No one likes the term rape. It’s connotations are awful, as they should be – it describes one of the worst violations of human rights possible. So it’s easy to see why most men (and many women) baulk at the term ‘rape culture’.
But we must come back to it again and again, because rape culture IS a real thing, it’s very, very prevalent in our society, and for some reason we continue to accept it – like, REALLY accept it. Even when it looks predatory and fucked up, which it often does.
On the 24th January, LadBible – the viral content brand that often pushes the envelope when it comes to sexism – published a video compilation about ‘National Pie Day’.
FYI, ‘being pied’ is English slang for being ignored after making an attempt to interact with someone – in this video’s case, being pied means to make an advance on a woman, only to be rejected.
At first, I thought it was a bad idea to share this video and further extend the life of it. But never before have I seen such a perfect example of predatory behaviour. And I felt it had importance, not for entertainment purposes, but for understanding.
Because everyone – this is what rape culture looks like.
Rape culture is the way we accept men invading women’s space like this in an attempt to sexually interact with them. It’s how we laugh at it. It’s how we treat it as a funny joke, not a big deal, and not as harassment. If you were confused about rape culture before, you cannot say you are now.
“Chill out”, “it’s no big deal” and “calm down” are all phrases women hear ALL the time when we speak up about this kind of harassment. And it IS harassment. Make no mistake – if you put your arm around a woman who isn’t welcoming your attention, you’re harassing her. If you try and kiss a woman who hasn’t been flirting with you, you’re harassing her. And even if she HAS been flirting with you, if you try and kiss her and she pulls away, and you keep fucking trying? HARASSMENT.
Maybe you know this, and that’s great. But clearly 37,000 people don’t, because that’s how many people have liked that video in just one week. And that’s the issue. There’s still so much acceptance of sexual harassment that even massive, global brands like LadBible don’t have any issue with compiling a bunch of videos featuring men being predatory and pushing it out as a LOL.
Just to clarify here – in my opinion at least, hitting on someone you’re interested in is fine. We can’t turn the push against rape culture to mean that you can’t express your interest in someone else. This isn’t about making a move when there’s been clear signals sent from the other party. And it isn’t about walking up to a girl to say hi and try for a conversation.
But that isn’t what this video is showing. It’s showing men invading women’s personal space with no invite whatsoever, and often continuing to invade it when the woman is actively trying to escape their advances. That’s not hitting on someone, that’s preying on them.
So what can you do? Comment on these videos and tell brands and media that it’s not OK to promote harassment as humour. Call out your friends when they pull this shit in clubs and bars and at parties. Call out anyone when they talk about harassment like it’s no big deal.
Rape culture is not a joke.