blurring the lines

NEWSFLASH: Rape isn’t funny. It’s not something to be taken lightly yet our society perpetuates rape culture all the time. It’s often talked about in such a way that it is trivialized and therefore normalized so we don’t even bat a lash when popular songs, like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, have lyrics like: “I know you want it… You’re a good girl.” Don’t even get me started on the objectifying video where the women are LITERALLY naked and are being ogled by fully clothed men. Yet this song was a massive hit and Digital Spy’s Lewis Corner was quoted as saying, “It’s a subject that when in the right hands can be smooth and soulful, but in the wrong, crass and chauvinistic … you need the right balance of charm and swagger to pull it off.” Because if you are going to dehumanize women, you better at least dress nicely and look good doing it!

It’s not just in our music– it’s saturated in our television and movies as well. 2 Broke Girls is a classic example to fall back on as you can find a rape joke in almost every episode. It’s even more surprising because the show is written by a female and has 2 female leads which is something we should be celebrating yet it is one the most sexist shows on tv. Some of the gems from the sitcom include lines like: “Somebody date raped me and I didn’t think I’d live through it, but I did and now I’m stronger… and still needy.” and “This director slips you anything that looks like a sweet tart, it’s probably that date rape drug that knocks you out and distorts your memory. Or at least that’s what it does to the guys I give it to.” Do they think this is edgy and hip? Because to me, it comes off as cheap and detrimental. The Twilight books are heavyhanded with it. “…There is so much I can give you that he can’t. I’ll bet he couldn’t even kiss you like that—-because he would hurt you. I would never, never hurt you, Bella.” I held up my injured hand. He sighed. “That wasn’t my fault. You should have known better.” Still more: “Why did she hit you?” “Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed. “Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.

When we are dismissive or casual about these things, we are contributing to a much bigger problem. It sends the (false) message that men are sexually aggressive and “can’t help themselves”. It sends the message that if you are scantily clad, then you were “asking for it” which is another false notion that needs to be put to rest. Women are raped whether they are wearing a mini skirt and a tube top or if they are wearing a hijab. It has nothing to do with your clothing choices. Despite this, the questions that frequently come to mind to some people when they read or hear about someone who was raped is, “What was she wearing? Was she drinking?”

Rape culture is a problem because 1 out of every 6 women is the victim of rape. It is a problem because on college campuses, fewer than 5% of completed rapes are reported to law enforcement. It is a problem because when it is reported, the perpetrator is often allowed to RETURN to school. It is a problem because when a female teacher abuses a male student, the incident brings out weird teacher fantasy comments like, “Lucky kid!” or “He is living the dream.” It is a problem because we tend to focus so much of our attention on victim blaming that we forget about the PEOPLE DOING THE RAPING. Instead of telling girls what not to wear and how to approach a party/empty street/everywhere, we should be informing people about the importance of consent and controlling your damn self. Rape culture oppresses us all, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s really not very funny at all when you think about it, huh?


7 responses to “blurring the lines

  • Akriti

    I just love your posts. Connect to them. They make so much sense 🙂

  • rlcarterrn

    Great article. I found myself nodding along with every sentence. It’s so sad how this problem is so deeply ingrained in our society that even WOMEN are perpetuating it, often without even realizing it. Thanks for pointing out these subtle but dangerous ways in which our society “normalizes” rape.

    • thefemininefeministe

      Thanks so much! I just find it so disturbing that this is the bar we have set. We can be so much more than this yet little progress has been made I think largely in part due to our media. I really think it’s important to recognize the damage that it causes and just not accept it! When that happens– when more of us can join together and say, ENOUGH! then maybe we can create change.

      • rlcarterrn

        Yes, exactly! That’s why I recently reported a male coworker who I felt had sexually harassed me. I know for a fact that he’s said much worse things to other women we work with, so I felt like for the sake of all of us someone had to speak up, especially since I didn’t have the presence of mind to say something to him directly when it happened. When we put up with “little things,” it leaves room for “big things” to happen.

      • thefemininefeministe

        That is so great that you reported him! I hope action was taken. And you are absolutely right about putting up with things. Small things lead to bigger, dangerous things.

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