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The Blue & Gray Press | December 13, 2017

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Rape culture continues to dominate American media

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.

 

Comments

  1. Dr. Necessitor

    Rape culture exists only in the minds of women’s and gender studies professors and students. And Everyday Feminism Magazine is about as biased and weak a source as you could cite to support its existence. What’s really dangerous to society is the current strain of bossy nanny-feminism infecting this and many other campuses, which relies on fraudulent statistics (e.g., 1-in-5 and only 2% of rape claims are false) and bullying to foment hysteria over nonexistent crises.

  2. Anonymous

    Dr. Necessitor you are a fool, an absolute fool. Did you see the context in which she quoted that magazine? Not to mention it may help you to check your own statistics before you go spewing your tyrannical bullshit. Good job Hannah! Keep up the good work.

  3. Anonymous

    This is a fantastic article Hannah. Dr. Necessitor your comment is bullshit. She appropriately cites this magazine, but beyond that, rape culture is a real phenomenon, not just in the minds of “gender studies majors.” It sounds, from your ignorant and attacking comment, that you have very little or no personal experience with this issue. Maybe, if you educated yourself on how real violence is justified and accepted as a result of rape culture, you would understand how rape culture makes men who are victims of sexual assault and mistreatment invisible and blames and silences women who come forward. Before you comment such trash on a well-written article next time, why don’t you at least do your research

  4. “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?”

    Here is an answer all of us should consider:

    If all this is what the Rape Culture entails, then we seriously need to be counter-cultural. For my tiny thought for this post, here are two good starting points: a return to modest dress, and a return to the chivalrous code of conduct in the way men interact with women.

    Modest dress. Let us be honest here, my friends; men are visual creatures. They will be drawn to the parts of a woman that “turn on” men: the chest, the rear, and the legs. Oftentimes, what I see around campus are fashions involving these parts scantily clad (save for the chest, but oftentimes you see the cleavage). Yes, of course, you’re free to dress the way you want, but, really, think about how you dress says who you are, particularly to the young men who interact with you. To women: Do not fall into the trap that you must lower your standards when you get together with men; in doing so, you will perpetuate the cycle of having one man go to bed with you, only to have the man leave you. Then you will repeat the cycle all over again until you are thoroughly lonely and miserable, losing all trust in men because of what you have experienced. While you were hoping this act would be a prelude to a lasting, permanent relationship, what was going on in the man’s mind was that he had a body to exploit for his own gain. I therefore make an entreaty to the women that they must raise their standards. It may be hard, but it will be worth it, because you will send the message to men: I have great dignity.

    Chivalrous code of conduct for men. We have had in our society a rising trend of the immaturity of men. To name a few things: In this article are many elements listed, that men use, which contribute further to the degradation of women, and amplifying the immaturity of men. We men must shun such popular music that not only disorders our minds, but coarsens the way we see women. In matters of music, we men must focus on the music, and the lyrics, that uplift us to higher things; for will have an effect on the way we men treat women, seeing their inner beauty and human worth. To name a few things: We must get up and act gallantly toward women, with no ulterior motive to exploit them, but to treat them as human beings. Our conversations must have substance, and not rely on superficialities; but at the same time, we must not engage in deceit. We must exercise a spirit of being considerate to all people, for it will affect the way we men treat women.

    I really think that if we start there, we can break the cycle of this Rape Culture that pervades many universities.

    (I learned some of this stuff, much of it abridged, from Fr. Christopher Vaccaro’s “Dating and Friendship” talks. I exhort many of you reading this post to come to these talks.)

    “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.

    All well and good, but it is not enough. For such measures can only address the symptoms of the problem; they cannot do enough address the root cause, which lie in much of the popular music, the immodest fashions, and the trend of immaturity. The measures advocated in the above statement, while noble, cannot do enough to compel all men to rise above their sinful human natures. With that in mind, I leave to you the words of the esteemed former President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge:

    “The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. (Notice that Mr. Coolidge did not say “values”; he said “virtue”.) Of course we endeavor to restrain the vicious, and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reform which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity—these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace.”