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Is there such a thing as rape-culture?

+2 votes

This is a term that has been used a lot by modern feminist movements, and I want to inquire what y'all think of the term. In my completely unqualified opinion, I would say there is one but at the same time there isn't. The nature of pornography and prostitution shows that there is such a thing, the fact that sex is very often viewed as dominance and submission, but at the same time, in order for a culture to exist it has to be somewhat openly shared. I can imagine there are very few conversations among men that sound like "ah man, raping that bitch last night was great! Have you raped anyone this week?". It would seem that even among the more misogynistic men, it would still be unsettling to admit that you raped someone....

asked Apr 18 by Nihilist (900 points)
i think you're misunderstanding what is meant by rape culture, which (at its best) is pointing out that there are undercurrents that promote rape even amongst people who reject rape explicitly. the "culture" word is to point to how it is not an individual issue but a social one, and that it works subtly and subconsciously.
what are those undercurrents in your opinion?
i don't know. i'm not thinking about this these days.
doing a search for "examples of rape culture" gets things that are not particularly subtle. so maybe that part of my comment is about my interpretation. obviously you can do your own search; part of the reason that this is not an interesting conversation to me is because the people who tend to use this language don't want to have the kinds of conversations i want to have--mostly these folks are pushing a woman=victim, humor should be clean, kind of line. though i'm sure not all of them are.

this is just another one of those topics that is pretty stupid to have with people i don't know and/or trust. there are many...

"The nature of pornography and prostitution shows that there is such a thing"

interesting. how exactly do you see porn and prostitution (generally speaking) as evidence of "rape culture"? 

also, as insanely pathetic and fucked up as it seems to me, i think the age of social media and living out loud (online) goes against your downplay of that sample misogynist conversation (which made me laugh out loud, btw, so i must be one). how many rapes have been streamed on social media in the past few years? i only know what i see in the news, since i don't have facebook/twitter/etc, but it seems that broadcasting one's dominating behavior has become not at all uncommon. 

i have a rather similar response as dot to the term "rape culture". i find that the only people for whom that term is meaningful are identity politicians and subscribers to the ideology of victimization (victim/oppressor fetishists) - to the extent those are even separable. 

@funky: Sorry if I was unclear, but there is a great deal of fucked-up-ness in the porn and prostitution industry, and attitudes that would seem to corroborate raping people (rape porn, eccentuation of female submission, ect.). However, the line of course is blurry here because there are women who do understand the nature of what they do in porn despite however unhappy it may make them...prostitution however is often done through very coercive measures with violence and mind-control e

I was posting this in part because I was reading the websites of the tablers at the NYC anarchist bookfair, and there was this one peculiar feminist website called the LIES Journal, in which they were saying that "all sex is rape", and some other bullshit like that.
"there are women who do understand the nature of what they do in porn despite however unhappy it may make them...prostitution however is often done through very coercive measures with violence and mind-control ect."

having lived in san francisco for a number of years and having talked with quite a few female sex workers on numerous occasions (not having sex with them, believe it or not), more women than you'd think - at least in sf - are not unhappy with their work, nor were they coerced into it through violence or any other means. they are strong, independent women who happen to love sex and be very sex-positive. they see their work as not very different (for them) from any other job that requires the renting out of one's body and/or mind. and they get paid far better than most jobs.

granted, i don't think any of the women i spoke with were at the lower end of the industry wage scale. and none of this is intended to deny or belittle the large number of women who undoubtedly have been forced into sex work for all kinds of reasons. i just think the kind of women i am talking about may not be as much of a rarity as seems commonly thought.

people laugh for all kinds of reasons, not always because something is funny.
separate point: "a clever rape joke"? ew. (edit: this refers to a line that has since been removed, which i think is unfortunate, both as a tendency--disappearing things that are criticized--and because maybe i should have been encouraged to be more clear about what is distasteful, as the person who brought up "humor being clean" as a problem. is it appropriate for me to cavil over whether a joke is clever and includes rape, vs a clever rape joke? so subjective, and again, why these conversations suck online.)
sexworkers run a huge gamut, as F@ said, as do feminists, as do anarchists.
while people who talk about rape culture tend to be creepy, that doesn't mean that rape culture doesn't exist. i myself would apply it more extensively, to talk about how the western world tends to view the planet and each other, as resources (for example). but that gets us back to jargon, among other things, and arguably off topic here.
again, ultimately i don't like having this conversation with people online.

My understanding of rape culture is that it is based on our patriarchal system.

Women must obey. (present company excluded, right?) All is well if they do. Not so much if they don't.

Our glorification of violence adds to that. Men feel there will be few consequences if they emotionally or physically are violent towards anyone who seems weaker in any way. This can be true of women---abusing a seemingly weaker person.

What strengthens people's sense of no accountability is that rape kits go untested. Abusers,  therefore,  go about their life. A person who finally retaliates against the abuser w violence gets incarcerated.

Another example has many variations. When a person feels they have been harassed, that person is asked, "why didn't you just get another job? Go to another school?"  In other words, the abuser doesn't get blamed for doing it. The harassed get blamed for not stopping or not avoiding it.

Women (usually) are in fact laughed at for saying they were abused. Men (usually) tend to laugh it off, not realizing the woman is serious.

I could go on. I hope that see a bit of the other side.

As for those nasty people you don't want to get into conversation with, try listening instead of talking. Try accepting what they say is their truth. To give it no regard means you are part of the problem.


hi zz. nice to have a new voice remind us of  the things we sometimes take for granted on this site.

as you read more on here, you'll get a better sense of what people mean when we talk about (for example) yes, listening to people and hearing what they have to say about their own lives, for sure, but also not necessarily accepting at face value their conclusions or assumptions about larger tendencies, as we don't accept our own conclusions or assumptions at face value all the time also.

i definitely hope you keep asking questions and checking what you're reading. this site has tons of threads with challenging topics and not being able to see each other's faces or know each others' histories makes it easy to not immediately understand that the hel someone is saying. (frequently topics are challenging and controversial because a single word--rape, racism, respect, etc--covers a ton of territory and can mean really different things both right now and historically. so it can take some time.)

anyway, welcome.

Hey zz...one of the problems I have with the version of the "patriarchal system" that you described is that it's a little bit too simplistic and doesn't match up to the current realities. This is not to say that patriarchal ideas of male domination still don't prevail (as they certainly do), but these ideas have certainly changed in character since the 50's (atleast in the US), and the fact that women named it and called it out was a step on the way to changing cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity.

What I find to be unfortunately the case is that people will call out people for being sexist in situations when that's not what they were intending at all, ill give two examples that come to mind:

1. When I was 17, I had a death metal band called "leathal cock slap", and the local anarchist collective said the name was about raping women and accused us of being mysoginists. So, I was 17 years old, I was looking for a funny sounding band name that had violence in it (it was a death metal band), and the imagery in my mind was some dead guy with a penis indentation on his face. I asked people if they had ever heard the term "cock slap" refer to rape, and no one has ever told me that that was the case....

2. I was recently talking to someone on a park bench about scammers, hackers, internet security ect., and she said she was in school for cyber security and she would help me set up my computer. I said that "well, if you are gonna charge me money for it, then no" because i got the impression that that's what she was looking to do, charge me money for something totally unnecessary. Then she said "your just saying that because im a woman!", which irritated me.

I also feel like the way that feminist movements re-define "rape" to mean that anytime a girl is drunk they can't consent is actually sexist towards women, because they are being turned into a childish victim who can't make decisions for themselves when they're drunk ever. I'm aware that some of them mean  to say that if someone who has sex with someone when they're incapacitated is raping them (and i more or less agree with that), but then why make protective blanket statements saying that "if your drunk you can't consent"? I would like all people to feel like they have responsibility and control over their own bodies

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