This has been stirring around in my brain obnoxiously for the last day, and once I write it out, I plan to move on to more productive things, like writing more Daniel Tosh/Colin Kane slash fiction*.
I’d like to take a second and quote from an episode of “Louie” - specifically, the scene where a bunch of comedians sit around playing poker jokingly busting their friend’s balls and discussing gay sex, and the use of the word “faggot” comes up. This is Rick Krom’s response to using it onstage.
“I think you should use whatever word you want… You might want to know that every gay man in America has probably had that word shouted at them while they’re being beaten up, sometimes many times, sometimes by a lot of people, all at once. So, when you say it, it kind of brings it all back up. But you know, by all means use it, get your laughs. But now you know what it means.”
Now, let’s imagine this scene was about the word “rape”.
On Sunday, a personal trainer told me to think of all the Bebe dresses I could buy once I lost 20 pounds. I told him I wasn’t one of his Jersey whore friends, how dare he imply I shop at Bebe.
On Monday, a crackhead in Del Taco screamed in my face that he wanted to fuck me. No one did anything except laugh when I told him I bet his dick’s the only part of him that’s worked in years.
A few years ago, at a comedy show in Glendale, a man (I will not call him a comedian) told me from the stage that he wanted to bend me over my car and choke fuck me with my studded belt. I had never met him before, and knew only one other person in the room. It was not funny, I felt threatened. I made a joke out of it when I went up and said that he understood women so well he must have been one in prison. Afterwards he told me to calm down, he was only joking.
All three of these situations hurt, BAD, but I had to spin them into jokes otherwise I’d be called a humorless bitch.
Those are the situations I’ve been able to come back with a zinger for. There are plenty when that wasn’t possible. There’s that comedian whose work I love and respect who only knows me as “bazoombas” even though we’ve spoken & I’ve booked him on things, there’s every time a car drives by and somebody yells something sexual at me while I’m walking my dog, there’s the man who brazenly put his hand in my back pocket when I was 18 & I knocked him out cold.
I’m sure all of these men have forgotten these degrading moments, but I never will.
I’m not saying that comedians can’t use the word “rape” onstage. What I do think though, is that “rape” is just as hurtful to women as “faggot” is to gay people, and “nigger” is to black people. It’s an emotionally charged word, and odds are if you’re a woman you’ve heard it, implied or out right, come from a hostile person at least once.
1 in 6 women has been sexually assaulted. Do you know 6 women? Then one of them has been sexually assaulted. Think for a second, picture clearly 6 lady friends of yours. Now pick one and think of her fighting off an attacker. Personalize that statistic, empathize with that statistic.
I’m lucky I’ve never been attacked physically. I probably have that pesky 20 pounds to thank for it. But the verbal and written assault I, and many women, have to endure on a regular basis can make a person have a bad day here or there.
Maybe this “heckler” was having a bad day and couldn’t handle it anymore, and instead of following Tosh with a zinger because she isn’t a comedian, she needed to speak out in that moment from pure frustration with the world not taking the very thing that every woman fears deep down inside seriously. I applaud her for walking out instead of engaging further and making the show about her… the way I tend to define actual hecklers.
“So, when you say it, it kind of brings it all back up. But you know, by all means use it, get your laughs. But now you know what it means.”
*My Colin Kane/Daniel Tosh slash fiction totally exists, and it’s the post below this on my tumblr. Go laugh, because the world is pain! Wee!