Part 6: Popular Culture and Rape Culture

By December 18, 2013 September 21st, 2017 Uncategorized
I met Toria, our guest blogger, via a podcast I recorded as a guest of Game On Girl. As part of that discussion we discussed “rape culture.” And that led to this series in which she helps us consider what rape culture is and what we can do about it.
If you listened to the Game On Girl podcast episode on which Sandra was a guest, you heard Regina, Rhonda, and Sandra discussing the implications of Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines.” (If you are unfamiliar with the song, consider yourself lucky and please keep it that way.) The song’s lyrics repeatedly talk about a woman being a “good girl,” saying that he’ll “try to domesticate [her]” but she’s “an animal” and that “it’s in [her] nature,” that she should “do it like it hurt,” and Thicke saying “I know you want it.” There’s also a line about violent sodomy sung by another vocalist featured in the song.All of those things are said to rape victims by the people who rape them. Project Unbreakable is a project where rape and assault survivors submit quotes from their assailants, families, friends, and public figures suggesting that the assault was “their” fault; some people will even tell the victims that they (the victims) “loved it.” There are some pretty eerie similarities. It is incredibly troubling that in spite of the controversy surrounding this song, it is still being played on radio stations around the world. Its continued popularity shows that the entertainment industry is more important and powerful than the victims who have heard their rapists say “I know you want it” over and over again in their memories. (On the plus side, several clubs and bars have banned the song from being played, so that’s progress.)

Let’s not forget that music and movies aren’t the only ways popular culture can teach complacency on this topic, though. In May 2013, Donald Trump tweeted about the rape and assault epidemic against women in the military, saying, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military—only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” Putting men and women together in any scenario should not make rape an inevitability. I work with men and I expect them not to rape me. The same goes for the men who take the same bus as me, who are out in public at the same time as me, who frequent the same businesses as me … so why on earth would any reasonable person expect male soldiers to rape female soldiers just because they’re in the same place together? (Sexual assault in the military is also a huge issue that I can’t tackle well enough here, but if you are interested in learning more, I would recommend the documentary called “The Invisible War” which discusses the subject in depth.)

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