In recent months, the topic of rape has begun to acquire more public attention and debate than ever. At times I feel as though our culture is becoming more intolerant of rape and misogyny due to our intolerance of inequality and injustice. But unfortunately, that is an incorrect assumption. It may be because of our increasing access to instantaneous information, but recently I have become more and more aware of incidence of rape. Our culture of demeaning women and treating them as objects or toys made for the personal gratification and enjoyment of men is causing a rape culture.
In my own, rather conservative culture, the women are always expected to clear the table while the men literally sit around it and wait for the dessert to be laid out in front of them. Growing up, when I would refuse to help clean and rather choose to sit with the men in defiance of these sexist and demeaning cultural norms, I was made to feel guilty and disrespectful.
No, we’re not making a “big deal” out of this. We are fighting for gender and sex equality. I’m not fighting for female rights because I’m a female; I’m fighting because I believe in the equality of all people. It is not okay to brush me off because I’m a woman. It is absolutely archaic to believe that a woman is beneath a man. Women have the capability to create a human being inside of them and bring them into the world. A woman gave birth to you, and literally pushed you out of their insides. That is the most powerful and important task on this earth and it is women who have been given the ‘job’. It is our bodies that are capable of such strength and endurance. Women have been given the single most important duty of all and yet they are belittled, abused, and stripped of authority or significance. They are made interchangeable. We have all been labeled as “bitches”.
Recently I heard about an incident of rape within my own community. I was disgusted and appalled to hear that people so similar to me were capable of such an atrocious act. I was rather sheltered growing up, so I never realized that people I actually knew and associated with were capable of committing rape or even of being raped. It was always a distant threat, something that happened to people with “bad” parents or “bad” friends. I could not have been more mislead. One in four college women report surviving rape or attempted rape. ONE IN FOUR. That means I, or one out of three of my female friends will fall prey to this statistic. This cannot be the norm. This is not okay. WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR CULTURAL AND SOCIAL NORMS IN ORDER TO STOP HARMFUL ACTS TOWARDS WOMEN. We must do something about the fact that male entitlement kills people. How many more wake-up calls do we need? How many more innocent women must fall victim?
Rape culture is directly correlated with misogynistic societal norms. Boys who don’t receive romantic or sexual attention from women blame women, while women who don’t receive such attention from boys blame themselves. We live in a society where a man feels entitled to murder women because they refuse to sleep with him. I realize that not all men are like this, of course. But that does not take away from the fact that we live in a society and a culture of male dominance. We often use mental illness as a justification of mass murder when women are actually more likely to develop mental illness, but how often do we hear about women going on shooting sprees because men won’t love them or have sex with them?
I don’t “owe” anyone my body. My body is my own. It does not belong to anyone but me. It doesn’t belong to a man and it certainly does not belong to the government. Yet, in 2013 alone, there were 700 bills proposed to regulate a woman’s body. The number of bills to regulate a man’s body however, was the rightful number: zero. The political entity making these decisions that affect MY body are composed of over 80% males.
During my first semester in college, I witnessed a girl crying while hiding in bushes in the night trying to escape from two men as they searched for her in rage. Their aggressive expressions were enough to make even me feel uncomfortable and threatened just by passing by them as I gripped my pepper spray. Do you realize the absurdity of the fact that when girls go to college they buy pepper spray and rape whistles while boys buy condoms? This is the culture we are breeding. I, myself, am disgusted of the sheer reality of this. Is this a society we want to live in and be a part of and raise our children in?
When a man is in charge and tells people what to do, it’s normal. But when a woman is in charge, they are called “bossy” or a “bitch”. Speaking up about these causes and these issues makes me an “angry feminist” or a “crazy liberal”. Why is it that a when a boy tweets in favor of women’s rights issues, it gives the statement more validity and power? I am not “hating on men”. I am trying to show that our society is flawed and WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT. We are continuously breading a culture of demeaning our fellow human beings based on gender, sexual orientation, race, and so forth. It is never okay to make someone feel as though they are inferior to you for any reason. We are all equal and deserve to be treated as such. The only thing that makes one person superior to another is their ability to show compassion towards their fellow human beings.