Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ke$ha and Rolling Stone treat rape as a joke

 Image: A piece from Rolling Stone entitled "3OH!3's Summer of Love".  A picture of the band is on the left. The text of the piece is posted in the comments.

Ke$ha, noted pop singer, appropriator of native culture, and false ally of trans woman can apparently add maker of rape jokes to her CV, according to this month's Rolling Stone (to which I am suddenly getting a subscription I didn't particularly want). During the recording of her current hit with Nat Motte and Sean Foreman of 3OH!3, “My First Kiss”, Motte said “She called Sean a little bitch and told [producer] Dr. Luke she wanted to rape me.”

I’m not going to question Ke$ha’s use of a slur against women to describe a man; bitch is her word to re-claim, I suppose.

But rape is not funny. Making a faux rape threat doesn’t show how outrageous she is. All it shows is that she is only concerned with impressing men by utilizing violence as humor recklessly.

Rolling Stone’s printing of this as a hilarious joke is particularly disturbing because it suggests that sexual violence against men is so unlikely as to be hilarious. Sexual violence is done to men, and it’s not hilarious. As Cara wrote:
The increasing pop cultural change from women victims as the butt of rape jokes to male victims is only indicative of a shift in cultural attitudes towards gender, but not towards the normalcy and acceptability of non-consensual sexual conduct in general. When rape is still being portrayed as normal, no matter who the victim, rape culture is being heavily reinforced — and it’s not just the butt of the joke who is affected. It is a danger to us all, and it is the absolute last thing that needs to be heard and repeated in a rape apologist society in which we live.
Ke$ha is an artist who strives for frivolity and irreverence. That’s fine; I don’t mind frivolity. I even like Ke$ha, because I don’t exactly have impeccable taste in music.

But rape is not frivolous and rape is not irreverent. Ke$ha and Rolling Stone think that sexual violence are a laughing matter, and that’s reprehensible.


  1. Transcript of image: n 2008,30H!3's Nat Motte and Sean Foreman were driving around with their manager when he suggested they write a song about first kisses. "I just thought, 'That's dope!'" says Motte. Two years later, "My First Kiss" is one of the breakout hits of the summer. The duo began recording the bratty, hand-clap-fueled track in August 2008, bringing in then-unknown L.A. party girl Ke$ha to sing the hook. "She called Sean a little bitch and told [producer! Dr. Luke she wanted to rape me," says Motte. Since hitting the airwaves, the track has sold more than 900,000 copies, breaking into the Top 10 on the Hot 100 chart.

  2. I'm not even sure if Rolling Stone is publishing this as funny. It's like, written as just a creepy factoid. I keep trying to read it as intended to be humorous and not seeing it, but maybe RS just assumes male rape is just funny enough on it's own. I feel like it's mostly just a strange, morbid, quote without real meaning.

    That said, thank you for bringing this up. I constantly have to remind people that women can commit acts of rape and men can be raped and things are not a simple as men rape women. Men rape women. Women rape women. Men rape men. Women rape men. All of these things happen, and it's not even as simple as all of that.

    Power dynamics, age, class, race, sex, gender, sexuality, can all contribute to who is raped by whom at what time and it's far too terrible and complicated to summarize as men raping women. That's one, very common, aspect of the overall problem, but silencing those who don't fit the stereotypical rape survivor image won't help stop rape. So thank you, again.

  3. Ugh. I hate it when people use the word "rape" as slang, since it trivializes the suffering of rape victims. Shame on Ke$ha (as well as Glenn Beck, who uses "rape" as slang quite a bit on his stupid show).


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