Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ponderings Coupled with PostSecret

Postsecret has a lot of great images up this week. Many of them have themes consistent with gender/feminist issues. Definitely worth a look.

This one caught my eye:
Not only did the verbal imagery remind me of certain people I know, it is also a very powerful message about the state of rape awareness in this culture.

I've heard too many stories of women who have been raped and don't even know it. It's just more proof of how morphed society's view of sex really is. If sex can be confused with rape, or rape with sex, then something is amiss with our view of sexuality.

All this gray area does is create rape apologists who explain and justify rape (and the subsequent slap on the wrist that most rapists get if they're brought to court at all) with things like "Well, she must have just been teasing him" or "How was he supposed to know she was being serious? Women say 'no' when they mean 'yes' all the time".

This is also why I dislike depictions of sex, be they in books/movies/television, that create a fight-sex mentality. That sex as a struggle is somehow erotic or better than sex that is obviously consensual is not a concept that I'm a fan of.

Now, for risk of being labeled "anti-sex", "frigid", or "prude", allow me to say that whatever one does in their own bedroom is their business (unless its abusive or non-consensual of course).

Still, all the time, trashy romance novels, soap operas, popular F/X television shows, movies, and all different forms of entertainment show sex as some sort of erotic battle. The less consent the better it seems. This attitude also spans every range of taste. And of course, this isn't even mentioning the fact that this is often the main line of defense in rape cases.

Even so, the people who write/direct/create these works don't even seem to buy into what they're presenting (with perhaps the exception of Dennis Leary). Even in these consensual rape fantasies, it's still consensual! So, the only thing that is presented is rape as a violent act of domination, and with that, the line is blurred. What is consent when sex is supposed to be a battle?

It's no wonder people have secrets like the one above. How could anyone ever know if they consented or not when non-consent is often portrayed as consent?


FEMily! said...

And then pro-life politicians like Mike Rounds put conditions on rape, as if forced sex is only forced sex when she's a Christian virgin who was sodomized and planned to wait to have sex until she was married. Not only did he say that such women were the only ones worthy of abortion rights, he basically said that that is the only scenario in which rape is an acceptable label.

Megan said...

I'm starting to think that maybe categorizing rape as a form of sex is a mistake in the first place.

But wasn't that Bill Napoli? Or did Rounds jump on that misogynistic bandwagon, too? I wouldn't put it past him, that's for sure.

FEMily! said...

I knew when I typed "Mike Rounds" I was getting something wrong. Yes, it was Bill Napoli.

Megan said...

I consider them two peas ina a woman-hating pod anyway.

Anonymous said...

This is my secret. It's the first time I've looked for it since I sent it to postsecret, but I'm glad you found it, and I'm glad people are entering into a discussion about this kind of problem. Defining something as rape, especially in cases where you know that person (which I did) is more complicated, because the world is infused with so many associations, and the process of making that accusation can be very daunting. I wouldn't know, though, because I never did it. Suffice it to say, no woman or girl should ever have to ask that question, or confront that possibility, and it means a lot to me that you're saying that.