Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rape Culture

Rape Culture has been a term used a lot recently since the Steubenville case. I've read many articles in the news and on social media and it's interesting to see all of the comments.
An article that I recommend reading is from Hello Giggles, a blog originally started by Zooey Deschanel.

This is the definition of rape culture given in the article, as well as some examples of what it is for those that do not know.
The term “rape culture” refers to a culture in which attitudes about rape are tolerant enough to be an enabling factor in anything ranging from sexual harassment to actual rape. When a girl complains about being catcalled on the street because it made her uncomfortable, and you tell her to just take a compliment, you’re perpetuating rape culture. When a girl has one too many drinks at a party and is taken advantage of, and your reaction is that it’s her fault for not being more careful, you’re perpetuating rape culture. When you say that someone was “asking for it” because their skirt was too short, you’re perpetuating rape culture. When you assume that men are never victims of sexual harassment or assault, yes, you’re still perpetuating rape culture (not only because desexualizing one gender sexualizes the other by proxy, but because classifying one form of harassment or assault as valid over another is contributing to the problem).
It has happens all the time, as you can see from the examples.

The article goes on to talk about the history and some political and legal cases and definitions of rape.

Every day girls are taught how to not get raped, yet we do not seem to teach boys to not rape.
The burden of rape prevention is thought to fall on women: keep your eyes on your drink, don’t have too much, don’t dress provocatively, have a defense strategy for your walk home every night. The idea that the burden of rape prevention should fall on the perpetrator and not the victim is rarely the standard reaction to sexual assault.

What shocked me about the Steubenville is that the mainstream media focused on the males in the case and how their bright future is gone now because of this.
Rape culture is CNN, ABC, and NBC news using the Steubenville verdict to spike ratings with a sympathy story, even if it’s in favor of the perpetrators, who never apologized for raping a girl but only for getting caught.
True, they did have big possible football careers ahead of them after high school and now that is gone, but it is their own faults and it could have been prevented if they chose to do different actions.
It is Candy Crowley focusing on how a 16 year old rapist’s actions will haunt him forever, instead of acknowledging that he made the choices leading to his verdict, while his victim did not get to choose.
It is terrible that one decision can change your life for the worse, but the media just focused on the boys and how their life is now changed. The girl will have to live with this her whole life, and in the meantime she is being blamed by the town and media for all of this.

The other people at that party are also to blame. They just watched this happen and did not stop it, but instead encouraged it by taking pictures and passing them around on social media.
It’s a party filled with people who watch a girl being taken advantage of and, instead of helping her, send each other photos of her assault.

Why does a woman have to worry about being too drunk at a party? Guys do it all the time, but they don’t have to worry about getting raped. A drunk guy is just a drunk guy, he’s never “asking for it.” Both men and women may be worried about getting mugged on their walk home, and a man may worry about getting physically assaulted, but generally only women have reason to worry about also being sexually assaulted.

Rape Culture is often seen in popular music, especially rap.
The latest case is rapper Rick Ross, which his song "U.O.E.N.O." contains the lyrics
"Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that. She ain’t even know it.” (For the uninitiated, Molly is slang for ecstasy, or its active ingredient, MDMA).
I think it is pretty obvious that he talking about taking advantage of a girl, but apparently he does not get it because in his apology, he stated
“There was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation,” he said last week during a radio interview in New Orleans. “I would never use the term rape in my records, in my lyrics. And as far as my camp, hip hop don’t condone that, the streets don’t condone that, nobody condones that.”
Well according to the Hello Giggles article on Rape Culture, he is wrong, and that is obvious. Whether he is talking about date rape or taking advantage of a girl at the bar, this song is glorifying rape, and that is not OK.
This relates to the fashion world because Rick Ross is a spokesperson for Reebok.

And to conclude, a quote from Mean Girls
This is what Tina Fey was talking about in Mean Girls when she said, “you have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores – it just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

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