In a culture that continues to lack the ability to rise to the occasion to view both males and females as equal participants in society, it is going to take all of us in of our communities to make meaningful changes in the genetics of sexism.
I am continually baffled by the notion that my culpability for being female needs to be the only thing questioned when a crime has been committed. However, I am left with the recognition that we are losing in our ability to raise our boys. We lack the courage to even recognize that the derogatory and covert remarks against women continue to be at the heart of why males will blur the lines between a comment or gesture and criminal behavior. If a female is supposed to just tolerate whatever is said or how she is touched, no matter how subtle or direct, then what are we actually saying to half of our society?
Let me answer that question for you: We continue to inform our boys that girls are just a commodity, no different than my messy nightstand. And if you are not clear about how your behavior is not potentially translated into the blur that becomes rape, let me provide just a few examples of what this looks like from the perspective of a woman.
- Sexist behavior is when your first inclination in evaluating a female person in the public is to judge what she is wearing and whether she behaved appropriately.
- Sexist behavior is when a male orders their partner to do something for them without consideration of her needs much less her existence.
- Sexist behavior is when you grab at a female in public expecting her to follow your expectations or assume your gesture is simply a form of play.
- Sexist behavior is assuming that another female will give you attention simply because you asked for it and if she does not respond in a ‘nice manner’, you become self-righteous in an attempt to knock her humanness off its block.
- Sexist behavior is assuming that when a female speaks up about the horrible thing that happened to them, you say, ‘they just want attention’.
- Sexist behavior is hearing others making derogatory remarks about a female and remaining silent.
- Sexist behavior is calling a woman who has sex a whore while the males are champions making notches on bed posts.
- Sexist behavior is downgrading a woman’s success, basing it upon luck or what other people gave her.
- Sexist behavior is having an even higher standard for women, expecting her chastity and accomplishment to be pristine in order to be worthy.
- Sexist behavior is assuming that a girl or woman is a “bitch” because she speaks her mind and has an opinion, especially if it does not suit you.
- Sexist behavior is being told that ‘you should know your place’ when as a woman you state a clear opinion that does not favor men’s behavior.
- Sexist behavior is continuing to overlook one’s unacceptable behavior in the name of some false higher good labeled as politics or position.
I wish I could say the concept of rape culture was not real or true. And if it’s not clear what rape culture is, refer back to my examples and make the connection. I would hand over limbs in an effort to wake up our culture to the fact that our subtle acceptance of sexist jokes and seemingly little things is at the heart of why young boys and men continue to rape and why we continue to tolerate it. And each time we are either a participant or witness, another sexual assault is built upon the sexist comment tower we created. I know it is a difficult challenge to swallow the notion that our process addiction to daily sexist behaviors creates this monster, but it does.
This is exactly why when a sexual assault occurs in our neighborhoods- we want to separate ourselves and lay no claim to the possibility that a crime could have occurred. We would all have to admit that we played our part in the acceptance of the process that leads men to believe that women are things and not humans. It is why in watching the documentary Audrie and Daisy, Daisy stood zero chance at a fair opportunity for justice. Wanna know what rape culture looks like? Watch this movie and hear the words, REALLY hear the words of several of the officials. One just couldn’t believe that their beautiful golf course wasn’t the more important topic in their town than a young girl who was sexually assaulted.
We are called to something better than this. We should demand a concentrated effort on recognizing our own biases and ask ourselves, for once, honest questions about our own internal struggle and what we accept on a daily basis that creates the monster of rape. Monsters are not born, as written in the documentary, they are made. And if we are the tower’s architects, then it could take very little to obtain the permit to burn that shit down. We would not condone words or actions built on the misogyny of sexism. This does not have to be our DNA- we can shut off this belief that somehow the presence of a vagina automatically implies less than. Perhaps one day, a young woman like Audrie will not take her own life in an attempt to escape the rape culture she lived in.