First of all, my laugh is a privilege, not a right—like being bitten by a werewolf, not for everybody. I am short, bespectacled, and shy, but that does NOT mean you are entitled to my approval. I know I look like I should be grateful for any attention from men, but that's the difference between men and kitty cats. It was such a direct attack with an uneven distribution of power, because he was on an elevated stage with a microphone and a spotlight, and I was the only one he called out.
Second, it's not simply that I hate rape jokes. I hate rape jokes that are directed at the victim. They are mean spirited, and often dumb. So, yelling and trying to manipulate is exactly counter-intuitive to selling someone on rape culture. That's like saying, "Oh, you think informed consent is a universal human right? I'm going to force you to change your mind." I hate the perpetuation of rape culture in entertainment rhetoric, and I really loathe when people try to aggressively manipulate this core belief.
This is not the first time a comic has gotten mad at me for not liking their act. In the dark city of Seattle, a comic told a joke about beating his girlfriend, and I happened to be in the front row, so he berated me verbally for not laughing. It's even happened a few times since I moved to this magickal fairyland. It irks me because it feels like someone is attacking my right to my own opinions, taste, and beliefs. Why does it matter so much that I don't think you're funny? And instead of expressing aggression and rage toward me, here's a thought: You could just be funny.
I think comedy is the most beautiful art form. I think that jokes can be used to make people feel better and less alone. Laughter has a strong emotional power over people, and it's heartbreaking to see that powerful rhetoric used to perpetuate violence or cruelty. I hate being bullied, and I hate watching anyone feel bullied. The art of stand up can be a very pure and altruistic medium. It has helped me deal with depression and anxiety and I genuinely believe it can make the world a better place. That's been my least favorite piece of misogyny this week—tune in next week to let me pet your dog.
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