Whelp...I'm back. SXSW was a ton of fun and I was so happy to have a much needed break. Sometimes I don't know how much I needed a break until I take one.
Unfortunately, in my time away, it turns out that our rape culture didn't just disappear. Not that I had any expectation it would...but a girl can dream, can't she?
I'm talking about the Steubenville case, verdict, and media coverage specifically. While I tried to be relatively unplugged the past week, it's impossible not to catch news about this, and rightfully so. Most of all, the discussion I've seen from various feminist sources is centered on the way the media is covering it and how their reporting has hit new levels of horrendousness.
Here's a great example, as I saw shared on Tumblr:
[Image text: Pictures of Candy Crowley, Poppy Harlow, and Paul Callan all of CNN that reads: "Not one word about the victim" followed by quotes from each of them which express sadness for the rapists and their "destroyed" lives.]
While Steubenville is a shining example of how rape culture alive and well, it is certainly not alone. Once you learn about it, there are so many other daily reminders, that it can become overwhelming at times. For example, one other feminist story that I did manage to catch in between my near nonstop film viewing this week, was that of the amazing Zerlina Maxwell, who has been under attack and scrutiny for simply suggesting that we teach men not to rape instead of telling women not to be raped. You would think that's not a controversial viewpoint, but think again. The virulent way in which conservatives and rape apologists responded to Maxwell spawned a feminist outpouring of support using the #TYZerlina hashtag on Twitter.
So yeah...rape culture is alive and thriving this week, with no sign of weakening. The glimmer of hope in this all is the many voices which are speaking out against it, like Maxwell. Make no mistake, if feminists want to chip away at our rape culture, we must discuss consent, we can't be silent about victim blaming and rape apologism, and we must support the people who do speak up.
Related reading that discusses this all much better than I can:
- Change.org petition: CNN: Apologize for your disgusting coverage of the Steubenville Rapists
- Jessica Valenti and Jaclyn Friedman, at The Nation: Only 'Yes' Means Yes: What Steubenville's Rape Trial Reminds Us About Sexual Consent
- Zerlina Maxwell at The Grio: Lessons learned from the Steubenville rape case
- Kia Makarechi at The Huffington Post: CNN's Steubenville Coverage Focuses On Effect Rape Trial Will Have On Rapists, Not Victim
- Irin Carmon at Salon: Four Lessons from Steubenville
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