Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Health Care Legislation Does NOT Equal Rape

As many of you know April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I am planning on doing a series of posts regarding sexual assault and rape over the next month (still working out the details), but I was so bothered by a political cartoon I came across that it just has to have its own post.

I know this cartoon has gotten a lot of blog coverage, but I am seriously disturbed by the artist's decision to depict President Obama getting up after having just raped the Statue of Liberty. Seriously, what can possibly make a person think this is funny?

Disturbing rape cartoon after the jump...

From Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom:

What I find most disturbing about the cartoon is the fact Click doesn’t even see anything wrong with trivializing rape at all. While she defends herself against claims that this cartoon is racist, her decision to compare legislation passed by a majority in Congress to rape is never addressed. It’s just not ultimately important.

I also think it’s interesting how some conservatives are quick to use rape metaphors but also dismiss the real tragedy of rape. I’m sure Click thought she was awfully clever with the line, “You gave all the consent I’ll ever need Nov 2008.” Maybe I would be able to see the humor if this wasn’t the very reason rapes in relationships are ignored.

I found a great post over at Pandagon that sums up what I’m getting at:
When it comes to actual rapes, the right wing position is that the problem of rape is way overblown, and that most rapes---most anything that gets called a date or acquaintance rape---aren’t a matter of men forcing themselves on women because they enjoy raping, but just bad sex that sluts regret later and therefore “cry rape”. Take for instance the debate on the BBC where Heather MacDonald basically denied that the vast majority of campus rapes were actual rape. It’s not fun having people imply to your face that you’re the sort of person who would lie about a good man for no reason except shame that you don’t have about sex or perhaps spite that you never felt towards the guy until he raped you. But that’s the least of the problems with this narrative. The big one is that the narrative conservatives tell obscures the fact that rapists rape because they enjoy the power trip over their victims. For whatever reason, a lot of right wingers like to push the idea that rape is a matter of innocent men getting mixed signals, which simply isn’t the reality of the situation. Rapists are predators and ordinary men are actually pretty good at understanding when a woman they’re on a date with isn’t into the sex.
Obviously I don’t speak for all rape victims and I realize every individual person is going to have a different response to this cartoon. Rape metaphors are prolific in our culture and this cartoon is not new or shocking anymore then it’s well drawn. But regardless of one’s personal response to the cartoon (and mine is disgust), there is no doubt that this cartoon trivializes the very real horror of rape and the very real struggles rape victims go through.

-via Feministe


  1. I just wrote a comment on a blog I really like who calls therapy "the-rapey." I told her that I know her recovery (anorexic) is long and tough, and I'm not trying to take anything away from the difficulty of her therapy sessions, but those sessions will never compare to the trauma and violation of actually being raped. Nothing can or will. Which is why it is never an apt metaphor.

  2. what can possibly make a person think this is funny?

    There's your problem right there. It's a political cartoon that is meant to be disturbing. If you skimmed any part of the 1700+ comments it generated and looked at the substansive arguments therein you would know that even your title is wrong. Here's a small clue, it deals with the word "CONSENT".

    Rape is a horrendous violation and an apt metaphor for the unprecedented way a corrupt, dishonest, p.o.s. bill that constitutes a takeover of 1/6 the American economy on a solely partisan (and bribed) vote by a POTUS whose answer to any dissent from His wishes is "I won."

    It doesn't "trivilize" rape anymore than the history books that refer to "The rape of Nanking."

    And if any further "cartooning" is going on, its the predictable ones from Pandagon or Feministe where it regards what non-Leftists think about anything, let alone rape.

  3. Oh and "trivializing"? Gotta love your tag here "Do the world a favor and kill yourself".

    Nope, no cognitive dissonance there!


  4. how does this cartoon trivialize rape?

    I think it's totally and completely anchored in the idea that rape is a very very bad thing indeed.

  5. I don’t really understand how the word “consent” comes into any relevance since prior consent doesn’t hold any validity in current sexual situations.

    I also think this trivializes rape since it uses a very real crime as something other then what it is. It’s the same as when someone uses rape language when losing a football game or playing an online game. To compare what happened to me and millions of other women to a piece of legislation that passed by majority vote and is within the powers of the congress as granted by the constitution is wrong.

    And your comment about my label is absolutely correct, but that doesn’t invalidate my point nor validate yours.

    Obviously you’re as entitled to your opinion as I am mine. I’ve said my peace and that’s all I have to say. I’m going to close the comments now since I don’t want to have to deal with any crazies who might follow you over here.