Posts Tagged ‘Sexual Assault’

As somebody who likes to break down the events of songs and TV commercials and somebody who is lazy, I enjoy when others do the analysis for me. Because of this, I was thrilled to see that Rob Delaney at Vice.com has tackled Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night.” Thrilled, at least, until I actually read his analysis and thought about the song. Before reading his analysis I’d heard the song and seen the video, but I’d never given much thought to the lyrics. That, I suppose, is the danger of catchy pop songs about party rape. Reading the whole thing doesn’t take very long, but here are a few excerpts from Delaney’s analysis:

There’s a stranger in my bed

Uh oh! Already scary. You should know everyone in your bed with you. Rape is already a possibility, unprotected sex has almost definitely occurred.

Is this a hicky or a bruise?

Hold up! There’s a huge difference. Also, in the video for this song, the hicky’s on your neck. Did the aforementioned “stranger” punch you in the neck while raping you?

It’s a blacked out blur

This is serious. Blacking out can be a symptom of alcoholism. Most people don’t black out. Do you display other symptoms? Call me.

But I’m pretty sure it ruled

You are a terrible detective with limited to no self-respect.

Beyond the fact that all of these things are seen as normal and depicted in a video that is intended to be humorous, I think the contention that “it ruled” is my biggest problem with the song. Artists like Katy Perry are perpetuating the idea that young people must drink alcohol to the point that their ability to make decisions is obliterated in order to have a good time. This idea surely contributes to the party culture, and accompanying sexual assaults, that exists on college campuses across the country. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t rule.


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Tenured Radical has a great post about the ways that colleges and universities typically respond to accusations of sexual assault and how those typical responses failed Penn State in the case of Jerry Sandusky.  Largely absent in the media’s coverage of the case is the idea that we need to respond to all reports of sexual assault differently, not just those that involve children.  She states, in part:

Given what we know about all the adults who failed to act at Penn State, and the coarse indifference of a large number of Penn State students to their university throwing children under the bus in exchange for a major Bowl bid, we can speculate that sexual assault of all kinds is way down the list of administrative priorities at many universities. This isn’t just Penn State.  At Yale, women decided that DKE pledges chanting “No means yes, Yes means anal” was the last straw and filed a Title IX discrimination suit.  Only then did Yale close a fraternity that has been notorious on campus for decades. At my very own Zenith, charges of rape filed after an assault at a Beta fraternity last year have been followed up by that fraternity — and Zenith’s DKE chapter — inviting a speaker to campus to raise the topic of why fraternities — not women — are under assault.  And many of us on the faculty were shocked, following the accusations of rape at Beta last fall, as we followed a comments on a campus wiki where numerous students, male and female, assert their entirely unfounded opinions that the accuser was a liar and had filed a police report out of spite; and that the men who ran the frat were “good guys” so clearly no rape could have occurred.

Every time one of these things happens, what it exposes is the way social power is expressed through sexual power, and it requires a feminist response. Let’s move this from the sports page to our classrooms and start connecting the dots.

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