Part 9: Rape Culture and Language

By December 28, 2013 September 21st, 2017 Uncategorized
In this continuing series, guest blogger Toria helps us consider rape culture and how better to “do justice” for women. Warning: May contain explicit images, language, and/or triggers.
Someone in recent generations had the brilliant idea of using the word “rape” in place of the word “dominate.” It has become shockingly common for people — the majority of them seem to be young boys and men — to say
things like “I raped that test” instead of “I got a great mark on that test,” or “this game is raping me so hard” instead of “this game is really hard.” (Depending on how far you want to take it, even saying that someone or
something “screwed you over” has the same meaning.)
Even trying to sub in words that aren’t “rape” but are similar in nature is common. When I called out my boyfriend’s brother for saying that a video game was “raping” him, he “corrected” himself by saying that it was “violating” him instead, and didn’t understand why I was still bothered by this. Using a thesaurus to find new ways of saying “rape” when talking about anything other than an actual rape isn’t edgy. It trivializes the
act by making it a buzzword.
Any word we could use in place of “rape” means the same thing, anyway. They all mean that one is not in control and being exploited in some way or another. But there are few exploitative situations that are comparable to rape. Comparing a bad run in a video game to a horrific attack by a sexual predator, for example, is abhorrent.
Similar phrases hint at rape but don’t come right out and say it. My least favourite is the ever-popular term “butthurt” (or as some people choose to say, “anally wrecked,” which is supposed to be better somehow?). It’s common to say someone’s butt hurt when the person is sulking for not getting his or her way, but I doubt they ever think of what the word implies. There is also the implication that using rape as a punishment for doing or saying something wrong is okay, which it definitely is not.
Even this twist on using rape in terms of a punishment is used in popular culture:
•   In Die Hard, John McClane tells an LA cop that he was just ‘butt-f*cked’ on national TV for screwing up negotiations with terrorists.
•   In Blade: Trinity, after Blade rescues a cohort from vampires, one of the vampires says that Blade and his group “pretty much f*cking ass-raped” them. Even worse, one of the other vampires snaps back, “Oh, you loved it.”

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