From the United States to Asia, we live in a rape supportive culture whether we choose to believe it or not. If you look a little more closely at everyday language, thoughts and actions, this culture becomes real no matter where you may be.
The India Tribune reported South Africa having the most reported cases at 277,000 in one year. The United States was next with more than 89,241 rape cases reported. Third was India with a little more than 21,397. The list of countries and the number of rape cases reported continues on.
Getting rid of a rape supportive culture starts at the core. You can give someone a bulletproof vest and hope it protects him or her, but why not take the bullets out of the gun to prevent it from being shot in the first place? This is the approach that Dove seemed to take with their Super Bowl commercial “Dove Men+Care” with the hashtag #RealStrength.
What the video achieves is a new and improved way of acting as a man. Dove shows men as strong, not because of big muscles but because of a big heart (#RealStrength). They are men that all men should look up to and strive to be.
How is this getting rid of a rape supportive culture? It’s getting to the core of things, for men at least. I say that because both men and women can be perpetrators.
Whoever the victim may be, we should not be telling him or her to not get raped. Instead we should be telling the perpetrator to not rape. I see the commercial doing this by finding a way to change or empower men to be someone better than they may have been taught to be.
Time Magazine touches on the fact that “Be a man.” used to mean: “Don’t be a sissy.” “Don’t cry.” and so on. All of these phrases can emotionally hurt someone and cause a rape supportive culture as men are taught that women are less than them. I know boys in my class when I was younger didn’t want to “act like girl”. The commercial focuses on changing the way men act in hopes to change a culture as a whole.
The commercial shows men embracing many emotional moments in their life such as weddings, first dances, finding out they have a grandchild, laughing with their kids and even crying with their kids. These emotional moments can be different than many men in today’s culture have been taught.
Dove Men+Care is not focusing on strengthening men to not be rapists, but it is focusing on making the term “men” into a positive, caring and hopeful one for our future.