This news story kind of horrifies me.
No, not kind of. Does. It does horrify me.
I want to step away from the fat politics thing for just a second and talk about feminist politics in general. There are a lot of different kinds of feminism. There are a lot of different kinds of feminists. The label has a bad rap in some circles, but I embrace it because I am interested in gender issues and interested in gender equality. I am interested in seeing the way we negotiate power in our culture change. That is my feminism.
I only found this article because a person on Livejournal linked to it. Their point was that it wasn’t getting nearly the coverage that the Don Imus situation got. So I headed over to read it and now I am passing it on to you.
The article is about two XM radio jocks who joked with a caller about raping Condoleezza Rice.
Now, I am not a fan of Condoleezza Rice. But, you know, my critique of her centers around political issues. And rape? It isn’t funny.
Oh, I know, you and your friends might joke about it. Hey, maybe you do, I’m covering all possibilities here. But a joke between you and your friends where everyone understands the context is worlds different from saying on an XM radio station that you want to punch Condoleezza Rice in the face while you fuck her.
People don’t make these jokes about men. Rice is a woman in a position of power and rape is the number one most effective way to take that power – or the perception of her having power – away from her.
Remember, kids: Rape isn’t about sexual desire. It’s about power and control. These guys have a problem with Rice’s politics and so, because it’s easier in a society dominated by the male gaze, they joke about taking her power away from her in a fundamental way. She’s not worthy, it would seem, of being discussed like a person who deserves to hold power. She isn’t worthy of of being discussed like a person who has a firm grasp on power.
And I don’t mean that in a political sense – I think her grasp on her power is kind of shaky. I mean comments like these indicate people view her as an upstart who is holding power she should never have been allowed. Not because she is a sucky politician, but because she is a black female.
Now, I know these guys are shock jocks. They make their money by being offensive to as many people as possible. They are not the source of the problem. The problem is the underlying cultural ideology that makes jokes like this permissible for anyone. That makes this a valid way to critique a politician that someone doesn’t like.
CBS has issued an apology but has no plans to take the show off the air. Because, you know, rape must be more okay than racist remarks.
And, hey, it’s just humor, right?
I cry bullshit.
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