By Kendra Tate (firstname.lastname@example.org), featured writer
I attended a 90’s party last weekend that turned out to be a “turn-up kick back.” If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, basically to “turn-up” means to have fun, get wild and crazy, possibly drunk, and a kick back is a gathering of people where they chill and have fun instead of traditional partying where dancing takes place. Just wanting to get out that weekend because I hadn’t hung with my girlfriends in a while, I had second thoughts soon as I walked in the house where the event was held. When I walked up the stairs to go find my cousin who was also in attendance, 3-4 young men asked me if I wanted a drink. I told them “No, I don’t drink.” “You don’t drink?” one young man asked me in surprise. I seemed to always get the same shocked responses in these situations.
My two friends and I sat around chatting and laughing in the kitchen table at the event when a young lady who they met at a previous function came by us saying how “drunk” she was. People (especially young ladies) bragging about how drunk they were, was always something that always bothered me. I felt they were making themselves out to be targets. What if someone was to see how vulnerable the drunk person was and decide to drug them? I was always taught growing up that once I started going out when I got older, to never accept drinks from people and to never leave a beverage down and return to drink it. Drinking has always been a popular pastime of many college students, and according to this recent even in Steubenville, Ohio apparently if is for high school students also.
On August 11, 2012 a 16-year-old female high school then 16-year-old high school football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond raped student who was drunk at a party. The boys now 17, were found guilty this Sunday on March 17. In response to this situation, two 16 year old girls took to the popular social networking website Twitter to threaten the victim and were later arrested.
What do these events say about our society today? About our teens, parents, morals and values? In my opinion, everything seems to be getting worse. Many people’s first question is “Where are the parents?” I agree, these kids are still babies, only 16 years old, why are they drinking and in whose home was this party being thrown at? Secondly, why was the young lady who this unfortunate situation happened to getting “sloppy drunk”? Of course this is no reason or excuse to rape someone, but the fact that she is only 16 makes me wonder what is going on in her personal life as well as the personal lives of other to make them want to get sloppy drunk. Thirdly, where were her friends and why when this event was occurring none of the teens attempted to stop this? Why did these young people sit back and laugh and take pictures to post to websites like Instagram. Fourth, since when did it become okay to blame the victim for being raped? All of these questions have to do with morals and values the American society and culture holds.
It is no secret that activities like drinking are praised in American pop culture. With songs like “Pour It Up” by pop singer Rihanna, and “How Many Drinks” by Miguel being played on the radio numerous times a day, of course people young and old will look to this activity as fun. In almost every mainstream hip hop music video there is a bottle of liquor being advertised. There are always glitzy ads in fashion magazines like GQ, and Vogue that display fancy women dressed to the 9’s and charming men tailored in fine suits and ties at top of the line bars and clubs holding their glasses of wine or cocktails. Our society is heavy dependent around imagery in advertisements such as mentioned previously, so this makes me wonder: if things like alcohol weren’t advertised so much would teens and even adults want to consume them as much?
This controversial case has also shown the true sexist and even misogynist colors of many people. People have taken to social networking sites saying that the girl should have not gotten drunk and this would have not happened instead of addressing the fact that the young men should have not raped her. Although it is 2013, women’s vote to right has been active since 1920, and in the past decades women have been taking positions of power in industries such as entertainment, business, health, and so forth, the sexist undertones of double standards and inequalities continue to echo throughout this country. Technology has progressed but the minds of many people (surprisingly including females) are still stuck in the dark ages where they think that in any case of rape, it is the fault of the female.
It has come to a point where activities like drinking have taken over the idea of socialization for many young people. I feel that parents need to step up and talk their kids about situations such as the Steubenville Rape case and encourage them that there are other fun activities to do with friends like shopping, dance, sports, writing poetry, reading, and so forth. Equality for all not only needs to be discussed, but also performed. Women young and old need to start demanding respect as well as men getting out their ways of seeing females in as lesser, even in the most subtle ways. Sexism, rape, and misogyny will not quickly go away as many of us want it to, as well as underage drinking and people getting sloppy drunk, but there is effort in educating people on these topics