This post is off-topic for me but the subject has been in the forefront of my social media feeds for a few weeks now and I really feel the need to talk about it.
Rape culture is part of our society
I had never heard of rape culture until recently. It would seem that somewhere along the way we have gone awry when it comes to both our teachings about rape and our perceptions of rape.
- Women are taught to protect themselves from rape instead of men being taught not to rape.
- Rape victims are victimized again and again by a society who blames the victims and by the system that is supposed to protect them.
- Bystanders will now actually watch, record and photograph rapes happening and post it to social media with no fear of consequences for their actions and with so much apathy that it never occurs to them to stop the perpetrators and help the victim.
- Boys will wait their turn to rape an incoherently drunk girl and convince themselves that she consented to sex with multiple partners.
THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!
Factors that exacerbate the rape culture epidemic
I think that one of the reasons that rape culture has flourished is that no one is discussing some of the contributing factors.
For example, although the internet is an amazing tool and all of the most useful information you could ever want is available at your fingertips, it is also home to perversions and porn and sexually explicit information… that is also available at your fingertips, and your children’s fingertips and your tween’s and teen’s fingertips.
These young, malleable minds have access to content that subjugates women and displays them as objects. And although this type of sexual content has been available for years, kids now have easier and earlier access to it. Internet porn is teaching a whole generation of adolescents that sex is detached and removed from healthy relationships. It portrays women as sex-obsessed and mindless, and often degrades them in one manner or another.
Video games are also guilty of creating negative female stereotypes. Often female characters are portrayed as a sex object or as a victim that needs to be rescued. Their outfits often reveal extreme cleavage, excessive amounts of skin and completely unrealistic body proportions. What is this teaching our children?
The media has always sexualized women and teens. Sex sells. Everyone knows that. But each year advertisers and brands push the limits of what is acceptable. Currently, Victoria Secret is in a scandal about how they are marketing their new collection to tweens and Ford just had to issue an apology about it’s recent ads of women bound and gagged in a trunk. Women have always been objectifed and sexualized but in our age of instant information it is more widespread than ever.
However, as also demonstrated by the above examples, social media has provided us with a voice to express our dis-satisfaction and even disgust at brand’s antics.
It is time to use your voice to speak out against the negative messages that display women in derogatory manners and children as sexual objects. It is time to use your voice to teach your children about respect for women and themselves. We can change things.
We can influence brands and advertisers with our voices and our dollars. We can teach our children and teens how to act in a respectful manner. It isn’t too late. There is time to change the future.
So please speak out when schools implement dress codes that insinuate that boys cannot control themselves. Teach your girls to respect themselves and their bodies. Teach your boys the same thing. Teach girls that they do not need a boyfriend to make them feel better about themselves. Teach your boys to respect women. Teach them both about self-esteem and character. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them to stand up for victims and help when they can. Teach them to think for themselves and that it is ok to say no and to stand out in a crowd and to do what is right. Teach them that sex should be about love and relationships and should always, always be consensual. And if you are a teacher, it’s ok to teach this as well. Somehow this knowledge of how to respect has been lost and it is time to bring it back to the forefront. To make it cool.
Sex has become casual and cheap. It isn’t valued any more. Teens and kids are taught that they should have “safe sex” but for some reason parents are forgetting to tell their kids that sex can be emotional and special. It affects you. With the right person it does something to your heart and to your self-esteem and with the wrong person it can also do something to your heart and self-esteem but in a negative way. Sex can be a great way to deepen a loving relationship; it is a way to connect with another person. However, if it is casual and meaningless you can lose a small piece of yourself every time you do it.
Let’s make an old culture new again. Let’s teach our children to respect themselves and each other. That is the only way to decrease the rape culture that has been allowed to seep into our society and poison our lives. Once people learn to treat others with respect again, changes will happen. But these changes start with you and me. Don’t wait, go talk to your kids now and keep talking. And if you need some tips on how to speak to your kids, start here.
It’s Time for Respect Culture!