One in six women has been sexually assaulted according to RAIIN.org (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
We can see throughout today’s society many different examples of how violence is sexualized. This is what is known and today’s rape and drug culture and we see it all over. We see this is the media, in music, books, movies and in the news. Take the Brock Turner case for example. A man who raped an unconscious woman somehow gets off with 6 months and three years probation in jail instead of many years in prison. It makes it “okay” to do this to someone because the punishment is nowhere near as severe as it should be.
Even in popular films such as Fifty Shades of Grey we see this. Male dominance and control are made to seem okay because it’s in a romance movie. Hurting women for sexual pleasure is idealized in this case.
In today’s culture, it is seen through many different forms that the ideal man is supposed to be forceful, dominant and in control. And then the women are seen as submissive, vulnerable, and under the control of the man. For example, girls are drugged and raped but it’s frequently said that she was “asking for it” because she was really drunk or she was wearing minimal clothing. How can we blame a woman for this? How can it be okay to say she was “asking for it”?
One of the most scrutinized advertisements in recent years has been one from Dolce & Gabbana, and Italian luxury fashion house. The advertisement shows several men in various stages of undress standing around while they watch another man pin down a woman wearing revealing and minimal clothing and attempt to lay on top of her. While there is no act of sexual assault being shown per say, it still shows how the man asserts his dominance on a woman and it can be interpreted what could possibly happen next. This shows that woman is lesser than him. Also, if you take a closer look, you can see the stoic facial expressions on these men, not only showing that they as men don’t have any emotion but insinuating that they have no remorse for what they are about to do.
Not only are advertisements or other forms of media that portray this insulting to women but it also insulting to men. Men are seen as having no self-control, and that they are aware of their dominance and to succumb to these ideas that they need to use force and control to get women to do what they want.
We can see this going all the way back to the bible. In Timothy 2:11-12 it says “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet”. It’s been instilled into our brains that this is acceptable. While it is trying to be made to seem wrong, it’s a slow process. While many people believe that a woman should be strong, independent and capable, there are still so many portrayals of the exact opposite in popular culture. Why are we so contradicting as a society when it comes to women’s rights? We want women to be able to be themselves and have control over their lives, to stop being judged, slut shamed and finally put an end to the romanticization of sexual assault and violence.