Keep Your Douche to Yourself: An Analysis of Rape in Sausage Party

doucheBy Nan L. Elpers

In Sausage Party, when Douche realizes he’s been wounded and is leaking, he rapes and murders Juice Box, using his juice as fuel. Later in the movie, he tries to rape Brenda the hot-dog bun in an attempt to take revenge on her sausage boyfriend Frank, who accidentally pushed Douche out of the shopping cart, causing him to twist his handle. Analyzed through the perspective of feminist studies of men, the Douche’s assaults and motivation for rape reveal the dangers of hegemonic masculinity and the use of rape as a means to punish and assert authority. When Douche rapes Juice Box, he feminizes his victim in a way that reduces Juice Box to a state of female vulnerability. In “‘Guys are just homophobic’: Rethinking Adolescent Homophobia and Heterosexuality,” C.J. Pascoe explains that “the constraint and touching of female bodies gets translated as masculinity, embedding sexualized meanings in which heterosexual flirting is coded as female helplessness and male bodily dominance” (114). Though Juice Box is male, the scene likens him to a female rape victim in the way that Douche appears to be delivering cunnilingus while sucking out his insides. The graphic, sexually violent imagery emasculates Juice Box, allowing the rape scene to mirror a man-on-woman assault. Douche asserts his masculinity through this power structure, as dominance directly correlates to masculinity. And because Juice Box effectively stands in for a female victim, that masculinity is not compromised by any homosexual connotations of weakness or vulnerability.

It is important that Douche feminize Juice Box so that he prove himself more masculine.  In “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept,” Raewyn Connell explains that “hegemonic masculinity was distinguished from other masculinities, especially subordinated masculinities” (256). Hegemonic masculinity describes those men at the top of the social food chain. This hierarchy necessitates the subordination of not only women, but other men as well.  The way that Douche emasculated Juice Box through rape made him, crudely, more like a woman.  In doing so, Douche both took power from Juice Box and amped his social status on the masculine ladder by forcibly putting yet another person beneath him. In the scene, Douche literally grows in size and strength as he sucks the life force from Juice Box, illustrating his rise to power.

Douche employs the age-old military technique of sexually violating a woman to punish her tribe.  In “’National Security’ and the Violation of Women,” Sylvanna Falcón asserts that “rapes occur because sexual assault is in the arsenal of military strategies; it is a weapon of war, used to dominate women and psychologically debilitate people viewed as the ‘enemy’” (228).  Although raping Brenda will do no physical harm to her boyfriend Frank, Douche understands that in debasing her he will cause Frank psychological harm.  In fact, Douche appears not to care about Brenda at all, against whom he holds no grudge other than for her tie to Frank, taking advantage of her status as Frank’s belonging.  Because we charge women with guarding their purity and in doing so maintaining a people or a couple’s morality, Douche’s rape of Brenda directly attacks Frank’s image and morale.

NOTE: This essay was written by a First-Year Experience (FYE) student in FG110 Introduction to Feminist & Gender Studies taught by Professor Heidi R. Lewis. FG110 teaches students how to examine power, inequality, and privilege along the lines of gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, age, physicality, and other social, cultural, and political markers using multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches. Near the end of the block, the students visited a local theater to screen Sausage Party, and this essay was written in response.