How to Normalize Sexual Assault: Step 1) Be Us. Step 2) See Step One.

When our leader speaks testament that Mexicans are rapists, it’s difficult as Americans to stray from that persona in the eyes of other nationalities despite our own personal beliefs. However, American citizens have some housekeeping to take care of ourselves before we go around pointing the rapist finger. Our societal attitudes toward women, namely young women, is an absolutely repulsive and disgraceful problem that we only dig ourselves deeper into when we accuse others of the same deed.

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Cartoon by Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer.

In Signs Preceding the End of the World, Mexican author Yuri Herrera paints his rendition of the American man who he calls “Mr. P.” Mr. P is described as a man with “blazing blond hair. . . streaked with orange highlights, he held a cigar in one hand and wore mirrored shades” (61). His character does earn some leeway as he is a crime boss, but in comparison to the three other Mexican crime bosses who treat the main character, Makina, with respect, Mr. P fills the frame of a complete child predator, revealing a deep insight into the outside world’s view of America as a culture in comparison to Mexico.
“‘Wouldn’t you like to come work for me, child?’ asked Mr. P, eyeing her crotch” (62)                                                                                                                                                                  Disgusting. The author establishes that Mr. P sees Makina as a child, which doesn’t even falter him from staring directly at her crotch, dehumanizing and objectifying not only a person, but a child. Mr. P goes on to stroke his “long, thin knife” and “pat it nonstop” (61) during his interaction with Makina, reinforcing his shameless view of her as a sexual object. While this image is shocking and appalling to anyone with a moral conscience, it’s not far from the truth. American media and popular culture glorifies the bodies and self-absent young women in all reaches of entertainment, and even politically when rape victims are blamed for the tragedy that befell them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The problem of rape culture has deep roots that can only be ripped from the ground by hands willing to accept our fault instead of accusing other nations in blind arrogance. Perhaps if Herrera’s message was read by more Americans, we’d stop thinking ourselves as pristine as he argues we are morally unsound.

 

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posted by Mikhaela Reid

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