Promotion of Rape Culture Within Society

Category: Literature
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In the early 1970’s a group of feminist released a film entitled Rape Culture in which its purpose was to provide insight into the normalization of sexual violence and harassment against women. This was the initiation of the term; its connotation provided a setting where all elements of rape consistently fell in line with the modern standard of societal attitudes toward gender and sexuality. Members of society began to perpetuate rape myths which were shaped by media portrayals and popular culture. Rape culture is continuously promoted in our society through media, music, and literature which teaches us to conform to societal gender roles in which objectify and disregard women’s character and abilities. In the original version of Sleeping Beauty: Sun, Moon, and Talia, the daughter of a great lord is predicted to be harmed by a splinter of flax. Her father banishes all splinters of flax from his home. Inevitably, Talia pokes her finger on it and drops dead. Her father can’t bear to bury his child and leaves her in a country estate. As time passes by a King comes across Talia’s body while hunting.

While failing to wake her he admires her beauty and loses control of himself and rapes her as a result. 9 months later, the King visits Talia again only to see that she gave birth. While attempting to nurse her daughter mistakenly sucks on her finger and the splinter is removed. Talia awakens unwed with two children by a married man. Eventually, his wife finds out about his secret family and planned to cook his children Sun and Moon for his dinner. Luckily, the cook disobeyed her orders and spared the children. As the queen arranged for Talia to be burned by a great fire and the King intervenes discovering his wife’s plan. He demands that the cook is spared, his wife is burned, and he marries Talia (Basile 8). As an audience we are often so caught up in the concept of love the author creates for us we don’t realize the unjust actions of the characters or self- sacrifice they partake in. In this part of the text, Fisher is discussing the facade behind the popular fairy tale phrase happily ever after. The author states: “In fact, we join many other feminists in saying that the triumphant “happily ever after” grand finale is itself a kind of lie endemic to fairy tales. Brown and Gilligan, for example, report that in making up their own stories, girls like to use happy ever-after endings to resolve painful dilemmas. This, the authors note, is more like “wishful thinking on their part, something heard in a fairy tale, a pleasing and acceptable cover for experiences of feeling left out and fears of being abandoned” (47).

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The fairy tales’ happily ever after seems to accomplish more than simply reassuring readers by”rightful” stature to the romantic patriarch. Happy endings also seal behind their thin facade ineffable female anger, aggressiveness, powerlessness, fear of men not pronouncing them sexually desirable, and, most of all, women’s fear of being condemned for having spoken authentically of their uncomfortable feelings and experiences. The Good and True Princess has learned to maintain silence, for she comes to see that her truths would be punished as disruptive”( Fisher 129). This quote shows how the concept of happily ever after is not really real for everyone in the story. Women in these tales force happiness upon themselves for the sake of the of the plot. Specifically relating to Sun, Moon, and Talia the author romanticizes the situation making the rape seem okay. We’re so distracted by the fantasy, we don’t come to terms with reality. Women have to silence and hide their pains to abide by fairy tale rules while being quote on quote rescued by hero’s who take ownership of them.

The prince brings the story to its conclusion and his version of a happy ending in marriage while the princess suffers in silence. The more artists promote and perpetuate sexual violence towards women in their music the more society becomes accustomed to viewing women as sexual objects. This usually allows men to explore and use for their own sexual pleasures instead of people. The author makes a point that “Not all sexual content in music is equivalent. One prominent theme represented in media portrayals of sex, described as “degrading sex,” involves three particular attributes: (i) one person (usually male) has a seemingly insatiable sexual appetite, (2) the other person (usually female) is objectified, and (3) sexual value is placed solely on physical characteristics” (Primack). This quote shows how sex in music isn’t portrayed as a mutual desire. It reduces women to sexual beings with only the pleasure of a male in mind. Usually, male artists produce these songs with degrading sex and it depicts situations where women are vulnerable and unable to have a say in the act of sex.

The male is very dominant and ceases all power and authority over the woman because she is regarded with contempt. These song lyrics send the message that it is okay to take advantage of a woman. Artists are becoming accustomed to putting out these sexually aggressive notions into their music which feeds people the idea that this is appropriate behaviour. In turn, we unconsciously sing along to these songs which normalizes sexual violence and place women at a higher risk for rape which feeds people the idea that this is appropriate behavior. Advertisements use women more specifically their bodies to promote products as a way to appeal to the male consumer. The author makes a point that: “Unfortunately, the depiction of women in stereotypical contexts continues to exist in advertisements for several product categories, leading to the inaccurate conclusion that females may appropriately be viewed as sexual objects for the pleasure of male consumption. Research shows, “By viewing women as exclusively sexual beings whose purpose is to sexually arouse and gratify men, a power differential is created in which women generally are subordinate.

This power hierarchy may support the development of perceptions of women as appropriate targets for sexually aggressive behavior” (Capella 37). This quote shows that regarding women as sex objects in advertisements opens up the door for sexual abuse. Traditionally, society deems women’s purpose as being the nurturer typically for her husband and her children. Now in modern times, this idea has been transpired into women being sexual prey for men. Their duty is to please men and fulfil their desires through a sexual display and physical attractiveness. This moral responsibility of women to be sexual beings given by men has been implanted in modern day culture. Men’s power derives from their ability to sexually overpower a woman and have her at his mercy. Society allows men to be that figure of strength and authority for all and when that comes into play men tend to abuse their power.

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Promotion of Rape Culture within Society. (2020, Jan 12). Retrieved from