Whats Sex Got To With… Final Concept Analysis

Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victimWhat does sex have to do with the understanding and knowledge of sexual assault and rape on college campuses, especially here at Vanderbilt. Many people claim they know what sexual assault, sexual battery and rape are,but in reality, not many people know exactly what they all are. As incoming students we are required to do both Alcohol Edu and the PETSA module, but they are often seen as stupid things that get in the way of our last few days of summer vacation before going off to school. To add to this, if you do your PETSA module early enough, you may forget all about it by the time school even starts!

According to the FBI, the definition of rape is: penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Not many people could give you this exact answer when they are asked, and I think that could probably be a red flag. Also, this definition is somewhat geared towards male dominance- the definition could always be tweaked and loopholes can always be found. As we watched and listened to our classmates give their final group presentations, we saw definitions of rape and sexual assault that were more extensive than the one shown above from the FBI. When representatives of Project Safe came and spoke to our class, Kara beamed with pride as she spoke about the 23 page definition of rape she worked to come up with among other colleagues. No one is really going to read a 23 page definition of rape, as it most likely will be far too in depth and intricate for a reader of our age to sustain his or her attention.

I think that the topic of sexual assault and rape was one of the important topics we covered this semester because it is the topic we encounter most, especially in college, and it is a topic that frankly students know almost nothing about. Here at Vanderbilt, we have a program called Freshman Visions, and to be completely honest, I learned almost nothing by sitting in that class.  No one spoke about the real thing everyone was concerned and had questions about: sex, rape, and nightlife. We spoke about classes every week, and the same answers were repeated every time. Not once did we talk about rape or anything regarding sexual education and safety… not once! For the future, I think it should be that all freshman must go through a class similar to Visions, but instead have it be regarding the topics of sex, rape and sexual assault awareness, and night/ weekend life safety. I feel that people here need to be more educated about such serious and relevant topics, and a program like I just brought up would serve a much greater purpose and would resonate a lot better than visions would.

Domestic Violence Illustrated in Hip Hop Videos

As an avid listener of hip hop and rap, I am pretty familiar with the different types of vulgar statements and crude comments towards opposites sexes. Most hip hop and rap songs are about sex, love, money, drugs, and other things paired with catchy, head bopping beats. I don’t really watch the music videos to the songs I listen to, but as I was writing my last blog, I was decided to listen to a song by a rapper I have been listening to named Kevin Gates on youtube. Kevin Gates is a 28 year old rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is pretty much an up and coming rapper, and he was named to the 2014 XXL Freshman Class- among the rest of the top new rappers and artists who have bright futures ahead of them. I was really in the mood to hear a song of his called Satellites, and to understand why the song is called Satellites I had to do a little thinking beyond the lyrics. I thought, what would being torn between his girl and his hustle have anything to do with a satellite. Well, being that a satellite is an outside object controlled by something it once was attached to, Kevin Gates is being controlled by his hustle because he depends on it, but his girl wants him to stay home with her.

I decided to take a little break in my writing to decompress myself and I watched the music video. As the music video progressed, the situation between Kevin Gates and his girl worsened as he got deeper and deeper into his hustle. My reason for writing this post is because of one particular scene where he wakes up in the middle of the night, when he gets a call from a client in need of whatever it is that he deals. He wasn’t going to deny easy money, as any successful hustler would tell you, and he went to get up from bed and do his business. However, his girl woke up in this process and she was visibly upset. The expression on Kevin Gates face said that he was tired of her trying to control him and tell him what to do, and he looked frustrated. As she gets up to make him stay, he grabs her and throws her rather forcefully back onto the bed. As he gets ready to walk out the door, the negative physical contact between the two continues. As soon as I saw this, the idea of domestic violence came popped straight into my head. Although no one was really hurt during this little altercation, what makes it okay for a rapper playing himself in a music video to grab a girl forcefully by the shoulders, shake her, and then throw her onto the bed? I am very sure that kids younger than I have seen this music video, and what if they see it and think that it is okay? Have a look, skip to about 1:35

My mind started going into gender studies mode, and I started to wonder if maybe domestic violence was a pattern in his music videos. Just like I had thought, domestic violence is depicted yet again in his music video for a song called ‘Posed To Be In Love. In this song, he raps about the girl he is supposed to be in love with, although they broke up, and how she she left him to be in the terrible relationship she is in now. When his ex girl comes home late at night, her new boyfriend is up drunkenly waiting for her, and when he sees her, he gets mad and beats her. She is seen thereafter in the bathroom crying with a big bruise on her face. Is Kevin Gates trying to show us something here? We all know that beating a woman is bad, and is a cowardly thing to do as a man. Instead of hiding from it, Kevin Gates is not afraid to show that domestic violence exists in everyday relationships. I personally feel a little bit uncomfortable watching a woman being beaten, so I wouldn’t want someone younger than me to watch a music video like this one. What do you guys think? Possibly he grew up in a situation like this one in a rough childhood in New Orleans. Do you think it is okay to broadcast such actions when he knows possibly millions of people will see the video? Let me know! Here’s a link to the video by the way, skip to about 1:20!

What Does Sex Have To Do With… College Athletics

Sexual assault and rape is something that occurs more often than anyone would like, especially on college campuses. Every few or so weekends, it seems as if there has been an attempted rape or attempted sexual assault and we all receive an email about it. Whether these events are intentional or not, they happen often and everyone on campus knows something about it. But how about when the college student happens to be a star college football player who happens to have name that graces ESPN daily- especially this time of year. Jameis Winston, the star quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles who also serves as a pitcher on the baseball team, has dealt with a myriad of allegations and has played through controversy seemingly his entire college career.

Now in the middle of a conduct code hearing with the NCAA while his Seminoles are hunting down their second National title in a row, Winston was lucky enough to have not been charged with the sexual assault of a female acquaintance in 2012. No charges could have been pressed because of lack of evidence. Being that Jameis Winston is such a public figure in the sports world, he has the ultimate spotlight on him. Every time he makes a mistake, it is out for the entire world to see, as we have the luxury of ESPN to give us updates by the minute. Because college athletes are on such tight figurative leashes, you hear a lot of sexual assault and attempted rape charges on athletes across the country. In my opinion, if there is any inkling of a sexual felony associated with an athlete, the case will be brought down hard. Athletes in college represent so much more for a school than non- athletes, as they represent all staff, coaches, as well as their teammates.

Whats Sex Got To Do With… Immigrant Workers?

The lack of protection of women’s bodies, as well as the exchange of women’s bodies as commerce is something prevalent right here in the United States. It is no secret that people from around the world come to the United States, legally and illegally, in search of a better life. Desperate for work, many of these immigrants take on low quality minimum wage jobs just so they can survive. Legal immigrants have rights and insurance and whatever comes with legitimate working papers and a Visa, but what happens when you have undocumented workers working low wage jobs in this country? In the documentary Rape in the Fields, we listen to the stories of undocumented workers who have been sexually abused and raped while at work. We learned that there is a great deal of an informal exchange of power- women desperate to keep their jobs while in the United States illegally are raped and abused at the will of their bosses and higher-ups. Because illegal and undocumented women are not protected by the government, they have no autonomy over their bodies. The situation is the epitome of being stuck between a rock and a hard place- to an extreme extent. For undocumented female workers, they had to deal with being raped and abused so that they would not be exposed to the government, surely resulting in deportation. How can it be fair that these women come to the United States in order to have a better life, when it turns out that their lives become worse than they could have ever imagined? Experiencing the things they have gone through while working in the California fields, they might as well have stayed in Mexico, specifically relating to the documentary we watched, where they would still be poor but would not have to live in fear of being raped by their boss who dictates their pay- and in this case life.

What Does Sex Have To Do With… Gay Marriage on TV

Recently, I watched a commercial and I thought to myself, wow that would be perfect for a blog post! Well, here I am writing it. Although it is a very quick moment in the the one minute video, and it took some reflecting after I watched it to actually understand what was going on, there is a scene that encapsulates gay marriage. The commercial is that of an Android phone, however this isn’t really relevant as I thought deeper into the meaning of the commercial. The commercial is called “I do”, and it has been taken off of YouTube, but I was somehow able to find it under an alias of an iPhone 6 commercial.

The commercial depicts people of different races, religions, countries, ethnicities and so on, going through the process of marriage in their mosques, churches, temples, and one couple even got married atop a mountain. It was a very powerful and moving commercial indeed. However while all these heterosexual couples are getting married in lavish situations among hundreds, or so it seemed, of loved ones, the image of the gay couple getting married was striking and didn’t leave my mind for a while after the commercial had ended. There they were, two men, hand in hand by themselves and smiling at each other as they walked into City Hall. They had no one by their sides, no lavish church, no celebration, as if they had to legitimize their bond in secret. It in a way saddened me, and to be honest, I hadn’t looked at gay marriage in such a way before. just because gay marriage is allowed in some states, doesn’t mean that their rights and options for marriage are exactly the same as the rights appropriated to a heterosexual couple that wishes to be wed. I am not entirely sure if the ideas that ran through my head after the commercial was something the editor wanted to instill in the commercials audience, but I don’t doubt that subliminal messages in media exist, and are meant to leave audiences thinking.

The Confusion and Misunderstanding of Asexuality

Asexuality is a topic that is very confusing to many people, especially those people who identify as homosexuals. Some may think? How can you not like anyone? They may say that you have to like someone- whether it’s a guy or a girl, it doesn’t matter- you just have to be attracted to someone or some sex. In the case of David Jay, he firmly asserts that he is not attracted to males, nor females. When I watched the film (A)Sexual, I also had the immediate reaction to be skeptical of his sexual identity, as asexuality is something that is still tough personally for me to wrap my head around.

David Jay was featured on The View, and the ladies brought the heat for their discussion with him. Asexuality is not a problem, issue, or anything of the sort in Jay’s eyes, and in response one lady shot out: “So what is there to talk about then, exactly?” Since the ladies of The View didn’t quite understand asexuality, much like many people who haven’t talked about it or seen it much, they didn’t see the point for david Jay to take a stand for his asexual community. “What is there to talk about?” they asked, “If you’re not having sex then why do you need to form a group?” Do the ladies have a point? At first thought, yes. Yes they do have a very good point indeed. However, David Jay believes that asexuality is a topic that is highly misunderstood in society culture; for this reason he feels the need to form a group to assert themselves in a such a heteronormative society.

An interesting point brought up in the film was whether or not David’s asexuality was his identity. Is David truly asexual, sans feelings for any sex? Or is there something David is hiding or has fear of revealing? Jay quickly denied any notion that he is gay, especially when interrogated by the ladies of The View. As soon as he was asked if he was gay, a light bulb went off in my head- an indicator that I do not nearly have a full grasp myself of asexuality in its entirety. “That must be it!” I thought to myself. In my eyes, it makes sense that David Jay would try to mask his true sexual identity (in this case would be that he is gay) by saying that he simply is asexual. Although it is a push, calling yourself asexual and abstaining from any kind of sex would be an easy sellout if you were gay living in the society we live in. Living in denial, like the ladies of The View insist he is, would make sense once again if he came from a strong Christian or religious background. These thoughts flutter back in forth in my mind because when I think of how many men and women there are in this world, it is hard to think that there are people that simply aren’t interested.

Still on the subject of denial, there is something to be said from a psychological point of you. All throughout life, you are told to think good thoughts, to be a happy person, to be a positive life force, and to build others up instead of put them down. All of this is for a reason. There is a discourse called a self fulfilling prophecy, coined in 1948. I learned about the self fulfilling prophecy from my mother a long time ago, who continues to be he most positive influence in my life. When I studied it in psychology class as a high school senior, I learned that when you convince yourself that you are something or that you want something, sooner or later your daily actions will make it come true. Although this idea may be a little bit of a push, as I watched the video about asexuality and David Jay, I tried to think of all options to his asexuality. I thought that David Jay had been hiding his homosexuality for so long, or trying to gain attention he possibly didn’t receive during his childhood, that he had tricked himself into actually being asexual. While watching, as I said earlier, I found it hard to believe that he isn’t attracted to any sex or gender but now I am starting to accept that he wants to do his own thing. However, there are so many questions that are involved with asexuality. One that came to my head among the seemingly endless bunch was what would he masturbate to if he does at all? Masturbation is a common practice by males and females as a healthy way to regulate sexual desire. Every now and then people simply just need a release, but how would David Jay do so if he isn’t attracted to anyone? It seems like a pretty sad life sexually if you ask me, but then again, he claims to not have any sexual desires.

I guess the conflict with asexuality is that it does not agree with any other type of sexuality there is. Whether you are gay, straight, bi, transgender or transsexual (forgive me for not naming them all), there is someone you are attracted to, and someone who would be attracted to you in return. Being asexual in many ways cuts off a large chunk of what makes humans human- a sexual drive and desire. All this said, our misunderstanding and confusion with asexuality is the core reason why David Jay wants to stand up and be the face for asexuals everywhere.

Easier Said Than Done

There are so many things in life that are far more easier said than done. It is so easy to talk about something, and it is even harder to do it, or even be about it. On the subject of domestic abuse, it seems so easy just to leave the relationship. But how easy, or how hard is it really? The last thing you expect of the partner whom you have given your all to, whom you entrusted with your life, and the person whom you’ve chosen to spend your life with, is an abusive relationship. When two people are wed, domestic abuse seems like a topic that is irrelevant. A couple can stop and think and say “that’ll never happen to us”. As we have seen in every day life, domestic abuse can occur between any couple married or not, at any given time. It can occur unexpectedly, and it can occur even in a relationship that at one time was smoother than you could ever think possible. It is something that needs to end very soon.

Domestic abuse has been exposed greatly in the last two or three months especially in the NFL, and new cases appear on Sportscenter almost daily now, or so it seems. The biggest name case, not that domestic abuse has levels of severity or importance, is that of Ray Rice and his then fiancee Janay Palmer. Ray Rice was suspended for two games after the league heard about the incident, and then upon the TMZ release of the video footage, Rice was then suspended indefinitely. He was subsequently released by the Ravens, as they did not want to associate themselves with a man who beat a woman, even if he was once their Golden Boy. I must say that I am extremely guilty of being negatively captivated by the video. If you haven’t already seen the video, I am hesitant to post the link, but in case your curiosity is strong enough here it is. As a disclaimer, the video it very raw and uncut and is the full tape of the events that occurred in the elevator.

I say that I am captivated by this tape because for some reason, I could not stop watching. I was in shock that a man of Ray Rice’s physical and public stature would push and then knock his wife out cold. And his blow wasn’t any lousy punch… it was strong enough to knock a grown man off his feet as well. It does not matter that his wife gave him a shove before they got into the elevator, and it is somewhat irrelevant that we don’t know exactly what went on earlier in the night that led up to this very unfortunate and disgusting event. What Ray Rice did was unacceptable and personally, I feel that any man who puts his hands on a woman in an abusive fashion is a coward. No ifs, ands, or buts.

All this being said, the main question still remains: why did Janay follow through on her engagement and decide to marry her abuser? It would make zero sense to marry a person that knocked you out cold right? There are so many speculations as to why Janay Palmer decided to become Janay Rice. Some say it was because of the money and the benefits that come along with having a husband in the NFL. Only Janay Rice knows the true answer.

On the internet I found this link through “I AM UNBEATABLE”, which we got a great look at in Cohen. A writer named Beverly Gooden, a once upon a time victim of domestic violence saw the same speculations as to why Janay Rice married Ray Rice, and decided to take a stand. Gooden created a social media movement on Twitter with the hash tag, #WhyIStayed. As you read through some of the tweets, you will find it extremely difficult not to take some to heart. It broke my heart to hear the 140 character or less stories of women who stayed with their abusers because they thought true love would ultimately prevail. Beverly Gooden tweets: “I tried to leave the house once after an abusive episode, and he blocked me. He slept in front of the door that entire night. #WhyIStayed”, “I stayed because my pastor told me that God hates divorce. It didn’t cross my mind that God might hate abuse, too. #WhyIStayed”, “He said he would change. He promised it was the last time. I believed him. He lied. #WhyIStayed”, “I stayed because I thought love was enough to conquer all. #WhyIStayed”…It is heartbreaking that there are women in this country and across the world that endure these understated hardships because they feel like they have nothing, no one to turn to, and no other options. Here’s the link to Beverly Gooden’s #WhyIStayed page.


Domestic abuse is not love. There is no room for domestic abuse in any relationships, no mater or casual or serious. It is so easy to tell everyone who has been or is currently a victim of domestic abuse to get up and just walk out the door. But where do they go? Who do they turn to? Who will protect them? Since they feel like the abuser still loves them, who will love them? It is easy to make excuses for someone who you love. If anyone is in a relationship involving domestic abuse, there is no love. Love is not physically painful, a couple who truly love each other can attest to that. Simply, we must do something to help put an end to domestic abuse.

Sex In Hip Hop

The culture of hip hop and rap music is something that we studied earlier in the year. As a class, we read “Wait… Hip Hop Sexualities” by Thomas F. DeFrantz from MIT. DeFrantz opens his essay with his experience with a certain hip hop song that caught his attention. “Wait (The Whisper Song)” was a hit record by the Ying Yang Twins in 2005, and it was the epitome of what a lot of hip hop in modern culture is like: heavy bass, catchy beats, and sex on the dance floor type lyrics. But why has hip hop become an outlet for true sexual desires? How come no other type of music has been as related to sex as hip hop? Hip hop has been predominantly a part of African American culture since its inception (breakdancing, b-boying and b- girling) in the early 1980’s. A stereotype we have learned in class is that African Americans have been slapped with a label of being hypersexual, and a lot of hip hop artists over the years have coincidentally proved this stereotype to be true. DeFrantz writes, “African American culture has long prized a comfortable connection between spirituality, physicality, and sexuality in its performance traditions. These performances allow for: ecstatic release of energy; the call- and- response of performer and witness in service of communication; and a commitment to the well- being of the gathered community for the performance” (NSS 385). He goes on to write: “Taken together, these esthetic aspects of performance led directly to the place of sexually-charged lyrics in hip hop music” (NSS 385). DeFrantz believes that race is an issue in this subject, as African Americans’ suggestion of sex created a lot of anxiety for Whites. In my opinion, I feel that sex is made out to be a much bigger deal in White culture than in African American culture; in African American culture sex is more easily talked about, and is made a part of natural everyday life. In White culture, more often than not sex is made out to be a very strong taboo. For this reason, since hip hop is dominated by African American men and women, it is not uncommon to rap about something everyone in their culture is already thinking about. In their eyes, they think what’s the big deal? It is also no secret that sex sells.

Rappers make records about sex and women because it is what makes them the most money. Most rappers don’t care about the lyrics or message their music sends, as the only thing that matters is that it gets played on the radio, in clubs, and on iTunes. Every time someone hits play on their record, they get money, and that is all that matters. When people are drunk in a club and dancing and having a good time, surely they aren’t listening to any lyrics of a song. What they hear while bumping and grinding is a catchy beat and a couple sex terms that coincide with their situation at the time.

While browsing on YouTube for some songs to match this sexual hip hop stereotype, I found a couple of songs (newer and older) that exemplify this notion. In 2005, David Banner came out with a song called “Play”, and literally, and I mean literally the entire song is directly about sex. Whatever type of sex and style, you name it- David Banner mentions it in his song. No matter how vulgar the lyrics may be to this song, the beat just makes you want to move, and I actually find myself doing so while writing and listening to the song. David Banner raps about all the things he wants to do with the girl, and every way that he wants to please her… what a gentleman, right?

In more recent listening, a popular song in hip hop and r&b is “Or Nah”, by The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla $ign. Here, the lyrics are even more direct, as the beat recreates the squeaking of a bed frame while the chorus includes, “can you really take dick or nah? Can I bring another bitch or nah?” Ty Dolla $ign raps: “Girl, is you sucking me or fucking me or nah? Can I bring another bitch? Let’s have a threesome. Keep saying you’s a freak you gon’ prove it or nah?…. Say you not a side bitch, you all in or nah?… Can you do it like that on this dick or nah?” In my opinion, there are certain songs that are just solely meant to have sex to- and this one is one of them. It is very provocative, and while a couple is in the heat of a very powerful, meaningful and sensual moment, can be used to somewhat spice things up. Here’s the link:

Ultimately, it is no secret that hip hop music has come to be an outlet of sexual tensions of sorts. It has been used as a release of expression since its inception in the 1980’s. As a fan of hip hop and rap, i feel like the music I enjoy the most will continue to go in a sexual direction, as it has proven song after song after song that it sells and makes a ton of money. This being said, although it sells, is it right that rappers get to rap about sex, yet degrade women and objectify them along the way? Absolutely not. Sex is something sensual and private whether it is meaningful to both partners or not. Sometimes, as we see often times in life, money and fame wrongly get in the way of morals and values.

Whats Sex Got To Do With… Dallas Buyer’s Club?

I recently watched the movie Dallas Buyer’s Club starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Specifically, what intrigued me the most and left me in awe was the character incredibly played by Jared Leto. He played a trans woman living with HIV named Rayon, who works with Ron Woodroof to help others living with the disease. Before watching the movie, I had a tough time understanding fully the correct terms of trans men and women, and what their culture is all about. Through the actions and role play of Leto’s character Rayon, I was able to get a better grasp and understanding. Although Rayon dresses like a woman, has a male lover, and contracted HIV from a combination of unsterilized syringes and unsafe prostitution, Woodroof (McConaughey’s character) refers to Rayon as a male. In the scene where he runs into a homophobic acquaintance at the supermarket, Woodroof forces him to shake “his” hand. As soon as Woodroof referred to Rayon as a man, I was somewhat confused, yet at the same time enlightened in the trans culture. I didn’t matter that Rayon cross dressed, had a boyfriend, or wore makeup. He still considered himself a male and referred to himself as such, but still lived his life as a trans woman. Alhtough his characteristics suggest that he should consider himself a female, Rayon still defies the gender binary that says those people who are assigned male at birth will continue to lead a life as such.

What’s Sex Have To Do With… The NBA?

In the past year and a half, the elephant in the room has finally been revealed, and questions have been answered. Are there gay athletes playing at the highest level of competition? The answer is yes, yes there are. Jason Collins has been in the NBA since 2001, last playing for the Brooklyn Nets last season. He is a 7’0″ tall gifted athlete from Los Angeles, California. He played basketball at Stanford and was drafted as the 18th overall pick in 2001 by the Houston Rockets- he is no scrub whatsoever, just past his prime currently. He has played way more years in the NBA than its average player, and also has a twin brother Jarron who played along side him for many years in the NBA. Last year, he announced he was gay and had his face graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. He will forever be remembered as the first openly gay, male, active professional athlete. The amount of courage it took for Jason to come out of the closet to the world must have been unbearably tough; however, having the guts to continue to play basketball after doing so is something that will be remembered by the sports world forever. Of course the immediate questions swirled: how will his teammates react? How will he be received by fans? How will the locker room dynamic work? Where will he shower? Although I have heard not how the locker room and shower situation worked out, it is a general consensus that Jason Collins has been treated as he has his entire career. He is a player with talent, who is respected as a result of his humble nature and work ethic. Here is another question: well it took Jason Collins 12 years into his career to come out… are there any other gay players in the NBA? Personally, I feel that there at least a handful of gay players in the NBA; I was shocked and surprised to hear the news that Jason Collins was gay, so why wouldn’t there be room for any others out there? It is only a matter of time before the next player comes out, once they gain the courage it takes. It was a big step in the culture of the NBA to generally accept a gay player- but hey, the way they see it is: if you can play, then you can play! Who cares who you like to date anyway?