You’ll forgive the shocking images in this post…
If there’s ever been a publication that objected to the sexualization of violence, it’s Rolling Stone. pic.twitter.com/G7QF1T0SuW— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) December 5, 2014
Rolling Stone has always objected to those who glamorize the mix of sex and violence. pic.twitter.com/i4nepleF5U— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) December 5, 2014
Rolling Stone has always gone out of its way to emphasize that violence is not sexy. pic.twitter.com/flFLJKlnmi— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) December 5, 2014
I’m just going to leave this here. pic.twitter.com/ZJdprcE5tq— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) December 5, 2014
Expanding upon these Tweets…
Maybe performers like Lady Gaga, a show like “True Blood,” or a movie like “Grindhouse” are your cup of tea, maybe they aren’t. There’s a difference between fiction and non-fiction, and fantasy and reality. But if we really want to argue that the problem of rape on college campuses or anywhere else is not a matter of individual criminal acts but instead reflects a pervasive ”rape culture” — i.e., an atmosphere where nonconsensual sex isn’t considered criminal and wrong — then it’s very hard to contend that products in popular culture that depicts images that mix sex and violence have nothing to do with that culture. (I haven’t even gotten to Rolling Stone’s articles glamorizing musicians, rappers, and professional athletes accused of sexual assault.)
Of course, Rolling Stone doesn’t mind those sorts of images on the cover because they’re good for newsstand sales, they reinforce the editors’ self-perception that they’re shocking and edgy, and they upset “the squares.” For a magazine to unleash the hounds on an alleged “rape culture” at the University of Virginia, and then offer cover images of sexualized violence on a semi-regular basis suggests that their mentality towards this “rape culture” is that art contributing to those attitudes aren’t so bad as long as a celebrity does it.
After all, Rolling Stone raved about the video for “Turn Down for What.” I cannot write a content warning big enough for that one.