Perception of Rape Culture
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Stephanie JohnsonProfessor ChettySociology of Gender4 December 2017Paper #2Rape culture is an environment in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in media and popular culture due to stereotypes about gender and sexuality. It is perpetuated through misogynistic language, glamorization of sexual violence, victim blaming, slut shaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape and refusing to acknowledge harm of sexual violence. Rape culture is not about stupid decisions but instead it is about power, control, and dominance. Rape culture affects every woman whether or not they have been raped. Rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Many women and girls limit their behavior because of rape. In a sense, they live in fear of rape. Men generally do not live in fear of rape. Through this, rape functions as a means by which the female population is held in a subordinate position to the male population. Even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape, the cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture. Rape culture is perpetuated by institutions. College campuses are places where rape and sexual assault tend to thrive but is rarely addressed, which is the problem.
We often times contribute to rape culture without even realizing it. When rape jokes are made, we are supporting rape culture and trivializing an important issue. For example, some fraternities have very vulgar chants such as, “No means yes; yes means anal”, which demeans women but most tend to laugh at the chants, including women.Slut-shaming is another contributing factor to rape culture. Just because a woman decides to have sex with more people than the average woman does, doesn’t give us the right to call her a slut, especially when men are praised for doing the same. We may think we are a progressive person, but we have all contributed to rape culture by calling someone else’s attire “slutty”. By commenting on another woman’s attire and calling it slutty, we are validating the people who say “women ask for it” when they wear revealing clothing.Christin Bowman, a PhD student at CUNY, says “we contribute to rape culture when we create school dress codes for teenagers because apparently the natural female form is ‘distracting’ for male students and teachers.” By having a dress code, this reinforces the idea that women must present themselves to cater to the male eye. It is also frowned upon by everyone for women in high school to show too much skin, therefore leaving them limited on what they can wear. Women are supposed to feel like men want to rape them so that they will dress more modest. Society wants to control what women wear in the end.