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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28 Comments

  1. Posted May 15, 2007 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Opie and Anthony are two of the most ignorant, reprehensible and downright sleazy people in entertainment today. What’s worse is they have a dedicated and devoted following – just check out the forum on their website.

    I’m a bit overwhelmed with work right now, but I would love to compile a list of their advertisers so I know exactly who supports their filth, because I want to stop supporting them. A one person boycott won’t have much of an overall effect, but it’ll make me feel a lot better.

  2. Posted May 15, 2007 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    And if you want to be even more horrified, check out the comments in the Shakesville threads on this topic.

    Rape is Hilarious

    Rape Is Hilarious, Part II

    Just in case anybody still thinks women bloggers–let alone fat women bloggers–don’t get any worse crap from trolls than men do.

  3. Posted May 15, 2007 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Katie, in among the bullshit, there are lists of all their advertisers in the threads I linked to above.

  4. Posted May 15, 2007 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Or, rather, the people who make money from XM in one way or another–since it’s subscription radio, there aren’t advertisers, per se.

    Hi, I’ll stop commenting now.

  5. Posted May 15, 2007 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the info!

    Keep in mind that in addition to XM, the “O&A Virus” (as they cheerfully refer to themselves) is also back to broadcasting on conventional radio – the alternative station here puts them on in the afternoon.

    I may have to write them an e-mail asking them to take them off the air, as I’d rather listen to actual music on my drive home (and they do play some good tunes). Problem is, they may not have much say in the matter if they’re owned by a corporate entity. And this is the same station that brings us “Rover’s Morning Glory” in the pre-afternoon hours, so they don’t exactly make good choices about their talk shows in general.

  6. Posted May 15, 2007 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I am torn betweenthe (true)objectification of women and my hatred for conni rice.
    But I understand your point.
    being a former stripper(80LBS ago) I am not one to judge how people choose their entertainment, but it to me says more about the people listening than it does about the jocks(for all I know they might be nice guys off air).
    But I do have pity for a woman who helped kill thousands of young men(who are in the age group of the audiance) who just wanted to pay for college. I have a brother who is in Irag now, so its hard to have pity on her, some people make themselves easy targets.

  7. admin
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    It is tempting to say that people we don’t like are fair game for all sorts of abuse. But if we defend the rights of some women rather than ALL women, we’re handicapping our efforts.

  8. Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I agree I simply mean what I said, she made herself an easy target, she gets made fun of in many ways on many shows, her and bush have saved scketch comedy, and when you arent liked you get attacked any way you can, these jocks picked a cheap easy way to pic at her, but its like seeing a bully get picked on by a bigger bully.

  9. celsou
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    You’re right Gordita, Condi and Bush have made themselves easy targets with their disastrous policies. However, I don’t hear anyone saying they want to punch Bush in the face while fucking him.

  10. Meowzer
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Man, the comments on that “Rape is Hilarious” thread (almost typed threat!) make me want to buy an Uzi, and I hate guns. I’m no fan of Condi Rice or Laura Bush, but I’m amazed that people willl defend that kind of hateful, violent garbage being on the air. Freedom of speech does NOT equal freedom from response; it only equals freedom from government persecution or imprisonment. And there is no “civil right” to draw a hefty paycheck for demeaning others on the air.

    You’re so right, Kate, if it had been a man protesting Opie and Anthony there’s no way they would have let loose on him like that.

  11. Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Gordita, it’s more the inherently gendered nature of the slur than the nature of the target that’s in question here. I’m in complete agreement that Condoleeza Rice is entirely deserving of abuse for her political record, her demonstrable lack of forthrightness, her affiliation with a cadre of scary imperialist scions, her apparently effortless denial of the legitimacy of gender and race concerns.

    I don’t want her to be raped. I want her and her cronies to have to face the same fear, insecurity, and privations that they’ve brought to other people. I want to see them actually leading troops in Iraq, well outside the Green Zone, sans bodyguards, under the same conditions they’ve created for the troops they’ve sent there. I want to see them trying to survive in an Iraqi villiage, just live day to day, with what they’ve done. I want to see them live on minimum wage, without health insurance, in Pittsburgh or St. Louis or Kansas City, working two jobs to make ends meet, and living in fear of illness or injury, not for a week or two as a publicity stunt, secure in the knowledge that they can return to their sheltered lives breaking democracy after they’ve had their photo ops. I want to see them live like this, in the conditions they’ve created for other people, with the same hope (or lack thereof) that everyone has.

    I have no sympathy for Ms Rice as a person. I hope that she is someday (sooner, rather than later, please!) visited by the full knowledge and understanding of what her actions have enabled, and the empathy to really know how her actions and their consequences have caused untold suffering.

    But this kind of gendered screed never gets applied to men. It’s the extreme negative end of a spectrum of commentary that only women receive—stuff like fixating on Nancy Pelosi’s wardrobe, or Belinda Stronach’s sex life, stuff like calling Ann Coulter (another candidate for an empathy-bomb and the curse of self-knowledge) a man or speculating on her gender status, stuff like rating Amanda Marcotte’s or Jill Filipovic’s f*ckability, rather than engaging with their critiques—and men never have to deal with, because everyone acknowledges that men have a right to engage in politics, while women need to be reminded of their place.

  12. Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I think its easier to pick fun at bush because he is in a privaliged class(wealthy,white and male).
    So making fun of his country talking moronic behavier is easy, I mean what can he say “you can make fun of me I’m white and rich”.

    conni on the other hand you walk a fine line between making fun of her stupid behavier and out of tuch ideals and coming off as racist, and in this climate its better to be viewed as sexist that racist. Since if you listen to most shock jocks whether true or not they view women as a privliged class.
    I have heard different shock jocks do hours on the unfairness of ladies night, child placement after divorce, ali-money, the wellfare system, the fact that women can get sex any time they want etc etc…….

  13. Posted May 15, 2007 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Brava, Zingerella–beautifully said.

    Gordita, I think the main issue here is not about “making fun” of Condi; it’s the idea that threatening to rape someone counts as “making fun” in the first place.

  14. crash_up
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    that is absolutely appalling. what the fuck is wrong with people?

  15. crash_up
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    i should add that i think your commentary on this issue is spot-on. i couldn’t agree more. thanks for posting about this.

  16. admin
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    After reading the commentary from trolls on those two posts at Shakesville, I can only conclude that a lot of people cannot see two feet in front of their face. Being upset because a female blogger objects to jokes about rape and then calling her a fat cunt who would be lucky to be raped just proves her point.

  17. bronxelf
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t think they’re funny. Not just about this. I don’t think they’ve ever been funny.
    In any context. I’m not offended (though I ENTIRELY agree with your overall point.). I’m just BORED by them. I don’t find them worthy of even the slightest reaction because they simply are just that uninteresting.

  18. Posted May 15, 2007 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    (PIRATE LANGUAGE AHOY)

    Oh, AND let’s not forget that the Queen is not young or attractive enough to rape. Because, you know, aside from being just fucking hilarious, rape is also a backhanded compliment, and don’t you fucking forget it!

    That’s right, it’s not a crime of violence perpetrated against helpless victims of all ages, even ugly ones, it’s just the natural result of those pesky uncontrollable male sexual urges. Who can blame them for acting out when there’s all that hot pussy on the hoof?!

    Really, I suppose I should feel flattered; I may be kinda fat, but I just bet I am young and pretty enough to be rapeable. I still have SOME value. Yes, sir. the day I have lost that, I’m no longer much of a woman at all.

    Fucking DICKHEADS.

  19. Posted May 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this. I completely missed this story.

    Trojan Condoms and the New York State Lottery have both withdrawn their advertising. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/12/arts/music/12radi.html

  20. admin
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Good for them! Thanks for the link, Zarq.

  21. saskaia
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    “Because, you know, rape must be more okay than racist remarks.”

    I don’t think that’s it at all, and doesn’t do much for your argument with this woman of color.

    The rape joke flies percisely because it was made about a BLACK WOMAN – inherently insatiable Jezabel who’s just asking for it, right? Had the story been framed around the Laura Bush comments perhaps more action would have been taken?

  22. admin
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Queen Elizabeth was also mentioned – she is the woman cited as too ugly to rape. I think there was probably a lot of stuff going on with these guys and racism and sexism both are involved. The point is not that one is more acceptable than the other – the point is that both are unacceptable. The sentence you quote was me indulging in sarcasm which, I admit, does not always come across clearly online.

  23. Posted May 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard about this, but now my head is full of gender and race theory around rape (or even coercive sex)…and then there’s that disturbing visual of having sex with W. It is the most bizarre combination of things.

    It’s amazing to me that some men in our society feel that women should feel flattered when a man gets a hard-on in her presence.

  24. admin
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Also, saskaia, I was thinking about your comment on the drive home and I realized that, in my response, I didn’t actually address the whole Jezabel thing – which is SO FREAKIN’ COMMON every time people deal with women of color. That may very well be why this isn’t getting as much attention in the media as I think it probably SHOULD be getting.

    I am also wondering if silence on the part of Rice, Bush, and Queen E might be playing a role as well. The Rutgers players spoke up, you know?

  25. Posted May 17, 2007 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Hey – I really like this blog. I’m doing something similar with my own blog, called Fat Feminism, which examines the fat women are portrayed in popular culture. I explore movies, music, television, celebrities, fashion, gaming, online communities, merchandizing, toys, art, and social tropes about fat people.

    I am going to add you to my blogroll, and if you like mine, maybe you could add it to yours, too:

    http://www.curvature.wordpress.com

  26. vanity
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    As a man, I’ll offer a male take on this;

    We think t’s funny. We laugh at rape jokes because we’re really not effected by them. To us it’s humor, not an evil action we’d ever experience.

    Here’s a parallel; You being a female, find a male and ake a joke about how hilarious it is when women marry men for money, then divorce them and take it all. I guarantee you the man will not laugh. He’ll probably be appalled you’d say something so mean and think it’s actually funny.

    As a woman, you can laugh about that kind of thing, even if you’d never actually do it. You may even make funny comments about stuff like that with your friends, it’s all in good fun.

    Niether joke crosses sexual boundaries very well, and people need to look at it in that respect. Humor can sometimes appeal to a very niche audience. What’s gold to you is garbage to another. It’s nothing to get worked up over.

  27. Posted May 19, 2007 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Vanity: I appreciate what you’re trying to get at here..But how is a “joke” about physically, violently forcing yourself on a person equal to making a snarky remark about taking a guy for his money? That’s not a good parallel.

    “We laugh at rape jokes because we’re really not effected by them. To us it’s humor, not an evil action we’d ever experience [...] It’s nothing to get worked up over.”

    That made me sick.

  28. Linda
    Posted June 3, 2007 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    “As a woman, you can laugh about that kind of thing,”

    No, I can’t. Because it isn’t funny.

    Compassion and sense isn’t gender-specific. Talking about hurting somebody doesn’t become funny just because you couldn’t be hurt in that same exact way. No sane and reasonably intelligent person could believe otherwise. Let me ask you, would it be funny if it was joke about *men* raping men?

3 Trackbacks

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    [...] this crazy mentality–this unwanted, undesirable, un-fucking-touchable mentality that pervaded my thinking [...]

  3. [...] this crazy mentality–this unwanted, undesirable, un-fucking-touchable mentality that pervaded my thinking [...]

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