Monday, June 24, 2013

Rape Culture

How is it I find myself contemplating rape culture? It started with this shirt. You may be familiar with this shirt. Perhaps you have one like it, or maybe your dad does.
I have always found the protective father stereotype to be trite. So, I find this shirt to be not funny, and kinda pointless. I would normally have treated the shirt with indifference, except I may have had a passing thought that the wearer of said shirt is probably the type of manly-man who is more of a thug (the two being often interchanged). Now that I have been exposed to much dialog on rape culture I would say this shirt means much, much more. I am off on a tangent here, but then rape culture is all about tangents.

What is rape culture? Here is a good definition from this blog:

Rape culture is the normalization and trivialization of rape and sexual assault. It’s a culture in which sexual violence is made to be both invisible and inevitable. It’s a culture that teaches us that male sexual violence is both normal and desirable. It also teaches us that men are not able to control their actions when they are aroused.

Rape is very specific. Rape culture is very broad. Rape culture is boys talking about how they cajole and coerce girls into having sex, even for boys who actually stutter and stammer around girls. Rape culture is saying "that is just the way things are" when boys are being so called boys. Rape culture is saying "what did she think was gonna happen" when a woman chooses to dress and behave a certain way.

Whoever created or wears this shirt, whomever created the list, is not condoning rape culture, but they are symptoms of rape culture. This shirt is one of many signals that rape culture exists, and that we should be working to stamp it out, just as we wish to stamp out bigotry, racism and sexism (rape culture being a tangent of sexism).

I am father to both a son and a daughter. Here are the rules for dating my daughter. They are also the rules for dating my son, and the rules for my daughter when dating, and the rules for my son when dating. So, here are the rules for dating. In fact, here are the rules for life.

  1. Accept NO without resentment or anger, knowing the other is being strong.
  2. Hear YES with confidence, knowing the other is freely choosing.
  3. Say NO without fear, knowing the other will not hold it against you.
  4. Say YES with ease, knowing the other is not forcing you.

If you and who you are with can follow those four rules, well, then that is a good start.





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