Happy sunshiney Friday, beloveds.
Here with your professor it is a beautiful crispity crunchity fall day. Just the right kind of day for warming up with a hot chocolate and talking about how feminism is amazing and for everybody.
Today we are talking about rape culture. I’m hoping you have your hot chocolate in hand, because your professor admits this is heavy business. Rape culture is what we live in and around and among, and it sucks and it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s a pretty good summation of rape culture via wikipedia (whose page on rape culture sort of sucks otherwise):
“Rape culture is a term used within women’s studies and feminism, describing a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.”
Today we will examine rape culture as it appears in your standard pop culture milieu. Today we shall specifically talk about stalking as it is romanticized in the movies and popular novels of our times. Or to put it more simply, your professor is going to go off on Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. The former is a multi-gazillion dollar mega empire of popular culture that is based around a vapid, will-less central female character and the stalkery, stalkery vampire she loves. In this book/film, we learn that men are out of control when it comes to
sex drinking blood, and that it is SUPER romantic if your boyfriend sneaks into your house and watches you while you’re sleeping. Watches you. While you’re sleeping. Oh, it is enough to make your professor do a bit more than snap her riding crop at someone. There’s a great and terrifying Steven King book that is essentially based around someone getting watched while they’re in bed. Gerald’s Game, it’s called, and it’s fucking terrifying. That’s because having someone sneak into your room and watch you sleep is not romantic, beloveds, it’s creepy. Please go and talk to your favourite teenage boy and/or girl and inform them of this. Also, we learn later on that (spoiler alert) sex is incredibly dangerous and painful, and waking up after a sexual encounter you don’t remember with bruises on your body is cause to sigh sleepily and think about how dreamy your new monster vampire husband is rather than press fucking charges, which is what your professor urges you to do in real life.
Now, onto Fifty Shades of
Barf Grey. I am going to make a confession about these books and tell you that I haven’t read all of them. I did make it through about half of the hideousness that is the first book. First of all, I was already trepidatious when I learned that these enormously successful light porn books were originally Twilight fan fiction. No, no, no, no, no. Nothing that starts there can possibly be good. These books also claim to portray the BDSM scene and, um, no. There is no boundary talk in the books (an absolute must when dealing in that scene) and although there are safe words (um, yay?) there isn’t any real exploration of female pleasure and desire as it can manifest itself in a mutually agreed upon fantasy world. You should know your professor well enough that she wants you all to do you and to be your freaky, freaky selves. However, the Professor is a fan of pushing boundaries gently and exploratorily in the manner of two grown adults with talkyboxes in their throats rather than just jumping over boundaries or bull-in-a-china-shopping through them. Boo, Christian Grey you ridiculous poseur, boo.
The problem with these books is that Twilight is geared toward young female readers who could really use a positive and sexually curious role model, while Fifty Shades of Grey is being heralded as “awakening women to their sexual side”, a side which is still a co-dependent men are in charge festival of awful.
Feminism, in your professor’s definition, is all about choices. Choosing to consent, choosing to ask for consent, choosing to know and ask for what you want, and choosing the idea that stalking and violence aren’t sexy.
Until tomorrow (sexytime Saturdays, in which we will delve into the realm of freaky, freaky consent in greater detail),
Yours in anger at a world that needs to change,
bonus film clicky: