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Feminspire | April 21, 2014

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Why Your Justin Bieber Prison Jokes Perpetuate Rape Culture

Why Your Justin Bieber Prison Jokes Perpetuate Rape Culture

| On 25, Jan 2014

Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault

Rape is never a laughing matter.

Sexual violence isn’t funny, no matter to whom it is happening.

Jokes about prison rape are no exception – they’re not funny, and circulating them contributes to rape culture.

All genders suffer under rape culture. When sexual violence is treated as a laughing matter, as a “simple” form of bullying (as in the case of Internet trolling), or as what some people “deserve,” then rape culture flourishes. When rape culture flourishes, we all suffer.

Rape culture designates certain human beings (e.g., those designated as “feminine”) as prey. Under rape culture, the non-alpha male is at risk of sexual violence, just as everything else labeled as “pussy.” Rape culture is a product of oppression-based power hierarchies, which is pretty much the main organizational structure of most societies on planet Earth throughout history. And rape culture is why people mistakenly think it’s a harmless bit of fun to circulate Justin Bieber’s mugshot with captions such as:  “He’s going to make some man in the prison system very happy!”

Bieb Meme Rape Culture

Non-consensual sodomy, or other non-consensual sexual contact, is sexual violence. I don’t care how much you hate the Bieb, joking about his potential future experience of sexual violence is not funny, not acceptable, not humane. Joking about rape culture contributes to rape culture.

If you are circulating jokes about sexual violence, then you are part of the problem – you are feeding rape culture instead of starving it out of existence.

Prison rape is no laughing matter. Despite that there are pedophiles and sexual predators that deserve to suffer on par to the suffering they’ve caused, jokes about sexual violence in prisons only serve to subject people who don’t deserve the pinnacle of society’s revenge to sexual violence within institutions of incarceration. Adults and children of all genders are at risk from the callousness that results from the benign participation in oppression. And prison rape is a crime as well as a human rights violation.

Locking a human being inside a cell does not remove their inherent human rights. All human beings have the right to be free from sexual violence. And there is absolutely nothing funny about sexual violation.

So the next time you’re tempted to participate in the spreading of this type of harmful meme, remember that doing so makes you complicit in rape culture. So long as rape culture exists, so long as rape jokes circulate, no one is safe.

And you might be next.

Written by Sherrie Silman
Check out her blog, Solace Sylum, or follow her on Twitter!

  • Sherrie

    My position is plainly stated within the article.
    Your current difficulties are with the inferences you are applying to the text, for which you will have to concoct your own solutions.

    • Dellappledated

      You either are being obtuse, have a poor grasp on the English language, or both.

    • Ddaisy

      To be honest, I read it the same way as Dellappledated. As you said, your position was very clear in the rest of the article, which is why I was confused by that sentence, as was Dellappledated. With all due respect, I would suggest perhaps re-wording that sentence for greater clarity.

      In every other aspect though, this is a great article and I agree with you whole-heartedly!

  • Ad

    I have a right to make fun of that obnoxious little twit and I will exercise it! You are probably a fan of this untalented mess, believe in giving him a pass for everything he does including criminal activity and don’t like when your prince is ridiculed. This article is bias toward a lousy pop star an not much moreover

  • malajah

    I really do not think that is funny to be in jail I am about to put a picture of me on here

  • Molly Elizabeth

    “he’s gonna make some man in prison very happy ” only possibly *implies* rape, it’s not explicit.