Another entry in my evidently ongoing “Rape is Hilarious” series, care of Timbuk2, hawker of hipster bags:
Note to Timbuk2: If a man “steals” a woman’s virginity, it’s called rape. Even if it is “prom night” or whatevthefuck an underage-looking girl in a tacky party dress is meant to represent.
Here’s the best part:
A post on the site NowPublic quotes a Timbuk2 representative as saying that the folks behind the ad considered “softening the copy to something like… ‘just like that guy who never called…’” but noted that “The powers that be didn’t think it packed the same punch… or was as funny.” And boy, it certainly would be a shame not to mine “stolen” virginity for all the laughs you can.
Oh, indeed. With comedy gold like “Look at the greasy bastard who raped a young girl and got away with it!” waiting in the wings, you don’t want to settle for anything less.
The company also says they were “happy to see that ad go out.” Yeah, I can see why. There’s a lot of which to be proud there, you disgusting wankstains. It’s just bloody genius to turn rape—oh, excuse me: stolen sex—into a punchline to sell your crappity little bags. If you were really smart, though, you’d have included a matching ball gag and free rufie with every purchase. Those fuckers would have flown off the shelves.
Aside from everything else that’s wrong with this ad, I’m also aggravated to see yet another image of a woman who was raped looking sad, isolated, and ashamed—because the last thing we fucking need is more imagery designed to suggest the singular model for women who were raped is weepy-shamed-destroyed-helpless, to which they’re forcibly conformed by judgment, mockery, threat, or simply the ludicrous expectation that rape victims should behave that way, not just right afterwards, but forever. The last thing we fucking need is support for the idea that women who were raped shouldn’t be sardonic, or defiant, or frank, lest they pique the ire of demented assholes who evidently love rape so much that they will go to extraordinary lengths to try to silence women who speak openly about its horrors.
The problem with shit like this: It’s one ad, and there are plenty of people who will look at this one ad and decide it’s defensible. Or that one ad. Or that other ad over there. Or this TV show. Or that movie. Or this radio program. Or that comedy bit. Or this rape joke. Or that rape joke. Or another rape joke over here. Or that guy saying he got “raped” by the IRS. Or that guy having sex with his date who drank too much and passed out. Or these guys who gang-raped an unconscious girl and blamed her for it.
It’s part of a rape culture from which it cannot be extricated. All of it contributes, all of it desensitizes, all of it enables, all of it is garbage. Dangerous, toxic garbage. We breathe it in like any other pollutant. And the inevitable result of letting it accumulate is the same as with any other poison—eventually, someone gets hurt.