Rape culture ingrained into minds of men


By Rob Clinton, Opinion Editor

Any man that grew up in America, between the invention of the television and today has been immersed in rape culture for the entirety of his existence.

Having been steeped in this ethos does not guarantee predatory behavior, but it does lend credence to the idea that discriminatory practices against women, if not to be undertaken, have to be willingly unlearned.

For me, the realization that something was wrong with the images I was fed in my youth came on a re-watch of the 1986 comedy “Revenge of the Nerds.”

It is a classic underdog film that pits a fraternity of self-proclaimed nerds against a fraternity of jocks who ridicule their adversaries for their looks and sexual preferences for everyone to enjoy.

Two scenes in particular stand out to me from the film.

In the first, the nerds executed a “panty raid” on the sorority of the lead jock’s girlfriend. They also installed cameras in the bathroom and dorm rooms to peep in on the girls when they were showering or alone.

As a kid I remember thinking it was pretty cool. Now I just wonder how much prison time they would get.

The second, and one of the most egregious rape scenes that I’ve ever seen on film also involves the underdog nerds still seeking revenge.

While wearing a mask for a campus fundraiser, the president of the nerds fraternity (wearing the same costume as the captain of the football team) lures the aforementioned captain’s girlfriend into a dimly lit room and has sex with her — while pretending to be her boyfriend.

As they finish, she removes his mask and said “Wow. Nerds really are good” and laughs are had by all.

It was rape, it was normalized and it was done for comedic purposes.

In the 90s and 00s, the medium for normalization was music.

At the time, rap music was broadly painted as entirely misogynistic (it was not) but no artist brought the most rapey of lyrics into middle American households like Snoop Dogg with his 1993 release “Doggystyle.”

Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, the album sold over 800,000 copies after the first week of sales in the U.S.

To date, “Doggystyle” has sold over 11,000,000 copies worldwide.

One song from the album, “It ain’t no fun (if the homies can’t have none)” is the best example of rape-culture music that can be shown.

Lyrically flawed, the song prescribes that sex with a woman is worthless if a man’s friend can’t join in and a woman who refuses the offer is worthless herself.

Sure, neither instance, the film nor the song, describes actual instances of rape, but what they do is normalize rape behavior and the consequences that can be incurred.

Last year, on March 30, Stanford student Brock Turner was convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault in Santa Clara County Superior Court and was sentenced to just three months of jail time.

In California, felony sexual assault has a range of punishments. A defendant can receive a term in county jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000. However, state laws also allow for imprisonment for two, three, or four years as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Turner’s sentence is indicative of the way rape and rape culture are viewed in the U.S.

Rob Clinton is an opinion editor for the Advocate. Contact him at [email protected]