Coachella 2015: Man’s Offensive Shirt Angers Social Media, Ignites Rape Culture Debate
Coachella Music Festival

Coachella 2015: Man’s Offensive Shirt Angers Social Media, Ignites Rape Culture Debate

A shirt seen on a fan at Coachella has the social media in an uproar. On Sunday afternoon, THUMP editor Jemayel Khawaja shared a photo of a man wearing an offensive t-shirt on his Twitter account. The unidentified man was seen wearing a t-shirt that read “Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat.”

The photo quickly went viral, as users debated about rape jokes and rape culture in general. It also had some wondering if the photo was photoshopped, according to The Huffington Post. Some users said that the shirt was meant to say “Eat, Sleep, RAVE, Repeat,” but it still hasn’t been confirmed. There are online stores that sell various versions of the “Eat, Sleep, RAVE, Repeat” t-shirts but none that sell the “Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat” t-shirt that the man wears in the photo.

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Khawaja included the following tweet: “This guy wins the award for worst fashion/lifestyle choices at @coachella. I’m not easy to offend, but this is sh***y.”

It also had Khawaja’s followers speaking out about the offensive shirt on Twitter.

“Can’t even understand why someone would think that’s funny…Or wearable in public.”

“Is that real? I imagine it was meant to say ‘RAGE’?”

“Let’s hope with this going viral, this guy will realize potential dates/employers & his mom may have a different take on his message.”

The shirt is so offensive that even men have been weighing in on the debate. It also doesn’t help to know that Coachella is known for having a history of rape and sexual assault allegations, according to Crave Online. The music festival last made headlines when one of the festival’s bodyguards reportedly raped a woman in 2011. There were also reports of a 17-year-old being sexually assaulted in a restroom in 2012. The man’s offensive t-shirt brought up the discussion of “rape culture,” including at Coachella and most music festivals in general.

Amber Rouse told the Northern-Iowan that she feels “comfortable” and “safe” every time she attends Coachella. She doesn’t believe that women have to look out for their safety at the popular music festival. Rouse also added that festivals like Coachella are responsible for rape culture.

“From the music festivals I have attended, there has not been a single time I felt unsafe or uncomfortable. I enjoyed every bit of it — from the music to the performers to the crowd to the experience.”

“Music festivals are amazing events at which you can appreciate the individuals’ expressions, as well as the creations [music] artists are sharing, and being able to feel safe is an important aspect of these festivals because you can’t truly be yourself or become a part of the music if fear is a common denominator.”

“However, I am not saying my experience is the only experience — I fully acknowledge that women (not just women) are sexually assaulted and violated at music festivals; people are constantly ‘brushed’ against intentionally, subjected to unsolicited comments about their bodies and some are even outright groped because their enjoyment of the music was seen as invitation. It’s shirts like this one that justify and perpetuate rape culture.”

Sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals spoke to the media about “rape culture,” and why festivals like Coachella sustain it.

“‘Rape culture’ is the way we as a collective society think about sexual assault. It’s a concept with roots in feminist theory that maintains sexual assault is pervasive, unevenly distributed, and normalized, all while constantly being maintained by various inequalities related to gender, sexualities, race, social class, physical ability, age, and more. Behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, slut shaming, and sexual objectification, as well as trivializing or denial of assault and/or various forms of sexual violence.”

“I don’t believe that Coachella in particular is perpetuating rape culture. Rape culture is something that’s embedded in the fabric of our society – it’s far larger than a music festival event that allows attendees to make uncensored or unencumbered wardrobe choices.”

What are your thoughts on the “Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat” shirt? Do you think it perpetuates rape culture at music festivals like Coachella?

[Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella]

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