“Once you open your eyes and start thinking… you start seeing it all around.”
In response to the recent UCSB shooting, and the #YesAllWomen twitter trend, a High School teacher with Stop Patriarchy helped students to understand this tragedy by diving deeper into issues of Patriarchy, Gender Roles, and Rape Culture with his students. Students examined the way society and media defines supposedly “natural” characteristics of men (strong, dominant) and women (weak, submissive) through sharing of personal experiences and by watching the film “The Codes of Gender”. Students were given the article “Rape, Rape Culture, and the Problem of Patriarchy” by Robert Jensen, and challenged for extra credit to write a response. This is a response by a Senior male student:
My first expressions were wow. I never thought of this before, but it all does make sense. Once you open your eyes and start thinking it does make sense. You start seeing it all around. Especially with the film that you are showing us. The ways people advertise women and men in different ways. The ways men are made to look strong and ready to act to their environment, compared to women looking fragile and “out of breath” not being able to take what the world is giving them.
I started thinking and this is shown all around not just in advertisements. The way that I thought about rape was that it was the horrible act done by one person acting either on his own account or acting that way because of a mental illness. But I never thought that maybe the media and society around us sort of pushing us in a direction. When thinking about rape, the thing that I thought about was Law and Order SVU, which is a show specifically about sex crime. Most of my thinking on the topic was sort of based on this show. But thinking about it the show gives you a look at rape, but what they show you is wrong. The two main characters in the show are Olivia and Eliot, both detectives that fight against rape and sexual assaults in New York. But reading this article made me think this show is stupid beyond belief. Olivia is a women that has a horrible background, with a rapist father. While Eliot is Marine and strong that shows no emotion no matter the situation. The message of the show is putting away rapist and sexual deviants, while still depicting one of the main causes of rape, patriarchy. Olivia is overly emotional in many cases, while Eliot usually keeps his calm and is able to control himself and at times takes care of Olivia. Again showing that women need a man to take care of them. This show is not about putting rapists away it is just another example of patriarchy.
Looking back I know now that patriarchy is a problem, and can be found many times throughout your daily lives. Even in a show that the main idea is to stop rape, but it does not hit one of the main points of why rape even occurs. I guess the main thing that I got out of this is thinking about rape in a different way. Seeing advertisements and tv in general in a different ways. Being able to take this knowledge and connect it and see it in other places, and adding and accumulating different things that in the end make me who I am.