at Clooney’s expense, and mocked his dating life. In no way did it mock or objectify her. There are instances of real sexism in our culture, but unfortunately when we reach to label someone like McFarlane as sexist, then it devalues more legitimate claims.

    I also wanted to respond to your point at the end about drinking. You state that “you’re tired of being told to watch how much you or your friends drink, and that women aren’t raped because they’re drunk.” There is a huge problem on this campus of irresponsible drinking by members of both genders, and the fact is that instances of sexual assault are much more likely to occur when 1 or both parties drink so much that their decision making is impaired. It’s not the sole cause, but it is definitely a contributing factor. To ignore this connection is the same as saying that we shouldn’t look for a possible connection between athletic culture and sexual violence. When people drink so much that they are physically and/or mentally impaired, then they are putting themselves in danger. So yes, I think everyone should be mindful of their alcohol consumption. It would lead to a better and safer social atmosphere.

    I did appreciate the fact that you pointed out the conflict of interest with having Suzanne Coffey as both athletic director and Title IX coordinator. That is definitely a situation that needs to change.

  11. Logan Rees
    February 28, 2013

    Okay okay whoa now, pump the brakes a little. I wanna make some things perfectly clear.

    1. I did not realize that this is a college blog. I don’t go to Amherst College (actually never even heard of it). I just stumbled upon this post looking at Oscar comments, and this was the most outrageous one I found, so I felt a need to comment on it. If I shouldn’t be commenting, just let me know.

    2. Though I started the anit-sexism side of the debate, I do not agree with z91 up there. I don’t believe at all that men have been as oppressed as women throughout the ages. I do believe that there is a big difference between gender oppression, and gender roles in society. These gender roles are, as Joe Rogan would say, ‘some left-over monkey shit.’ It’s a necessity in nature that the women be protected and stay within the safety of the community in order to protect and ensure the safety of the successive generation, hence the necessity for males to go out and hunt and gather food for the community, as well as protect it from invaders. This is why males developed to be generally stronger than women. These gender roles stayed constant through most of history, eventually leading to male-dominated politics, business, etc. This was not some sort of male conspiracy to keep women oppressed, it was simply the status quo, and history shows us that it’s extremely difficult to change an aspect of society that has been set in stone for thousands of years. However we are an advanced society, and as such, we must work towards equalizing power to both genders, but that does not mean we need to completely reshape gender roles. The fact that our society believes that a man shouldn’t hit a woman, no matter how much she hits him, is not a sign of “male oppression,” it’s a sign that we have advanced as a society to the point where we find it unacceptable for a man to exploit his physical power over a woman. I believe that as a society we have done away with most of the harmful aspects of these gender roles. Women now hold many positions of power in politics and business; it may not be exactly even yet, but it’s getting there. It’s not at all uncommon these days for a woman to be the breadwinner and the man to be the homemaker, though the man may feel emasculated at times, but that is a matter of personal pride on the man’s part whether or not to let those gender role stigmas affect his self-esteem. Just as it’s every person’s responsibility to look past stigmas regarding gender, race, sexual preference, etc., and learn to accept themselves and others for who they are. And joking about them is one way of putting these stigmas in their rightful place: as the subject of ridicule, or simply as an insignificant part of society, one that can be joked about.

    As an addition, there is a much more obvious link between the Oscars and the issue of rape that everyone in this thread has overlooked. One of the films nominated for Best Documentary, The Invisible War, is about the issue of rape in the military. I watched a portion of it last night, and it is abhorring to say the least. The sheer number of cases, against men and women, is astounding, not to mention the repercussions the victims face if they attempt to pursue justice for these crimes. One of the most interesting segments to me was the psychological evaluation of the military environment and how it allows for these sort of tragedies to be commonplace. Watch that and then tell me if you think some boob jokes are more important to discuss when it comes to “rape culture.”

    • aiyanajane
      March 20, 2013

      I didn’t watch the Oscars (I don’t care for MacFarlane or the 4 hours of pomp.) so I can’t comment as to whether his skit was funny or not. Even if it was indeed a clever poke at sexism, the fact remains that for many young people watching the context is unclear- they don’t understand that its a joke about sexism, they get that its a joke about seeing boobs. Humor is indeed a crucial tool for bringing up issues like this, but IMO the academy should have had better taste, this is supposed to be THE award to win, and yet a song about boobs is acceptable entertainment for the very best in the industry? I mean come on, boob jokes can be funny, but there is a time and a place and its not at the Oscars, which is supposed to celebrate talents in acting, not diminish celebrities down to body parts.

      I agree strongly with Logan’s comment:

      “However we are an advanced society, and as such, we must work towards equalizing power to both genders, but that does not mean we need to completely reshape gender roles. The fact that our society believes that a man shouldn’t hit a woman, no matter how much she hits him, is not a sign of “male oppression,” it’s a sign that we have advanced as a society to the point where we find it unacceptable for a man to exploit his physical power over a woman. ”

      The problem is rape culture is so ingrained that most people don’t even give it a second thought. When I was in high school, a common phrase was “oh I raped that test” in other words, they did really WELL. The fact is, the use of force is still glorified and the objectification of women is still accepted globally. Jokes about it, and promote sexual violence as a norm. rape culture is a global condition that effects both men AND women, its not about man v. woman, its about combating the social condition which currently exists, in which rape is commonplace and considered a normal occurrence. Its a social problem, not a gender one.

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2013 by in Featured Archive, Film, Gender, Media, News, Politics and tagged , , , , .

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