12/11/2014

Dapper Laughs "Banter"

It's been a successful week for feminism, as online campaigns have forced ITV to rescind the platform they gave Dapper Laughs, real name Daniel O'Reilly, in the form of a TV programme, and his tour of stand up "comedy" has also been cancelled.

O'Reilly portrays Dapper in vines and comedic acts, and Dapper is the epitome of "LAD", rape and harassment culture. Women can be thankful that his stage presence has now been diminished. However, now those that fought for Dapper's platform to be removed are now having to deal with his fans defending him with remarks such as "it's just banter", "if you don't like him don't watch him", and "you're stupid if you think that men really are influenced by what he says in his vines". 

Well, I'm getting sick of reading these mind numbingly poor "defences" and so am going to rebut all of them in this piece.

Let's start with the always pleasant discussion of "banter". Banter - once a word used to define mutually consenting exchanges of jokes between two or more people who are comfortable with each other, now apparently is a word which is used as a blanket term to mask any horrifying thing you wish to say as a joke. 

It is also convenient, as by claiming anything you say as banter you can kill two birds with one stone, by making the offended person feel like they are being uptight and simply not getting the joke, projecting your problem of misogyny / racism / homophobia / general dick-headedness as simply being another persons problem of uptightness. 

For example, Bob says to Sheila, "Sheila you're such a fat slag and you definitely want me to rape you don't you?" Sheila: "No Bob that's a really horrifying thing to say, you're really misogynistic and you shouldn't say things like that because we are in 2014 and really men and women should be equal now." Bob: "Oh come on Sheila, it's banter, God you're so uptight, get a grip, it's just a laugh I'm not a misogynist at all I just really do think that women are inferior to men, but to pretend that I'm not a misogynist I'm going to make you believe that you're just uptight and this is banter."

The word is the epitome of what is wrong with our culture. "Banter" is a word which is used to mask misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia any other kind of ism or phobia, while also protecting the offender from any repercussions of what they have said. 

We have a freedom of speech, yes, correct. We do not have a freedom to incite hatred or dehumanise people by saying awful things about them purely because of the way they were born, and then pass it off as a joke while our culture completely reinforces the attitude.

Secondly, "don't watch him if you don't like him" - well duh, I'm a feminist, I'm clearly not going to pay to go and watch misogyny, especially when I can experience it every day for free. It's not a case of don't watch him if you don't like him. It's a case of  other people watch him and then imitate his behaviour. It's a case of him normalising street harassment and rape jokes and making them seem trivial. It's a case of by giving him a TV show in the first place saying to young boys, and girls, that misogyny is funny and you will be applauded for it and you can make money from it too. It's a case of saying actually girls, this is all ok, you are the inferior sex and we are going to laugh about it and you are going to put up (literally) and shut up.

This brings me on to the third point. "You're stupid if you think that this actually influences men". Nope. Nope I'm not stupid, I'm realistic and also very aware that human differences mean that some people are extremely vulnerable and therefore very easily influenced. Funnily enough, this can mean that if they see something which they are told is outright hilarious, then they are likely to copy that humour to try and fit in. If people weren't easily influenced, why is advertising such a colossal success for companies? If people weren't easily influenced, why are our personalities shaped by our environment and the way we grow up? It's complete bullshit frankly to deny that Dapper Laughs humour can manipulate the minds of some people. And if you genuinely believe that no person has been influenced by his normalisation of misogyny then I went to see solid, concrete evidence to prove that. 

No-body is claiming that men have raped women on the grounds that "Dapper Laughs said rape was funny", or "Dapper Laughs said that women want to be raped" - I'm not naive enough to believe that, but what is very true is that he has normalised rape, sexual harassment and misogyny which makes other people (especially adolescent boys) desensitised to the issues, and therefore more likely to believe that the issues are not a problem, victim blame women - "you were drunk", "you were wearing a short skirt" or "you enjoyed it really", think that misogyny is hilarious and therefore practise rape jokes in the school playground, and continue this vicious, vicious cycle of male entitlement, objectification and rape culture.

So to reiterate, Dapper Laughs is not banter, I don't watch him yet funnily enough he still creates problems in my day to day life, and yes, his hilarious act of stark misogyny does normalise rape and sexual harassment to the extent where it becomes a topic of laughter, and we were RIGHT to sign, campaign and petition for his platform to be removed, ITV were right to listen and remove it, and his tour has been rightfully cancelled.

Because freedom of speech is a right, but nobody has a divine or natural right to preach misogyny, trivialise rape, or harass others while they're walking down the street. Nobody has a right to tell women that they want to be raped, or to tell women what they can and can't be offended by, nobody has any of those rights. Because they are wrongs. And wrongs ought to have repercussions.

@annalouiseadams

4 comments:

  1. Many mixed emotions about this situation.
    It's important to remember that theres still a lot to do to tackle this culture. Theres far too many tweets and comments today that seem to think it's problem solved and that they have some moral win by attacking Daniel O'Reilly (a lot of comments were just as bad as the comments his character has made). He has apologised for pushing his character to far and put a stop to his tour, but as he said in his interview he presumed everyone was laughing with him thinking 'surely no lads actually talk like this' (which the majority of people were simply doing). Unfortunately a minority were influenced by his character, which you can see through their tweets and comments and I believe something needs to be done to educate them, rather than simply slate Daniel O'Reilly personally and categorise all teenage boys as sexists etc. I also don't think its a case of boys saying 'its your fault if your raped' vs girls who have had to go through the unfortunate examples of harassment and rape...put simply there's far to many types of people between them, some who simply ignore all the issues and don't get involved, some of them boys who aren't doing enough to speak up and defend women, and some of them women who instead of looking at the bigger picture that there are some stupid people out there who will attempt to harass and rape do continue to flaunt themselves on social media and nights out, leaving the unfortunate complex situation that means it's unlikely that all demographics can be united together to help solve this issue

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  2. work on the grammar

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  3. In the words of the great Stephen Fry: “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

    I understand why it is seen as offensive to women and also detrimental to the process of eliminating these views that are so common in everyday life. However, he is just a comedian, just look at the likes of Jimmy Carr making jokes about ebola while presenting the GQ awards (I believe it was GQ awards may be wrong), he still presents several panel shows and people who disagree with his comedic technique criticise him, but don't ask to get him pulled from TV!

    However, having an act that is solely misogynistic is different to other comedians.

    Maybe I'm playing the devil's advocate, but I think its been harsh on Dapper Laughs considering it is an act. It seems it has become a social trend or meme to hate him. As many men and women who watched his vines and laughed have now turned against him because everyone else has!

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  4. The thing is it's very very complicated. All the points you make about incitement and immitation are completely fair BUT they're unfortunately EXACTLY THE SAME arguments the religious right uses to Campus Ban the Vagina Monologues in the USA and that Mrs Thatcher used to implement Section 28 and Stephen Green etc use against us. And this is why No Platforming him to death sets a potentially dangerous precedent. By all means protest but bear in mind that causing trouble between the venue and the promoter is a classic technique of the far right and you're potentially legitimising it
    http://www.chortle.co.uk/correspondents/2010/10/19/11960/rip,_my_lovely_club

    The difference between Dapper Laughs and Jimmy Carr is that Carr is amoral whereas Dapper/Daniel actually believed in some odd way that his pick up artist antics were helping people. Dapper is hugely misguided. Carr just doesn't care. Also the area he was traversing is hugely taboo and he did it very badly. There are many reasons why it is so taboo. One reason is the gender imbalance in comedy it's self. With men still outnumbering women by a factor of 2/3 it's difficult for men to talk about male sexuality without risking punching down on women. Also there's the question of where blue material ends and misogynistic material begins which is not a straight line in the sand. Most of the misogynistic material I see is not rape jokes - they are just the most obvious manifestation of it.

    Here's the bottom line. If you believe in taking away his platform you believe in censoring him in some way. To some degree. That is you believe his message is so dangerous that he should not be allowed to voice it. You believe it is hate speech. Fine. But the problem then is ... what opinions of yours would other people qualify as hate speech. And how many opinions can you "no platform" away before it just becomes ridiculous and unenforcable. No Platform and hate legislation should be reserved for the most absolutely hateful and bigoted people in society. The people who are beyond redemption. Is he really that? Perhaps but...

    "And if you genuinely believe that no person has been influenced by his normalisation of misogyny then I went to see solid, concrete evidence to prove that. "

    If you want to censor people it is up to YOU to prove cause and effect not someone else ... what you have done here is to reverse the burden of proof. People always end up doing this because the link between cause and effect for an inchoate crime is really really hard to prove. Also the burden of proof for sexist hate crime is lower (based on the fact that women are 50% of the population and dont count as a "minority") which is why we see all these symbolic campaigns against individuals and newspapers and lads mags. So he's slipping through the holes in hate legislation. But really there do have to be holes somewhere or you're in danger of ending up in a closed idea system ...or something ...

    http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com/Dapper.html

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