Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2017

Honors Major Advisor

Kruger, Marie

Thesis Mentor

Carr, Lucas


Rape culture as a term was coined in the 1970s, but it did not become part of the average vernacular until the past decade. While there is some scholarship on the subject, there is very little about its presence in media and pop culture, especially in music. The scholarship that does exist is focused on discussing the existence of rape culture or proving that it has a presence in media rather than contemplating what this means for the United States as a culture. This thesis aims to not only prove that rape culture is prominent in American pop music, but also to take a multi-disciplinary approach at analyzing this trend in order to consider possible consequences. Part One will argue for the presence of rape culture in American pop music by comparing song lyrics to general themes of rape culture as well as testimonials of sexual assault. Part Two will offer further scrutiny into the culture surrounding the songs analyzed in Part One by discussing them in context of the albums they are a part of, the music videos for them, and the lives of the artists who create them. Part Three will examine possible consequences of the perpetuation of rape culture in American pop music based on discussions of this tendency using different disciplines of study including a gender studies approach, a legal approach, and a psychoanalytical approach. This thesis is a call to action. While the paper will not go into extensive detail on how to eradicate the problem, it will discuss a few feminist responses that have and have not worked. The main goal of this paper is to bring light to an area of feminist study that has been lacking and to discuss why it is important to recognize the existence of rape culture as well as its presence in popular music.


pop music, rape culture, feminism, Catharine MacKinnon, social justice

Total Pages

60 pages


Copyright © 2017 Chloe Cable

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.