Bringing Blurred Lines into focus : the relationship between rape culture and gendered subcultures at Whitman College
Sayda Valentina Morales
May 13, 2015
Department or Program
Rape culture is often described as a complex in which male aggression and violence against women is normalized (Buchwald et al. 1993). It is a dark truth that all too many college students who have been influenced by a larger, mainstream American rape culture commit acts of sexual violence against their peers (Armstrong, Hamilton and Sweeney 2006; Bohmer and Parrot 1993; Flowers 2009; Sanday 2007). Acknowledging that rape culture has been studied at both the national and collegiate levels, this thesis aims to answer two questions; Are Whitman College students currently in an environment in which rape culture is perpetuated? And if so, are members of single-gendered subcultural groups like Greek organizations, varsity athletic teams, and a cappella groups more, less, or just as likely to be in an environment in which rape culture is perpetuated than Whitman students who are not members of these single-gendered groups? This thesis utilizes data gathered via a survey that was sent out to the Whitman student body in the Spring of 2015. Responses to the survey illuminate the ways in which Whitman students experience or do not experience the five dimensions of rape culture in their everyday lives. For this thesis, I have organized rape culture into five dimensions: avoidance and trivialization, gender normativity, sabotage of reformative efforts, victim blaming, and presence of a patriarchy. When all are present, the five dimensions work together to determine the existence of a rape culture.