Living In America: Living With RapeCulture

This is too good, and too important, not to reblog. It’s an important contribution to our conversation for two reasons: It’s very specific about the consequences of rape and rape culture in the U.S., and it addresses an issue that we deal with regularly – the idea that, for whatever reason, we just shouldn’t talk about it. I’m a little behind because I had something personal going on that kept me offline all day yesterday. At the moment, my plan is to get caught up with comments later this afternoon, and spend some time tomorrow catching up with those of you who tweet with me. Thanks for keeping this going in my absence.

Drifting Through

“Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this
Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed”

-Tori Amos, Me and A Gun

My daughter used to play a game when she was a baby. She would crawl over to our magazine rack and tear up the pages. When I would say something to stop her, she would cover her eyes. She thought, in her adorable baby brain, that if she covered her eyes we couldn’t see it therefore nothing was happening. We laughed each time she did this. We marveled at the simple naiveté of a small child. We thought it was precious. But you know what’s not precious? When adults do it. When we do it. When society does it. When we…

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33 thoughts on “Living In America: Living With RapeCulture

    • That’s Gretchen’s headline. I agree with what she’s saying in the post.

      I would not make “American culture” synonymous with “rape culture,” but I would say that rape culture is a prevalent and easy-to-spot component of the larger culture.


  1. Ok, well I think we are individuals, who make individual choices despite cultural influences, and that rape culture is not synonomous with America.

    I believe rapists are criminals and very much outside the American culture.

    And rapists made their individual decision to rape and thus bear the consequences.


    • I wouldn’t say “outside the culture” in practice. I’d say “outside the culture that we aspire to.”

      Too many people don’t actually bear the consequences, in too many cases responsibility is shifted to the victim, and Gretchen is right about the differences in the way women and men are portrayed sexually in the media.

      I agree that we are individual, who make individual choices, but I don’t think individual choices are made despite cultural influences – I think individual choices are informed by cultural influences. So, if we want people to make better choices, one of the things we can do is work to mitigate or eliminate negative cultural influences.

      I’m not saying people aren’t responsible for their actions; of course I believe they are. But I think culture plays a real role in the way people make decisions.


      • I don’t know anyone that doesn’t know rape is a criminal act.

        Aspiring to perfect is great, but it will never happen.

        There will always be criminals, and we have laws for a reason.

        Some still choose to break laws.

        I cannot support shutting down everything that might lead someone who is a criminal (insane?) to conduct a criminal act.

        That would be stepping all over others rights.

        This ties back into “friend zone” as a part of rape culture, as your sister told me yesterday there’s no reason to joke about friend zone.

        “There is no reason to talk about the friend zone unless you’re upset that you’re there,”

        I disagree and agree with Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz on the nature of free speech.

        Ultimately people are responsible for their own actions.

        I wouldn’t jump off a bridge if someone told me to, and I wouldn’t rape anyone after watching A Clockwork Orange.


        • Just out of curiosity. Would it help at all if I clearly labeled rape culture a subculture to make it clear that I’m not attacking American culture as American culture – just a set of cultural practices that I view as enabling sexual assault?

          I’m not just talking about things like books and movies when I’m talking about culture here, either. I’m also talking about boys learning misogynistic behaviors from older men. And the way a lot of people react to rape after the fact, with things like “look at the way she was dressed, she was asking for it,” “she should have known better than to go out alone,” etc.

          I agree there will always be criminals, and there’s no perfect world to be had. But I do think rape could be greatly reduced in the U.S., and part of the solution is changing some of the ways a lot of people think about it through education. I would file that part of the solution under “culture.” Because what I’m talking about is changing a set of norms. Norms don’t have to be accepted by everyone, or even half the population to be real. They just have to be accepted by enough people to affect the way society functions.

          I haven’t caught up on the friend zone exchange you had yesterday. Haven’t gotten that far down the thread, so I don’t know what went on with that.

          I can only speak for myself, but I do not consider myself to be advocating shutting down everything that might lead to a criminal act. I believe in liberty, and you are right, that would be insane.

          As far as the free speech goes. I wouldn’t make it illegal to talk about the friend zone. That would just be silly. But if people see it as an enabling behavior and want to point that out and try to make others think twice about it, I see no reason to give them a hard time for it. If someone says “there’s no reason to talk about the friend zone unless you’re upset that you’re there,” well, that’s their opinion. I might buy it if it’s supported to my satisfaction. I might not. I’d also have to consider the context in which that statement is made (I’ll get to that point on the thread eventually).

          Diana and I had a long conversation about the complexities of the friend zone before I even included it, and I almost left it out. I decided to include it because I think it’s used the way she suggests in her post “Revaluating the Friend Zone” often enough to warrant discussion (can’t comment on what she said yesterday yet, beyond what I’ve already said). I also think it’s one of those terms that people use in a lot of different ways; so I personally wouldn’t paint everyone who uses it with the same brush, but I would wonder “what does this person really mean by that?”


          • Not really.

            I’m not worried about it anymore.

            Having my say on my blog now and moving on.

            Diana said she was upset. I had no intent to upset, just to discuss.

            And agreed with you generally, except friend zone.


            • Ok. I’m not upset, and will read what you say about it on your blog, of course.

              We’ll have these differences from time to time.

              GTG watch the grandson play baseball; will be back around later this evening, and have no intention of having a huge argument about the friend zone.

              We agree generally, that’s good enough for me.


            • You have a grandson? Holy cow. I started young, haha.

              Oldest is 23, but no grandkids yet.

              My first was born right after I turned 21.


            • I don’t have any biological children (that I know about, lol). My wife has a daughter who’s a step because she was grown when Vicki and I married (we joke about the step-thing). The grandson is not a step, in any way except legally. He doesn’t know about blended families yet. I held him the day he was born, and we spend lots of time. Just because of the way our family works, the little fella has four sets of grandparents. Three of them are technically great-grands, but still. That’s a lot of grandparents.


        • Free speech is not an issue here…That’s misdirection. I made it clear, several times, that I defend the right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean speech is free from critique and analysis. That mischaracterization is what upset me, as it does now.


          • No it’s not. Why would you tell me that I don’t have a reason to speak about a subject unless you don’t want me to speak about something?

            And I don’t think I need a reason that you approve of to speak about a particular subject.

            There are reasons to speak about the subject of “friend zone”.

            And I have elucidated them.

            Humor being 1, and the simple right of Free Speech as indicated in the Constitution being another.

            I agree Free Speech isn’t free from critique and analysis, as I aluded to with my “don’t yell fire in a theater” comment.

            And asked for documentation that you can’t provide.

            So I see no reason to not speak about “friend zone” at all.

            So I disagree with you on that as I am not in a “friend zone”, yet recognize the right to speak about a subject, even if you disagree as to the reason for the speech.

            I hope that clears up why I think you are trying to limit my Free Speech.

            I am sorry you are upset, it’s a simple discussion to me.

            For the above reasons I disagree that it is a “mischaracerization”.


            • I fail to see how m opinion on why someone speaks limits their speech…Mostly because it does not. I limit no one’d speech my disliking or critiquing it. End of story.


            • You told me I had no reason to speak about it, except if I were in a “friend zone”.

              I disagree.

              Linking “friend zone” to Rape Culture creates a demonization of the use of friend zone.

              Certainly no reasonable person would like to be linked to Rape, rape culture in any way, right?

              Yet I do have valid reasons to use “friend zone” as illustrated, and do not believe it’s part of rape culture at all.

              When you tell me I have no reason to speak about something, you are attempting to limit what I am talking about.

              That’s as clear as day. You do not want “friend zone” used in communication. Do you deny that?

              If so, why would you tell me I have no reasont o use it?

              We commonly refer to this phenomenon as “peer pressure.”

              You tell me I have no reason to discuss something, with the hope that I will not discuss it any longer.




            • I do, actually, deny all that. A)One person’s opinion does not peer pressure make. B) You have misunderstoof what I was.saying and quoted it out of context. My point was hat there was no reason for that term’s existence until enough people got disgruntled by being “just friends” to start talking about it as a.”zone”. There was no reason for it aside from that. So there is no reason for the friend zone as a concept to have been spoken about until someone got upset, and that is often what happens now. I hope that clears that up. But really, it’s plain ridiculous to say that a critique of speech equals a silencing. It does not.


            • So, once I read the thread and have the time to write a much more nuanced and carefully-worded post about the friend zone, I will do a follow up. That could be mid-week or next weekend. I’m slammed right now.

              I feel as though the fact that one part of what I said is generating a disagreement this intense is partly my fault for not being more clear enough in the original post. I should have anticipated it, but I did not.


            • OK, so you are not my peer and not exerting pressure by telling me I have no reason to speak about ‘friend zone” unless I am in a “friend zone”.

              I quoted you directly, and it’s not out of context.

              Unless you can show me who originated the “friend zone” term I don’t know if women started it as a joke, or men quite frankly.

              That it’s a subject for humor now is self-evident by it’s usage on Twitter amongst other places.

              The origin of the “Friend zone” stems from a Twilight zone episode, and not people that are upset, as you state.

              So your idea that there is no reason for the terms existence is also a fallacy.

              It’s was originally used in popular culture.

              Since you expect me to accept your anecdotal evidence I have reason to believe that you will not take issue with Wikipedia.


              So, telling me that I have no reason to speak about “Friend zone” for all your newly listed reasons is still incorrect.

              You are still failing to see other valid reasons for discussion as the “friend zone” other than being upset. And there’s the matter as to it’s origins.

              I hope that clears that up.


            • Context=what is around what is quoted. I tried to more fully explain that what I am saying is about the origin of the term,both in the comment this is pulled from and in my last comment, but you seem to be ignoring that


            • That’s because the term didn’t originate how you describe.

              I typically ignore non factual statements.



            • Anf again, the disagreement is finr. I noted, repeatedly, that not all agree that friend zone is as problematic as I see it. I noted,.repeatedly, these as my opinions. And I submit that my opinion on speech in no way infringes on someone else’s right to speak about it or back to me, and to say so is to fundamentally misrepresent the concept of free speech.


            • I believe you were subjecting me to peer pressure by stating I had no reason to speak about “friend zone” unless I was in a “friend zone” and upset.

              And shown documentation as to what peer pressure is.

              Now I will show that peer pressure can be exerted by one individual.


              So tying “friend zone” into rape culture, then stating I have no reason to speak about “friend zone” unless I am “upset” is the peer pressure to restrict my free speech on the subject of “friend zone” through the use of peer pressure.

              As I ahve shown, peer pressure is used to restrict Free Speech when other methods fail.

              I have shown that your information regarding the origin of the term “friend zone” is incorrect in the Wikipedia.


              So you don’t mind if I continue to utilize “Friend Zone” in daily discourse, right? We are all good?

              Or am I supporting the rape culture by any use of the term in whatever context as some feminists hold?

              Please advise.


            • I never once told you what to utilize in daily discourse. That was.taken out of context, and you’ve ignored every other thing I have said except what fits your agenda. Say what you wish, just know it’s not above critique, and my critiquing it in no way limits your ability to say it. Now, I am done with the red herring of “free speech.”


            • I have no agenda.

              I came here to discuss my friend, GeneO’s blog article, and disagreed about “friend zone” being included in the overall description of rape culture.

              Then you spun the discussion into other subjects when you opened the door, by telling me there was no reason to discuss the “friend zone” unless i was upset to be in a friend zone.

              I showed you there is reason to discuss it even as I am not in a “friend zone.”

              You raised that as a point of contention and I responded.

              Sorry you don’t see that telling me what I have reason to discuss is peer pressure and an attempt to control what I discuss.

              At least I show you studies beyond anecdotal evidence as to what constitutes peer pressure (hint: it can be one person) .

              I reject your anecdotal evidence, your contention as to how “friend zone” started, your contention that saying how you telling me there’s no reason to discuss a topic isn’t “peer pressure” or trying to deny me my Free Speech on a particular topic.

              Beyond trying to limit people using it in daily discourse, that is.

              I suppose my agenda is truth and accuracy, if I have one at all.

              And I find your arguments unpersuasive. Purely and simply.

              Good day.

              By the way Gretchen and GeneO have changed the title of the blog which GeneO reblogged to be more accurate. Which I commend.

              I hope that is clear enough for you.

              If you are done, be done then. Becuase I will just pile on more evidence to show you that you are incorrect if necessary.

              Evidence you lack to make your own points. I welcome a valid critique with evidence to back up your points of contention.

              You have none. You realize that don’t you?


            • And the upset comes because of mischaracterization, not your opinion. I am a 30 something with no political power. My opinion (noted as such and evidenced anecdotally which, while maybe not what you were looking for, is evidence) does not in any way infringe on your right to speak, just as yours does not negate mine. I never said make it illegal or impossible to speak of, therefore your right to speak is in no jeopardy.


            • I hesitate to infringe on Free Speech because of anecdotal evidence.

              As I stated, I do not include “friend zone” in rape culture.

              You do.

              I feel I have valid reasons to discuss “friend zone” event though I am not in a “friend zone”.

              You do not, stating that’s the only reason that it would be discussed.

              I am not mischaracterizing you at all. I am reporting on what you are doing.

              Which is utilizing peer pressure to try to get me to comply with your belief.

              And I am asking for proof before I support limiting everyones Free Speech in support of not talking about the “friend zone”.


  2. Oops, thought I was commenting on my blog post of today.

    I have indicated before and did so again today that I am not an absolutist and realize there are reasoanble constraints on free speech (yelling fire in a crowded theater being the classic example).


    • Left a comment on your post (sorry for the lengthy one) but I see how my title equates American culture with Rape Culture which is not what I intended. I have changed the “In” to “With”. I think that is a little more accurate. I don’t want to equate America with Rape Culture. My point was that we are living with it in our country. Anyways, hopefully that makes it clearer.


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