Women CAN Be Sexual Predators... But Do People Actually Believe That?

Women CAN Be Sexual Predators... But Do People Actually Believe That?

People acknowledge that women are capable of rape and sexual assault; but the difference in how woman sexual predators are treated by the media and society suggests otherwise.
531
views

You know that statistic you learn in Health class about how one in four women will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime?

Thanks to recent events, we can see the validity of that statistic with our own eyes.

Dozens of women are now coming out to share their stories and experiences of sexual assault; but what makes the stories of these women more polarizing is that their assaulters were all men that are either very popular or in high-ranking positions: Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, Ed Westwick, Donald Trump, and the list continues...

Reading their stories and hearing them speak out against the culture of victimization and sexual coercion that is highly prevalent in Hollywood was refreshing and empowering -- the gross and immoral instance of elitists using their power and wealth to abuse others should be exposed -- and I am only disappointed that it took so long to do so.

The stories of these women were more controversial, but they've been heard and told many times before: a woman is taken advantage of by a more powerful man — either physically or socially.

The tale is as old as time, leaving many of us frustrated, saddened, and — terribly — desensitized to the whole issue. We expect women to be raped or assaulted and we teach our girls to be aware of the possibility from a young age.

But let's take a look at the other perspective, the one where the woman is the disgusting and more powerful being. It's hard to take a look through this lens because it's almost non-existent — and it is not because women like that do not exist.

This lack of acknowledgment of female predators persists because oftentimes, people are unable to see men as vulnerable, even as young children or teenagers. Take the case of Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who raped her 6th-grade student and later became impregnated by him (twice).

She received jail time (only seven years, which is pretty skimpy for the severity of the crime; and that was not the length of her original sentence, which was only six months at first). She took a plea deal (that she later violated), which allowed her to forgo registering as a sex offender, as long as she promised not to contact the victim ever again. The boy later appealed to the court (when he was 18) to repeal the no-contact order — and the court allowed it.

They allowed a victim of sexual assault, sexual grooming, and emotional manipulation to have contact with his abuser, who took advantage of him while he was young and vulnerable — and who, to this day, continues to excise her control and influence over him.

Why does the media treat this family dynamic like it is normal?

"What if they're genuinely in love?" People say, but to that, I reply "hell no!" What 6th grader is 1. capable of engaging in sexual and romantic intimacy (in an emotionally healthy way) and 2. develops a (deep) attraction to a 34-year-old?!

I find it hard to believe that people would be singing the same tune if the roles were reversed and a 12-year-old girl was being raped by a 34-year-old man. Not only would they be disgusted, but they would treat the situation as it should be treated: as an instance of a perverse, manipulative adult exploiting and grooming a child in order to gain sexual gratification. The fact that the court did not originally force Letourneau to register as a sex offender shows that they believe that what she did was not assault at all. Anyone that is attracted to an adolescent has a problem and no empathy should've been offered to Ms. Letourneau.

The problem of people perceiving men as emotionally and physically indomitable does not only occur in instances where women are involved.

Terry Crews, a well-known actor, bravely shared his experience of sexual assault at the hands of another man. Terry Crews, being a large and muscular man, was scoffed at and made to feel inadequate because critics believed he should've 'defended' himself and that he behaved like a 'wuss' for allowing himself to be taken advantage of.

Women are shamed for being too vulnerable, while men are shamed for being vulnerable at all.

And it is from this biased view of women being weak and sensitive, that when they are exposed as sexual predators, their actions are (slightly, but obviously) justified — while some even outright deny their wrongdoings, unable to see them as capable of deviating from their standard position of the soft, gentle, nurturing creature that does not hunt, but is hunted.

In a way, it's offensive. The role of 'sexual predator' is yet another role only reserved for men. Of course, I have no desire at all to be a sexual predator; but hell, if I believe in gender equality, then I want women to be able to acquire any title that a man can, even those which are shameful.

The most recent person accused of sexual assault was a woman; a woman I have considered myself a fan of for many years: Melanie Martinez.

When news broke of her being an alleged rapist, I was shook. She always seemed so sweet, delicate, and fragile — how could she rape someone? Then I remembered that I didn't know her personally and I owe it to the victim to support them at this time (until any evidence suggested otherwise).

Some people didn't take that approach, however. Some fans burned her merchandise and promised never to support her again, but just as many began to make excuses for her, urging others to not 'jump to conclusions.'

I agree that that is a logical course of action to take, but I couldn't help feeling as though if Melanie Martinez was "Marcus" Martinez, those same fans wouldn't be so quick to think rationally. When the news of Ed Westwick allegedly raping someone hit the media, I wanted to cry. The charming, hunky British guy I have had a crush on since I was twelve was now a rapist. Not many defended him, rather they made remarks like "I can believe it, his character on Gossip Girl was creepy."

I get why when men are accused of rape, many people take it as truth — these events occur often and we have made the mistake in the past of not believing these allegations, which has damaged the lives of and psyche of many women. And many men do get free passes for their abuse, either because they are well liked or their victims are unknown and deemed insignificant. I am not blaming us for our biases, which have formed over time due to trends and what we've observed; but I am blaming the sexist culture we live in.

Men, deemed threatening, strong, and violent, are able to fit into the mold of what a sexual predator is, while women, deemed weak, non-threatening, and submissive, do not fit the archetype of a sexual predator. Once again, our gender-based biases and skewed perceptions cause us to make assumptions about the opposite sex; except in this instance, sexism allows women to benefit from these ignorant views.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
462213
views

Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Gillette Controversy: Should Companies Share Their Views?

"We Believe: The Best Men Can Be" by Gillette is about creating a conversation, whether you agree with the commercial or not.

95
views


We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) www.youtube.com

January 13, 2019, Gillette released a commercial that takes a new focus on their tagline "The Best a Man Can Get." The commercial weighs in on the Me Too movement and showcases different moments of toxic masculinity.

These moments include boys bullying another boy through cyberbullying, two young boys beating each other up while fathers are watching them saying that "boys will be boys", a set of a 1950s sitcom where a man grabs his maids butt to which the audience is encouraged to applause and laugh at his act, and a businessman laughing at his female colleague's statement and then says to the other male colleagues, "What I actually think she means…"

A voiceover in the ad says, "Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can't hide from it, it's been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off, making the same old excuses. But something finally changed [implying the Me Too movement and people speaking up], and there will be no going back..."

The commercial then shifts to showing a man stepping in when another man tells a woman to smile, when a man stops another man from following a woman down the street, and video clips of men stopping fights and having two boys shake hands, as well as a father encouraging his daughter to say she is strong. There is also a moment when a father from the "boys will be boys" scene tells those kids fighting, "This is not how we treat each other."

The voiceover continues with "...Because we…We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But 'some' is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."

This commercial sparked controversy with people saying that not all men show toxic masculinity, many people saying that this commercial is anti-male, and people saying they will now boycott Gillette and their partner company. Whereas others are praising the commercial with many saying that, if you're offended by this commercial, then that is why it was made.

But regardless of what you think of the commercial as a whole, the big topic of discussion is whether or not it is okay if companies should be political and put their two cents in through marketing.

I say yes.

I believe it is very okay for companies to express their thoughts and concerns about political and social issues through marketing. When the Me Too movement first came into the light, many people wanted Hollywood to stay out of politics/social issues. The public did not want to hear about the sexual harassment allegations throughout Hollywood, however, because of these celebrities bringing light to this issue more and more people, celebrity or not, are coming forward and speaking their truths.

More and more people are realizing the signs of harassment and speaking up before it can get worse. Society is more aware of these social issues because people with a platform are talking about it. Unfortunately, many people still do not want to listen to people with platforms, but having the conversation is important, so how else can we keep the conversation going?

That is where commercial and other forms of advertisements can come in. The commercial did exactly what it intended to do: to create a conversation. Talk shows like "The View" or "The Talk" are talking about, news outlets are talking about it, people on YouTube are talking about it, and here I am writing an Odyssey article related to the topic.

The commercial created conversation. It got people thinking about and discussing their concerns, their feelings about the idea of toxic masculinity, as well as how this commercial could or could not be the new wave of change. It is important to have conversations, as it is the only way for things to change and for people to see that how things used to be are not the way they should be now.

Related Content

Facebook Comments