Tag Archives: rape

The Rape Culture Problem at UVA

1 Dec

University-of-Virginia-RotundaIf you haven’t read the Rolling Stone article entitled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” do so. The story outlines the horrifying gang rape of a freshman, Jackie, at the University of Virginia in 2012 and the response of the University following her rape. It’s a heartbreaking, yet necessary read, and points out some major flaws in how universities in the United States handle rape and sexual assault.

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Pick-Up Artists & Anti-Pick-Up Artists: Promises of Sexist Gender Ideologies Denied

2 Jul

[“White Ribbon”. Source: MesserWoland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

In response to the horrific murders at UC Santa Barbara in late May, many commentators have pointed out the perpetrator’s connection to so-called Anti-Pickup Artist online communities and to the misogynist and racist motivations of the shooting. Whereas the Pick-Up Artist fad has received some media attention and academic study in the past, the so-called Anti-Pick-Up artist scene has received much less attention – with notable exceptions well worth reading – and has probably been completely off the radar even for those of us studying gender. Even though the name suggests an oppositional stance on the idea of PickUp artistry, in reality, these Anti-Pick-Up Artists share in the very same gender ideology as those being drawn to Pick-Up Artist message boards and websites. Add in the frustration with the ineffectiveness of the Pick-Up Artists’ tips and strategies, and the Anti-Pick-Up Artist scene reveals itself as promoting an equally – if not more – toxic gender ideology.

[This article first appeared at SociologyLens]

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Media Representation of Rape Victims

28 May
Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Last month, the New York Times published an article about Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the controversy surrounding his award (Bogdanich 2014). Winston was accused of raping a freshman woman at Florida State University, and despite the accusation and the implications that go along with it, Winston was still awarded the premier honor in college football that not only recognizes athleticism, but character as well. After an overview of the case and a description of the poor response time from university and police officials, the article depicts the scene where the victim and her rapist met. Winston is referred to as “Mr. Winston”, while the young girl is described as “Mr. Winston’s accuser,” a 19-year-old girl, who could not legally buy alcohol, but was at the bar anyways, implying the young woman did something wrong because she was underage. Winston is described as, “A redshirt freshman quarterback, 6 feet 4 inches and 235 pounds, Mr. Winston had been a prize recruit, well-known in football circles but not yet a widely recognizable name.” She, on the other-hand, isn’t offered the same kind of praise, despite accusing “Mr. Winston” of rape. The young victim is merely described as a caricature of a college-aged drinker who got into trouble, or worse got what she deserved, because she was at the bar.

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Convergence of Masculinities in “Gamer” Culture

19 Mar

Presenting at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June 2013, Microsoft unveiled Killer Instinct to the press, a reboot of a popular franchise from the 1990s and a high-profile release for their upcoming console. To demonstrate the game, Microsoft brought out two employees–one male, one female–to play it onstage. In an incident that would quickly become infamous, the one-sided contest devolved into trash talking, culminating in a joke likening the woman’s defeat to rape. Microsoft quickly clarified that the on-stage banter was not scripted; the male employee, a producer on the game being demonstrated, had simply decided to joke about raping another employee during an official event, in front of hundreds in attendance and millions online.

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2013 in Anti-Feminism: FoxNews to Women: “To Prevent Rape, Just Shoot Men.”

6 Jan

Today I want to go back to a ‘debate’ on Fox News from early 2013, in which feminist writer Zerlina Maxwell raised the issue of how to involve men in the prevention of sexual violence by arguing that rape can be prevented if men learn not to rape. This idea, however, was shot down (no pun intended) immediately by Fox News host Sean Hannity as an unrealistic liberal pipe dream. Rather, Hannity and Gayle Trotter of the ‘Independent Women’s Forum’ – a conservative think tank – argued that the right to carry concealed weapons is what can protect women from being raped. Although clearly being an attempt to intervene in the gun control debate by these conservative thinkers, their arguments reveal some of the underlying assumptions about sexualized violence and masculinities in mainstream discourse – assumptions that are in strong conflict with findings from research.

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“Jock Culture” or Sex-Segregated Socialization?

6 Nov
US_Navy_051008-N-9693M-022_Members_of_the_U.S._Naval_Academy_football_team_run_across_the_field_toward_the_home_team_stands_in_celebration_of_their_victory_over_Air_Force_27-24_at_Navy-Marine_Corps_stadium

Source: Wikimedia Commons

High-profile cases of rape and sexual assault perpetrated by athletes in the US have become far too common.  In a recent column for The Nation, Dave Zirin illustrated the ever more obvious connection between “jock culture” and the perpetration of sexual violence.  Jock culture and rape culture, Zirin argues, are intrinsically linked.  Young women are seen as “the spoils of being a jock” according to Zirin. In many ways Zirin could not be more right.  Clearly young male athletes are learning terrible lessons regarding what their status means about their relationships to women but is “jock culture” the right way to frame this issue? Continue reading

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