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+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....

by (2.4k 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

Somehow I missed these replies. Glad I rechecked. I appreciate what you said about hearing but rejecting the conclusion. I presume your conclusions are open for debate.

I Have enjoyed the opportunities to have discussions with you all. You are quite good at keeping the topic as the the main focus. I have asked some inane things like where to "dive in" to a conversation. It could have been easy to belittle such a question but answered it directly. I hope I can learn from you

I Am used to conversations quickly dissolving into personal attacks. This is refreshing.
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

That patriarchy has been exposed is great. My sense is that we are going through a different phase. Even 5 years ago, that woman would never even have thought about challenging you about that. Maybe at times it goes overboard but that is the price of change. It can't be avoided. It was underground for centuries/millenia so the change will take time.

I hear what you are saying about people having responsibility for their own behavior. No doubt, many women consent to have s*x while drunk. I think s*x while the other person is incapacitated is absolutely rape. For me the issue might become how incapacitated does one have to be? I would say even a hint of "no" while drunk means "no." Badgering until "yes" while the person is drunk is close to rape. I have little doubt some would say it is.

One perspective to keep in mind is that a recent highlighted case was about a young adult man who raped a woman while she lay drunk behind a dumpster. Some said she was fair game because, well for some reason. What possible reason could a person think that this person gave their consent? And consent is the key.

This has gotten me to think about how the predominance of patriarchy affects our s*ual behaviors. I think it's influence is still very strong and so rape lines must also be made very clear until such time people have full agency of their beings.
Well a couple weeks in and I am still here. I would have stated my last sentence differently if I stated it at all having being here a short time.

Elsewhere someone mentioned that some who address such things as rape culture have a victomhood mentality. I think I know what is meant. A "poor me" "everybody is picking on me" helplessness.

I Don't hear the complaints in the same way. I here them as statements that patriarchy still exists. That women cannot be the ones to end it. That men have to see the depth at which it penetrates our lives everyday.

As I understand it, women are angry and men are doing little to change the oppressive patterns.

TOday, a video is going around of D J T calling forward a woman in the oval office in front of global viewers ending with, "you have a nice smile." Can you see this as patriarchy on steroids or do you say what is wrong w complementing her?

If the former, then why not point it out to others? If the latter, then you have more to learn about patriarchy. Women calling this out is not about being a victim. It is about trying not to be a victim.

For @ to work, there must be more feminine voices. Our culture is what it is today because we lack feminine influence on policy and practice. To shut out the voices because they sound like victims means to shut out the voices of victims. Women are victims of misogyny and patriarchy. Women are not feeling sorry for themselves. Women want change. If that requires pointing out the victimization of women, so be it.

More thoughts but will end it there to hear your thoughts, I hope.
this is one of the many many topics that depend on the person and the situation. obviously sexism exists, but rape culture is not just sexism, it's something else, presumably, which is why there's a new word for it. a new word, btw, that is very inflammatory. if that new name is helpful for certain people, then great. but there are other people who use it as a way to influence people. a victim mentality is not just about "poor me," it's also a way to negotiate power ("i'm more downtrodden than you so you should listen to me"). it can be either or both of those things at the same time. it can also, again, just be how someone learned to talk and think about the ways that sexism works today.
How do see see sexism working today?

I personally do not have a problem letting the "more downtrodden" person speak. In our hierarchy of oppression, the least oppressed will generally be the one quickest to speak out and, unfortunately the most regarded. People who are further down the chain are less likely to step forward or to be listened to.

This is seen in the cases of women being interrupted be it on the Supreme Court or in the Senate. The least oppressed/oppressor takes control. Attempts to thwart that control are often futile.

As for the phrase "rape culture", what do you mean people use it to influence people? I thought words were for that exact purpose.
would anyone like to discuss what "culture" means to them?

because i find the word itself (whatever you attach in front of it) problematic, for a variety of reasons (which i'll gladly discuss)...
I Think that is a grand idea.

I Can't say I don't know since I use it.

If I have to define it in terms of "rape culture", I would say I think of culture like I do organic culture as in yogurt.

IT affects the medium, essentially changing its substance. A culture of rape stirred into the social order changes the way we interact with w each other.

NOt a student of philosophy or social orders so that is what I got.
where does this culture exist?

how do you know/determine when it exists and when it doesn't?

within the concept of rape culture, what represents the yogurt in your example?

how does one make contact with a "culture"?
Are you suggesting that there is no such thing as a culture of people? That you see the world as individuals who act totally independent of one another? Are you asking for proof that culture exits?

I Am not learned in such things as to be able to offer proof. I, personally, accept that people interact, that we influence one another. That it is possible to influence individuals and collective beings to create various environs. Environs such as totalitarianism, and other forms of oppression. Or to create an environment of individual independence w/in a given group of people.

WIthin a given group it is possible to create a way to be sure oppression or individual autonomy are sustained.

That would be my simple answer of how I define culture. Specifically, a mixture of people who influence one another in ways that enable the group to function day to day w limited chaos. I just made that up so I am willing  to see its weaknesses.

Do you agree that a collective of human beings can become a relatively distinct entity? If not, is there any use in my describing how I think rape culture exists and persists?
zz you don't seem to have considered my points about different motivations operating for different people (or even for the same person, at different times). perhaps you'll consider it over time a little.
I Have no trouble with idea that people uses words or phrases for their own purposes or differently at different yimes. I was focused on addressing the question of whether or not there is a rape culture.

What is the reason that you think the multiple uses of the phrase has to do with idea of whether or not a rape culture exists?

Are people capitalizing off of it? Why not? That is what capitalistism promotes. Capitalizing off of what ever crosses their path.
i'm not talking just about word usage. i'm talking about motivation.
zz, no, i don't want "proof". i'd like to know about your experiences and thoughts.

i also do not think people act totally independent of each other.

i think people (and places, other creatures and plants, anything you come in contact with) influence each other in many ways.

i want to know how you sense something called "culture", where it locates, how you know if it has changed, etc.

i hope that clarifies, at least a little.... :)

edited to add:

so, taking "rape culture" as an example, what would cause you to say that it does or does not exist? or any other aspect of what you consider "culture"  (if you'd rather use another)?

it may seem strange to you, but i don't use the word (culture)....like a lot of other words i don't use which appear obvious and common to most people i talk with....i've intentionally removed many words from my speech and writing, mostly nouns used as concepts and/or broad representations for what i observe as dynamic, moving, transitory, varying, and fluctuating (by person(s), by place, by instance, by degree) phenomena, feelings, behaviors, thought patterns....

 Clearly, I haven't thought in those terms. Can you tell me your thoughts on this?

I Thought I wrote a reply to this. Maybe in another question?

Anyway, can you tell me about your reasons for not using  the word "culture" or other words that you don't use?
zz, sure....it may take a few back and forth responses with you for me to explain, so perhaps we could do it through the PM function here....unless more people feel inclined to read our conversation. :)
Not sure why a PM is necessary. If we are talking about the word/concept of culture - - the presence or absence of it - - it seems like a very good discussion to have among @s or potential ones.
okay, i'll stick with just why i don't use "culture".

zz: as i've said already, i accept that the term "rape culture" expresses something real. that doesn't mean that every time someone uses that term, they're only using it for the purpose of clarifying a dynamic, or helping someone (depending on what one means by help, i guess). sometimes, people use it because it is likely to have an emotional impact on their listeners, an impact that the user-of-the-term wants to use for some reason.

the example i go to all the time is clarence thomas' use of the word "lynch" when he was being confronted by accusations of sexual harassment.

people don't have to be conscious of why they're using a phrase or word, for it to be manipulative on their part. and, as i have said repeatedly on this thread already, motivations can be (are always) mixed. so someone can be doing something i consider appropriate and something i consider manipulative at exactly the same time.

hope that clarified things.

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