'Cosmo' Tells Me I Was 'Gray Raped'; Feministing Says It Was Rape. Are We Really Arguing About This?

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Language is a powerful thing. Like: when the Zionists first began settling in the holy city I just visited they named their newspaper the "Palestine Post", after the same group of people who would eventually gain fame for producing the deluded group of destructive (and yes, murderous) radicals Fox News would eventually dub the "homicide bombers." There is something spooky and perverse when a group of otherwise enlightened, democracy-loving people invests so much energy in the effort to control language, and while I'm on the subject, the same goes for people who insist on refer to anti-abortionists as "antichoice," thus removing from them any and all motivations, however misinformed or hypocritical, for coming to that particular political persuasion other than THEY'RE JUST PLAIN EVIL. Which brings us to this issue at hand: rape, and whether it should be legal or kosher or whatever to characterize it as "gray." I believe it should. Like most bloggers, for one, I am a fan of inventing words. "Celebutard" and "emosogynist" are not just fun to say, they neatly encapsulate social ills unique to this era, a category into which we would also classify the increasingly common modern-day problem that is this thing they're now calling "gray rape."


Gray rape, if you think about it, is an ideal term to describe a topic about which I am so conflicted. it evokes the notion of "shades of gray," which is to say, the nuance without which empathy would not be possible. I forgave my gray rapist or date rapist or whatever a long time ago, much longer ago than I would have if I had felt myself that night to be in the presence of the OMG PURE EVIL that would be required to commit the sorts of things I'd been used to calling rape in the past. It is a loaded and powerful term, after all, and I derive no empowerment from using it to characterize his offense. On the other hand, I did derive empowerment — and sadness, and pain — from hearing you peoples' stories about how common this crap is. And it is only in recognizing, and accepting, those nuances — even as we hold ever tighter and faster to our beliefs and moral codes and whatever we hold dear — that we will ever come to peace with any of the horrible shit that happens in the world, although, to be quite honest, maybe alcohol will achieve the same effect. (And also: get me laid.)

All of which is a long-winded way of saying: please, if it doesn't bring you to tears, talk more amongst yourselves, about your rapes: to dudes, especially. If the partial amnesty afforded by your comfort with yourself and your sexuality in spite of it all — or afforded by terms like "gray rape" — makes it easier for all those losers to come to grips with what they've done, well, even better. (Thankfully, they'll probably be horrified and treat you like a delicate flower for a few days until they realize you aren't.)

Call It What It Is [Feministing]
Earlier: 'Cosmo' Wonders: Is It Rape If You Had Too Many Jaeger Shots To Remember It Anyway?


Tara Incognita

This is a toughie. I guess I understand where you're coming from on the "gray rape" thing - esp. being a victim of a date rape myself.

But the question is, (and I really don't have the answer) are we somehow taking away some of the potency of the hurt/pain/violation by giving it this verbal downgrade?