Ugh. I like eating bananas, but I’m sick of bananas being used as phallic imagery.
I just saw this disturbing image on Shakesville:
Here is a banana exposing himself (rather itself, but this banana is masculinized and gendered as a he) to two feminine pieces of fruit who are wearing heels and lipstick. The female pear and strawberry are obviously running away in fear while the banana flasher is standing there grinning creepily and evilly.
This picture should not be perceived as funny, cutesy or harmless. Using fruit to personify and illustrate a traumatic and upsetting event detracts away from the severity of sexual harassment. This image belittles the severity of nonconsensual exposure of genitalia and tries to make it humorous. Sexualizing fruit and using it to depict sexual harassment also dismisses the consequences of such incidents.
Yet pointing out that this picture is not funny but rather offensive and insensitive will most likely not be so well received. People will probably respond, “oh you’re taking it too seriously” or “it’s just fruit”. Wrong, and wrong. Melissa puts it well on her post:
And yet reacting to the image by correctly construing the flasher as dangerous and his victims as in danger, and suggesting that’s not particularly funny, is somehow indicative of a hypersensitivity, rather than a failure to interpret the image as a captured moment of sexual threat indicative of a lack of sensitivity.
Rape jokes and related humor about sexual harassment or sexual violence are not funny. Not even when it’s just fruit, you know, not people so it’s not a big deal. People need to find better ways to spend their time instead of coming up with “funny” jokes about sexual harassment and sexual violence.