Quick Hit: On Satire and Rape | Metro Mag

So I am going to take on Metro Mag in good faith in regards to this blog post:

On Satire and Rape | Metro Mag.

I think editor Simon Wilson is quite mistaken on a key point, it is not so much that people interpreted the ‘joke’ as victim blaming, although many people did unsurprisingly because sarcasm is hard to pick up on in text, but because this sort of ‘satire’ does more harm than good.

Satire is defined as

the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

The problem with the type of ‘satire’ engaged in in this incidence was that it was not really an exaggeration. People genuinely think that rape is a price that a woman might have to pay for getting drunk, which boils down to those who are “drunk in charge of a vagina” deserve whatever happens to them. This is not very far removed from what Metro said in trying to be funny.  Printing ‘jokes’ like this simply confirms people’s views even if when looked at as a whole the magazine does not support this point of view.

The most important point however, is that studies have found that rapists believe that all men rape, they just think that some people are better at hiding it than others. So when you post a joke that you think is satire but actually is very close to the wider societies values around rape, you contribute to this perception. You actively help rapists believe that their crimes are acceptable.  For a magazine that claims to be progressive I would think that you would not want to actively contribute to rape culture. I get that was not your intention, however intentions are not magical, they do not erase harm. If you accidentally break someone’s arm you have still caused harm even though that was not your intention. If people interpreted your ‘joke’ as victim blaming that is because your joke could be interpreted as victim blaming. Satire in regards to attitudes to rape and rape victims can hardly ever come close to exaggerating the commonly held views around these issues in our society. Perhaps it would be better explicitly make fun of the people you claim to be targeting rather than doing so  in a way that can so widely miss the mark.




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