Using comedy to make a point about rape culture

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of days, you’ve surely seen Football Town Nights,” a sketch from the third season premiere of Inside Amy Schumer. But I love it so much I had to share on the off chance that some of my readers live under rocks.

There have been plenty of debates lately about backlash to poorly executed and unfunny jokes about rape, usually jokes in which the punch line boils down to “raping people is funny.” As Amanda Marcotte points out, Amy Schumer shows the “right way” to joke about rape:

Schumer’s team, on the other hand, understood that rape isn’t really about sex, but that sex is just a weapon being used to assert power and establish a social hierarchy that puts victims at the bottom. The SNL sketch scoffed at the idea that men can be raped, assuming men are biologically required to try to get it in whenever possible. Schumer’s sketch, doing what good humor should do, questions this belief, showing how ridiculous you sound when you actually try to argue that men are incapable of understanding context or meaningful consent…

…Rape itself isn’t funny, but the constant excuse-making for it is a goldmine of humor. Hopefully, more comedians will take their cue from Amy Schumer and start using the the sexist whiners and rape apologists as the juicy targets that they are.

Katie McDonough (with whom I wholeheartedly agree when she says “It succeeds brilliantly. I love it. I want to marry it.”) talked to the writer of the sketch and looks at the important points it makes about rape culture.

What “Football Town Nights” and research like Edwards’ get at is that it isn’t enough to say rape is bad. You have to start looking at the ways that male entitlement and sexual degradation get communicated in much subtler ways. In fact, other studies have shown that the “rape is bad” messaging isn’t even all that effective in a cultural context where people have a really hard time identifying rape as rape or believing themselves or their loved ones are capable of it.

Love Friday Night Lights? Hate rape culture? Enjoy.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Don’t rape.

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Author: Rebecca Griffin

I am a passionate advocate for progressive causes with over a decade of experience organizing for social change. That organizing experience informs the way I look at the world and the challenges we face in working toward social justice. I started Of Means and Ends to write about social issues I care about and share my thoughts on how we organize in a smart, strategic way. Please visit and join the conversation.

9 thoughts on “Using comedy to make a point about rape culture”

  1. I DO live under said rock and so have been enjoying your pulling the rock up to show me all these pill bugs. LOVED this.

    I saw every Episode of the actual “Friday Night Lights,” so Amy Schumer’s doing Connie Britton’s depiction of the townie coach’s wife was spot-on.

    And, the final scene, firmly equating sports “domination” and rape: brilliant!

    Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably a lot of people are under those proverbial rocks. I just felt redundant because everywhere I looked it seemed like people were talking about it.

      I too watched every episode of FNL and it holds a special place in my heart, which makes me love this even more!

      Liked by 1 person

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