Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Does Music Teach Us About Sexual Violence?

Music is a vocal and/or instrumental sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. The music we listen, sing, and dance to has its way of misleading us. Whether it is violent, disrespectful, has no purpose, or just plain out stupid we still continue to listen to it. Many people believe a song is just a song and nobody really listens to what they say, but indeed they are wrong. Music affects us in many ways and just in case you didn't notice we do perform the behavior we hear and see from songs. The way songs describe women is she is someone who is suppose to bow down to a man and she is simply there for his pleasure. Therefore, a man can do whatever he pleases to a woman and call a woman whatever he wants and women are supposed to accept it. Music is influencing men from adolescents, young adults, and adults to agree with artists and causing them to perform the behavior they hear or see because that is what makes them a man. For example, Rick Ross's song "U.O.E.N.O" "put molly all in her champagne she ain't even know it, I took her home and enjoyed that, she ain't even know it." This is date rape! Artist who acknowledge behavior such as this encourage male listeners to believe it is okay to drug a girl for easy sex. As immature as teenagers are they do imitate what they hear and an artist as popular as Rick Ross teenagers will find it cool to do because Rick Ross is doing it. Another artist is Tyler the Creator he has a song called "Blow" that is very disturbing to even listen to! "You call this shit kids, well I call these kids cum, and you call this shit rape but I think that rape's fun"-Tyler the Creator. Although the artist is referring to a notorious  serial killer/rapist, Ted Bundy, he also expresses his own thoughts and feelings into his song and it is constantly reminding the guys to buy a girl a drink, flatter her, and get her alone with you to make her have sex with you even if she doesn't consent because she's worth nothing anyway, only for his pleasure. The song is disturbing regardless if it isn't about Tyler the Creator. I thought music was supposed to be beautiful and a way we express our emotions, but how is a song like this expressing emotions? Fans listen to his music and fans imitate his behavior, so rapping about rape and basically talking about it like a joke is just disgusting!

However, men are not only influenced by this behavior, but women are as well. Songs convince women to believe being a "bad bitch" is a good thing, but get mad if a guy were to call her a bitch out of anger because it's disrespectful? WHAT? Women listen to the roles they have to be to satisfy a man whether its dressing provocative, allowing men to call you disrespectful names, or acting the way these artist describe women in their music. Listening to a song like "I Don't Want Her" by Eric Bellinger stating if no one is checking out my girl then something is wrong with me and if no one is looking at her then I don't want her. Now what? Are women supposed to be more aware of the way she looks, because if she doesn't look good enough to the point where another man isn't trying to get at her then she's too ugly for a guy she's with. Funny because before it was disrespectful to look at another mans woman, but now it is required so men can feel better about themselves. Woman artist are just as guilty in promoting a mans perspective of a woman. For example, Beyonce! Woman as young as preteens idolize Beyonce because she is pretty, has a good body, sexy, and does whatever to satisfy her man. In her songs Partition and Drunk in Love she is dressed half naked, dancing sexually, and singing about herself the way other male artist refer to women as. This is showing women that it is okay to dress provocative and let a man do what he wants you to do women are supposed to especially if it is your husband. Artist don't realize that kids sing these songs and it is not cute when you have a little girl walking around saying "surfboard" or "I've been drinking watermelon" not knowing that those words are referred to something sexual.  In Beyonce and Jay Z's song "Drunk in Love" there is a verse relating to the movie "Whats Love Got To Do With It" about Ike and Tina Turner. In one of the scenes Ike forces Tina Turner (Anna Mae) to eat the cake by shoving it in her face and when her friend tries to help her Ike assaults her friend, "I'm Ike, Turner, turn up baby no I don't play, now eat the cake, Anna Mae said, "Eat the cake, Anna Mae!" This shouldn't be a lyric in a song based off humiliation because it is clearly saying what he says goes and even if she doesn't want to he is going to force her to do it anyway. What kind of message is Drunk In Love sending anyway? Women need to get drunk because that is how you fall in love and whatever happens happens and for men if shes drunk it's okay to have sex with her because she has no control over her body and it is not considered rape.

Country music plays its part in convincing men to believe that if they give a girl drinks she'll eventually get drunk and be easier to have sex with. Joe Nichols song "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" is about giving a girl a strong drink such as tequila because if you give her tequila it is easier for her clothes to come off and once her clothes are off it leads to other sexual activities. Artist need to stop promoting date rape in their music and need to stop referring women as a female dog or making women seem they are worth nothing. Women artist need to set a better example for women rather than leading on the problem because women look up to female artist as an inspiration and their inspiration should be a positive vibe not encouraging them to be what men want them to be. Women need to stop thinking it is okay for them to be known as a "bad bitch" and stop thinking it is a good thing because it is not! By female artist exposing themselves sexually and dancing for men in music videos to satisfy them only convinces men to believe that if a women is out and dressed like women in the music videos then she is a slut and she wants to have sex, when in reality women are not aiming for that target. 
A song sang by Lupe Fiasco "Bitch Bad" is briefly discussing about the music we listen to and how women react to it. In the song he makes up a scenario about a 5 year old boy watching his mom sing a song about how she is a bad bitch  "His mama sings along and this what she says “Niggas I’m a bad bitch, and I’m bad bitch far above average”...Couple of things that are happenin’ here first he’s relatin’ the word “bitch” with his mama, comma and because she’s relatin’ to herself" Lupe Fiasco is right as women we accept what men call us and take that bad word and change it into something good. Men use the word "bad bitch" in a disrespectful way basically laughing at women in their face, but women like it because a "bad bitch" to them is an independent women and can also fall under the category of sexually pleasing a man. 

The music industry needs to go back to making music that talks about everyday life, things people can relate to in a positive matter because if it is not stopped now then it is only going to make it worse for our next generation. Women need to respect themselves and men need to respect a woman and her boundaries.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Media Literacy and Sexual Violence


We are subjected to an overwhelming amount of information every day. We are flooded with both explicit and subliminal messages through the Internet, film, radio, television, magazines, advertisements, music, and countless other media outlets. According to the Media Literacy Project, media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media.

Media literacy is the practice of turning us from passive media consumers

into critical thinkers by encouraging us of to continually question what we watch, see, read, and listen to.


Media literacy is important because it allows us to better understand the abundance of complex messages we receive every day. According to the Media Literacy Project, media literacy can help youths and adults:

            ·         Recognize how media messages shape
            our culture and society
             ·         Recognize bias, spin, misinformation and lies
             ·         Discover parts of the story not being told
             ·         Evaluate media messages based on our own
                          experiences, skills, beliefs, and values
             ·         Create and distribute our own media messages
             ·         Advocate for a changed media system

In our previous post, we discussed how the media frequently circulates images and messages of sexual violence. These messages contribute to a culture that tolerates, normalizes, and excuses actual sexual violence- a phenomenon known as rape culture. According to Marshall University, Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, victim blaming, and the trivialization and glamorization of sexual violence in the media. Media literacy allows us to recognize and carefully examine these harmful messages that perpetuate rape culture, and provides us with the opportunity to create new media that challenges these destructive representations. By educating ourselves on the impact of these negative media messages, we can start to seek and create counter messages that have the power to change our media landscape.
In the coming weeks, we will be using a media literacy lens to analyze the media around us, beginning by shining the light on sexualized violence in music. We will then move on to movies/TV, and advertisements. Will you #JoinVoices and help us shine light on these issues using your media literacy skills?



This post was primarily written by volunteer Denise Lynch, with editing by Alliance staff. Thanks Denise!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Introduction to Rape Culture

Rape Culture

Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture, defines Rape Culture: 

“[...]a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. 

It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself.
A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm . . . In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable . . . However . . . much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change." (Women Against Violence Against Women, Accessed April 2,2014.

“ [Rape Culture is…] perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language
 the objectification of women’s bodies,
 and the glamorization of sexual violence,
 thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety." (Marshall University

What does it look like everyday? 

Sexualized Violence in all forms of pop culture 

Sexual Harassment on the street

Victim blaming for rape and sexual assault 

Acting like men are animals who cannot control themselves 

Hours spent teaching women to protect themselves against rape instead of teaching men not to rape 

Defining masculinity as sexually aggressive 

Music videos that treat women as disposable objects 

There's always more. Please check out these resources for more information on rape culture and we would love to know what you think:

25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture

#rapecultureiswhen #aafvsa #joinvoices #notbuyingit

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SAAM 2014

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)  and we are raising awareness about sexual violence in our Kern County community and how we can prevent it. 

Check out our facebook, twitter, instagram & pinterest for a discussion all month long to raise awareness about combating rape and sexual assault. 

The national campaign this year is about healthy sexuality and young adults:

Check it out here! Get involved with the national conversation about promoting a healthy foundation for relationships, health, and sexual violence prevention.

This year, our campaign is

We want to shine light on sexualized violence in the media and educate our community on recognizing and counteracting sexualized violence as we see, hear, and are exposed to it every day. Tell us what you think and how you have been affected by sexualized violence in the media. Does that contribute to healthy sexuality in our culture, especially among our adolescence? 


We are calling our community to not look away from the grim reality of sexual assault and rape, but to learn, educate others, and raise our voices to make a change. 

Show up.

Not only do we want to hear your voice through our social media, but we also want to see you represent by painting the town teal. Join our Downtown Bakersfield neighbors as they support SAAM by donning the teal ribbon. Check out our Teal campaign April 14th -18th: Downtown Speaks Teal.  #DTspeaksTeal 

Support our businesses and support the movement!

Speak Up.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s wrap up a powerful month of raising awareness by joining us for our Join Voices Poetry Slam at the Jazz Lounge. We are looking for submissions from anyone interested in performing awesome spoken word pieces on sexual violence. For more information, please contact Maria at