The Influence of Violent Language on the Female Body

By: Hannah Hsieh

The United Nations has estimated that more than 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. That being said, it is not uncommon for a victim to find themselves at the police station attempting to file a report only for it to go unfiled. In fact, due to the high frequency of sexual abuse, most cases will end up either unreported, unfiled, or written off as something that just "happens all the time."
Now at this point, you may be thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa...if those are the statistics, how many offenders are walking the streets right now?!” “We need to stop this trend and broadcast some type of Public Service Announcement!”
To that I say you are not wrong. However, we must look deeper. If we consider the fact 1-in-3 women will be victims of sexual violence this year, then it is not surprising that violence is a massive focal point in pop culture. After all, society has created what can only be known as “The Ultimate Pap Smear Campaign.”
Have you ever wondered if sexual assault is covered by any provisions of the Violence Against Women Act? I looked it’s not. And frankly, that’s a problem. Here are two more: language and its normalization. Pop culture has allowed sexual language to evolve and become increasingly violent towards women. Let me explain:
First, all men wanted to do was 'tap that.'
Then, they wanted to 'hit it from behind.'
Now, they want to 'tear it up,' 'beat it,' 'crush it,' and 'murder it.'
Um…no thank you, I am not a piƱata. Despite Psychology Today's claim that men use verbal aggression to maintain dominance and conquer women, this should just not be a thing. I mean, I am pretty sure women do not yell "Murder me!” during sex. Another problem is the normalization of violent language in pop culture. Due to the repeated and widespread use of violent language, linguistic patterns have developed over time. Now, men are using terms like "tap that" on a daily basis. This prevalence has caused sexually violent language to become normal, even to the point where women are participating in their own oppression. Consider Amanda Bynes’s poetic love letter “I want Drake to murder my vagina.”
Now that we have established the glaringly obvious issues, let us look at a few of the many causes. First, pop music. I have yet to hear a song where someone is singing lyrics like, “Yes-honey-I-too-am-a-feminist-and-I-love-you-so-much-and-value-you-and-treat-you-with-the-utmost-respect-and-after-we-have-sex-let’s-cuddle-and-read-Judith-Butler.” (If you have, let me know.) From what I have gathered, pop music has a slightly different message. A study conducted by Media Psychology Review in 2015 explains that for every three sexual references in a song, two of them will be violent and degrading toward women. This can be seen in Nicki Minaj’s song Anaconda, “I let him hit it cause he slang cocaine” or Love Rance’s, “I beat the P***y UP, UP, UP, UP, UP, UP, UP. Put it in your gut.” Even worse, Elon University in 2015 performed a study that concluded that people often modify or adopt their beliefs after being exposed to media content. This means that sexually violent language is not only spoken, rapped, or sung, but it is also celebrated and incorporated into our lifestyles. The next cause, oddly enough, is feminism. (Now, I know you may be wondering “How can female empowerment cause female oppression?” Amazing question, thanks for asking.) It’s a simple correlation. As women have gotten stronger and more self-sufficient, guys are becoming more aggressive towards women to protect their dominance. They are beginning to feel more powerless because women seem to be gaining sexual power. It’s as though thirty years ago men did not need to say “I am going to hit that” because society allowed them to just hit it whenever they wanted anyways.
Luckily, there are possible solutions to combat the violent language that is infiltrating pop culture.
To all women, do not let anyone talk down to you or your vagina. Our lady bits give life, they deserve all the respect in this world. This article is not meant to demean people who enjoy rough sex (you do you, or have someone else do you.) Rather, if a partner is discussing or displaying their sexual prowess in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, you do not have to accept it. If a partner seems like they are aiming to hurt you rather than please you, you do not have to accept it. Remember, you should never feel like someone is trying to hurt any part of your body, even if it is just a tap.
To all men, you might think it sounds impressive to threaten us with violent language, but what you have to understand is that as women, we face forms of violence every single day. When you say “beat it” or “hit it” or “murder it”, you fail to realize that there are women actually in those circumstances. It is an unfortunate fact that because of your need for dominance and power, some women are being harmed simply because they are female. Plus, telling me you are going to “beat it” isn’t very sexy. It is sexualizing and trivializing our reality. So please, do not put yourself on the same level as the men we are taught from birth to fear. Because you know who else murders? Real murderers. Instead, impress us in other ways like with puppies or real orgasms.



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