Rape Culture: I do not think it means what you think it means

I'd like to say a few things about rape culture. Mainly what it is, what it isn't, and why your knee-jerk reaction isn't necessary.

Rape culture exists. And we pretty much all contribute to it. Yes, even I do.

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.

Rape Culture is NOT a bunch of dudes standing around drugging drinks and talking about how they can't wait until a chick gets raped. Those dudes exist, but that is NOT what rape culture is.

When I say "you contribute to rape culture," it does NOT mean that you're okay with rape. It doesn't mean that you like it, that you think it's not a huge problem, that you wouldn't do everything in your power to stop it if you get the opportunity.

It means that you contribute to a ubiquitous and pervasive society that frequently reduces women to sex objects.

My frequent use of the word "Bitches" is contributing to rape culture.

My previous (I'm working on getting better!) tendency toward rape jokes has contributed toward rape culture.

My immediate judgment of a woman based on her appearance and clothing is both contributing to and a result of rape culture.

When you post memes on facebook that say or imply that a woman who rejects a man deserves to have bad things happen to her, you're contributing to rape culture.

When you post a picture of a woman's body that she did not grant you permission to post, you are contributing to rape culture.

When you reduce a woman--any woman, any girl, any age, whether you know her or not--to what you perceive as her sexual characteristics, you are contributing to rape culture.

When you forget that every woman, everywhere, is actually an entire person, you are contributing to rape culture.

It doesn't make you a rapist. It doesn't mean you encourage rape. But you should be aware that when you do these things, you are contributing to rape culture. Honestly, it's pretty common, and even fairly normal. It doesn't make you a bad person. I swear, it doesn't. It isn't even an insult.

It is, however, something you should be aware of. And maybe try to tone down.

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