So if you do not spend all your free time on Youtube and have not heard about the recent drama around Shane Dawson, I’m not going to explain it on here.
Here’s his recent apology video however.
“I’ve had a lot of pain, I’ve had a lot of bad stuff happen to me… And I took that pain and I turned it into jokes.” – Shane Dawson
What I will talk about is how he uses his childhood sexual abuse as an excuse for his pedophilia jokes. As you can imagine, this is incredibly damaging for the community, and triggering af.
He is implying that survivors of sexual abuse go on to normalise it and even turn into abusers themselves. This is a form of gaslighting and inciting pity to explain away problematic behaviour.
“There are two kinds of comedians. One makes fun of themselves, the other of their audience.”
No doubt comedy can be healing.
Pete Davidson lost his father in 9/11 and has made countless jokes about it.
In all of them, he is at the receiving end of the joke.
In Shane Dawson’s most infamous pedophilia sketch (masturbating to the image of 11-year old Willow Smith), he is sexualising a child. In his Shanaynay sketches, he is applying blackface and making fun of a racist stereotype.
Here, people are laughing at his characters (ergo the audience) that he was hiding behind.
Shane isn’t processing his trauma, he is inflicting more trauma.
“What you end up with is outrageousness without the laugh – comedy as electro shock therapy.” – Lenny Bruce
Shock comedy is not only easy, it’s very clickable on Youtube.
Creators who are shocking make for good content.
The problem is that with shock comedy there is no line, anything appalling goes.
I am a firm believer that any topic should be accessible to comedy as art can do wonders.
But Shane’s old videos are not art, nor are they comedy.
They are a collection of internal facepalms, cringing, and playing on offensive stereotypes.
Sexual abuse survivors often have issues talking about relationships, intimacy and sex – but that doesn’t suddenly blur the legal lines of joking about “sexy babies” (yes, he apparently googled naked babies).
Your trauma doesn’t turn you into an abuser – your personality does.
Your mental health issues do not excuse away problematic jokes.
While there are studies showing that a large percentage of abusers have been abused themselves, the abused do not necessarily become perpetrators!
Therefore a history of trauma cannot be used as an excuse or explanation.
I am often late because I have ADHD which has a genetic proponent – do I blame my parents every time I apologise for being late?
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse and need help processing your trauma, here is a list of sources for you.
Please remember that your trauma does not mean that you are broken or tainted!
Healthy and secure relationships are entirely possible for you, and your trauma does not define you.
Reading about abuse apologists can be triggering so please make sure you treat yourself and engage in self-care. Lots of hugs x