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Spring Breakers and Rape Culture
In the film Spring Breakers, four young girls who look to be in their late teens or early twenties go on Spring Break. However, they do not have the money for a vacation and three members of the group, Brit, Candy, and Cotty, rob a fast food restaurant to fund the trip. The so-called innocent one of the group, Faith, is shocked by their actions but not so much that she turns down the opportunity to go with them on vacation. By the film's end, two of the girls have become hard core criminals. They engage in a three-way sexual relationship with a drug dealer named Alien, get involved in drug dealing, murders, and grand theft auto. The film portrays these actions as dangerous but also exciting, as though these girls have never had so much fun or felt so alive. Within our culture, everyday violence not to mention drug use and promiscuous sex are becoming the norm. In the past, these girls would be the subjects of films wherein they eventually suffer for their choices, reflecting the idea that returning to the moral code of society is best, but this does not happen in the film. Instead, Spring Breakers exemplifies the growing trend in the United States where moral codes have broken down, which illustrates the influence of rape culture.
Rape culture has been defined as a society in which the attitudes of the people towards sexual violence are willing to excuse, tolerate, or even condone the action. In the United States, people who study rape culture have found many instances which suggest our society is becoming just such a one. There are many stories which indicate the downward turn of the country's moral fiber. Rape culture is a gender biased social structure. By definition, rape is an act wherein the male dominates the female and forces her to physically submit to him (Rozee). In societies where rape culture becomes the prominent ideology, the female must be subjugated and minimized in her social importance. Sexualizing the female is one way that this is accomplished. If the female is identified as only a sexual object, then it becomes more acceptable to marginalize her in all aspects of that society. Spring Breakers shows this aspect; the girls are highly sexualized, often shown on screen while scantily clad, with much attention being given to their physical bodies.
One component of rape has been the tendency to blame the victim rather than the perpetrators (Rape). While people like to think that this is an enlightened period, with regard to rape this is far from the truth. In several high profile rape cases from recent years, such as the Ohio case of a young girl who was digitally raped by two young men who then photographed the attack and posted the photographs on social media, the emotion has been with the perpetrator. In that case, the young woman has been the target of harassment both in person and via text messaging and online. People have called her a slut and claimed that the incident was her fault because she was intoxicated, all the while lamenting that the two men who were involved will spend time behind bars, arguing that they were great football players and could have had wonderful lives had it not been for this girl. Another case in Canada actually led to the suicide of the rape victim as a means of escaping her harassment. In that case, the police determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. These are only two cases, but it speaks of a larger trend within the society. Instead of putting the blame for the rape on the perpetrators and lending emotional support to the victim, the opposite is usually the case; where the girls are blamed for getting into a situation where the young men became involved with them. In a very real way, these girls are violated twice, first by their rapist and then by the society who abuses them and punishes them for daring to seek out justice for their violation.
"Rape Culture." Rape Culture. Marshall University. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 April. 2013.
Rozee, Patricia. "Resisting a Rape Culture." Rape Resistance. California State University Long
Beach, 2012. Web. 22 April. 2013.
Spring Breakers. By Harmony Korine. Dir.…[continue]
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