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Depiction of rape in media [Trigger warning]
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Leohan



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:57 am    Post subject: Depiction of rape in media [Trigger warning] Reply with quote

So, hey people. I don't often hang around this place but really there was no possible excuse to bring this up in the Sinfest subforum. I digress, though.

Something I hear often is that it's not alright for artists to feature rape scenes or to use rape as a plot element in their works, especially if they are not victims themselves... I've been thinking hard about this, and decided that I disagree with the perspective. Still, I have an open mind regarding it.

Rape is something that happens all too often. As such, I feel like it should be represented in artistic works and creations. What's more, ignoring such a thing is dangerous, and I feel like proper representations on the issue could help a lot in keeping people informed.

Really, we don't cause that much of a ruckus when it comes to other sort of horrible things that happen to people, like mass, bloody killings. And I know that the argument for this is "Dead people don't have triggers while plenty rape victims do." Still, though, you hear it all the time about soldiers that came out of a war different, changed by their experiences and with very bad PTSD, yet we celebrate, both in fiction and in reality, the soldiers that could have arguably dealt with the worst of it. The more human beings you have killed, the better!

Hell, one of the worst things that could happen to anyone is seeing their loved ones killed while being impotent to do anything about it. In comics that constitutes an origin story.



Still, though, there is a huge point against all that I said, and it's all of the artists that handle rape irresponsibly, as a method for 'breaking' certain characters, as the fridge of choice to put their women in or, God help us, as comedy. I can see, from that perspective, the point behind not wanting representations of rape in media.

What do you think, yourselves?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really think it's the kind of thing that's a 'case by case' basis sort of deal, but if I had to give a general answer, it first requires a question: Is the rape essential to the story or is it just being used a narrative device?

For instance, the movie Speak, which is based upon the story of a girl surviving being raped, it's part of the story. Her suffering the trauma and the viewer going through it with her is part of the story. It doesn't glorify it, and it's an integral part of the story.

Similarly, if you were making a movie of Mongol conquest, well pillaging, murdering, and raping were significant things that they did. You can't accurately portray their conquest and eschew rape -- it's dishonest, in accurate, and basically could be regarded as white washing and/or sugar coating. NOW MIND YOU this doesn't mean you need to glorify rape or even show it. Off screen and heavy implication done right would work just as well if not better.

****

Now if you're using it as a plot device -- fuck that shit. Lazy writing, glorifications, fetishization -- all forms of using rape as just a plot device are horrible and pretty much universally unnecessary.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a different perspective: Did Marcellus Wallace need to be raped in Pulp Fiction? Was the film and/or story made better by it? Could it have been done differently? Would he have been able to resolve his issues with Butch otherwise?

I don't have an answer on this BTW, just some food for thought.
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Leohan



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
From a different perspective: Did Marcellus Wallace need to be raped in Pulp Fiction? Was the film and/or story made better by it? Could it have been done differently? Would he have been able to resolve his issues with Butch otherwise?

I don't have an answer on this BTW, just some food for thought.

...It was a plot device. Not absolutely necessary, but it served a purpose: Butch saves Marcellus from a situation which garners forgiveness, but he can absolutely never speak about that to anyone and has to leave. It stands to reason that whatever happened to Marcellus should make him feel ashamed, impotent or both at the same time.

Rape was the obvious choice, I figure, but I think it could have gone without that.

Regardless, I don't think it was handled well in the whole part where Butch is contemplating increasingly badass weaponry, without much hurry, as Marcellus is heard moaning. It was clearly meant to garner laughter.
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Winter Woman



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it's only when rape or other violence against women is used as a plot devise or otherwise forward the man's story. In other words, it is a quick and lazy devise where the woman is just something that things are done to so the man can be either traumatized or heroic or both. If you took out the woman being raped and put in having their pizza peed on, it would essentially amount to the same thing plotwise.

Example: First episode of Blindspot. The heroic male character is introduced as he leads a team saving a bunch of sex slaves chained inside a house. The women are in their usual victim disheveled and crying costumes. He saves the day. We never see these women or know anything else of their story. They don't have names. The entire purpose of this scene is to show that the good guy is good because he rescues victimized women. Later in the show we learn that the good girl (the heroine) is good because she beats up an abusive husband. Again, no clue who the woman is other than battered wife. For all we know our heroine just made the wife's life worse. There is no point or purpose to this show of violence against women other than to show the audience something trivial that could be done in another, more original way.
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like someone got an assignment.

Historically, rape has been part of many many plays since days of old (Titus Andronicus anyone?). Whether or not it was made purposefully or just for the nipple factor is up for the writer/crowd aimed at the time is up to one's opinion.

Let just say that it's way easier to aim at the lower head than at the upper one.

If we're talking about current film/telly shows. Films dealing about rape like 'Mystic rivers' shows how one's life is forever branded even years later; 'Spotlight' deals with parenthood (the scene where the father ask what how will he reacts once his son reaches the age when he himself started being abused is hard to watch); or how one's life can be broken when one is accused of rape when the character was not guilty (or was he?), thinking of 'Les risques du métier here' with Jacques Brel as the teacher. That's off the hat, pretty sure there are a lot of other films to use as reference material.

...Odd that all those film just mentionned have men as victims. As if it was actually harder to make a good film/show whenever women are concerned, either as victims or as perpetrators.

Telly shows are usually crowd pleaser, like Winter Woman said above. Not sure they're worth spilled bytes except to mention them as trash bin value.
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Nyctophile



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A ton to say on this subject, but to sum up a lot of it in a sentence:
To censor the subject or to pretend it doesn't exist would be a greater insult to victims.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyctophile wrote:
A ton to say on this subject, but to sum up a lot of it in a sentence:
To censor the subject or to pretend it doesn't exist would be a greater insult to victims.


You realize this is a very problematic position to hold, right?

There was this guy in my area who a lot of my friends know and he was just arrested the other day for 104 counts of child porn -- he was in possession and distributing it -- and it was stated that a significant portion of it contained scenes of children under a year old being sexually assaulted.

http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20160407/NEWS/160409609

Quote:
A precursory search, of one of two laptop computers found in a backpack, revealed several hundred images of children as young as several months old. More than 100 of these images depicted children engaged in indecent contact.


So it'd be okay for a movie, television series, or other media to depict an infant being sexually assaulted because censoring would be a greater insult. Got it.
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Nyctophile



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
Nyctophile wrote:
A ton to say on this subject, but to sum up a lot of it in a sentence:
To censor the subject or to pretend it doesn't exist would be a greater insult to victims.


You realize this is a very problematic position to hold, right?

There was this guy in my area who a lot of my friends know and he was just arrested the other day for 104 counts of child porn -- he was in possession and distributing it -- and it was stated that a significant portion of it contained scenes of children under a year old being sexually assaulted.


Yeah, not remotely the same.
Child pornography, even just owning or viewing it, is illegal. For good reasons. That's a guy was caught and arrested is not a "mention or depiction in a piece of art", it's a crime. And on the same note, hiding the crime would be even worse. The world isn't as bad as the media usually makes it out to be, but pretending certain things don't happen just because it might make some people uncomfortable leaves people uneducated and unprepared for dangers that life might have in store.

And to shift back over from reality and reporting into art and fictional depiction, art is to hold a mirror up to life. An allusion to a disgusting and heinous crime is not the same as depicting it for pornographical reasons. Bad things can happen in life, art referencing these bad things invokes emotions. Anger, disgust, terror, etc. It's said that Death is an important symbol, because it defines life. Likewise good and evil often define each other by contrast. Not all art, stories, music, movies, etc can be puppydogs and rainbows 24/7.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyctophile wrote:
Darqcyde wrote:
Nyctophile wrote:
A ton to say on this subject, but to sum up a lot of it in a sentence:
To censor the subject or to pretend it doesn't exist would be a greater insult to victims.


You realize this is a very problematic position to hold, right?

There was this guy in my area who a lot of my friends know and he was just arrested the other day for 104 counts of child porn -- he was in possession and distributing it -- and it was stated that a significant portion of it contained scenes of children under a year old being sexually assaulted.


Yeah, not remotely the same.
Child pornography, even just owning or viewing it, is illegal. For good reasons. That's a guy was caught and arrested is not a "mention or depiction in a piece of art", it's a crime. And on the same note, hiding the crime would be even worse. The world isn't as bad as the media usually makes it out to be, but pretending certain things don't happen just because it might make some people uncomfortable leaves people uneducated and unprepared for dangers that life might have in store.

And to shift back over from reality and reporting into art and fictional depiction, art is to hold a mirror up to life. An allusion to a disgusting and heinous crime is not the same as depicting it for pornographical reasons. Bad things can happen in life, art referencing these bad things invokes emotions. Anger, disgust, terror, etc. It's said that Death is an important symbol, because it defines life. Likewise good and evil often define each other by contrast. Not all art, stories, music, movies, etc can be puppydogs and rainbows 24/7.


Babies get raped. Children get raped. Teens get raped. Adults get raped.

Getting raped is still getting raped regardless of age.

By your rationale we can show adults getting raped because it's legally okay to show adults in sexual situations. By your rationale you're saying that rape is the same thing as sex or sexual situations, this is why your stance is problematic, and it doesn't have to do with censorship.

Holding a position which equates rape with sex or finds it equivocal to sexual situations is problematic and simply wrong. From a morality standpoint, rape is not sex. Rape is not a sexual situation, it is a violation upon a person(s) by another person(s).
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Vixine



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I'm glad you used the quote function because it lets me quickly bounce back from your comment to the one you're quoting and I can't see a single thing besides the general topic of rape that the two have in common. Where did any of that come from?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re-read it all and figure it out -- it's in there.

Here's a hint: the summation given in Nicto's original post is broad and reaching and allows for a lot of interpretation. The following clarification fails to realize this and it gets worse from there.
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Midnight Tea



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a fan of rape as a lazy plot device. I do think it's important we de-stigmatize it as a topic so victims more readily come forward. But a lot of the time when it is used as a plot device, it's coming from the perspective of someone who seems to unconsciously thinks of it as a "natural event". Something that women just have to deal with. Like part of the burden of being a woman or something, or a tool for drama in forwarding a female character's plot development. That's bullshit, especially considering that women aren't the only victims anyway. And society is not an immutable force like the goddamn weather.

Then again, over-reliance on rape as a plot device I think is part of a larger ongoing problem with media storytelling where nowadays everything is about spectacle, drama and shock value. People used to not care about "spoilers" for instance the intense way they do now. But I digress.

This is not to say I'm against rape being portrayed or ever used. Hell no, it is part of human history and one of the darker parts at that. It deserves exploration. The "Aliens" franchise is one of my favorite alltime examples, as it explored the underlying horror of it stripped of social contexts. I'm not even asking that rape always be a centerpiece or never being invoked as part of a character's story, that'd be silly and restrictive. All I want is that the topic not be used with the same sort of writing laziness that sees us constantly having to see Bruce Wayne's parents dramatically killed over and over again. YES WE GET IT ALREADY. BATMAN WANTS TO SYMBOLICALLY AVENGE HIS PARENTS. JESUS.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm with darq - it depends on context and how it is used in the story. yes, it is something that happens, and as such, should be depicted in art. but it's something horrific that happens, and depicting it should acknowledge that. it's something we are really failing to do with violence - nowadays it seems like the only way a movie can be a blockbuster is if it has lots of explosions, and we just expect the hero of the cop show to kill a criminal every week and never think twice about it. we need really not to do that with rape.

it's kind of like the discussion we had a while back about whether it is ever acceptable to tell jokes about rape - it all depends on whose perspective the joke comes from. if you are just adding to the distress of rape victims to get a cheap laugh, then no.
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Nyctophile



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like it as a lazy plot point the way I don't like anything as a lazy plot point. I don't like using it casually because rather than de-stigmatizing in a way to help victims, it instead just desensitizes people into thinking it as a casual subject (every court show, oh another pedophile, oh another rapist. Yawn who cares anymore.... NOT the attitude people should be taking towards such a subject). I do think it has it's uses in art and media when in the context of "We should not shy away from this subject" way.

Watchmen. Classic comic. The attempted rape scene of Miss Jupiter. That wasn't just some cheap plot point to go "oh this is edgy and will add some life to the story", it was harrowing and terrifying. It aimed to portray evil, it succeeded.

'Nother DC comic, Identity Crisis. The rape and death of Sue Dibny has been criticized as a pointless plot device. I disagree, the comic was already edgy, the extent they went to and the gradual reveal of it went into a "we will not shy away from this" issue and properly got the reader to share the mentality of the heroes. "I see now why good guys might do bad things."
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