Why do Filipinos find rape jokes so hilarious?

The interesting thing about democracy is that it introduces inconvenient transparency to societies that adopt it as a form of government. In a democracy, the truth comes out in many ways unexpected. In the Philippines which is in the midst of election campaign fever, many such uncomfortable truths are coming out. One of them is a disturbing one.

Filipinos find jokes about rape hilarious.

The latest outrage fad surrounding video footage of leading presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte seemingly cracking a rape joke may have worked for his rivals. However, the ultimate loser is the Filipino people. If one examines the now-infamous video, it is quite evident that the audience laughed loud and hard at the non-joke. The old adage that, in a democracy, politicians mirror the character of their constituents once again is brought to the fore.

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It may be well worth the time for Filipinos to engage in a bit of inward reflection. Why do Filipinos find rape jokes funny? What sort of environment was the average Filipino raised in that ingrained this perverse taste for objectionable humour into their psyche?

The answer lies in the quality of mainstream Filipino entertainment. One of the most popular comedians in Philippine showbiz, Vice Ganda, is watched by millions of Filipinos — including children. This is made particularly disturbing by the fact that Vice Ganda himself is an avid cracker of rape jokes. Not just rape jokes but gang rape jokes.

Cue to 1:30 on the video clip below and you will find Vice Ganda suggesting that a proper gang rape may be forthcoming to multi-awarded veteran journalist Jessica Soho in the event she dabbled in sexy cinema.

Here’s a transcript of Vice Ganda’s quip on the matter translated from Tagalog to English:

It would really be quite difficult for Jessica Soho to go ‘bold’ (perform in a sexually explicit way) onscreen. It will always have to be a gang rape scene.

The audience response to the joke is tragically all-too-familiar in Philippine showbiz. Imagine an entire generation of Filipinos growing up on a media diet like this.

A member of the audience laughs heartily at Vice Ganda's objectionable jokes.

A member of the audience laughs heartily at Vice Ganda’s objectionable jokes.

The Duterte ‘rape joke’ fiasco should be made a point of on-going national reflection. The flippant regard for rape Filipinos harbour is an unsavory aspect of their cultural character that begs careful evaluation. Duterte, after all, still wields a strong bid for the Philippine presidency — despite this recent scandal. Indeed, Rape Joke Man himself may be Philippine President soon.

While Vice Ganda rules as Media King, Duterte will rule as Philippine President. And, yes, that other world-renowned Filipino politician, boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, will be a Philippine senator. Pacquiao, we recall, is, himself, embroiled in a controversy surrounding his views about homosexuals which he made public in a television interview.

And, with that cast of characters, we behold: Philippine Society. Perhaps the reason that a who’s-who of social media madames spend their days nowadays clucking frantically about the outrage fad that is the Duterte ‘rape joke’ scandal is because every Filipino, at one time or another in their lives, laughed at a rape joke at least once.

21 Replies to “Why do Filipinos find rape jokes so hilarious?”

  1. Most Filipinos simply were not brought up, in the right way. Look at our entertainments. Look at our TV teleseryas. Look at how Filipino leaders behave.

    Rape and murder are no laughing matter. However, Vice Ganda and Duterte, made them a laughing matter.

    Most of us are either “sick in the head, as dogs”, or something is really wrong with most of us…

    Our leader, Aquino , is sick in the head. Most of our politicians are sick in the head.

    Where the leaders go; the people will follow!

  2. The fact that many Filipinos find non-consensual sex hilarious shows how shallow they internalize values and human dignity. This, considering many of them very proudly call themselves “Catholic.”

  3. It’s what happens when you grow up to a place where rights are routinely trampled and everyone is in survival mode 24/7. Duterte and Pacquiao’s statements are mere symptoms of what goes on in this place on a daily basis. Abominable and unbecoming of public officials, sure. But when did we ever have public officials who behaved decently in last decade? Those who laughed at Duterte’s statements are swine. And those who expressed disgust like it’s the first time they heard someone make statements like that are over-acting; grandstanding even. So please, enough of the so-called “aghast” surprise, and “indignation” about what you routinely—but ignore—in this place. Call him out as a pig, and dissuade people from voting him as a commander in chief but please drop the pretense that you have done nothing in your daily lives to put a stop to that type of unique Pinoy attitude.

  4. Does this really need to be spelled out?

    Laughing is a reaction to something funny.

    You do not find something funny. How does that give you carte blanche to dictate what should be funny?

    There are rape jokes that are funny. This is a fact. You can cry foul all you want on the joke. IT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT.

    You guys need to stop to pretend that there is such a thing as a human right to not be offended. There is none.

    There is zero need to inward reflection. That is just a lousy attempt at thought policing.

    1. Toby, give me an example of a rape joke that you find “funny” and i’ll tell you what kind of person you are.

      These type of jokes are reflective of his personality, morality and values, regardless of his intent. Perception is what matters.

      Comedians make fun of having sex, even rough sex with women but if you listen carefully, none of those involve non consensual sex. Comedians will talk about dead people or killing but not because they want to participate in it.

      1. Really? You will tell me what kind of a person I am? Bwahahahaha!!

        Go mother someone else you poor excuse for tyrant.

        1. You claim there are rape jokes that are factually funny and yet you fail to cite an example? Imstead make a slight remark about me without standing up for what you just stated…your mother must be proud.

        2. In the age of the Internet and you being online, that fact that you think that is a valid argument shows how intellectually limited you are.

          Just check the video of the rape joke of Vice Ganda regarding Jessica Soho and listen to the audience.

          Listen to the reactions of the audience. That is proof right there.

        1. Tasteless according to… hmmm…who would be the one true arbiter on that one? Unless, of course, we impose our own personal opinions on others. *chuckle*

          I rather find it really strange that there are really people out there who think that laughter is a response and not a reaction.

          Go find a nice place out there to thought police. You can do it!

  5. Duterte could have just used the excuse employed by stand-up comedians who get away with “sick” jokes by blaming it on their ironic on-stage persona.

    “Obviously I, Duterte, wouldn’t say those things in real life, it was just the zany character of ‘DU30’ saying those things you’ve come to expect from me… I mean, him.”

  6. Filipinos have to think twice before opening their mouths to offend people with their “more fun” jokes.

    We just lost one tourist who could have been a free promoter of PH back in her home country …

    British tourist calls her El Nido stay the ‘worst days of her life’

    Make fun of overweight people and you’ll get a depressed deeply hurt individual; but making fun of the wrong person (devout Muslims, in particular) can cost you your life.

    Remember the front cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (depicting a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad) which led to the attack on its Paris offices that left 12 people dead?

  7. different cultures have different senses of humor, some can seem to have ‘spontaneous’ laughter in TV shows that used to be called ‘situation comedies’; some can have a different meaning, as in “smile when you say that, stranger!”,some think a satirist is someone who practices treason and needs the maximum deterrent; some give the erring culprit 37 years to life for making fun of the leader’s dog, and others have smiling faces all over their glorious leaders but nobody’s laughing behind their backs.
    There aren’t many societies around that have a hilarious time laughing at their own – and other nation’s – taboos, eg rape, incest, necrophilia, bestiality, cannibalism, serial killing, horrific torture streaming over the internet etc etc.
    When the movie ‘A Clockwork Orange’ came out and those thugs (‘droogs’) had such a thrill beating the living daylights out of a passing stranger just for the hell of it, I didn’t notice too many people in the cinema laughing.
    It is one thing to be informed of other people’s bizarre sense of humor, it is another altogether to be carried away by their infectious laughter.

  8. If you throw yourself in a lions den as a Joke,logical sense will tell you that you going to get killed sane people have logical reasoning. Thats why we can’t trivialize rape, its degrading to whoever went thru it, its called being humane doing something out of respect.

  9. Charlie Chaplin was a comic genius, but was banned from the U.S. for many years for perhaps stepping on too many toes of those who didn’t share his sense of humor.
    The closest comedian I can think of in this vein here would have to be Dolby, whose humor appealed to everyone and was a delight to watch, compared to the crudity and vulgarity that passes for humor in today’s showbiz.

  10. At this stage.. so late in the game.. The electorate would have made up their minds. Nothing short of a 40-foot ‘tsunami’ or an 8.5 temblor could budge them. Most of them have now confirmed which side of their toast is buttered; the others.. sadly.. simply lack ‘a few fries to make a happy meal’, and just couldn’t get over their fixations. Instead of extolling the virtues or rabidly justifying their candidate’s gaffes, therefore, we might, (together), safeguard against the imminent ‘hanky-panky’ that is sure to show up. There’s still time to block ‘Hocus-Pocus’ at the ‘voting machines’ and to expose the pervasive and ubiquitous ‘guns-and-goons’.
    This time around, the issues and the prospects are so significant; so much so that the process is just as critical as the outcome.

    Sent from my iPad

  11. Jokes and media slurs about rape and its survivors not only desensitize the issue but also have an impact on rape conviction rates!

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