Spike Lee appeared on a recent episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to talk about his new film, Chi-Raq. The movie is a modern re-telling of Lysistrata, an anti-war, ancient Greek comedy in which a woman convinces the other women in her city to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until a peace treaty is negotiated.

According to the Guardian, Colbert asked Lee if a similar kind of strike would work in Chicago, referencing April Lawson’s recent celibacy pledge inspired by the film. “I think a sex strike could really work on college campuses where there’s an abundance of sexual harassment or date rapes,” the director replied. “Second semester, it’s going to happen. Once people coming back from Christmas and some stuff jumps off, there’s going to be sex strikes in universities and colleges across this country.”

This kind of thinking perpetuates the myth that rape is an act formed from sexual desire, when it actually stems from power and control. Lee also mentioned Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, saying she had won a Nobel Peace Prize for using the same tactic to end violence in Liberia. The Atlantic points out Gbowee has described the sex strikes as having “little or no practical effect” on the situation, but was valuable in getting attention from the media.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

Image via screenshot/CBS.