When they look at us, they see strangers.
I was trying to find this quote recently. I don’t think most white people understand how it feels to be thought of as only as a dehumanized stereotype or a token. Never as someone like you who can be relatable and have things in common with you. It’s always a surprise to people online and offline when people find out that I like things that they do, too ; that I’m not just some angry activism-obsessed woman. When people like Lena Dunham say they don’t know how to write Black people, it’s pretty much saying that she doesn’t think that Black people are also fully complex human beings like her. Sure, there are cultural considerations to be made, but it’s ignoring the fact that people of color are diverse and not a monolith, so it’s not like the only girls who are like her are white.
Rape culture is bullshit, am I right? So, let’s break this shit down logically: how can we dismantle rape culture? One way is erasing ideologies and values that perpetuate rape culture, so below are 5 mentalities that perpetuate rape culture because awareness is key.
5. She’s a Slut
- “Sluts deserve to be raped.”
- “It’s not like she was a virgin.”
- “Who knows if it was even rape; she’s slept with so many guys.”
- “You can’t believe a slut.”
Slut shaming is the foundation for many of the mentalities that uphold rape culture, including She Was Asking For It and Victim Blaming. Bringing a person’s sexual history into question validates the actions of rapists, because, really, any woman can be classified as a slut just by doing, well, nearly anything.Out alone at night? Slut. Drunk? Slut. Dressed up? Slut. Pre-teen wearing make up? Slut. You don’t have to fuck a lot of people to be a slut. Calling someone a slut is often justified when someone dresses a certain way or is of a certain class/race/sexual orientation/body size. Anything and everything can make you a slut, because slut shaming isn’t about what’s “right” and “wrong;” it’s about controlling women’s sexuality and their bodies; it’s about telling them they are worth their vaginas; it’s about making them fearful of sex, their bodies, their own sexualities, and pretty much the world at large. And if you don’t think slut shaming plays a role in rape cases that see trial or are reported, I am not sorry; you are wrong.
4. She Should Learn to Protect Herself
- “If more women protected themselves, there would be less rape.”
- “Give women guns and see how the rape rate drops.”
- “Do these things/follow these rules to protect yourself and you’ll be rape proof!”
So, okay: maybe that last phrase isn’t word for word, but you’ve all heard the precautions: don’t wear your hair in a pony tail; walk with your keys out; don’t go out alone at night; don’t live alone; don’t wear tight/revealing clothes; beware of men pretending to be police officers, etc. etc. etc. Doesn’t this all sound like the responsibility for rape is being put on the victim? As if you could follow all these strategies and make yourself rape proof. Or as Wanda Sykes joked, leave your pussy at home.
Since you can’t leave your pussy at home, there’s always a lot of talk about how women can carry guns or learn self defense to prevent rape, but as the articulate Zerlina Maxwell so eloquently stated on Fox News this past week:
“I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there…You’re talking about this as if it’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone you know and trust…If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.”
3. She Was Asking For It
- “She was asking for it.”
- “Women secretly want to be raped.”
- “She was wearing/doing X so she wanted it.”
- “She was drinking/doing drugs/out late/without a man/alone.”
The absolute absurdity that anyone asks to get raped is completely stunning. There is literally nothing a person can do to ask for a heinous act of violence: not dress a certain way, not identify a certain way, not act a certain way, etc. It should be clear by now that these mentalities don’t serve to protect women; they create boundaries in which we are to live policed by the threat of sexual violence. By telling us we cannot go out late or drink or have any sort of life outside of our homes without the threat of rape, you have effectively removed our humanity. There is no autonomy in following a strict set of standards, lest we risk violence and the label of “asking for it.” The myth that some women asked to be raped means that those “some women” behave/look a certain way, and to avoid being raped, a woman should operate inside the boundaries set out by society. Of course, that does not work. Women are raped regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, or marital status because rape is not an act of desire/sex; rape is an act of violence.
2. Boys Will be Boys
- “Boys will be boys.”
- “Rape is biological.”
- “That’s just the way men are/the world is.”
When the phrase “boys will be boys” is used in regards to sexual violence, it is normalized. That is, it is assumed that every male identifying person is a rapist. Boys will be boys = that’s the way boys are: they rape. I don’t know about you, but I expect a lot more out of humanity than the innate, biological need to rape. Telling me that men cannot control their “desire” for someone, or must expel the fruit of their loins, or have some “point of no return” removes their capacity for logical thought: dick gets hard; brain shuts off. What’s really going on is that a lot of men don’t see women as people. Yes, you read that right. Objectification leads to dehumanization.(And you can’t commit a crime against an object, can you?) The rationale that “men are that way” or “that’s the way the world is” suggests that women are fish in water: that the threat of violence is an immovable, unchangeable part of society, and that women should learn to deal with it (re: protect themselves/follow the rules) instead of trying to change it. I, for one, I am not buying it. Instead, let’s follow the 5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape by Zerlina Maxwell.
1. Victim Blaming
- “She didn’t fight/say anything/say no/yell.”
- “What was she doing there/with that man?”
- “Why didn’t she try to run?”
- “What was she wearing/doing?”
- “Where was she/who was she with?”
How can a rapist ever be at fault if there are always reasons why the victim is to blame? The entirety of this list all adds up to blaming the person who was raped for being the target of a violent crime. One of the most common arguments (behind, of course, the sexy clothing excuse) is that women do not struggle enough, do not say no, or cannot say no. Listen: silence is not a yes; no is not a yes; only yes is a yes. This bullshit about women “saying no when they mean yes” only perpetuates the mentality that some women are asking for it. Sadly, victim blaming is deeply embedded into society; so far, in fact, that it is often used in the most subtle ways and the most disgusting ways. In turn, rapes are under reported and under prosecuted. And when rapes are reported women undergo an invasive examination of their entire lives while their story is speculated on and their experience discredited.
So, if you find yourself or someone you know falling into one of these mentalities about rape and rape survivors, think about the consequences of perpetuating those ideas, and whether they are really creating the kind of world you want to live in.
By Angela Page
when ppl think the media doesn’t affect their thinking
the vast majority of m/m slash shippers I have known in my decade of fandom have been queer women. maybe it’s because, gee, I don’t know, the strongest non-het relationships in most media are between men. I’d have more femmeslash ships if I fucking had more female characters who actually appear together in the same goddamn scene, let alone talk and form meaningful relationships of any kind.
the sj backlash to fetishizing gay male pairings has become an idea that casual homophobic(straight) liberals have latched on to as an argument against all m/m pairings and it’s getting really annoying please stop
as media is now, you are more likely to find interesting and nuanced canon relationships between men than you will find between women. (let’s also remember that girls are trained from a young age to relate to male characters - through assigned reading in school to the main characters in their favorite books and cartoons. male characters are more fleshed out and get more screentime and are emphasized more and are thus more relatable for a lot of women.)
punishing queer women for the media’s lack of queer women (and women in general) is fucking ridiculous. the fact that most fandoms have more m/m slash than femmeslash is a negative reflection of media and societal norms, NOT necessarily the people in the fandom. fandom is reflective of this shit, not the cause. fandom trends are only symptoms of a larger problem. I will say this as many times as it takes: M/M FANDOMS ARE LARGELY FEMALE SPACES AND PUNISHING THEM FOR MEDIA AND SOCIETAL NORMS THAT HARM THEM IS FUCKING STUPID AND HELPS NO ONE
straight people who rail against m/m slash shippers for special ally sj brownie points: you are not fucking helping and you need to stop. this is not your place and not your job.
Ryan Gosling on the MPAA’s decision to give Blue Valentine an NC-17 rating over its inclusion of an oral sex scene. (x)
Once I had a discussion with a white anarchist girl, and she said something like “sometimes I just listen to shitty music, like Destiny’s Child” and it was one of the most jarring things I’ve ever heard. I might begrudge a baby girl the “guilty pleasure” argument once or twice on account of False Consciousness, but I do not have patience for any person that wouldn’t question calling Beyonce “shitty.” Not just ‘cause DID YOU JUST CALL BEYONCE SHITTY.
Find me something that’s shitty about this album. Try to make that argument. Try to argue that the collective of best-selling female artists of all time just produce “shitty” music. Try to degrade the songwriting and narrative sophistication of these women. Tryyy to argue that this isn’t really a really fucking complicated and innovative album. Ignore the fact that it basically changed the game of pop music forever. MOTHERFUCKER TRYYYY.
I hate to make the “there is no other reason except racism” argument but there is no other reason except racism.
Beyonce and Destiny’s Child NEVER get enough credit for how powerful some of their messages were. This album is full of songs about feminine desire and independence and respect that the band wrote themselves but they weren’t Bikini Kill so I guess it’s not ‘radical’ (read: white) enough…
(And then on Beyonce’s first solo album a few years later, there was a song about consent and how some guy acted a damn fool when she says ‘no’ and I DARE SOMEONE TO TELL ME THAT THAT SONG IS SHIT WHEN IT’S THE SONG THAT INTRODUCED THE CONCEPT OF CONSENT TO MY SISTER, I DARE YOU)
Yes, I’m talking to you.
You, person who shipped Kirk and Spock from day one. You, person who likes to pair up every two good-looking dudes who show up on the screen together. You, person who has that one gay OTP you can’t seem to escape. You, person who carefully looks at character interactions and picks out the pairing you just know would work. You, person who simply loves fanfiction.
All of you.
First of all, I don’t like the term “slash,” but there’s not really a more all-encompassing term other than the shipping of homosexual pairings, which lacks in brevity what slash lacks in felicity, so I’ll just keep saying “slash” against my better judgment for now.
I’m addressing you specifically — rather than people who don’t participate in slash shipping — because there’s a trend I’ve noticed among us. And, obviously, it’s a trend I don’t like.
It’s no secret that slash shipping isn’t exactly smiled upon by society.
We’re usually written off as delusional, horny, fantasy-obsessed fangirls who just want to see those two hot guys have sex, dammit. We obsess about it, write terrible fanfiction about it, draw pornographic fanart of it, painstakingly analyze every last lingering gaze between the characters in question. Delusional, delusional, delusional. It’s something to be ashamed of. Something no decent person who truly understands the show/movie/book/etc. would want to hear about, surely. Something that ought to stay within our private little pockets of fantasy. Something that would clearly never happen in the actual plot, and if you think otherwise, well, you’re a crazy fangirl — you should have known better.
We’re used to hearing all that. We expect it. In fact, we count on it.
But the truly disturbing part of it is, we’ve internalized it.
What Should We Call Girl Pain?
The starlets who posed for the July 2003 Vanity Fair “It’s Totally Raining Teens!” cover, symbolized femininity, success, beauty, talent, youth and perfection. Average girls in the aughts didn’t have the accoutrements to be them, but they could watch them. Even better than watching them, average girls could read their books. The books based on their shows and movies heightened the fantasy. Average girls could be any of these starlets for $3.99 or $4.99. Average girls could be like them while they waited to grow up, not knowing they are already like them.
Five out of nine of the starlets featured on the July 2003 Vanity Fair cover have admitted to struggling with mental illness, making them more than Mary Sues. For Mary-Kate, her pain was called anorexia. For Mandy Moore and Evan Rachel Wood, depression. For Lindsay Lohan, addiction. For Amanda Bynes, “an eating disorder.”
Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes, in particular, labored in Hollywood, as young, vulnerable girls, at the cost of self-love and self-awareness. Money and success couldn’t save them, ultimately, from the reality of illness and suffering. They both represent hurt and injury, and are mocked for it. When people are not cheaply waxing political about them, they are fetishized by gay white men and straight white men alike, mocked in the new lowest form of white male humor: White Girl Jokes.
Men never ask what they should call women’s pain, so they call us crazy. They call us crazy and they laugh at us. The same men who say women aren’t funny obviously do find women funny. They find women funny at the most inappropriate time: when we’re hurting. There is no sympathy, no empathy, for young women under the influence, on the verge of, or currently breaking down. Girl pain is titillating and amusing disaster porn. In Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes’ case, their celebrity eclipses their humanity; they become the “willing victims” of the public abuse of men. Their inner turmoil, a spectacle, is a living punchline reaction gif, making us ask, “Where are their people?”
Lindsay and Amanda, we know, have no people. Amanda Bynes, in a recent tweet, stated, “I don’t speak to my parents anymore.” Lindsay has always been people-less. We learned this, when Lindsay released “Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter To Father).” Amy Poehler and Tina Fey tried to be Lindsay’s people, when they staged an intervention in 2005. Their efforts failed.
We watched Britney Spears struggle in the spotlight from 2006-2008, until her parents intervened, like good people should, rescuing their daughter from her very public nightmare, a nightmare exacerbated by men like Sam Lutfi and Perez Hilton. We watched Demi Lovato, during her tour with the Jonas Brothers, punch a back-up dancer. Like Britney, Demi’s support system— her people— intervened. Demi began her treatment at Timberline Knolls. It was there, at Timberline Knolls, that Demi learned what to call her hurt and injury and girl pain: bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-medication, cutting, etc. Her girl pain inspired her last album, Unbroken, the most Lohan-esque song from the album being “For the Love a Daughter.” Britney is older than the girls on the July 2003 Vanity Fair cover, Demi is younger, but their girl pain is the same.
The girls on the Vanity Fair cover all seem to express a vulnerability and winking stoicism. They seem aware of the fact that they were corseted and boxed in— as the clothes, the color and the cover suggest— but not weak. Amanda and Lindsay, both on the sides, are not holding onto any of the other girls. Instead, they grasp the white structure.
What should we call girl pain?
Millennials are the “ME ME ME GENERATION,” writes Joel Stein for Time magazine’s new cover story out today — which makes him only the latest culture writer in the last century or so to declare the youth self-obsessed little monsters.
TIME’s new cover makes me so mad I could write essays about it, but instead I’m going to keep job hunting since in today’s world a university degree means nothing and therefore like much of my generation, I’m stuck choosing between minimum wage jobs and internships that I can’t afford to accept in an attempt to pay off my tens of thousands of dollars worth of student debt.
I’d be interested in reading this article to see exactly what makes us entitled and lazy. Are we lazy because more of us are completing high school and going to college than ever before? Are we entitled because our standard of living is declining? Do we live with our parents because we’re too slothful to leave or is because our education costs are getting steeper and steeper while we’re getting less and less aid?
Tell us, Time Magazine, about how we’re narcissistic little slugs when we’re faced with an economic crisis that resulted in a lowering of our standard of living, an increase in tuition costs and how when we get out of our very expensive schools, more and more of us are going to end up working minimum wage jobs.
I also want to note that it’s really frustrating that the face of “lazy, entitled narcissism” is a young woman.
the coverflip challenge is funny because part of my final is analyzing jacket copy on books and there’s like.
this HUGE difference between how the copy for chick lit (I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella) is written versus like. Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.
in general: it’s longer, more tightly focused on romance, and reveals a lot more about plot for chick lit.
I wanted to do Paranormalcy by Kiersten White because I’ve generally always thought that the covers they chose were intentionally far more stereotypically feminine than the story warranted — to the point that the action, humor, and monsters in the story were totally eclipsed by the idea of a heroine in billowing prom dresses. Which is only a few scenes of the book, really, and she’s killing “bleeping” monsters while she’s in the dress…
no reason someone into action stories shouldn’t want to pick up the Paranormalcy series with the covers as they are, basically.
I also chose to do Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins because the only way they would assign that kind of title by a male author, which is hugely limiting when trying to sell the book to boys/men because of gendered language, would be if it were by like Nicholas Sparks, and aimed at being genre romance or erotica — much like the detestable James Oliphant, a Nicholas Sparks parody, in the novel itself.
(It’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone should demean a book for appealing to girls and/or women in the first place, especially to the point of refusing to read it or being ashamed to be seen carrying it. That’s the bigger issue, really. Femininity isn’t shameful. Maybe rather than trying to make YA covers less feminine, we should work on male readers’ negative preconceptions about femininity…)
- rescue three white women who have been missing for a decade, and a baby
- become a national hero
- pull and even bosser move and tell the fbi to give the reward money to the victims
- media decides to dig into your past, and bring up your criminal record.
wonderful time to be black in america.