Monday, July 16, 2012

Antoine Dodson is in the same category as CK Lewis and Tosh? Uh, no.

Rape Joke Supercut: I Can’t Believe You Clapped For That

I'm really uncomfortable with the inclusion of Antoine Dodson in this.  His entire media exposure is due to the incident where he had to protect his cousin from being raped. Of more relevance, though, is that he has spoken out about being an actual survivor of rape.Sometimes, survivors of this atrocity cope in ways that others may not approve of. If we start dictating how survivors should speak or cope, where does it end? 

Being a woman with incurable cancer, I often engage in gallows humor. If I talk about the ways I'd like to go out with a bang, does it mean that I'm joking about the violent deaths of women of color? Does it mean that I am mocking the pain that women with cancer often experience? Of course not! I'm engaging in cathartic strategies that make it possible for me to deal with the reality that I am experiencing and that I will surely face in the future. The same is true when it comes to rape survivors.

This video is extremely problematic and doesn't even address issues like whether gay men (like Dodson) experience rape at higher rates (than heterosexual men) due to their sexual status, just as women are perceived as more acceptable targets because they also have a low sexual status.

There's also the factor of socio-economic class. This is an impoverished rape victim who is suddenly offered the opportunity to take his family from the place where his cousin was almost raped into more secure housing. Can we really say that it would have been more ethical for him to just allow others to make money off of his suffering? Why should his family remain in the place where his cousin was victimized while those who popularized his story rest comfortably in their domiciles (paid for by exploiting him and his cousin)? To throw him into the same category as those white, rich, hetero men who are shown on here is amazingly blind to the power of class privilege.

Lastly, it should be noted that these clips are being used as advertisements for their own media event. How is this really different from the way that Dodson has used his story to launch his own endeavors to improve life for himself as a rape victim and his family member who was subjected to an attempted rape?

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