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Today in Rape Culture: Tosh.0

January 6, 2011

I love funny online videos as much as most people, so when web clip show Tosh.0 started airing on Comedy Central, I watched a few episodes. I soon decided that I could no longer watch due to frequent rape jokes and other misogynistic and problematic material.

Last night, I saw a new promo for the upcoming season of Tosh.0 and was slapped across the face with a blatant rape joke. Unfortunately I can’t embed it, so you’ll have to go to the site to view it. Here’s the transcript:

Some guy, probably from a web video I haven’t seen: Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband.
Daniel Tosh: Because on season 3 of Tosh.0, we’re raping everybody.

“We’re raping everybody.” That was deemed acceptable for a show promo on Comedy Central, and is available on the network’s and show’s websites.

But c’mon, it’s supposed to be funny, right? Why take it so seriously?

Because it matters. Because “raping everybody” is not even funny, it’s ignorant and obnoxious and cruel. Because even if it were “funny” to some people, it normalizes sexual violence and is an insult to everyone who has been raped or remotely cares whether someone they care about has been or will be raped.

In preparing to write about this, I immediately thought of all the preemptive apologizing I was going to need to do for not finding this funny, for taking it seriously, for focusing on the “little things,” for being a humorless feminist. Here’s the thing: I want to stop pretending that we have to apologize for being offended by things like this. It’s not wrong to note the offense inherent in making a “joke” like “we’re raping everybody.” Is it too much to ask for that to be obvious to pretty much everybody who sees that clip? Shouldn’t it be obvious to the Comedy Central personnel who produced and aired the promo? Shouldn’t *that* be what we expect, instead of the anticipated critiques of our own senses of humor?

There has been a lot of discussion of rape culture and rape apology in media in the feminist blogosphere recently, and the successes and failures of feminists, especially white feminists, in addressing the full spectrum of much-needed rape activism. There are a lot of fair and important points to be digested there, that rape activism fails when it fails any group of women, and rape activism fails a lot of women without certain kinds of privilege. I want to note, then, that a “joke” in a Comedy Central promo is relatively minor compared to immigrant women not being able to seek justice for rape, trans women not being able to get into a shelter, rape kits that are never processed, and so on. But I think it deserves to be called out, to be noted for the abomination it is – a normalizing of sexual violence for cheap laughs and money.

Here’s Comedy Central’s feedback form: http://www.comedycentral.com/help/questionsCC.jhtml
The network’s Twitter account is at http://twitter.com/ComedyCentral

Additional reading: Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny – a round-up of several posts by Melissa McEwan of Shakesville

[Addendum: I've had a couple of responses about the other man in the promo and the source material. Not surprisingly, I still don't find it funny/appropriate.]

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110 Comments leave one →
  1. MomTFH permalink
    January 6, 2011 1:36 pm

    Thanks for this. I want to like his show, but I have also found it way too problematic to continue watching. I am not humorless, not by a long shot, but I am so sick of examples like this.

    • January 6, 2011 2:06 pm

      I tried a couple of times, thinking maybe I had just seen a one-off problem episode, but it’s really pervasive with this show.

  2. Charlye permalink
    January 6, 2011 1:47 pm

    It is never funny to make a joke about rape because rape is not funny. It is an aggressive act. I watched this preview and it is not meant as a joke about rape, it is about a youtube video. If you copy and paste this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzNhaLUT520) into your url, it will take you to the original video where a woman that someone had attempted to rape in her apartment. Many people have gone crazy autotuning and remixing this to be funny. What Tosh O was doing was simply tyring to make a joke out of something that was never funny to begin with.

    • January 6, 2011 1:52 pm

      It “simply” uses rape for promotional/humorous purposes, regardless of the source material, and I find it inappropriate. However, this does give me an opportunity to clearly state to potential commenters that I’m not even remotely interested in comments attempting to justify the “joke.” We’re moderated around here at my discretion.

  3. beffuh permalink
    January 6, 2011 2:22 pm

    Not justifying the joke (if you can call it that); just providing a little more info on Antoine Dodson and the reference in that promo. Check Antoine’s wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Dodson to see that he’s actually been a victim of rape himself & through the popularity of the autotuned song “Bed Intruder”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtZfW2z9dw (most watched YouTube video of 2010) where his sister was attacked. The line from the autotuned interview/video is “Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband because they’re raping everybody out there”.

    Additional story about Antoine: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504464_162-20014008-504464.html

    Aside from all that, Tosh.0 can be funny, but the offensiveness seems to be across the map on his show. And I don’t think you need to apologize at all for being offended.

    • January 6, 2011 2:46 pm

      Thanks for the comment and context, although of course I still don’t like it. There’s such a clear difference to me between “they’re raping everybody” and “we’re raping everybody” – it actually surprises me a little that a rape victim would go along with that.

  4. Jenny Reiswig permalink
    January 6, 2011 2:41 pm

    This is why I had to stop watching Law & Order SVU, even though I think it has the best characters of any of the L&O franchises. Every episode starts with a premise of someone’s horrific suffering. And though usually the baddie is brought to justice which gives the audience at least some catharsis, I just cannot accept the nonchalant “premise” aspect of it. OK, we’re going to have an evening’s entertainment with some of your favorite characters and the setup tonight will be, let’s see… what’ll it be, what will get viewers attention…
    I just can’t do it.

    • January 6, 2011 2:49 pm

      I can definitely see that, a kind of horrible spectator feel from watching it. Thanks for your comment.

    • January 10, 2011 10:15 am

      At the time that show first started, I was sharing an office with a woman whose husband was a NYC cop. On the vice squad. You can imagine how she felt about having that used as entertainment. Ugh.

    • LibGirl09 permalink
      January 22, 2011 11:51 am

      First off, Rachel thank you for writing this post. I agree there is no reason to apologize for finding rape jokes or other similarly inappropriate types of humor offensive. Even it is accepted by mainstream culture, that doesn’t make it right.

      And Jenny, I understand what you mean. I stopped watching the show Criminal Minds because it is so deeply disturbing (to me). Their plots go beyond solving a simple crime, and so often feature sick and twisted attacks on women and children. I just can’t deal with it anymore. I rarely watch Law & Order SVU anymore either.

    • January 22, 2011 12:06 pm

      LibGirl09, thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Chloe permalink
    January 6, 2011 5:28 pm

    Thanks for this. Tosh is a complete idiot and I hate his show. I have a healthy sense of humor, but there is no light-hearted way to talk about rape. Sexual assault is a serious and ongoing issue that shouldn’t be a punch line. Ever. The end.

    Have you seen his other promo where he says his 2011 resolution is to “stop paying for abortions”? It’s also a gem.

  6. Fonsie1 permalink
    January 7, 2011 11:01 am

    Her brother thinks it kewl how he has become popular on youtube and goes on to say” we just dust ‘ourselves off’ and carry on”. How many brain cells is he operating on? I had 5 sisters growing up and that happened to one of my sisters, I was out in the hood with a baseball bat looking for the pervert.
    Whats the world coming to when we pay so much attention to brain dead fools who are probably using this idea as an excuse to get 3 seconds of artificial fame on the web? What a bunch of crap to listen to. I would rather sit and watch paint dry, it’s would certainly be more interesting, and real!!

  7. January 7, 2011 5:52 pm

    I wanted to like Tosh.0 but the rape and sexist jokes constantly being pushed through made me hate it quickly. I don’t like rape jokes in general, but a few here and there I can tolerate. But he overdoes it for shock value, cheap laughs, and views, and I don’t respect that.

    I fear clever comedy died a long time ago (and I’m in my mid-20s!)

  8. tek permalink
    January 8, 2011 4:49 am

    Well, I don’t watch Tosh.0 but that “some guy from a web video” is a rape victim himself. It’d probably be put in better context if you were familiar with the details regarding the web video you’ve “never seen”. And Antoine Dodson’s original video statement was about how rape affects everyone-kids, women, and men-particularly in his neighborhood where so many sexual assaults had happened. He was raped himself, so if you actually look at this ad in the context of who he is, the fact that he’s joking about it is actually somewhat empowering. Brushing him off as “some guy from a web video” that you’ve never seen comes across as particularly ignorant in this case.

    • January 8, 2011 9:28 am

      Tek, see above. Nothing about that backstory or the source material makes “we’re raping everybody” amusing or appropriate.

      • Stoze permalink
        September 21, 2011 1:59 pm

        So you’re just not open to discussing it? Intelligent.

  9. Anna permalink
    January 9, 2011 7:36 pm

    Rachel, you need to be aware that Antonie didn’t make the joke himself. It was a bunch a white people from “Autotune the News” on youtube. AND you need to be aware that Antonie is being exploited in this too, since hes black (ahh kyriarchy). This is probably the only job Antonie will have that bring a lot of money to support his family.

    No one is justifying the joke. I hate it because it exploits Antonie as a black man, erases his sister who was the one attacked, and perpetuates rape culture. People giving you background because how this dumbass meme arose is is more nuanced than expected. This factors in race and gender. Is it not obvious the black guy has a lot less power than the white guy? Or are you blinded by your white privilege? As a black woman I’m offended because its exploits a black guy who was very angry that his sister was almost raped and some white folks turned it into a meme and because someone used that meme on Comedy Central to be *~edgy*~

    • January 10, 2011 4:29 pm

      Anna, I only know just a little bit about Antoine and the backstory. I definitely do not hold him responsible for the spot, despite his participation – Tosh, Comedy Central, etc. are clearly the ones with the power in this situation. I also want to acknowledge here that my comment upthread that I was surprised someone in his position would “go along with it” ignores the influence of that power and the very things you note about about what opportunities (however unsavory) are actually available to him and his family. I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to comment and raise these issues, and hope I haven’t missed your point. Thanks.

    • September 30, 2011 9:18 pm

      I remember getting very interested in the backstory of the whole antoine phenomenon. Although some groups covering used it to try to add to antoine’s original statement(look for”rock remix by vayden” they make a big deal about antoine defending his sister’s honor) With that said, the most problematic aspect and what even made me feel sick when I spent way too many hours on youtube, was the song being called “bed intruder”. Plastered all over youtube is a term that cheapens the trauma that poor woman went through, and the trauma Antoine felt when his sister had to go through what he went through. I’ve never been able to properly cope with what happened to me. My ex-girlfriend told me multiple people came up to her and said I must be making it up because no man would ever touch me. People like Tosh cause experiences to be erased, and allow disgusting ideas like “rape attractiveness level” to be perpetuated.

  10. Joe permalink
    January 10, 2011 1:53 am

    You are all complete idiots. “oh I’m offended!! This sucks!! He’s talking about me and mine!! Whaa Whaa freaking whaaaaa!!!”. First off, Tosh isn’t joking about raping anyone or raping in general. What he says is in reference to the scene that Antoine made which was all over the news. Of course rape is nothing to joke about, but you people are blowing this way outta proportion. Second, hey, you don’t have your own tv show so keep your mouths shut and here’s another idea….. Don’t freaking watch comedy central period, because guess what?? No matter what, there will always be something offensive to someone somewhere. Like, let’s say all the racism on tv. Hmm… That seems to be offensive enough. Dave chappelles imitations of white people are freaking ridiculous. As if that’s the way all white people act, talk or look. He portrays them all as being rich and wearing sweaters around their neck and act like they are better than everyone else. Really people, get real, here. Either watch and laugh or read a book. Mainly stop crying because people die everyday, and there’s no need for it.

    • MomTFH permalink
      January 10, 2011 8:38 am

      Shorter Joe:
      1. Rape isn’t funny, but if you complain about a joke about it, you’re a crybaby.
      2. C’mon! They make fun of white guys like me on Comedy Central!! That is sooo much worse than making fun of rape, and you don’t hear me being a crybaby about it. Much. Except for right now.
      3. Death exists. End all other social criticism until everyone is immortal.

    • January 10, 2011 4:40 pm

      MomTFH nailed it. I could have used a reference to “mansplaining” worked into that somewhere, though. ;) Joe is on moderation, per my inclination not to make space for people who call me and my readers/commenters “complete idiots.” Seriously, folks, no amount of insistence is going to make this funny to me, or make me think I’m somehow broken for not finding it funny or mentioning my problems with it.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 7, 2011 2:48 am

      I [mostly] agree with Joe, though he is being kind of blunt and insensitive.

      @MomTFH, you kind of missed his point/sarcasm.

      But, really… you all sound like typical intolerable feminist-types. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. It’s pretty simple.

      • Nuka-Girl permalink
        May 8, 2013 7:58 am

        Why the Hell should we tolerate misogynistic bull? Why should we tolerate some dumb-ass making fun of rape? Why should we let them do it where survivors can see it and hear it?

  11. Serena permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:21 pm

    I really thought I liked his show until I just saw his view on rape. I know he can be funny to most but after what I just saw on a rerun of his how, I must say, he has now clue what it feels like and to make jokes…. He has no right. Maybe someone should show him what it is like to drop the soap and maybe he may understand what it means to say no and no one is willing to listen. Don’t speak when you have no clue what it feels like.

    • Serena permalink
      January 11, 2011 10:27 pm

      Some of you may say it is in reference to another situation but when you have gone through something like that, u are not able to see what may be in the tabs and only what you may have gone through. Maybe just maybe, sometimes these writers should see what their viewers have gone through and not what might get them laughs. Just a thought.

  12. January 12, 2011 1:30 am

    I am OUTRAGED over the episode this promo advertised, which was FULL of rape jokes, made fun of a self defense class, and included Tosh in metallic underwear under a “rape trap” in a disgusting attempt to coax a stranger into raping him. None of it was funny, I was offended on every level and cannot imagine how survivors of sexual abuse must feel with this man getting so much attention for his repugnant antics. I cannot believe I’m the only one upset over this!

    • January 22, 2011 12:08 pm

      Youch. I’m glad I didn’t see the full episode.

    • September 30, 2011 9:22 pm

      I think I’m gonna be sick. I’m not sure I wanna be a part of anywhere that puts that on tv.

  13. Nancyn permalink
    January 12, 2011 2:03 am

    Seriously, folks, no amount of insistence is going to make not funny to me, or make me think I’m somehow broken for finding it funny or mentioning my lack of problems with it.

  14. Mary permalink
    January 12, 2011 2:05 am

    I found it all funny… but then again, i’ve never been raped. Maybe if I was raped, I’d find any reference to or jokes about rape less funny. but then again, they’re just jokes

  15. Kat permalink
    January 12, 2011 2:32 am

    I saw part of the episode tonight and I just stopped dead. I’ve never been raped but it made my stomach turn. Those jokes were not funny at all.

    In response to the episode, I called comedy central and left a message on their telephones. I also plan on drafting a letter and e-mailing it to them tomorrow.

    I mean, I get that he’s supposed to be offensive, but rape jokes are NEVER EVER funny.

  16. January 12, 2011 7:35 pm

    As a survivor I found his comedy to cross that line of being low class and just for laughs
    If he had been raped i doubt he would joke the way he does, it is not ok.
    it is very insensitive and I am sure he has tons of hate mail after last nights show

    I hope Tosh can make a apology where it is due.

  17. Alex permalink
    January 13, 2011 10:44 pm

    Time to catch up with the times I am not condoning “rape” nor am pretending to enjoy listening to matter. First of all I am a 22 year old man and absolutely loath watching, hearing, or seeing a rape being portrayed by news, movies etc… but seems to me that as time goes by the morals of our society dwindle along with it. If the “people” didn’t find his offensive “humor” (for lack of better words) then he would not have a show our choice of entertainment directly reflects the state of our society…eh what can we do…

    • January 14, 2011 9:00 am

      Some people finding it funny and worthy of a tv show in no way proves that it’s not offensive and inappropriate.

  18. Jimmy permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:05 am

    Come on take a joke. You lot are too up tight. ERRRRRRRYBODYS GETTING RAPED! Guess people on here don’t watch South Park or Family Guy either?

    • January 14, 2011 9:02 am

      See above. That shit is not funny, and it’s not okay.

      Everybody else: perfect example of being expected to apologize, eh?

  19. Alex permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:42 am

    Who are you to state what’s appropriate or not…just asking I think it is rather bold of you try to make your Point of view the only legitimate claim and as you said “Some people finding it funny and worthy of a tv show in no way proves that it’s not offensive and inappropriate” I would like to rephrase that Some people finding it offensive and unworthy of a tv show in no way proves that it is offensive and inappropriate.

    • MomTFH permalink
      January 14, 2011 12:02 pm

      It reinforces that rape is OK, and complaining about it is wrong. You may think that is not offensive or inappropriate. There is plenty of explanation in the post and the links as to why we think it is offensive and inappropriate. If you have a different point of view, be bold enough to put it on your own blog.

    • Nuka-Girl permalink
      May 8, 2013 8:00 am

      Rape jokes are a trigger you numbnut.
      Ever consider that? Of course not.
      Ever think for a second that a survivor might be reminded of what happened to them when someone makes a joke about rape, or being raped?

  20. Alex permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:18 pm

    it actually doesnt reinforce that rape is ok, as far as i know no legislative motion that makes rape “ok” has been set in motion due to this episode, if you dont like it do as i do… i switch the channel “WOW” problem solved, theres alot of “sickos” out there that enjoy this kind of filth on tv let them have it, also on a side note you should go after the LIFE channel all they do is show rape episodes, not one like Tosh.O but multiple rape episodes,….once again rape is grotesque act and the people that bring that upon anyone should be left in a state as to where they can never do that harm upon anyone. not just jail time but actually make it physically impossible for the accused “rapist” to rape anyone.

    • MomTFH permalink
      January 14, 2011 12:25 pm

      Alex, this is a waste of my time. No one said this will lead to the legalization of rape. Follow the links above to read about rape culture. Also, castrating an accused (not convicted) “rapist” (nice use of quotes) is more excessive than the original post. You’re all over the place.

      If you really don’t like it, why are you posting multiple comments on this blog defending it? Move on, my friend.

    • January 14, 2011 3:42 pm

      I believe I made it clear earlier that attempts to explain why this is supposedly okay and not offensive are not needed or welcome, and that moderation would be applied to such cases. Nobody here is waiting to be convinced that joking about “raping everybody” is okay and doesn’t actually reinforce rape culture (which is a separate thing from legislation okaying rape). Switching the channel and keeping quiet does nothing to combat the environment in which “jokes” about “raping everybody” are deemed acceptable (and in which a negative reaction to such jokes is apparently incomprehensible).

  21. What is wrong with the world today? permalink
    January 17, 2011 6:33 am

    To my understanding people make fun or try to make light of certain things to relate or attempt to understand something that they know nothing about, due to lack of experience.

    The point that you are talking about “rape culture” i see happening more often than not.. and honestly i don’t see it getting any better in the future unless someone does something about it. I don’t care if its meant as a joke … some people don’t take it as a joke. Telling people who get offended to not watch it.. thats not the point. The point is that by joking about rape isn’t getting the point across that rape is in fact bad. Some people out there don’t believe that rape is bad.. and actually believe that it is funny or that its right… which is why there are such people as rapists.. so by making jokes out of it its giving those bad people a reason to be like ” yeah see, its funny, theres nothing wrong with it.” So maybe as a non-rapist or a non-victim its funny, but do you really want something so serious to come across as okay,acceptable,funny to others? I know that every time i hear the word rape in any context especially jokingly.. its not funny… because you are desensitizing the trauma that people actually go through. The only thing that joking does is desensitize the world to that certain subject. Such as sexual orientation jokes, racial jokes, stereotypical jokes, jokes about your job… the point of a joke is to take something that you normally wouldn’t see as funny and try to make it humorous. Example a blonde.. normally thats not funny.. but making a dumb blonde joke is funny.. so this tells you that maybe all blondes are dumb… do you see how this makes your perspective of a person different? So if you make a joke about rape… for some people it would also do the same thing. Make them think that rape victims are over reacting, make them think that maybe she or he “asked for it” or that the person deserved it.. or that it was the victims fault for getting raped.

    As a rape victim myself.. the thing that i find interesting.. is when one of my friends who knowingly knows i was raped will make a rape joke.. then look at me and i wont be laughing… then they feel terrible about saying it. Because they know that all that does is attempt to desensitize what happened to me.. and there is no way in hell that i will try to make light of what happened to me. In some ways it made me grow as a person but in other ways i am emotionally messed up. So why would i ever look at it and try to make it a joke.. saying “if he doesn’t listen to me then i’ll rape him in the ear with my voice” is there a point in saying that? no. I see how its suppose to be funny.. because you can’t really rape someone in the ear… but to me all it does is remind me of being raped. Thats why its not funny. For many rape victims its the same way.. they can’t hear the word without thinking about it.. they cant watch a movie with a rape scene in it without thinking about what happened to them.

    For all of you who think that rape jokes are funny, or that i am “too serious, come on its a joke”… do you wanna trade lives with me? do you wanna go through what i went through, and what i have to go through every day of my life?

    no?

    then watch your mouth, and please find humor in something that doesn’t affect people in such a negative, terrible, disgusting way.

    • Tracy permalink
      August 25, 2011 3:08 am

      Thank you, thank you… This is my point exactly…I was drugged and raped in my own home by someone I trusted and 2 of his thug friends a few years back and I have not been the same since! The word RAPE never really affected me in any way until it happened to me! Now if I hear the word, I am taken back to that terrible event in my life…Trust me, that sux…You go about your day and try your best to move on and then…that word brings it ALL back. Whether it is on a TV show or in the news or in conversation…So making any kind of joke about rape is completely inappropriate to me now…but a few years ago, I too would have said “Whats the big deal? It’s just a joke.”

  22. Ian permalink
    January 30, 2011 12:36 am

    In our society there are two sides: the censors (you) and the comedians (tosh). The censors try to draw a hard line between what’s appropriate and inappropriate to joke about and the comedians try to blur that line as much as possible. Therein lies the humor.

    So I’d like to say; thank you for writing this article. Someone’s got to raise hell about comedians poking fun at these issues (like rape) because otherwise it wouldn’t be nearly as funny for the rest of us.

    Rape jokes will never normalize that kind of behavior in our society because rape jokes are only funny in that you’re drawing a comparison between a traumatic experience and something that is trivial (like losing to a video game). Rape jokes do not, in any way, advocate the sexual assault of someone but, rather, draws a comparison between that extreme event to a more benign experience as a form of hyperbole:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole

    • Van permalink
      August 21, 2012 9:00 pm

      Ian, thing is, no one is bloody censoring Tosh. Have they gone and taped his mouth shut? What you’re doing is basically denigrating other people because they have an opinion that differs from yours. You might try having the grace to actually discuss the subject, rather than just going on as though if someone disagrees with you and dares to speak that disagreement they’re too stupid to understand hyperbole and have somehow become the thought police.

  23. Kay permalink
    January 30, 2011 12:52 am

    It makes me so angry when women like you try to jump to the defense of people who don’t want or need your sympathy. Antoine Dodson, the man who actually was raped, agreed to participate in a segment on Tosh’s show which poked fun of his experience to such an extreme that you probably would’ve needed to re-read your copy of the Vagina Monologues to make yourself feel better. You won’t even counter the arguments of the people who disagree with you here. Instead, you just keep reiterating, “rape isn’t funny,” because you’re out of unique opinions. So the rape victim in this instance finds it funny and you don’t… where do YOU get the authority to judge?

    Ugh women like you are so counter-revolutionary to the Feminist Movement. Female equality doesn’t always have to be about hitting people over the head with your statement like a hammer. Believe it or not, you can lighten up and still be a feminist! Just by acting as men’s equals, we will
    (one day) be treated like their equals. My best friend was raped a few months ago and I was sexually assaulted when I was 16 but we still use phrases like, “that exam raped me,” on a daily basis. That’s why I don’t get crap from my guy friends and they don’t treat me like a complete moron; because I ACT LIKE THEM instead of a big weeping pussy!

    You say, “Switching the channel and keeping quiet does nothing to combat the environment in which “jokes” about “raping everybody” are deemed acceptable…” so enlighten me, please, what exactly are YOU doing to combat rape? I’m so glad you stopped watching Tosh.O. Now no women will ever suffer the trauma of sexual violence again! God, go do something productive and learn to choose your battles more appropriately.

    That being said; I do appreciate that you have freedom of speech and I am in no position to suggest that you stop using it… however, I wanted to make my argument quite clear in the hopes that you might see another perspective aside from your own.

    • Sarah permalink
      January 30, 2011 7:43 pm

      “That’s why I don’t get crap from my guy friends and they don’t treat me like a complete moron; because I ACT LIKE THEM instead of a big weeping pussy!”

      If you are capable of writing this, you fundamentally don’t understand feminism. Language matters, and using misogynist language hurts everybody– men and women alike.

      Thank you, Rachel, for putting up with all the terrible things that have been written in this thread.

    • January 30, 2011 8:33 pm

      Thanks, Sarah.

    • September 30, 2011 10:00 pm

      wow. You actually insulted the writer by using an insult that is primarily used to insult men by comparing them to women. And you’re equating yourself with feminism? I used to use the word “rape” to express incredibly strong events that almost made me feel that way. After I got into it with someone because just the word “rape” bothered her, things changed. That was also before my adult sexual assault. I can’t really ever use the word rape anymore in regard to myself. Even before I found myself rarely using the word, I would never use it to describe something trivial like an exam. And you use that word on a daily basis? What is wrong with you? After I got into an argument I started to wonder if I was trivializing the word by using it to refer to traumatic things that weren’t rape. If you and your friends are using that word on a daily basis, you’re desensitizing people to a word that expresses the worst possible violation someone can experience. I have nothing left to say.

  24. Kay permalink
    January 30, 2011 8:38 pm

    Sorry, Sarah, I’m pretty firm in the belief that feminism is about male and female equality which I have achieved to a complete degree in my personal life. I’m also of the opinion that nothing I said is misogynistic and I know absolutely no one (of either gender) who would be “hurt” by language. Then again, perhaps that’s because I choose to surround myself with EDUCATED PEOPLE of all genders… not complainant, “feminist” women and beat-down men. I’d rather have the companionship of people who have more important things to worry about (like medical research and saving lives) than who’s joking about what.

    It truly breaks my heart and frustrates me to know that no matter how hard I fight to instill female equality in as many peoples’ minds as possible, there will always be women like you who are on the forefront to combatting against our success. And the more men who see this petty, childish whining, the more proof they have that we have NOWHERE better to concentrate our intelligence than on our own vaginas.

    • January 30, 2011 9:03 pm

      It’s hardly equality if you have to “act like” guys in order to get along, and characterize women as “weeping puss[ies].” Of course, it’s completely false to assume that people commenting on what you deem unimportant aren’t also working on profoundly important things, and it’s profoundly obnoxious to assume you get to dictate for other people what is important.

  25. January 30, 2011 8:42 pm

    yikes comments getting too hot

  26. January 31, 2011 9:09 am

    All – please see the Feminism 101 FAQs at http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/the-faqs/faq-roundup/ and Derailing for Dummies at http://www.derailingfordummies.com/ – in particular the items such as FAQ: Why are you concentrating on X when Y is so much more important?, You’re Just Oversensitive, and You Just Enjoy Being Offended.

    After some of the particularly vile comments I’ve been receiving related to this thread, and the utter repetition of the “you’re wrong because I say so!” (obviously I don’t think so) message, I’m not inclined to continue this “discussion.” Careful consideration of the links above is required reading before coming back and commenting elsewhere here.

  27. Ellie permalink
    April 16, 2011 3:20 pm

    I really appreciate this post. It is simply not acceptable for viewers to tolerate Tosh’s perpetuance of rape culture. I agree that by making the specific joke that you mentioned, and others that he constantly makes normalize sexual violence.(I just googled to see if anyone else found his sexist comments apalling after seeing an episode where Tosh jokes about how he enjoys girls during spring break because they make poor decisions and he then mocks the concept of no meaning no—that is how i came across this blog).
    No matter what people may say about people who are offended taking what he is saying “too seriously”, or acting as if his comments aren’t indeed sexist..I think the only way that these jokes exists is under a culture which values men over women. Tosh is disappointing because his jokes perpetuate an unfair status quo, and are ultimately conformist to old-fashioned notions of gender, and for this he can not be considered to be a sharp, or anything special at all.
    Once again, I appreciate hearing that someone else finds this as bad as I do. Rape and sexual violence must be taken seriously.

  28. April 26, 2011 7:44 pm

    Contrary to the popular opinion I see here, “rape” is being used in this pilot under a differentiated meaning. Since Tosh.O is a show that I would consider being geared much further toward a college age audience, the definition of this word becomes the skewed “slang” term; often used to describe kicking ass in a video game, sport or other competitive activity.

    Urban Dictionary defines it as such:
    To utterly defeat another person in any form of competitive activities.
    or
    To totally annihilate in an activity. see own, ownage, and pwn

    despite that it is not the best word to use, the standard definition does apply; however, not in a disrespectful way…as disrespectful as the word is itself.

    • April 26, 2011 8:05 pm

      But you can’t separate those two, that rape as an act of power, domination, and humiliation is now used to refer to, um, power, dominance, and humiliation (even if in a non-sexual way). The one use, even if that is what is “meant,” depends on the other to carry any meaning. Much like “lame,” you can’t dissociate it from the real intended insult or threat from which it originates.

  29. wario permalink
    July 7, 2011 2:23 pm

    Oh no! He made a joke I don’t agree with! Wah!

  30. Kk.0 permalink
    July 17, 2011 12:19 am

    Tosh is JUST playing whats POPULAR on the web! for real, if “you” dont want a web-vid played on Tosh? Then “you” SHOULDNT watch it so often/send it to friends/post a link to it! If you DONT want to see racist/rape/nut-kicking/broken leg/whatever-videos then DONT WATCH TOSH.O!!!!! He’s just making jokes about stuff that the PUBLIC (the whole WWW public at that!) has deemed worthy of jokes!

  31. Mary permalink
    August 12, 2011 3:21 pm

    So it’s an abomination that people have a different sense of humor than you? Daniel Tosh has repeatedly said he does not support rape. It’s pathetic that you were ‘slapped across the face’ with a promo. No one’s asking you to watch anything on Comedy Central, because this is what most shows or stand up make some sort of joke of at some point. So knock it off because he’s not saying rape’s good or okay.

  32. MIke S. permalink
    August 24, 2011 9:37 am

    “Some guy, probably from a web video I haven’t seen”
    which you could have easily looked into, and didn’t stop you from commenting on the matter, despite the admission of not understanding the reference…

    so no, you don’t have to apologize for being offended,
    but yes, you should apologize to your readers for being willfully ignorant of the matters you discuss on your blog

  33. September 30, 2011 10:11 pm

    Rachel, I just wanted to say: I am proud to call myself a feminist in the company of people like you. I realized I got excited and commented on a very old post because it made me think. People such as yourselves are those who make the rest of us think. Last night I got uncomfortable over a roofy joke in family guy, and I didn’t know what to think about that. When I saw this post, i felt validated. Are there shades of gray in people’s reactions to the inappropriate? I’m sure there are, but brave people such as yourself make the rest of us think. Even if you were “a overreacting feminist” you’re still bringing this type of behaviour to our attention. Maybe there are strong feminists who don’t have the same view as yours, but we still all benefit from the awareness. In my case, I’m glad my friend Jon helped me be aware of tosh in the first place. Between him, and you I know to avoid Tosh’s standup and tv. It’s not just an issue of taste, but I have very severe ptsd. Shows like Tosh’s are shows I need to avoid as sometimes the slightest thing can make me feel very uncomfortable and even start to remember. I don’t know if anyone will see this posts as this is so old, but I want you to know that it made a huge difference to me and I’m sorry for some of the crap you put up with.

    • October 7, 2011 11:21 am

      That is very kind of you, thank you for this and your other comments.

  34. Ben permalink
    November 2, 2011 8:10 am

    You clearly do not understand the joke. He was poking fun at the “hide your kids” dude. Yes, it is insensitive. But the only reason tosh is so funny because prunes like you are exactly the reason why he makes jokes like that, you can choose to get offended, or you can laugh, your call

    • MomTFH permalink
      November 5, 2011 12:24 pm

      Yeah, Rachel, you’re obviously too much of a dried fruit to get that he was making a joke about a violent sex offense. You could choose not to find that offensive, but you’re too wrinkled and sweet, I guess. Your call.

  35. November 5, 2011 7:48 pm

    I have to admit that I really like the “hide your kids” guy because he’s so real and honest. He doesn’t front for TV. I’ve seen him do a couple of interviews about the initial incident with his sister, the song and then his (ridiculous and waste of taxpayer $$$) arrest for pot. When he made the initial remarks he was expressing real disgust about the violation of rights in the projects. (He himself interrupted a man who was attempting to rape his sister…that’s the original source of the thing people are calling, mystifyingly, a “joke”.)

    The fact that the clip went viral and autotuned bothers me…except for the version done by Liberty University Coffeehouse, where they went with the other parts and dropped the “they’re raping everybody up in here” portion of the original soundbite.

    In the new fall season of TV I’ve now heard 3 rape jokes including (if memory serves) an “I’d rather be raped” line on 2 Broke girls. ::be right back…I need to double check myself on that.:: Okay, in fairness I can’t find a link to the actual quote, but I’ve found plenty of links that state _2 Broke Girls_ has had plenty of rape “jokes”. I stopped watching after the third episode, which if I recall correctly was the one where a character said she’d prefer rape instead of a date with a co-worker.

    And this is a show penned and produced by a woman. With friends like these…

    This is coming about 10 months after you wrote this original article. And this is exactly why you were correct to write it. Most network comedy writers take their cue from Comedy Central. You’ll often see things that played there six months ago and performed well turned around into the Big 4 sit-coms. And since Daniel Tosh had such a knee-slapper with Rape-ahhhhaaahaha! then of course it’s a good idea to repeat and repeat and repeat.

    Sigh.

  36. Carlos a permalink
    November 18, 2011 4:48 pm

    stop being so sensitive. In other words, STFU

  37. MomTFH permalink
    November 29, 2011 7:19 pm

    I thought this was a good follow up post on guys who think we should STFU and stop being so sensitive.

    http://oforganon.tumblr.com/post/11150747104/to-all-those-men-who-dont-think-the-rape-jokes-are-a

  38. February 11, 2012 11:50 pm

    That show is hilarious, I love rapemedy, and offensive jokes.

  39. Phil permalink
    February 17, 2012 2:04 am

    Get over it, your not going to change him. Hes funny his show is funny if you don’t like it don’t watch and if you don’t agree with comedy central ads don’t watch them either, problem solved. Now on to you next feminist crusade you go..

  40. MomTFH permalink
    February 17, 2012 11:12 am

    Rachel, good try, but I think the vocabulary level of that link is a little above the reading comprehension level of the rape apologists on this comment thread.

  41. June 22, 2012 11:25 pm

    *facepalm* just because someone makes a joke about rape does not imply that it will make others think that sexual violence is acceptable that’s like saying because some jokes about 9/11 it will make terrorism acceptable in society (as f*cked up as it is) its a joke get over it besides the comedy of the joke isn’t about the attemted rape its about the victims brothers reaction which as you can see in the video is pretty hysterical btw don’t try to correct my grammar because I really don’t care.. What the hell am I even doing on a women’s health site lol just my opinion

    • Nuka-Girl permalink
      May 8, 2013 8:04 am

      Not the point.
      Rape jokes can act as triggers.
      THAT IS THE POINT.

  42. Lighten Up permalink
    July 10, 2012 4:22 pm

    Honestly, I think Tosh is absolutely hilarious. I find almost all of his jokes funny and I don’t really care about all the offensive stuff, and I am going to argue against the point of this argument by pointing out that if you don’t like him, dont listen. Honestly. Like, you’re just feeding the fire by getting offended because, for me, the funniest part about offensive jokes is seeing how uptight and irritated people get. It’s funny to me that you got so pissed off by one mans style of humor that you took the time to write this article, while failing to see the fact that people that like Tosh and fans of his get a kick out of things like this.

  43. rob nourse permalink
    July 11, 2012 7:43 am

    Although I personally believe you’re overreacting, I’d rather point out that this guy is a shock jock just like Howard Stern. By highlighting his promos and giving him print time you’re actually helping keep him on the air.

    • July 11, 2012 8:33 am

      Rob, the alternative you leave is essentially “never say anything about problematic content because it might lead some people to seek out that content,” which I think is a rather untenable solution, one that basically just says the status quo is fine.

      • MomTFH permalink
        July 11, 2012 8:44 am

        But don’t you see, Rachel?? It’s your blog post from a year and a half ago that is keeping his show running on Comedy Central!

        Also, it’s the woman from his live stand up audience who he said should be gang raped recently who is responsible for him being booked in comedy clubs. I wish you uppity women would stop complaining about his rape “humor” after it happens, because you’re obviously to blame. Geez.

        Saying rape isn’t funny: overreaction
        Saying social criticism is actually responsible for perpetuating the ills it condemns: totally proportionate response.

      • July 11, 2012 8:47 am

        MomTFH, have I told you lately that you’re one of my favorite people on the internets? Because, this ^, yes, exactly.

  44. Anonymous permalink
    July 12, 2012 12:29 am

    i love tosh.0
    his humour is sick but its exactly that humour and your perspective is just ………
    you are completely overeacting and are seeking attention so please just leave this comedian alone

    • MomTFH permalink
      July 12, 2012 7:55 am

      Yeah, Rachel. Why don’t you and those attention seeking rape victims admit the pain you’re indicting on this poor comedian, who is clearly minding his own business? Again, especially since he recently told a woman in his live audience that it would be funny if she got gang raped, can we just cut this poor, mild mannered, subtle guy a break instead of trying to say “look at me! Look at me!”

      Telling a blogger to stop hurting a successful comedian on a year and a half old blog post: totally not overreacting.

      Saying violent sex offenses aren’t funny: totally hurtful and overreacting. And attention seeking. Nothing like taking a stand on rape jokes for getting adulation and praise. Bask in it, Rachel, and your rape victim buddies, and just ignore the silent pain of Daniel Tosh.

  45. Mr. Mr. permalink
    July 15, 2012 9:59 am

    I appreciate the exercising of free speech in every situation. All of the comments below are thoughtful and fair, but free speech must also mean having to put up with offensive and even tasteless statements. I am a man, and unlike likely most of the people causing a stink about this, I have been raped and gone through all the painful stages of coping, and I am not offended by these jokes. Making jokes about this has actually helped me get through it. And even if I was offended, I would rather live in a country that allows every citizen to speak their mind and choose not to listen to the idiots and bigots than a place where censorship is allowed or accepted.

    • July 15, 2012 12:44 pm

      He has a right to free speech. And we have a right to react to that speech. Period.

    • MomTFH permalink
      July 15, 2012 6:13 pm

      Where was someone suggesting government censorship of Tosh? I must have missed that.

      I don’t understand why people think criticizing anything that anyone says is the same thing as violating their first amendment rights. Freedom from being called out by other citizens as a jerk is not protected, as far as I can remember.

  46. Hannah permalink
    July 24, 2012 5:50 am

    If you think tosh.0 shouldn’t be offensive, you’re missing the entire point of the show. Everything he says is meant to be offensive because many people find it hilarious. If you don’t like it then don’t watch it. You say that you aren’t trying to censor his free speech, so what are you trying to do by writing this? The point of the joke was to make fun of Antoine Dodson(a man who has taken full advantage of the situation to make money), not rape. So if you don’t want to hear offensive jokes, don’t turn on comedy central. And lighten up because your life is going to suck if you get this worked up about everything daniel tosh says. Also, unless you’ve been raped, why do you get a say in what is offensive to rape victims? Maybe many find it disrespectful while others could get annoyed by you thinking you know what is best for them.

    • MomTFH permalink
      July 24, 2012 8:21 am

      Hannah, do you know what censorship is? Do you know what free speech is? It is not censorship to criticize something. Free speech does not mean you can say whatever you want without ever being criticized by another human being. Read about the first amendment sometime.

      Here’s an illustration for you. The Ku Klux Klan can organize a march in my city. They have the right to do so. So does the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church. Our government does not have the right to keep them from expressing their horrible points of view.

      I have the right to call their words and ideas offensive. I can even counter protest (in fact, I have counter protested the WBC). I don’t even have to be black or gay to do so. And, me doing do is in absolutely no way “missing the point” or censoring their free speech. It is exactly the point and a perfect example of us both exercising our free speech.

      And you may argue that many black people and many gay people may think these groups are just peachy, but I highly doubt it. And since one in four women are victims of sexual assault, we are a pretty diverse group, but I can assure you more of us agree with Rachel than Daniel Tosh.

      Thanks for playing.

      As much as I enjoy working out some of my crankiness from working the night shift at the hospital by tearing apart these pathetic comments, I really wish some of these geniuses would read the prior tired attempts before coming up with the same nonsense.

      • July 24, 2012 8:41 am

        Hilary, once again, you’ve said it perfectly.

        And yes, the repetition. Whoo, we’ve surely never heard the call to “lighten up!” before! Please, don’t feel like you have to keep responding, although I have very much enjoyed your responses.

      • Hannah permalink
        July 25, 2012 5:17 am

        I never said you shouldn’t be allowed to criticize him. You should be completely allowed to do so, and I would think there was something wrong with the world if no one did. All I was doing was asking what you were trying to accomplish here if you aren’t trying to make him stop. You even said that you protested, which means you want to take away someone else’s freedom of speech, which completely goes against your freedom to protest in the first place. You are definitely correct that the Ku Klux Klan has every right voice their opinions regardless of their views being disgusting. Just like how you have the right to give your opinions on Daniel Tosh and how he has the right to say the things your complaining about. And as long as your not trying to get him to change, I don’t have a problem with you not liking him. And try to keep things in contest if you can. “Missing the point” referred to Daniel Tosh’s point of his show, not mine. He means to be offensive so if you were trying to say he shouldn’t be, you are “missing the point.” I don’t know anyone who’s been sexually assaulted, but I have plenty of gay friends. None of them has ever been offended by gay jokes and some of them would even be offended if they were treated differently because they were gay. That goes for both being insulted more or less because they are gay. And just because more people agree with one view point, doesn’t mean others should be forced out. So, yes you should be allowed to say what you want about Daniel Tosh, but he should be able to say what he wants about anyone else. However, on several occasions Rachel said that these jokes are “not okay” and “not acceptable.” I have a problem with this because it is saying that he doesn’t have the right to say these things, which is ridiculous.

      • MomTFH permalink
        July 25, 2012 6:56 am

        I have to reply to my own comment due to the website’s commenting options.

        Hannah…
        1. “I have ___ friends that are not offended with ____” is such a typical bigot excuse it’s a standing joke. Good for your theoretical gay friends for not being offended by a theoretical gay joke, but that does not give you of anyone else a pass on bigoted comments. It certainly doesn’t give you any authority to say you speak on behalf of all sexual assault victims. I happen to be one. Please, please don’t tell me I am not offended

        2. Me, a private citizen, holding a sign across the street from a Westboro Baptist Church protest is NOT any way the same thing as taking away their freedom of speech! I am not the government! We both got to exercise our rights to free speech and our right to assemble. Why is this so hard to understand?

        3. Same thing goes for this blog about Daniel Tosh. Rachel, a private citizen, complaining about Tosh’s rape jokes being “not okay” is NOT government censorship of free speech. Even if she said she hopes his show gets cancelled because of an upwelling of negative reactions to him – this is not government censorship! The Bill of Right limits the government’s infringement of individual rights. Period. If I tell you to shut up and stop being so obtuse, I am in no way violating your right to free speech.

      • Hannah permalink
        July 27, 2012 1:43 pm

        If you want to continue to find your own meaning in everything I say, I obviously can’t stop you. You will continue to see what you see. And if I want to tell you to shut up and stop being so obtuse, I am in no way violating your free speech either. Maybe you could have tried ranting at this person who was sexually assaulting you? He probably would have got annoyed and left. Oh no, is the moderator going to censor my comment in an attempt to try and limit my free speech? Wouldn’t surprise me.

      • MomTFH permalink
        July 27, 2012 7:33 pm

        I was a child when it happened. And you still have learned what freedom of speech is.

  47. July 28, 2012 8:06 am

    *haven’t learned, of course.

    • July 29, 2012 10:42 am

      “Maybe you could have tried ranting at this person who was sexually assaulting you? He probably would have got annoyed and left.” – Hannah, that really is over the line of decency and compassion, and you know it. Additionally, MomTFH is correct that you still haven’t learned what freedom of speech actually is, as I have no obligation to allow for any speech whatsoever, at my discretion, in this forum. Because I’m not the government. Because that’s what “freedom of speech” actually means.

      • MomTFH permalink
        July 29, 2012 11:09 am

        Thanks, Rachel. Yes, I was really hurt and disturbed by Hannah’s comment, even though I know it was the desperate lashing out of someone who couldn’t keep up with the actual discussion with reason.

        Also, yes, you, as a non-government entity, do not have to let every hateful idiot spew whatever they want on your particular page. But, as hurtful as her comment was, I think it’s better to let it stand as an example of what kind of attitude towards rape victims goes hand in hand with defending rape culture and Tosh. Lighten up, indeed.

  48. Aaron permalink
    January 6, 2013 9:19 pm

    It is normalizing sexual violence is it? Well then no violence can be portrayed in media at all since it normalizes violence at least a little bit. No conflict can be portrayed at all really since it could be interpreted as normalizing violence. We are just all stuck watching the news. Wait no, a hyper-sensitive individual could interpret that as normalizing violence. No news then. My word, what can we watch?

    On a side note, when will a feminist ever be reasonable?

    • Jessie permalink
      May 1, 2013 1:45 pm

      Other violence doesn’t matter! Only RAPE, RAPE and more RAPE. Feminists think and talk and fantasize about rape more than serial rapists do.

      • May 3, 2013 9:49 am

        Before anyone feels compelled to try to engage in a civil disagreement with “Jessie,” note that the email address provided was “gofuckyourselfwhores@hotmail.com” – not worth the effort.

      • MomTFH permalink
        May 3, 2013 11:10 am

        Lolsob, Rachel! See, it’s obviously us feminists who are obsessed. This trolldouche is totally reacting normally to the topic, and WE are overreacting.

        Whew, so happy to be set straight.

  49. Youcan Doit permalink
    May 8, 2013 3:00 am

    I came across this old post and felt like posting something, because John Cleese puts it so eloquently:

    I have to admit that I do take enjoyment in offending people, maybe it’s because I’m a guy but I like watching girls’ faces screw up when I say things are “gay” or that someone’s a “dyke”, I find this entertaining.

    Of course I feel you’re entitled to your opinion and I don’t question that. I’m just curious why you think people joking about rape makes you think they condone it. I’ve also noticed a lot of feminists talk about misogyny. How does it logically follow that if one makes a joke about rape that they hate women? Does this mean that if I make a joke about cancer that I hate cancer victims?

    I have a feeling you will say I’m a homophobe because I say things are “gay” etc as a joke, and I’m not sure how to respond to that, other than I am 100% for gay marriage, equality etc (after all they are born that way and who cares anyway).

    Of course you’re entitled to be offended, I’m just curious as to why.

  50. Red Queen permalink
    August 25, 2013 7:04 pm

    I’m kinda floored to see this discussion, but glad. Tosh.o has never appeared to me to be anything more than a deliberate campaign to convince young men that hating, disrespecting and ridiculing women, our dignity, pain and humanity is just light comedy, no big deal. Not only is that its mission, but with “.o” in the name, it masquerades as a show about silly YouTube videos, which are phenomenally popular with adolescent males – whenever they’re bored, they look up funny videos online. So it’s actually targeted mass brainwash.

Trackbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Today in Rape Culture: Tosh.0 « Women's Health News -- Topsy.com
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  4. See, This is What I’m Talking About – Tosh.0 and Rape “Jokes” « Women's Health News

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