Public Conversations in a Subway Station on Rape Culture, or You Missed the Point
2013 / ashleighekari
Explanation: At the subway station that I use daily, there is someone (or some people) who thinks it’s hilarious to draw dicks on women’s faces on ads. Everybody who uses these stations passes them, from school kids, to blue collar workers and business people. The ads stay up for months, so it’s a while before they are changed. These photos are the results of an ongoing public dialogue on rape culture that I think has been happening over the course of two months so far, with a couple of days (sometimes weeks) between responses.
1. Someone drew a dick in a woman’s mouth on an ad. I wrote on white labels next to the photos: “STOP drawing dicks on faces of women!!” and “THIS is what rape culture looks like. Stop it now.” The next time I entered the station, someone had taken the labels down.
2. I put up clear labels, with black ink: “Misogyny is for losers.” “MISOGYNY” and “This is what rape culture looks like.”
3. Another random person wrote directly on the ad in sharpie: “Misogyny is for the deeply insecure,” and “Correct,” in regards to the label, “This is what rape culture looks like.”
4. In reply to the anonymous co-signer, I wrote in ballpoint pen: “Thank you,” and “Let’s make public spaces safe for everyone. Drawing dicks on women’s faces is an act of passive-agressive violence. It makes me feel unsafe.”
5. Someone specifically removed only my portion of the conversation and left a comment with a ballpoint pen: ” This argument is ugly on a beautiful artwork.”
6. Twice, another person had left these pinned quotes about God. This one says: “God loves you! Be a rebel, read your bible <3”
7. I etched out the comment: “This argument is ugly on a beautiful artwork,” and wrote: “Someone decided misogyny wasn’t worth talking about. Well, you can stop the convo but not the thought!” and “This ad would still be up with a dick on it had we not spoken.” “Stop the violence!”
8. A random person wrote with a ballpoint pen: “thank you to whoever wrote this <3 <3”
9. Another random person wrote: “Some of us like dick in the mouth stop ??? (being) hetero normal.” I wrote, “You missed the point.”
The ad is still up this way. I haven’t checked since last week. I haven’t seen any of the “contributors,” but I have seen a few people look and read. One guy walked directly to it, as if he had been keeping up with the conversation, as if he wanted to write a response. I wondered if he was the sharpie co-signer, or someone else. We got on the train together and I didn’t say anything to him.
At times I was flustered and felt rushed in my responses. I wrote them in broad daylight. Had I had time I would have responded with longer, or more thorough responses. I do believe that how gender was read through handwriting effected how certain responses were responded to, (specifically when only my comments were ripped down). And in response to “beautiful artwork” person, I highly doubt they would say the same comment had there only been the dick left there for the past two months, only when there’s a dialogue (not an arguement) do these kinds of comments come up. In the name of “keeping peace,” they reaffirm the status quo. The last commenter, the “stop being hetero normal” person, is wrong because rape culture is not uniquely heteronormal. Queer women, non-binary people, lesbians, people identified as women or people misgendered as female are effected by rape culture as too. But nice try.
Two months ago I wrote, “Often I feel powerless when I’m on the platform and glance over and see a dick drawn over some woman’s face on an ad. I was getting tired of seeing this, and nothing being done about it like it’s ok over and over again. This is#rapeculture. This only could be ok in a society that blames women and victims of sexual assault for the violation that happens to their bodies. “
It’s not about hating men or penises. It’s about being able to exist in a public space unharmed.
I probably lost 400 calories laughing at this post (and trying to screenshot the text before giving up and copying and pasting) and I won’t go to sleep for hours after this.
I know that every time I go out and there’s a dick on the wall , the men see it, rip their pants up, and use their penises to draw more penises on random women’s faces with their pre-cum! VERY META. Then they furiously masturbate and aim their cumshots into women’s eyes! Cum-induced glaucoma is a serious and common oppressive tactic and not to be taken lightly!!!
And yeah, the other writers definitely divined their gender based on their handwriting. What HYPER privileged, oppressive responses you received! It’s not like they sound like the usual crazy responses that people who take the time to draw on walls might make!
I love the logic in the “r3fl3ction” section. Because rape culture affects non-heterosexual people, suddenly that non-heterosexual person’s comment is just wrong? I think most people don’t think of random drawings as real people and will take the penis as children’s humor and move on. These people just keep retreating to more and more mundane situations. People drawing genitalia is RAPE CULTURE.
That 9th “hetero normal” writer is my hero. Some people DO like dicks in their mouths thank you.