The harm surrounding the Twittersphere and rape culture

Media plays an impact on everyone’s life in current day society, influencing, and distracting people from the real harms being caused right in front of them. Through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. today’s generations are very easily manipulated through the technological advancements that grow with these social medias. This often leads to blunt remarks, and uncensored comments promoting rape culture and abuse.  In the case of Ashley Judd a famous actress, she speaks out on behalf of twitters lack of protection against abuse and rape comments. Social media has no protective boundaries to help ensure the safety from alleged misogynistic remarks towards female users and celebrities, causing rape culture to be belittled.

“It was time to call the police, and to say to the Twittersphere, no more.” (Alter).

Actress Ashley Judd spoke out on the harassment she and many other women have faced from the twittersphere, after receiving hateful online comments from a harmless tweet about basketball.  Judd found a direct connection between the harmless tweet she posted and the cultural misogyny that fuelled her experiences with rape and incest at an earlier time in her life. For today’s youth and young adults, technology and social media has been around for the majority of their lives, and takes up a lot of their free time.  This causes hegemonic masculinities as women are being subordinated to violence, aggression, and hate in the social media universe. Society develops this veil of ignorance towards how people should act on social media, as it is seen as harmless activity.

This not only happens to women however, as seen in the article from the reading “Why Does Popular Culture Treat Prison Rape As a Joke?” societies attitudes towards sexual abuse specifically sexual abuse in prison can lead to a culture surrounded by permissiveness (Clark).  By having this comedic sense of rape being okay in prison it dehumanizes the inmates and places them on a lower social status. Thus causing further problems amongst rape culture. As long as rape culture is not taken seriously in society it will continue to grow as a harmful presence on the Internet. Jokes being made about prison and sexual abuse should not be tolerated, and should be taken offensively when movies portray this as a comedic act. By film media portraying sexual abuse in such a way it influences the non-critical consumers as they fail to see the harm behind the comedic remarks. However people do not see the true harm behind rape culture and continue to joke about it online. “The impact on the people who are abused is significant both physically and psychologically” (Clark). The Internet space can conceptually be viewed, as not real, by not giving it the validity and attention it deserves when people are being abused. As spoken about in the reading surrounding abuse in prison, it is perfectly visible that these jokes and remarks have not just a physical impact on people but also a psychological one.  Female celebrities are expected to “grow thicker skin” and to not take these remarks personally. The media causes females and prison culture to be oppressed and victimized from the safety social media should be granting them.

However the sexualization of women in media does not help promote against these misogynistic remarks surrounding rap culture and abuse. In video games, film, and television women are portrayed as overly sexualized figures. In the reading “Same Shit Different World” avatars can be made in the gaming world to be hyper sexualized, and lack diversity. However in these online gaming worlds, they enjoy a sexualized culture, with dirty talk, cybersex, and harassment. These games have very few rules protecting people from verbal and sexual abuse, usually between older men and tweens. Without proper laws in these gaming worlds it promotes and encourages the use of sexual and verbal abuse online. These games however do not just promote abuse in the games but promotes abuse on social media accounts.

In order for these misogynistic remarks towards women in media to be stopped, stricter rules and regulations will have to be enforced. These social media outlets should start enabling stricter rules, banning, and reporting those who use these accounts to promote rape culture, and to harass other users. The themes in Ashley Judd’s article reflect universally how we talk about girls and women and raise a chain of questions; why was she wearing that? What did she drink? Why was she in that area of town? How late was it? By putting these restrictions on social media, society will stray away from these questions, and will place legitimate restrictions on tweets such as that which Ashley Judd was exposed to.

“I felt like I had the chance to finally speak, fight and grieve, and be consoled and comforted. But then, on literally the very next day, I received a disturbing tweet with a close-up photograph of my face behind text that read, “I can’t wait to c-m all over your face and in your mouth” (Alter).

Works Cited

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. 2015 <http://time.com/3750788/ashley-judd-speaks-out-about-twitter-abuse-and-rape/&gt;

Clark, Anna. “Why does popular culture treat prison rape as a joke? Our attitudes towards sexual abuse in prison leads to a culture of permissiveness that destroys lives.” Alternet. 2009

<http://www.alternet.org/story/141594/why_does_popular_culture_treat_prison_rape_as_a_joke?page=0%2C0&gt;

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The social stigma surrounding the transitioning family structure

Social norms are an ever-changing notion in society, especially those norms surrounding family structures and minority social groups. When people in careers are given the opportunity to opt out of helping marginalized people they are in fact just dehumanizing them. This dehumanization involves not just homophobia but all cases of discrimination. However, when this is tied to family structures, it usually has to do with a disconnect from the “traditional family” views. Oppression and privilege can arguably be the two biggest factors in these cases, as they show how the views surrounding family structures cannot change until everyone equally receives privilege.

When the same–sex couple Krista and Jami Conteras welcomed a beautiful baby in to the world they were denied the access of the doctor originally scheduled for the 6-day old infant, based off their sexuality. The happy couple had met with Dr. Roi before their baby was born, who was a hundred percent supportive to be the babies doctor. However on the morning of the appointment they were greeted by another doctor and told that Dr. Roi would no longer see them due to religious beliefs. There is nothing stopping doctors from refusing patients if it coincides with their beliefs as “the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.”(FOX)

It is important to be aware of the social structures such as health care and education as they can often be the most prone to discrimination. Even though doctors can turn down patients who are part of the queer community due to personal, religious, or moral beliefs, it is seen as an arbitrary act of discrimination or dehumanization. Homophobia however, is apparent to be the main issue in cases involving the failure to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples. These acts of homophobia cause families of same-sex couples to be denied essential human rights, and cause greater struggles for their maturing children. Access to health care is an essential need for people, especially young children and babies as they are at a higher risk of catching illness. Doctor Roi took away the privilege of the six-day-old Bay and put Bay at risk because of the sexual orientation of the parents.

Without laws or privileges protecting same-sex couples they are being forced into oppression. Same-sex couples are not receiving the same advantages as heterosexual couples since they are not being granted this heterosexual privilege. As the one mother said “When we started calling other pediatricians my first thing on the phone was, we’re lesbian moms – is this okay with you,” Krista said. (FOX). Oppression is not just forcing this couple but many other people out there to face criticism because of their sexual preference. A Heterosexual couple in our society would never have to tell a doctor of their sexual preference just to see if they could be tended for. In a similar comparison an abled-bodied person would never have to face the levels of discrimination as a disabled person. In the article “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” we see a similarity to that of which the couple faced. In this reading it explains how disabilities affect people, and cause them to be treated with discrimination. Disabled people suffer from mobility, access, jobs, independency, and other basic life needs that abled body people have complete privilege of having. These stigmas can cause social problems, marginality, and discrimination amongst many other issues. This conception of society however can be viewed threw similar lenses. People of disability tend to get placed on a lower social hierarchy then able-bodied people, causing them to get less needed attention and more unnecessary, unhelpful attention. Like in the case with the lesbian couple they received the kind of attention they did not want from their doctor, which was hateful, and placed them as a lower social status then that of straight people.

Another circumstance can be seen in society when looking at the article “It’s all in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” the family values can be seen to naturalize U.S hierarchies of sexuality, gender, and age. In the traditional family “Predicted on assumptions of heterosexism, the invisibility of gay, lesbian, and bisexual sexualities in the traditional family ideal obscures these sexualities and keeps them hidden” (Collins). This ideal figure of the traditional family does not conform to social minorities in the United States, as it is a naturalized hierarchy of gender and age. By looking at this Binary thinking of heterosexual and homosexual, society needs to help push the family structure away from this idealized traditional family and let the ideals of family become more fluid.

By being socially aware of the changing family dynamics on society, people will become more accepting of same-sex couple families as they are not uncommon in society. However to put an end to these serious conditions of oppression amongst families and individuals of minorities, they must enact laws that protect them just as much as it protects the minorities.

– Thatguy1214

Word Count: 858

References

myFoxDetroit.com staff.”Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby.” February 18, 2015. myFoxDetroit.8 March 2015.<http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby&gt;

Fine, Michelle and Adrienne Asch. “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” 1988. PDF. 10 March 2015 <https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=W103152420G&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13664&gt;

Collins, Patricia Hill. “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” 1998. PDF. 10 March 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3810699?seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents&gt;

Girltrash: All Night Long – thatguy1214

At the Reel out queer film and video festival I saw the independent film Girltrash: All Night Long directed by Alexandra Kondracke. The film is about the discovery of sexuality. The movie takes place in California and opens with Daisy (Lisa Rieffel) and her best friend getting an invitation to play at a local band competition. Shortly after you meet Colby (Gabrielle Christian) the main character a college graduate who wants her sister to take her to a gay bar in exchange for driving her around, so she can finally meet and hook up with her fantasy girl. They end up going on a wild adventurous night, which takes lots of dramatic turns, and allows Colby to have the relationship she always dreamed of. Colby goes through an adventure of self-growth as she finally accepts her sexuality, and can embrace and except her true identity. This film provides a unique portrayal of strong, independent lesbian women. It provides to be a great film for gay or straight youth to see the portrayal of a love story involving two women. This movie takes a positive aspect on being gay as the majority of its characters all openly accept homosexuality, no matter what their sexuality is. An important portrayal in the film is Colby’s sorority sisters, as they openly accept their friend with no backlash, and even end up helping her get the girl in the end of the film.

 

One key scene in the film that stood out was Colby coming out for the first time to her sister Daisy. Daisy who is also a lesbian did not want to accept the fact that her sister was gay and instead convinces herself that she is just bi-curious. This scene stands out as it deals with issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender queer. Colby is a gender queer, as she does not fit the gender binary that says a cysgender; is a straight male or female who are confident as a straight man or woman. Misty represents society in this situation, which is important to acknowledge because even though being gay has become more accepted in society, people still have a hard time accepting. This scene represents the fact that homophobia can be present in multiple variations, such as Daisy not accepting the fact that her sister is gay as well. Homophobia can be seen from gay bashing, to the fear of homosexuals, to the non-acceptance of someone’s sexuality.

 

The cult of the virgin and emphasized feminities can also be prevalent terms seen in this film. The cult of the virgin and Colby’s virginity go one in one as; American culture is so obsessed with the virginity of young women. Colby’s goal is to lose her virginity by the end of the film, and this can show how virginity has such a strong hold over her. The 5 lead characters can be shown to have strong emphasized feminities, as they are show as strong female lead characters, apart from men.

 

The Reelout queer film and video festival is a great resource to Kingston. It provides a great way for Kingston youth and adults to be more educated on the LGBTQ community, as well as allowing for more opportunities for the LGBTQ community to be heard. I think attending the festival was a great idea to help educate us more on these issues that are going on in our own community, and it allows a great way to become more informed about the LGBTQ community. I think this is also a great festival to help show off the talents of these independent films, as they can inspire and encourage youth and young adults. The organization could also add things to help improve their awareness as well by having influential videos of youth’s experience before the main film rather then the short films they were playing. The short films that were being played before the movies tended to lack importance and relevancy to the festival itself. I thought the music for example in the film I watched hindered the importance of the true message and meaning behind the movie I saw. In this aspect the festival could work on playing films that have a strong overarching message that will help inspire and educate people.