21:09, September 21 312 0 theguardian.com

2019-09-21 21:09:05
The week in patriarchy  
 Rape culture is as American as apple pie

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Our culture teaches people not to be raped

One in 16 American women were forced or coerced into their first sexual experience, according to a disturbing new study published in Jama Internal Medicine. Let’s not mince words: that’s rape. More than 3 million American women, this suggests, lost their virginity because they were raped.

Where do these numbers come from? Well, the study analysed responses from over 13,000 women aged between 18 and 44 who participated in the 2011-2017 National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative US government health survey. The survey asked: “Would you say that this first vaginal intercourse [with a male] was voluntary or not voluntary, that is, did you choose to have sex of your own free will or not?” If women responded “not voluntary”, the researchers categorized them as having experienced “forced sexual initiation”.

Nearly three-quarters of women who experienced forced sexual initiation were under 18 at the time, according to the research. Women whose first experience of sex was rape were also less likely to be white and more likely to have income below the poverty level. Unsurprisingly, researchers also found that forced sexual initiation appears to be associated with physical and mental health problems later in life.

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately over whether #MeToo has gone too far. This study should be a visceral reminder that #MeToo hasn’t gone nearly far enough. Rape culture is endemic in America; as one sex education specialist told the Associated Press in reference to the report, “Our culture teaches people not to be raped instead of teaching people not to rape.”

If you want to see how deeply rooted rape culture is just take a look at who is running the country and shaping the law. A third of the six male justices on America’s supreme court have been accused of sexual misconduct. Meanwhile Attorney General William Barr endorsed a 2017 book called Campus Rape Frenzy, which essentially argues men are the real victims of sexual assault in universities. “[T]he false narrative of a ‘rape culture’ on college campuses – has created a regime of kangaroo justice,” Barr wrote in a blurb for the book. “Your blood will boil as the authors meticulously examine scores of cases where, in the name of political correctness, male students are sacrificed to the mob.”

And, of course, there’s the proud pussy-grabber who is currently president of the United States. Donald Trump, let’s just take a moment to remember, was credibly accused of rape just a few months ago. The accusations made headlines for a few days and then we all stopped talking about it. Apparently, that’s how numb we have become to the fact that a sexual predator is the most powerful man in the world. That’s how numb we’ve become to a society in which sexual violence is so normalized that one in 16 women lost their virginity through rape.

Women are getting surgery to fix their resting bitch face

“Although the term RBF entered the cultural lexicon about six years ago, requests for the procedure ‘more than doubled’ over the last year,” one plastic surgeon told the New York Post. News which should probably give you active rage face.

Rise in women trying to self-induce abortions

As abortion restrictions tighten in the US, a new report from Guttmacher suggests more women are turning to DIY abortions. According to NPR, “the organization’s latest survey on abortion rates, from 2017, found that 18% of nonhospital facilities said they had treated at least one person for an attempted self-induced abortion, up from 12% when the data were last collected, in 2014”.

The not-so-naked ambition of Succession’s women

The second season of Succession, the extremely bingeable HBO drama, is “turning out to be a complicated portrayal of what female power looks like in a business world ruled almost entirely by men,” writes Emily Peck at HuffPo. Not only does it “easily pass the Bechdel test”, the women in Succession keep their kit on. “We’re not interested in having people take their clothes off, particularly women,” one of the show’s writers told the Ringer.

Ten women accuse Disney of systemic gender discrimination

Let’s hope there’s a fairytale ending to this lawsuit and Disney starts treating its female employees fairly.

‘Feminist emergency’ demonstrations in Spain

Women took to the streets of Spain on Friday to declare a “feminist emergency” after a summer which saw a spike in gender-based violence.

Teen TikTok tampon trick

Teenage girls on the social network TikTok are punking guys into thinking they eat their used tampons to reabsorb the blood. “It it seems a lot of boys on the app can’t quite work out if it’s true or not,” BuzzFeed reports.

Mark Ronson ‘comes out’ as a sapiosexual

He made this momentous announcement on Good Morning Britain. I think writer Shon Faye summed this whole thing up pretty well when she tweeted: “Mark Ronson is sapiosexual which means he’s attracted to people for their intellect. Which is cool. And I’m glad he’s found so many beautiful women under 35 whose intellect he’s attracted to.”