Our favorite Florida State rapper/artist Lena NW is back with a new rap video just in time for college football season. It’s called “Garnet & Gold” and it’s an artistic take on the school’s masculine football culture, according to a lengthy blog post on her Tumblr:
My freshman year I attended some fraternity parties and I just really don’t understand how Greek life is institutionally supported when it is literally designed to sustain and encourage gender inequality. I recently read “Fraternity Gang Rape” by Peggy Reeves Sanday which confirmed the speculations I had and the conclusions I drew from my first-hand Greek life experience. I recommend that book to all people. Like Greek life, football is also a huge part of this ultra masculine college culture; I see the mishandling of the rape investigation as by-product of the atmosphere this culture creates. Being in the proximity of this culture while thinking critically about it generated this artwork. I have higher expectations for male conduct than what these institutions allow to proliferate.
I finally released a music video to the song I refer to as the inspiration for the painting; I feel that the video clarifies that the series is more of critique on the institution/football community (and not Winston himself), because in a way I am appearing to “sexually assault” the Doak Campbell stadium; a symbol this college football culture I am critiquing. The Doak Campbell looks a bit like a church, football is religion at FSU… this situation is not unlike the churches cover up of priest sex offenders, who use their institutional status to get away with crime. Rape culture rationale can be used to defend the video. Throughout the video, the Sportsmanship statue is allegedly felt up. The Sportsmanship statue has a very provocative pose; no one falls like that! Why are his legs open? That spandex is very tight… he’s asking for it! There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the video stating that none of the filmed events occurred on FSU’s campus. If the police or the FSU administration attempted to disprove the disclaimer; they would have to conduct a more thorough investigation of my harmless creative expression than they did for Winston’s rape case.
I am also using the video to call attention to the institutional flaws at FSU for handling rape-culture in general on campus. In the video, I show two quotes from FSU Men Measure Up campaign (one old and out of print, one new and in rotation) posters side by side. FSU Men Measure Up is a campaign on campus with programs to help men prevent sexual abuse on campus. FSU Men Measure Up posters are prominently placed around campus, and attempt to convey the message that FSU is doing its part minimizing campus rape-culture. Older manifestations of the FSU Men Measure Up Campaign posters include valuable statistics about the state of sexual abuse on campus but contextualize the statistics in misleading way.
The most jarring statistic of the early FSU Men Measure Up campaign posters reads: “72% of FSU Men surveyed agreed that consent to have sex is not implied just because a woman is willing to go home with a man”. In a school with a population of approximately 41,000 students, one can apply the above statistic and approximate that 7,790 students, concentrated in a small area around FSU’s campus, at least condone, if not participate in rape culture. Below are some examples of other FSU Men Measure Up posters that were removed from the campaign.
Certainly can’t hate the message. That said, the video is, um…. Interesting: