Tube Tied: 30 Rock and the Problem with Rape Jokes

Michelle Dean
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I imagine you've heard by now that last week's fifth season premiere of 30 Rock contained a rape joke.  The particular scene people are talking about is one in which Pete (Scott Adsit) is telling Liz about how relaxed he's become since Jenna (Jane Krakowski) became a producer: "This morning I made love to my wife.  And she was still asleep, so I didn't have to be gentle."  We are provided with a visual.  Quoth Liz: "That is one of the most upsetting things I have ever imagined."  Pete: "Oh yeah?"  And we get another visual.

Let's get one thing out of the way: whatever this little moment was, it was certainly about a "rape."  I wish this went without saying, but of course if you click on some of the links in this post you will find people (usually male people) in comments sections saying hey, butt out, this is what happens in long-term marriages all the time!  I didn't realize it was such a turn-on to have sex with people who are literally unconscious but apparently some people are into that.  In any event, sad to say, like many rapists who don't think they are rapists because they are really very nice people and pay their taxes and have never lurked in dark alleyways in major urban areas, the salient question in any analysis of whether rape has occurred is whether or not your partner has consented to sex.  Unconscious people can't consent because they are unconscious.  Tautological, I know, but there you have it.  So, hence, rape.

As for the other half of the claim that this is a "joke": I'm not really clear on what it was meant to convey, given that Liz's sense of disgust is internal to it, and yet it hardly seemed like a condemnation of Pete.  No one uses the word "rape."  Pete is acting sort of irrationally the whole episode. The repetition of the image of Pete's wife hitting the headboard is especially puzzling, like it was meant to rub our noses in something. I wish I knew what.

Rape hasn't traditionally been a big subject of commentary on 30 Rock, at least as far as I recall. I haven't time to review every episode right now to support that statement, though.  Perhaps I've become somewhat numb to mentions of it.  I'm ashamed to confess that until Melissa McEwan pointed it out at Shakesville, I hadn't noticed the scene was actually just one of three rape jokes the 30 Rock premiere contained, the other two being more or less casual dismissals of child rape.

In the end, the joke felt more like an attempt to get a rise out of the audience than anything else.  Like the 30 Rock writers are saying to us: "We'll go anywhere in search of a good joke."  Unfortunately, they were led down the garden path this time, it seems, because the only people who seem to be laughing are a bunch of jerkish blog commenters.

Rape jokes are a polarizing subject.  Some people say you should never make them, and my personal sympathies do tend to lie with that camp. The standard objection to that line of thinking is that comedy often has a strong relationship with sacred cows, that usually it's the "un-PC" nature of the subject that gets people laughing.  But my problem is not with the subject, it's with the execution.  As in this case, it's too easy to screw up the joke, and it leaves you looking like an asshole who trivializes rape.  Which I'd imagine isn't all that attractive a prospect for most people, and possibly least among them someone like Tina Fey, who's made her career out of a new brand of smart-funny-lady-writing that, whatever dissonances it contains, at least seems to aspire to intelligence.

The thing is, as Fey probably knows, good, smart, incisive humor isn't just about making people uncomfortable—it points outside the discomfort to some larger concept worth reconsidering, or thinking about.  In order to do that effectively, you have to presume that the social context of your joke is reasonably coherent, that people know when a rape is a rape.  Unfortunately, that is not the case; apparently there is significant disagreement, socially, on this point! Apparently some people read a joke about rape as a joke about "marriage," which elision is, you know, incredibly screwed up, but there you have it.  Maybe when we live in a world where we can rely, consistently, that people know that, jokes about rape will be as smart as they are effective.  Until then, I'd suggest we all resist the temptation.

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90 Comments Have Been Posted

Thanks for writing about

Thanks for writing about this. I just watched last week's episode online and the rape joke really caught me off guard. 30 Rock is one of my favorite shows, and now I don't know what to think.

I won't be watching that

I won't be watching that programme again, it makes me sick how some men think it is funny to joke about rape. It is a real issue for many women and it should be illegal to make such jokes, as it only serves to prolong the abuse of women in todays society.

Wow, I was in a relationship

Wow, I was in a relationship for 5 years and was uncomfortable with my sexuality. It even bothered me when my partner spanked my bum. I can't even imagine him having sex with me while I was asleep but if he did, I'd be OUTTA THERE.

By the way, I wasn't sure if i was going to be watching anymore 30 rock. I love tina fey but I remember the tracy morgan episodes being stupid. It's a shame because I really love Tina Fey. I guess I'll just have to watch some old SNLs instead.

"it should be illegal to

"it should be illegal to make such jokes"

I agree, they should also start arresting comedians again for obscenity. Let's also dig up george carlin's corpse and put it on trial.

I'm no fan of rape jokes but come on.

Context is everything

Are there jokes I find insulting and offensive because they trivialize a horrific experience? Of course. At the same time, I am very careful to view jokes in the context in which they are made. No one was condoning Pete's behavior. In fact, I thought the joke brought into sharper relief the fact that he found nothing wrong with something that is a crime in most (but unfortunately not all) states. It made him seem disgusting and psychotic, as Liz's reaction demonstrated. Just like Jenna was upset that her stalker quit stalking her last season. The joke was not intended to convey the message that women like being stalked; Jenna is a narcissistic borderline personality whose actions are the antithesis of appropriate, or even representative, behavior. These characters are intended to be unrelatable and kinda terrible humans. That's the joke. Others may have less forgiving interpretations, but IMHO the joke was merely black humor.

I agree. The joke was how

I agree. The joke was how insanely pathetic the act was.

Would it have been as

Would it have been as disgusting if she was a conventionally attractive woman? That seemed to be why characters saw his actions as gross, not the fact that he was raping her.

re: context

The problem with this type "joke" is that it is not actually a joke. Anyone who is unaware of what constitutes rape and marital rape (and many people are unaware) will not see the exchange between these two characters as any kind of an issue and thus the "joke" contributes to the widespread idea that this type of rape isn't rape, but rather a "funny" and "acceptable" statement on married life/sex.

I agree that satiric characters can represent How Not To Act-type behavior so that the joke is on them, but when we bring a subject like rape into question where there is so much misinformation about and denial of rape, the "joke" becomes really abstract and loses its qualification as satire. With the current trend of "ironic" humor in the mainstream, I think that comedians need to be especially aware of what actually counts as satire. This rape "joke" seems more like the "race" jokes that are actually racist since they perpetuate a stereotype more than they call out discrimination or stereotyping, especially when the joke is not made by a person of color who would have the right/agency to tell that joke, but by a White person in a "postracial" context. (And in saying that, I don't intend to play the Oppression Olympics by comparing one group's suffering to another's group's suffering, but to point out the general trend wherein stereotypes are perpetuated through "humor" so that a racist/sexist or postracial/postfeminism audience can laugh at it without realizing their racism and/or sexism because they can selectively laugh at things for being both (maybe) fucked up but also true or relevant to their lives.) A woman or any person who is a rape survivor would have the right to speak about her/their experience and educate people through some kind of humor, but I don't think that 30 Rock is exactly the right platform for that kind of expression/awareness - it's beyond their capability. 30 Rock is fiction and so any attempt to create a character who could tell those kinds of jokes would almost definitely go horribly, horribly wrong and be very insensitive and/or sexist. As you said, context is everything, and 30 Rock is not the right context for this type of discussion.

The rule should be that only rape survivors can use humor to cope with, (hopefully) overcome, and educate about rape. When other people try to "joke" about rape, it's just not funny.

"The rule should be that only

"The rule should be that only rape survivors can use humor to cope with, (hopefully) overcome, and educate about rape."

Cutting edge comedy today has zero sacred cows. It's open season on every conceivable subject matter. Rape, murder, mayhem . . . it's all being satirized every day. Writers at the forefront of today's comedy surely do not have any rules such as you are condoning.

Hey, I'm approaching sixty years of age, and believe me, some of the edgy comedy of the last few years has had me shaking my head. But I'm not going to be some kind of thought police zealot. As humanity continues to careen crazily down the highway, I just pull over and wave, or perhaps give it the finger.

It sure isn't very funny if

It sure isn't very funny if you've ever been raped.


I didn't want to go into this in my comment, but I am a survivor (4 years) and I saw the joke as a joke about what terrible people these characters are, not as condoning rape. Frankly, after getting the third degree from the "healthcare professionals" who either tacitly or explicitly blamed me, I'd rather our energy be spent on the deplorable way women are treated post-assault, or the use of "rape" as a slang term for destroyed ("the Mets were raped last night!"), not aimed at television satire. Like I said, I understand others have an entirely different view of the scene, and I don't mean to belittle that. I just didn't see it as insulting to my experience. I'm sorry if you've been through it, too. There's really no way to articulate the sadness, confusion, and pain that follow, and I wish help were easier to come by, especially for those without means.

What I find most upsetting

What I find most upsetting about this is that I didn't immediately recognize it as a rape joke. I know it made me uncomfortable and I didn't think it was that funny, but...

It brings up, in my mind, the ways in which we (or at least I) am willing to be forgiving and to overlook, even subconsciously, pop culture objects that I generally like. This is a topic that is mentioned quite frequently here, but I think never from quite this perspective. People who overlook the problematic aspects of shows they enjoy frequently probably aren't doing it intentionally, or because they don't care about XYZ issue. I suspect it happens much the way it did for me: Misrecognition of problematic content. A sense of, "Hm, I don't think that's funny, but I'll chalk it up to different senses of humor..."

I'm not saying this is ok, so please don't get angry or accuse me of being some kind of Liz Lemon apologist or crap feminist. I just wanted to point it out.

I had the same reaction that

I had the same reaction that you did. Thanks for posting.


My husband immediately recognized it as a rape joke, but as one who frequently champions Tina Fey I definitely wanted to look the other way until I read this. I really appreciate the content of this article; we all need to be reminded to stay vigilant for media that diminishes the importance consent.

Good point

It's something any of us who enjoy pop culture have to deal with. The objects of our affection -- TV shows, movies -- are not and perhaps never can be politically immaculate. And yet, we enjoy watching TV and movies. What's a feminist to do?

For me, there's always a breaking point. Say, if there's one rape joke per season, I'll be OK with watching the show. But if the offenses start to pile on, I have to make a decision.

Or should we just abstain? I don't know.

You've All Helped Me Process This!

I was unsettled by the joke. I honestly couldn't quite put my finger on it, but now it seems obvious, of course. Thanks for the category of misrecognition, Laura K. I found myself trying to get into Pete's head, to view the joke like a "dude." How problematic a representation of masculinity is *that*?

It could have been

It could have been subjectively edgy-funny if instead of being disgusted, Tina actually said, "That is one of the most upsetting things I have ever imagined." "Think about it again." "Yes, Pete, that's rape!" You don't have to be pedantic about it, just call it for what it is and not let it get lost as a joke about ugly people having intercourse and the sexual dysfunction of married couples.


Thanks for tackling this, Michelle. Part of me has been in a state of denial since I saw the episode. But you really summed up the problem well -- our culture has no consensus on what rape is, and until we do, jokes like these are a bad idea.


Not sure how this contributes to the discussion at all.

You're right: it doesn't.

You're right: it doesn't. "Rape Fantasies" is, basically, a story that tells the supposed rape fantasies of the central character and her co-workers and friends. In reality, though, it's more about consensual sex with a stranger than actual rape, which has absolutely nothing to do with the 30 Rock reference. Yeah.

Nice try, Kevin...

...but no. Do some women have rape fantasies? Sure. Does that have ANYTHING to do with what's being discussed here? Nope. Derail someplace else, please.

It bothers me quite a bit

It bothers me quite a bit that people don't seem to understand that:
1. If the person is unconscious or unable to give consent, then having sex with that person is rape. I wish this was common knowledge.
2. Rape just isn't funny. Period.

I don't watch 30 Rock, but to hear about this surprises me. Especially because recently, I was watching "Rosemary's Baby" from 1968. In one scene, Rosemary is drugged to be in a dreamlike state, but thought by her attackers (a clan who worships Satan) to be unconscious. She is then raped by the Devil. The following morning, Rosemary wakes up from what she thought was a dream, but finds scratches all over her body.
Her husband laughs, saying, "don't worry, I already trimmed my nails. Sorry they were a bit ragged." Rosemary says, "I dreamed someone was raping me...something...inhuman." Her husband laughs again, answering sarcastically, "gee, thanks." He continues, "I just didn't want to miss baby-making night." Rosemary replies, "We could have done it this morning...or didn't have to be last night." Her husband says, "Well, I was a bit loaded myself, you know." The movie continues with no further discussion about the rape. (Which, of course, no one truly identifies AS a rape, even though it obviously is.) I was shocked, but reminded myself that it was made in 1968, before feminism was even remotely popular.

Which brings me to my point - What does 30 Rock have to say for themselves if in 2010, they're making so-called jokes similar to the horribly misogynistic "Rosemary's Baby"?

It doesn't matter that the

It doesn't matter that the original commenter left out motivations, etc. because <i>it's still factually rape</i>.

It does matter because it is

It does matter because it is heavily suggested that the scratches weren't from the husband having his way with her, it was from the devil raping her. If they were from the husband, the movie still compares what he did to actually being raped by satan. the entire movie hinges around the idea that she may be pregnant with satan's kid so it is outright wrong to suggest the movie brings up rape only to sweep it under the rug. the moment with her discovering the scratches isn't played for laughs, either. she's downright appalled that he would rape her in her sleep and their relationship is soured throughout the rest of the movie. How 'bout that, context eh


Hi there,

I realize that this thread started out on topic by comparing mentions of rape in <i>30 Rock</i> to those in <i>Rosemary's Baby</i>, but it seems to have veered off course a bit. Let's keep the discussion focused on <i>30 Rock</i>, please.
<b>Kelsey Wallace, web editor</b>

<i>Ask me about our <a href="">Comments Policy</a>!</i>

Yeah sorry about that. I

Yeah sorry about that. I guess my underlying point with that rant up there was that context really does matter, which has already been stated making this whole thing kind of redundant. fwiw, my stance on the 30 rock joke is that it's there to show how... not right, for lack of a better term, pete is. Movies like white chicks, however, are unexcusable.

The Horror

I saw that movie for the first time only two years ago, and I thought that the husband's response to her was completely freaky, and added to the sadistic background of the movie.

So yeah, it is odd that a sit-com chose that same situation for the "humor".

she was raped by the

she was raped by the freaking devil. I hardly think the producers were concerned with addressing the ethical issues of domestic rape.

It's black humor people. It might be a little low-brow to some, but all these characters are portrayed as terrible people. Why isn't anyone upset about how Jenna Moroney complains that her stalker doesn't stalk her anymore, painting women in an attention obsessed and very shallow light. Tracy Jordan is consistently portrayed as an idiotic caricature of a bumbling too-successful african-american male. Racism is never ok; Misogyny is never ok; Rape is never ok. But to use these things as subject matter in black humor to paint a certain picture is, while not pc, is still something i will laugh at.

Tina Fey has a sense of humor. Apparently nobody here does.

Thank you for the only truly

Thank you for the only truly intelligent comment on this article.

Reply to comment | Bitch Media

Whats up! I simply want to give a huge thumbs up
for the good data you


I don't see what Rosemary's Baby has to do with this subject whatsoever. The movie doesn't make light of the fact that the woman was raped by Satan-- in fact, I remember watching it when I was a kid and feeling violated after seeing that scene. There was no joke in the movie, but we as viewers are led to suspect that something is really wrong with Rosemary's husband.

See the comment I posted below. I don't think 30 Rock was making light of rape at all.

Facebook comments

I find it fascinating that on the Bitch Facebook page, this post is getting so many people inventing a fictional backstory for these already fictional characters that would somehow make this scene okay. Like, "Maybe Pete and his wife have an arrangement!" "Maybe they do this all the time!" "Maybe the wife doesn't consider it rape!" Why are so many people bending over backwards to try and justify it? What do we lose by saying that this is rape and that is was messed up for 30 Rock to have it in the episode at all?

Is rape funny? I don't think so, personally. But the more interesting question that's coming out of this is: Why are people so invested in protecting rape jokes from being identified as such?


I completely agree. Yes, this situation could potentially be okay if there was an "arrangement," but why would anyone assume that was the case when nothing remotely like it was mentioned? If the show's writers had cared at all about clarifying that rape-while-sleeping isn't all right, it would have been easy to insert "She told me I could" -- or, better yet, not include the conversation at all. If anything, the "I didn't <b>have to</b> be gentle" (emphasis mine) reasserts both that Pete violated his wife and that, in doing so, he was able to shed the dire burden of "having to" only have sex in ways to which his partner consented. It posits <i>her</i> as the forceful one. *face/palm*

<i>Why are so many people bending over backwards to try and justify it? What do we lose by saying that this is rape and that is was messed up for 30 Rock to have it in the episode at all?</i> Sadly, I think the answer (or at least one of them) is in the other pieces' comments: in recognizing that this is rape, people will have to acknowledge that they or others they know are rapists or have been raped. It's an important conversation, to be sure.

Thumbs up

Thanks for articulating this so nicely-it's exactly how I feel.
I'm certainly not a supporter of censorship, but I wish people would just demonstrate some tact, sometimes...yes, even in comedy.

Bad, Bad Tina Fey!

SHE wrote that episode! What a new low for her ... someone whom until now I have often considered one of my feminist "heroes." Hypocrites like her speaking out for women in one breath and making fun of them being raped in another deeply disturb me.

I will uncomfortably continue watching "30Rock" so I that can point out other offenses she ... and others on the show ... may make in the future.

Suggestion: In the meantime, head on over to NBC's website and let them know your feelings on the matter.

Television (especially network)

The product of TV is not shows, it is viewers.

The customer is not viewers, it is advertisers.

If you are watching a show you are making it profitable.

I am not beating up on you, we all watch stuff just to know what they are doing that pisses us off so, but really if you disagree with this show and you want it to be cancelled you SHOULD NOT WATCH.

The only argument against this is that if you don't have a ratings box then you really aren't contributing to the count. So watch what you want but if every one were to watch show ans then just complain to NBC their response would be "so? You don't pay us and you are still watching."

Rape Jokes

I used to hate it when they used the word "abort" in the computer industry, but this is beyond that. But keep in mind, the media is male dominated by males in their mid thirties.

I'm a woman, and I am a

I'm a woman, and I am a feminist through and through, but I will admit that I watched this episode and I laughed at that scene, and I'm not 100% ashamed.

Before you call me evil, or question my morality, or make a case against me, let me explain.

30 Rock is a show that occasionally takes a horrible situation and gives you something to laugh at about them. When you dissect most jokes there's something terrible at its core. Everyone is very, very sensitive when it comes to the topic of rape. I know it's a big, scary, sensitive thing, and I don't think that rape, when it's an actual situation, is funny at all. However, we, as a culture, are able to laugh at so many other things without hesitating, that I can never understand why rape is held in some precious bubble of sanctity.

The truth is, we hear jokes about death constantly, and no one bats a lash. If you heard a joke about murder, would you feel uncomfortable? Would you stop watching a show, or question its morality? I doubt it. But isn't murder a terrible thing too?

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that even though rape isn't funny, it doesn't mean we should hate on a show because it contains a rape joke. It's merely one facet of someone's point of view on comedy. And comedy, more often than not, is about taking something categoryily unfunny and making it funny. If we couldn't laugh about difficult subject material, where would we be? That thing would sit in a dark room and gather animosity. It would only be discussed in whispers and weekly therapist sessions. I'm not trying to say whether or not it's right, because who am I to say that? What I'm saying is that if we start putting a reign on all comedy because some women are offended by a topic, aren't we just committing ourselves to the same pratfalls that bestow any example of censorship?

It's an interesting topic, and I enjoy a healthy debate on it. Perhaps I'm just not sensitive enough to understand the issue deeply enough...


Who is "hating on the show"?

Maybe "hating on" was a

Maybe "hating on" was a harsh term, but I see a few comments above with people saying they question the entire show now, which I think is slightly unfair. But again, people are allowed to watch what they want/think what they want, I'm just trying to make a (little) point.

I'm a woman, and a feminist,

I'm a woman, and a feminist, and I am 100% pissed off at Tina Fey for being a sell out.

And as for you murder analogy-have you ever heard anyone say, "it's not REALLY murder", "She was asking to be murdered", "She shouldn't have been drinking" -then she wouldn't be murdered" so on and so forth?

Also, as a society we take murder seriously, we all agree it's 100% not the murdered person's fault, do we do that with rape? Nope. Do we take rape seriously? Nope. Do we convict rapists? Nope. In our country the arrest rate of rapists is 13%.

Rape jokes cannot be tolerated until we start taking rape seriously. And considering the fact that many viewers of that episode have tried to make excuses and label it as anything but rape, I think it's safe to say we are years, and prob decades, away from taking rape seriously.

to quote a famous feminist:

To quote a famous feminist comedienne: "it wasn't rape rape."
And the one she was referring to WAS rape, in all its non-fiction glory.
Oh, but maybe some of you defended Polanski, because he's an "artiste"?

And now, like a poster named "lindsey" we have to defend ourselves if we find something FICTIONAL (not even FICTIONALIZED) funny?!
An then we have some PETA wannabes here who are telling us we don't have the right to imagine the context of the scene? Do YOU know the context of the scene then?

As for me, I just didn't find that episode very, from start to finish.
This new trend of sitcoms to acknowledge summer just seems like it's trying too hard.

Makin' Palin Proud

Hey, you know what you're all doing? The same thing as Glenn Beck & Co.

To whit: You're all presuming it's rape, labeling it rape, then accusing Fey and the cast and crew of approving of rape.
You think you can be judge, jury, and executioner; just like The Tea Party crowd.
Sure, replace "30 Rock rapes" with "Obama is Muslim socialist" and voila!
Now Tina and her people have an uphill battle against the raging (oops! "anti-feminist" word?) masses who don't like it when the women are top, so to speak...

Yes, Swift Boat me, too. Throw your best Beck at me.

I know where I stand, and I'm proud of my positions, none of which you actually know.

But feel free to think you do; as this non-debate shows, it hasn't stopped you before.

People are presuming it's

People are presuming it's rape because it is rape. No consent = rape. Troll harder, friend.

Have you interviewed the

Have you interviewed the wife? There is no direct information about the kinks of the wife and what she has consented to ahead of time. Some people are into that. As a sex-positive individual, I would hope that anyone who's dated and then married their spouse has previously discussed their sexual boundaries and sexual desires. Why is it ok in our society to assume we know the details of someone's private affairs? It would be one thing if there was some indication, any indication whatsoever that she wasn't into it. The joke is that this couple's KINKS make HER uncomfortable.

The wife doesn't exist.

She's a fictional character. So no one's interviewing her. What you are left with is an inquiry into the default position in which we view these things when further information is unattainable, i.e.: are women in a default state of consent to sex until proven otherwise? Sex-positive or no, the answer, from a feminist standpoint, is no. They are not. No one is default-position entitled to sex from someone else. It shouldn't be presumed that women have probably consented unless they are able to indicate otherwise.

Incredibly well-put,

Incredibly well-put, Michelle. We, the audience, are given information in a specific order (or NOT given information in this case) in order to evoke a certain reaction. This is basic lit/film crit stuff. If consent isn't addressed before the act, we shouldn't automatically assume it's there.

Tube Tied: 30 Rock and the Problem with Rape Jokes response

I believe that it needs to be reiterated that these types of jokes in any media setting are both inappropriate and dangerous.
I agree with Dean when she says that, “Perhaps I've become somewhat numb to mentions of it” (Tube Tide: 30 Rock, Dean). It is not just illusion that the idea of rape has been portrayed in such a way to desensitize it to most audiences.
I believe that the way that Dean ended the article was perfect. It is true that if everyone knew what rape was and what it's effects on people were than the joke might have been more accepted. However, many American's have little understanding of the evil that goes along with rape. I mean marital rape was legal in all states until 1979, and even then it took tell 1993 before it was criminalized in all states. So to believe that we as a nation are ready to be conscious and understand those jokes is entirely premature. In addition, we must also address the idea concerning the “male gaze.” This joke was more intended to draw the attention of the male viewer more than any other. Hence, the joke goes unnoticed because the average American male will not pick up on it.
How about some revolutionary new tv shows that don't decided to promote sexist or racial views? I, like many others, do enjoy the show 30 Rock, but at what cost? It may seem small but each time rape is shown on tv, we as the audience become just a little less concerned with the idea. By no means am I saying that rape will ever be accepted, but compare the current media content on tv with what was shown 40 years ago. Back then there was limited violence on tv but now it is what could make or break any new blockbuster. In our society we have seen, with time, the ideas of sex, violence, and drugs having been rendered insensible. Rape is far to important for these remarks to go unchecked. I understand that it is a comedy show and the writers of the show have shown glimpses of being visionaries in their own rights. However, subject matter, like rape, needs to be handled carefully. This joke probably would not have been passed through had one of the writers had to deal with being close to, or being themselves, a rape victim. I felt like this article captivated this entire argument.

I haven't seen the show, so

I haven't seen the show, so take my feedback with a grain of salt, however it seems awful presumptuous that you would leap to conclusions about how someone else conducts their sex life without having the facts. You have no idea if this person has given consent or not, and to accuse someone of rape without having all the information is really awful. People who are married have plenty of opportunities to communicate about what is acceptable behavior in their relationship. Clearly we all agree no consent = rape. But where all of you get off making the assumption that there's been no consent for this activity is insanely ridiculous. Anyone who is sex-positive and communicative at all is going to have discussed this ahead of time. And shouldn't the assumption be that people who are married HAVE discussed their sexual desires with one another? Why is it that its ok to assume the worst of people? Because you don't like their character? Can you make that kind of judgment? You don't know who around you is kinky until you talk about it. You don't know what they're into and who gives consent to what. I personally fantasize about being woken up to sex and when I'm in a long term relationship I discuss that explicitly because that's a part of our lives together. It doesn't happen every day, but who are you to judge me and my partner?

See above.

This is a lot of rationalization for maintaining the default position that men are entitled to sex unless women affirmatively indicate otherwise, which isn't so much a "sex-positive" position as it is an anti-feminist one.

No rationalization needed.

No rationalization needed. The default position should be to assume that a married couple, or any long term couple, has discussed their sexual boundaries. Interview the wife first before you make assumptions about her life and desires.

Again, she's a fictional character.

No one can interview her, including you. We have the text of the show; the text of the show makes no indication of consent. You want to presume it because you don't want to have to deal with a robust conception of consent.

And if people have a fetish for having sex with non-consenting, unconscious people, I don't judge them. I do, however, think that as a matter of social reality, what they are doing if they act, in social reality, on that desire, is committing rape.

Not offended

I just want to say that I am a woman and I was not offended by the joke, at all, on 30 Rock last week. I've often been orgasmically woken up with my boyfriend on top of me, already putting work in, and I've done the same to him-- jumped on top of him while he was still sleeping and wake him up by slipping his... you get the picture.

I don't think rape is funny and rape jokes are not cool, but I didn't see it as a rape joke. At all.

I don't understand this kind of argument.

I mean, this isn't a matter of a vote, because not all women are going to agree that they all like one thing or another. The issue is not "offense," which is a weak word. The issue is whether or not women, as a whole, must be presumed to be consenting, when no indication of any consent is given. I don't understand, whatever your personal proclivities, how one can possibly arrive at the conclusion that all women are in a default state of consent because you personally have negotiated it in your relationship.

that's not what I said at all

I'm not voting, but I'm going to give my two cents, especially when I think that a lot of people are overreacting.

I never said "all women are in a default state of consent." That's ridiculous and obviously false, but nice try putting words in my mouth.

I was only offering another perspective, from a woman's point of view. I know I'm not the only person in the world who has "sleepy sex," but it sure seems like it when everyone is so quick to assume rape. It's a comedy and they didn't go there.

You're attempting to prove...

... that this isn't rape by reference to your experience, and suggesting it's wrong to presume rape where no indication of consent is given in the text. That implies, necessarily, that women must be in a default state of consent when one analyzes these situations. You may not have said it, but it's underwriting your conclusions.

You are welcome to your perspective, but when you try to claim that it applies to people who aren't you, that's where I think you're going wrong.

and you're attempting to prove

... that it was rape, according to whatever literature you've read.

Again, you're jumping to conclusions and putting words in my mouth. You need to stop that.

What I'm suggesting: 1) it's a fictional comedy, 2) I thought it was funny, 3) people have sex with their sleeping partner-- it's not unheard of, 4) it's a comedy, 5) it's fiction.

I'm sorry you saw it as a rape joke, but I, and a lot of other people, didn't. Would it have been different if instead of sleeping with his wife he was trying to screw a drunken girl he picked up from a party? Yeah, that wouldn't be funny because it would CLEARLY be rape.

Own your position.

Your only defense so far is that you enjoy this practice, and I'm saying I don't think that's sufficient. There's nothing in the text - i.e. the episode - to support this interpretation of yours; that's why I'm saying, it comes off as your rationalizing a position.

The "literature [I've] read" is the episode. In the episode, Pete never says he and his wife have an agreement on this score. Indeed, he indicates that one of the selling points for this practice is that he "doesn't have to be gentle." If you believe, as I do, and by the way you say you do, that women are not in a default position of consent until proven otherwise, there is no evidence to reach the conclusion that this encounter was consensual. That's why I keep "putting words in your mouth," because there is no basis, other than coming at this from the direction that his wife was clearly consenting unless otherwise indicated, for concluding that she consented.

As to your other points:

- Just because people do a thing does not mean it isn't rape. Rape happens, in the real world; people do it.

- "Fictional comedy" is similarly irrelevant; no one is disputing that this was a fictional situation, and that comedy was attempted.

- I'm not even really challenging people who found it funny, per se; what I am saying is they found a rape funny.

If you read the post you'll see in the last paragraph I say I don't believe that this comedy can't be wielded effectively. I'm not revoking your card for finding this funny. Some people in this thread indeed are saying they think the funny was supposed to derive from the fact that Pete is being an asshole here - like all the characters on the show are kind of jerks - by having gross, quite plainly nonconsensual sex with his wife. That seems to me to be an okay interpretation, again, based in the text, though I think, as I say, the problem is that the social context in which this joke was made is not clear enough to indicate that what Pete was doing was wrong because it was non-consensual, and therefore rape. Your comments are sort of proving my point in that regard.

Whatever. I'd love to hear


I'd love to hear what Tina Fey has to say about this whole situation-- get her perspective on the "rape joke." Did you send her a link to this article?

Yeah, I would too.

No idea if your question is meant to be facetious, so I'll answer it honestly at risk of being made fun of:

I'm actually really curious about what her engagement is with "feminism," particularly after that time she went on and made fun of Jesse James' mistress in a way that was really... contradictory to a lot of her other messages.

Unfortunately, it's not like I have her personal email address.

No, I was being sincere. I

No, I was being sincere. I am really interested to hear what Fey has to say about this matter. I doubt that she thought the joke would explode like this.

It's not about you

@AlexandraTheTsaritsa - The point is not whether or not Tina Fey thinks that this "joke" is okay, because many of us here obviously don't think that it was in any way funny. Just because one woman or one feminist thinks that a rape joke is alright does not indicate that rape jokes are, in fact, okay. Tina Fey's opinion on whether or not something is funny would not change the fact that the show did depict a rape and that they joked about it.

You said: "It's a comedy and they didn't go there." Being a comedy show does not make it exempt from having its depictions of rape count as rape, either.

Also, just because lots of couples do have consensual sleep/wake-up sex does not mean that the 30 Rock scene didn't depict a rape. It was clearly shown to be rape because it was never said that the wife gave consent and because of the husband's language about the incident in question (his comment that he didn't "have to be gentle" when his wife was asleep. As it was pointed out above, this shows that he considers his wife's consent in general and the types of sex acts to which she consents to be a burden to him as opposed to a healthy boundary/choice that she has made regarding her body, agency, and sexuality that he should happily respect.) What you choose to do in your private life does not change the fact that the "joke" was about marital rape and cannot be interpreted in any other way unless the wife character had stated that she consented to sleep/wake-up sex in this particular instance, and even then, her consent would not apply to subsequent sex acts and her husband would again need to seek her consent.

Thanks Michelle and Bee! If

Thanks Michelle and Bee! If Alexandra doesn't see your point by now, it's hard to imagine what it might take for her (and others) to see the "joke" for what it was: a rape. So many people will say things like, "Oh, I'm a feminist, but...." and it's just surprising to me how far they'll go to justify a particular scene, joke, ad, idea, message, scenario, court ruling, whatever it is. What exactly makes that feminism? At what point, according to their own judgment, would they deny themselves the title of 'feminist'? What views separate them from those that don't go so far as to even call themselves feminist? I don't really like the idea of denying people their self-identifications (i.e. I don't think it's up to US to dictate, "Ok, you and you and you are a feminist, but YOU'RE not"), but I do think that rape is rape is rape and if there's anyone who has any "ifs" or "buts" about it, at some point you have to call a spade a spade...or an anti-feminist an anti-feminist.

Well put. It's like everyone

Well put. It's like everyone wants to make all of this "okay" for themselves and not thinking of the bigger picture and the larger consequences. If people want to continue to watch 30 Rock and write a bunch of rape jokes, feel free. But some of us are going to have something to say about those "jokes", whether you like it or not. If you feel guilty then that's on you.

And, I do see how this discussion may upset the kink community, but are we really saying that 30 Rock, a mainstream tv show, is actually speaking for the kink community? That that is the most likely scenario?

Actually, though...

It's great that many of you have relationships where unconscious/semi-conscious/sleepy sex has been discussed and deemed OK. However, to reiterate: That was NOT the case here. The punchline of the joke (which, as Michelle has pointed out several times, is all we have to go on here since this is a fictional account) hinged on Pete's wife NOT consenting to the sex. Non-consensual sex is rape, even if they are married.

If you'd like to comment that you don't think the rape joke was a big deal, or that you thought it was funny, fine. But please refrain from rewriting the scene, which did in fact contain a rape joke (as long as you consider non-consensual sex to be rape).
<b>Kelsey Wallace, web editor</b>

<i>Ask me about our <a href="">Comments Policy</a>!</i>


As a woman with a sense of humor I think everyone should just relax. Part of joke making is dealing with uncomfortable situations to get a laugh. Sometimes that laugh is gotten out of nervousness, and sometimes it's a great big laugh that everyone can share jovially.
Maybe some day everyone who is upset about it can make their own hilarious television show and include a bunch of jokes about constant consensual, healthy, missionary sex, but I doubt that would be as funny.

Moff's Law

Hi Courtney,

The mission of Bitch Media is to provide a feminist response to pop culture. That means that we respond to pop culture from a feminist perspective, so no, we can't just relax when it comes to something like a rape joke made on prime time television. Are you familiar with <a href=" Law</a>? I think it applies here.

As far as everyone in this thread making their own hilarious television shows, I think that sounds awesome. The more hilarious television the better! Oh, and in my opinion it is possible to make funny jokes about consensual sex, but we might have to agree to disagree on that one.
<b>Kelsey Wallace, web editor</b>

<i>Ask me about our <a href="">Comments Policy</a>!</i>


I think it's ridiculous when I get excluded from the feminist club because I can have a sense of humor about things. The fact is that no one on the show got raped. They didn't rape someone and make a joke about it. They also didn't indicate that it's OK to rape someone. In fact it's pretty obvious that Tina Fey's character on the show feels that her co-workers actions were disgusting. THAT is the funny part- the awkward moment when someone brings up something disgusting thinking that it's totally cool. The point here is that it's been taken to an extreme, which is what comedy is all about. If you want to bring up Moff's Law and discuss something like 30 Rock as "art" then you should also acknowledge that comedy is an ART and they are allowed to express themselves in their medium as they see fit. The show's writers are clearly good at their art, because it made people feel uncomfortable.
If the audience wasn't thinking about the world, and how wrong rape is then the joke wouldn't be funny.

Also, with reference to Moff's Law: "If you really think people should just enjoy the movie without thinking about it, then why the fuck did you (1) click on the post in the first place, and (2) bother to leave a comment?" Because without other opinions you're just preaching to the choir, and that's kind of a bullshit way to live.

The bottom line is this: You don't think it's funny, then don't watch it. Is the real problem here that contemporary feminist icon Tina Fey has pulled the rug out from under all your contemporary feminist icon fantasies by proving herself to be one of the insensitive "them," and taking her away from the "us" that shall be heard to roar?

Get over it.

Re: Feminism


No one is excluding you from the "feminist club." The only thing I take issue with here is that you are denying that this was in fact a rape joke. It's fine if you think it's funny, but this joke was about someone being raped. Unless you have a different definition of rape than the one we're using (non-consensual sex=rape) then this was indeed a joke about rape, and someone was in fact raped on the show.

Also, no one is saying that the writers of 30 Rock aren't allowed to express themselves through rape jokes if that's how they want to express themselves. We're just saying that we don't find rape jokes funny. Which I don't. So please don't tell me to "get over it."
<b>Kelsey Wallace, web editor</b>

<i>Ask me about our <a href="">Comments Policy</a>!</i>


You do realize that he didn't say that he raped her, right? As someone commented earlier, perhaps this was an arranged situation between he and his wife. As gross as it is, you might just be reaching. And in that case, I think the real travesty here is that Pete has been so castrated by his "healthy, puritan marriage" that the only way he can achieve sexual release is to have sex with his wife while she sleeps so that she doesn't have to participate. Perhaps the real villain here is not Pete, Tina Fey, the writers on 30 Rock, but the American system of values that poo-poos divorce, open marriages, and free sexual expression.

There's no common ground for us here. Good day to you, ma'am.

"You do realize that he

"You do realize that he didn't say he raped her, right?" (quote from previous comment)

As someone who works with sexual assault cases, I just want to share some information. I think it is important for people to understand that rape is not determined by whether or not an alleged perpetrator claims they raped someone or even whether or not the person understands that they raped someone. By its legal definition it is sexual assault or rape if:

1. A person refuses sexual contact in any way
2. A person is substantially impaired by alcohol or drugs (legally consent is not possible if one or both participants are impaired)
3. A person is otherwise without the physical or mental capacity to give clear consent.

In addition, in order for a sexual act to not be considered assault or rape consent must occur for each sexual act. This means that even if there is an "arrangement" or "understanding" between partners that it is acceptable for one to have sex with the other while he/she is sleeping, if the partner who was sleeping decides to press assault or rape charges against the other for something that was done to him/her while he/she was sleeping, he/she could do so and would likely win the case. Each person legally has the right to give consent before any sexual act he/she is a part of with another person.

I hope that is helpful.

Okay, after reading this

Okay, after reading this comment and your other ones above, I WOULD, in fact, like to revoke your feminist card because, as eager as I am for healthy debate, I refuse to do so, or grant you legitimacy in my own mind at least, if you turn this around and try to say that Pete, the MALE, is the real victim here. Your argument is eerily similar to all too many rape cases because our culture unfortunately bends over backwards to defend perpetrators and justify their actions. Poor Pete! He is SO completely silenced and "whipped" in his marriage that he can't have the kind of sex he wants! Instead of listening to and respecting the limits his wife has set for herself and her body, he has to rape her in order to achieve sexual satisfaction! If only our culture embraced free sexual expression so he could find someone to do the stuff his wife won't do, and get himself out of this unimaginable plight! I'm all for opening up our value systems to include more variety in acceptable expressions of sexual desire and relationships, but not so that men aren't victimized...not so they don't find themselves in situations where they are FORCED to rape their wives because these women have made statements about what they want and don't want sexually.

Also, I agree with other commenters who mentioned that the episode is the only text we have to go on, and that there is no "arranged situation," no matter how desperately you want there to be one. However, just to bear with you for a second, your argument kind of falls apart when you try to say that his wife is simultaneously "puritan" and vanilla enough to have restrictions in her sex life, yet liberal and lax enough to have this "arrangement" with her husband where it's okay for him to rape her and that he can basically just disregard all regular rules when she's asleep (i.e. doesn't have to be gentle, etc).

I try to be open-minded and stay calm when I read the comments sections, because that's what they're here for. I try to (mentally) grant everyone the "feminist card," and I can handle people who disagree and express their opinions calmly and eloquently. But I just cannot bring myself to read this and not be outraged by the ignorance expressed in this post.

Send Tina your comments

Tina Fey will be on Bravo's 'Watch what Happens: Live' with Andy Cohen Thursday @ 10. You can call in or send questions on twitter to @BravoAndy. Maybe if enough questions/comments about it are submitted he'll bring it up on air?

Consent isn't always given in the moment

#1: People shouldn't make rape a joke.
#2: Consent is always necessary.
#3: I'm not sure I agree that being unconscious means you are being raped. Doesn't anyone else like to be woken up with sex? Call me naive, but it's possible to give consent in advance, right?

I'm having some problems with the characterization of consent in the second paragraph. The reason I'm having trouble with it is partly because of "apparently some people are into that." The tone is shaming, particularly because Dean follows it up with a very black-and-white characterization of consent. Please don't shame the kinds of sex that I enjoy, and in return I won't call you a prude. Okay?

I don't like the implication that if someone has sex with you while you are sleeping you have been raped. If I give someone consent to have sex with me while I'm asleep, I disagree that I have been raped, even if that consent was given in the form of "I really like it when people wake me up with sex" and even if I said that months before. I don't like being told that I'm unaware of when I have been raped, because I know what felt okay and what was a violation.

Taking advantage of someone is more complicated than whether or not they are in an altered state, and certainly not something that you can determine from the nature of the sex act itself. The question comes down to consent, not <i>how</i> people had sex with each other.

To put it another way, how many sex scenes do we see in which no one gives verbal consent but we assume that they are consenting?

What we should be talking about is the fact that he had sex with her in a way that she didn't like (rougher than usual) <i>while</i> she was unconscious. That's the real violation. The rest is assumption.

Oh fer chrissakes.

I'm getting tired of this appropriation of sex-positive language used as a justification for having sex with an unconscious person. If that means I'm guilty of "shaming," so be it. I think rapists <i>should</i> be ashamed.

It's not "sex-positive" to rely on consent that "isn't given in the moment." Rapists frequently - overwhelmingly - claim they were acting on consent that "isn't given in the moment." She took the drink I bought her, she's married to me, we did this last week and she was okay with it, etc. This sort of rationalization does not treat the object of this "sexual practice" as a person, whose desires can and do change at any moment. Consent, in a robust conception, must be ongoing and enthusiastic, not some commitment you can't go back on. An unconscious person can't give ongoing and enthusiastic consent, <i>because they are not aware of what is going on</i>. It's really that simple. Either the person you are fucking is a whole person who gets to exercise free will at every moment in a sexual encounter, or they are just an object for your use, which you try to justify with ex post facto "assumptions" (because yes, you are making them when you presume people are okay with this practice as a matter of course).

Thanks, Michelle

"I'm getting tired of this appropriation of sex-positive language used as a justification for having sex with an unconscious person. If that means I'm guilty of "shaming," so be it. I think rapists should be ashamed."

Thank you, Michelle. The same goes for "anti-PC language." People confuse what sex-positive means frequently. You can be sex-positive and morally outraged. In fact, I hope we can all be.

What makes funny

30 Rock is one of my favorite shows. I was disappointed overall by the quality of jokes in the premiere episode of the season (which I've been anticipating for months), though holding on to the hope that they will improve.

When Frank tells her the story, Liz Lemon imagines the sordid scene and says that it is the "most upsetting thing I've ever imagined" (or something to that effect). They then play the clip again, and she says it again. I winced at the first clip. I winced again. I did not laugh aloud, but the clip was successful insofar as I essentially sympathized with Fey's reaction. It was indeed "upsetting" (point - 30 Rock?) But I don't remember laughing, though I may have cracked an uncomfortable smile. We are meant to see Frank as pathetic - but then, his wife is clearly supposed to be communicated as unattractive and his marriage, dull, which plays into all the old "my marriage and wife are crusty" jokes, and may then be implicitly condoning the act (minus one point).

I love comedy. I love black comedy (Sarah Silverman is my one of my favorite comedians, because she usually gets it right). I even don't mind and even welcome feeling uncomfortable if the joke is not at the victim's expense - I think discomfort and surprise is often where good comedy lies. I'm unsure if this was good comedy. It made me uncomfortable, and in the sense that Frank was portrayed as pathetic, it scored well. But was it portrayed as abominable, rather than just kinda sad? No. Does it need to be portrayed as horrendous for us to find the act itself abominable? I'm not sure. Showing someone who perpetrates a sexual assault as pathetic, rather than just aggressive, may be actually exposing the character of some of these acts. Or it may be excusing it and not showing violence for what it is (my scoreboard is going haywire).

The joke is not entirely effective. As the author said, the fault of the joke may lie in the execution. Good comedy, and especially good black comedy, tends to take swipes not at the victim but at a larger idea, evil, ignorance, etc (as the author of this article states, "good, smart, incisive humor isn’t just about making people uncomfortable—it points outside the discomfort to some larger concept worth reconsidering, or thinking about). When 30 Rock wrote a bit where Jenna dressed up as a black man, and Tracy as a white woman, we were meant to see that these weren't equivalent jokes, and that narcissistic and shallow Jenna was ignorant as to the meaning of minstrelsy. And it was, flat out, hilarious.

It's not accurate for some people to assume that people who reacted badly are being blandly PC (a pejorative which is now thrown around by people who fancy themselves super edgy rather than ignorant to a whole host of real, human - rather than simply "political" - problems). The joke is not effective for many people (esp. those who have been victims of assault, or are sensitive to that and related issues), simply because it seems confused as to the punchline's target. Frank? The wife? Marriage? Rape?

Rape jokes do work sometimes. Sarah Silverman's got a great one (google "rape" plus "doctor" if you are curious), and it's funny in part because rape isn't (unfortunately some guy ignoramus decided to use the words "sarah silverman rapes american comedy" as a headline for an article on her, which is a flatly abhorrent title). 30 Rock (partly because of the cultural ignorance as to what rape is, as the author suggests) is not nearly as smart here.

I know I haven't read all the

I know I haven't read all the comments, but my question is would anyone be losing their shit if the roles were reversed? I've seen many a movie, tv episode, and I've been a part of many conversations where girls have admitted to having sexual contact with their unconscious or semi-conscious boyfriends/lovers. I've have never had anyone complain or bitch about how it's a violation to these men. Yet, on the other hand having sex with an unconscious female is just the most horrible thing in the world.

If my boyfriend had sex with me while I was asleep, yes, I'd feel violated. To add, I'd be vindicated by my peers and others for my feelings. But, flip those roles around and he'd be called a p*ssy, gay, weak, and a whole host of demeaning expletives.

relax - soapbox are slippery wet wet.

Pete's comment is so over-the-top and unrealistic: what woman could possibly remain asleep with a big man on top of her, sexing and roughing her up? If she wasn't into it, wouldn't she wake up and punch him in the face? Or maybe he bores her so much that it's easier for her to just feign sleep and get it over with... The amount of explanations are as countless as the personal preferences of the billions of the world's population. The entire scenario and its characters are portrayed in a pathetically ignorant, despicable light. The comedy lies in this fact - there are so many people out there who are pathetically ignorant and despicable. That's reality.

There is also humor in the stiff, unbending arguments that seem to want to perpetuate rape's victims remaining in the victim state. Part of the healing is getting over it. And yes, even being able to laugh at it. And laughing at the lamentation of victimization is a lot better than punching the lamentor in the face. Or is it? A good punch in the face can be a beautiful wake up call.

how DARE you

How dare you make statements about what "healing" is and what the components of that process are. How DARE you dictate to anybody what their healing should entail and what they should be able to do after how long or how they should feel about their rape experience. I hope you are never in the situation that women all over the world are in every single day, because then you'd get a "beautiful wake up call" when you realized that rape victims are rarely given the chance to BE victims, let alone to "remain in the victim state." Shame on you, what a disgusting thing to say.

Oh please. There are plenty

Oh please. There are plenty of women in the world who were the victims of sexual assault or rape but didn't let it destroy their lives. You can choose to be a victim for life or you can accept that someone had sex with you against your will but that you're alive & you're ok & life goes on.

all i want to say is that i

all i want to say is that i could have taken a rape joke, by itself the dialogue is funny and lemons' reaction is funny. BUT with the added "oh, yeah?" and the visuals it was shocking and i realized, this joke isn't funny AT ALL.

maybe that was intentional, maybe they want us to think about it, this show isnt entirely stupid and it could have been a commentary. i actually really doubt it was though, and that makes me sick to my stomach.


people actually watch 30 rock?

when is joking ok?

I have not seen the show but would like to share a general point on when "jokes about horrible things" are permissible and when not.

I believe a big factor is this: is it clear, that the person telling the joke is really condemning the act that is the topic of the joke? In this case that means the author of the show, and not Pete, because he is a fictional character only used as a vehicle for the joke. I confess that I sometimes laugh about rather dark jokes but that is the point that makes the difference.

For example, most women may make rape-jokes (if they feel the need to do so..), because it can usually be assumed that they absolutely deplore real-life-rape. They don't challenge the consensus and therefore the joke might be funny. But if, for example, a convicted rapist tells the same joke, then I certainly would not laugh, because it must be assumed that he does not mean it in the same way, since he already showed that he does not stand inside our social conventions, which ban rape.

A different example, but which shows the same principle, is this: I am a vegetarian. If meat-eating people make jokes about killing animals for food I find that seriouesly unfunny and think that they are tasteless idiots. If a fellow-vegetarian would make the same joke (which they sometimes, albeit seldom, do) it might be funny, because it would be clear that it is meant as a joke, and not a semi-conscious attempt at establishing an unethical meat-eating-consensus.

Which is, btw, often the intention behind jokes (at least I believe so): checking what the group thinks about a topic, i.e. making sure that they have the same values as oneself. You make a joke about something that might be controversial, and then check the signals of the listeners, to find out what they deem acceptable. And if the rape-joke can be attributed to this very mechanism then it is not funny at all.

All the best,

rape jokes are NEVER ok

.Rape survivors don't "get over it." They heal and move forward, their lives changed forever. Healing becomes more difficult when people make light of horror, whatever horror that may be. The only way this world will stop crumbling in on itself is if we start to love and respect each other the way God intended. Obviously, I'm late to the game, but I was horrified by some of the comments here. My fiance would never dream of disrespecting me in such a way when we are married. When did it become acceptable to so many people?

Get over yourself.

Jokes are jokes. You don't have to like them but you can't stop other people from liking them & you certainly can't stop people from telling them. If no one was allowed to joke about things that are offensive, well, there would be no comedy in the world at all.

So are you honestly going to

So are you honestly going to accept that a woman touching her husbands genitals without his express consent is sexual assault or rape? (which arguably it can be)

Of course you're not. You're feminists.

Grow up girls.

It's satire. It's art. It's

It's satire. It's art. It's playing on the fact that feminists actually hate men enough to believe they'd think something like this is perfectly ok. The joke is on the feminists this time. Bigots.

How is belittling human suffering funny?

When 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in her life jokes about rape are not funny. Joking about human suffering that is widespread is never funny. When 54% of assaults will not be reported to police we have a problem. Rape is the most underreported act of violence in the United States and possibly worldwide. Reasons for this are many but it comes down to women hearing jokes about rape, victim blaming etc and thinking they will not be taken seriously. This is not funny.

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