Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Rape" as metaphor

The word's everywhere, even I'm guilty of using it to indicate that I'm not prepared for an exam, or I haven't practised enough to perform on stage blah blah. But is throwing that word around lightly justifiable? And what does its rampant use say, if anything at all?

What is the word rape a metaphor for? I don't think its usage is gendered, at least not in my immediate environment (i.e., on our campus). Thus I don't agree with some of the theories touched upon in the post that is linked above.

But I do think that its usage trivializes the crime, and in some cases, such as in the context of winning a game (our basketball team raped theirs, man!) or outsmarting someone (she was trying to argue in favour of xyz, I completely raped her) it lends a dangerous connotation to the actual act. One that associates rape with victory, greater power, success and celebration. Doesn't such usage also legitimize rape to an extent, if only at a subconscious level?

Yes, I know its not meant that way. But Yellow Submarine was not meant the way Helter Skelter understood it. And the makers of Gossip Girl certainly didn't think that a "vella" girl in a Hyderabadi high school would create an account on facebook, undertake the 'tremendous burden' of being one and deeply hurt her friends.

Meaning to say that such usage would a) hurt a victim of rape very profoundly and b) let some sadly misinformed kid somewhere feel that its cool to commit rape. Doesn't sound likely, but you never know.

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