Rape Culture: Donald Trump’s locker room scandal did us a favour

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Sadly, Trump is a very true reflection of the type of man that is living and working amongst us on a daily basis.  Not all men are like this but the majority still believe in the patriarchal way of doing things where woman have very little to no say and are expected to submit to a man’s wishes.  When you have men and boys being trained with an attitude that they are superior to women and women must follow their lead we have serious problems.  Trump himself supports the Patriarchal way of living.

The locker room interview of Donald Trump did us a favour because it opens up a can of worms that needs to be addressed.  It’s a very real problem for girls and women daily.  The world around us has become so perverse, people don’t realise they are doing it to each other on a daily basis.  Supporting conversations and behaviour that is inappropriate.  Like snapping a girl’s bra strap in the name of fun or sitting around a BBQ sharing dirty jokes or making perverse comments.  How often is office banter not turned into a game of sex play.  Saying things like “you are into her, wouldn’t you just love to F… her.”  “Check that girl with the big boobs,” women try and laugh it off but by then the damage is done.  Feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, feeling violated as men speak about women’s body parts in a derogatory way is implanted into your body’s memory and subconscious mind.  If you think about it, even the expression, “suck my….” when men insult one another, what is that really saying about women? You piece of shit, this is what I think of you, “suck my… or your mother is a whore!”  How does that make you feel?  No wonder many women/girls dress the way they do.  It’s again a manifestation of what the world is projecting through social structures.

We are indoctrinated from a very early age to have beliefs about boys and girls.  Girls are weaker than boys is one of them and by age 6 girls believe they are inferior to boys.  Men are indoctrinated to have expectations of women and women are indoctrinated to keep their legs closed and remain a virgin and yet in movies, advertisements and media in general, selling sex is the name of the game because the attitude in advertising is “Sex Sells”.  In my twenties I remember working for an alcohol distributor where I promoted various beverages they wanted to promote.  On one occasion they wanted me to market a product in a club wearing as little as possible. Why because “sex sells” The people in charge want men to buy the alcohol being promoted and their view was; men will buy their alcohol brand  if they see pretty girls wearing shorts and a bikini top serving them.   At the time I didn’t think anything of it and the message I was sending.

This morning I read an article titled “How your daughter dresses matters.” (no longer available) that we should teach our daughters how to dress and behave. I thought we were doing this already.  Being told how to dress by your mother and in society has been going on for centuries.  Girls are constantly taught to sit in a certain way, behave in a certain way and to dress in a certain way.  Telling your daughters how to dress is not going to solve the problem.

I remember as a little girl I hated wearing dresses.  Schools, family, church often forced me to wear a dress. My mom not so much but I did have to dress “appropriately” for special occasions. What is “appropriately”? I wanted to wear Jeans or Trousers, nothing inappropriate about that. Dresses where the pits. You always had to be careful how you sit. You can’t play rough in a dress, and it’s not easy to engage in fun games and sporting activities.  It is difficult to be engaged in the game because as a girl you constantly worry about exposing your goods.   I felt forced especially at school to wear dresses, no freedom to wear what I wanted to wear. Just you are a girl, wow, thanks!  Today, I live in trousers.  My mom taught me good values as a person.  My mom has a very good dress sense and I learnt by her example.  My mom dresses way better than I do.  She knows how to dress smart and stylish.  I don’t dress as well as my mom and that’s ok.

It’s not about what you wear, it’s about what’s going on in your head.  You will always project on the outside what you are thinking and feeling on the inside.  

When girls are raised to value themselves they would not see the need to dress up like they need to sell themselves. Girls should be taught to be independent and not dependent on men.   It’s important to share you views on how one should dress if you want to present a certain image to the world but I feel there is such a big disconnect between boys and girls that if we want to see change, it begins with education.

Educate girls with knowledge that will empower them to be independent.   Share your experiences with other women and girls on how you experienced life.  Share stories of the way you were treated by both men and women and how it made you feel.  Share what you would do differently now that you are wiser.  Share tips on how to cope when someone bullies you into something you don’t want to do.  By sharing your experiences it will help women and girls  know they are not alone and there is someone they can turn to.  When you know what to expect, you are then better equipped to deal with an event that may occur.

Society still lives in a very Patriarchal world where men and women are given distinct roles to play.  We teach our boys and girls from a very early age how the world works.  Girls must be like this and boys must be like that and our roles in society are defined.   Boys grow up to be more confident, outgoing and to have certain expectations about women.  Girls grow up to be insecure and needy always wanting to please everyone.   Girls grow up to serve others and are constantly judged by both men and women for the way they dress, the way they behave, how much they weigh. Girls are put on display for the world to judge and objectify.

How marketing, advertising and media encourages girls to be sex objects as early as age 6

The problem is not what women wear or how they behave.  The problem is the world’s attitude towards women and how women are perceived.  Women tell other women to keep quiet about being violated and to shove it under the rug, it’s about not bringing shame to the family.  Men and women through media are indoctrinated to objectify women as sex objects and women to sell themselves as such.  We are all easily influenced by fame, glamour and media.   Marketing, advertising and media (TV, movies) women are constantly marketed as something to be viewed, objectified or as something to be played with.  I remember watching an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, (a teen show) how many times does Reese say “naked women” trying to convince Dewey why they must go to the Burning Man event, see for yourself. I can share lots of examples but we’d be here forever. You can see more examples here of how women are marketed to the world.

If this doesn’t shock you as to how children are influenced at a young age, nothing will! 

Whether you watch movies, listen to music, look at an ad, see a billboard.  Sex and violence is in just about everything.  Having not watched TV in South Africa for quite some time  I turned on the TV so see what shows where showing   It was just sex and violence on every channel, it was dreadful.  Absolutely nothing to watch.  I sat there wondering how many young South Africans and people in general are watching this filth.  Constantly promoting violence and sex, from cartoons to Bold and Beautiful to Chuck Norris.  A friend’s daughter used to be obsessed with TV and Bratz, by age 10 she was sexualised

A woman should feel comfortable wearing anything she wanted without being objectified.  It shouldn’t even be in the mindset of men or women.  In America children spend roughly 5 to 7 hours a day watching television.

A last thought, as a young girl I never dressed sluttish or inappropriately and many of my girl friends didn’t either.  I was the tom boy.  I wasn’t one for dirty jokes or engaged in inappropriate conversations.  I was abused, raped, objectified, mansplaned, cat called and harassed by men.  If I said something, I was told I’m a stuck up bitch, or I am taking things too seriously. People mocked me for standing up and sadly I was too sensitive so I learnt to pretend and put up with lots of verbal unpleasantness. I see the wrong in that now because we don’t know who is listening and how they process the information they are exposed to.

Thing is this type of vulgar conversations and behaviour doesn’t just happen in the locker room, it happens everywhere.  School is the worst, have you listened to how boys speak about girls?  Having worked in the hospitality and entertainment industries such as bars, restaurants and the casino industry you are exposed to a lot of what is quite shocking and vulgar behaviour to be frank.  Respected men in communities walking in with the lady of the night, wives at home with the kids.  Men behaving in manner which can leave a person feeling violated.  The drinking, the jokes, the innuendos.  There are people out there just as guilty for their actions as Donald Trump.  He is just the manifestation of what’s become a vulgar and perverse society.  And there is a sense that if you are rich and successful that you can do or buy anything you want.  The thing is, we allowed this to happen, both men and women are guilty.  Perhaps its time to educate our boys on how to respect and treat women.  Perhaps it’s time we take a stand against media and stop the influence it has in our lives We need more men and women like these –  Dad finds daughter next to a strange man.

As Sharon Everts Finniss, says,  “It’s daringly skimming the outskirts of saying, “if you dress like that you deserve to be treated badly!” Sorry I don’t buy into that!

What do you think?

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