When you think of rape and/or rape culture, what kind of person immediately comes to mind? Is it a big, scary, burly-looking man hiding in an alley? Is it someone who should emanate waves of rapey-warning-vibes?But he’s such a Nice GuyTM
When I think of the embodiment of rape and rape culture, this is the image that comes to mind:
I’m not being sarcastic, and I’m not accusing Seth McFarlane of being a rapist. I am saying that this guy is a big proponent of rape culture. From his tv shows, to his movies, to his Oscar-hosting duties, he’s all about making light of rape at every turn.
And he’s not even close to being an outlier. Rapists and rape apologists are so often charming, handsome, and charismatic. They make people laugh and feel comfortable around them, and at the same time push their boundaries to make them feel uncomfortable and laugh off their discomfort. They aim to get people to laugh at themselves when they are offended and to see their offense as the butt of the joke. They get others to side with them in pressuring people to ignore their discomfort and laugh instead of challenging the parts that made them legitimately uncomfortable.
It’s a good trick, and it’s not a new one. These are the tools that rapists rely on in maintaining a rape culture. So long as we think that rapists and rape apologists are this ugly “other”, then we can ignore the attractive, funny man with the great smile as he makes sexual innuendos about a 9 year old girl. So long as we help him deflect criticisms as people being “too sensitive”, he can make jokes about getting to see actresses breasts in movies, including during rape scenes.
Don’t tell me he was being edgy, because this is the same schtick we’ve seen from him throughout his career, and there is a well-worn path preceding him. He is just a younger face of rape culture and demonstrates quite clearly how unabashed it is in keeping itself to the forefront of our “entertainment”.
This is one of the reasons why rape culture is so deeply ingrained and so difficult to talk about. Because the people who most eloquently support it are just so darned likeable. How can someone so charismatic steer us wrong or do us harm when his only goal is to “entertain” us? Maybe we should start asking, “If he’s so invested in making us laugh, why are we the ones berated when we don’t find him funny?”
In which my love for Jennifer Lawrence just grows.