For someone who’s wasted as much of her life scavenging through entertainment news sites as I have, you’d think I’d have a better grasp on the concept that celebrities are completely human– and that even the ones I really like have the ability to mess up. I feel super weird about the fact that P!nk retweeted a rape joke.
The tweet in question comes from a Jennifer Lawrence parody account (which in itself is kind of a creepy concept), and reads: “Surprise sex is the best thing to wake up to! …Unless you’re in prison.”
Yikes. I’ve always hated the internet’s obsession with “surprise sex” jokes, and if making light of sexual assault when it happens to men is part of your feminism, that’s not a feminism I’m down with. It’s really disappointing to see this message getting the stamp of approval from someone whose fan base includes huge numbers of teens and young adults (P!nk has 23.1 million followers, btw), and especially when that person has done plenty in the past to establish herself as a positive role model.
P!nk’s husband, Carey Hart, made his own prison rape joke in October when Chris Brown got arrested for assault, and even though it was graphic and seriously crossing a line, this fake JLaw tweet might worry me more. The majority of P!nk’s fans won’t find themselves in prison in their lifetimes– I’m assuming, at least– but most of them will face regular, everyday sexual encounters. Many young people in our culture are completely uneducated when it comes to giving and receiving consent, and it’s pretty irresponsible for a role model to make (or support) jokes that blur the lines between yes and no. I’m sure the “surprise sex” in this joke is meant to refer to a “surprise invitation for sex” or a “surprise come-on” from someone with whom you feel safe and are very likely interested in having sex with, but do young and inexperienced P!nk fans understand that? Isn’t there a chance that young people could read this tweet and receive the message that adults like being surprised by sexual contact that they didn’t explicitly agree to? Isn’t there a chance that, by laughing at this joke, we’re telling kids that their right to say yes or no isn’t that big of a deal?
I’m not in any way saying “P!NK ENDORSES NONCONSENSUAL SEX,” but it was a weird decision for her to pass along a joke that supports the idea that consent can be implied by a sleeping person. If her Twitter audience were made up 100% of adults who understand the nuances of sexual relationships, this tweet would be distasteful, but not a huge deal. That’s not the case, though.
Photos: Getty Images, Twitter