Monday, October 4, 2010

Rape Is...

I've been going through my Tumblr favorites in an attempt to post some of the things I've hearted and then abandoned, and I came across an interesting project that coincides with a recent post of Britni's. The idea is a sticker sheet based on Suzanne Lacy's artist book entitled Rape Is. Apparently the book was published in 1972 (republished in 1976) and consisted of 11 sheets of white paper folded in half and stapled at the center to create a book. On the left page it said “RAPE IS” while the right page gave a different scenario.

Like so:

On Lacy's website the book is described as:
Artists book parodying the Happiness is… books by revealing an escalating narrative of incidents that support, justify, and mythologize rape.
The Barbara Kruger Graffiti Collective recently decided to make a sticker sheet featuring five of the scenarios from the book as well as five blank spaces for people to fill out themselves.

From the flickr page:
New sticker sheet, following up on the overwhelming response to Suzanne Lacy’s Rape Is. This sheet requires Avery 8163 template labels, which create ten 2” x 4” stickers. We’ve included five slogans from the wonderful book Rape Is (check your local university’s library, they might have a copy!), and five blank stickers for you to fill out. What does rape mean to you? Bring some to your next feminist graffiti party, put them up in women’s restrooms, start conversations with friends and strangers. What is rape, and how can we end it?

The slogans included read:

RAPE IS when your boyfriend hears your best friend was raped and he asks, “What was she wearing?”

RAPE IS when the man next door exposes himself and you feel guilty for having looked.

RAPE IS when you’re walking alone, thinking your own thoughts, and a man, driving by, shouts “HI SWEETIE!”

RAPE IS when you attempt to prosecute the rapist, and find yourself on trial instead.

RAPE IS when your soldier brother goes into enemy territory and takes everything there, including the women.

[Note: “When Lacy states, ‘RAPE IS when you attempt to prosecute the rapist, and find yourself on trial instead,’ she is not suggesting that misogynist court cases are equal to the physical act of rape. Instead, Lacy presents the unjust trial’s relationship to rape as analogous to puppies’ and cookies’ relationship to happiness: one of many possible things that could make a person feel raped or one of many possible experiences that come from rape.”
The whole thing is pretty ingenious to me. Not only is the message extremely important, but the simplicity is really compelling I think. Both the book and the stickers are straightforward and almost dare the reader to disagree. So many people are obviously confused as to what rape and consent actually are that I can't help but love any attempt to spread information. I feel like this approach is more beneficial in the long run than the "real men don't rape" crap and I think it is about time for me to get some sticker sheets. Don't you?

1 comment:

  1. I saw and read this book today. Very compelling and moving.
    Thank you for posting this.


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