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Rape jokes weren't funny. Until this feminist website made a bunch of them.

Rape jokes can be funny — when the target is rape culture.

Rape jokes weren't funny. Until this feminist website made a bunch of them.

Something truly unique happened recently on the internet: A comedy website made rape jokes that were actually funny.

Reductress is a hilarious, witty, and unapologetically feminist website where writers take on issues like body image, "lady" marketing, fashion, and important moments in culture.

In this case, Reductress was responding to this story: Basically, anonymous female NYC comedians who reported being sexual assaulted by a male comedian were met not with support. Instead, they were faced with doubt, insults, and even deeply offensive jokes at their expense.


For Reductress' all-female editorial board, enough was enough.

On Aug. 17, 2016, Reductress published article after article full of jokes about rape.

By the evening, they had filled the entire homepage.

Image from Aug. 17, 2016, via Reductress.

The stories weren't full of the typical and incredibly hurtful jokes that we often hear, though. Instead, the jokes pointed out common tropes and misconceptions about rape, hitting on all the issues that are oh-so-familiar to sexual assault survivors and their allies.

For example:

If you're tired of hearing that women are "lying about rape to get attention," reading "I Anonymously Reported My Rape for the Anonymous Attention" might feel pretty cathartic.

If you're sick of the reminder that most survivors of sexual assault know their attacker personally, "Man who sexually assaulted you likes your Facebook Post about assault" will ring agonizingly true.

If you're outraged by a justice system that can sometimes seem eager to find fault in sexual assault survivors, the first paragraph of "Fun Summer Cocktails When They Ask You 'Well, What Were You Drinking?'" will fill you up:

"Summer time and living’s easy! Unless you’re being questioned about a traumatic sexual assault. Luckily, there are refreshing and light cocktails in season, which you can throw back when police, detectives, doctors, friends, and acquaintances ask you, 'Well, what were you drinking that night?'"

Not surprisingly, people loved it.

Most rape jokes usually have two things in common: They're made at the expense of survivors (who are often female), and the jokes are almost exclusively made by men.

Those kind of rape jokes aren't funny to a lot of people, though. For survivors and allies, they can resurface buried trauma. For women, they can be a reminder that 1 in 3 of us will be sexually assaulted in our lifetimes.

And, let's be real: For comedy in general, they're pretty darn lazy. As Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury") famously reminded us last year: The best jokes "punch up," never down. It's the difference between making fun of a kid who falls over and making fun of the grown man who tripped him.

Or, in this case, making fun of the culture surrounding rape instead of its victims.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.