Debate Magazine

Why I Won’t Be Seeing 30 Minutes Or Less

Posted on the 10 August 2011 by Juliez

A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie Bad Teacher (not my choice, okay?). A preview for the movie 30 Minutes or Less came on. The movie is about a guy who gets a bomb strapped to his chest by guys in gorilla suits and is forced to rob a bank. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, AKA The Guy Who Played The Guy Who Created Facebook. I was putting the movie into my “Not exactly a must-see, but if someone else was insistent on seeing it with me, it wouldn’t be the end of the world” category, when I was hit with a joke that was distinctly unfunny.

The two main characters were at the supermarket, buying some supplies for their bank robbery, which include masks, duct tape, etc. As their overweight, sassy black cashier (can you say stereotype?) is ringing it up, she says, “You sure you all don’t wanna grab some condoms?”

“No,” says Jesse. “Why?”

“Cuz this is usually what men buy before they rape someone,” the cashier says, continuing to ring up the stuff.

Our Main Characters proceed to attempt to convince her that they are in fact not committing a violent crime. But the cashier just shushes them and says, “This going to be cash or credit for your rape kit?”

Well. As my friends (two female, one male) burst into shocked laughter, I fumed. A few weeks ago, I would have assumed that, because they weren’t ACTUALLY going to rape someone, it was okay. Now, I was furious.

Rape isn’t a joke. It’s a violent, terrible thing. How is it that a video that shows a woman taking revenge on the man who raped her (Rihanna’s Man Down) is criticized and banned, but a movie that turns rape into a joke is allowed in theaters at a PG-13 movie?

The worst part, for me, was the cashier’s role in this. This woman, fully believing that these two guys were about to rape someone—someone that could be her, her friend, sister, daughter—let them go along with it, no questions asked? I just Googled the movie, and sure enough, the movie was directed by Ruben Fliescher—a man.

Sure, one could argue, it’s a harmless joke. And in a culture where rape victims are prioritized and given the justice they need, it would be. But in a culture where women are blamed for being raped, where college boys chant ‘No means yes!’, where the immediate response after a woman is raped is ‘how short was her skirt? How many drinks did she have? Is she a slut?’ In that culture, which, sadly, is OUR culture—it’s not harmless.

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