Hooray For Rape Victims


When Lady Gaga sang her song about sexual abuse during the Academy Awards show, I couldn’t help calling out to my husband, “Oh look, they actually have rape victims onstage!”

He came to look and smiled appreciatively at the awful showbiz spectacle of rape victims raising their arms triumphantly. Some had written anti-stigma hashtags on themselves like ITS NOT YOUR FAULT.

So I was surprised to read all the praise heaped on this performance, everywhere I looked. “Stunning,” “Powerful,” Brave”!

I may be walking on this ice by using the words “rape victims” instead of “sexual assault survivors.” I guess victim is now considered too victimmy. And rape is too rapey.

Some websites are calling the song a “rape anthem” but others are trying to avoid calling it anything but “empowering”.

Rape is terrible, okay? I have experienced it as a reckless teenager, more than once. I guess I have experienced a lot of bad things. I consider myself more traumatized than the average person.

But I never like to see public displays of self-righteousness. I don’t like seeing victims of some horrible societal ill become a poster child for whatever it is – gay suicide, bullying, fat-shaming, you name it.

Rape, incest, murder, racism, Sharia law, child abuse, hate crimes, it’s all bad. Except for Donald Trump supporters, we all agree.

But these issues are too serious to be cheapened by a Vegas floor show or an Oscars shout-out. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t instinctively recoil from the Hollywoodization of human suffering! I don’t know why everyone doesn’t register disgust when social problems are shrink-wrapped in sanctimonious, self-congratulating sound-bites or hash-tags.

Where are the eating-disorder people, the clitorectomy survivors, the child soldiers of Africa, the middle school sexting suicides? What about the unemployed Veteran amputees? Will they all get their turns for a standing ovation at the Academy awards?

Nothing is too sacred to be fodder for pop commercialism or pious condemnation. Today, celebrities are falling over themselves to confess that they’ve been sexually abused, too. One had to clarify that it was “child abuse” in her case. Let’s hope she wasn’t run out of town for speaking out of turn.

I asked my husband to help me understand the difference between Common and John Legend performing “Glory” at the Oscars last year, and the Lady Gaga performance. “Glory” didn’t piss me off. It was a polemic but it was magnificent!

He answered, “One was good art, and the other was bad art.”

So there’s that, too.

Thoughts, anyone?

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9 Responses to Hooray For Rape Victims

  1. ali says:

    good art vs bad art. yes. Also, a powerful song about being proud of your personal and cultural heritage is different than a (trying to be) powerful song about someone who has undergone awfulness that has nothing to do with them (for the most part) … being a rape survivor really doesn’t say anything about who you are or where you come from. just means trauma, as you say.

    on the other hand, it is vindicating to see people actively giving a shit about it.

    I am not a fan of the gaga song featured by the oscars, but I LOVE “Dance in the dark” (an older gaga song)

  2. ali says:

    Dance in the dark is about women dancing their pain away. It is not explicitly or implicitly about rape. but it helped me through a very dark time šŸ™‚

  3. David Duff says:

    Well said, Ma’am.

  4. MCatherine says:

    I knew something deeply bothered me about the the song (I couldn’t find merit in the song… not any of the songs nominated) and the ‘trauma staging’. Thank your husband for the clarification. I feel better now.

  5. Dj says:

    I recoiled, registered disgust, cringed and barged. Would everyone please just stop!! Victims, survivors, etc, such self serving babble. I really had no interest in those people on stage. College was full of sexual situations…bad mostly! Lady gaga looked like she was going to have a stroke! Instead of feeling empathy I feel manipulated into feeling like I should have deep respect and feeling for these people. Shut up already….get on with it…Sheeesh…

  6. Bevitron says:

    Rape packaged up with the fear and violence and degradation painted & prime-timed over. Because, you know, it’s just too damn scary…so let’s make it a show. A reality show! That’s the ticket. Let’s all feel super-deeply and move on quickly.

    Your husband got it perfect.

  7. Suspended says:

    I’ve not watched it and I won’t. Gaga’s conveyor belt proclamations have always seemed insincere to me, like everyone else’s cause would further hers, as if to give her deluded “artist” moniker more credence and her music more credibility.

    She makes me cringe.

    What next? A drugstore fragrance called “Rape” by Lady Gaga. Then we can put a smell to the unity and victimhood and not feel so helpless in the face of misfortune, and all for $15.

    Someone show this attention greedy, narcissistic bitch and her peers, the door!

  8. carmen says:

    “Where are the eating-disorder people, the clitorectomy survivors, the child soldiers of Africa, the middle school sexting suicides? What about the unemployed Veteran amputees? Will they all get their turns for a standing ovation at the Academy awards?”

    I lol’d hard at that one. I DOOOO like Gaga, I think she is at LEAST trying, but lord, isn’t it a bit ironic that all this palaver is playing out at the OSCARS (or whatever it was) which is a bastion of backslapping and full-of-shit-edness? Oy!! GAD!

    On the other hand, you have different fingers.

  9. Kim says:

    The Candidate’s Penises could all gather round on stage and embrace and sing and hashtag each other. Then we’d all feel nice and victimmy. Starting with the Donald. I like it when Gags sings Julie Andrews tunes.

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