Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Post-Feminist Society" laughs at Marital Rape, Slavery

Cross-posted at XXBlaze

Here in our "post-feminism society", where genders are finally equal in every sense of the word (yes, that is sarcasm), we can comfortably laugh at female bondage and the antiquated notion that your wife is your property at MarryOurDaughter.com. Maybe I am just being a kill-joy, but I thought for something to be satire it required that the targeted audience, men who objectify women, could not view or say it without a shred of irony. I just think it is probably in bad taste to mock something that is not at all historical. Considering that Washington University just handed out an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly, the woman who supports marital rape, the view that marriage renders a woman the sexual property of her husband is alive and well even in the ever-praised bastion of gender equality, the Western world.

Eerily, the website reads more like a pedophile's shopping list than the lame attempt at satire it really is. From the profiles:

Katelyn F.
Age: 14
Location: Caribbean

Bride Price: $24,995

Our own Little Mermaid Katie Lynn swims like a fish and isn’t happy unless she’s getting wet! She got her SCUBA ticket at 12 and she can pull more than her weight as crew on any kind of boat or ship. She tells us she’s tired of dry land and that’s she’s looking for a husband who works on, by or in the water.

I suppose I have no sense of humor, being that I do not think that selling young girls into slavery to men is at all funny.

The testimonials, of course, sound familiar:

"Thank God for your site! Our daughter was really nervous walking down the aisle, but she seems okay now and the money we got let us keep our farm and even add on a few acres."

Because selling your daughters to keep afloat is nothing new to real people, in real places, right now:

"We were not so desperate before. Now I have to marry them younger. And all five of them will have to get married if the drought becomes worse. The bride price is 200,000 afghanis. His father came to our house to arrange it. The boy pays in installments. First he paid us 5,000 afghanis, which I used to buy food."

Accusations of shrill feminist aside, my definition of satire lies more along educational lines. Meaning, of course, that the purpose of satire is to educate people how utterly ridiculous the universal phenomenon of objectifying women really is. Piss poor attempts at being clever like the Marry Our Daughter website are, at best, getting a sick laugh out of female objectification without providing any relevant context. At worst, the site operates on the same wavelength as the ubiquitous rape joke, the headlining punch-line of every half-wit comic's cliche repertoire.

New rule: poking fun at stereotypes, especially anything resembling female objectification, is only funny if and only if sexist pigs cannot chuckle along without a shred of irony and self-reflection.


Ryan Capuano said...

I can definitely get behind that new rule. Come to think of it, I can't really think of any worthwhile satire that handles this issue well. Anyone else got anything?

Ennui said...

All I'll say is that considering in pretty much every state (probably all of them) you can get your marriage annulled (and/or probably get a divorce as well) based solely on EITHER partner not "putting out", as it were, I'd say that yes, it's sort of assumed that marriage = sexual relationship will be taking place.

Am I saying that "women = sex property of husband"? No, but I'm sure someone will say that I am, or claim my "intent" was to say that, or whatever they want, with their infinite "feminist psychic powers".

However, that's not what I'm saying. Either partner. Husband or wife. If either refuses to engage in sex, and the other has a problem with it, the marriage can legally be dissolved.

Ryan Capuano said...

However, that's not what I'm saying. Either partner. Husband or wife. If either refuses to engage in sex, and the other has a problem with it, the marriage can legally be dissolved.

If one of them is refusing to engage in a sexual relationship with their spouse, there's probably something else going on anyway that would make them not want to be intimate. Though I think we can all agree that if someone isn't putting out, that doesn't give their spouse the right to rape them.

(The Korean) Andrew said...

It's like bonsai kitten all over again. It's satire, this nation embraces the notion of free speech, and I think this falls under it. This is in poor taste, as (in my opinion) was Aliza Shvarts' art exhibit.

Lindsay said...

I'm all for satire that's well done - when it's not, it's not funny and just a smudge on all the examples of really smart satire.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Satire (as defined by Merriam-Webster):
1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn 2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly (emphasis mine)

This could only be satire if the goal is to show how terrible and scary selling girls into 'marriage' really is. Mocking other's concern about women's rights by mocking their concern for child brides isn't satire, it's just a cruel attempt at humor at someone else's expense.

Lindsay said...

All of the girls on the site are white, too.

I googled around a bit and found these links: http://hitsusa.com/blog/84/marryourdaughtercom/ and http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/

Even if the site is meant to provoke discussion based on the legal marriage age for children, I think there's better ways of doing that.

Jen said...


I think the only funny reference to rape I ever read was Melissa McEwan's take on rape over at Shakesville. She said:

In this approximately thousand-word article, the word rape appears three times, and the words murder, homicide, abducted, and disemboweled appear once each. One of the section headers says, ominously, "70,000 Date Rapes a Year". Those, I guess, are the "barroom risks" of which the article title speaks, as opposed to, say, the people who commit the acts—people who might also be drinking at "ladies' nights," in spite of not being ladies. The acts/risks are referenced abstractly, as if they are somehow eternal, like God maybe. Before man and woman, there was Rape, and Rape said, "Let there be life so that I might ruin it."

And then awarded herself the "Soberest Fuckhole" trophy.

I think that she pulls off humor and rape well, although the humor resembles nothing like the light-hearted "rape is a compliment!" bullshit that comedians like to pass off as legitimate comic material.

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Amelia said...

Swearing as a means to directly insult a group of people will not be tolerated. Sorry.