A friend of mine shared on Facebook today this talk radio post on BlogTalkRadio.com. While he knew some of the guests slated to be on the show, my interest was peaked just on the subject matter alone.
Most twenty-somethings say they miss college because they got to sleep in, wear sweatpants to class and drinking was a widely acceptable past time for most of the week. Years later, I can honestly say I prefer getting up early, going to bed early and a clear exercise regiment. However, one thing I do miss is the engaging discussions and discourse held in classes like Trans Bodies and Politics.
Tonight’s podcast forced me to revisit critical thinking on my own. The discussion began with a thorough peeling apart of the implications of Rick Ross’s new collaboration with Rocko, U.N.E.O. which describes Ross drugging a woman and raping her.
The majority of the backlash thusfar has been from scholars and activists within the Black and HipHop communities because Ross’s lyrics are promoting the existence of a rape culture — not condemning it. But I think Rosa Clemente put it best when she said men who enjoy hip hop at any level need to say something about rape and rape culture specifically within the Black and Latin@ communities.
“It sends a message that rape is okay and it’s something we can laugh at,” one of the male commentators on BlogTalkRadio said. This point is exactly what contributes to a rape culture — that if Rick Ross can talk about it, and we can rhyme it in our heads later, that it’s socially acceptable.
Then, BlogTalkRadio took this a step further in the 90-minute discussion, Sunday. One commentator stated that it’s not a woman’s responsibility to make sure she doesn’t get raped, it’s men. Recently, I was having a similar discussion with someone I care a great deal about. She argued that women help bait and exacerbate rape by what they wear. Myself and another young woman immediately started breaking this down for her, in so many words articulating that no woman asks to be raped, no matter what she’s wearing or where she is. Instead, it’s the perpetrators that are completely at fault in this situation. Largely, I believe we changed her mind but it’s also worth peeling apart whether or not this concept of women baiting men and “asking for it” isn’t a generational point of view.
One of the other interesting moments in BlogTalkRadio’s discussion was when Tracy Renee Jones pointed out the real nut of what Ross was saying, especially in later commentary on U.N.E.O. in a separate interview, was not that he respects women as equals and valued members of society, but that she is not important unless she belongs to a man.
This concept isn’t groundbreaking in discussions of women’s rights and modern feminisms — just look at every discussion on abortion that’s ever happened. These discourses usually divide people into two camps; those that believe women are entitled to make choices about their bodies and those who believe women’s purpose is still solely to procreate.
These subtle underpinnings work to keep women in a certain social positionality and will continue to do so until how we treat women and their biological design as separate ideas.
So, let’s take this a step further and consider how this impacts social equality, specifically gay rights (personally, I views this as a set of HUMAN rights). This is especially loaded because among redefining the institution of marriage, social equality will also redefine these questions previously raised about women. It will redefine how we as a complete society view domestic violence, rape, cheating, partnerships and parenting. I see no problem with this, but again this appears on the surface to be largely a product of my generation’s lens of social justice.
As such, I’m in agreement with Johnathan Fields, a guest on BlogTalkRadio, who said that there will come a point that will break politics and divide the parties and the people on the issue of marraige equality alone. From there, we’ll see a social shift and move on to the next mission-critical social issue.
Another point also discussed was that the Civil Rights Movement did not abolish racism. Just as the Violence Against Women Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Act will not abolish misogyny and the eventual legalization of gay marriage (true marriage) will not mean the end of discrimination of non-heteronormative couples.
This was my takeaway from the discussion as a whole: We still need Black History Month. We still need International Women’s Day. We still need Pride. We still need to talk about these things not only so we continue to remember where we came from but to also remember where we’re going and WHY it’s better than the NOW.