[Content warning for discussion of rape in media.]
Yet for me, rape and sexual assault isn’t a way to tell a story. It’s just one of countless insensitive stories using a very real problem in some trite excuse for writing. Even if you take out the horror of trivializing an act with such huge impact, I feel that media at large has been beating this dead horse for far too long. It seems like you can’t have a woman on screen without her being sexually assaulted. As if there aren’t any other stories to tell about women.
–wolsey doesn’t watch rape media.
I, too, am at the stage where I will (try) to avoid media that depicts rape, Wolf of Wall Street being one of my most recent disappointments. Aside from the fact that it was tedious, self-indulgent, over-long, and not nearly as clever as it thought it was,1 it was also very casual in depicting its protagonist beating and raping his wife. Like. Its protagonist who is a really real person, and whose wife is also, I assume, a really real person.2 And who we’re supposed to, I don’t know, think of as some kind of lovable rogue at the bottom of his character arc? While he’s–and let’s not be too subtle about this–beating and raping his wife.
Yeah. Fuck that shit right off.
Note that it’s not that I don’t think rape is possible to “do well” in media… it’s just that it almost never is. Generally because it’s almost always depicted on-screen for the titillation of men, whether that’s actual sexual titillation (sadly common), or intended as a kind of “outrage titillation” so the Default Assumed Male Viewer can get Appropriately Angry at the villain and cheer as the Default Male Protagonist Gets His Revenge. (Also known as the “push it off the table” version of Kelly Sue DcConnick’s Sexy Lamp Test.)
So, yes. My rule of thumb on rape in media is “if the scene is written/produced/whatever by a man, it can fuck off; if it’s by a woman, I’ll think about it”.
It means I don’t “get” to watch/read a lot of Big Name Stuff (cough Game of Thrones cough). Honestly?
I don’t feel I’m missing out.
- Yes, I get the “meta” of this, but unfortunately “clever meta” only goes so far if the net result is pretentious, unwatchable drivel that lionises a pathetic sack of shit for the enjoyment of other, equally pathetic sacks of shit. For the record, my husband wanted to see this film and it’s also the only film he’s ever suggested we walk out of, circa the 40 minute mark. I made him sit through the whole thing, because I am a Mean Wife. It was very uncomfortable. (Albeit not as uncomfortable, I imagine, as hubby’s banker friend who took his future parents-in-law to see the film the day it was released. The wedding is still on, last I heard, but he did have to issue a formal apology.)
- I hope she and/or her kids made a shittonne of money off that shitty film, I really do. But the pessimist in me doubts it.