The Truth Behind Rape Culture

The Truth Behind Rape Culture

With more shows like "13 Reasons Why" we can start to make a difference.

Raise your hand if you have binge watched "13 Reasons Why" in the last week.

As a college student, a millennial, a rape victim, an avid reader, and a Netflix addict, I was given so many reasons to watch this show. But I was incredibly reluctant after hearing how intense some of the scenes were. With a very constant nagging from friends and a craving to know what all the hype was about, I decided to take the plunge. I cautiously selected the controversial show from my Netflix menu and pressed play.

*Spoilers ahead; approach with caution.

I have been very open with my rape story, probably more open than most would be. I went as far as posting it on the internet for all the world to read. But there really are no words to describe what it was like or how it feels to be raped.

Do I wish there was? Probably not. As I have gotten older I have learned that some things are better left unsaid and I truly believe that this is one of them.

But for Hannah Baker, this was not the case. The incredible new breakout series showcased the reality of rape in all of its horrific detail. It defined the feelings you have and the emotion you feel better than anything I have ever read or watched before.

It. Was. Chilling.

Now I didn't walk home barefoot, soaking wet, and carrying my shoes in my hand- but I felt like I did. That same lifeless rag doll look was the one that sprawled itself across my face after I had been raped.

Kudos to the writers and actors of the hit Netflix original series, they got it right.

Often times in movies or television shows rape is portrayed in a sugar coated way where the screen goes black and what happens is implied and left to the imagination.

But that's just not real life.

When I was raped, the screen did not fade to black and there was nothing that was just "implied". I could not escape it by drawing the curtains or calling "cut"! I became a victim of rape just like Hannah and just like Jessica. I was the girl on the bed, the girl in the hot tub, the girl walking back to her house at midnight in dripping wet clothes with her shoes in her hand.

"13 Reasons Why" rips the band-aid off for the world to see. The truth of what it's like to live with the pain of being raped on top of the stress of everyday life is so painfully accurate.

While this show spiked my PTSD, sometimes it is good to feel uncomfortable and pained. The truth hurts. Rape culture in this world is spreading like wildfire. Thanks to "13 Reasons Why," we can spread awareness about it.

There is no way to stop rape but with more shows like "13 Reasons Why" we can start to make a difference and spread the truth about what really happens behind closed doors.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault call 1-800-656-4673 for help.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Playboy: America's Favorite Magazine, China's Favorite... Clothing Brand?!?!

What are they doing wearing THAT?!??!!!

We just kept seeing it.

Not necessarily in abundance or anything like that, but still…

We did see it often enough for it to pique our curiosity. It was definitely around – there was no denying that. From shirts to socks to other random items of clothing, its presence did not go unnoticed by us.

When I noticed it on the sock of the guy sitting next to me during lunch, I secretly took a picture of it using my iPhone and showed it to my roommate. Is that what I think it is? Hell, we even noticed it on the front of our tour guide’s collared shirt as she was showing us around a hydrology laboratory. Geez, it’s present in lab settings, too? What was going on here?

By now, I'm sure you're wondering what "it" is, right? Well, you don’t have to wonder any further; I'll tell you. The "it" that I am specifically referring to is none other than the simple, easily recognizable, and famous Playboy bunny logo. Yep, you read that right.

Staying true to its image of a cute, little bunny rabbit, the Playboy logo seemingly followed us around, quietly hopping from one random piece of clothing to another. It would appear, then disappear, then reappear out of nowhere, just like a rabbit going in and out of its hole in the ground. However, as fitting as this all may sound from a metaphorical standpoint, the semi-frequent sightings of the bunny logo were weird and out of place to us Americans.

“Is this really a thing over here or what,” we were asking ourselves. “Hmm…”

By “we,” I am referring to the small group of American college students from Western Michigan University I was part of that was studying abroad in China at the time. This was during the first summer semester of 2017. We were over there for two weeks, spending time in both Beijing, the country’s capital, and Lanzhou, a city not as globally known as the capital. For all of us students, it was our first time visiting China.

It was a memorable, stimulating overseas trip filled with new experiences. From the learning to the tourism to the food to meeting new people, the trip was very well-balanced. Still, none of us expected something such as the Playboy logo to pop up from time to time. I guess you just never know what you’ll see when you travel abroad.

In the United States of America, the famous Playboy bunny is synonymous with adult entertainment and eroticism. Fancy mansions, pool parties, girlie magazines, and promiscuity are what we think of when we see it. Take the picture below, for example; it features scantily clad models in bunny outfits who fit Western culture’s standard of beauty. The image is a spot-on representation of what can typically enter the mind of an American consumer when thinking about Playboy.

Such is not the case in China, however. As we would find out toward the end of our trip, Playboy is merely another everyday clothing brand, albeit a popular one. There is nothing raunchy or sexually suggestive about it at all. Who knew? Talk about getting some much-needed closure.

The picture below is a spot-on representation of what Playboy means to the Chinese consumer. Quite different from that first depiction, don’t you think?

So, there you have it. That’s the explanation. Knowledge is power. Cool beans.

Oh, wait. There’s just one more thing I have to add: Shout out to Hugh Hefner!

Cover Image Credit: Andrew Mager | Flickr

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Comedian Aziz Ansari's Sexual Misconduct Showed Me That 'Time's Up' For Ignorance

My reaction to Aziz Ansari's sexual misconduct allegation

OK, so I think by now we’re all aware of the trend in today’s Hollywood. More and more sexual misconduct allegations are coming to light, and more and more of my beloved Hollywood idols are slowly revealing themselves to be the opposite of who I’d envisioned them to be. Take the latest wrongdoer. You may know him as the creator of Netflix staple, "Master of None" (easily one of my favorite shows on the streaming service) — the funny, incredibly likable Aziz Ansari. Who would’ve thought that he’d be the next star to be shamelessly exposed? When I first heard the news, I glared at my cracked phone screen in confusion, then leaped to my laptop for further sleuthing. It appeared the situation had a narrative like so...

Girl named Grace meets Ansari at an LA party.

Grace is starstruck by Ansari, and luckily for her, he likes her, too.

Grace gets his number, and the two chat it up in New York,

Grace agrees to go on a date with him and gets ready for what she thinks will be a beautiful night.

Now THIS is when it all starts going downhill.

Ansari rushes through a date at an upscale restaurant and quickly gets ready for desert.

Grace returns to his house and reluctantly accepts Ansari’s sexual advances.

Ansari asks for more, and Grace is clearly not willing.

But Grace does some of it anyways and leaves Ansari’s residence in tears

Grace is then too afraid to tell her story, until she sees Ansari again.

But this time, he's on TV at the Emmy Awards, proudly boasting a “Time’s up” pin as he braves the stage.

And there you have it, but of course, that's not the end of the story. As many of the convicted do, Ansari released a statement in which he said he was "surprised and concerned" that Grace was not comfortable, referencing the text he received saying so the morning after their encounter. After “taking the time to process” her words, Ansari responded that he really "took her words to heart" and responded "privately."

This situation just goes to show that even those who wear the ‘Time’s Up’ pin and vocally support female victims of sexual harassment and assault still do not understand what sexual misconduct is. They may see themselves as completely different from the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, but it is equally just as bad to support a cause that one simultaneously perpetuates. I’m sure there are hundreds of Ansaris in Hollywood, nice guys who make a wrong move without knowing, but it’s 2018; people have to learn the difference between yes and no. The time’s up on excusing this type of ignorance.

Cover Image Credit: WikiMedia

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