#safetytipsforladies – the most sarcastic twitter trend yet
Minding one’s lovely lady lumps isn’t usually the kind of advice stored under the heading “Safety Tips for Ladies”. But that’s exactly what the latest Twitter trend is.
#safetytipsforladies was trending on Twitter on Tuesday 26 March, attracting a variety of hilarious, attention-grabbing tips strung together in less than 140 characters. The hashtag, coined by Hilary Bowman-Smart (@hilaryjfb for the other Twitterites out there), features humorous “advice”, to prevent women from being raped. In her own explanation of #safetytipsforladies, Bowman-Smart says she started the hashtag after being ‘absolutely sick to death of being told what to wear and what to do and how to be, as though any of that will somehow save me from being raped. It’s not a woman’s responsibility to prevent sexual assault.’
She said #safetytipsforladies acts as a response to the proliferation of patronising articles telling women about personal safety.
On Twitter, a search for the hashtag yields results such as:
• Mind your humps. And your lovely lady lumps. (@GlitterDunn)
• Rapists find it difficult 2 rape while made of stone. So try becoming Medusa, or if that is too difficult, a basilisk. (@aurorabeauts)
• Want to avoid getting raped? Get dental implants in your vagina. Hey, they made a movie about it! (@angrydemdotcom)
• Do Kegels. That’s how your body can get better at expelling a rapists’ semen automatically. (@EngineBouy)
• Take good care of your body so that if you ARE raped you’ll be healthy enough to shut down any ensuing pregnancy. (By Australian comedian Tom Ballard).
And my personal favourite:
• Always carry a full team of six Pokémon to guarantee super effective damage against a potential assailant’s type. (@mikesacco)
By emphasising the absurdity of the advice to “avoid” rape, contributors to the hashtag have not only given us some comic relief, but have also allowed room to think about the issue in more depth. The hashtag, as funny as it is, leads us to read satirical advice that, once upon a time, might have been taken dead serious (I’m reminded of a manual from the ‘70s I once looked at in a feminism class. It contained advice on how to defend oneself from male attackers with a rolled-up magazine).
Society still has a long way to go in educating young people and bringing them up with positive attitudes towards those of the opposite sex. But as unfortunate as this fact is, it’s important to remember how good it is that we can laugh and make jokes about the ridiculous advice that goes around today. Yes, that advice is old-fashioned and is gradually being phased out anyway, but being able to play with it is part of society’s development as a whole.
#safetytipsforladies is a unique hashtag not just because of the strong motivations behind it, but because of its success. It has gained so much attention and so many contributions in the past day or two. A vast number of people are still Tweeting parodies of tips to the hashtag. So clearly, we don’t all agree with articles that tell women how to “prevent” rape. #safetytipsforladies is witty, it’s funny, and it’s a giant step closer to helping everyone understand that rape is beyond awful and shouldn’t happen. The message is: just as it is never one’s fault for being murdered or attacked, it is never a “lady’s”’ fault if she is raped.
So if you’re a little bored today, in the mood for a laugh, or if you need advice on how to keep yourself safe from sexual predators, check it out. Even post a little snarky Tweet of your own!
By Michelle See-Tho