Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women's bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women's rights and safety (Sexual Misconduct).
The notion of Rape Culture primarily became prominent in the 1970s. It was created by second-wave feminists - a period of feminism that existed in the 1960s and lasted two decades. During the 1970s, second-wave feminists had begun to engage in consciousness-raising efforts designed to educate the public about the prevalence of rape. Along with second-wave feminism, the anti-rape movement was quite popular. This movement was created to push the idea that rape is a crime and should be punished. Throughout history, rape had not been viewed as a crime because women had been considered property. In many cultures, marriages are arranged by a groom 'buying' the bride from her father. The only situation in which rape would be punished is if the rapist damaged the wife by rape. However, a lot of the time the woman would be charged with adultery regardless of consent.
Despite the thought of Rape Culture being around for a while, there are still some flaws in it. Rape culture has a broad spectrum of what could possibly be considered rape. From a catcall while walking down the streets, to inappropriate touching, to ultimately forced sex. This spectrum ultimately creates confusion, due to there being no connection between a catcall and forced rape. Catcalling does not make someone a rapist, but it does make the person an irritant. Many believe that rape culture creates a notion that encourages rape victims to see themselves constantly under threat in a culture that does not see rape as an issue, while others believe that rape culture exists due to society blaming victims.
Jaclyn Friedman, the author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, told Time Magazine If so many millions of women were getting carjacked or kidnapped, we'd call it a public crisis. That we accept it [rape] as normal, even inevitable, is all the evidence that I need. This was in response to an essay written by Carolina Kitchens on Time Magazine that claimed rape culture was a theory over-hyped by hysterical feminists (Maxwell, Zerlina).
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