It seems necessary that I return to last week’s topic because some people are obviously not paying attention.
Let us discuss the difference between symptoms and diseases. Symptoms are the signs that something is wrong, not the condition itself. However, in the process of diagnosis, we identify alarming symptoms because we know that they are just the manifestation of something worse.
No one cares about a cartoon skunk trying to have sex with a cat with a stripe painted down her back. People do care about sexual assault. As I suggested last week, the depiction of Pepe Le Pew as something amusing is symptomatic of a deeper issue: the failure of a society to take sexual assault seriously.
“But it never bothered us before!”
Yes, that is the core of the problem, isn’t it? No one thought the antics of a cartoon skunk were offensive, or if they did, they did not go around saying so, because our society failed to take sexual predation seriously. The reason that you have people like the governor of New York being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior is because our culture told men like him that such things were normal. Distasteful, perhaps, but normal. Boys being boys.
Am I saying all of our society’s issues with the objectification of women, sexual misconduct, rape culture, and more come down to having watched too many Pepe Le Pew cartoons?
No, I am not. I am not an idiot. Nor are the people who are pointing this out idiots. They are not trying to “cancel” some cartoon character because they do not find him funny.
They, I should say WE, are pointing out SYMPTOMS of the disease. These are really low-hanging fruit, easy to find when you look for them, but also easy to ignore when you start looking for bigger problems.
“I don’t see a problem with it.”
You don’t? I will not say what that suggests about you, but I will attempt to give you a more relatable illustration.
I do not like to be called Scotty. I do not want to be called Scotty. If you were to start calling me Scotty, I would ask you to stop. You, being a decent human being, would stop. If, however, you were not a decent human being, you might persist. That would make you at best a jerk and at worse something I am not going to post on a church website.
Being called by the wrong name is not really a big deal. Rape jokes are.
If something bothers someone, you should take that seriously. It is basic human kindness, not to mention the minimum of Christlike behavior where we are called to weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh.
If we cannot take seriously someone else decrying a cultural point and saying it’s an issue, we only prove ourselves to be self-involved and narcissistic. Stop making arguments into straw men that you can easily attack. Stop making it about the symptom. Stop making it about a cartoon.
Don’t call me Scotty.
Don’t dismiss criticisms of rape culture.