So,"SNL" did a sketch about statutory rape again, and it still wasn't funny.
On Saturday, guest host Ronda Rousey appeared alongside cast members Cecily Strong and Pete Davidson in a skit called "Teacher Trial." The shtick: an underage teen (Davidson) takes the stand to recount how amazing it was when his two teachers (Strong, Rousey) invited him to join them in a threesome.
Rousey and Strong say maybe two words in the entire sketch, which focuses mostly on Davidson talking about the "awesome" encounter. He gets a high-five from the judge, and claims the incident brought his estranged father and grandfather back together.
Twitter users immediately went after the sketch, with tweets like:
Now, one would want to give "SNL" the benefit of the doubt and presume the skit is meant as a satirical take-down of the double standard in the way the media and society at large views sexual assault based on gender. Unfortunately, that would be giving the writers far too much credit. In fact, the sketch is almost an exact repeat of a "Teacher Trial" skit which aired in April, also starring Davidson and Strong, also featuring the same tone-deaf punchline.
Rather than satirically highlighting how messed up it is for a teacher to have sex with her underage student, the sketch merely reinforces harmful gendered stereotypes that effect men as much as they do women.
The idea that men just naturally like and want sex more than women gives way to the dangerous notion that men -- no matter their age -- "can't really be raped." They always want it, it's always awesome and it's even more awesome if it's with an older, sex kitten teacher when they're under the age of consent. No. All this does is confuse underage boys who are sexually assaulted about the nature of what happened to them, and deter men who are assaulted from speaking out for fear of ridicule.
It seems pretty clear by now that the writers of "SNL" don't particularly care about the criticism, or the implications that a sketch like this has. The appeal of rape jokes remains a mystery, but it's not as if there aren't ways to tell jokes about rape that don't reinforce rape culture or make victims the punchline. After the complaints "SNL" received for the first "Teacher Trial" skit last year, one would have hoped that they would at the very least come back with something funnier and smarter. But that might be asking for too much.
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