Very Interesting Piece on Rape in Fantasy (and popular culture)

Nerds_feather

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I'd like to share a very interesting article I read today, on the prevalence of rape in fantasy (and popular culture at large). The article is worth reading in full, as it's quite compelling (and I think more compelling--and nuanced--than some similar arguments I've read in the past).

Not sure if this is the right place for this, but I thought I'd stick it here instead of the main page for two reasons:

1. The topic may be too disturbing for some people to get involved with, and I'd like to respect that.

2. The topic may inflame passions, and I'd hope that putting this thread in the SFFLounge might suggest that everyone who does reply do so in a civil and respectful manner.


Choice quote #1:

Last year, halfway through the second book of the series, I gave up readingA Song of Ice and Fire. I had enjoyed the first novel very much – I liked the sense that the fantastic elements were providing a different lens on the Middle Ages, removing the sense that there was something default or inevitable about mediaeval European culture, and re-revealing the fundamental strangeness of a world of knights and kings. I enjoyed the resonances with specific episodes in real history – the War of the Roses, the Jacobite rebellions. It reminded me of the songs by the Corries that I, a fake Scot, grew up on. I even enjoyed all the freaking heraldry and food.

That sense of history seemed to be dwindling away a bit in the second book, but in the end, that wasn’t what drove me away.

Instead, it was all the rape.

Choice quote #2:

To briefly return to A Song of Ice and Fire: The Black Watch, an all-male organisation that’s a bit like the Catholic church and a bit like the military, has a bit of a bullying problem.Some of the recruits are explicitly "rapers". But none of the bullying turns sexual, not even from characters who have form as perpetrators of sexual violence. None of the boys suffers rape. Neither do any of the male peasants who are taken prisoner at various points by various factions. Despite being smaller and weaker than most of his male peers, Tyrion does not get raped, nor is he made to fear rape, either when captured by enemy noblemen or surrounded by hundreds of violent, volatile outlaws. They threaten to kill him, even to mutilate him, but not to rape him. Why not? Isn’t this supposed to be a grim, ruthless,realistic world?

Men, if you’re feeling a bit queasy at the idea of so many beloved characters suffering rape – if you’re feeling creeped out by someone enthusiastically arguing in favour of them being raped because it’s too bad if it upsets you, it’srealistic… Well, hi. Welcome to the world of women.

I look forward to hearing people's responses to the full article.
 

Nerds_feather

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I thought it was a really interesting article, and posted it for that reason. I also put it here on the assumption that it's a smaller crowd who check this page, so people who don't want to respond don't have to see it on the main page, and thus would be able to ignore or avoid a conversation they don't want to have.

If that's still too much for the site's mods, I honestly don't mind if one of they delete the thread. I'd probably then just post it in the tropes against women thread and be perfectly fine with that.
 

Jo Zebedee

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It might only be me, NF. And it's nothing to do with your article. Just that I'm not sure what more there is to say on the subject that hasn't been covered. I'm sure the mods won't take a thread down just because I turned into a norweigan blue and fell off my perch. :D
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I agree with springs that this topic has been pretty much done to death. Has anyone here anything new to say on the subject? I suspect not. Right now, I think we'll probably wait and see if things grow unpleasant before we consider shutting down this thread.

But if we do decide to remove this thread, posting the same information in another thread would not go over well with the moderators, that I can promise you.
 

Nerds_feather

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I agree with springs that this topic has been pretty much done to death. Has anyone here anything new to say on the subject? I suspect not. Right now, I think we'll probably wait and see if things grow unpleasant before we consider shutting down this thread.

But if we do decide to remove this thread, posting the same information in another thread would not go over well with the moderators, that I can promise you.

I think there are some crossed wires here. I was assuming the issue was that there were other recent conversations on the similar topic, and there was (presumably) no need for a new one. In that case, then letting this thread be deleted and posting the link in the other thread would appear to be the implied better course of action. But if instead, this is deemed too sensitive or conflict-generating a topic right now, then reposting the link elsewhere would not be the implied better course of action. I think I was assuming the former and you the latter. But regardless--it's up to you guys and I'm okay with whatever it is you need to do to keep the community in good shape.

That said, this has all gotten a bit too meta for me, and all I really wanted was to hear how people reacted to the article I posted. So I'll refrain from any further comment on this and wait and see if there are any comments no that.

Just please, if you do delete the thread, please someone let me know via PM whether it's for reason A or reason B.
 

Nerds_feather

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It might only be me, NF. And it's nothing to do with your article. Just that I'm not sure what more there is to say on the subject that hasn't been covered. I'm sure the mods won't take a thread down just because I turned into a norweigan blue and fell off my perch. :D

But I mean--I get it. Maybe it is too much? I've been sort of concentrating on single threads at a time over the past couple months (as I was in Indonesia and did not have a very stable internet connection), so I've been kind of oblivious to site-wide dynamics. And of course the topic is laden with triggers--so I don't presume anyone who thinks it's too much is being too sensitive or anything. Maybe I wasn't sensitive enough in posting it?

I'm honestly find with the thread being deleted and am wondering now, given that the whole conversation is about the posting of the thread rather than the topic of the thread, if that's not the better course of action.
 

alchemist

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I might well agree there's too much rape in book 2 of ASOIAF (I've only read book 1), but frankly I find the gleefulness with which some commentators propose more male rape in fiction, for shock value, or to make men "get it", quite distasteful. I'm not so dim that I need to read about Tyrion being raped to realise how terrible a crime rape is, thanks very much random Internet commentator .

(not directed at NF, btw)
 

Michael Colton

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As others have said, I have said my piece on most of these issues in other threads. I do not have the energy to do another one.
 

Brian G Turner

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frankly I find the gleefulness with which some commentators propose more male rape in fiction, for shock value, or to make men "get it", quite distasteful.

Yep, agree. The quotes read as yet another militant attempt to re-tread an old and worn road of is there enough sexual realism in a specific, popular work of fiction?

Btw, NF - you forgot to link to the original article, I think?
 

AnyaKimlin

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When it is handled I think male rape needs to be handled sensitivity not just taking a random character and doing it to even some score. When I wrote about it for NaNoWriMo I received several emails from men who wanted to help me get my book right. It remains the most difficult story I have ever written. Maybe one day I'll get it ready for publication.
 

Nerds_feather

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Woops! I did forget to link to it. Here it is. As you will all see, the argument is not "gleefully calling for more male rape," but is rather saying that there's a double standard about what we (male readers) will rationalize as "realistic" (i.e. sexual violence against women but not against men). The author is quite clear that she doesn't actually want to see more male rape in fantasy and popular media.

I think, on balance, it is much more nuanced than some similar arguments that have been made.
 

Ice fyre

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Sadly rape is something that happens, disgusting as it is, it should never be condoned. But one has to kinda sit back and say to oneself, was it necessary to the story? Or was it put in for shock value, Game of Thrones is a dark fantasy world, to be fair to Mr Martin the people he has raping are quite frankly not very nice people. In the books there are consquences to the rape, there is revenge, people get angry and quite frankly one of the victims take years but she wreaks a horrible revenge. My opnion is I dont like rape scenes much, but I am enraged by the appologists in Fantasy! People who write the "She actually wants it" I remmber reading one particular series in which a female is being raped, she thinks its her lover, but realises half way through its his evil brother....does she fight? Does she shout? No she shrugs and gets on with it! I stopped reading the series shortly afterward as I was incredibly uncomfortable, not with the subject matter but the cartoonish way it was presented.
 

Dinosaur

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Murder, slaughter, genocide, death, disorder and the four horsemen released is all good fun and family entertainment. The golden goose is on the loose etc.

Significantly lower rates of sexual assault than historically recorded and improved peasants quality of life makes something bad.

But yeah, this keeps getting rehashed on the internet.
 

Ray McCarthy

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Drug use, crime and violence has been falling since Lead was banned from Petrol. Scientists can't decide yet if this causation or co-incidence or something else. In some areas rape reports have risen, but they think it's a rise in willingness to report and of Police to actually record it, rather than an actual rise in acts. Same applies to Child Abuse.
 

Mirannan

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Drug use, crime and violence has been falling since Lead was banned from Petrol. Scientists can't decide yet if this causation or co-incidence or something else. In some areas rape reports have risen, but they think it's a rise in willingness to report and of Police to actually record it, rather than an actual rise in acts. Same applies to Child Abuse.

This is definitely a derail (and in this particular case that may be a good thing) but there is another bit of info that might be relevant to the "lead causes crime" issue.

This is that in several trials, people who consume multinutrient supplements behaved better than those who did not (and yes, the trials were double-blind controlled). Trials were done on children in schools and on prisoners. In the case of the children the behaviour being looked at led to things as detentions and the like; in the case of prisoners, violent incidents were logged.

One of the relevant nutrients is zinc, and this leads to the connection with lead. Lead has toxic properties largely resulting from the fact that it's a powerful zinc antagonist; so people breathing in lead are likely to be effectively zinc-deficient even if they consume enough.

This chain of reasoning is a little shaky, I know - but I think it has some validity.
 

Ray McCarthy

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Certainly people in poor, high employment areas have much poorer diet. Could this be a factor in the incredibly higher crime, drug, domestic violence, truancy?
 

Ray McCarthy

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Try eating well on very little money!
It's not as simple as that. It's partly culture and ignorance.
Too much fizzy drinks
Too much spent on Beer, Pay TV, mobile phone and Cigarettes
Massive spend on Christmas presents, First Communion etc.
The kind of food Products advertised on TV.
A decent additive free diet, a little lower in meat, can cost less or the same as the highly processed (Added value = more profit) pre-packaged foods.
I've had no income for 6 years. I know about the little money bit.

Also the lotto is a tax on the poor.
 

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