I don’t know where Melissa keep finding these things, and I probably don’t want to know. Yesterday, it was this pencil sharpener.

And I was naively convinced that when it comes to “joke toys” that promote rape, a headless woman bent over with her hands and feet nailed to the floor while having phallic items shoved in at least one orifice is about as bad as it gets.

But, sadly, it’s not. Because today (and this makes it a sad, sad day), I learned about Lusty Linda.

Now, at first glance, Lusty Linda doesn’t look any worse than the pencil sharpener. But that’s because you don’t know that she talks, yet. From the one of the sites selling it:

Let Lusty Linda the pen holder sun-bath on your desk. When you stick in a pen, she will moan, groan or say any of 10 different things. A switch on the bottom lets you set Linda’s mood, from good or bad. (too bad all women did not have such a switch).

Lusty Linda The Pen Holder Says 10 Different Things including:

* ooow (ouch)!
* Get out you, you dirty old man!
* What are you looking at?
* Help! Help!
* Oh ooh (excited)

That’s right. This “toy” is a plastic object that looks like a woman with a gaping hole in her crotch that symbolizes her vagina, and you’re supposed to shove pens into said hole while she screams for help or moans in pain. But hey, that’s only when she’s in a “bad mood.” When she’s not being a massive bitch, she totally loves it. Like all women, of course. Except that — haha — you can’t turn most of the stupid whores on and off at your leisure for your fucking/raping pleasure.

I want to make it explicitly clear right now: this post is a part of my 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence series.

And I want to make something else, clear, too, and it’s something that could be highly unpopular:

This promotes rape.

If you buy one of these things, you are promoting rape. If you laugh at one of these things, you are promoting rape. If you don’t laugh but still think that it’s a harmless joke, you are promoting rape. If one of your friends has one, or thinks it’s funny, and you don’t say anything about it, you are promoting rape.

Do you get that? Because I am quite sure that people don’t get it (trigger warning). I know that Spencer’s Gifts shoppers don’t get it.

Rape is not funny. Jokes about rape are not “black humor.” They are not “tasteless.” They are actively promoting rape. By laughing at it, you’re saying that it’s okay. By laughing at it, you’re giving encouragement to the guys who are actually rapists. I’m going to steal an excerpt from Kate Harding that is so good it sends chills up my spine (from a classic post that you should read in its entirety):

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

Look, before the hate comments, guys, if you don’t talk like that with your friends, then it wasn’t about you.

But it is about an awful lot of guys out there. It’s about the people who make these toys. Because you know who’s going to buy them? Idiots. And rapists. It’s about the people who make videos with jokes about rape. Who’s going to laugh at them? Idiots. And rapists.

All of you out there who don’t get it can tell me until you’re blue in the face that you’re not a rapist and you think that rape is bad and horrible and terrible and you’re NOT a rapist, really, really not, you just think that the joke is funny — but I only have one thing to say to you:

If you’re not a rapist, get off the rapists’ side.

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{ 44 comments }

1 newslang November 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm

You are amazing. You put so many things into words that I’ve never been able to. “Get off the rapist’s side.” Oh boy, you don’t know how much hope you give me in this world. Absolutely amazing.

2 Jamie November 27, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Agreed. Fucking agreed. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, for speaking out.

You’re amazing.

3 Cara November 27, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Thanks, you two. I’ve already had to delete two other comments (though, fairly, they were by the same person).

Let me say that I’m willing to have a discussion. I’m not going to only let through comments that say I’m awesome. But I’m also not going to let through comments by MRAs that are only trying to provoke a meaningless argument. If I get any of the really nasty comments that I’m anticipating I may get (seeing the comments on got on the fucking guitar hero post . . .), there’s a chance that I will let it through to prove a point, but I will also ban the commenter.

It’s true that I have exceedingly little room to be swayed on this issue. And I’m not going to let this turn into a rape apologist thread. But I’m not going to ban intelligent and respectful commentary that is not rape apologist just because I disagree with it. Of course, you’d also know all of that if you just read the damn comment policy.

4 Jason Peters November 27, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Speaking from a guy’s point of view, if the shoe were on the other foot and these were male figures pinned down being forced to have sex, I would not find it cute or kinky or sexy. So yes, I understand that women certainly would find these things offensive, and therefore, men should, too. The salvation is that these are not mainstream items and I don’t know any guy who would buy one (but I do know the type of guy who would).

5 Anna November 27, 2007 at 10:26 pm

Sigh. What a world, what a world indeed to spawn such misogynistic idiocy. Cara – I couldn’t get past the pics – startlingly numbing.

6 Holly November 27, 2007 at 10:38 pm

It’s funny that you said you’ve had to delete comments–I wrote a post on 16 Days, like I said I was going to but I’m always late, and not even an hour later and I’ve already had to delete comments. Assholes.

I can’t believe that pencil sharpener and even more so, I can’t believe that…pen holder? Come on. That is disgusting. Good post, though, and yes, buying into disgusting and foul objects such as the ones above do promote rape.

7 mom November 27, 2007 at 11:11 pm

I saw the pencil sharpener in a tourist trap in Virginia Beach. It was a nice little shop. I left after seeing this and the confederate flags for sale.

And good for you for moderating. Sexist trash has plenty of venues already. One more isn’t necessary.

Your blog, your rules. And damn it, I love them. Too bad you aren’t president.

8 Heather November 27, 2007 at 11:30 pm

I sent this to my boyfriend and several male friends. I don’t think a lot of guys get the point that, if you joke about rape, you’re supporting rapists and guys that *are* really going to rape women.

9 Mary Tracy9 November 28, 2007 at 9:09 am

THIS PROMOTES RAPE

Yes it does! Yes it does, yes it does, yes it does! And I’m NEVER, EVER going to think otherwise.

THIS PROMOTES RAPE. 100% TRUE

10 Clare November 28, 2007 at 9:53 am

I have never ever found this sort of thing funny, but I had never thought of it in these terms before. Thank you for opening my eyes.

11 Debs November 28, 2007 at 10:55 am

I’m actually shocked by these. Damn right they promote rape. It makes me feel sick that such disgusting, misogynistic, sexist and violent products are for sale at all, never mind as ‘jokes’.

12 Ran November 28, 2007 at 12:29 pm

So scary.

13 Kate November 28, 2007 at 1:41 pm

The fact that the pen holder says “help” should be more than enough to have it taken off the shelves. It is frightening and deplorable. Making “jokes” about violent crimes and situations only desensitizes people so that when there is actually a crime being committed their brains don’t make the connection that the victim is a real person. This sort of trash only makes people loose empathy for other humans.

14 BettyBoondoggle November 28, 2007 at 4:26 pm

According to Glenn Sack the Misogynist, the pencil sharpener simply portrays a sexual act women enjoy.

Now exactly what woman enjoyes having sex without a head, I’m not sure, but I get the feeling Sacks’ porn collection is full of them.

15 john November 28, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Now, I don’t disagree with you (you are right – especially about the pencil and pen monstrosities), but how far can you go with “if you don’t support this viewpoint, don’t do this”? have you tried to apply this to all things in your life? If you have kids or know kids (etc) do you vehemently advise them against violence in video games? what about R rated movies? etc.

Now, since we are all adults here and should be able to debate things civilly. What about religions that condone “bad” things? If you support christianity does that mean you support violence towards homosexuals? Or rape or slavery? Or what about Islam?

Secondly – I KNOW there are dumb people out there and even some who are not fit to be called people… but why should I be responsible for each and every one? I can’t help it if some people don’t have the brain power to be civilized.

Thank you for your time.

16 Roxie November 28, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Oh yes, Betty! And I know so many women who enjoy sex with their hands and feet NAILED to the floor.

17 Cara November 28, 2007 at 5:30 pm

I’m not sure what woman enjoys having sex with her hands and feet nailed to the ground, either. Don’t lie — anyone with half a brain knows perfectly well that they could have used glue, or at least made the screws not visible. They didn’t even bother painting them to blend in, for fuck’s sake. They’re supposed to be there.

18 Cara November 28, 2007 at 5:43 pm

Firstly, John, I don’t “support” any religion. That being said, religion is markedly different in that most people don’t follow their religions, er . . . religiously. However, though I am an atheist, the violence and misogyny that exists in The Bible is a big reason why the religion gets under my skin. That being said, though, I don’t think that believing in Christ and supporting Christian Churches is the same thing, and no I do not believe that one is responsible for the horrors inherent in the religion or in modern interpretations of it, so long as they speak out against those things and worship in place that don’t support them. I don’t know enough about Islam, Hinduism, etc to comment on those.

No, I don’t have kids, never plan to. But I hate graphic violence in video games (we’re talking Halo vs. Mario, here). I have a younger brother and when my mom started buying those games, I was VERY UPSET.

Movies are different, and it depends on why a movie is R rated. Most are R rated because of sex, and as a general rule I don’t have a problem with sex (unless it’s exploitative, etc.). If a movie is gratuitous in its exploitation of women or in violence, particularly violence against women, yes, I do oppose it. Like I oppose most mainstream horror films for this very reason. I certainly do wonder about the mental state of people who saw that fucking Captivity movie. There are however times when depictions of violence, etc. is used for a genuine purpose. For instance, I hated the rape scene in Monster. It was a horrid thing to watch. But it was absolutely essential to the story, and it in no way glorified rape, but made it look like what it was — one of the most horrible things you can do. There’s a difference, and so no, I do not shun all depictions of rape so long as those depictions 1. serve a genuine and vital purpose and 2. are done in a responsible way.

Any other questions?

19 john November 28, 2007 at 6:11 pm

quick clarifiction – you said:
Firstly, John, I don’t “support” any religion…

I should have said:
If one supports christianity does that mean…
Instead of:
If you support christianity does that mean…

Sorry about that. I wasn’t trying to accuse – only playing devil’s advocate.
I’m not of any public religious affiliation myself – but put in that context I think some religious people could be offended (that they are bad because they support the bible, which supports murder, rape, etc – also a lot of good things too though).

This is all in the context of what you said:

…and you don’t say anything about it, you are promoting rape.

So if my buddy is christian, and I don’t check with him that he denounces those parts of the bible that condone rape or murder – then I feel that in your words I am promoting rape/murder.

Or to be clearer – If I don’t denounce anything im my life that blatantly promotes rape and violence then am I promoting them???

Because really you can’t have it both ways (IMHO). Either it is right or it is wrong (in a contextual sense of course – Monster being the perfect example).

Or perhaps it can be both ways? maybe if I don’t say anything about it, I’m still an OK person and NOT promoting rape? I expect people that I personally socialize with or that are in positions of authority (sadly, including mr bush) – to have a brain and be able to use it. I shouldn’t and can’t be responsible for every bastard out there who doesn’t “get it”.
I don’t disagree with the core point, only that I don’t think I am promoting rape (or any evil) by not making an issue of it. I expect better of my fellow humans (so that I should not have to denounce every dark thing great or small), I expect them all to love and respect each other.
Sadly this is not the case.
I wish I knew why.

I also see the value (and the danger) of beating the drums.

best of luck

20 Cara November 28, 2007 at 6:23 pm

So if my buddy is christian, and I don’t check with him that he denounces those parts of the bible that condone rape or murder – then I feel that in your words I am promoting rape/murder.

Or to be clearer – If I don’t denounce anything im my life that blatantly promotes rape and violence then am I promoting them???

Incorrect. If your buddy is a highly dogmatic Christian, then you probably ought to check. If he’s just a regular guy, as with all regular guys, I think that it’s safe to assume that he does not condone rape until you discover otherwise. In the same way that I don’t meet people and ask “So, are you racist?”

If your buddy does express some sort of support for rape and you chose to not say anything about it, that is the point at which I believe you become guilty.

Or perhaps it can be both ways? maybe if I don’t say anything about it, I’m still an OK person and NOT promoting rape? I expect people that I personally socialize with or that are in positions of authority (sadly, including mr bush) – to have a brain and be able to use it. I shouldn’t and can’t be responsible for every bastard out there who doesn’t “get it”.
I don’t disagree with the core point, only that I don’t think I am promoting rape (or any evil) by not making an issue of it. I expect better of my fellow humans (so that I should not have to denounce every dark thing great or small), I expect them all to love and respect each other.

Again, I don’t expect anyone, myself included, to be some kind of persistent obnoxious educator. I do expect people to not be friends with people who promote hate. The question is whether you make an issue out of it when it comes up. It is my personal opinion that when you stay silent, you become part of the problem. I do think that there are some exceptions to this when it comes to questions of authority and the need to keep one’s job, etc., and I in no way claim perfection. But if I don’t call someone out for a hateful remark, I own that (and feel incredibly guilty about it for days on end, but my over-active conscience is another story).

21 Cara November 28, 2007 at 8:50 pm

I have just deleted yet another comment from a misogynist coming from Glen’s site, including all kinds of odd and unfounded allegations. There is one that I would like to clear up, since some asshole named jerry is insistent on coming here and scolding me like I’m a child, all the while insisting that he’s not misogynist and talking shit about me over at Glenn’s. If you’d like to see the comments I deleted, they’re there.

But the fact is that I never engaged in conversation with Glenn or anyone on his site.

What I did do was link to the horrific thread on his site, and that automatically generated a trackback. That’s not the same as engaging in discussion. Until now, I have not written his name on my blog. I have no desire to engage in discussion with Glenn. I have no desire to engage in discussion with anyone there who thinks that this is okay. I never did, nor did I ever claim that I did. I don’t think that I could even be accused of commenting on them specifically in a public forum until now.

Law Fairy, if you’re reading this, thanks for your efforts over there, but at this point I really do think that “Jerry” is best being ignored.

22 Marissa November 28, 2007 at 9:55 pm

Thank you for this post. I wanted to add that I once dated a “nice guy” who made sexist and racist jokes constantly from the perspective, in his mind, of making fun of racism and sexism. I tried to tell him that it was not like racism and sexism were over, and that his jokes only perpetuated them. Anyways, this “nice guy” who thought he was above these things forced me into non-consenting sex acts…. just to drive home the point..

23 Cara November 28, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Thanks for sharing, Marissa. I can’t say that I’m surprised by your story, but I am incredibly saddened by it. I’m glad that you got out of that relationship.

24 Courtney November 28, 2007 at 11:55 pm

Fabulous post.
Completely inspiring.
I think you have the guts to say what I, as a feminist, sometimes am scared to say. That this pencil sharpener, and other seemingly harmless displays of female objectification DO PROMOTE RAPE.
Thank you for inspiring me.

25 Sayna November 29, 2007 at 12:47 am

I just came over from Feministing, and thank you so much! This post actually made me a little teary, especially the quote from Kate Harding. Well said. You put into words what I’ve never been able to.

26 kissmypineapple November 29, 2007 at 1:48 am

John, as a Christian, I am so utterly offended that you equated Christianity with condoning violence to homosexuals. Jesus Christ in no way condoned that sort of violence, and people who do are not Christians.

Beyond that:

“Or to be clearer – If I don’t denounce anything im my life that blatantly promotes rape and violence then am I promoting them???”

Yes. If you do not denounce things in your life that blatantly promote rape, then yes, you promote rape. Silence is alliance.

27 Matt November 29, 2007 at 6:59 am

Uh, sorry about the supporting rape and all, but my first reaction to the pencil sharpener was to think it funny.

As a dude, it is as simple as seeing a woman on all fours to evoke a positive emotion, throw in penetration and a strange beavis-like “heh, heh “bubbles up. Then as attention finally floats to the lack of head, and the whole – its a pencil sharpener thing; well, it doesn’t really invoke thoughts of “I am dehumanizing women” but more of – “damn, it sharpens pencils too?!” which appeals to the gadget angle, I suppose.

Now, I’ll also admit I was laughing as I wrote the above. Because I am a man, obviously. Don’t hate me here, i am just trying to give you insight to how it played across my mind.

On the other hand, to stop and think of the horrors that occur to women, and the violence of rape, or the story I came across (maybe from you) about some place where guys are gang raping women then finishing them off by sticking guns up their vaginas when they are done – causes me such extreme visceral distress that I can’t even click through on the link, cause it will be too disturbing for me to handle.

It is hard to link those two emotional states.

An interesting analogy might be what I will call “loser” jokes – or better said funny jokes, where the “loser” of the humor story ends up being whatever race, religion, political affiliation, or sexual preference the teller doesn’t like. The jokes, which can evoke laughter because of their wit, accomplish nothing other than the successful demeaning of the “loser” of choice.

I think your pencil sharpener is a good example of it too. If I am honest, I have to admit I found it funny, its like the other “loser” jokes, or even like gossiping. When someone else is “lessened”, our ego seem to feel a quick bump in our own personal value due to relativity. Unfortunately, the long-term effect is a lessening of us all. So, I guess I will start the remapping in my own mind, and contribute my small share to woman’s rights due to your enlightening post.

I suppose that is what education is all about. Re-mapping our given ways of thinking with more skillful ones.

Oh, continuing with honest feedback from a man’s point of view, the Lusty Linda doesn’t quite do it. It’s the craftsmanship, I think, or perhaps what I will call the playboy principal: if we are going to go to the trouble of looking at woman like sex objects, why not go ahead and look at the good looking ones? Lusty Linda, fails artistically – as strange as that sounds. It strangely evokes an old lady image… its the head thats the problem, maybe thats why they removed it on the pencil sharpener… less male distraction. (ok, fine – less distracting with the humanity issue then, there… I am learning, see?)

Here are a few other gems you will probably enjoy being outraged about:

The outrageously politically incorrect adverts from the time equality forgot | the Daily Mail

28 jovan byars November 29, 2007 at 7:39 am

If I was working at Toys ‘R Us or a similar store, I would refuse to sell any product that promotes rape, such as the duo posted here.

29 Fatima November 29, 2007 at 12:06 pm

First of all, I would like to say that I am so inspired by this post. It’s amazing and exactly what I needed after I saw this horrid thing on feministing. I am still extremely upset about it but your words made me feel stronger.

Matt – I think its admirable that you are aware of your gut reactions to the product and that you are learning about the connections to seemingly “insignificant” toys and very real acts of violence against women. However, I think you are doing a disservice to your entire gender by saying that you found it funny because you are a man.

I showed this to my boyfriend and he was completely horrified. And believe me, he would have no qualms about telling me if he thought it was funny.

30 john November 29, 2007 at 1:20 pm

To pineapple:

You said:
John, as a Christian, I am so utterly offended that you equated Christianity with condoning violence to homosexuals. Jesus Christ in no way condoned that sort of violence, and people who do are not Christians.

I NEVER said that.
I did say a lot of ifs.
I also did point out the fact that in various versions of the bible IT does CONDONE rape, slavery and murder (and anti-homosexual views).
Now, does every christian out there condone every sentence of the bible and try to follow it to a T? no. Most christians (and people of any religious belief with historical texts) understand that they need to take those things in context and that times change.

Now as far as what Jesus would or would not do… I don’t think you can really speak for him. Not that what you are saying is wrong. But I don’t think it is fair for any one member of a group to speak for all of them. I sure as hell don’t agree with mr. bush. I can assume from you post that you are a very open and tolerant person – I only wish more “christians” were. I could go find hundreds right now that say god hates homosexuals (which I agree would be completely against the core teachings of jesus but… by interpretation not against the teachings of the bible).

The point I was trying to make was simply that most christians beleive that the bible is the word of god – but the bible also has passages where people we are supposed to hold in high regard do terrible things. So, should all christians go around denouncing the bible because otherwise silence=alliance?
NO.
that was my point. NO
yes people should speak up when it is blatant – but we can’t nit pick every little thing. and we can’t fix everyone.
and I’d love it if we lived in a world where everyone used their brains and their hearts (not you – rapists n such).

I think Ghandi said something to the effect of:
it will be a better world when all the wars that are fought are with the evils in our own hearts.

biblical citations
Exodus 2:11-12
II Kings 2:23-24
Numbers 16:23, 31-33
Deuteronomy 25:11-12
1 Samuel 18:25-27
Leviticus 20:13
etc ad nauseum – can’t we all just live and let live?

31 BettyBoondoggle November 29, 2007 at 1:25 pm

“It is hard to link those two emotional states.”

Matt – have a look into the concept of “male privilege” because the ONLY reason you had trouble linking the pencil sharpener to rape and male violence against women is because you, yourself, aren’t on the receiving end of it.

Understanding privilege and how it makes you blind to the realities of others by design, will help open your eyes. I hope, anyway.

32 Kristy November 29, 2007 at 3:57 pm

It turns out that there is a website where you can vote about whether the first picture is offensive to you. I know these polls don’t necessarily matter, but we can try to reverse the currently winning “no” vote.

33 Kristy November 29, 2007 at 3:58 pm
34 Sarah November 30, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Matt, so in other words, a woman who rightfully calls out against rape (in all its “innocent joke” forms) is being “politically correct?” OK then.

35 kissmypineapple November 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm

John, for one thing, Jesus is not a member of a Christian group. Jesus was Jewish. Christians worship Christ, Jesus did not worship himself, Jesus was not Christian. Secondly, given the understood record of Jesus’ teachings, I think I can say without a doubt that Jesus loves all people, homosexual people unequivocably included, and thus, would never endorse the horrific treatment they receive in our culture.

Secondly, people who say that God Hates Gays are not Christian, no matter what they think. That’s a very sad and pervasive example of how people can be tricked into doing evil things in Jesus’ name. That doesn’t mean they are actually acting on His behalf. If I go out of my way to terrorize POC, but call myself an ally of POC, that doesn’t make it true. If I say I’m Christian, but do things that Christ specifically spoke out against, then I am not Christian. You can call an apple an orange, but it won’t change what’s inside.

Thirdly, yes, as a Christian, it is my responsibility to denounce those parts of the Bible. They’re deplorable, and have nothing to do with Christ’s teachings or example. Point of fact, the Bible isn’t by its nature Christian. It is a text that Christians have adopted to spread word about Jesus’ teachings. Besides that, the entire Old Testament isn’t even supposed to be attached to the text Christians used, b/c upon Jesus birth, the old covenant was nulled. It’s there mostly for context, but that section of the Bible is actually a Jewish text and not a Christian one.

I say live and let live up until the way you live encroaches on the rights of others. If your way of living promotes rape, then, your way of living encroaches on the rights of others, and in fact endangers them. It disrupts the live and let live concept for people who are survivors of rape and for those who are potential victims of rape. So, no. I will not let that kind of living pass without comment.

36 zombie z December 9, 2007 at 1:35 am

I like how one of the first commenters on Glenn’s site said “not like anyone takes[Jessica of Feministing] seriously.” Oh…really? Maybe no one whose political sensibilities are so *finely tuned* as yours…
/sarcasm

37 Catherine Martell December 17, 2007 at 11:16 am

I don’t have anything to add. I expect we can all think our way around the idiot-boy commenters attempting to derail this discussion.

The reason I am posting is to say: Cara, congratulations on this fantastic, brave and searing piece of writing. Thank you.

38 thinking girl December 20, 2007 at 9:11 pm

late coming, but great post.

had a discussion not too long ago with a couple of guys I know about rape. I cited the common stat that 1 in 4 women have been raped. they didn’t believe me. they refused to believe that that many men are rapists. they insisted that MOST MEN AREN’T RAPISTS. I said there was no way I would ever support that statement — that a small percentage of the population of men in the world are raping all the women who have been raped is highly unlikely.

anyway, just wanted to toss that out there. We DO ABSOLUTELY have a PERSONAL responsibilty to do what we can to denounce violence against women and not participate in the culture of violence against women that is our society. non-participation is not enough.

by the way, I likely won’t follow this comment up… I’m a drive-by commenter these days, but I’m happy to have found this site.

best, TG

39 Michael T January 21, 2008 at 8:54 am

I started thinking about this issue when one of my friends, Hops, quoted the Kate Harding piece on her blog in reference to a mysogynist we know. It opened up the subject for discussion among a few of our friends, and the consensus was, yes, we should have denounced the guy.

What about inanimate objects?

When it comes to the pen holder, I’m unequivocally against it. It’s clearly supporting rape. The vocalization of “Help!” when you use it as its function demands–to stick your pen in the vagina–is clear as day.

The only pleasure I could get out of such an object would be the novelty of the taboo, which would quickly pale next to the evil of the repetitious message that rape is acceptable.

I like Cara’s stance that you don’t just go around shoving “Hello, nice to meet you, I think, but I won’t know until you tell me whether you’re sexist” into people’s faces. And I personally agreed with Matt’s stance that, with the sharpener, the naked form catches the eye more than the headlessness or the screws. It’s clear with the pen holder (“Help!”) that the unwanted nature of the act would be one of the first things to get your attention. I didn’t have such a strong aversion to the sharpener, though it is nasty once I think about it for a bit. So if I saw the pencil sharpener in someone’s house, I’d assume they were pretty crude, and I’d probably ask them about it. And I’d hope they’d say, “My dad got that for me from Cuba. I laughed the first time I saw it, but after that it just seemed kind of weird, so I put it in that drawer. I only keep it around so I don’t have to gum up my electric sharpener when I’m sharpening my grease pens.”

40 Berries May 26, 2008 at 7:44 am

Those are grotesque. Truly awful.
What kind of human designs such terrible, misogynistic things?

The voice clips are particularly terrible. Awful people.

41 Dylan May 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

Great topic Cara, I agree with you!

The pen holder is a very worrying example of how rape is becoming desensitised in modern society, with the dialogue, “Help! Help!” and, “Get out you dirty old man!”. It really worries me that this was able to sell.

However, I must disagree with your analysis of the sharpener. Crude, yes, perhaps a novelty joke for some, but the nails really don’t show rape at all. I understand we’re you are arguing from but the leap between their and reality is a great one. The ‘nails’ are simply a method of construction, used to hold the figure in place. The didn’t use glue instead (costs more) or paint it (costs more, and frankly, doesn’t need it to look professionally made).

By making the connection between the ‘nails’ and real life rape, one must also make the connection that if someone did take this seriously, and that it promoted rape, the culprit would also saw off the victims head and attack a crank to it no doubt. Also, I’m quite sure nailing someone to the ground isn’t exactly feasible to an insecure rapist (though the connection symbolically is there).

Apart from that little bit I congratulate you on your efforts to stop rape. It is completely and utterly awful, I wish you the best.

-Dylan

42 Dylan May 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

My mistake, I meant to say attach instead of attack*

43 Lizzie December 1, 2009 at 10:02 am

Matt – well done on being willing to examine your mindset. That in itself makes you a good guy.

I found the stats hard to grasp and links hard to make too, and I’m a woman. One thing that might help your “remapping” is, for a few weeks, every time you are in a room with 4 or more women (or more than 10 men), try to say to yourself, “Someone in this room has been raped”. If 2 women (or 5 men), “There is a 50% chance someone in this room has been raped.” If you do this for just a while the ability to make the link from rape joke to rape apologism in a more instinctive way will come. Only when I did this did I quite get my head around how ubiquitous and real this obscenity is.

44 Paul Gabel April 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I do not understand individuals that sit around and dream up products like this and see them through to production and distribution. It merits the word: evil.

It is a novelty society can live without, really. I agree in whole, the author’s analysis and stance on these products.

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