the rapist in the mirror

For a second context to hyper-violent masculinity, we must look at culture. Increasingly, cities have no recreational spaces for young men. Films, long one of the few cultural activities that a working-class audience could participate in, now target élites; movie theatre prices exclude large parts of the youth population. There is diminishing access to theatre, art, music and sport. In its place, the street becomes the stage for acting out adulthood, through substance abuse and violence.

Fourth, there is a crisis of sexuality. Few men, working class or rich, have access to a sexual culture which allows them sexual freedoms or choices. The crisis is exacerbated by the fact that sections of urban élites participate in a sexual culture which is relatively liberal — a culture that young men can watch on television and in public spaces, but never hope to participate in. For some, the sexually independent woman is thus enemy to be annihilated. In his hit song C**t, the rape-valorising rap star Honey Singh voices his yearning to kick a woman after raping her, to drive out the bhoot of ego from her head. Similarly, Strang sees on the streets a wash of “blonde and auburn wigs, lipstick smeared on those deadly pincer-like insect jaws.”

via The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : The rapist in the mirror.


2 thoughts on “the rapist in the mirror

  1. Wow, what a shit piece this is. Almost as bad as some of these NYT editorials on “India and rape”. That rape is seen as a substitute for unaffordable “culture” (seriously, film prices?) or as a problem that arises out of unemployment/’education’ or repressed sexualities is the kind of thing that perpetuates rape culture in the first place. It’s also remarkable how the piece assumes that women don’t need these spaces, and men rape because they lack them. Sexuality is hardly a men-only problem. And rape has everything to do with power. Which is, of course, this piece has done a good job of not acknowledging. That hardly begins to cover it, even.

    • I’ve found this happening often. Seeking a complete explanation of violence from each article. If the article doesn’t mention what you hold dear, it becomes ‘a piece of shit’. From the article: “This is not to suggest that a dysfunctional masculinity is the root of rape; few human behaviours have a single cause.”

      Hyper-masculine discourses in public spaces target males. You have to ‘be a man’ and all that comes with it. Men are expected to behave in certain ways, ways that involve being ‘tough’, ‘macho’, ‘stoic’, ‘strong’, etc. A woman who has multiple sexual partners is branded ‘slut’ while a man becomes a ‘player’. Socially, there are different positive & negative reinforcement cycles for men and women. Similar behaviours in different sexes are awarded/reprimanded.

      Disempowerment (political, social or sexual) increases violence, not just sexual violence, but violence of all kinds. Yes, rape does have a lot to do with power. It is a power that is often portrayed in the popular media — practically every film in India, a large part of its popular discourse, shows the sexual freedom of its characters. But that freedom is lacking in real life; that’s what Swami calls ‘illusion of empowerment’.

      Of course, there are other problems. But that isn’t what the article deals with. You can’t hold it to critical scrutiny on the assumption that all that he didn’t talk about, he doesn’t believe in (& hence intentionally left out). This isn’t a treatise on causes of rape. It’s an opinion article.

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