A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

UPDATED: Oatmeal: Own It or STFU


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Matthew Inman.

I logged on to Twitter this morning just in time to see this.

Click to enlarge.

In case you didn’t see the original comic, it’s pretty well described above. It’s about repeatedly “raping” your F5 key to get a page to load. I saw it on Twitter yesterday and thought, “Ew,” but I missed the attribution. It matters that this comes from someone who a) is respected by many and b) has gotten it wrong before and thinks he’s entitled to do so without consequence. My good friend Sid is working on an open letter to Mr. Oatmeal even as I type which will go into more detail and be less “scathing” than the one I would have written (update: her letter). But let me say these things for the record:

  1. Daniel Tosh didn’t start rape culture or make rape jokes unfunny. He just happened to be well-known enough to bring the issue to the forefront. Rape jokes were never funny–and always painful–to rape survivors.
  2. Giving money to a women’s shelter doesn’t absolve you of all future crimes and misdemeanors. We all screw up now and then. Own it. REALLY own it.
  3. No one censored The Oatmeal. Enough people called to his attention his contribution to rape culture that he felt he needed to pull it down. The Oatmeal has, at last count, nearly half a million readers so that means A LOT OF PEOPLE chimed in about this. Dear Mr. Oatmeal: Censorship is when the government silences you. Free speech comes with consequences. You should know that by now. If you won’t learn something from this, you may as well join the Penny Arcade Rape Culture Denial Club and Bowling League.


Look for Sid’s missive here.

Love ya,


7 responses

  1. chatalee

    Thank you so much Rosie. You make a difference in this world and make it better for all of us. “Free speech comes with consequences”, I’ve always called that “my big foot in my mouth”, and to me that translates into “think about what you are saying” because I desire to be genuinely kind, considerate and respectful to others. And when another of my feet goes flying into my mouth, now I know that I must own my feelings and thoughts, accept the consequences of my actions and best of all, live and learn, listen, show my compassion and empathize. Life is good!

    December 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  2. First, Oatmeal, next video games!

    December 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm

  3. Now THAT was an apology. Thanks, Matthew Inman, and thanks Rosie for the update.

    I’m not one of those people who think no-one should ever say the word “rape” just in case someone might read it and abreact because of a past experience (I have, however, run into a few of them on the Internet). Even people who’ve been raped–I don’t like the word “victim,” and don’t think anyone should identify with it–have to live in the world. What I don’t like about things like the Oatmeal cartoon is the gradual normalization of the idea of rape via asking us to accept that it means “anything done forcefully and with anger.” And of course the ugliness of most people’s associations with the word must create some minor thrill of the forbidden, much as “fuck” did a couple of generations ago. I don’t know what the solution is, except to keep telling people that not everyone thinks it’s funny.

    December 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    • I don’t think it’s about whether it makes people laugh, but about whether it causes people pain. I laugh at lots of things that aren’t PC despite myself, but I don’t repeat them. And as a rape survivor (the word I use) I don’t expect my world to be scrubbed clean of all references to rape. Yes, we have to live in the world, but I try not to be flippant about any subject I think might cause pain. I learned the hard way that my right to be edgy and hilarious doesn’t trump other people’s trauma.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

  4. nmtucson

    Best line of this excellent post: “Free speech comes with consequences.” Some people seem to think that free speech means “I can say what I want and you can’t do a thing about it.” In fact, it means “I can say what I want, and since you have free speech too, you can say what you think about it.” We can only hope that he gets more out of this than the lesson that some people are “too easily offended.” Maybe someday he will say “To all who complained: thank you for helping me see the other side of this particularly noxious joke–it worked. Please come back and read me some more.”

    December 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    • Thank you! Looks like he did! See the update. W00t!

      December 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

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