How an internet meme encourages rape culture
by Monica Cruz
While watching hours of shitty Bravo reality shows over winter break, I came across Shahs of Sunset, a reality series about rich Persians living in Los Angeles. I learned that it is common in Persian households for mothers to call their sons “doodool tala,” a Farsi phrase meaning “golden penis.” This is done to instill confidence in boys about their sexual abilities and fertility.
I realized this act of what I will call “glorification of the D” has appeared in American culture recently, with the popular meme “She Wants the D.” Examples of this include “She liked my status, she wants the D,” “She texted me “Heyyy” with three y’s, she wants the D,” and “If she showers nude, she wants the D.” Listen guys, I’m not just a feminist who can’t take a joke. But with the issue of our nation’s ever-growing rape culture and what constitutes as sexual consent suddenly becoming a debatable topic, jokes like these only continue the tolerance of rape and blur the boundaries of sexual consent, which can have an especially huge and harmful impact on young boys.
Last year, the Twitter hashtag #shewantstheD became a huge phenomenon. Six months later, the video of Steubenville High School students joking about the violent rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl hit the Internet. In the video, a teenage boy deduces that “It isn’t really rape because you don’t know if she wanted to or not.” As what we can only hope most people are already aware of, the central idea of rape is the blatant disregard of someone else’s consent to sex. So yes, “if you don’t know if she wanted it or not,” it’s rape. Unfortunately, the Steubenville rape case produced some fantastic examples of our nation’s rape culture. And for those who aren’t aware, rape culture is when a Steubenville student was sent death threats for exposing the alleged rapists, which featured boasts about the rape. Rape culture is when the victim was harassed endlessly for pursuing charges against her attackers, being called a “slut” and liar. Rape culture is when CNN commentators express sympathy for the rapists after they were convicted late last month, shaming the court’s decision for ruining the “bright futures” ahead of the young football playing rapists.
And how exactly does this relate to some silly meme? Well, joking that if a girl liked your status she “wants the D” does nothing to assuage this problem of rape culture because it makes a big joke out of nonconsensual sex.
In our current sexual culture, men are almost expected to take the lead in heterosexual encounters. The media often portrays the guy pushing things forward, while the woman either silently consents or stops things. Leaving out a simple “Is this okay?” assumes that the woman is down for anything, which is not always correct. With this reiterated notion of a sexual encounter, boys are learning to continue their effort to “run the bases,” while their partners are given no opportunity to consent or not. Furthermore, “She Wants the D” tells boys that their penises are the absolute best thing ever and girls are just dying for it.
“The D” is pretty much America’s take on the “doodool tala.” Society needs to stop telling women what to do to avoid getting raped, and instead we should spend more time telling men not to rape.
So please remember boys, us girls don’t want the D unless we say it explicitly. Though your penis isn’t golden, consent is.