You may not know it, but you are part of rape culture. You’re not a rapist, necessarily. But you perpetuate the attitudes and behaviours commonly referred to as rape culture. Comedians like Nasty Blaq trivializing sexual assault and sexually explicit jokes are the promotion of the rape culture.
You may be thinking, “Now, hold up, Eni! You don’t know me”. It sounds horrible and you may even have done it unconsciously, but every time you laughed at that joke that trivialised sexual harassment or used rape as a comic material, you promoted the rape culture.
The Nigerian twitter space is once again aflame after social media comedian Nasty Blaq released his latest skit.
The underlying meaning of Nasty Blaq’s actions in the skit is not lost on social media users who promptly called out the comedian for encouraging sexual harassment, but Blaq is not a first-time offender when it comes to such skits.
In October 2019, Past Big Brother Housemate, Kemen, took part in a skit alongside, Nasty Blaq that showed a woman being sexually harassed on the street in a video that has since been pulled down.
In an interview with Punch, in December 2019. Blaq said his skits are done for the sake of comedy.
“I don’t feel we are harassing any girl; we are not harassing anybody. All we do is create content and females are aware and are part of the content. I am not promoting rape or sexual harassment. I can never do that. All I do is for the sake of comedy– for people to laugh.”
However, Twitter users have responded to the recent skit, with various comments as to how they considered it distasteful and trivialising.
Rape and sexual harassment are not built for comic materials when this happens, you make a mockery of the issue itself and say to victims of sexual assault, that it is no big deal. There is a very thin line between being funny and being offensive.
All this normalises and diminishes violence towards women: if it is easy to laugh about, it is hard to take seriously.
Women are always the butt of these jokes. It’s never the perpetrator
Rape culture sucks for everyone involved. But don’t get hung up on the terminology. Don’t concentrate on the words that offend you and ignore what they’re pointing to—the words “rape culture” aren’t the problem. The reality of the word is the problem.
Rape culture is not just about sex. Men can confront men. No one is suggesting violence. In fact, that’s what we’re looking to avoid. But sometimes, a man needs to confront another man or a group of men in a situation. Do something. Men can correct men.
This is also true when you hear the misogynistic language. Speak up. Tell your friend or co-worker that rape jokes are bullshit and you won’t tolerate them. It’s our job to have standards for ourselves, and thus, for all men. Hold ourselves accountable. Don’t limit yourself to being “on the side of men.” Be a good human being.
When a movement like #MeToo occurs in our cultural spheres, and women the world over are out there sharing their experiences, their trauma, their stories and their personal views; as men, we don’t need to enter that conversation.
At that moment, all we need to do is listen, and reflect, and let their words change our perspective. Our job is to ask ourselves how we can do better. Talk to family and friends about how you can work together to end rape culture in your communities.