As a writer, I like to find the irony in stories of popular culture and life in general. With any luck I contribute a lighthearted perspective that can encourage and provoke thought with a few laughs along the way.
But recent events, a “20 minutes of action” claim and defense of the indefensible are nothing to joke about. It’s certainly not lighthearted. It’s a real problem that has manifested itself throughout our existence.
Fictional and historical literature are littered with accounts of physical abuse and sexual depravity. We’ve all heard the medieval wise tale set in an unruly tavern that ends with a damsel in distress needing rescue from a gallant leading man who whisks her away on an epic adventure of excitement and romance.
Unfortunately those are fairy tales, most women aren’t damsels looking for adventure and most guys aren’t that chivalrous.
These days it seems men are more likely to play the villain while women play the valiant hero even when they didn’t ask for it. Often times she becomes the victim of an imperfect world.
History isn’t a justification for men behaving badly. It should be condemnation for failure to weed out daily news headlines of sexually abused women, the men who thought it was okay and their list of excuses to justify the means. It’s a culture that really isn’t culture at all.
When I think of culture I think of achievement. Champagne toasts in a gallery of artwork. Dance and song moving an audience while their creators bask in the delight of others. High society. Not just in physical exhibition but with desire for intellectual progress and motivation to advance.
Yet the term ‘rape culture’ is a complete degradation of society and paradox of intellect. Here we have an oxymoron caused by the moronic acts of people whose entitlement hurts others. Sadly it is cultural because sexual assault and victim shaming are part of our society. And that should make both women and men enraged.
There’s nothing manly about taking physical or sexual advantage of others while making excuses for reprehensible behavior. Those flaws don’t just contradict whatever man code many adhere to. It contradicts being human.
But time and time again you hear the stories in the news…
- A high-powered adult man takes advantage of underage girls.
- A star athlete confuses consent with physical struggle and how one exclaims ‘no’.
- A night of beer drinking shenanigans is used as a false attempt at excusing the abominable.
When did we trade responsibility and honor for privilege and insecurity? The mere thought process one goes through, impaired or not, to physically take advantage of another should be beyond comprehension. Why isn’t that just common sense?
There does seem to be a tipping point of public outrage after the recent sentencing of Stanford’s Brock Turner and the frivolous excuses his family and friends continue to make on behalf of his feelings and life in ruin. No mention of the woman he abused of course. No real sense of accountability or remorse. Perhaps that’s where his entitlement stems.
And in the following weeks statistics have flooded news outlets and social media revealing the hard truth of our longstanding gender inequality. But can we look beyond ratios or percentages to simply say one is too many? After all these aren’t statistics. These are people. Perhaps it’s time for men to rewrite the “bro code”, stop turning a blind eye and be an active voice for basic decency. “Boys will be boys” can’t cut it anymore.
We all see the world we’ve developed as advanced. We relish in our cultural growth, along with its world wide web of technological commodities. We all think and are told we’re special. Yet our basic humanist behavior between genders hasn’t changed much at all in thousands of years. In 2016 we should be past a primordial, predatorial state of existence. That would be a cultural change for the better.