By Jessica Englund
During a recent conversation over coffee with some of my favorite women, our topic, once again, strayed to American culture. Most of us count ourselves among the feminist movement, and the others are incredibly pro-women. As we have found out through our coffee dates and in day-to-day life, there are quite a few women in society who are anti-woman. Many feminists, not surprisingly, believe that if you aren’t pro-choice, you can’t possibly be a feminist. Some go as far as to say that those who aren’t pro-choice are anti-woman. I wouldn’t go that far, but I detest those who make women feel guilty or bad for exercising their right to choose.
Back to the topic at hand, I move to state that Americans are becoming much more voyeuristic nowadays. Although I can understand some level of voyeurism with movies and television, but when people go to court to watch a rape trial and see the drama, we’ve gone too far. Why is it that people seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to involve themselves so deeply in others’ lives? When a woman has been raped, that is her life and her pain, not entertainment for the neighbors.
But it becomes more disturbing. Some have even passed the line from voyeur to participant in terrible events and situations. I offer a sobering example: a gang rape in Madison, Wisconsin. Two men drag a woman into an alley where they begin to rape her. Two more unrelated men pass by and ask to get ‘in on it’ where the first two proceed to pimp the woman out for $20 each. Understandably, this is quite an extreme example, but what I move to question is where do college students get the idea that such actions are acceptable?
There are so many potential answers to such a question, and the answer changes based on the situation or personal experiences of the rapist. I believe that many rapists do not believe that the acts they commit are wrong. Is that where such crimes become acceptable? Suppose then, that what was necessary is a transformation of the societal norms and portrayal of acceptable behavior. Other than the media’s interpretation of rape, where do we begin? Then wouldn’t changing the media’s interpretation need to be changed? And now we are back to the age-old question – what should the media ‘look’ like?
If you are looking for an interesting read on a feminist perspective of the role of the media, try here.
*This from one of my blogs…thoughts?*