Norms of masculinity include prescriptions to pursue sex. Taught to expect women to resist, “real” men supposedly work around refusals instead of taking them at face value.
In light of this, some sociologists argue that rapists are not non-conformists (somehow deviant), but hyper-conformists. Rapist are men who take rules of masculinity to their logical conclusion.
When I discuss this in class, I show this Gucci ad:
The clean-cut, clear-headed, well-dressed, all-American young man looks calmly and confidently into the camera, while the woman looks as if she is drunk, or drugged, or both. Barely able to stand, holding onto her shoes, her dress falling off… Has she just been raped or is the rape yet to occur?
And does the imagery in this ad suggest that a (potential) rape scenario is mainstream in America, un-remarkable, even fashionable? If so, what does that say about the depth of our rape culture?