Why a generator?

Why use an online generator format?

The central aim of the Random Rape Threat Generators on this site is to show that when women receive rape threats and other sexualised vitriol and aggro sleaze online, they are often receiving a spray of formulaic gibberish that has little to do with them as individuals. The rhetoric of Rapeglish is extraordinarily similar despite the year it is sent, the channel via which it travels, and the woman it targets. It has a quasi-algebraic quality in that the names of the senders and receivers – as well as textual elements such as propositional content, adjectives, nouns, and sign-offs – can be substituted endlessly without altering the structure of the discourse. In this way, it is reminiscent of the surreal material produced by online generators such as the Adolescent Poetry Generator, the Shakespearean Insult Generator (on which the Radio Edit version of this web site’s generator is based), the What the Fuck is my Social Media ‘Strategy’? generator, and the Brooklyn Bar Menu Generator. (Among other mouth-watering nonsense cuisines, the latter generates exciting hipster dishes such as ‘gravlax with expanded watercress’ and ‘stubbed shell bean with winter sunflower & lifted rye reduction’).

Online generators are useful tools for exposing the jargon-laden, predictability, laziness, and/or outright meaninglessness of certain genres of speech and writing. Thus the Random Rape Threat Generators help show that the ridiculously repetitive abuse women receive online is not about us as individuals, so much as it is about gender, oppression, inequity, and attempted silencing. In addition to demonstrating the oddly homogeneous, mechanistic, and impersonal nature of Rapeglish, these generators have been designed to highlight the extraordinary violence of the abuse, and the fact that while the technology may be new, the hyperbolic misogyny involved is part of a much older tradition.

Isn't ALL language formulaic? What's so special about Rapeglish?

As the makers of online generators such as those listed above could attest, it is possible to identify interesting patterns in many socio-linguistic contexts. What is significant about Rapeglish is not so much its rigid, template-like features, so much as the fact that these seem to reflect rigid, template-like views and beliefs about women. Further, these template-like qualities are far from innocuous or ethically neutral. That large numbers of Brooklyn hipsters enjoy consuming hand-pulled meats, quickened condiments, and all things artisanal is quite amusing. That large numbers of men think it is OK to threaten to rape women for expressing opinions on East Asian economic policy, defense strategy, sex work, climate change, parenting, infrastructure, pizza crusts, or whatever, is hella problematic.

The material generated by the extended remix version of this generator makes no sense. How is Brexit a 'lady problem'? Why would having cleavage provoke accusations of lesbianism? And what's with all these dudes threatening to rape women they insist are unrapeable?

Weird, right? While the extended remix generator’s random scramblings of textual fragments do produce some surreal word salads, these are actually relatively accurate representations of the bizarre non-sequiturs, contradictions, and creepy nonsense found in real-life Rapeglish. Studying Rapeglish shows that for many random dudes on the internet, EVERYTHING is a lady problem and EVERYTHING about ladies is problematic. None of this, of course, precludes lengthy pronouncements about the infinite raping which will occur when/if these Rapeglish senders ever get their hands on their female targets. It’s all very peculiar.

(To compare the gross offerings of the Random Rape Threat Generators with some gross real life examples of Rapeglish, have a look at the depressingly long list of screen grabs beneath this Clementine Ford post about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Conspicuously missing in action in the abusive material she has received and re-posted are rationality, carefully mounted arguments, and the ability to understand that women are highly unlikely to send nude photographs if they have just been yelled at in Rapeglish.)