Welcome to Media Outrage, Volume 1! Picture me climbing onto my soapbox to report that O Magazine thinks the following is so funny that I should be laughing. Hahaha—oh, wait…:
I read somewhere that men’s biggest fear is that women will laugh at them. And women’s biggest fear is that men will kill them. Kind of different stakes that we’re working with.
That’s a quote from Chelsea Peretti, and it was part of a subfeature called “laugh” within an article, “o, happy day” in the July 2013 issue of O Magazine. I don’t know if Peretti intended for that to be funny. I certainly don’t. From what I’ve learned, women are far more likely to be raped by someone they know. And Leslie Morgan Steiner posits that the most prominent reason why domestic victims don’t leave is this: they fear their abusive partners will kill them if they leave. (Listen to her TED talk on this subject; it is both chilling and informative.)
There is something deeply disturbing to me about making a joke out of male violence against women. Humor can be used to defuse a tense subject, but sometimes those attempts at humor backfire. I think the example above is a backfire. And I’m not convinced that violence against women will ever be funny to me. It’s scary. For those of us who have suffered from angry, violent men in our personal lives, it’s too close to home.
Shame on you, O Magazine. You should know better.