Hey, wouldn’t it be nice to live in a rape-free society?
A society where men are taught not to think of women as “trophies” or prizes?
A society where women are not viewed at as objects?
A society where it is abnormal to dominate a woman?
It must be nice.
To be able to live in a society where rape culture is unnatural,
Where people will not have a dominant-aggressive assumption,
Where women are not automatically seen as passive and men aren’t seen as quarrelsome,
It must be nice.
“She shouldn’t have been wearing those shorts, she wanted it.”
“She didn’t say no.”
“She was flirting with me, I thought it was an agreement.”
So, the way a female is dressed justifies rape?
Did she say yes?
If someone flirts, that means they want sex?
It must be nice for a rapist to take responsibility for their actions,
It must be nice for society to listen to the victim,
It must be nice to live in a society where people don’t blame the victim.
Why is it when a woman enjoys male attention, she is called derogatory terms?
Yet, a male who enjoys female attention is praised?
He is “the man” or a “player.”
But a woman is a “whore.”
It must be nice to live in a world without double-standards,
To be able to do what and who you want without being judged,
But the truth is, we all know no matter what, someone will judge you.
No matter what a woman does,
She will always be wrong in someone’s eyes.
If she shows too much skin, she’s a tramp,
If she doesn’t show enough skin, she’s a bitch.
The same thing refers to men,
If a male is weak, he is a “pussy,”
If he is controlling, he is “aggressive.”
It must be nice to live in a society without double-binds.
“Why the hell did you just punch me in my face?!”
“Is there a reason I shouldn’t have?”
“I didn’t do anything to you!”
“You didn’t do anything to me? So, slapping my ass isn’t a reason to punch you?!”
“No! I was just trying to compliment your body.”
“Ha, would you want someone to compliment your mother that way?”
It must be nice,
To live in a society where people can identify sexual harassment,
To live in a society where males are respectful of a woman’s body,
To live in a society where men don’t feel entitled to a woman’s body.
If a woman is powerful, assertive, and loud,
Are they still a woman?
If a man is submissive, cleans, and quiet,
Are they still a man?
Based on society’s standards, they are not “doing gender.”
The man is not behaving as a man,
The woman is not behaving as a woman,
But what identifies gender?
If a little girl likes playing with trucks instead of dolls,
And a little boy likes playing with dolls instead of trucks,
Will they have gender-hostage acceptance?
Would society accept the children for being themselves?
It must be nice,
To live in a society where the activities you like to do does not interfere with your gender.
Don’t forget about heterosexism!
We live in a society where people feel as though someone else’s sexuality affects them.
If someone is bisexual, asexual, pansexual, gay, queer, or any other sexuality besides heterosexual,
It should not have any effect on the people in society.
No one should get ridiculed for being themselves.
It must be nice,
To live in a society where someone does not feel ashamed for being any sexuality that’s not heterosexual.
Yes, it would be nice to live in a society without these social issues,
But no matter where you may go,
These problems will still exist,
The truth is, the society you want to live in does not exist.
For this society to exist,
Someone has to be willing to take the first step to speak up.
Will you be that person?
It must be nice to live in a society where no one is afraid to take a stand.
Description of the Project
The overall topic of my project is the way gender, sexuality, and rape is viewed in American society. The reason I created a poem is to provoke the audience’s mind about how those three topics are viewed in our society in order to begin to change it. The name of my poem is “Must Be Nice” because throughout the poem, the audience will hopefully envision a society without these social issues. As they are envisioning this society, they will began to compare the society we live in with the fantasized society. These thoughts should cause the reader or listener to want to make a positive change in the society they currently live in.
List of Ideas
- Rape-Free Societies: These types of societies have a number of pro-women characteristics such as “the ceremonial importance of women…”, “the respect accorded the contribution women make to social continuity…”, “the notion that the sexes are complementary…” such that the dependence of the genders upon each other is recognized, and sexual equality. (Sanday 2004:65)
- Rape Culture: “is a set of values and beliefs that provide an environment conducive to rape…” (Boswell and Spade 2010:289)
- Dominant-Aggressive Assumption: “Rape culture is based on the assumptions that men are aggressive and dominant whereas women are passive and acquiescent….” (Boswell and Spade 2010:289)
- Blaming the Victim: This occurs whenever a minority/oppressed group is held responsible for their oppression—this practice takes the place of holding the majority groups and oppressive social institutions accountable for the oppression of minorities.
- Double-Standard: “Sexually active men are positively reinforced by being referred to as “studs,” whereas women who are sexually active or report enjoying sex are derogatorily labeled as “sluts”…” (Boswell and Spade 2010:290)
- Virgen/Puta Double-Bind: The fact that women are called names like ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ for the same promiscuous acts as men is not just part of a double-standard: its part of a double-bind. In other words, women can’t win. If they are as promiscuous as men, the double-standard is invoked, but if they are celibate and a virgin, then they are called another set of names like ‘prude,’ which are designed to punish a woman for not letting men exploit her body for their pleasure and for proving their manhood. (Anzaldua 1987:31)
- Sexual Harassment: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:313) This can involve both intentional, such as when a boss threatens a subordinate with punitive measures if they don’t provide them with sexual favors, and unintentional behavior, such as when a co-worker tells a ‘funny’ joke to another co-worker. (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:300-301)
- Doing Gender: When we interact with other people, we are encouraged and, to some extent (eventually), feel compelled to ‘act like a man’ or ‘act like a woman.’ Behaving according to these ideals or failing to live up to them (depending on whether we are seen as male-bodied or female-bodied persons) is the “doing” of gender. To put it differently, “Gender…is the activity of managing situated conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities appropriate for one’s sex category.” For men, for example, doing gender means “to have sex with women,” “to dominate women and other men,” “to be strong(er than women and other men),” etc. For a woman, doing gender means “to have sex with men,” “to mother children,” “to be a wife to a man,” “to do (most of the) domestic labor,” etc. (West and Zimmerman 2004:151) & (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:313)
- Gender-Hostage Acceptance: A person’s acceptance into a group depends on their conformity with a number of rules and standards. It is typical of modern cultures to reject someone who is to some degree ‘gender queer’ or gender nonconforming. This explains (at least partly) the practices of homophobia and transphobia in our culture such as the ‘fag discourse,’ whereby boys (and men) engage in a name-calling process designed to police behavior deemed unacceptable for a boy/man (i.e., feminine behavior). Parents, teachers, relatives, peers—indeed the majority of society—engages in (not-so) subtle forms of gender-coercion such as praising a male-bodied child for being ‘brave’ and ‘strong’ or praising a female-bodied child for being ‘pretty’ and ‘sweet.’ The message is clear at a very early age: “If you want us to like you, act like a boy if you’re male-bodied or a girl if you’re female-bodied—and not like both.” Another example: the boy that rides the pink bike and gets fussed at by his father for doing so is learning that they have a choice to make. Either the child does what he wants or he gets father’s acceptance, but he can’t have both—and it’s probably apparent to the child what the ‘right’ choice is. Producing “gender is undertaken by women and men whose competence as members of society is hostage to its production.” (West and Zimmerman 2004:150)
- Heterosexism: We’re using this term to mean not only “attitudes and behaviors that indicate an assumption that everyone is heterosexual” (Hoynes and Croteau 2013:313) but also cultural conceptions and practices that involve the abuse, belittling, degradation, threatening, and general social repression of queer people or queerness. E.g., a boy in the United States was beaten, thrown off a bridge, and murdered because of the ‘feminine’ way that he walked. What could make a walk so threatening that the person who enacts it must have their life exterminated?
How I Made My Project
I always wanted to create a poem that made the listeners think about real issues and how they are looked over, which is how I got the idea of doing the poem. At first, I did not think I could do it or make it sound good, but then I began thinking about people who have to face these issues everyday. These people may not have anyone that truly cares about them to listen to their issues and let them know that everything is okay. While writing the poem, I was hoping if someone who faced any of these issues were to read it, they would feel empowered.
Advice to Others
My advice would be to think of an issue that you feel is often looked over and needs attention. If you feel there is an issue that always gets attention, but not the right type of attention, use that and just create something showing your perspective of it. Make sure you understand the sociological ideas and theories as the class continues and if you are confused, just ask the professor to clarify the idea until you understand. Keep in mind that when you are creating your project, that it’s supposed to be a way to solve or bring attention to your issue.