You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a more Sisyphean task than explaining rape culture to someone who doesn't want to understand it. The nuances may become complicated, but the basic concept isn't hard to grasp: Rape culture is the normalization of sexual violence in our society. But if your audience just isn't getting the idea, "Unboxing Rape Culture with Dylan Marron" could save the day — or at least a headache.
Produced by Seriously.TV, which tackled discriminatory bathroom laws earlier this year, the video is part of a series in which popular political topics are "unboxed" like cool new items. (You've seen an unboxing video before, right? This is that, only for concepts instead of physical things.) Since the series' launch, Marron has covered Islamophobia, the Constitution, and as of Tuesday, rape culture. "It's literally everywhere!" Marron exclaims. (Observant viewers will notice that the video even predicts rape culture's appearance in the comments section, and a quick scroll below the Facebook post proves it depressingly correct.)
The first "feature" of rape culture is consent. "Right when you open it up, it's the word 'no,' but apparently if you look at it from different angles, it's supposed to look like the word 'yes,'" Marron says. After giving this a try, he concludes that "no matter which way you look at it, it always says 'no.'"
The box also includes a teddy bear named Victim, whom people can shame to their hearts' content; a stack of Woody Allen DVDs (in 2014, Allen's adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, wrote an open letter in the New York Times alleging that she was abused by him as a child; Allen has denied those allegations); and a "get out of jail free" pass, which works best for rich, white men. (This year's best example would be Brock Turner, a former Stanford student whose lenient sentence for a conviction of sexual assault drew intense media scrutiny earlier this summer; however, as other recent news stories have reminded us, Turner is far from the only example out there.) I won't spoil all the contents, but rest assured that a male comedian makes an appearance long enough to stick his foot in his mouth. Doesn't that sound familiar?
Although it would be nice not to need another primer on rape culture, the simple fact is that we do, even in 2016. Sexual assault affects hundreds of thousands of people every year, but comparatively few perpetrators ever go to trial, let alone receive punishment, for their crime. Unless we talk about the kind of culture that allows these statistics to continue — while women are still taught to defend themselves rather than rapists being taught not to rape, men are told that they can't be victims of sexual assault, and the comments section below videos dealing with rape exemplify rape culture itself — there's always room for more discussion.
Marron's is a refreshingly ironic take on a serious subject, and it's worth watching. Check it out below, and head over to Seriously.TV for similar videos.
Images: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images, Seriously.TV/Facebook (2)