The rape culture is universally defined as an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Although rape can be committed by both males and females, the majority of reported and recorded cases show that the latter are often on the receiving end than their male counterparts.
“If you are a man, you are part of the rape culture. I know, that sounds rough. You’re not a rapist, necessarily but you do perpetuate the attitudes and behaviours commonly referred to as rape culture,” states writer and blogger Zaron Burnett discussing the rape culture in an article for Huffington Post.
Controversial as it may be to say this, society has normalized the culture and blindly or purposely glorified it in many ways, so many ‘red flags’ are bypassed in the name of humour and naivety. If you have worn a shirt written “I f*ck on the first date” or “blink if you want me” then you are part of the problem even if you have never committed a sexual crime against women.
It is everywhere, you cannot escape it, be it on your mobile phone, your computer and your television screen, media platforms have become the hub of distributing content that contributes to the degradation of women.
Today’s adolescent generation is in danger of being consumed by the rape culture, they have information and entertainment at their fingertips. There is no filter in terms of what they are exposed to, they can easily grow up with the notion that what they see is normal. The most important lesson is to teach kids the meaning of consent, restraint and overall respect for the opposite sex.
However, given most parents’ busy schedules, the young generation cannot avoid the dangerous environment they are exposed to. Parents should be wary of indirectly raising the next generation of misogynists by paying more attention to what they watch or read. Below are numerous ways in which society has normalized the rape culture, these are initial steps than may ultimately lead to acts such as rape because pop culture celebrates them.
Explicit lyrics and visuals
There is a reason why almost every music CD displays the “Parental Advisory, Explicit Content”, today’s rap music celebrates profanity and misogyny. Ignorance is bliss in today’s rap world, music videos glorify the video vixen culture whereby models are “required” to be half naked and “twerking” in order to make the video “more appealing” with the tired philosophy which claims that “sex sells”.
This gives the wrong notion that a woman has to be erotic in order to stand out, arousal replaces entertainment in this case. The hip hop community has degraded women in numerous ways, the most common being the use of the ‘B word’ in almost every song, it has become a popular deed and some women in the hip hop industry have taken the sting out of the word by referring to themselves in the same manner in order to combat the discrimination from the largely male dominated music industry.
In addition to the profanity women have become the victims of date rape as hip hop has embraced the prescription and date rape drug phenomenon. Drugs such as Molly are used to drug women and trick them into having sex without their consent.
American rapper Rick Ross once caused a stir in 2013 as a guest artist on fellow rapper Rocko’s hit song UOENO, Ross made lyrics that celebrated and or influenced date rape. In the song he rapped the following words, “I put Molly (all) in her champagne, she ain’t (didn’t) even know it, I took her home and enjoyed that, she aint (didn’t) even know it.”
His words gave a vivid picture of date rape as it described inserting a drug in a woman’s drink without her knowledge and having sex with her while she is under the influence of drugs. As a result, the backlash from fans resulted in Ross losing a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal with Reebok, this demonstrated that a person of his influence had let the public down with his ignorant and irresponsible lyrics.
South African rapper AKA also made similar utterances in a song titled ‘The Saga’ where he is featured by Anaati. He boasted the following words in his lyrics, “I think this mommy got potential, I think this Molly got me busting out (of) the friend zone, drop it in the champagne like a Mentos, we are in the lobby but your body is a temple.”
The sexually charged lyrics can trigger ignorance in terms of acceptable behaviour towards women, in this case consent is overlooked as rappers endorse forcefully seeking pleasure at the expense of unsuspecting or unconscious women.
Rap music is arguably the number one genre in music, it used to glorify the drug dealing culture in the late 90s and early 2000s but it has now moved to a drug using and rape celebrating era. Rap is short for rhythm and poetry but it has moved away from its artistic form and parents should opt for censored and clean version of rap songs for their children.
So much attention is focused on perpetrators than the victims, once the crime has been committed many questions are asked about the mental state of the culprit, their motives and in many cases their sobriety during the criminal act.
Victims are often asked what they were wearing or their demeanour before the crime, these questions insinuate that a victim’s actions may have triggered the rape act, this is a reckless disregard for the victim as it is a form of victim shaming.
Western entertainment and movies
Popular television shows such as Game of Thrones and Power have nudity clauses that require their main actors and actresses to be semi-nude during love making scenes, however, there is a serious inequality in that agreement as women’s breasts and sometimes pubic hair are shown while men only display their upper body and their buttocks (which women are also required to show).
The balance in the nudity clauses is evident for all to see, this leads to an atmosphere where women bare it all to see while men’s private parts are hidden. In this case, many are led to believe that a woman’s private parts are easy accessible at the touch of a remote button, this fuels the notion that masculinity prevails over femininity.
College movies such as American Pie glorify an act in which women are given alcohol in order to trick them into having sex, a certain character can be mocked for being a virgin and not taking advantage of a drunk and “horny” girl. In a recently released movie named Daddy’s Home 2, there is a scene where veteran actor Mel Gibson teaches his grandson to grab and kiss a girl without her permission.
Pornography has been around for decades and it will surely be around for years to come. It gives viewers the idea that sex is easily accessible, in most porn films the subjects never converse or get to know each other before the “deed”, it randomly happens and this may give unreasonable men the wrong notion idea that they are entitled to sex.
In essence, porn is a short cut to a happy ending, it does not teach intimacy or consent. Rather, it teaches that the pursuit of sexual climax is more important than intimacy, such environments are the first steps in a path of sexual delinquency if they cannot be controlled.