By Linda Crews-Lerma
Rape Culture: Why it is a problem ... Edit
There are innumerable instances where women have been subjected to sex and violence as if that is their sole purpose for existence – as objects to be used as seen fit by the Patriarchal culture. Patriarchy can be defined as any culture that privileges men by promoting sexist beliefs in the inborn inferiority of women (Tyson 85). This rape culture that is so prevalent in today’s culture has become a monster. As a humanistic and benevolent society, this cultural monstrosity should concern everyone greatly. The oppression of women economically, politically, socially, sexually, and psychologically has a long and violent history – the U.S. –Mexico border is part of that history. The patriarchy belief that women are innately inferior to men and as such should submit to men in all aspects of life is the predominant ideology in today’s world run by men. The patriarchy defines the ‘traditional gender roles’ casting women as emotional, weak, nurturing, and submissive. Women are expected to conform to these assigned roles, and if not are labeled as whores or wicked. These cultural monstrosities objectify women and as objects they are used without consideration of their own feelings, opinions, or perspectives. So this brings up the question: Why is rape and/or sex and violence such a significant aspect of history past and present? My focus will be rape culture on the U.S. - Mexico border and how this violent treatment is in actuality a mirror of the patriarchal ideologies about women around the world thereby making rape culture not only a border problem along the U.S. – Mexico border, but a global problem in which women are sexually and violently oppressed by patriarchal society. The rhetoric I will be considering will reveal the exploitation and oppression of women and the prevalence of a rape culture – “a concept used to describe a society that accepts rape as an inevitable part of life, excuses, tolerates, and in some extreme cases, condones rape. At the center of this historical oppression of women is the patriarchal ideology that seeks to maintain dominance over the female through reliance on ‘phallogocentric’ thinking – thinking that is male oriented defining ‘woman’ only by her difference from male norms and values (Tyson 92). This page can make one cognitively aware that rape culture exists and is a reality living amongst us. It has reached epidemic proportions. Women and men must unite to end rape culture and create a new masculinity and a new movement, maybe even a revolution.
Rape Culture: Why is Awareness Important?Edit
An examination of the news headlines will reveal the reality of women and young children being tormented by a patriarchal society that seems to be perpetuating a rape culture instead of ending it. Here are a few examples (in reality there are seemingly endless examples) out of the headlines here to help bring awareness to the cultural monster of rape culture in our society. A few samples are: “FBI: Central American woman raped in wildlife refuge near Mission,” “What makes a slut? The only rule, it seems, is being female: It's a warning more than a word: a reminder to women to adhere to sexual norms or be punished,” “Why the world should care about the war against Guatemalan Women,” “Ux5: Shorter Maine GOP Legislator: Rape should be legal. No, seriously,” “Violence against women in Mexico surges out of control, but who is to blame?” “Symptoms of illegal border crossings include a Rape Tree,” and finally “Violence against women ‘pandemic’ in Mexico.” What we see here are women being objectified, violated, defiled, dehumanized, and marginalized treated like objects according to patriarchy, to be used without consideration of their own perspectives, feelings, or opinions – from a patriarchal standpoint, women’s perspectives, feelings, and opinions don’t count unless they conform to those of patriarchy (Tyson 91). When you have the patriarchal leaders in communities around the world speaking such diabolical rhetoric as: “Sometimes rape is right.” “She’s a sexual person. The things she wanted done were done.” In reference to a fourteen year old girl getting raped, “She’s older than her chronological age.” To a female politician, “Breed, don’t lead!” A GOP (male) politician stating, “Rape should be legal.” In Iran leaders say to women, “Take off the veil and be raped!” – No one can deny the damage oppressive patriarchal ideologies are doing to womankind across the globe. We have reached an emergency of such extreme magnitude that unless society as a whole, men and women together, demand action that will bring about change in patriarchy’s attitudes about femininity, masculinity, and gender roles, rape culture will continue to get worse. As Gloria Anzaldua asserts, “We need a new masculinity and the new man needs a movement” (106). Now is the time for this new movement. Rape culture reaches across borders and infects every nation in the world. Borders cannot stop a war such as rape culture; there is no stopping it unless all nations come together to create new ideologies free from oppressive beliefs that degrade, dehumanize, defile, objectify, violate, and marginalize women, and men too.