The rape culture has been an imminent point of concern in our modern day world. Rape is no longer considered as an isolated event. Instead, rape has become prevalent and sexual violence has been normalized and exempted in the media and popular culture. Many researchers have conducted elaborate studies and surveys in a bid to identify the major societal factors that probably have led to the spread of this sexual violence in various countries both locally and on a global level. The most commonly mentioned factors are the different societal attitudes towards sexuality and gender (Valenti, 1). This paper critically analyzes the origin and rise of rape culture in the society, the factors that contributed to its rapid spread and a few specific examples of how the social institutions perpetuate rape culture both locally and globally. It further gives an insight into the various social consequences that arise as a result of rape culture.
The term rape can be traced back to the early 1970s when the feminists in the United States first coined it. It was created as a way to show how the society had normalized the issue of sexual violence to both genders. Traditionally, in the early 19th century, rape was considered a crime punishable by the law. Anybody who was found engaging in such violence would be branded a criminal. However, as years went by, the society shifted from labeling the people who involved in sexual violence as criminals and instead began believing that they were mentally ill or sexual psychopaths. The new concept made its way to the popular opinion and people caught engaging in these activities would be admitted to mental institutions where they were given medication for their illness (Buchwald et al., 20). The society slowly has grown into this notion considering rape not a crime of sex but a crime of violence. The focus of rape shifted from the desire of pleasure to an act of intimidation and domination over gender norms.
Perpetuation of rape culture
It is important to note that rape culture in any society manifests through the people accepting that rape is an everyday occurrence. It can be exacerbated various social institutions ranging from the police officers apathy whenever they are dealing with rape cases, to the reluctance of authorities to against the cultural norms (Valenti, 1). As for others, they fear the stigmatization that comes along with the action of rape both to themselves as the victims and to their families. Some sociologists also argue that rape culture in a way has been a link for the nonconsensual sex and the cultural foundation of the social order. This fabric has had patriarchal worldviews characterized by misogyny and gender inequality which are passed down from one generation to another. This had led to the widespread acceptance of rape by the societal institutions.
Victim blaming and slut shaming has been named the most common forms in which the social institutions perpetuate rape culture. An example is a situation whereby the victim fears to talk about the rape especially to the police since he or she will be considered to be at fault for being raped. Most victims fear to report such cases to various institutions since they will not be believed by those in authority (Buchwald et al., 23). Generally, victim blaming is not only prejudicial or stereotypical but also is characterized by a multitude of false beliefs about rape, the victims, and the rapists. It makes the society trivialize rape, deny the spread of rape, label the victim an hypocrite, believe that most of these allegations are phony, refuse to recognize the injury caused by the violence and in some cases claim the victim of the assault deserved it for being a slut. Such actions then promote sexual violence.
Rape culture is detrimental to both men and women and to the society they live in. psychologically, the victims show increased levels of distress and upset after undergoing the ordeal. The levels of anguish and grief do not end and the victim remains in this state for months of years, depending on the therapy prescribed. As for their families, they too are in distress upon realizing their member fell a victim to sexual violence. It affects them and severely hurts their interactions henceforth (Buchwald et al., 25). Also physically, the victim may be hurt from the sexual violence resulting in some lasting marks. Despite the fact that the physical wounds heal after a while, the trauma associated remains for a long period of time.
Rape culture has also led to gender segregation. It has now become a society where the both genders have something to prove. Some sociologists have argued that the reason rape culture is fast spreading is because most people consider it a prove of masculinity. On the other hand, the feminists that it is an act of cowardice. It has also led to the environmental insecurities whereby the female gender is objectified as a way to struggle for the control of the immediate environment. Also in terms of industrialization and modernization, the role taken up by the female gender has prompted insecurities in the male gender, thus encouraging the use of sex as a means to suppress (Sparks, 1).
Conclusively, it is eminent that rape culture is fast taking root in the society across all gender globally. It has now become a normal event for one to be raped with the social institutions given the mandate to protect the victims being the main perpetrators of the culture. At present day, most rape victims fear going open about their ordeal in fear that they will be victimized. They fear that no one will believe their side of the story since most people consider them as "deserving it", which is morally incorrect. In addition, the institutions are unable to adopt some regulations due to fear of going against the cultural norms. Nonetheless, it remains clear that rape culture is a problem that needs to be dealt with soonest possible to allow peaceful coexistence.
Popular culture is usually everywhere. It is present on the internet when listening to music, watching television or a movie, or even attending a concert. In actuality, anything with a buzz effect has come to be considered a pop culture. Many researchers have conducted research in order to understand the concept and its underlying factor, with several arguments coming up on expression. According to Fiske (23), popular culture is used to refer to the entirety of attitudes, perspectives, phenomenon, images and ideas within a particular mainstream culture. Different nations all over the world are characterized by different popular culture depending on their beliefs and ideologies. This paper analyzes specifically the popular culture in the United States, giving candid examples to show how it has been expressed among the people in terms of gendered, classist, racist and heterosexists ideologies. In addition, it identifies the consequences that have arose as a result of these ideologies and the strategies that can be used to resist these messages from the American pop culture.
The popular culture in America is derived from the mainstream Western culture of the 20th and the 21st century. In the modern day world, it is highly influenced by the mass media with most of its ideologies affecting the everyday life of the citizens. In the United States, the most common form of popular culture is divided into several categories such as entertainment, slang, politics, technology, sports, fashion and news (Fiske, 28). These areas play a key a role in influencing the people's attitudes towards certain topics. It allows a large heterogeneous mass of people to have an identity collectively. In addition, it serves an inclusionary function in the social order by uniting masses of people on ideals of tolerable forms of conduct. Another issues that appeal the use of popular culture, is the ability to grow in terms of individual prestige among the peers.
However, the consumption of ideologies from popular culture has too its negative consequences if not well monitored. For example, in terms of gender roles, the American pop culture distinctively differs from a majority of other cultures. First is because, in the American culture, the masculinity and femininity have been defined by the societal cues and the influences (McCann, 65). Women have begun taking up job opportunities that for many years were considered to be men oriented. Also, the male gender has begun taking up roles that were previously considered feminine. The media has greatly helped perpetuate these changes in ideologies among the citizens.
In terms of racism, the American popular culture has too played a key role is spreading it among the citizens. An example is the use of the slang nigga, which in essence means an African-American. The mass media and the artists who are key plays in the pop culture often use such terms in their conversations. They influence the way the American watching them think on such issues of racist thus resulting in either increasing the racist cases or ending them. Another example is the use of a term such as off the reservation (McCann, 65). To many the use of such term means going native and this causes a stir in terms of how people view each other on racial grounds. When such terms are repeatedly echoed in the televisions where millions of citizens are watching on a daily basis, then it causes a wave of emotion changing peoples attitudes towards the issues of racism or gender,
It is not a must for the individuals to take on all the matter perpetuated by the popular American culture as being positive. Some of the ideologies addressed are very divisive to the community (Storey, 5). For example, the use of slang to refer to a particular people can result in serious ethnic divisions. However, one strategy that can be efficient in preventing such issues is the state laying down strict policies against such concerns. Let a citizen know that the use of words intended to cause an ethnic division is wrong and punishable by the law. also, the state can come up with agencies to monitor and restrict for example what is aired on televisions as it can either be constructive or destructive. At an individual level, it is the role of each citizen to know what is right or wrong in the society. if one clearly sees that whatever has been portrayed by the pop culture is wrong, consider not participating in it. awareness groups will play an important role is helping people learn the rights and the wrongs in accordance to the code of ethics for each individual nation.
Conclusively, it is evident that culture plays a major role in influencing how the Americans view various issues in the society. The popular culture which is perpetuated through entertainment, fashion, actors, games or sports is essential in defining the peoples attitudes towards ideologies present in the society, such as gender, classists, racist or heterosexists. It is therefore very important that pop culture is monitored before instilling the wrong aspects or concepts in people's minds. For example, a television set is watched by millions of people country wide. Whatever issues are discussed have millions of consumers waiting to hear. For some, they will be able to filter the good and the bad. But also, there are those who just follow the crowd without necessarily knowing the repercussions. It is, therefore, the role of the state and each individual to ensure that personal ideologies do not cause conflict or division to the state but instead promote unity and coexistence amongst all the citizens.
Sparks, Hannah. "Steubenville case highlights U.S. rape culture". The Massachusetts Daily Collegian (2013). Retrieved 7 December 2016.
Valenti, Jessica . "America's Rape Problem: We Refuse to Admit That There Is One". The Nation. (2013). Retrieved 7 Decembe...
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