On average social media, specifically twitter has 288 million monthly active users, 500 million tweets are sent per day and 80% of active Twitter users have the convenience of pulling it out on their mobile device and checking what is “popular” in social media (Twitter 2015). This activeness has created many issues today, and not only are people you see on the streets affected by issues such as cyber bullying but even some of the more famous people such as actress Ashley Judd are affected by threats received via social media. Ashley Judd, a 46-year-old actress received violent threats from random users following a tweet she made about a basketball game (Alter 2015). Following these threats she decided to speak out about twitter abuse and rape.
By Ashley Judd speaking out about her recent situation, it revels many issues such as marginalization when it comes to white females and sports. This idea of women being of small importance in the conversation of sports is most evident when females receive negative responses and threats from males. This all connects to the idea that sports are meant to be dominated by males as it is known to exclaim masculinity thus females are judged for their interest or participation in sports. Margaret Duncan an author of Examining Identity in Sports Media quoted “Sport is, according to commonsense understanding of the world, a celebration of manhood” (231). This patriarchal approach to sports limits the possibility for females to not only have an interest and be fans of sports such as basketball, but it disallows the possibility of success for females in sports. Ashley Judd, did her best to fight through the systems of misogyny and patriarchy but in the end it is a battle that will forever continue to be fought due to the social expectations and attitudes associated with gender (Aulette and Wittner). This gender socialization of masculinity to males and femininity to females is one that allows greater opportunities for males when it comes to sports. Males are taught to dream and succeed in sport where as females are only to play sports for recreation because once they reach a certain age there is no longer anywhere to go but work. The overall message that society presents is that sports is generally meant for males to play and succeed in. Should a female make a recommendation about sports they are either ignored or they are harassed for being “unknowledgeable.”
People can thank the concept of hyper-sexualization of females for the stereotyping of females (Aulette and Wittner 414 ). The way the media portrays females to be “sexy” or to show skin when dressed and to be thin with a clear face is the reason why females who are some times opposite of those traits are victims of social media attacks. Popular Culture has allowed people to find more convenient ways to victimize those who don’t believe in what they do. This conveniency is what has evolved rape culture in North American society. Rape Culture is one that encourages male violence against women; it is when a variety of women are being violated against verbally and/or physically (“What Is Rape Culture?”) Rape Culture doesn’t allow violence against women, but rather it perceives it to be a normal situation of life (“What Is Rape Culture?” ). With the way Popular Culture has quickly emerged to a piece of everyday life, it opens up the door of opportunities for more acts of sexual violence to happen. This is shown in Ashley Judd’s case where specifically males, take the opportunity of responding to her tweets and violates her by sending verbal threats (Alana Prochuk).
In the case of Ashley Judd, she has the ability to take to social media and have her voice be heard about the above problems. However, not everyone has this opportunity to be heard. Due to Judd’s white privilege and celebrity status, people are more than likely to listen to her issues and attempt to do something about it. But in the case of Stolen Sisters there is a case of indigenous women who’s voices are not heard due to the system of oppression. Stolen Sisters involves over 500 missing and murdered indigenous women and the number continues to rise today (About the Stolen Sisters Documentary). It is said that colonialism is the reasoning behind this situation, but due to the fact that many people are uninformed of this situation, no one truly knows the reasons behind it. People look to colonial logics as the anchor of the acts behind stolen sisters. The idea of taking, conquering and dominating over someone’s culture is exactly what is being seen in the case of Stolen Sisters (Cultural Appropriation 2015). Much the same in Judd’s case in terms of sexual violence, people look to dominate over one another to simply feel more powerful and thus the system of hierarchy is established.
Overall, popular culture has a major impact on systems of society today. People look to social media specifically to gain the attention of people so that problems such as rape culture can decline. However, there are also many negatives to popular culture, where as people tend to use it to hide behind and use systems of patriarchy and privilege to their advantage. Ashley Judd speaking out about her issue is a stepping-stone to positivity but at the same time, it allows opportunity for others to add to and cause more issues.
About the Stolen Sisters Documentary. Dir. Antonio Hrynchuck. About the Stolen Sisters Documentary. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.stolensisters.com/index.html
“About Twitter, Inc. | About.” About Twitter, Inc. | About. Twitter, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from https://about.twitter.com/company
Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. Time, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://time.com/3750788/ashley-judd-speaks-out-about-twitter-abuse-and-rape
Aulette, Judy, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
“Cultural Appropriation: Settler Colonial Logics and Representations of the “Imaginary Indian” in Popular Culture.” Queen’s University. Biosci Auditorium. 9 March 2015. Guest Lecture.
Duncan, Margaret. 2010. “Gender Warriors in Sport: Women and the Media.” Pp 231-252 in Examining identity in sports media, edited by H. Hundley and A. Billings. Los Angeles: Sage Publications
Prochuk, Alana. “What Is Rape Culture?” WAVAW Women Against Violence Against Women. Rape Crisis Centre, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/