The Bottle From Which Rape Culture Broke Into “Locker Room” Talk
Earlier this morning, I found myself counter-arguing a narrative I hope few share — the defense of rape culture. Sexual offense in somehow, in someway has become a notion of desensitization to some. It’s been cast to the side by a few as a “forgivable offense,” an “argument” in which “words” and discourse carry no civility toward one’s well-being.
Words stick to us like viscous syrup tapped from a maple tree in mid-autumn. They bleed into the fiber of our clothes, carry the weight of our breakfast conversations; a well-written sentence can sear itself into one’s mind, much in the same way a lewd, shrewd, vulgar comment can scar one’s soul.
Language is culture — it’s the medium of which we tell stories and find one another. We build communities with lexicons, which is to say, by extension, build each other up from atop foundations of dialects and colloquialisms. Structure, that idea of radical empathy shared by present communication, lattices our everyday lives.
Rape as an ambivalent, lukewarm, looked-over thought has no place in our culture.
Rape, in any form, spoken or otherwise, is never OK.
In the past few years, we’ve seen the astronomic rise of sensationalism—the idea of enveloping otherwise complex thoughts around singular emotional tugs. Merely turn on any mainstream media outlet or scroll through x-social media feed, and you’ll likely come to see the gravitas of a culture steeped in egoisms. And, for that matter, a culture amassing meaning and matter around absentminded individuality.
Yes, the counter-argument here would be to thwart the latter idea for the sake of one’s idiosyncratic ways in the world. How one talks, how one looks, how one chooses to be in their everyday lives an unalienable right to each sentient being. There’s not denying the fact.
However, I hasten to add that when one begins think of themselves superior or, worse, unaffected to communal ways of thinking, then it’s safe to say that person has become inhumane to those around him or her.
The above characteristic is cancerous. Mutagenic. Socially corrosive.
Empathy dies in those malignant spaces.
We can’t, as a culture swirled in diversity, afford to think in such aways—in notions estranged from feminism or an like-minded sensibility. Ideas where “the other” is connoted as unequal or undeserving of basic human principles can’t be propagated. (Let alone find themselves at the helm of a political campaign.) Inclusivity must drown-out exclusive banter if we’re to, truly, have an encompassing medium in which to share stories to. To both live by, and to find life and contribution in.
Every man, every woman — gay or straight or bisexual or questioning or pansexual or transgendered — has the right to consent.
And that’s OK./ That’s “locker room” talk.