Time to focus on men- Weinstein and rape culture
Rape culture is a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.
When sex crime happens the focus is always on how we can further control women’s behaviour in ‘staying safe’, why women don’t speak up and on how women can speak up, rather than on how to stop men from committing these acts and what culturally encourages this. I am not saying all males are implicit in this, neither am I discounting male victims. However, rape culture, especially the objectification of women, means more women suffer and men don’t even realise they were brought up to encourage and continue the culture.
To lower sex crime, we must focus on changing what society teaches males. Here is the journey of rape culture in male upbringing:
-Hearing compliments like ‘he’ll be a heartbreaker’ from the day they are born.
– Seeing slogans on girls like ‘cute’ whilst wearing slogans like ‘boys will be boys’.
– Learning that their behaviour is less strictly controlled than girls.
– In households seeing females doing more for males than males do in return, often hearing men order women to do tasks for them.
– Being taught and then believing that males are innately better.
– Learning that insults for girls are about looks or sex and that it is ok to pull up skirts or bra straps if it is a ‘joke’.
– Seeing females as objects in advertising, games and on TV and film.
– Being taught that males cannot control their sexual urges due to biology.
– Banter with male friends is what do to women and insults are ‘ your mum’ or what they do with their mum or sister.
– Watching sex scenes or porn that shows women doing whatever the man wants, even if it is degrading.
– A rite of passage is a stripper, strip club or Amsterdam.
– Male friends saying what they make their girlfriend or wife do.
This all leads to the belief that females are there for male gratification and a sense of righteousness if a woman does not respond how a male intended. Catcalling, grabbing butts in bars, flirting, buying a drink, sending pictures, sexual acts etc. The majority of women have had numerous negative experiences of this that rape culture tells them to brush off. Women either think it is normal, speak up and receive rape threats and defamation, learn worth is based on attention from men even if it is unwanted, or learn it must somehow be their fault. Society is taught to mistrust women so when we hear of a sex crime doubt comes first. This is where silence comes in enabling a predator like Weinstein.
To lessen rape culture and sex crime society must focus on changing what males are taught, not what women should do or not do. This means all of us teaching different behavioural norms and challenging what we see, alongside actual justice when a sex crime takes place. I’d like billboard and advert campaigns challenging rape culture. I’d like a change in TV and the Hollywood films I see.
On that note back to Hollywood. Here just a few ideas on what they can do in film to begin to lessen rape culture instead of just saying the actions of one man are bad:
-Stop objectifying women, for example writing in bikini, underwear or topless scenes for actresses.
-Stop writing male friendship scenes where they talk about porn, objectify or degrade women.
-Stop writing unrealistic storylines where no matter how awful the men are they still get with the desired woman.
-Write women so that they are characters, not stereotypes or just a love interest.
– Write women rejecting males who exhibit behaviours that perpetuate rape culture.
-Ban violent sex scenes when it is consensual sex and question why you are showing full rape scenes.
It is time for men to challenge rape culture within and between themselves. This will also benefit male victims of sex crime. It is time for us all to move the responsibility away from sex crime being a females concern to it being a cultural concern for us all.