The Sexist

Date Rape Anthem: Downset.’s “Ritual”

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Hold on to your backwards hats and creatively groomed goatees, ya'll, because anti-rape anthems are about to go rapcore:

Date Rape Anthem: downset.'s "Ritual," an anti-rape song that rages against the machine . . . of gender hatred. Thanks to reader Chris Graffeo for the tip.

Relevant Lyrics:

How can I stand in silence while you are raping my sister?

Ritual!

Throw it in the wind because I ain’t with that.
What have we done with mother, sister, daughter, lover?
Beat them down to submission, into that corner of constant fear.
Humanity reduced to a sexual commodity, objectification, pretty faces.
Molded imagery damn they drop the dirty mack demands.
She’s more than booty to me; bypass her sexuality.

Tradition, your sexism is what you want me to learn.
Surrender gender hatred, fade it to kill it, compassion returns.
1 out of 3, and they say my sisters are free, incarcerated by hatred.
Propagated by sodomy, continual ritual victimizing my sister.
Physical rape is psychological murder.

Ritual! Jenny! Ho! Slut! Trick! Bitch! Buddy!

So, What Do We Do With This: Wikipedia informs me that downset.'s "original moniker was "Social Justice," and this song's message is just about that subtle. These guys hate rape, and they do a pretty good job of explaining exactly why that's the case. Being a rapcore band in the early 90's often meant adopting an aggressively masculine posture, a la Korn and Limp Bizkit, so it's great to hear an aggressive gender-equality message in a genre marketed largely to men. And hey, at least it's not "rapecore."

But does it hold up on the level of the song? I'm specifically not a fan of rapcore, so I can't say with any certainty, but I would be remiss if I did not invoke the Hierarchy of Date Rape Jams here. What is the Heirarchy of Date Rape Jams, you say? Why, it is my unscientific* and poorly designed graph that charts where date-rape songs fall on the "sweetness" and "positivity" axes:

In my view, "Ritual" scores high on the positivity scale and middling on the sweetness scale, situating the song as significantly more anti-rape than Sublime, but a fair bit less aesthetically pleasing than, say, your Tribe Called Quest. What say you?

* Yeah, I like Rod Stewart.

  • je di

    "physical rape is psychological murder"- so true.

  • Lisa

    I definitely think Stone Temple Pilot's "Sex Type Thing" belongs on the chart. It seems like it would fall pretty low on the "sweetness" axis since it's from the rapist's POV, but it's message pretty positive (in a very disturbing way) in showing the misogyny and entitlement of rapists.

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