Since writing this post about The Kissing Sailor, its reach has completely exceeded all my expectations, and has generated more discussion on my blog than ever before. As I read the comments though, I come across a couple of misunderstandings, and though many excellent people have responded with clarification, I see the same misconceptions popping up again and again.
Also, many seem to be confused as to what is meant by the term ‘rape culture’. Our living in a rape culture doesn’t mean that everyone thinks rape is fantastic. What it does mean is a culture where rape and other forms of sexual violence are normalised, to be expected. It’s a culture where attitudes towards women’s bodies and attitudes towards perpetrators combine to tolerate and condone sexual violence, even while we pay lip service to the monstrosity of rape. It’s a culture where victims are criticised for their choice of clothing, their behaviour, and their sexual freedom, as though they are partly to blame for their fate. It’s a culture where women’s bodies are public property; they undergo scrutiny in the media, and weight gain in female celebrities like Christina Aguilera or Lady Gaga seems like a justification to hurl abuse at them. And the fact that Greta’s comments were given no attention in the news articles is certainly a manifestation of rape culture, contributing to and reflecting it. ———————————————————————————- I’m sorry that the term ‘rape culture’ makes people uncomfortable. But perhaps it’s time we stopped being comfortable. After all, it is when we start to acknowledge that society isn’t as perfect as we thought it was, that progress can be made.