Monday, April 14, 2014

Rape Culture Watch: SNL

[Content note: Sexual assault "joke," discussion of rape culture]

This past weekend's episode of SNL sure had a lot of cringe worthy moments. And not just the kind that come from really awkward, unfunny, weird crap. Also the kind that come from extended "jokes" about sexual assault.


The skit in question featured host Seth Rogen at an engagement party where his awkward hilly billy cousin, played by Cecily Strong, is revealing all kinds of embarrassing facts about his past. At first it appears that he did something sexual with a guy, a blow job I think (oh how embarrassing. *Eye roll.*) But then it turns out that this incident occurred when the other guy was sleeping and he is totally unaware it ever happened.

Cue me trying to stifle a scream of sheer exasperation.

Look, I know I'm not supposed to go to SNL for my social justice-y laughs, but given some of the slightly more progressive stuff they've done recently, I was pretty disappointed that they wrote something that gross. How in the world did they think it would be super-awesome to produce a skit where the entire punch line rests on a violation of consent? (And add to that the fact that they coupled the sexual assault with homosexuality, as if those things are equally deserving of shame...what?!)

If you're someone who hasn't thought about rape culture in detail before, it could be easy to dismiss this type of skit as "harmless" but I'd like to remind everyone that each of these "small" depictions of rape-as-a-joke add up to the cultural mockery of survivors and the normalization of rape. This results in a society where defense attorneys argue that if a semi-unconscious person doesn't "affirmatively say no" it's not rape. (Just typing that out makes my skin crawl.)

This shit is real life. So you'll have to excuse me if I don't find it funny. And hey, SNL, I'd take more weirdo French dance skits over this crap, any day. That's how low my bar is right now.

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