Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
Transcript (borrowed from The Curvature):
A scene of a party. A pale blond woman in her 20s stands talking to two men, one pale and one with darker skin. She wears a black top and sparkly blue skirt, and all parties hold drinks in their hands and appear to be having a good time.
Woman: (laughing playfully) You’re terrible! (laughs) You’re so bad! Shut up!
Cut to two presumably white men across the room.
Man One: (looks at woman, sucks in air between his teeth) Check out the skirt! She’s asking for it.
Man Two: (laughs)
Cut to scene of the same woman in a department store. She pulls two skirts off the rack, one the sparkly blue skirt she wears at the party, and takes turns holding up each one to her hips. A sales assistant, a pale middle-aged woman, walks up to her.
Sales Assistant: Can I help?
Woman: Yeah, thanks. I’m going out tonight and I want to get raped. (smiles) I need a skirt that will encourage a guy to have sex with me against my will. (holds up each skirt again)
Sales Assistant: (smiles eagerly and folds arms across chest) The blue one. Definitely the blue.
Woman: (nods and smiles)
Woman turns and directly faces camera, with a sarcastic look on her face.
Woman: As if.
Male Voiceover: Nobody asks to be raped. Ever.
Commentary from The Curvature, which is spot on:
Here is what I love about this ad: it treats rape apologist attitudes as a problem, regardless of whether or not they refer to a specific rape. There is no indication in the commercial that the woman has actually been raped. There is no indication that she will be raped. There is no indication that the man who makes the “she’s asking for it” comment is actually planning on raping her, or anyone else, for that matter. And still, in spite of all of this, his comments are dangerous, they have a real impact, and they are worthy of our attention. They’re worthy, in fact, of a PSA about how incredibly fucked up they are. All on their own.
And that, I think, is absolutely fabulous.
Here’s what else I love about this ad: while there’s no indication whatsoever that the man is a rapist, there’s no way to tell for sure that he’s not, either. As Thomas has pointed out many times at Yes Means Yes, while not all men who make rape apologist jokes are rapists, rapists do tend to make rape jokes and apologist comments. Leaving the man’s motives up to interpretation thus manages to do two important things: tell guys who aren’t rapists but think that rape is something fun to joke about that it’s not, as well as tells guys that if their friend is making these types of comments, you should probably point out that it’s not cool. As bystander behavior is incredibly important, I have to say that I love this potential dual effect.
For more, see the website, Not Ever, which is the government group that created the ad. The Curvature said that there are a lot of rape apologists posting all over the site, so be warned.