In a recent Marie Claire interview the popular comedienne shared that her first sexual experience wasn’t consensual. Many media outlets and bloggers ran with the story, referring to Amy’s experience as “rape”.
Is every instance of non-consensual sex, rape? Who has the authority to slap a label on another person’s experience?
As a public figure, Amy gives interviews. It is up to her what aspects of her personal life she chooses to share with media and the public at large and how. She spoke of non- consensual sex, not of rape.
Anything L.A. Magazine likes Amy Schumer, the artist. We see her as talented, funny, pretty and entertaining.
Amy Schumer became a household name as a hard-hitting, over-sharing stand-up comedienne appearing on Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing. Since then she’s proven her talent most notably on “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Trainwreck”. She is an accomplished writer, actress, and producer. Right now Amy is getting ready for a 50+ city world tour. Her memoir will make its debut next month. The woman isn’t wasting time!
Long story short, there are many reasons to like her. We are among Amy’s fans. There is nothing wrong with that. Re-interpreting another person’s experience by either a media outlet or a fan is. Using other person’s bad experience to explore the topic – or our own opinion on the subject – may not be a great idea, either.
Amy Schumer is an adult, independent and intelligent woman. To her it was “non-consensual sex”. If every instance of non-consensual sex is rape to you, you are entitled to your opinion. With that said, I don’t believe that anyone but Amy Schumer herself has the right to define her own experiences. She described it as unfortunate, unpleasant and stressful. She didn’t cry rape. She didn’t have the perpetrator prosecuted. She doesn’t identify herself as a rape victim or a rape survivor. Why would anyone want to bully her into victimhood?
Not every instance of non-consensual sex is rape. Not every person subjected to non-consensual sex is – or identifies herself as – a rape victim. Defining someone as a rape victim – without the person’s consent, yet another violation of personhood – is disempowering and perpetuates the effects of an already bad experience.
The fact that Amy Schumer is a public figure shouldn’t deprive her of the right to live and interpret her life on her own terms. I don’t know who her first sex partner was and I certainly don’t think of him well. But it’s obvious to me which one of the participants of the questionable sex act overcame its distaste with her dignity intact. I for one wouldn’t try to reframe Amy’s unfortunate sexual encounter as anything that would take away from her pride or power.
Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor / I. Sturm