July 9, 2014

"There's a gray area of rape, and I call it 'grape.'"

Amy Schumer explained to NPR a couple weeks ago.
Most women I know that I'm close to have had a sexual experience that they were really uncomfortable [with]. If it wasn't completely rape, it was something very similar to rape. And so I say it's not all black and white.
Hence her portmanteau word combining "gray" and "rape" — "grape."
It's the guy you went home with in college, and you said, 'No,' and then he still did it, or maybe you woke up and it was someone you were dating. ...

"There's just so many different things that can happen, so it's not always this, 'Well, you're going to jail and that's it.' There's other stuff where it's like, 'Wow, it would be so much work, and it would be such a life-changer for me to ... press charges or take any action against this person.' But every girl I know has had some experience that is kind of like 'grape.' "
I noticed that this morning, through this Ozy piece that caught my eye: "The Only Kind of Rape Jokes That Work." What kind of rape jokes are those, you may ask? Well, first of all, I thought George Carlin already answered that with: "Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd." (From a great "I believe you can joke about anything" rant.) But Ozy's not talking about George Carlin. Ozy's talking about a female comedian named Ever Mainard, who has a "Here’s Your Rape" routine that I attempted to watch. I didn't get to the funny part. We were invited to inhabit the lead-up to the funny part by identifying with the experience of being a woman, walking alone, late at night. I get the picture, but I'm not having fun yet. Anyway, that did cause me to remember an old Elaine Boosler routine:
I'm walking in New York with my boyfriend, and he says, 'Gee, it's a beautiful night, let's go down by the river.' I said, 'What are you, nuts? I'm not going down by the river! It's midnight, I'm wearing jewelry, I'm carrying money, I have a vagina with me...
Googling to get the exact wording, I discover lots of writing on the theme of that Ozy article, how to tell a rape joke, explained from what we're assured is a feminist perspective. I didn't want to read them. The Ozy article has (at the moment) exactly one comment, from "Johnson Lancaster · Works at Progressive Emporium & Education Center" — now, that's funny! — and he says: "This is very disturbing. I do not think joking about rape is beneficial in any way at all." Good working theory, Johnson, especially while working at the Progressive Emporium.

The Ozy article also has a red banner under the title that begins "Why you should care," which is the standard format at Ozy.

For example, "Why you should care" about "Miami's Hottest Chef Cooks Up 'Stoner Food' for the Masses" is: "Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli isn’t afraid to get experimental and inventive with his cooking — or his attitude." Hmm. I should care, because he's not afraid, and he's experimental and inventive and has attitude. I should care... but I don't.

And Ozy tells me I should care about "The Only Kind of Rape Jokes That Work" because: "Is it OK to laugh at rape jokes? Is it OK to even make them? Yes, but proceed carefully."

The truth is "Why you should care" is just Ozy-speak for "here's our subtitle, in case our title hasn't hooked you." 

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Subcategories of Grape:

Grapefruit.
Grape Nehi.
Grapes of Wrath.
Grey Poupon.

I will not explain in detail.

Levi Starks said...

How much you wanna bet most men have had a sexual experience they were uncomfortable with?

rhhardin said...

It's not a good joke unless women are uncomfortable with it.

gerry said...

Is grape different than rape rape? You know, like with a minor in Whoopi Goldberg's universe?

rhhardin said...

As ye rape so shall ye sow.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to go over to Slate's XX, or maybe even take a university level ethics course to see if its ok to laugh at this.

rhhardin said...

Uncomfortable fruit: pear.

dix said...

A guy is walking down the street and sees something in the woods. He investigates and finds a guy, naked and tied face down to a fallen tree. He asks him what happened and the guy replied he picked up a hitchhiker who pulled a gun and stole his car, his wallet and his clothes then tied him to this tree. The first guy starts unbuckling his pants and says "well, this just isn't your day, is it?'

See, rape jokes can be funny

rhhardin said...

Uncomfortable French words: apr├Ęs

B said...

My girlfriend was fondling me the other morning. I asked her if I could go back to sleep. She said, "no." I was graped.

rhhardin said...

50 shades of grape.

Anonymous said...

Actually, scratch that. I'll wait for the pop-neuroscience explanatory piece on laughter at NPR, let a few good feminist jokes float through my mind, and maybe have a good chuckle then.

SGT Ted said...

"Grey area of rape" actually means "Not Rape, but I feel slutty for what I did and need to find an out for my shame".

When guys have uncomfortable sex, its called "beer goggles" or "coyote ugly" and we laugh at our slutty selves.

When women have it, they are ashamed to the point of accusing innocent men of rape with no qualms about the accusation, but plenty of qualms about having fucked him in the first place.

rhhardin said...

Women: chase the crues away.

Grue is an old philosopy term for blue before year 2000 and green thereafter. What evidence do you have, the old argument went, that the sky is not in fact grue?

That is why women drop out of philosophy. It makes the grue.

rhhardin said...

Grape is the rape area of grey.

Larry J said...

Levi Starks said...

How much you wanna bet most men have had a sexual experience they were uncomfortable with?


"Coyote Ugly" comes to mind. In a college environment, even if a man is drunk enough to take a coyote ugly woman to bed, if she had even one drink, the man can be charged with rape. Strong, empowered independent women are too fragile to handle alcohol or be responsible for their own actions so the man is always responsible no matter how drunk he may be.

Women have rights while men have responsibilities.

And "Coyote Ugly" should be a defense.

Martha said...

Grape is not rape.

Grape is a sexual encounter the woman, in retrospect, wishes she had squelched before it went too far.

Women have to get better at protecting themselves from grape. My twenty-something nieces think if they say no at any point in a sexual encounter the male will honor their request. Not the way women thought in the sixties or seventies as I remember dating in that era.

Drago said...

There is simply no effective way to categorize whether or not a rape/rape-rape/grape has taken place until you identify the political persuasion of the male involved.

William said...

Prison rape among men is considered quite droll. How many rape jokes have you heard about Bernie Madoff versus such jokes about Martha Stewart?...... It's always amusing to poke fun at men who get raped. That's what George Carlin's bit about Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd was all about. Elmer Fudd carries a gun and is probably a member of the NRA. In the liberal ethos, that's the equivalent of wearing a miniskirt and too much make up. A guy like Elmer Fudd is just begging for a rape joke.......Feminism has expanding boundaries. Within a year, jokes about Hillary Clinton's ankles will be considered as offensive to the sensibilities of women as rape jokes about Mother Theresa.

BDNYC said...

"It's the guy you went home with in college, and you said, 'No,' and then he still did it"

NOT a gray area.

But there are ambiguous sexual encounters that disproportionately happen to people who drink to excess.

Mark O said...

As a pure matter of criminal law with heavy penalties, these are chilling ruminations on the discretion afforded a woman to claim rape.

Does every sexual encounter now need to be videoed?

Fernandinande said...

Grey Poupon of Wrath.

"You rape 'em, we scrape 'em." -- Joe's "Family Planning" Clinic

tim in vermont said...

"It's not a good joke unless women are uncomfortable with it." --rhhardin

I have always said the same thing about Hemingway. When I went to college anyway, it was very fashionable for women not to like him. Probably now nobody reads him anymore, but I always thought that the fact that women didn't like him validated his writing in some subyle way.

Anonymous said...

Prison-rape jokes are sure-fire winners.

Married women may be more familiar with drape, where your husband takes advantage while you're preoccupied with how to redo the living room.

tim in vermont said...

My question is "Is grape different than "legitimate rape"?

Todd said...

gerry said...
Is grape different than rape rape? You know, like with a minor in Whoopi Goldberg's universe?
7/9/14, 9:35 AM


Does that also mean that we now have "grape grape"?

Doug said...

As famous writer Dan Jenkins wrote,"Women ... if it weren't for pussy, there'd be a bounty on 'em".

pduggie said...

If you notice, the "guy" Ever Mainard mentions is black so the rape joke is ok if it's racist.

traditionalguy said...

Rape means to grab something and carry it off. Kidnapping is rape followed by ransom negotiations. While rape followed by forced sex is usually called the Crime of Rape with a capital R. The IRS has rape powers. Sheriffs have rape powers called arrest.

The political women are now wanting society to call a suggestion of sex made to them from a friend or a date also rape, by mind control, I suppose.

Michael said...

We are to understand that the "gray" area of rape is that part of a sexual encounter that is not rape but which you think could be rape but is too much trouble to take to the police and explain that it is rape but not really.

Apparently there is rather a large group of women who are not very comfortable with modern life and whose upbringings did not prepare them for very basic tribulations. I count myself lucky that I do not know any of these women personally because I have lost all tolerance for stupidity and for frailties that bump up against psychosis.

Brando said...

Good for Schumer making a sensible point on this issue.

When can a rape joke be funny? When it's funny. Because "funny" is subjective, it is pointless to say that anything "can't" be funny as no one can make that sort of judgment. It'd be like saying "when can saxophone music be good" or "when can tall women be attractive". The most you can say is "I don't find rape jokes funny" which is fine if that's your humor blind spot.

SJ said...

Perhaps society should have some sort of official, two-people-in-a-committed-relationship ceremony.

To encourage people to keep their sexual activity within a clearly-defined arena in which both understand the level of consent.

And society at large can approve, or disapprove, on that basis.

Rather than have all this confusing "if I'm uncomfortable afterwards, was it rape?", and "it's in a gray zone" discussion.

Or would that be too...old-school?

Sam L. said...

Never heard of Ozy, and clearly there's no need for me to look for them.

Bruce Hayden said...

Is grape different than rape rape? You know, like with a minor in Whoopi Goldberg's universe?

This stuff is starting to get a bit old. The women take absolutely no responsibility for their own actions, and then whine when guys do what guys do. And have done for probably hundreds of thousands of years. The idea that a woman can safely sleep in the same bed with a guy they aren't married to or related to is ludicrous. Sure, most of the time they are probably ok. But, get the guy drunk, or maybe just horny, and then maybe not as safe.

Sure, we could go to a feminist inspired environment where you need explicit, maybe even written, permission for each step along the way to sexual intimacy. But, there are going to be just as many frustrated females then as males. The problem is that most women appear to be wired to be the passive one in courtship. And males wired for the aggressive role. And, the women actually like being in the role of the party controlling the speed of intimacy. Which is probably part of why so many young women today need to (intentionally) get drunk at social events and the like, so that they can override their innate passive nature and get laid.

And, I think, making things worse for the sisterhood, there are plenty of women who essentially take of their pants and say get it over with, when pushed for too long to have sex. That is their way of getting to sleep. Is that "grape"? There was explicit permission.

Still, I am having a hard time reconciling Amy thinking of herself as slutty, and then whining because of this grape/rape stuff. Being a bit slutty, she finds herself in situations that a good girl wouldn't, and then whines about the consequences. Something like that.

mikee said...

As I told my daughter, who was well trained in martial arts as a teen, "If you say NO and he doesn't stop, you are free to stop him. If a loud HELL NO won't do it, go for his eyes, bite him hard, leave bloody marks on his face from your fingernails. Because I don't want to kill the wrong kid when I find out."

There, that was my rape joke. I don't think it was funny.

Unknown said...

I had heard Grape was when there were a bunch of them.

From "Office Space"
Michael Bolton: We get caught laundering money, we're not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison.

Obviously different standard for male-on-male rape.

Brando said...

"Perhaps society should have some sort of official, two-people-in-a-committed-relationship ceremony.

To encourage people to keep their sexual activity within a clearly-defined arena in which both understand the level of consent."

How would this solve anything? As advanced consent can always be rescinded, there'd still be the issue of whether both parties consented to sex.

There are certainly gray areas in determining whether rape has occurred--and that's why it still comes down to a factual question. What were the circumstances in each case?

richlb said...

Heh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow7pwIDhl5c

Bruce Hayden said...

"It's the guy you went home with in college, and you said, 'No,' and then he still did it"

NOT a gray area.


I may disagree. Not sure here, given the lack of detail.

The problem is back to my previous post of passive/aggressive roles in an initial sexual relationship. A lot of females like to get pushed into sex by a guy that they want to have sex with. Getting carried away with love and other emotions is much preferable to the calculation required otherwise. So, the problem is that a lot of initial sexual encounters often involved, or at least used to involve, a lot of "nos", until she finally relents. And, the relenting wasn't usually verbal, but just acquiescing. But, you knew that it was what she wanted, because of her passion, once you got to that place.

So, the unanswered question for me is whether she said "no" once, or multiple times, and whether she acted like she was not interested, or just went along with it.

The problem, at least to me, is that feminists seem to want to remove this reality of the innate passive/aggressive role of many/most women in sexual relationships when inconvenient. When many, if not most, women expect the guy to keep trying until they "persuade" the women into having sex, thinking that they will be safe with a single "no" in a compromising position ignores the natural expectations of many/most males that they just need a little more persuasion and are playing hard to get. But, not too hard to get, because they don't put an end to it (by climbing out of bed, etc.)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

BDNYC said...

"It's the guy you went home with in college, and you said, 'No,' and then he still did it"

NOT a gray area.


NOT enough information. What happened between the 'No' and the doing it? If he didn't use force or the threat of force then how did he still do it? If you are cooperating in the process ( absent the threat of force ) then isn't it both of you that are doing it?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I had one girl that I dated who told me, after a make-out session, that when I had done X she almost slapped me in the face. She decided not to, however, because she was afraid that if she did, I might stop what I was doing.

The phrase Crazy in the head, crazy in bed was coined with her in mind.

Brando said...

"NOT enough information. What happened between the 'No' and the doing it? If he didn't use force or the threat of force then how did he still do it? If you are cooperating in the process ( absent the threat of force ) then isn't it both of you that are doing it?"

Exactly why it's always going to be fact-dependent. What exactly were the circumstances? I could take a sliver of information about any sexual encounter and it could sound like rape, or a different sliver of information could sound like it couldn't possibly be rape. Exactly why investigations and due process rights are important in establishing whether a crime has taken place.

I think of the example George Will used in his controversial recent column, where the accuser claims she had sex but didn't want to, had said "no" but then "let him" go ahead anyway. Readers of the column were all over the place as to whether that was rape or not--for some it was obviously rape as she'd never said yes, for others it couldn't be rape if by "letting him" have sex with her she had done something that could be considered consent. For the rest of us, we needed more information--how long after she said "no" did she "let him" and what did "letting him" actually mean?--to make any sort of judgment in that case. Which is why it's better for juries to decide such cases rather than Internet commenters.

Bruce Hayden said...

The phrase Crazy in the head, crazy in bed was coined with her in mind.

I think that many of us have women like that in their pasts. Great sex, but very quickly, the crazy starts to invade the rest of your life.

That said, I seem to bring out the crazy in otherwise very level headed women. I think that I attract a certain class of very bright, driven women, who ultimately discover that I am not what they expected. The passion that they loved is as easily turned towards my other loves, like computers, law, and, yes, blogging. So, yes, I have been the recipient of physical abuse by women who were horrified that they could lose their tempers to that extent.

Still, back to the crazy ones - they are the type you remember, and are glad you got out without leaving much skin behind.

jr565 said...

There are no laws against "Graping" people. If it's not rape, then it's not rape. And too many men in particular get charged with rape when it really amounts to a grape scenario. Especially on college campuses.

SJ said...

@Brando,

well, most of the gray area cases I've heard about happen outside such relationships...

Is the core issue whether or not a formal "now in a relationship" step exists?

Or whether there is a clear, socially-accepted script that helps delineate good pathways from bad pathways?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Grape jelly, for lubrication

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Grape jelly, for lubrication

Sure beats the chunky peanut butter.

Brando said...

"well, most of the gray area cases I've heard about happen outside such relationships...

Is the core issue whether or not a formal "now in a relationship" step exists?

Or whether there is a clear, socially-accepted script that helps delineate good pathways from bad pathways?"

Problem is I don't think you can get everyone to agree on what the tacit socially accepted script would be. There was a time when a woman could not charge her husband with rape, because he was her husband, but obviously no one could argue that by marrying someone you are agreeing to total ongoing consent to sex for all the time you remain married.

All factors have to be taken into account--do the two people know each other? Were both parties capable of actual consent? Was there an opportunity to withdraw consent that was not taken? What was said and done by each party?--those are what any factfinder would have to look at if there's a rape accusation after the fact.

As for looking forward, with all this noise it's understandable for men and women to wonder what risks they are getting into when such situations arise. On the whole, I'd say use your common sense--it won't guarantee that you won't be raped or accused of rape, but it's all you can do short of walking around with waiver forms and taking signatures.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Uh, duh, you guys, did no one read Planned Parenthood v Casey? Kennedy said "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe..." Obviously this liberty belongs (only) to women and obviously they can therefore define as rape whatever they choose.

tim in vermont said...

I just heard a rape joke not too long ago that I laughed at.

A man went out in the woods with a .22 to shoot squirrels. He sees a bear and shoots it. It just makes the bear mad, and the bear comes over, grabs him, says "you are going to pay for that." and lays him across a log and rapes him.

The man is really mad. He comes back to the woods the next day with a shotgun, finds the bear, shoots him with the shotgun. Same thing happens, except this time he is already pretty sore.

The next day, the man gets a rifle, hunts down the bear and shoots him. The bear turns around, comes over to the man grabs him and says "This is not about the hunting, is it?"

Ba dump bump.

Revenant said...

Most women I know that I'm close to have had a sexual experience that they were really uncomfortable [with].

If that counts as rape, female-on-male rape is a LOT more common than one would think...

n.n said...

The grape scenario bears a remarkable resemblance to the upregnancy scenario. Both follow from elective behaviors.