The first time I tried to load the #replacebandnameswithrape hashtag, my computer browser warned me that the page contained insecure content. "Insecure" doesn't even begin to describe it. I'd be offended if I wasn't so depressed. You know people fought in wars to protect our freedom of speech, right? And this is how we're using that freedom? Okay.
Here's the idea (and feel free to pause as often as you need so that you can laugh or fall asleep or puke on yourself): you take a band name — say, The Rolling Stones — and you replace one of the words with rape! The Rolling Rape! And then you laugh until you accidentally shoot Surge out of your nose, because it's 1996 and you're at a slumber party and you're 12 and you think this is hilarious. Other entries in the hashtag's page include My Chemical Rapemance ("Ro" isn't a word, dumbass) and 1Rape. Shouldn't you kids be in school?
While it appears that the overall reaction from most Twitter users is a quick eye roll and dismissal of the trend as yet another idiotic thing Twitter has shat out, the trend has now evolved, as trends tend to do, into commentary about the trend, which ranges from earnestly horrified — "Did you know 54% of sexual assaults are never reported? This hashtag is part of the reason why." — to ironically self conscious but noncommittal in a sort of hipster type way — "Insert tweet about the trend #ReplaceBandNamesWithRape being disgusting here" — to irritated and bored — "#ReplaceBandNamesWithRape might just take the award for stupidest trend of all time." — to girls weirdly defensive insistance that your participation in the trend means you're cool and down with the dudes — "Its funny 'cause if you look at the tweet results for #ReplaceBandNamesWithRape there are dickheads with no sense of humour, moaning."
This last subcategory of responses to the trend, the girls-defending-jerks-who-hate-girls responses that are sort of inevitable when any misogyny pops up on any social networking site, are always the responses that make me want to light the internet on fire. Ladies! Girls! Women! For the fuck of shit, we should know better!
It's not that I cut men slack here; it's just that I have higher expectations for women when it comes to having a basic amount of human empathy for other women. Men don't run around kicking other men in the balls to prove to women how down they are; women and girls need to stop acting like assholes to other girls in order to prove to douchebags that they can hang. Rape jokes at the expense of rape victims aren't really jokes at all. And I understand (or hope) that the pro- #replacebandnameswithrape entries were crafted by kids who just don't know any better, but Jesus Chris Brown Defending Christ, I wish it didn't start this early. I wish girls didn't have to be trained out of thinking stupid, pointless rape jokes are hilarious. I wish this wasn't the default for so many people.