Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In Which Amy Makes People Angry

I am almost positive that part of this post will make a lot of people angry.  I was involved in a discussion on another site recently where the topic was "Rape Culture". 

I will start off by mentioning that I hate that term.  Part of the reason is, because until last night, I failed to fully understand the term.  Seriously, what the heck is "rape culture"?  Who determines what the definition is?  I have found several definitions, but I will post the one from Marshall University.

 Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

I can admit that in times past, and still in other countries, rape is not treated as a crime.  However, if you live in the great USA, rape is a crime, and has been for quite some time.  I would also mention that our culture, while overtly sexual (and later we'll discuss how that fits into all this), is not a culture that condones or normalizes rape.  If you really think about it, if you even tried to normalize rape you'd be tarred and feathered in a public square.

Misogyny is defined as hatred for women.  I have this feeling that I need to explain this definition. It means someone who hates women, simply because they are women.   My need to explain this may stem from the fact that modern feminists believe if you dislike any woman, or even a certain type of woman, it makes you misogynistic.  (In the same way that some people think if you dislike a single black person you must be a racist.)  In the simple definition of misogyny, I think it's clear what would qualify as misogynistic language.  It's language that directs hate at a women or group of women, based on the simple fact that they are female.   I sit here and think of the last 5 television shows I watched (since media is pointed to as one of the places that rape culture is normalized and excused).  Grey's Anatomy - where Christina Yang was just nominated for a prestigious award and offered her dream job.  Modern Family - where Phil is the bumbling idiot and his wife Claire is smarter, more together and just plain better.  House - where House is a jerk, Chase is a pretty boy with a complex, Foreman is egotistical, and Cameron, the female is caring, wonderful and perfect. (House, by the way, is a feminist's dream example of misogyny.)  Justified - where the criminal mastermind is a woman, who has spent plenty of years selling drugs and running a local organized crime syndicate and her goofball son is the one who destroyed it.  Continuum, where the lead, Kyra is a strong female police officer who basically can conquer the world all on her own.  Not seeing any misogyny there.  In reverse, I would generally say, with the exception of Grey's Anatomy (who treats men as smart and capable, of course, they are mostly surgeons so they have to be), modern television elevates the woman at the expense of men.

The objectification of women's bodies is something that I have a slight issue with, although not in the same way that other people do.  I think it's perfectly fine for a man to appreciate a beautiful woman he sees on TV or in the mall or at the local grocery store (or what he thinks is a beautiful woman).   That's how guys are wired.  But where is all the outcry over the beautiful naked women on the covers of pornography magazines, who are there solely to be objectified.  How about the ones in the movies that you have to get in stores where 18 is the minimum age for even stepping foot in the store?  How about the whores on the street corner?  Or the girls who waitress at Hooters?  All of those things are extreme objectification of a women's body, and yet time after time, the loudest voices yelling about rape culture will at the very least keep silent about those things, and at the worst?  Defend a women's right to participate in them.  Rape culture out of one side of the mouth, defense of a women's right to be objectified out of the other.  In normal circles we call this hypocrisy.

Maybe I don't travel in the same circles as other people, but I have never seen the glamorization of sexual violence.    I have seen the violence portrayed in a sexual light.  I think that happens all the time.  Violence is sexy!  Who didn't think Uma Thurman was sexy as anything in Kill Bill?  You know the movie where she stabs, slices, shoots, and beats people to death?  A lot of people. Rape Culture crazies can come talk to me about rape culture when they are decrying that.

According to Marshall, these three things disregard women's rights and women's safety.  

However, these same people who are screaming, wailing and having apoplexy over "rape culture" will tell you that condom distribution outweighs teaching kids that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and STDs.  

Remember when I mentioned our overtly sexual culture?   This culture encourages kids, at younger and younger ages, to be sexually active.  This culture uses sex to sell almost anything.  We have a hypersexual culture.  And much of that was started and encouraged by the very people who scream about rape culture.  Free love (which turned out to be disease ridden love), sex is just a natural physical reaction (have it all you want, with whoever you want, no commitment necessary), women can do anything guys can do (including become the go-to sex kitten at the Friday night party).  These same people sold the culture on the fact that outside of the sexual organs, men and women are biologically the same.  And while equal pay and equal rights are awesome goals, it wasn't just about that.  That movement has intended to produce equal behaviors.  One of the best ways to do that was to convince women that sexually they have the same goals, instincts and behaviors as men.  To really push it, we need to encourage those behaviors in younger people.  If we have a rape culture (and I still don't believe we do), the very people who are screaming about it, are the ones who started it.  And if you sit back and poo poo their crazy ideas (and let me tell you, they have crazy ideas), you are a rape apologist.  

In a hypersexualized culture, there is most likely more rape.  But if you want to change that,  you don't do it by "teaching our young men respect for boundaries."  I'm pretty sure most parents do that.  You teach that sex isn't a game, or a passing fancy, or something to do on the weekend when you are bored.   And in case you are wondering, you don't just teach that to young men.  When you factor in the FBI definition of rape, men are as likely to have been raped as women, and nearly half of those men report their assailant as female.  You teach people to be smart, to be aware of their situations, to never put themselves in a situation to become a victim.  Don't go to a frat party and get so drunk you don't have a clue what you did last night.  Don't leave your drink unattended at a bar.  Don't walk down a dark alley at night by yourself.  (Just me saying that is perpetuating rape culture, by the way.)   And you teach them that sex is sacred, beautiful, and not something you hand out like candy on Halloween.  

The idea of rape culture is born out of a culture that in truth should be labeled the "sex culture".  And until these saints, these future Mother Teresas, are willing to change that, they should shut up about their precious rape culture.  They created this society, and now they aren't too keen to live in it.  Tough crap.


No comments: