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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Fighting rape culture one FB post at a time? How to pick your battles?

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Author Topic: Fighting rape culture one FB post at a time? How to pick your battles?
Kabith
Activist
Member # 95148

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I decided to try my hand at actually speaking out against rape culture, instead of just noting it to myself.

Today, one my fb friends posted this meme:
http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/5478_10201175692700941_1072141606_n.jpg

To which, I replied:
"Two years ago, I might have giggled and liked this, but I don't feel that way anymore. Unfortunately, attitudes like this condone rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming. By saying that it is a woman's fault if a man decides to treat her disrespectfully- even violently- just because of what she is wearing, you are in essence blaming the woman. Also, by saying something like this, you are saying that men in essence cannot control themselves when they see a woman that they deem "immodest." Plenty of women get raped and harassed by men regardless of what they are wearing. When a woman is raped or assaulted, she often times will not come forth and say so because she is afraid that other people will say what this image is saying- it was your fault, because you must have been doing something slutty, wearing something slutty, or in some way "looking for attention." I disagree- its the pig's fault, never the victim.

Not trying to make you feel bad or anything, I just try to point out evidence of rape culture when I see it [Razz] "

I am a little nervous, because this is the first time I have up and told someone that what I thought they said/posted was harmful. Did I handle this alright? Do you have any tips for fighting rape culture in a respectful way that won't chase your friends away, if you know what I mean? [Smile]

(To be clear, I am not really friends with bad people- some of them just condone rape culture without realizing it, just like I used to. I want to be able to change that, like my friends have changed me, not just shut people down.)

Posts: 120 | From: Washington State - USA | Registered: Mar 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI kabith,

Go you! It's definitely hard to start doing something that goes against the grain and moves us out of our comfort zone.

The only thing that I would suggest is that if you're going to use the word slut or slutty, that you talk about that as being usedas a way to judge people. As an adjective, or descriptor, it doesn't actually say anything meaningful. To put it another way, people will have different ideas of what slutty actually means, and I personally feel that using the word in a way to combat rape culture means that it's important to explain that it's subjective. I'm not sure if this makes sense. We can talk about it some more if it doesn't.

Since I'm blind, I don't know what this photo is. We're pretty careful with what we link to here on the boards, and it'll be a few hours before another staff or volunteer is around who can evaluate the photo and remove it if necessary.

but I'm glad you posted that you did this. [Smile]

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Robin

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Kabith
Activist
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The picture is just a cartoon pig, and the text says "Dear Girls, dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure, yes, you'll get attention from pigs."
Posts: 120 | From: Washington State - USA | Registered: Mar 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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For sure, it's fine: thanks for checking, Robin, and thanks for describing it to be clear, Kabith!

Calling things like this out can be scary, for sure: a hat-tip for you for taking a step, Kabith.

For future reference, if this stuff about how women dress and sexual assault comes up again -- and lord knows it will, it always does -- it might be handy for you to know that there actually ARE some statistical common threads with what victims are wearing when assaulted, and they're pretty much the opposite of what people who make claims about "slutty" dressing think.

(Whatever "slutty" dressing even is. Was just saying at a talk I recently gave how much that confuses me, especially since personally, when I have been doing the things many people seem to consider "slutty," I usually haven't been wearing anything. [Razz] )

When assaulted, in the studies we have on this, most victims were usually either wearing pajamas or sweatpants (the majority of sexual assaults happen at home, so not surprising), or regular day/street clothes, like jeans and a sweater or t-shirt.

Just a little something extra for your call-out arsenal!

[ 04-18-2013, 10:38 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CSandSourpatch
Activist
Member # 95598

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I've recently come upon a situation like this, myself.

It wasn't so much that someone said something that directly enforce rape culture, but, well, her argument was this: (Looking at the school newspaper) "Ugh! I'm so tired of hearing all this stuff about rape culture! It's so depressing, and the media doesn't handle it well! [Talking about] It just needs to stop!"

When I asked her how she thought things would get better if people didn't talk about it, she said that that was beside the point, and that the media doesn't do a good job of talking about and discouraging it. True enough, but how will people learn if it's not talked about?

That basically ended the conversation, and I'm still a little peeved that she just seems to want to bury her head in the sand, but I don't really want to try to engage her again because I doubt it will do any good.

Like Kabith, I want to spread the word, but how do you do that when people just don't want to listen not because they don't see it as a problem, but because they see it handled poorly and thus think it's nothing immediately fixable?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, when people just don't want to listen, I think the only thing you really can do is say your peace, let them know if they ever want to talk about it you'd be glad to talk about it with them, and walk away/let it go.

As a longtime educator (just realized I'll have been a teacher for 25 years next year: started when I was 19), if I know nothing else is that to learn, people have to be receptive. In other words, you have to catch them with the right stuff at the right time. If they're not open to learning about a given thing at a given time, you're not going to be able to teach them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WesLuck
Activist
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"When the student is ready the teacher appears"

Hopefully. [Wink]

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Lalalie
Neophyte
Member # 107397

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Wow, this is so relevant to me right now. I have so much trouble figuring out how to deal with anything encouraging rape culture on Facebook that by the time I've been through the whole "Rarrr I'm so angry how dare they don't they know what they're excusing I know I'll say something oh no but I hate conflict and I've just typed out this long message but now I feel like I'm going to throw up because what if someone disagrees with me in fact maybe I'm just being petty I mean is it really that big a deal WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT of course it's a big deal" it's a bit late because the post was made two days ago.

And on the occasions that I get past that and actually engage someone in a conversation it just seems to go nowhere.

Although sometimes I see someone else speak up about something that I haven't had the emotional energy to speak up about and I just feel so grateful that someone's making some noise, any noise, to counter all the creepy victim-blaming noise that's everywhere. So maybe even conversations that go nowhere are worth something.

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IceResurfacer
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Thank you so much, for the time you folks take to discourage rape culture that seems strangely rampant on sites like FB. It makes me feel a lot brighter knowing you do.

Hopefully in the going nowhere cases, the person perpetuating rape culture will think back on it, maybe even over a few years' time, and realise that you were right. At least, I've heard of that happening before!

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nixieGurl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 19081

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I encounter this a lot where I live and I have learned that a lot of the time these sorts of attitudes are seriously encouraged by the people who abuse as a safety net for what they are wanting to do, making their actions seem their victims fault. Unfortunately I think that (esp where I grew up) this kind of victim blaming will always be around however I am always willing to voice my opinion around this, even small actions like opening one persons eyes on this has a very large impact in the long run. Go you!

[ 04-26-2013, 02:09 PM: Message edited by: nixieGurl ]

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