Dear Rough Night: Killing a Stripper Isn’t Funny, No Matter Who You Are

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Last night, a trailer for the comedy ensemble movie Rough Night dropped, setting it up as a movie where a group of women re-unite in Miami for a bachelorette party and accidentally end up killing a stripper. Marie Claire say about the trailer, “Chaos and hilarity ensue—and based on this trailer, the movie is definitely going be a must-watch.”

I’m not so sure about that. Killing a stripper isn’t hilarious, regardless of their gender. Let me say that again: killing a stripper isn’t hilarious, regardless of whatever gender they may be. The movie, it seems, tries to justify the “hilarity” by having the plus-size woman kill him basically because “she’s so big and can’t jump properly”—it’s an utterly messed up joke. The inclusion of some popular female comediennes and actresses (Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz) certainly doesn’t help things, either. Truth be told, rather than justifying the premise, it makes it all the more disappointing, as these folks certainly once seemed like the type to realize how twisted the entire setup actually is.

An argument might be made regarding the fact that the movie isn’t even out yet and it’s “just” a trailer, but honestly, I have a real hard time seeing how anybody can justify such a terrible, awful premise.

Because of such dehumanizing (literally) premises and stories, sex workers face disproportionately larger threats of violence and murder. This is something that many folks on whatever side of the aisle still have a hard time understanding: because sex work remains criminalized, this marginalization continues on abated. People who move to keep sex work criminalized also often fail to understand the circumstances that often lead one to enter into the industry, these reasons ranging from economic inequality to discrimination making employment in any other industry nigh impossible.

Punishing sex workers serves to push sex workers into the margins, which makes sex work more dangerous, which is then often pointed to as a statistic as to why sex work should be abolished or further penalized. Do you see how the cycle feeds back on itself and grows?

Real talk: sex work is real work. If your feminism doesn’t stand for the rights of sex workers, then it isn’t intersectional, and if it isn’t intersectional, then who are you actually fighting for?

The creation of this film and the release of this trailer are nothing short of disappointing, especially coming from celebrities who honestly should know way, way better.

(image via screengrab)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (thebolditalic.com), and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters (spinningplatters.com). She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.