The portrayal of rape culture in popular media

The Portrayal of Rape Culture in Popular Media

In the current culture we live in, rape culture is pervasive and has a large presence in many forms of popular media. Rape culture encompasses ideas, attitudes and behaviors that normalize and excuse sexual violence, the victim-blaming of those who experience sexual assault, and the sexualization of power imbalances.

How is Rape Cultured Portrayed in Music?

In music, there are many songs, videos, and lyrics that portray, in varying degrees, the reality and prevalence of rape culture. Watching music videos that contain lyrics and imagery related to sexual objectification, aggression and power imbalances can be an unconscious trigger and cause feelings of unease in those who have experienced sexual assault.

How is Rape Cultured Portrayed in Film and Television?

In the world of film and television, rape is often portrayed in a utilitarian manner. It is often used to invigorate the plot, with characters using it as an asset to propel and progress the story. In these scenarios, the victims’ experience and trauma is often reduced to a mere tool for drama, which can be particularly damaging for any survivors that are watching.

How is Rape Treated in Gaming?

In video and computer games, rape culture is sometimes portrayed in a glorifying light. Rape is often used as a plot device or a tool for character development, or even just a ‘cool’ thing for characters to do to “one-up” an opponent. This can be an incredibly damaging representation, as it effectively serves to normalize, condone, and even promote rape culture.

What Can We Do Moving Forward?

It is essential to look critically at the representation of rape culture in popular media, as it has dramatic effects on society. We as a culture can work to change this by:

  • Taking Instances of Rape Culture Seriously – Raising awareness and standing firmly against any depiction of rape culture in popular media.
  • Engaging in Honest Conversation – Creating spaces to openly discuss rape culture in popular media and its negative effects.
  • Creating Solutions – Working together to create solutions to address and combat rape culture in popular media.

Through raising awareness and engaging in these conversations, we can work together to work towards a society free of rape culture, free of victim blaming and free of sexual violence.

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