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Rape Culture: Victim Blaming and Gender Stereotyping

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The example will be a Dolce and Gabbana advertisement that came out in 2007 and was brought back to light in 2015 by Kelly Cutrone. It got a lot of spark because of its provocative imagery and sick interpretations. The Dolce and Gabbana ad was to showcase their Summer campaign, however the ad displayed a women held to the ground in a swimsuit surrounded by shirtless men. The positioning in the ad gives off the image of women being objects. Walam author from Medium described the ad as “having the woman literally under the man is stating that she is lesser than him, but more importantly he is about to violate her and it is obvious that these other men have no intentions of stopping it”(walam). The problem is that they were promoting such a sexist misogynistic ad without even considering the backlash they could receive. Leitner,author of their own blog put it simply as “Women themselves, and their bodies, become dehumanized, objectified, and their rights seem to be disregarded”. So the idea of a company being more comfortable and accepting of promoting sexual violence is mystifying.

Rape Culture has influnced our society in an immense amount of ways. One of which is “victim blaming”, arguably one of the biggest consequences to come out of the uproar. Victim blaming is when blame is put onto the victim mainly in the case of sexual violence but goes with many other cases as well. Victim blaming branches off into subsets like specific phrases and questions asked, an example would be ‘she asked for it’. Phrases like this develop an impression that if a woman does anything that is out of the concept of modesty, is just them ‘asking to be sexaully assaulted’. Along with that they will be asked questions such as ‘what they were wearing’ and what they did to ‘encourage the behavior’. Back in November of this year a college student at the University of Illinois named Ruth George was murdered aftering being cat called. Assistant State’s Attorney James stated that the murderer was ‘angry’ for being ignored so in retaliation he had followed her into the garage, and proceed to strangle her until she died and then raped her (Hauck). He was blaming the victim for having to murder her because of his own insercurities. This has been seen before back in 2016 when Janese Talton-Jackson was murdered for refusing a date (Young). Not to mention in 2014 when Mary Spears was killed for not giving a man her phone number (Abbey-Lambertz). All three men have the same thing in common as they tried to put blame onto the victims. That puts victim blaming to the extreme. In an article by David B. Feldman he told readers that we as people want to believe we live in a perfect positive world and stated

“When bad things happen to someone who seems a lot like us, this threatens our belief that the world is a just place. If that person could fall victim to rape, assault, robbery, or attack, perhaps we could, too. So, to comfort ourselves in the face of this troubling realization and maintain our rosy worldview, we psychologically separate ourselves from the victim. ” (Feldman)

From this we can understand the desire for wanting to live in a peaceful world. That if the peace is broken, the blame will be pushed onto the main person involved and we must distance ourselves. This results in people coming forward less and for the victimization to get worse, believing it is just apart of our system should be no excuse. Victim blaming should not be ignored and can be taught out of our mindset.

One other consquence that results from rape culture is objectifying woman along with this also comes gender stereotyping. Rape culture plays into the concept that women are submissive while men are the aggressive harsh type. The idea that women are meant to be submissive and put up a facade in order to please those around is demeaning. Leading into this, back in September a News anchor named Maggie Vespa was told by a random man to stop wearing high waisted pants stating, “you’re way too pretty to look so foolish”. Following that he told her she needed to dress like a “normal woman” Vespa replied to the comment with “The thing is, I posted about this on Facebook and Twitter and it really hit a nerve with people. Hundreds are sounding off on the pressure that women obviously face, especially those in the public eye, to embody the epitome of physical attractiveness at all times. If we don’t, it’s somehow seen as a sign that we’re less credible, or less capable, and by and large, guys don’t have to deal with this, as my awesome male coworkers can and have attested to”(qtd. In McLaughlin).

Assuming women dress to satisfy the idea of what a man thinks of a ‘normal woman’ is outrageous. This plays into the idea of rape culture, because there are people who believe a woman should look and act a certain way that incites their own ideals of the ‘perfect woman’. It is demeaning towards women to tell them that they are not who they should be and that they need to change their behavior and looks to suit society. There is no such thing as dressing like a ‘normal woman’ but that only proves that people are affected to believe that. The notion leads into the fact that women are seen as less than men. That they must be presented in a certain way that is appealing and approving.

Rape culture is something that needs to be look at more intently. The effects it has are extreme and will continue to go on unless something is done. It needs to be taken more seriously because the people that do try to bring awareness to the ordeal are seen are ‘overreacting’ and taking these ‘too seriously’. Until then we will continue to be influenced by the standards rape culture give us. 

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Rape Culture: Victim Blaming And Gender Stereotyping. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from
“Rape Culture: Victim Blaming And Gender Stereotyping.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
Rape Culture: Victim Blaming And Gender Stereotyping. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2022].
Rape Culture: Victim Blaming And Gender Stereotyping [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2022 Jan 29]. Available from:
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