Hear Me Roar (PG-13)

I’m mad.
I’m not just like stub my toe mad.
I’m like I want to go picketing, flip cars and yell in the streets mad.

I’m woman. Hear me roar. 

I recently went to a stand-up comedy open mic at a local bar. I have a good friend and some acquaintances that were performingyoung-man-in-shirt-keeps-in-hands-microphone-thumb14577597 and I wanted to see them because they’re dang funny.

The problem with any open mic night, is that the MC and/or place of business have (or fail to execute) very little control over who says what once they get their grubby little hands on the mic.

Now, I’ve been to an open mic before. I knew that there would be content intellectually and morally sub-par than I would care to listen to and it’s always been a mixed bag of the profane and hilarious.

But, last night got to me.

Person after person took the stage and the content got gruesome.
Below are a few of the lowlights:

  • How disgusting women’s menstrual cycles are & how they get in the way of what men need, want & deserve
  • Allusions to a father having sex with his daughter.
  • Graphic & explicit descriptions of male & female genitalia and how to use them to get what you want.
  • And finally…RAPE.

Rape. A wannabe comic joked about raping his girlfriend.

I’m fairly certain (perhaps, hopeful is a better word) that this young man hasn’t actually and isn’t actually going to rape his girlfriend. But, rape should never be a joke. Incest should never be funny. Degrading the gift that is woman should never be the point of ridicule.

I don’t know if these men and women behind the mics had terrible childhoods, lacked nurturing parents, struggle with abuse, were victims themselves or are simply complacent.

But, what I do know is, we live in a culture that laughs when it should be shouting.

After the guy joked about raping his girlfriend, a woman got out of her seat and shouted, “That’s NOT funny.” The comic, who had since cavalierly moved from rape onto a new joke, asked her from stage why she didn’t think the new joke was funny and she said, “NO! F*&#ing rape isn’t funny!” and then stormed out of the bar.

I wanted to applaud her. I wanted to walk out too.

People-LaughingYou know what was even more infuriating than the dude on stage touting rape? Almost everyone in the bar was laughing at the woman who walked out.
Their laughter was guttural, intentional and belittling. We all knew she could hear the cackles from the parking lot.

…and that’s why they laughed louder.

Maybe some laughed to calm the obvious tension. Perhaps some laughed because they thought the woman prude. Some may have laughed because they had been victimized themselves and felt uncomfortable. Others may have laughed because their hearts were so thick and calloused they didn’t actually see the problem.

We didn’t laugh.

My friends and I were shocked, sorry and enraged, but we stayed. We wanted to hear our friend’s attempts to redeem the stage and shed some light in the thick darkness. My friends were funny, but my stomach was sick. No amount of humor could mend what had just been said, done and witnessed.

For the first time in a long time, I felt weak as a woman.

I understand I may be more sensitive to these issues than others because of my faith, moral convictions and personal experience with the issue of date rape.
But, I would hope that if asked, most women and men would feel as angry as I do about this subject. I would hope that most people wouldn’t laugh about rape and victimization and that they would stand up and shout against it.

But, I can still hear the echoes of their laughter.

We live in a culture that jokes about raping women, slipping roofies and taking advantage of moms, sisters, wives and friends. We live in Soakinginita culture that sees no problem in forcing a hand, verbal or otherwise.

We live in a culture that allows the media to saturate us with portrayals of women as objects, play things and worse yet, disposable. People are shocked at the story of the boys convicted of rape in Steubenville, but it’s happening in our cities too.

We’ve become calloused to what should shock us and mock what we should stand up for.

Our culture thinks it’s cute when a company like Victoria Secret targets teens (and let’s be honest, tweens) for their ‘Bright Young Things’ line in their ‘PINK’ (ugh…as if that name is just for the Pantone color.) collection. We giggle at young girls buying panties with “I Dare You” and “Call Me” written on their bottoms and crotches. We point and playfully, “tsk, tsk, tsk” at beach towels that tease passerbys and showcase unveiled messages and bodies on them.

We shop and endorse a “women’s” company that calls women…’THINGS.’

And with all that I’ve ranted about today and pages upon pages more, we all can’t seem to SEE the correlation between all of this muck and the rise of date rapes, forced rapes, abuse, teen pregnancies, abortions, suicides, depression and human trafficking.

What is wrong with us!?

lion_roarIt’s time for men to stand up to other men for joking about rape and abuse. It’s time for men to grow up and be courageous enough to be respectful, chivalrous and safe.

It’s time for women to stop thinking they have to use or give up their bodies to get love and attention. It’s time for women to understand that sexually objectifying themselves in the name of the upper hand, in turn, only encourages the cycle of depravity to continue.

It’s time for men and women to revel in inner beauty, modesty, mutual respect and true love. It’s time to take a stand against rape, abuse, destruction and injustice.

Attention Ladies and Gentlemen.
It’s time to ROAR!

(Video clip from the 1976 movie, Network.)

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20 Comments

  1. Great post; you’re right it isn’t and wasn’t funny. I wish those topics were NOT ‘jokes’ either.
    This isn’t excusing the ‘laughing’ sounds I made, but sometimes laughter comes out of anxiety. Or, “I can’t believe he/she just said that”.
    But still, this article was [is] sobering and convicting. Thank you for sharing and for enlightening me.

  2. Love and totally agree. As the mother of a 17 year old girl and 11 yr old boy it is very disturbing what is considered “okay” in “polite” society.

  3. This is not a new phenomenon though. This is as old as the idea that women are fundamentally built to service men. We have been this callous for ages. The only difference is that the masks are off.
    I would have yelled as well and walked and so should anyone else with a conscience.

    1. Hey Carl! You’re right…it is old. It’s just that one would think we would be a little further along in 2013. Many who stayed (including me) have consciences, but for various reasons stayed. I’m glad I did for the simple fact that I got to have the insight for this post. However, I doubt I’ll go back to an open mic anytime soon.

      I love your heart, Carl!

      1. sorry, my intent was not to implicate you or your friends in not having a conscience. i meant simply that its time for everyone with a conscience to start taking direct and obvious action that calls the assumptions of these perpetrators and those who abet them into question.

  4. Well written response. Vulgar talk and criminal behavior isn’t funny. That kind of “comedy” is just one block over from the Roman coliseums.

  5. That is disgusting. It does give you an idea how far down the gutter society has fallen though when that subject matter is considered funny by some people. Yep Mandy, I am pretty sure I would have hit the roof myself had I been witness to it.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with this post. About the Stuebenville OH crime, an acquaintance was lamenting to me about how “they should go after whoever gave those kids that liquor – THAT’s the crime”. I was stunned. I had to explain (rather emphatically) that rape isn’t a result of teen drinking, but a crime of violence against women. I had to explain that??? Are we seriously no further mentally advanced in 2013?

    1. Hi MN! Thanks for reading. That grieves my heart. We, as a culture, need to take responsibility in our actions, or lack thereof, stand up and rise above this mess. Good job for explaining this. We assume too much of people sometimes. Way to go!

    2. MN you are spot on in your horror and disbelief. these are the kinds of excuses (alcohol, clothes being worn, etc.) that are floated in order to avoid the real problems: women as property or pleasure object and men as trapped by their desires.
      any man trapped by his desires is a man in need of real nurturing, discipline, and help. he doesn’t need someone making excuses for his behavior. my personal internal desires may fly all over the place, and i often let them, but my actions are *severely* delimited in a desire not to wound the Other.

  7. im sorry to keep posting, but i do want to reemphasize the point that this is not the ‘depravity of modern culture’ or the terrors resulting from taking prayer out of school. women have been treated far worse by far more conservative societies than our own. (and in some places still are.)

    however, as you point out in your response to me M. one would hope that in 2o13 these attitudes towards women would be done away with. i reemphasize this because i think its a red herring to go chasing after metaphysical issues when the solution to the problem lies right in front of you (pun intended).

    1. I agree that this isn’t just a modern culture issue. There’s so much to expound upon on this issue and it would take more than me and my measly blog of a thousand or so words to articulate such a cavernous topic. I appreciate your comments…all of them! :)

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