Author Emily Dietle
My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks
An annual tradition in many American households is the ‘White Elephant’ gift exchange. Everyone brings an anonymous gift and a rambunctious game of thievery ensues; there’s usually a broad range of great gifts to vie for, and almost always a gag gift or two mixed in. This year’s game at the annual family Christmas party was gearing up, when one participant unwrapped the token prank. Bikini clad, with an absurdly endowed bosom, a female figurine reclining on a plastic beach was packaged in a brightly labeled cardboard box. Uncomfortable giggles were had by all after the person opening the package announced it was a pen holder. Guess where the pen goes? It was crude humour, but nothing too harmful, at first — just a room full of adults uncomfortable with sex.
Take note of the “different moods” and “twelve funny phrases” Mrs. All Bust features. When on the default setting, the “beach babe” moans in delight at pen penetration, and poorly recorded digital squeals of ecstasy abound. Switch it to the second setting and the manufacturer’s abhorrent idea of “moods” quickly becomes apparent. The little device was passed around the party, when one person discovered this feature. It’s not the expected stereotype of “Honey, I have a headache” that sounds, but cries of a woman being raped. A small crowd of interested parties were gathered around the gizmo, poking at the plastic victim, raucous laughter bouncing off of the paneled walls as she screams one of the “twelve funny phrases, “help, help.” I was shocked. These are people that I admire, respect, and would not expect them to be entertained by such barbarism.
Expressing my disgust and stating that rape is not a laughing matter, I was told to “settle down,” that this gag was “hilarious” and that I was “being too sensitive.” This from men and women alike, of varying ages. Imagine if it were a plastic representation of a woman tied up, and the entertainment came from slashing at her with a knife. That would be a culture of violence. There I sat, surrounded by laughter, myself fuming and sickened in silence. The words echoed in my skull. I’ve heard it before, though until that moment, I hadn’t fully understood the phrase. People laughing—joking—condoning forceful penetration, engaging in a toy representation of the trivialized act. Rape culture.
Category: Women & Equality