WHEN NO MEANS NO!
Ever since we are young people, men and women alike are taught the definitions of what being a “man” or “woman” should look/act like and the concepts behind these definitions. Little boys are taught to be the initiating dominant protectors of the world, literally fighting for their beliefs and wants, and handling the finances of our survival, while young girls are taught to be the submissive, meek, homemakers, raising the children and keeping things in order, staying silent “behind the scenes.” Through these misconceptions, our society has coined terms such as “bitch,” “whore,” “slut,” “fag,” and “dyke” into our vocabulary. It has also given rise to such things as “The Purity Myth” and now, more recently, “Rape Culture.” The purity myth is a lie that sexually defines how “good” women are, and that woman’s moral compasses are inextricable from their bodies—that any sexuality that deviates from a strict (generally, straight male-defined) societal norm is punishable by violence (Valenti, 299). The term “pure” gives a clue as to say who is centered around being “clean,” “innocent,” “whole,” or if I may, “virginal.” As society has always depicted, since the colonization of Native Americans, it is never a woman of color, or poverty, or someone who is overweight. She is young and white. She is “naïve” to the horrors of the real-world. It is in this lie where the rape culture begins to form and persist. According to the Wikipedia website (www.wikipedia.com),” rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence is common and which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.”
A great example of this is the movie scene from “16 Candles,” when Jake Ryan passes his snobby, drunken, passed out girlfriend over to the school nerd, telling him to “have fun with her; she won’t remember in the morning.” It is in this scene where-by our society is made to believe that just because a female has become so intoxicated to the point of impaired judgments and loss of recollection, that it is okay to sexually violate her. After all, she shouldn’t have been drinking, right? No, not right. Why couldn’t that boy have just gave his girl a ride home or to a safe place for her to sleep off her intoxication? What a jerk!
Then there are our social media outlets. The musician idols that produce and perform, and the radio/TV stations that determine what to air, are broadcasting lyrics and videos that do nothing except promote cultural rape. Rapper Eminem emanates his hatred and violence towards women and homosexuals in many of his songs, and yet, young society continues to idolize him, including the type of “theme victim” that he is rapping about. I am not sure if they truly understand what they are glorifying in and promoting as normal and acceptable. For instance, take Eminem and Rihanna’s hit song “Love the Way You Lie” which depicts domestic abuse and rape culture. In it, Rihanna has one set verse that she sings: “Just gunna stand there and watch me burn; Well that’s alright because I like the way it hurts; Just gunna stand there and hear me cry; Well, that’s alright because I love the way you lie. I love the way you lie.” What is this telling the viewer of these lyrics other than the fact that she is accepting of her fate and actually wants the abuse that she is receiving? As a matter of fact, she loves it…
Then, we go to Eminem. Just about his whole song portrays an excuse or justification for violence. “I can’t breathe but I still fight while I can fight. As long as wrong feels right I’m in flight," “She fuckin’ hates me and I love it,” “Wait, where you goin? I’m leavin. No you ain’t,” “Your temper is just as bad as mine is, you’re the same as me,” “Next time I’m pissed, I’ll aim my fist at the drywall,” and my all-time favorite “If she ever tries to leave again, I’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.”
In many of these lyrics, Eminem lacks all accountability for the abusive actions that can be taken when in a domestic violent relationship. “She fuckin hates me and I love it” and “Your temper is just as bad as mine, you’re the same as me” suggests that because both partners in the relationship are so emotional that violence okay in order to gain control, and that he likes the fact he does things to make her hate him, probably from the pain that has been caused….and instead of letting her walk away from the painful experience of the emotional roller coaster ride of the relationship, he would “tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.” He does not want her to be happy and this is not love. When he states that “next time I’ll aim my fist at the drywall…” he is only condoning violence in admitting that he will become physically aggressive again, as if it is normal for relationship arguments to get that heated. He also has a rap song about killing his ex-wife and one that talks about raping a “whore” with an umbrella; “Love the Way You Lie” is his nice version of domestic violence. This is what the media decides is going to be popular and most exciting for the viewers…. Another example is the controversial ad by Dolce & Gabanna that was placed a few years back. It showed four men surrounding a woman, one of which had her pinned to the ground. The men were mostly dressed while the lady was scantily clad. It portrayed a picture of gang rape and suggested that if men bought the advertised clothing, they would feel dominate, powerful, and enticing. The ad was eventually banned but not soon enough. The damage had already been done. Men were made to believe that in order to feel their masculinity they had to look and act a certain way and women were shown (once again) how they are weak and agile compared to men, even against their will, and that it is just a normal part of society. It also told of a story that said just because the woman was scantily clad, it was natural for many men to want her in such a sexual manner…even while her facial expression said differently. Everywhere we look, if we decide to look, rape culture has enveloped us. It’s in movies, song lyrics and videos, magazine ads, our prison systems, comedy, and even in children’s cartoons. It’s everywhere. We, as a society, need to come together and raise our voices to be heard that Rape Culture does exist….and needs to be stopped. Stop telling sexist jokes. As a matter of fact, refuse to listen to them. Do not buy albums depicting rape and violence; do not view the video, or buy tickets to the concerts. Stop justifying, victim blaming, and making excuses for rape and violence; there is never a justifiable excuse, ever! Because there is no widely accepted cultural definition of what it is, stop denying that it exists (www.thenation.com) because it does. Expand your knowledge and then educate others…motivate yourself and others to become a part of the movement, not the problem. Thank You