"Rape Gaze": Worst Genre Name Ever? Not Quite...

Let's take a moment to think about labels and what they mean to us. Why do people feel the need to label things? The obvious answer is: It's the only way we know what stuff is.

To anyone who automatically dismisses the very idea of labeling, just imagine what it would be like if you had to shop in a grocery store with no labels. What's in that can you just put into your grocery cart? Who the hell knows? Could be Chef Boyardee ravioli, could be canned yams, could be mechanically separated nutria paste (a Cajun fast-food fusion delicacy, we're led to understand). A very, very entertaining game has been made based on this concept, but it's not something you'd want to subject yourself to every single day.

A Brooklyn musical duo calling itself Creep got into a little bit of trouble when they listed one of their genres on their MySpace page as "rape gaze." Obviously a play on the existing genre "shoegaze," the two sort of likeably dopey kids explained in an interview that they were just being silly with the genre invention. This makes sense; rape as a real thing is never funny, but calling a semi-Gothic electro musical style "rape gaze" after the face its artists tend to make in promotional photos? That's pretty damned hilarious. Especially once you learn that the band's real genre name - "witch house" - is just as ridiculous, if not more so.

That's why a few overly sensitive people took the whole "rape gaze" thing too seriously, we think: Not that it doesn't sound like it's a joke, because it totally does, but because many "legitimate" musical genres also sound like they were named as jokes. Don't believe us? Prepare to be enlightened.

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John Seaborn Gray