[Content warning for discussion of rape in fiction.]

Olivia over at Skepchick has an article on why she’s so tried of seeing rape used as a plot device in fiction. Namely, that it’s almost always used as a specifically crafted “setting” rather than being about the pain and recovery of survivors.

There are only two tropes that will get me to put down something faster than Netflix on FttP. The first is books written by men in which a female POV character spends any amount of time at all thinking about, looking at, or describing her own breasts (or bra, or cup size, or whatever).1

The second is books that include rape. Or sexual assault. Or Generic Misogynist Villain #9372.

Because I’m just sick of it. So stop it.

(That being said, I am reading Joe Hill’s Horns at the moment, the set-up of which is basically “schlubby loser’s hot girlfriend is raped and murdered, everyone thinks he did it, but it was really his ‘friend’ whose sociopathic misogyny and BLARING GREAT WARNING SIGNS loser protagonist has been ignoring since childhood”. I can’t say I’m in love with that as a premise, but I did choose the book knowing the plot, mostly as a if-I-can’t-like-this-book-I-can’t-like-Joe-Hill test; kind of a last chance after being so disappointed by Locke and Key. So Horns is basically wall-to-wall manpain, but so far it’s saved partly by Hill’s prose–which is exactly the kind of archetypal, character-driven, horror/modern fantasy I love–and partly by the fact the book is something of a comment on the “bystander” effect feminists talk about a lot, i.e. even if you’re a “good guy”, if you don’t call out your male friends on their misogyny, then women suffer. Also I like to imagine that said murdered girlfriend did a deal with The Devil to give her boy the book’s titular horns and associated powers in order to get revenge on her killer from beyond the grave. Still. It’s a close thing.)

  1. Seriously guys, don’t do this. Ever. Especially not if it’s in that bullshit, Whedon-fauxminist way of, “she was only an [A-C] cup but she sighed and moved on with her life”. I have seen that so many times, from men who couldn’t possibly have read each others’ work. It’s awful. Always. 100% bad. Don’t do it.