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Rape: Fodder for Comedy Routines and Political Ignorance

Romney displayed his ignorance about one of the most important tools in this country for combating rape and other forms of violence against women.

Rape–Not so funny, right? Think again. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, it was a hot topic at the New Jersey Comedy Festival at Monmouth University, a new venue for aspiring college comedians.

“The competition’s most popular topic was, believe it or not, rape. The first comic told two rape jokes. Another said he could never be a rapist because he likes to sleep after sex. Yet another said he would call his victim the next morning because he’s such a nice guy.

Er, ha.

Later one of the competitors began his act by promising the audience that he wouldn’t tell any rape jokes. He broke that promise two minutes later with a one-liner about using “ropes and formaldehyde” to solve his romantic problems.

Ha again.

The women in the competition (there were five) mostly steered clear of forced-sexual-intercourse humor, though one did sing a ditty about not wanting to be raped. They tended instead to focus on body image. One woman bemoaned the fate of big girls when it comes to dating. Another groped her own breasts and wondered aloud: “What are these for?”"

The article is written in a ‘what can you expect from immature college students’ tone, but why is it so surprising that these young comedians think rape is funny given that rape has become a readily available form of entertainment with the advent of videos and the internet.

Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network . Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Counterpunch, AlterNet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, the Progressive, Countercurrents, Z Magazine, Common Dreams, In These Times and Information Clearinghouse. She also blogs at WIMN Online and writes a monthly column for the Louisville Eccentric Observer.

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