The Globe and Mail of Tuesday May 17th, 2016, published an article on two female Vancouver co-producers and comedians who are presenting a show with rape jokes. Emma Cooper and Heather Jordan Ross both experienced sexual assault. The show “Rape is Real and Everywhere: A Comedy Show” is crisscrossing Canada and hosted by sexual-assault survivors. The comedians state about their controversial stand-up tour that they are ready to laugh [now] and that it is empowering. They feel that the approach they are using toward the rape joke can be cathartic and therefore a tool in further healing by taking control. At the same time they rectify the myths of rape and rape victims, such as that rape is committed by a stranger coming out of the alley and that victims should feel shame. One of the comedians disclosed that she was violently raped by a person she was sleeping with. The Ghomeshi and the Cosby trial (see the Globe and Mail of May 25th, 2016 for an update on Cosby] show that sexual assault survivors may respond differently than expected.
There are many rape jokes around, and many of these are told by men. Men who have not experienced rape. Cooper and Jordan Ross state that there are good and bad jokes told by survivors and non-survivors and to tell a good joke means to think it through and to predict and observe how survivors will respond to it. If they laugh, it was a good joke. There are also many infidelity jokes around, also told by males. I was looking at the amount of jokes told in which the wife is unfaithful and there are more of these than the other way around on the sites I checked out. I think men tell these to their mates when in the pub and it may function as more than crude humour. It may cover up fear. When people laugh, they cannot at the same time feel anger and fear. It may however, come later on, if they can still recall the conversation ;).
According to another comedian, Chris Rock, white people cannot say the n-word as they are not entitled! With one exception (see YouTube “When White people Can Say N…..”). Many discussions erupted after Rock’s statements on using the n word by African Americans with Oprah being strongly opposed to it and with others (the entitled) stating that it empowers them to use the n- word.
Following in Freud’s and his daughter Anna’s Freud’s footsteps, Vaillant (1934-) came up with a categorisation of the defence mechanisms that in general function to reduce anxiety on different levels of consciousness. Vaillant identified four levels and the fourth level he labeled “mature defences“. These include humour, sublimation (transforming unhelpful emotions into healthy actions), suppression (dealing with the distressing emotion later on), altruism and anticipation, among others.
This means that humour can be used to express unpleasant feelings, which still retain distress, but it can serve to help a person to make the feeling more manageable and to use a different way to release pain, fear and in particular anger.
Laughter is healthy and if the laughter is in response to something that is painful, but expressed by someone who is entitled (like yourself) it might empower you. I would like to add that the joke should be made by someone you trust and of whom you know that they are insiders in the sense that they know what they are talking about due to having experienced it. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that females with each other can make jokes about things that have hurt them and that this can be therapeutic.
There are many infidelity jokes around….many are disgusting, distasteful and some of them have some comedic validity….
Can we…shall we….?