Posted by: arilipton | April 4, 2018

Rape Culture

One of the most damaging effects of some of the gender roles enforced in our society is the way in which they perpetuate rape culture. We have spoken in class about many of the ways that women are degraded and objectified in society, and the way in which female leaders of influence and power are reduced in the eyes of the public through demeaning commentary on their looks and sexuality rather than their actions, beliefs, or ideas.

Rape culture can be defined as a societal attitude that allows for sexual violence to be prevalent and pervasive and sanctioned and maintained through fundamental attitudes about sex, gender, and sexuality. It is needless to say that many of the topics we’ve covered in class speak on many biases that lead to the fundamental idea that women are inferior, sexual objects, and innately submissive.

Because women are often depicted in the media as hypersexualized and subservient to men, the idea that women’s only value is through their sexuality and appearance, and are naturally supposed to appeal and pander to men’s sexual preferences does a fundamental damage to the way in which gender roles are perceived in society. As this expectation is in fact ridiculous in nature, when these ideals do not hold true to reality, it perpetuates the idea that it is then okay to take sex from women in order to satiate male desires. This is not to say that sexual assault against men does not occur, as this is of course a pervasive and very real tragedy, but that society tends to emphasize and subconsciously, if not blatantly, condone sexual assault of women through depictions in media and attitudes of the public.

In addition, because it is a societal standard to not only sexualize but scrutinize females for their clothing and appearance, it creates a culture of victim blaming. Often times if a woman wears an outfit that is tight-fitted or flattering, she is automatically assumed to be appealing to men’s sexual gaze rather than dressing in a manner that makes her feel good, or because it is her own taste. It is then assumed that she is looking for sexual advances, playing into the idea of slut-shaming, and thus it is considered to be “her fault” if unwanted sexual advances are made. This idea is completely ludicrous, and is one of the primary issues in today’s society as it relates to gender roles.

These gender roles play into leadership in that rape culture is innately a women hating culture, and is perpetuated by the ideals and gender biases that female leaders struggle to combat. These two ideas are very intertwined, and the gender biases that hinder feminine empowerment and leadership advancement are the very same that cause rape culture to remain prevalent. It is only through the eradication of these harmful gender biases in our culture that we will be able to see substantial change in either realm.

here is an article on how we can change rape culture in our society:







  1. As long as rape culture exists, women’s equality will continue to be unattainable. Both cannot exist in society. Rape culture normalizes sexual violence against women. The extreme and clear examples of this behavior is seen in the Brock Turner case, but rape culture permeates in our society to lesser degrees such as harassment.

    In class, we discuss a lot about second-generation bias that prevents women’s empowerment, but I would like to argue that it is rape culture that allows sexism to be maintained in the workplace. Rape culture includes inappropriate jokes regarding sexual innuendos and then telling women to not take them so seriously after someone complains. The comment, “it was just a joke,” literally implies that it was never just a joke. Telling women to “lighten up or smile more,” and to “not be so serious” after making jokes and comments about their bodies or sexual violence are simple phrases that convey to women that their only job is to please their male cohorts.

    Another example of rape culture is twisting instances of sexual harassment around to make them seen invalid. As I was researching more about rape culture in the work place, I ran across an article that displayed just that. Anthlone McGinnis wrote an article detailing how rape culture in the workplace is just a farce by using another article that details specific examples of rape culture and making it invalid. One of his arguments really spoke out to me.

    The original article explained that in Iowa, the Supreme Court upheld a decision that allowed a male dentist to fire his female dental hygienist for being too attractive. In 2013, Melissa Nelson was fired after being a dental hygienist for ten years because her boss was beginning to make sexual advances on her, which was starting to ruin his marriage. Both the Anthlone and the judge of the case wrote that it was the “relationship” between the Mrs. Nelson and her boss that allowed her to be let go. However, there was no relationship between them. The dentist was pursuing her with sexual advances and inappropriate comments, she never reciprocated. By implying that there was a relationship, means that both were participating, when in reality it was one sided. Anthlone and the judges took the facts of the case and reworded them very carefully in a way that diminishes rape culture and invalidates the woman’s experience.

    Rape culture will remain if people stay silent. It is analogous to the bystander effect. We see rape culture happening, yet we turn the other way because it is not affecting our lives. Women cannot advance in their careers if this keeps being perpetuated, and they cannot fight rape culture alone. It was a culture started by men, maintained by men, and it will need to end with the help of men.

    If you want to read more on Anthlone’s arguments, I included a link to the article, along with the original article, written by Bryce Covert in Think Progress, below.

  2. I would have to agree with Kymbre in that as long as this rape culture exists women will still be fighting for equality. There are other variables within the equation but as long as rape culture is in it, the equation will never be solved. This idea is seen a lot in the media especially with how women are dressed and visualized and sexualized.

    This reminds me of our discussion of women in sports how women athletes are often depicted in makeup and “put together” instead of in action. On the field, in the water, on the track and anywhere else that she may play or compete.

    There are many advertisements selling something so small and but irrelevant to the model who is barely dressed and it somehow sells the product more. Women in movies are often dressed that is not conducive to the environment that she is in. For example, the new remake of Jumanji. The cover has the main characters and one is of a male actor who is well dressed to be in the jungle and a female actress who is wearing very short shorts essentially a bra and then all the gear she has. her skin is exposed so much more. The female actress’ body is essentially helping to sell by being on the cover.

    Not only is rape culture seen in movies and the media but in the work place. Gender biases come up a lot especially in the language. This brings up being “bossy” and “bitchy” and having to dress a particular way. Hillary Clinton’s attire was debated more than her politics at times. She wore what she felt comfortable in and what she was wearing had nothing to do with how she can lead the country. At times many women in the workplace are concerned with if what they are wearing is “too much” or “too revealing.”

    In regards to fixing this problem for me education is the basis for a lot of things. As the article mentioned educating young women and men about consent and their health in general. Mental health and physical health especially “sex-ed” needs a bit of polishing. Especially creating policies that allow for the gender equality and support for both genders in stopping the objectification of both genders and sexes in addition to decision making.

    The case Kymbre brought up by Anthlone McGinnis is absurd. To be fired for someones looks is not right. Policies need to be made so that no one is fired due to what they look like and their “attractiveness.”
    I agree with a lot of the articles ways of fixing the problem, but now its time for everyone to make the effort to fix it and not use those slangs and talk in a way that is demeaning. Its time to put what we believe will work into action. It will take a lot and it will take both genders to do it to support each other.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: