Friday, March 12, 2010

A Depraved (Yet Not New) Source of Entertainment

The entertainment industry goes to great lengths for our attention and our money. And we all love music, the Great Unifier. But I took a step back and realized that references to rape in our popular culture happen far more often than anyone would like. As a sequel to my previous blog post (I just couldn't hold back), here are more subtle and not-so-subtle, yet casual, references to rape.

There is, of course, the music industry and its contributions to casual pop references to rape. A blogger for the Washington City Paper compiled a list of the top five date rape anthems. At #5, she placed Jamie Foxx's "Blame It On The Alcohol." Yes, the song was played non-stop on the radio for quite some time, but it saddens me that Jamie Foxx would encourage his listeners to take advantage of drunk women. As if an attractive man like him, or any man for that matter, should "do" a drunk girl without a second thought.

This reminded me of a comedic movie released just last year, Observe and Report.

A usually hilarious actor, Seth Rogan, stars in this as a mall security officer who is supposed to be protecting actress Anna Farris' character from a streaker. Case in point: the two go on a date, she gets horribly drunk, stumbles around, throws up, and Rogan's character still proceeds to have sex with her. Some may claim it was consensual; after all, in the brief pause when Rogan asks himself "Is she unconscious?" Farris' character drunkenly complains for him to keep going.

Glad we cleared that up. Total consent on the nearly-passed-out girl's part! But seriously? Rape is a source of comedy now? I wonder how many people paid 10 bucks to see that and felt they had gotten their money's worth...

But back to Date Rape Anthems of our time. A song blogger Amanda Hess chose for her list is by once-popular ska band Sublime's "Date Rape," which documented a girl who wen through the experience, and her struggle and legal battle to punish the rapist. The song would seem not to fit here, but the end of it advocated prison rape, another horrible yet common phenomenon in our society. "Well, I can't take pity on men of his kind...Even though he now takes it in the behind.” Oh, Sublime, you almost had me.

A final moment in date rape song history, and I do mean history, confused me at first. "Baby, It's Cold Outside." Yes, from back in 1944, and it has stuck around until today, a popular Christmas time song, sung by a woman who plans on going home, and a man insisting that she stay. Will Ferrell's character sang it in the adorable movie "Elf," and I doubt countless generations considered the lyrics. I had a look, and realize now that this song is one of the first of its kind to perpetuate the idea that, if a woman says "no" once, just keep plugging away. She'll give in eventually. *nausea*

Have a look:

The neighbors might thinkBaby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink
No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell
I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
Mind if I move a little closer
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
What’s the sense in hurting my pride
I really can’t stay—Baby don’t hold out
Ahh, but it’s cold outside

I'll be looking out my window the next time it snows at night, and I'll wonder "How many women are being convinced, right now, that trying to get home in the snow is a horrible idea and wouldn't they rather have a few more drinks and 'cuddle by the fire'?" Or the heating vent, in most cases...

Unless the snow storm is anything like the blizzard the DC area saw this winter, I want to go back to the days of this picture, when the song first came out, and tell this lovely woman, "His ego is the delicate one, not you! Close up that mink coat and get on home, miss!"

Photo credit: cemetarian at Flickr


Angels Undercover and Undiscovered said...

Thank you for saying something about this. I also very much dislike how some people will use the word rape very liberally. For instance I've had people tell me "That math exam just raped me." That makes me so mad inside because they don't know the definition of that word and therefore are disrespecting every survivor by using it inappropriately. Thank you again~Sydney Smith @SydneySmithAUU

ilona globa said...

You're welcome, Sydney. And thanks for reading the FMF blog.

I'm saddened too, by how easy it was to find references to rape in so many parts of our media and pop culture. My younger sister is 16, and I hear kids in her generation (and mine as well, sadly) throwing around the words "retarded" and "gay" as insults. It's disheartening that "rape" is now a commonly culturally misused verb, too. However, language changes constantly, at least in popular culture. Let's hope this is just a speech fad and won't last.