Two women just explained the insidious nature of rape culture in under three minutes.
At the 2014 National Poetry Slam in August, spoken word artists Desireé Dallagiacomo and Mwende Katwiwa (a.k.a FreeQuency) performed the poem "American Rape Culture," and explained how some of the songs we sing along to on the radio are directly contributing to rape culture. The result is a bold poem that reminds us how subtle -- and dangerous -- misogyny can be when put to a pop song tune.
Dallagiacomo begins the spoken word by pointing out that Robin Thicke sings the line "I know you want it," 18 times in "Blurred Lines." Katwiwa adds that in Rick Ross' "You Ain't Even Know It" the rapper says, “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it. Took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Rape culture has become so mainstream that we hardly bat an eye when music icons sing about it.
"If you take the time on any given day to pay attention, you really start to notice these elements of rape culture permeating almost all areas of American life," Katwiwa told The Huffington Post. "Many of the examples used in the poem were things Des and I had already heard of or read about prior to sitting to write the piece, but when we did additional research, we were kinda overwhelmed with all the different examples we could have put in our poem."
Katwiwa's and Dallagiacomo remind us how intolerable these trends in pop culture are when you consider that nearly one in five women will be raped in their lifetimes. As Katwiwa says in the poem, "Rape no longer only knows closed doors and dark alleyways, it’s assimilated into our daily routine.”