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May 06 2013

Memo to blowjob-forcing fan: it’s a RAP concert, not a RAPE concert.

Here’s another of the myriad ways that patriarchy and rape culture hurts men. I know this is going to be counterintuitive to some of you mouth-breathers, but if your first reaction to this story is “that guy has all the luck” or “but he’s a rapper who raps a lot about sex” or anything other than “holy shit that’s rape”, then you’re part of the problem.

A rapper by the name of Danny Brown is on tour, and stopped in Minneapolis at the Triple Rock Social Club recently, and during his concert a female fan pulled down his pants and started sucking on his penis.

He backed up quickly, later tweeted jokingly with people who congratulated him on Twitter (saying things like “never missed a bar”), and generally tried to play it off like he’s perfectly fine and it was just a blowjob. Fans are talking about how he was given oral sex. Hell, the MEDIA is calling it oral sex. But his close friend and fellow rapper, Kitty Pryde, is framing things very differently.

Not only is Pryde unafraid to call what happened a real sexual assault, she rightly points out that in our society, it’s not like he had much choice in his reaction to the assault, given that at least part of the system of self-aggrandizement in the rap world involves being hypersexual and/or hypermasculine. She laments that when she’d had a similar event happen to her, with two fans ripping her pants off, the others on stage with her were rightly defensive. They rushed to her aid, helped stop the assault. Brown was not so lucky — getting, instead, put into a Catch-22 position then getting congratulated on his good fortune at having been violated.

If he had figured out a way to gently push the girl off him immediately without looking like he was smacking her in the face, he’s faced with attacks on his masculinity by every douchebro in the building. Yo dude, you don’t want your dick sucked, bro? Are you gay? Haha you’re gay you don’t want girls to suck your dick haha gay dude bro man swag! And that’s a rapper’s literal nightmare.

Why would a “surprise blowjob” be a rapper’s nightmare? Well, it’s rather simple actually. The nightmare lies in the nexus of: a) the rape culture that enshrines some ability for outsiders to know better than you what you do and do not consent to; and b) the rigid gender roles that expect that men are only concerned with getting their dicks wet at every opportunity.

Danny Brown, using the part of rap culture that draws so heavily on patriarchal notions like rigid male gender roles and male sexual appetites, was in effect “playing the game” of the patriarchy, so to speak. As a result, he was in possibly one of the worst positions anyone could have been in, and I don’t envy him for a minute. It’s horrible and damning that the patriarchal notions that won him fans backfired on him so spectacularly — especially insofar as the perpetrator was apparently a fan herself.

If he did anything to stop this overzealous fan, short of backing up — the most passive way to stop someone from assaulting you that I can think of short of closing your eyes and praying — then he would have incurred the derision of his peers, his douchier fans, MRAs who decry the concepts of patriarchy and rape culture, and just about anyone who’s got a suspiciously personal stake in insisting that “surprise sex”, without any sort of pre-existing relationship where consent can be implied, is fine-just-fine. Brown didn’t even have the option to push his assaulter away, even if he hadn’t suffered a surprising and otherwise mentally vapor-locking event. Imagine if he’d pushed her away with anything more than a gentle hand — he’d probably be looking at assault charges, especially where he’s a black man where people are already predisposed to stereotyping him as hypersexual and violent even without the rapper angle.

I lay the blame for Brown’s assault squarely at the feet of the assaulter, who while she didn’t hurt him physically, certainly violated his bodily integrity. Rape is rape whether it’s violent or doesn’t leave a mark.

However, I lay the blame for all the pain experienced by Brown in dealing with the consequences of his assaulter’s actions, squarely at the feet of the power dynamics of privilege at play. That same power dynamic disadvantages women who are raped by men, and practically ensures that the comparatively few men who are raped by women, like Brown, will probably never see real justice. They’re forced to play it off like it’s no big deal. They’re forced to accept that they don’t get to choose what happens to their dick, by whom, and when. They get to taste in one small way what it’s like to be a woman in a rape culture, and some of these male rape victims even internalize the fucked up narrative that you should be thankful that someone is willing to suck your dick — that you should take it as a compliment, or as something to be cheered on, and never, ever get to say “that was fucked up”, on penalty of having a swarm of self-appointed gender police attack you for stepping out of line.

Let this be a lesson to you assholes who think the concept of patriarchy was invented to shame and hurt men for being men: try being less manly, in any way, even in moments of extreme vulnerability, and see what happens to you. When society fucks you over for it, recognize that that’s the same damned patriarchy we feminists have been talking about all along.

Maya and Alexandra have more analysis at Feministing.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    SallyStrange

    That’s incredibly fucked up.

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    That’s horrible. If MRAs actually cared about guys not getting raped, they’d do something about that framing…

  3. 3
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Very good points about how trapped Brown was – no options that would not actually bring censure down upon him instead of upon his attacker. He did the best he could by backing away, but what kind of messed up world is patriarchy when a man can never really be attacked by a woman.
    On feministing, the MRAs have come out in the comments. Ugh those asshats – even when feminists are defending men who have been sexually assaulted, the MRAs find a way to turn it into a battle.

  4. 4
    Xuuths

    If it had been a male fan, would the reaction have been the same? Different? Why?

  5. 5
    Daryl Branson

    Extremely well said.

  6. 6
    composer99

    Xuuths:

    Given that, to my knowledge, the culture surrounding hypermasculine subgenres of rap can be quite homophobic, I suspect if a male fan had sexually assaulted Brown by attempting to perform fellatio on him on the spot, (a) he most likely would have pushed him away, perhaps even forcefully, without hesitation, and (b) he would face no censure from others for doing so.

  7. 7
    Eristae

    @composer99

    I’d actually say that the reaction would be more intense. The culture is quite homophobic, as you said, and the offending man would have likely had the everloving crap beating out of him. He almost certainly would have received worse treatment than if it had been a female performer and a male fan.

    As for if the offender was trans . . . well, hopefully some of us remember what happened to Gwen Araujo.

    Men are expected to want sex from women. They aren’t supposed to want sex from men (or individuals who they may perceive to be men). Violence is doled out accordingly.

  8. 8
    John Horstman

    *Like*

  1. 9
    r/MensRights reminds me why I don’t Reddit » Lousy Canuck

    […] from the same power structures that screw women over time and again and to a greater degree. And I post quite frequently on that […]

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