Definition Argument- sixfortyfive645

In order to fully comprehend the counterintuitive encouragement of the discussion of rape culture and what supports it, “rape culture” itself must be defined. In order to fully understand the depth of rape culture, we must confront and define the main ideas and actions that substantiate it. These ideas include “victim blaming” and “slut shaming.” Once explained, clarity of rape culture will be reached and the counterintuitive premises of the discussion of this culture will be introduced.

Rape culture is defined as a setting where rape is normalized. It’s where people side with the accused instead of the victim. The victim is the one who is under scrutiny and is automatically presumed as a liar. The culture is a part of our society; it’s something that is taught and learned at a young age and throughout development. According to Kate Harding, “Boys are taught that sex is their right – it’s on demand, basically – and that girls will resist, and their job is to overcome that resistance.” Harding is right. Examples in the media, gender norms and gender stereotypes teach girls to be ladylike and reserved, while boys are taught to be aggressive and are encouraged with heterosexuality. Girls aren’t encouraged to speak up for what they want, and when they do, it’s seen as a game. In this game, the perpetrators of rape are the winners, and the victims are the losers. I am not saying that all rapists are men; I am simply highlighting the points that support this brand of culture. There are certainly female rapists, and they too are held at a higher standard than their victims are.

Victim blaming is loosely defined as when the victim of a crime is held accountable in some way, shape or form. In contexts of rape culture, victim blaming may include accusations that the victim was being provocative or suggestive, thus she was asking to be raped. Slut shaming is essentially the same thing. If someone were to tell a victim that because of the way she dressed, she was asking to get raped, they are slut shaming her based on her appearance. These terms make up the core of rape culture, and it influences rape victims to suffer in silence. Many rape victims do not report their rape because they are fearful of not being believed by their friends and the police. This is detrimental to their well-being, and it adds to rape culture. People are raped because of what they are taught throughout their life, victims of rape have to choose between suffering in silence or exposing their trauma to disbelievers, and the rapist will continue on with their life, or if justice is served, will face the necessary consequences.

Works Cited

America Has a Rape Problem – And Kate Harding Wants to Fix It.Rolling Stone. Lauren Kelley, 24 August 2015. Web. 26 October 2015.

Why Victims of Rape in College Don’t Report to the Police.Time. Eliza Gray, 23 June 2014. Web. 26 October 2015.

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4 Responses to Definition Argument- sixfortyfive645

  1. sixfortyfive645 says:

    feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    You are no doubt right that defining terms is a prerequisite for advancing your argument, sixfortyfive, but do you think you could disguise your intentions in the first few sentences? Remember, you want to build an audience here for your essay. Opening with, “first let’s define our terms” is not the most seductive introduction.

    The very first counterintuitive claim that occurs to me, which I think would make an arresting opening, is: “Many women who believe they have been raped are surprised to find that they have not.” Follow that with a brief anecdote about one of the all-too-common cases of women whose rape claims have been denied (because consent was assumed, or because they are married to their rapist, or because they were determined to have been “asking for it”), and you’ll accomplish both goals: 1) getting the second sentence read, and 2) establishing the core problem that rape is a matter of opinion and that too often the victim’s opinion is not the legally most important one.

    Do you see what I mean? Don’t assume that because it’s a “definition” argument, your essay has to sound technical or formulaic.

    Helpful? Reply, please.


  3. davidbdale says:

    P1. I don’t understand why you’re using the passive voice in this paragraph, sixfortyfive. It distances your readers from the conversation when you want to immediately engage them. “Rape culture must be defined” and “clarity of rape culture will be reached” and “discussion of this culture will be introduced” deliberately excludes both you and your reader, leaving a vacant space where an investigation “will be conducted, leaving your reader no handle on the paragraph.

    P2. This is better once it gets started. It could just as easily begin more directly, with the claim that our society is one where rape is normalized, where we side with the accused instead of the victim.

    To avoid sounding like just another voice in the chorus, make Harding agree with you, not the other way around. You want to make your case convincingly first, then appeal to an expert to endorse your point of view.

    Find a way to apologize less for excluding female rapists. A brief phrase should do it. When you spend three sentences to say what you’re not saying, you sound insincere (particularly since it’s the only time you use “I.”).

    P3. This may sound counterproductive, but a better essay would be less obviously a definition essay. Most readers will have little interest in reading your 1000 words if the apparent goal is to define terms. The opening sentences of all three paragraphs state the goal of defining something. Tell a story instead, as Rubinstein does in the Wireless Neighbor model. She never indicates that she’s wrestling with the question of whether what she was doing was stealing or not, but the THEME of her essay, not her obvious process, was to grapple with an ethical concept.

    Here, if you describe the culture of which you speak, and perhaps observe it from the point of view of the victim (instead of as an outside observer), you can dramatize the counterintuitive distance between blaming the accuser and blaming the victim.

    If that sounds too conceptual and you need an example, I think I provided one already in my first Reply from earlier today.

    Helpful? Reply, please.


  4. sixfortyfive645 says:

    This was very helpful and I made a lot of changes to the rewrite. I’m not sure I will be using this argument in my final paper, but it was helpful to see where I could improve this argument.


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