Rape Is Not Your Metaphor for Popcorn

[This post contains rape jokes and discussion of rape culture.]


What I should have said was, “Excuse me?”

What I should have asked was, “The fuck is your problem?”

What I should have pointed out was that when one is in the company of six women in the US, one is statistically likely to be in the presence of a rape survivor.

What I should have done was leave the room, exiting your company altogether.

What I should do now is stop blaming myself for my reaction to your revolting comparison. I had to handle it in a way that would let me go back and teach my afternoon classes, which for me meant filing it away until I was safe at home — in a place where I can rage and cry and name this bullshit for what it is.

Because, contrary to your statement earlier today, you do not “feel raped” every time you go to the movies. No — no matter how expensive the tickets, how trite the plotline, how stilted the acting, or how burnt the popcorn. Allow me to explain this in more detail, perhaps with the clarity only italics can bring: In no way is making the choice to go to a movie like having a non-consensual attack committed on your person. If you still don’t get it, I’m happy to bring out the caps lock.

Rape is not your convenient metaphor for things you don’t like. In fact, RAPE IS NOT YOUR METAPHOR. Period.

Rape is a real, physical crime that happens to actual, flesh-and-blood people. People that you know, people that you work with, people that you love. It’s a violation that can have lasting physical consequences (hi, pelvic floor dysfunction) as well as long-term emotional trauma (hi, PTSD). Part of that trauma comes because we’re often reminded of our assaults time and time again throughout our lives — including but not limited to clueless and misogynist people who appropriate and minimize the term to describe going to the movies.

We already live in a culture that excuses rape and that holds victims partly or entirely responsible for the crimes committed against them. I go through enough days where my experience is belittled, where the implicit or explicit message is that my rape does not matter.

It would be lovely if you refrained from adding your butter-flavored assholery into the equation.


I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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Posted in non-asana, satya
10 comments on “Rape Is Not Your Metaphor for Popcorn
  1. Sara Yori says:

    Rape is no joking matter. It pisses me off when I’m reading the comments on youtube and there is one that says, “I just raped the replay button” That doesn’t make any bloody sense!

    • Tori says:

      Thanks for the comment, and sorry it’s taken me so long to come back to this post. But yes, using the term “rape” to describe consensual activities or activities where consent isn’t really an issue (e.g., in the case of a replay button on YouTube) really bothers me.

  2. Tori,

    Thank you for your brave voice–and for making exactly the choices that you needed to for your own self-protection. Sending you warmth and admiration for the choice of this post.

    • Tori says:

      Thanks for this, and sorry I took so long to respond. Blogging is therapeutic for me sometimes: When I know when and how “later” will happen, it’s easier for me to give myself permission to tuck away an event to process “later.”

  3. Autumn says:

    Oh my–Tori, I’m so sorry you had to hear this, and it sounds like you heard it at work. Good for you for knowing how you had to handle it in the moment–and yikes overall. Not a way to make a point about the state of film; not a way to make a point about your state of mind; not a way to make a point about anything but rape.

    • Tori says:

      Thanks for the comment, and sorry it’s taken me a while to come back to this post. Yes, this was at work, so I’ve been sort of trying to avoid this person for the last few days. We’ll see how that works as a long-term strategy (probably not well, but probably well enough to buy me some time).

  4. CaitieCat says:

    Dreadful misappropriation. Good post, Tori. Here from your Shakesville blogaround link.

  5. Rebekah says:

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I HATE how common the inappropriate/thoughtless/occasionally hateful use of this word has become. A coworker once said he was “being raped” when he heard I made 25 cents more than him her hour… I SHOULD have said all the things you posted here, but sometimes we really stunned into silence.

    Next time, we’ll be ready.

    • Tori says:

      I was ready to say all the things I wanted to say this time, but ultimately I decided it wasn’t good for me. As much as this person needs some education on the issue — In my day, my first priority is to be able to teach my students. Getting myself into an emotional state where I might not be able to do that (in other words, opening the door to be seen as a survivor or a survivor advocate by someone who very possibly did not understand about that) is counterproductive to that first priority.

      In a perfect world, I’d be able to say everything I need to say when I need to say it — and still function in the rest of my life. But in this world, I will let myself be human and not ask myself to do everything all at once. 🙂

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