Tag Archives: rape

The Mindy Project thinks the idea of men being raped is pretty funny.

4 May

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I was so jazzed when The Mindy Project started airing. I thought it was hilaaaaaaaarious. And it’s managed to remain pretty funny, its humor centered around a shock factor not contingent, for once, on vulgarity/crassness (which is fine and can be funny, but is nothing novel), but more on bucking expectations of gender and a female lead who fearlessly and unapologetically says whatever she wants. Obviously, I like this. It’s sadly refreshing that there are now a handful of female characters on television shows who don’t constantly apologize for their very existence and all the ways (too successful, too fat, too flat-chested, too loud, too mouthy, too insistent on what they want, etc) in which they disappoint men. Also, one of the doctors on the show describes himself as a Bro-BGYN, which still makes me laugh.

So far, I haven’t found anyone else who has brought this up, but I am skeptical I’m the only one who noticed and/or was bothered by part of the episode ‘An Officer and a Gynecologist.’ Completely feasibly, an 18-year-old woman named Jenny comes to stay with Mindy for a short period when she flees her father’s place. Mindy gives Jenny permission to have some friends over, and when she gets home later that evening, she finds Morgan the nurse handcuffed to a bed after he calls to her for help. He says Jenny texted him to come over saying her “reproductive health was in danger.” Mindy watches in horror as he explains, while Jenny smiles blithely.

Jenny then clarifies, “You said independent women need to make some mistakes with men!” Embarrassed smile, apologetic shrug, sits next to Morgan on the bed. “I’m going to lose my virginity to him.”

And then Morgan, who is clearly in distress, says emphatically, “No, no, nope.”

They both ignore him – and his protests – as Mindy explains that Morgan is good for things like dropping off recycling or cleaning out your car, and that he’s a real loser to whom she shouldn’t ‘lose’ her virginity.

Then Morgan says, “You’ve gotta stop rubbing my leg, it’s sooo close.”

Mindy then says she’s calling Jenny’s dad, and Morgan’s grandmother (because…?). The party is disbanded and we assume Morgan is released. Happily, we are not asked to laugh at not only his unwilling restraint and the specter of being raped, but also his actual rape.

I was surprised this hasn’t already been addressed. This is a light-hearted comedy, and that’s supposed to be funny? I don’t see it. Obviously, if you reverse the characters, where Jenny is handcuffed to the bed and Morgan is talking about how he’s about to lose his virginity to her, it would be unilaterally and unequivocally condemned. So why was there no real response?

This, apparently, isn’t the first time The Mindy Project has made light of the idea of men being raped. I guess I wasn’t totally paying attention in the episode when the other Dr. L leaves, because I probably would’ve been pissed about this, too. Here’s a recap of what happened:

In the episode, Mindy challenges Dr. L to a boozy “shot off.” Mindy wins and remains remarkably sober for someone who just downed 14 shots (her secret is that she ate a whole loaf of bread before she went out), but Dr. L gets so wasted that Mindy has to help him to his apartment. Once there, she can’t find his keys, so she just lays him down in the hallway. She then kisses him, and he yells “Woah, neighbors!” She puts her hand over his mouth and says “Nothing happened, you liked it,” before leaving him there.

Next, we see the character Christina, who is the ex-wife of Mindy’s coworker Danny, stop by Dr. L’s apartment (where Danny is crashing) to drop off some of Danny’s clothes. Dr. L is still in the hallway, but is no longer wearing pants—he took them off when he was trying to find his keys. Christina has a key (somehow?) and so she helps him into the apartment. Before shutting the door, she has a mischievous look in her eye and it’s implied that she’s going to try to sleep with him.

The next morning Dr. L tells Mindy that he was blackout drunk and had sex with Christina, and the rest of the episode revolves around the consequences of this action (such as Dr. L quitting his job). The first problem here is that the show does not acknowledge that someone absolutely cannot consent to sex when they are blackout drunk. – via Bitch Magazine

Oh, men. How funny! When a woman gets black out drunk and someone has sex with her, it’s rape. But when it happens to a man, no big deal! He probably would’ve enjoyed it, had he been conscious, anyway, because he’s a dude. Despite the fact that recent studies suggest men are raped almost as frequently as women, the idea that a man can be raped by a woman is still one that’s not taken very seriously (it seems men who have been raped disagree with how our culture generally  perceives the gravity of their rape). As evidenced by Morgan’s reaction in ‘An Officer and a Gynecologist,’ we all know that men are ceaseless horndogs so DTF that ultimately their desire for sex will overtake their desire to not be raped, as long as you know how to handle them*. Obviously, this is dangerous, irresponsible, and actively harmful rhetoric for any show to make, let alone one being nationally broadcast on public television and presented as comedy.

I didn’t think it was funny. In fact, while it was happening, I was in a mild state of disbelief. Was this really happening, on this show? I guess so, because the show also seems to poke fun at feminists writing about rape. I’m sure if asked, Mindy Kaling will insist that she doesn’t think rape is funny and would never condone it, as does most everyone. I’m sure she believes that, too. But as she is the creator, writer, and star of The Mindy Project, it doesn’t explain why she would make light of men being raped. Twice.

I wonder if she took a poll of male rape survivors to see how funny, in retrospect, that whole thing was.

*That’s not to be confused with the real, involuntary response people can experience while being assaulted. Men and women can experience arousal and even orgasm during a rape; these are physiological responses to stimuli, and nothing more.

No. 6 – The False Accusation Epidemic

5 Mar

Jail-woman-310x168A friend came up with this addition to the list of 5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using, which is actually more of an oversight on my part, because spreading the idea that false accusations of rape are common, prevalent, and are more likely than not the case is a vital cog in the rape culture industry’s gears.

Feel free to ignore all rhetoric, statistics, and data that dispute this tool, because it’s highly effective, which is the only concern Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry should have. Aaron Bady may say that “We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here,” and he may be right, but don’t let that sway you. And although rates of false accusation are most likely at about 8% (this, of course, cannot include the sexual assaults that go unreported; if everyone who was sexually assaulted reported it, the number would plunge), it is imperative that every single time someone who makes a false accusation is found out, it be published on major news outlets nationwide, as though false accusations of rape are somehow more remarkable than false accusations of any other crime. Sure, the rape-specific coverage of false accusations may be disproportionate, but don’t let that bother you, either (it’s definitely not a byproduct of rape culture, so don’t even think it).  Fortunately for Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry, the media rarely reports on examples of, for instance, how a man accused  of rape over many years by multiple women, who don’t know each other but recount the same experience, can be acquitted every time. Or that an estimated 3% of rapists will ever see any jail time. Imagine how bogged down newspapers and news shows would be if they reported on every rape trial, even just the ones that ended in conviction. Untenable! So they just stick to reporting false accusations, the validity of doing so supported by the other tools – specifically, No. 3 – Women = Crazy. Phew, close call.

So, get out there, rape culture apologists, and start spreading the discredited notion that false rape accusations are relevant to the discussion of sexual violence. Just don’t mention that it has no basis and actually hurts people, because nobody wants to believe that. It’s much easier (and more convenient, and less torturous*) to believe women are so likely to be vindictive, vengeful, irrational nutbars, they will make false accusations out of sheer spite and the female’s innate desire to destroy good men.

*Clarification: it’s easier, more convenient, and less torturous for anyone not a survivor of sexual assault. The survivors, however, are just SOL.

5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using

4 Mar

So, funny story. I got an email from a website encouraging me to try their new blog topic generator. I went to the generator and put in the first three things I cared about that came to mind: sexism, rape culture, and martial arts. These are the results:

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Well! That last one is probably not what they’d had in mind. This was about two weeks after Ma’Lik Richmond was released from detention after serving nine months for rape. Ma’Lik Richmond is one of the two teenagers convicted of raping a 16 year old girl one night in 2012. Richmond’s lawyer, Walter Madison, released this statement upon his client’s release:

Ma’lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagine for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life, as with each other obstacle, Ma’lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; He is braced for the balance of his life. While away, Ma’lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways. He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family. At this point, Ma’lik wants most to be a high school teenager in conjunction with his release, Ma’lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma’lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, thank you.

Understandably, there was a fairly angry response to it. I had a fairly angry response. So angry, in fact, that I wrote to Walter Madison. Here’s my e-mail.

“He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances” – which set is that? The circumstances that arose after he raped a child? I’m so glad he was able to make “the most” of that. I’m sure the child he raped is equally glad that, all things said and done, he’s better and stronger for having raped someone.

I understand everyone’s right to defense. But how do you justify this torrent of rape-culture bullshit and non-apology to yourself? Ma’Lik Richmond appears incapable of truly grasping the magnitude of what he’s done, as evidenced by his apology for taking pictures(!), and this type of dismissive attitude towards his raping of a minor does nothing to combat that. Apparently, when you insist that “we all need to heal and move on with our lives,” that doesn’t apply to the girl who you, your office, and your client continually treat as though she doesn’t exist. Is it even possible for you/your office/your client to say anything that acknowledges the damage he’s done to the girl?

Anything ending with a question mark is a sincere question or request for clarification.
Apparently, though he wasn’t giving statements to news outlets at the time, I pissed him off enough (or something, idk) that he decided to respond to me. Here’s his response:

Emotion always gets the worst of us. Ignorance claims the rest. Ma’Lik is prohibited from any direct or indirect communication with that young lady. Moreover, he has apologized publicly once. He has a life to live and can not do it on his knees. He too is a child.

If you have anything intelligent to discuss; please pick up the phone, otherwise your privilege of communication with me can be considered terminated.

Happy New Year!WalterMadison.com
Oh, I have intelligent things to discuss, such as the grotesque misuse of the semicolon in his email, and also his understanding of what constitutes a ‘privilege.’ How disappointing that if I want to hear more of his bullshit rape culture apologetics, I’ll have to call instead of email. Good thing I don’t!

However, I did get one thing wrong in my initial e-mail; it was Trent Mays who apologized for taking pictures, not Ma’Lik Richmond. The only public apology Richmond made that I was able to find came from trial footage. Was that the ‘once’ Madison references? I’m not sure why he added that it was just the one time – does he think this is a point in his client’s favor? Does he think a single apology is contrition enough? I’m also not sure what part of being prohibited from contacting the survivor would preclude a sincere statement of regret from Richmond, which we haven’t seen. No, all we saw was Walter Madison saying his client’s detention was worse than being raped, and his heartfelt wishes that everyone could move forward so that Richmond might live again in naive, ignorant teenage bliss, free of responsibilities and the shackles of adulthood, such as being imprisoned for rape.

How happy for him. After all, there’s only so long one can reasonably expect Richmond to atone for raping an unconscious girl; Walter Madison has decreed it to be nine months, and any of you who take exception to any of that can pretty much just suck it, ’cause Walter Madison DGAF if you disagree.

So when I saw the title “5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using,” I got to thinking. Perpetuating rape culture is definitely advantageous for some, such as: rapists, criminal defense lawyers, and assholes worldwide. Defense attorneys have a responsibility to protect their clients’ rights, but if they want to make money, they’re also interested in the best possible outcome for their client. And as long as rape culture means it’s considered a legitimate defense tactic to impugn a rape survivor’s character, or suggest her actions might be partly responsible for her being raped, or undermine her testimony that she didn’t want to have sex, some will have a vested interest in keeping rape culture alive and well – or, at my most optimistic, some will be completely apathetic about battling it.

Thus, I put together a little list of 5 Tools Everyone in the Rape Culture Industry Should Be Using. Listen up, Walter Madison, because your track record took a big hit when Richmond was found guilty. Put these to use and maybe you’ll win next time.

1) Slut Shaming – really hone your slut shaming skills. The more you can spread the belief that a woman who qualifies as your subjective definition of promiscuous is a wanton slut, the easier a time you will have making people believe she was asking for it.

2) Patriarchy Allegiance – pledge now, benefit now and forever (if you’re a man). In patriarchies, men hold most or all of the positions of power. The advantages here are obvious. And numerous. Unequal platforms, unequal treatment, unequal understanding of what ‘rape’ means.

3) Women = Crazy – this is such a powerful tool! It’s been wielded for centuries. Longer, really. The more you are able to undermine women’s credibility, the easier it is to convince people that women are crazy, irrational beings that a) can’t be trusted, b) you won’t be able to comprehend, so don’t bother, and c) are just dying for a chance to play the victim in order to ruin a man’s good name.

4) Body Policing – critique women’s bodies, all the time, and never let up. Valuating women based on their bodies is an excellent way to sustain the suggestion that they’re a commodity to be enjoyed, used, and consumed. And then discarded. Handily, it also strips women of their individuality by reducing them to the value their various parts have.

5) Control of Reproductive Health – much like body policing, the end result of making legislation regarding women’s health, especially when few or no women are present, is that it further removes any sense of agency and autonomy a woman has. This is a vital part of making people believe women are property to be shuffled from one person to another who don’t deserve or warrant a say in their own lives.

This is just a draft; if you have any additions, please let me know!

Update! No. 6 – The False Allegation Epidemic has been added.