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Frankie Says…

Quick edit to add a Trigger Warning to the comments section – the comments are amazing and I will continue to publish them, however please read with caution.

So, here I am again, strapping on my Feminist Armour™ and heading into battle. I may regret this, but this time I’m going to talk specifically to and about Frankie Boyle.

In case you missed it, and I know Twitter fell over earlier so you might have done, Frankie (probably bored and a bit starved of attention) posted this hilarious joke:

“I raped you and I took the rohypnol myself to forget about it” ttps://twitter.com/frankieboyle/status/228505773385326593

There are much better people than me who will dissect the rights, wrongs and horrifically wrong wrongs of rape jokes. People who have an expertise in comedy can put a joke like that into comedy context for you.

But this is what I would really really like Frankie Boyle to think about:

FB currently has 810,165 followers (at time of writing)

Based on a sample of 100 followers, FB’s male to female ration is 75/25

So that’s around 202,541.25 females that received that tweet today

5% of women in the UK have been raped since the age of 16 (http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/documents/Rape%20Fact%20Sheet%201.11.07.pdf)

So, of FB’s followers that’s 10,127 women (assuming they are all in the UK and/or that most Western countries have similar stats)

Just to repeat, more than TEN THOUSAND women who follow FB are statistically likely to have survived sexual violence

That’s the equivalent of the Echo Arena in Liverpool (where FB performed in 2010) full of women who have all been raped

And to those women (and all women and men who don’t find laughing about sexual violence funny) FB tweeted his joke about how hideous you were to rape

I imagine that feels like a bit of a punch to the stomach to those TEN THOUSAND women

So that’s the lady stat’s, now for the men

Based on my sample, FB has around 607,623.75 male followers

According to Lisak and Miller (https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/) (which I’m using as the more conservative estimate) 6% of men admit to being rapists or attempted rapists

So, in the FB Team, that would be about around 36,500 admitted perpetrators of sexual violence

FB is due to play the Edinburgh Playhouse on 31st July; he would need to sell out for almost 12 consecutive nights to play to all his rapist/attempted rapist fans

There are apparently lots of studies that provide evidence which seems to prove that rapists believe all men are rapists (http://slutwalkperth.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/feminists-don%e2%80%99t-think-all-men-are-rapists-rapists-do/ for discussion)

So when they hear a rape joke, chances are they are doing a little internal high-five, maybe even an external one – certainly a lot of them will have retweeted FB’s joke just to prove their point

So Frankie, here’s my questions for you…

Who do you want to support?

Who do you want to feel ashamed?

Who do you want to feel victimised?

Who do you want your words to empower, the 10,000 rape survivors or the 36,500 violators who follow you?

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10 thoughts on “Frankie Says…

  1. I missed this on twitter earlier, I’m pleased to say. Am I right to assume that the nearly 900 retweeters of FB’s tweet find it as hilarious as he clearly did? And I see some of the replier-s are getting in on the joke with their own comeback.

    This is not FB’s first rape “joke” of course (I’m sure there was at least one an episode from him on Mock the Week). I’m also pretty sure it’s not the first time he’s been criticised for it. One would hope that the backlash that Tosh received for his recent “joke” would send the message to other “comedians” that these “jokes” are destructive and distressing. Clearly not.

  2. Rosa Luxembourg on said:

    Today on national tv, Eamonn Holmes asked a lady whose abusive husband bit off her nose if she had “done anything to deserve the jealousy?”.
    Oh the hideous victim blaming. He makes me sick.

  3. Marie on said:

    This is possibly the best blog post I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few). Amazing job with the research, writing, and execution of this piece. Frankie should hang his head in shame after reading this…it would be difficult not to do so. Stellar job!

  4. This is a great piece.

    Frankie Boyle has a comedy gift, (as well as an innate ability to offend just about everybody) and instead of using it to shock and appall, he should take note from some of the greats who have learned from experience that there are some things you just shouldn’t touch in comedy. To quote my own comedy hero, the great Billy Connolly, in his blog:
    “I listen to people’s criticisms. A woman wrote to me when I was doing a thing about a deaf and dumb guy and she criticised me for that. I think it was from Australia, she wrote to me and said she fell about the room watching me imitating a deaf person, but she was also in great pain, because her son was deaf. She said that when I did the impersonation of the deaf guy trying to speak, it was incredibly accurate, but that she found it very painful. So I wrote to her and said I won’t do it any more, I’m sorry I hurt you, it’s not what I aim to do. So I don’t do it anymore. I do listen to criticism from time to time and I think well maybe that was too close, because I’m not in the business of wounding people. Sometimes you can get too near.”

    I can quite honestly say I have never felt that any comedian came over as a woman hater more than Frankie Boyle. And if he does ever read this, I’d like him to know that I once left a room crying and feeling sick after something he said and witnessing a whole room full of people on TV and in my company laughing about it.

    They say if you are in the business of comedy you are always going to offend someone. But this goes beyond being offended. It is something much deeper and much more painful for a significant percentage of women and an equally significant number of men too

  5. dublincallgirl on said:

    It’s true that people say that in comedy someone will always get offended. But I don’t understand how this is an excuse in any way. You can choose to be funny and not offend or you can choose to offend. I don’t find FB funny anyway in general, his voice makes me want to stab myself in the eye, but I prefer the warm, self deprecating and humble sense of humour of Dylan Moran.

    Perhaps he is affected by his tiny dick and needs to be extra cocky to make up for it. In this situation he clearly chose to offend by writing that tweet.

    This is what I don’t understand. These people are used to women staying silent about this. They know that people won’t just come out and say ‘I was raped, and that comment is triggering and now I feel unsafe and upset’. They don’t even understand what triggering is, such is their complete and utter ignorance on the subject. They live in blissful ignorance, and will remain there, unless there is a revolt against their words. But women can’t do that. Men like Frankie Boyle are not worth coming out with something like that, being public and leaving your sense of self preservation to the side. Men like Frankie Boyle are the ones we have to protect ourselves against. They don’t deserve our understanding.

    If you don’t know anything about rape, then don’t talk about it. Be humble and realise that the experts on the subject; the rape victims, might know more than you. They definitely know more than you and they are the only ones who’s opinion on rape and rape jokes is to be listened to. If a rape victim says that rape jokes are not okay then they are fucking well NOT OKAY and who the fuck is this guy to argue otherwise. Come back to me when you’ve been raped and we can talk about what you found funny about it then. Seriously.

    It’s strange that a similar vicious joke about another minority, for example homeless people, drug addicts or people with depression or another mental illness, would never, EVER be tolerated but when it comes to women and violence, it’s fair game.

    I’ve always hated rape jokes, and I actually find rape metaphors even more insulting. Saying things like that a mobile phone bill ‘raped’ you.

    I’m a retired escort, and I hear prostitution jokes a lot. I also have to deal with jokes in films etc, and portrayals of prostitutes in films being insultingly inaccurate. I can deal with these to some degree, considering the massive ignorance society has about prostitution and prostitutes. I still hate them, because they are always horrifically disrespectful and crude but they don’t happen too much and I can live with them.

    I was raped twelve years ago when I was sixteen. This is what happens when someone makes a rape joke or a rape metaphor, and I’m completely over what happened to me. This will never go away as long as people are flippant about the crime that I rate one below murder.

    I used to get very loud about hating rape jokes and called anyone who made one (or a rape metaphor) out on them. An argument would ensue, about me not having a sense of humour, that humour is subjective, that i can’t ‘censor’ people etc etc etc etc, all the usual bullshit derailing responses, aimed at me, aimed at making the problem be ME, aimed at blaming me for having a problem and rocking the boat, instead of the perpetrator for creating the problem in the first place. There was no effort to be understanding, or even just listen to me, such was their need to keep this bizarre, cold front up.

    I often ended up revealing my own past in an effort to make them understand that it is real people, people close to them who they care about. It took a lot out of me but I thought it was worth it, if I could let another person just understand, then it was worth it to put myself out there.

    It was definitely not worth it. People don’t want to think about rape, real rape that happens to real friends of theirs. Men, especially (and the only people who I’ve ever heard make a rape joke or metaphor) don’t want to think about the cruelty of their own gender, so they just shut me up, and got meaner, told me I was being over emotional and sensitive, said that I was using ‘cheap tactics’ to win the argument. Said all sorts of cruel things to make the problem (of me having been raped) go away.

    So over time I’ve just shut up about it. It’s not worth the emotional distress and I end up giving in, getting upset, and then their ‘you’re too sensitive about this still’ argument is proven correct. But I’m no longer upset about getting raped, I’m sick of the silencing.

    So Frankie, this is what happened to me.

    I was 16 and a virgin. I was drunk in a park with friends. I was kissing a boy for the night. It was exciting to be desired like that. We went into a neighbouring area, but I was too drunk and cannot remember any leaving with him. We were still in hearing range of our friends. He was kissing me and I was drunk and sleepy. It was nice. I fell asleep. I remember seeing the stars through the trees above me. I woke up again at some point in a kind of pain that I have never felt again since. One stab on the way in, another on the way out. Like shards of glass. I felt ripped in two. The boy was raping me and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I was absolutely fucking terrified. I was so drunk my head felt like it was made out of concrete and I couldn’t even lift it to see what was going on. I was a virgin you see, I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know why I was in pain. He left me there to drag on my clothes and find my friends. I couldn’t sit properly on the bus on the way home. My friends didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know what had happened, just that I didn’t like it and was now in pain. It took two years and two suicide attempts for me to realise that I’d been raped. It has affected every single part of my life. All of it, forever. My life utterly and bitterly changed profoundly that night.

    I’ve been trying to make some jokes about that experience but I guess I can’t because I’m not a comic. Or maybe just because it isn’t funny. at all. in any way.

    So every time you make one of your rape jokes, remember that each and every survivor hearing it, gets a little shock to their heart, a little jolt of something vicious and sinister. They will feel instantly unsafe and, uncomfortable isn’t the word, but they will feel deeply uncomfortable, their ability to relax and not think about what happen to them is interrupted. You interrupted that. I only remember consciously that I’ve been raped if I am talking about rape, and I’ve chosen to talk about it, or some dick head makes a joke, and FORCES me to bring it to the top of my mind again, interrupting my safe post rape life. You are forcing this on people. Just like rapists force rape. You are taking the choice and control away from people who have had that already, profoundly, taken away from them. You are a worthless human being for doing that.

    Remember that every joke, every flippant remark about rape, is a reminder of that specific male dominance, and they will know, after your joke reminds (forces) them, that they will never, ever, be free of it entirely.

  6. @SAHDandproud on said:

    What a cast-iron cock that man is. IMHO.

  7. Katie on said:

    Plus the 3-5% of men who have also been raped which equates to between 18,228 & 39,381 men, based on your sample. http://www.bmj.com/content/318/7187/846.full

    The man is lower than low.

  8. Being a bloke, I would fall within the 75% if I followed the prick. Not all blokes like the dickhead you know. His self-defined “humour” denigrates women, the disabled, indeed anyone who is unlucky enough not to fit into his rather narrow and warped definition of normal. That’s probably a compliment to his intelligence; he probably doesn’t even understand the concept of normal.

    He can’t say more than two words in a row without using an expletive.

    So what if 810,000 asshats follow him on Twitter? Even Mitt Romney has more followers than that. (and he’s funnier as well).

    I stopped watching Mock the Week until he left. If anyone I follow had the nerve to retweet a Boyle comment I’d unfollow them. He is something that may or may not still exist (I don’t know) totally outside my world. That’s where I want to keep him.

  9. The avalanche of anti-rape joke vitriol recently is largely a product of Twitter, as silly as that sounds. I totally understand how people could find it offensive, but it amazes me this hasn’t become such a big issue earlier (I know, it kind of has, but Twitter seems to have really got the ball rolling). One of the problems is that comedians are a perverse lot and once they realise it’s a hot topic some of them can’t resist having a nibble. Social networks enable their wicked cunt “fans” to amplify the message. There are some evil bastards out there, with serous issues, and there are also a lot of blokes who just don’t understand how upsetting rape jokes can be.

    Even celebrated racist Bernard Manning didn’t do rape jokes, as far as I can remember.

  10. Thanks for this post on an extremely difficult topic. :/

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