Rape culture continues to dominate American media
By HANNAH PARKER
It is very easy for people to look around the world or at the news programs and comment on the blatant sexual mistreatment that occurs in underdeveloped or unprogressive countries. However, when it comes to looking at our own country it suddenly becomes harder to face the sexual mistreatment surrounding the United States.
Due to the media’s over sexualization of women and the downplaying of sexual misconduct, society has continued to not only tolerate rape culture, but to accept it. According to Everyday Feminism Magazine, rape culture is a practice or trend used by our society that excuses or tolerates sexual violence.
A few examples of rape culture trends, according to Everyday Feminism Magazine, include chants or songs encouraging rape behavior, popular music encouraging the sexualization or sexual mistreatment of women, shaming a woman based on clothing she wears or the sexual activities she partakes in.
Because of this, victims of sexual assault are being told they are “overreacting” or “they were asking for it,” when they admit to being raped.
For a recent pop-culture example of rape culture one must only look as far back as 2013. It was the year that saw the release of songs such as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” which, in my opinion, encourages sexual misconduct without consent.
It was played incessantly on radio stations and spread widely among the younger generation even though it put out a message encouraging the disrespect of women and sexual mistreatment.
Rape culture is now built into society’s everyday language, and passes through without a second thought.
According to the Huffington Post, attorney and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke was “slut-shamed.” American entertainer Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” in 2012 after she advocated for the allowance of birth control without having to copay.
Though all Fluke did was express her opinion, she was publicly degraded for her support of women’s rights.
Our country does not recognize such trends as a form of sexual mistreatment that encourages a rape culture society because they are highly popularized in the media.
Although many counter the concept of rape culture by dismissing the examples provided, they, in my opinion, are just blind of the issue at hand, as a result of rape culture and its prevalence in the media.
When people’s everyday actions and thoughts start mimicking what used to be just lyrics in a song or just a scene in a movie, the line between right and wrong can easily become blurred.
How do we move forward? How do we distress the constant sexualization and mistreatment of women that is happening not only in other countries, but right her in our hometowns?
We cannot force someone to change their opinions of women, but we can advocate change for how women should be treated.
Through support of, just like during the civil rights movement with organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Congress of Racial Equality, anti-rape culture organizations such as People Against Rape Culture and Men Can Stop Rape, people can start becoming educated on this issue and more will leap forward as a part of the anti-rape culture movement. People need to be educated about the violent effects of rape culture and the ways they can prevent it, and with organizations such as the ones listed above you educate yourself.
Rape culture is not the reason rape occurs, but it certainly does not help end rape. The exploitation and mistreatment of women in the media serves as an example to society and makes it okay with disrespecting women leading them to further acts of mistreatment.