Why the whimsy?

This site could be construed as involving a degree of humour. Doesn’t this detract from the seriousness of the issue?

A feminist tester for one of the early versions of the generator was entirely unpersuaded by its raison d’être, and was particularly perturbed by what she viewed as a degree of whimsy in its construction and execution. Obviously not everyone finds humour – especially dark humour – useful as pedagogy, philosophy, or therapy. It is worth considering, however, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s contention that, ‘a serious and good philosophical work could be written that would consist entirely of jokes’ (cited in Malcolm, 2001: 27-8, emphasis in original). Then there is the writer Kurt Vonnegut’s suggestive observation that:

[J]okes can be noble. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward – and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner. (1981: 327-8)

Without wishing to make light of the gendered cyberhate problem, there is a good case that humour can sometimes be beneficial as both a processing and presentation tool. (Also that one dude’s message about ‘ducktape’ being silver [you can find it on the Radio Mix version of the generator, the Extended Remix edition and the Input Data pages] is a real quack up.)

Are other women using humour to respond to gendered cyberhate and harassment online?

You bet. Especially when said cyber-harassment involves the sending of unsolicited ‘dick pics’ (that is, photos men have taken of their genitals). One woman, for instance, suggests the best response is to send back ‘a picture of a better looking dick… A more photogenic dick. A dick with a future’ (cited in Boone, 2015).

A freelance writer from the UK, meanwhile, has composed a beautifully formal letter thanking her correspondent for ‘the unexpected and unsolicited submission’ of his ‘penis portrait for consideration’ (Hirsh, 2016). Sarah-Louise Jordan goes on to regretfully inform the sender that unfortunately his submission has failed to pass the most ‘basic standards of quality control at this time’. She does, however, offer to provide (for a nominal fee) a report to assist this man cultivate important skills such as ‘how to appear as though you weren’t raised by wolves’ and ‘how to dress your penis for social media (a rough guide to pants)’.

In 2016, the comedian Amy Schumer was similarly mocking in a sketch involving the introduction of a fictional ‘I’m Going to Rape and Kill You’ social media button in order to ‘lessen the burden of typing those seven words out individually for the thousands of male internet users who express the sentiment on a daily basis’ (Provenzano, 2016). In Schumer’s skit, the fictional vice president of Twitter explains that:

Whether it’s a thumbs-up or LOL, people appreciate having a shortcut for something they frequently communicate. What’s the point of using the anonymity of the internet to just call someone fat when you can also make them feel physically threatened? (cited in Provenzano, 2016)

Best of all, the shortcut frees up 30 characters for men to make other comments about women such as ‘what ugly sluts they are’ (cited in Provenzano, 2016).

Another noteworthy response comes from the LA artist Whitney Bell who decided to draw attention to the dick pic plague by turning her large collection of unsolicited penis shots into an art show called ‘I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics’ (Stevenson, 2016). Marvelling about men’s sense of entitlement vis-à-vis the sending of such images, Bell notes that one was sent via direct message to her on Instagram,

which meant I could click on his profile and see his whole life. His wife and his children. His face is in the actual picture, but I had to remove it for this… These guys have never had anyone call them out on their abusive, harassing behavior before. They feel like there are no consequences. Now I’m trying to show maybe there are… It is indecent exposure, and … I do think these men need to be held accountable. (cited in Stevenson, 2016)

To this end, a Tumblr page called ‘Unwanted Dick Pics’ has been established to republish unsolicited penis photos. (Needless to say, do not click on this link unless your eyes are ready to endure both dick-ocalypse and dong-aggedon #WhatHasBeenSeenCanNeverBeUnseen.) See also Anna Gensler’s Instagram account where her mission statement is to objectify men who objectify women in three easy steps: ‘Man sends crude line via internet. Draw him naked. Send portrait to lucky man, enjoy results.’ Also on Instagram is Alexandra Tweten’s ‘ByeFelipe‘ which republishes the aggressive and threatening – yet often outright absurd – messages men send women who decline their advances on online dating sites.

What if male cyberhaters find the generators funny?

There is plenty of evidence showing that male cyberhaters are already extremely amused by all of their rapey threats full of raping rapefulness. Given that dudes are already churning out vast internets of such material while both lol-ing and lulz-ing loudly, I think the advantages of raising awareness about gendered cyberhate by reproducing it in generator formats far outweigh the disadvantages of staying silent in the (thus far entirely futile) hope that ignoring it will make it go away.

What if men use the generator as inspiration for yet more misogynist cyberhate?

As the What Your Lady Problem Input Data section of this site shows, many men need little more than 1 x computer + respiration in order for Rapeglish inspiration to strike. Apparently threatening power tool rape, cannibal massacre, and ALL CAPS EPIC DEATH DIE MURDER is just what a lotta dudes *do* these days. Quite frankly, I do not think it is helpful for women to keep being asked how we are inspiring/provoking/justaskingformen to attack us, and what we might do to minimise men’s inability to control themselves. As such, this question should be redirected to all of the male lady-haters.