AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual violence

Let me start by saying that I feel very ambivalent about causing two workers to lose their source of income. It makes me uncomfortable to have deprived anyone of a wage in this time of crisis. ‘Getting someone fired’, more than a victory, makes me feel miserable, concerned, confused.

There are a number of other things contributing to my current lack of emotional wellbeing – my anxiety, nausea, vulnerability, unhappiness; a feeling of being overwhelmingly incapable of working or writing or any of the daily activities necessary for my survival. Many of the feelings I am describing are those associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and relate in part to my own past experiences of violent men. While the medicalisation of trauma and ‘post-trauma’ is too complex a discussion for this text, for the sake of brevity I will use this term to refer to the way I have been affected, and am constantly affected, by particular traumas. My PTSD was triggered, that is my feelings of helplessness, victimhood, pain; the feelings of fear associated with sexual violence; trauma, when a friend of mine sent me an email with screenshots of a Facebook thread starting with a status by Max Barashenkov. In her email she asked me to please say or do something about it since she was too scared of the men concerned to do it herself.

The status reads:

I propose correctional rape and sterilization for any white person who twerks.

Immediately two woman friends object to Max’s light, joking reference to correctional rape. Correctional rape is a term used to describe the practice of raping someone (usually a woman) in order to ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality. This is a common practice in South Africa particularly in South African townships.

Max and his friend and former co-writer at For Him Magazine (FHM) South Africa, Montle Moorosi immediately attacked and bullied them:

Montle:

i think rape can be quite fun if executed in a romantic manner. like saying “i love you” before you slip a roofie into her Earl Grey tea.

When challenged on this, Max writes:

i myself, was a victim of correctional rape, so I can make jokes about it

No, Max, you weren’t. Seeing as you are a heterosexual white man, it is also very unlikely that you ever will be. This, clearly, is in fact why you can make jokes about it.

The thread continues. In particular one woman, Kyla Phil, continuously tries to object to Max and Montle’s trivializing of rape and violence, however she is continuously bullied, talked down to, ignored.

Each comment made me feel more sick, more angry, more out of control. I understood why my friend was scared of these men: It is not just the cultural capital that they wield against anyone who challenges them that makes them an object of fear; it is that what they are saying is genuinely terrifying and threatening:

Montle:

in all honesty, im just a ignorant selfish fuck who choses not to care unless something affects me personally… as big pun said “respect crime but not when it respects mine”… big pun used to beat his wife

I tweeted the screen shots of the conversation. People all over the country were horrified. People retweeted at FHM. Eventually editor, Brendan Cooper, was pressurized into suspending the two writers. Cooper is quoted in City Press as saying: “They’re actually nice boys. But having these comments linked to my brand (has) me absolutely furious.”

Nice boys, he says.

Max and Montle then issued an aggressive non-apology in which they accuse South Africans of embarking on a ‘witch hunt’ (way to instrumentalise the abuse and murder of tens of thousands of women to defend men making jokes about abusing women) based on ‘blind hate’ for the two writers, writing: ‘We find honesty in the unfiltered horror of life, not in politically and socially correct reportage which trivializes the real issues. It is our hope now that the newspapers and the social media mobs will react as strongly and as violently to more important matters in our country.’

Max and Montle’s continued trivializing of their comments, and of rape culture, the continued aggression and dismissal of many others, the vapid Daily Maverick post that says the real problem here is people getting angry, insensitively claiming ‘outrage porn’. The “Thought Leader” blog crying because ‘Two people were suspended. Just like that. People who, from what I can tell, were respected enough and presumably liked among their peers’ and calling me a vindictive killjoy who single handedly ruined Mandela’s birthday. The comments on the blogs about evil twitter feminists, the pointed personal comments on blogs that are clearly by people who know me. The rape threats. The hatred. The patronizing, mansplaining assumption that we are idiots who don’t understand the joke. Every single person who feels like it is more important to critique the media outcry about violent hate speech than it is to think about what this hate speech actually means, what it does, is one more person telling me that these boys’ lives are more important than mine, than ours.

Every singe tweet, every defense, every ‘angry twitter feminist’ accusation, makes me more scared when I walk home alone, less capable of being in any kind of emotional relationship with men, less sure of my capacity for serious writing, Every single attack makes me less of myself, because I know that you care more about the welfare, about the wages, the reputation of two violent men than you do about the pain of women; because my life is worth so much less to you. Every single attack, however stupid, however badly written, however much I laugh it off, is a knife on the edge of my throat again.

This piece, of course, is not ‘serious writing’. I know that by writing this I am opening up myself further to more hurt, more trauma, more abuse; of course I am lacerating myself to the point where the immediate response can only be well that’s your subjective emotional unreasonable hysterical feminine response, you can’t blame us for that. Well, firstly, I can and will. Secondly it is not just my position. The position of traumatized subject is shared in its infinite horrifying variants by countless women (and men) in South Africa and elsewhere. It might be useful to remember that it is estimated that 40% of South African women are raped in their lifetimes and that only one in nine rapes are likely to be reported. A much higher percentage have experienced some kind of sexual violence or attempted sexual violence, and I would argue that near to every single woman and girl in South Africa has experienced some kind of sexual harassment.

We have suffered, we suffer, we are suffering. And your violence, your defense of violence, your disregard for real victims, your aggression, your silencing, your abuse is making us suffer more. I did not call out these men because they made jokes about violence; I called them out because their jokes are violent, and because they cause real and serious damage to me, to survivors, to us.

I wish I could take away Max and Montle’s violence. I wish that I could stop them from hating me, from hurting me and my sisters. But, I don’t know how to do that, how to take the violence from men (this testimony is a way of trying, but it rarely works). What I did, what I will continue to do, is to stop them from writing, from having a voice, from having influence, from being that joke in a room full of drunk boys and a girl passed out on the couch, that joke that says hey lets fuck her, lets film it, lets show everyone, hey I hear she’s gay she deserves it hey lets destroy her lets cut her maybe lets kill her no but that’s too far it wouldn’t be that kind of rape right it would just be the kind where she’s my girlfriend and it was romantic and no means yes right and this is all really funny anyway and lets just slip it in her just this once it will be hilarious …

Or maybe it will be the kind of rape Max himself fantasizes about in one of his published texts for (surprise!) Vice titled ‘THE JOURNALIST’S GUIDE TO ECO-FRIENDLY PEDOPHILIA’:

Admittedly the only reason to actually come here, unless bound by journalistic duty, is to get ass. The tent next door is crammed full of virgin, eight of them, though the number fluctuates. Doing some quick math, that puts anywhere between thirty and sixty-four semen receptacles within a fifteen meter radius of our sleeping grounds. Hunting in the daisy fields is much like hunting in the savannah: locate the weak one in the herd – usually swaying a little too much to whatever crap band is playing; approach and begin lying – how much you love this band, how you know them personally, how you were actually in the band at some stage; flash your media pass and, if you work for One Small Seed, drag the meat back to your magazine’s snazzy tent, club it into submission with pumping house music and have your way. Clean up. Repeat. Glorious.

Max and Montle, I am not in any way sorry for what is happening to you. Do not be misled – I am not misdirecting my anger, I am not ‘more angry’ with you than a man who rapes a woman, I do not hate men or even either of you. But, I do hate rape and abuse and male violence and the structural sexism and misogyny that allow fear to govern our lives. I hate what you said and how you spoke and how you continue to speak. I am angry with you. I am furious. And however much you continue to hurt us, to hate us, to try and destroy us, as best as I can I am going to stand square in the middle of your fucking way…

* Image by Zanele Muholi.

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Linda Stupart

Linda Stupart is an artist, writer and educator from Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College engaged in issues of objectification. http://www.lindastupart.com/


98 thoughts on “On the Pain of Violent Men, or, Why I’m not Sorry about Max and Montle

  1. You are an absolute hero. Fighting against patriarchy and violent masculinity will never be easy, but I applaud what you’ve done and for being so completely honest about your sense of vulnerability. As much as people would try to turn that against you, I know from personal experience that the hardest thing to do is be openly vulnerable. You are an inspiration and a fighter, and I am grateful that you spoke out. Those two misogynistic twats were long overdue a serious backlash.

    I mean, “semen receptacles”? Jesus.

  2. I think you’re awesome. I’m sorry this is happening to you. They are clearly two royal ass hats who can’t think for one second about the impact of their words or how they blend in to the hostile environment to women which allows said ass hats to keep their jobs because they “are nice people”. It’s apparent their realty is very different or they simply don’t care that it is. That excerpt you gave was disgusting – I would sack him on that alone. Reducing women to semen receptacles – making it further apparent he dosn’t even give women the courtesy of existing for any other purpose than his penis. Another clue to people he perhaps is not a nice person…

  3. Yes, a thousand times yes!

    I’ve been around guys who tell these kind of “jokes” in private, who laugh at these “jokes” in private, who see nothing wrong with it (yet do it only in private). I used to shrink into a tiny ball in the corner of the room, trying not to stand out for not laughing or joining in for fear of being called pussy, sissy, queer, fag. Very quickly (but not quick enough) I realised that silence is complicity.

    These same guys who tell these “jokes” in private, who laugh at them in private, who, through their silence, let them be told in private are the same ones falling over themselves to publicly express their shock at teenagers gang-raping a mentally disabled girl. They feign soul searching, wringing their hands and asking in chorus, “Who’s sons/brothers/friends are these?”

    What we say or what we allow to be said is what we do or allow to be done.

    I really wish people would understand this, not in a vague Chopraesque “your thoughts become your actions” kind of way, but properly, meaningfully and in ways I can’t express right now. And I wish too that people understood what censorship was, because it’s become one of those words thrown around whenever someone’s told they’re wrong. Civility too…in the face of this? Fuck it.

    While the rest of us, cowed by cowardice, keep silent, laugh along uneasily (or wholeheartedly), or tell these “jokes” and continue to promote (and allow the promotion of) a culture that reduces women to nothing more that receptacles for semen, it’s fallen on a few heroes like you to speak out. I’m sorry for that. Thank you and I’m not going to be quiet ever again.

  4. Lost for words but deep admiration for Ms Stupard and more power to your pen.
    And T.O. you have made my day.

  5. Reading this made me cry, and hope that maybe, one day, I will be as brave as you are.

  6. I just have two questions. When the Modimolle monster was evading justice, did you pick up the fight to find him at all cost so he could face justice? Did you march and parade when his trial was on? Did you tweet and re-tweet his trial and that of his co-accused to take a stand as it would against their dastardly deeds? If not, then you have proven Max and Moorosi’s point. You making an issue over a harmless joke and yet overlook those who actually practice these heinous acts. When all is said and done the comment was about twerking!! And most certainly not about you or your experience as harrowing as it may have been, it cannot limit people from their daily activities, and have them censor themselves because you may get offended. Yet at the same time you fail to act when needs be(protest). Were you so vocal about the real monsters out there I would understand your stance, but vilifying people on a poor tasting joke and justifying their losing employment is just down right bitter scornful. If you are truly sincere, fight there real monsters and not mere gagsters…

  7. This is such a great response.

    Do you (Linda and T.O) think it’s a coincidence that all this ‘outrage porn’ backlash has come up in response to an argument around gender-based violence? Honest question. I don’t think it is, for me it seems just a bit too close to ‘jees feminists stop being so hysterical’.

    Thank you Linda for your willingness to stand behind your beliefs. I truly respect you.

  8. You’ve missed the point of her piece entirely. They are not “harmless jokes”. In a country with such a horrifying rape rate, the jokes themselves hurt, harm, trigger memories of sexual violence and all th humiliation and pain that went along. Now please – PLEASE – reread Linda’s piece. Listen to what she’s saying. Especially reread that extract from Max’s Vice piece (which, if you’ve missed it, is his description of taking advantage of women too drunk to object or make a conscious decision – also known as “rape”). And understand that the words themselves can be weapons against the vulnerable.

  9. Thank you. I have only recently come to terms with my own experience with rape that happened a few years ago. Until now, I minimized it but its an event that changed me & the way i interact with the world & in relationships. I admire you & hope you find solace in your bravery & honesty.

  10. So teh menz are angry that their posts on a public social network have been made more public, and it turns out there are consequences for being an awful person? I’m particularly sorry you’re taking so much flak for this, since it’s not as if you’ve even attacked them yourself. Their words and misogyny are the cause of their suspension.

  11. i am reading this from far away,in italy.i do not know you,or south africa,but i have lived many years (and still do) in west africa so have been lucky enough to be on the mailing list for this intensely intelligent blog, which I have often referred to friends.some of the best reporting online today,your article is heartfelt,thoughtful,provoking and compassionate,thankyou for writing,I am honored to read you and will pass on.

  12. Trying to get men to protect and please women is not that hard but getting men to be kind to one another is far more of a challenge. The violence you speak of is mostly between men but you are only focused on women. That makes it harder for men to be “openly vulnerable” and retreat to violent masculinity for security and identity. Too often the feminist approach to changing men only reinforces their roles because it privileges female victims which is something men do anyway. If men can’t be vulnerable then how are they to live without fighting?

  13. Out of the 4 closest women in my life, 3 were raped at some point in their life, one before she ever were a woman.

    I say Bravo to you! I have a daughter, and am aware that every battle you embark on, is one she might not have to.

  14. Their parents must be so proud . . . well done on speaking out, Linda. Perhaps a “few good men” will join you (and us) in our disgust. Given that I am apparently a “semen receptacle”, I’ve got Max’s picture on my computer and will ensure I never work with any company/organisation that works with him, or Montle. A small stand, but a stand nonetheless.

  15. Harmless joke, “Sizwe”? Would it be so harmless if you were to become a “semen receptacle”? You’d like people to take a stand only when the monsters have already committed the acts, rather than when they’re just talking about them and none of us knows IF they may act on them? If this kind of behaviour is so “harmless” and you’re so okay with it, why aren’t you posting under your real name, with a real picture?

  16. What an interesting and worthwhile piece. You mirror my own confusion about them being fired … especially because really there are literally hundreds and thousands and probably millions of men who think like this. And women too. And we can’t see them all fired … more is the pity.
    Speaks to all the issues around which too many people are silenced in board rooms and bars … and because silence is so safe.
    It’s good to stand up to bullies – and I love that you have done that with all your confusion and vulnerability showing. Everything is so complicated and it is hard to stand up for yourself knowing that there are all these clever people out there who can argue almost any position – and persist in doing that even in the face of twats who speak like these two insufferable shitheads. Well done.

  17. Linda thank you for writing this. I respect your courage, your outrage. I am deeply sorry for what has happened to you and to countless other women, and men. Thank you for standing square in the middle of these two writers’ “fucking way”… I draw courage from you to do the same, despite my fear of those whose truly believe the world belongs to them. And never ever ever stop writing…!

  18. EXCELLENT, eloquent piece. Thank you so much for writing this and putting into words the anger that many of us have been feeling (by ‘us’ I don’t just mean women, or feminists, or ‘man-haters'; I mean respectful, decent human beings). Max and co. are indicative of how we, as South Africans, put up with this violence, how we remain silent (as the previous poster mentioned): whether the violence, in words or in actions, is inflicted directly upon us or not. These misogynist attitudes MUST be rooted out, and as you say, we must stand in their fucking way. There’s no difference between the attitudes of these “nice” white boys, and those who perpetuate corrective rape in the townships. Thank you for standing up to these disrespectful, unapologetic excuses for men – and to the entire rape culture at large.

  19. What a narcissist and an absolute embarrassment to strong women you are. If you really think that having 2 men fired for making a private joke that you found distasteful is a brave act then you are clearly more ignorant than this piece suggests. Pray tell, what was the logic behind you mentioning the employers of both these individuals? What did it have to do with comments they made in a private capacity? Why do you continue to quote said individuals out of context? It seems to me that you have created an agenda and feel empowered by the views of the majority. Said majority would be offended by two flies humping, especially in a country with strong conservative ideals such as South Africa. A place as easy as any in the world for cooking up a storm in a teacup. And now we must all feel outraged by rape jokes because you have told us that we are violent if we aren’t? Na uh, that’s not how the world works. We don’t need to be preached to by people with agendas. We don’t need to be told where our threshold for bad taste begins and ends. The act of rape is not precluded by the fondness for rape jokes. Not everyone who laughs at a racist joke is a racist. I am as sick and appalled by the idea of rape, but I also am by your ignorance. You have resorted to over exaggerating a joke, sitting back and watching people read into said joke like it had some sort of profound meaning and then wrote this piece trying to simplify the debate you started by coming to some sort of weird conclusion that rape jokes are indicative of violent men. You are also clearly a raging hypocrite of the highest order too. You posted an NWA video on your twitter account and although I’m not sure if you’re a fan of them or not, it seems odd to me that a woman who is so outraged by the idea of male misogyny would even entertain the thought of posting a song by a band that came up with these fine lyrics:

    Punch the bitch in the eye/ then the ho will fall to the ground/ Then you open up her mouth/ put your dick, move the shit around.
    — “She Swallowed It”

    To me that signals everything that needs to be said about you. You are extremely confused, extremely insecure, extremely malicious and a massive hypocrite. You are definitely a narcissist, you could’ve framed this whole article around the words “me” and “I”. I’m sorry this comes across as personal and harsh, but at the end of the day anything I say to you here pales in comparison to what you have put Max and Montle through. But you don’t see the pain you have caused, the over the top outrage you stirred up, the hypocrisy of the fact that you strongly oppose a movement such as the EDL yet feel we all have to think in the same warped logic as you do. You clearly need to find yourself, but for the 2 writers in question it will be too late. You have destroyed their characters and destroyed their livelihoods. I hope you continue to sleep with the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s the least you deserve for your complete act of malice and selfishness.

  20. In the interest of fairness I shall retract my comments about you forwarding their details to FHM. That was a mistake on my part.

  21. Continue the good work, but I have to express something.

    I hate rape jokes, they are not fun and they are damaging and they insult to victims. It also normalize sex as something done to women and violent. Now, in the other hand is difficult to make them understand when women do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFwEiG4I-Wg

    Please notice that this is not women laughing at a possibility, but making fun of an actual victim. They are not telling a stupid, damaging joke about abuse they are celebrating actual abuse. Notice that they were no consequences for this women, or for all the other ones that did the same. So what they see is this: Women do worse but they are powerful. They see this as bullying, not as a result of them joking of sexual assault. That is the reason this powerful writing does not have the desired effect. Until that is corrected you will succeed on silencing them but it will create more misogyny. This is the reason that men should speak against rape jokes: If we are able to criticizes women violence. By doing that they will not be able to dismiss our protests as feminism kill joy.

  22. You have missed the point, and you have made this a personal attack deliberately. Don’t try and masque your fear of your comfortable existence crumbling before your eyes with psuedo intellectualism and a crappy filtered profile picture SEAN. Montle and Max need to take responsibility for their actions. There are repercussions to fucking up (I know this is a strange concept for you to grasp as you are a white male and the world is yours) and now Linda is responsible for Max and Montle’s words? Na uh, THAT’S not how the world is going to work ANYMORE. The major flaw in YOUR argument is that Linda didn’t write “I propose correctional rape and sterilization for any white person who twerks.” THE MAN WHO’S CAREER YOU ARE NOW ALIGNING YOURSELF WITH, ILLOGICALLY SUPPORTING WROTE THAT. You have added no value whatsoever to this discussion. Go away.

  23. The one criticism I do have about this article is that you were not the cause of their loss of source of income, the jokes and statements they chose to make were. Be strong, stay enlightened, stay knowing your intent and it will beat all of this beautiful woman!

  24. Linda, thank you for what you did. I sorry though that you felt the need to start with an apology.

  25. Rapists see rape jokes as validation. Rape jokes may not be an indication of violent men, but they are an indication that they are thoughtless and don’t care about other peoples’ pain. Would you say something like, “i think rape can be quite fun if executed in a romantic manner. like
    saying “i love you” before you slip a roofie into her Earl Grey tea” to a woman in your life, if you’d known that she was raped? If not, why not? If you would, well, I feel sorry for the women you know.

  26. The world is changing, Sean. We’re not going to put up with the rape culture you defend anymore. Men will get fired for this shit, and no matter how long you spend poring over Linda’s twitter, there is fuck all you and your pathetic, increasingly powerless mates can do about it.

  27. Oh for lols, Just looked up yr disqus profile, Sean, and found that you were a regular poster on isanyoneup.com. No wonder you take personally the idea that rape jokes may have professional consequences.

  28. Let’s call it what it is: MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Not “gender-based violence”. We must NOT erase the agents of this violence: men.

    nametheproblem. com

  29. Rape “jokes” ARE an indication of violent men. “Thoughtless” does not begin to describe men who make light of women being raped and destroyed by men. “Violent”, “misogynist”, and “sociopathic” are more accurate.

  30. IF ONLY MORE MEN LOST THEIR POSITIONS AND THEIR INCOME DUE TO THEIR VIOLENCE, ABUSE AND HATRED OF WOMEN. KEEP SPEAKING OUT. NAME AND SHAME. I HAVE SHARED THIS ARTICLE WIDELY.

  31. Sean, I am a strong woman, please do not speak for a group you are not a part of. Linda is someone for us to be proud of. Standing up for her views in the face of such horrific bullying (include yourself in that Sean). Let me ask you. Does it amuse you to hear women revered to as ‘semen receptacles’? To listen to talk about ‘dragging meat home to have your way with it’.? Cos it clearly does max. Frankly, the less writing this man does the better. Show your mother that except and see if she thinks it is funny. Stuff like that ain’t funny, and I’m sick of men like you pretending it is ok.

  32. These guys are sociopathic because they made a joke about rape? Has the conversation really come to this?

    They are morons, and they should told in no uncertain terms that they are morons, but anyone who thinks they were advocating violence should be taken out and shot.

  33. Reading this from Ireland where the attitude to women also leaves something to be desired. The thing that stands out most for me is how so many times when men are taken to task for trivialising rape and glorifying rape culture the same pattern ensues. The offending male/s refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing or apologise. They engage in a blame game where women are deemed responsible for their demise, women are hysterical, overreacting, can’t take a joke. Women who refuse to bow down to patriarchy, belittlement and misogyny are ostracised and even when standing strong and refusing to back down, feel the need to be humble and apologetic about standing for what’s right. Leaves me wondering: A. When women are apologetic and men are pointing fingers at anyone but themselves who’s really being hysterical here? B. Why don’t they try just fucking apologising and the story could end right there? Seems they just kept digging a bigger hole and then blaming others when they can’t climb or of it.

  34. So she is working from the assumption that humour should not touch on subjects that might invoke memories of terrible events in trauma survivors? I don’t agree with that. I also don’t like how emotionally manipulative her story was, starts by evoking feelings of sorrow and compassion for her (This trauma has evidently left her psychologically damaged, hating men, can empathise but don’t agree with 90% what she says), then gets gradually more sexist as is proceeds, words like mansplaining are not exactly prejudice free, are they? (Mansplain: to delight in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation). The biggest issue with this entire situation in my opinion is that it gives the illusion that this is actually an important battle in the fight against behaviour of that ilk, two journalists who joked about a sensitive topic have lost their jobs, while myriads of actual rapists (convicted or otherwise) walk our streets, escape jail time, are released early and get let off lightly time and time again. I question whether that really sends the right message? Seems to be saying “Actual rape and other sex crimes are easy to get away with, but make sure not to jest about it in the media if you value your source of income”. It’s a joke that this debacle is receiving more media attention than oh-so-many of the real atrocities that happen in this country, both locally and internationally. Finally, as I understand it the passage she quotes at the end of her article doesn’t actually describe a rape, despite the aggressive metaphor and misogynistic attitudes involved, although it’s easy to see how a rape survivor would perceive it that way…

  35. Yeah? Getting men to protect women from what? Men. So bullshit. So sexual violence and rape are the fault of feminists? You have no logic-just self pity. Tell it to your MRA buddies. Make sure you stay vulnerable though, because, as you said, you’ll retreat to violent masculinity with each other and none of you will be safe.

  36. Rubbish. Moronic does not even begin to describe their pathetic rapey idiocy. Your comment does though.

  37. Sean, I work in magazines. I can tell you that ANYTHING that you post is public and anything you say and write is considered representative of the title you work for. Recently our former editor was sacked immediately for blogging something far more harmless than the ill-thought-out misogynist crap that’s triggered this “storm in a teacup”. Let me emphasise that – every Facebook post is public. Every, single one. This is not a “private joke”. This is a culture. And it’s not for you to decide what should offend people and what shouldn’t, and what they should speak out about and what they shouldn’t. I’m writing this from Sydney. You’d best believe this shizz has gone global, and that is powerful. And you know why I love it? Because these women refuse to conform to your out-dated, moronic, conservative ideals of what a woman “should” say and do. In YOUR world, we all just sit there while men reduce us to nothing and giggle and jiggle and get out tits out and go, “Ooh, you’re sooooo funny.” I’m sorry, but you know what? Fuck that shit, and suck it up, baby. Sorry we rocked the patriarchy for a moment there. I’m sure you’ll get over it.

  38. You have no idea what strong women think. You wouldn’t know one if you had a guided tour of the “Strong Women Emporium”. Not a private joke. Never was. You are thoroughly ignorant and you’ve just used the same argument used by the good ole boys in Steubenville. Interesting considering the comments of these assholes here were completely inline with the thought process that made that happen. Sorry you are so butthurt that you don’t own the world anymore. Build a bridge and get under it.

  39. Hi Bob. I think the point that is being expressed here involves
    that sort of thought-word-deed level of integrity that one either has or does
    not have. Obviously language and humour are a number of steps removed from the
    actual physical act of rape, but they are the first point of call where women
    have the power to insist on change. Someone
    who has once laughed at an insensitive joke is not damned for all eternity, but
    consequences like the ones experienced by the two writers means we all take a
    moment and go : hang on, where does that guttural laugh in me come from? What is
    that visceral response in me? Do I think my humour is in alignment with the
    rest of my beliefs, and do I believe that language/ideas/jokes which exist in subtle
    moments have effect on other less subtle moments? One either believes in the
    connectivity or one doesn’t. I for one do, which is why weeding out or pointing
    out the early stages of misogynistic expression is important, (perhaps even
    more complicated because it is so evasive than that which is physically
    obvious). I’m sure we will still find things to laugh at once we’ve checked in
    and made some appropriate corrections.

  40. Misogynistic thought could be likened to a rape victims hatred for all men, both are problematic generalisations (often fear based) about the other sex, stemming from environmental and social stressors, be it a traumatic event or how a given individual was raised by their parents or community. When voiced with a straight face with one’s tongue removed from cheek, both are unacceptable in my eyes. Though it is obviously easier to empathise with the rape victim, sexist attitudes not be supported, regardless of where their roots lie. But humour is another matter, nobody has the right to tell me what I can and can’t laugh at. As a kind, generally philanthropic male (non-raping) member of society who in addition happens to have a deeply twisted sense of humour, I feel that this ballooning situation is being blown further and further out of proportion, which is relatively distressing. Seems like we are focusing on the easy targets that receive media focus, rather than the real criminals in question. A fitting microcosm for what South Africa seems to be becoming if you ask me…

  41. I can’t see misogynistic thinking on the same page as a rape victim’s distrust/hatred of men in any book (sorry. I just can’t get there. I did try for a moment).

    I disagree with the rest as well, but let’s leave it at that.

  42. The only similarity is that both harbour ineffective, unrealistic views about the opposing gender, not sure how you could not see that similarity? Otherwise they are very different, I’m not attempting to equate one to the other, merely pointing out a shared characteristic. If for some reason you choose not to voice why you don’t agree with my opinion so be it, but would be interested to hear what aspects you disagree with (of course your responses would be viewed as healthy debate, not argument).

  43. You are so brave and you have my wholehearted support. I don’t know how I can support you other than by saying this and by pledging to never stay silent.

  44. Well I find this sentiment problematic: ‘small things are exploding in the media and big things aren’t’ – it just seems somewhat evasive to me, like the go-to excuse for when someone wants to remove the uncomfortable spotlight that has been placed upon them. Both the big things and the small things around this issue are important, let them both go viral. But then the political has always been personal for me: work on oneself is not disconnected to a country’s transformation on a macro level. How can it be? We are the units of that country.

    I also felt like bolting when you said ‘nobody has the right to tell me what I can and can’t laugh at.’ Which came across as though you thought a ‘twisted sense of humour’ exists in a bubble from the rest of social interaction and obligation – as though you would
    defend that right above all else. One would have to put that belief down for a moment, if one is to consider being open to other ways of seeing. At the most mundane, I tried to wrap up our comment thread because it is so difficult to focus on other work when debating important things on the internet. :) (my bad for responding to your comment when I had other things to do). And then you concluded with a sweeping pessimistic statement about South Africa, which is my least favourite way to conclude things. . .

  45. I can see how the statement you quote in the first paragraph could seem evasive, certainly was not how I intended it to be received, also not in disagreement with your comment about the individual attitudes and behaviours relating to a given countries transformation and how they are perceived by others.

    As far as defending my right to laugh at whatever I please above all else goes, your assumption was partially correct, I will fiercely defend this right, but there are many other rights I consider indescribably more important. I am very open to anyone who can/ will broaden or challenge my perspectives and perceptions with a sound intellectual debate, a little dismayed that for some reason you seem to think otherwise..

    Last word, in the interest of preserving the tattered remnants of your focus for whatever other work begs your attention, I am far from pessimistic about South Africa. I love it here, will always call it my home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t voice my opinion when I see similarity between our population’s response to a given incident and the way things are going vis-a-vis politics and media focus in general in the country I call home. ;)

  46. I was going to post a reasoned response.

    About how I would have fired them too, but certain things you’ve said I don’t agree with.
    If the association between employer and employee is visible or discoverable at all, it does require responsibility for your actions, even if you think they’re private. So yes, firing them was an obvious and justifiable action.

    Having said that, the other half of my opinion I shall keep to myself.

    And as I press post and close the window, it’ll be the last time your server sees my IP address. Why?

    Because your supporters deal with trolls like trolls themselves. I fear that you’ve forgotten that when you dance with the devil, it’s not the devil that changes, but you.
    I’m too scared to enter a conversation whole heart-idly because my opinion and experience that caused it is definitely not normal or predictable; and I’d prefer not to be told to fuck off or that I’ve added no value, simply because someone disagrees with me. All the hate back at the idiot comments is so off putting.

    Tough crowd this, good luck trying to have meaningful discourse, but try remember to kill the bigots with kindness. Nothing annoys them more.

  47. Thank you so much for your piece. I hope those 2 idiots have read it. But then again, they’d just make excuses as to why you are wrong and why they think they’re right.

  48. Well said!

    My question is why do these men hate women so much? Why are they so violent toward them? What is wrong with them that they would want to do these things? Do they think they are being “clever?”

  49. I watched the video and saw nothing that seemed to be what you are talking about. Is it in the comments? Where?

  50. It makes it look like rape is fine. That’s the problem. Like it “just happens” and that it’s a “fact of life” that can’t have anything done about it. You know, men will just do it and we have to “live with it.”

    If there aren’t any rape jokes, then fewer will think it’s OK.

  51. “Misogynistic thought could be likened to a rape victims hatred for all men,”

    So, women have physically attacked men so men hate them? Doesn’t seem logical.

  52. Look, if you can’t see the similarity I’m not going to try and rub your face in it until your eyes open, though my point was well removed from what you seem to think I meant ;)

  53. I agree with you (almost) fully, but I think you did not read Nicky Falkof’s piece properly. She is on our team…her tone was lighthearted but I draw the line at ‘vapid’. She in fact provided a biting response to Max and Montle and was fierce in her criticism.

  54. And I think raising the question of ‘outrage porn’ does not discount the need for outrage. It simply means the outrage has to be genuine, not transient or superficial, or a form of instant gratification for the conscience.

  55. This entire debacle was taken way too far. The fact that you caused someone to lose their job should make you feel terribly guilty. You don’t know the boys in a personal capacity at all, yet you think you can label them ‘violent’ and ‘aggressive’? Ridiculous. Be offended by the terribly offensive status, but also, grow up and deal with your own issues on your own, instead of targeting some immature boys. You have not achieved anything by getting Max and Montle fired. The waste of energy on this kind of media outcry makes me so sad. Young, cocky writers are not the people that you should be scared of, it’s the real-life threats that we, women AND men face everyday. Do you think men don’t care about these social issues? This article is nothing more than a self-pity rant, and it’s pretty pathetic. If you didn’t want to feel anything, you shouldn’t have gotten involved. And the comments? You people are all sick, and living in an altered reality.

  56. Beautiful! This is so well-written, you manage to express exactly what many women experience even if they don’t realise it themselves. “Every single person who feels like it is more important to critique the media outcry about violent hate speech than it is to think about what this hate speech actually means, what it does, is one more person telling me that these boys’ lives are more important than mine, than ours.” That is exactly the kind of responses I’ve received on this topic and on many others, that leave me small and voiceless. Seeing women and allies (although I wish there were more) standing together like this gives me hope and makes me feel strong. I believe this is one small step to addressing a much bigger problem and I thank you for having the courage to take it. <3

  57. Firstly, there are strict labour laws in South Africa, someone doesn’t just “get fired”. I read a comment from a media lawyer who believes that should this case be brought before the CCMA, the outcome would be upheld. You might find that these 2 were on thin ice as it were.

    My feeling is also that Linda wasn’t on a crusade to get people fired, more to bring to people’s attention what was being said by 2 people in the public eye. I’d also like to believe that if she hadn’t done so, someone else would have.

    A couple of years ago I was raped. I went out for dinner with an old school friend who was visiting from overseas. I remember sitting with her in the hotel bar, and then I woke up a number of hours later half naked in my car in an area of Cape Town I’d never personally been to. I still have no idea what happened to me, but the physical evidence was that I had been raped.

    I was one of the people who found these comments deeply offensive. I’m sure there are a lot of survivors who can “take a joke”, find healing in humour etc, but I am not one of them. I spent a number of days with a deeply uncomfortable feeling, firstly because of the comments themselves and secondly because of the reaction to people who were offended and called these two out. Then, during after work drinks at the office on Friday evening, my colleague was talking about the girls he would roofie that night. When I told him that was disgusting and not something one should joke about, his answer was “Well, sorry, I just find it funny”. I ended up having a very unexpected meltdown in the middle of the night. SO many feelings flooded back including what actually happened to me?

    This is what I realised is the true problem with those types of comments, whether you find them funny or not. When you put your thoughts like that out in the public, be it through a Facebook post or conversation, especially thoughts on topics that are known to be controversial, you have no idea the effect they will have on someone who read or hears them. Even taking the view that the comments were on a private Facebook page into account, the fact remains that M & M clearly had no consideration for how such careless comments would have affected their own friends. And I think that says a lot about them.

  58. Well done on the response. Eloquent and concise and the point is well made.

    There is an English saying that says that many a true word is spoken in jest, and in Afrikaans, there is a saying about whatever the heart is full of, the mouth repeats.

    So, in all honesty, I shall stand in front of you, square, in the middle of their fucking way.

  59. Much respect Linda. Please don’t feel confused about making these two lose their jobs. It was bound to happen. If you didn’t do it, somebody else would have. My older brother used to have a certain reverence when it comes to issues of this nature but I quickly sorted him out (almost punched him) because I didn’t want my brothers to be making such careless comments. It’s a real embarrassment. I keep thinking to myself, what they told their parents? Who paid and worked for them to get through school and become “journos”… You know, they may have let the entire country down but I feel so damn sorry for their parents who must be very disappointed in them and most of all questioning the values they have instilled in these “nice boys”.

    Aluta Continua Big Sista!

  60. Loud and bold trivial commentary painted as intelligence that’s justified in anti-anti-conundrums, order to attain and further yawls middle class social media popularity goals. Trivializing issues does not make the purpose of your comments invisible, the purpose of your comments is obvious and has everything to do with your facebook-egos and being the anti-trend-trendsters that yawll are. Knowing a few big words and writing a few sentences in the hip-anti-hip world that you wish to be kings of- does not make you intelligent in the least. Common sense will always override your wannabe fringe-anti-fringe social games, yawll like to think yawll smarter than the rest of your middle class contemporeez by painting quick-on-the-draw-confusion-mouth-offs as intelligence- you fuckheads are only bamboozling yourselves, yawlls populist reactionary yaps of “lets say something pseudo funny and trivial” clearly shows that yawll are the fashionable-fence-sitters who like to think that yawll are a bunch of penthrifts- when yawll actually have fuckall skills, writing is not a skill, nor is wearing your hat, jackets, jeans and takkies in a style. You fuckheads are empty, and when after you read this and go “he said we empty, yeah we are empty, empty is rad” you will just continue your moronic middle class ego manifestations, and in the end be packed in very minimalist or maximalist trendy-anti-trend designer embossed box packaging amongst the other very smart and weak artists.

    Your apology was not an apology, although you have furthered your popular crowd goals, but those who are actually intelligent will see write through yawll, for the fools that yawll are- once again the fool is not hip, even if you try and make it hip, time to grow up boys

  61. Allow me to succinctly summarise the author’s diatribe

    Author was raped. Author has borderline personality disorder. Author has PTSD. Author gives a fuck when it’s not her turn to give a fuck. Author loves the sound of her keys tapping the keyboard. Author has nothing better to do with her time than to harp on and on about a dead issue.

    If we translate her logic…. I was hijacked. I have PTSD from being hijacked. No one in this country is allowed to make any jokes about hijacking and violence because its something that has affected me.

    Welcome to South Africa. Where we have no sense of humour, unless it counts Trevor Noah saying, “Poo,” at the Steve Hofmeyer Comedy Central Roast.

    Pathetic.

  62. What I find unbelievable is the amount of people defending these two guys and the apparent normalisation of rape jokes and the belittling of women here in SA and perhaps in general across the globe.

    I do not make racist jokes because I am not racist, neither do I laugh at them and the same is true for other unsavoury ‘jokes’. Having a daughter of seventeen and a wife who was abused by her uncle at a young age, I understand the pain that these types of people can cause and by their actions and words, allowing rape to become trivialised and accepted as par for the course of women.

    Sad that so many people see them as saints who have been unfairly treated.

  63. seems like this person is only of the only people who can see the forest for the trees and linda’s superficial and transparent logic

  64. OK. I think your anger is correct, but a little misdirected at these two. In the sense that – they are not rapists. I believe your anger is directed at rapists, right? Correct in the sense that these two were joking about something that isn’t actually funny. I think in South Africa we joke all the time about hardship here – it’s just a way of dealing with a Life in Africa, which isn’t always so easy. Wasn’t easy for me – I am a victim of a gang rape. But it’s not what defines me, nor my outlook on other people. I forgive these two for their naivety – I wish I still had it. Let’s rather focus on taking out the bad guys, not the normal guys who don’t know better…

  65. Dear Linda

    Thanks for your piece – I think men do not even begin to comprehend the fear women live in on a daily basis.

    This is to the men out there: Man the fuck up and start protecting the women in your lives – your sisters and your mothers and your daughters. The people you care about. This is not a battle to be fought only by women, you men need to do your part as well. Sexual abuse and violence against women is a crime against humanity akin to slavery and needs to end now. Stop fucking around.

    As for Max and Montle, since they don’t have jobs any more they’ll probably have to move back in with ‘semen receptacle’ mothers.

  66. Excellent. Often, such remarks are said without ‘real’ consequences. They deserved to lose their jobs! Maybe, they can find a way to make a joke out of it seeing as they have a knack for making serious issues comic.

  67. Stupart did not cause anyone to lose their job, and you should remember that. She quite rightly called them out on a kind of writing which supports a rape culture; what happened next was not up to her, but to a) their employer and b) society at large. No employer in South Africa can just sommer fire someone; they’ll have huge problems if they do. The employer must have had good reason to believe that firing would be upheld by a court of law, or else it would cost them a shitload of money. And society spoke pretty loudly in my view. Two young men have learned a really tough lesson; I hope a lot of other young men will learn from that, too.

  68. Just dropping by to say there’s another man out here who’s cheering you on, Linda. I also hate seeing anyone losing their jobs, but in this case, it’s hard to imagine anything else driving home to them what they’ve done. Though I fear that the subtext of the firing was probably, ‘we’d love to keep you guys on, but the bad publicity is more than we can deal with.’ There’s no way these characters are an aberration within FHM – they must be representative of it, even if at an extreme. I hope the rag goes under.

  69. I don’t agree with all of that but I do agree with the last line. Really, one of the causes of sexism is that society glorifies and celebrates dominant/invulnerable men, then it wonders why it has a violence problem.

  70. Please to share where real social change has occurred when bigots have been “killed with kindness.”

  71. Ignore idiots, stay strong. The ‘fired’ themselves by making such stupid comments and having the idiocy to actually try and defend it. You called them on it and rightly so. Believe that the momentum is slowly shifting with every battle that is won. Well done!

  72. Hi Linda and thanks for your post.

    I wanted to say that after reading your post the first time, as a white male I was somewhat put off by the overwhelming sense of victimization surrounding a courageous act. I read it again and really tried to listen and understand your perspective with an open heart. I think you’re right to do what you did. I don’t feel sorry for M/M and I think that rape culture needs to change not only in South Africa, but in most parts of the world.

    But this is what leadership really looks like. You’ve stepped out and exposed yourself and become the voice of a viewpoint and perspective that is supported by some and reviled by others. You’ve put an uncomfortable issue in front of people and many are going to attack, threaten, and oppose you for it, much in the same way that you represent a threat and an attack to those who share Max and Montle’s view.

    Leading on this issue is not easy. It’s dangerous, and scary, and is likely to require a great deal of pain and sacrifice on your part. But you’re not a martyr, and standing tall in the face of such violence and pain is not the mark of a victim. It’s the mark of a fighter.

    You write that “every single attack makes me less of myself”. I hope that perhaps the opposite is true and every single attack you face reveals more of your strength and character.

    Best of luck with everything.

  73. Great article, and it seems like you still have a lot more to say. Any chance of a follow up?

  74. I’m not sure if you guys heard. But Mark Zuckerberg made this awesome new feature on Facebook that allows you to delete a friend! It’s amazing! I’ve deleted hundreds of oversensitive fools like Miss Stupid without ANY of them having to be fired. Try it!

  75. Just one question: what makes you describe Max as a “heterosexual white man”? Has he published the sexual orientation with which he identifies somewhere, has he told you this, or is it an assumption?

  76. Much kudos to you for your own strength of character in reading the piece again and making a real effort to overcome your initial reaction of discomfort so you could properly appreciate what was being said. Men like you make me hopeful about the prospect of change.

  77. I suppose this movement in backward thinking, has something to do with the stat. that in South Africa girls are more likely to be raped than to learn how to read. Good for you, though… at least you are brave enough to present thorough stupidity with out the inclination to …………..mask it as intelligence?

  78. I always struggle to understand the “lack of humor” argument in cases like this – Louis C.K once told a fellow comedian (Daniel Tosh) whom once made a rape joke…

    “… She yelled out from the audience, “Actually, rape is never funny.” Tosh said something to the effect of “Wouldn’t if be funny if she were raped by five guys right now?” (There’s dispute over the wording, but he later publicly apologized.)”

    … in bad taste – the joke made fun of the person being raped, and not the rapist, nor the act of raping… Louis said that if ever he apologised to another heckler again for his jokes, that he (Louis C.K), would have to rape him as punishment.

    See what he did there? Not? *Sigh* Okay… So Tosh’s joke was making fun of the victim – this is BAD! – Louis C.K’s joke made fun of how ridiculous it was to jump to the conclusion of using rape, even as a joke, to punish someone. See, he’s making fun of Tosh (the guy who wants to make light of rape) and rape too, by using his “joke” against him.

    Now that’s a funny rape joke – you stupid fucking ass-bag.

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