Skip to comments.Why are there so many rapes on TV?
Posted on 05/12/2014 9:19:56 AM PDT by rickmichaels
It seemed like Game of Thrones had gotten to the point where nothing it did could shock anyone. Then came a scene in the April 20 episode Breaker of Chains, where Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) forced himself on his incestuous lover, Cersei (Lena Headey), while she urged him to stop. For turning a consensual scene from George R.R. Martins original books into an apparent rape scene, the producers received the most negative criticism of any episode in the shows history; the popular online critic Film Crit Hulk spoke for many people when he wrote Hulk smash the totally mishandled rape in the recent Game of Thrones episode. But the reaction might not have been so strong if this scene hadnt come on the heels of a period when rape has been perhaps more prevalent as a story point on TV than its ever been.
The current TV season has been especially heavy on this type of story ever since Mellie, the U.S. first lady on Scandal, turned out to have been raped by her own father-in-law. On House of Cards, the Lady Macbeth-like Claire revealed that a high-ranking military officer is the man who raped her in college. And in period dramas like Game of Thrones, rape scenes have become shorthand for the power imbalance between men and women: It happened to the anti-heroine of the 80s drama The Americans, to Anna the maid on Downton Abbey, and to Joan on Mad Men.
Many people took the popularity of this storytelling device as another sign that things arent good for women on TV. Karen Valby of Entertainment Weekly suggested there might be stories to tell about a female character that dont involve pinning her under some mans heaving chest.
But not all the reaction has been negative. Some commentators have argued that by making rape a big part of important characters histories, TV is finally dealing with the impact rape can have on its survivorsunlike older shows, where victims appeared for only a few minutes and then were forgotten. Eliana Dockterman of Time magazine wrote that Scandal and The Americans reflect societys new-found willingness to look at unreported rapes, to deal with the fact that for so long rape was something swept under the rug.
Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post also drew attention to the difference between many current shows and the old exploitative rape plots on TV: in these shows, no one gets rescued; no one gets a day in court. Sometimes the rapists are punished, but usually through extra-legal means: the male lead of The Americans murders his wifes rapist, and Downton Abbey hinted that the same thing might have happened to Annas rapist. The writers are open, and critical, about the fact that the law often cant help rape victims: Amanda Marcotte of Slate praised House of Cards for showing that perhaps the forces of sexism are just too overwhelming for meaningful change in sexual assault law.
Yet even these shows can turn rape into a plot device. Some have used it as a humanizing factor for characters who otherwise seem unpleasant. The Washington Posts Bethonie Butler called the rape storyline on Scandal part of an attempt to make Mellie more likable. And The Americans co-creator Joe Weisberg said that Elizabeths rape was intended as a big part of what separated her from her husband, providing an easy explanation for why shes so repressed. For every show that tries to be sensitive about the impact of sexual assault, theres one like Downton Abbey, where the rape scene came off as old-fashioned melodramatic shock; Sadie Gennis of TV Guide called it rape as cheap and consumable entertainment.
Despite the efforts of some TV makers to show they take rape seriously, the Game of Thrones controversy may show that they dont always think through the implications of what theyre showing. Alex Graves, director of the notorious Game of Thrones episode, told Alan Sepinwall that people misread the scene, saying that it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on. TV shows may not be willing to use rape for titillation anymorebut theyre willing to use something that looks like it.
Seems every female detective on tv has been abducted or raped.
Because muslims have invaded the west?
Even a rapist is entitled to the presumption of innocence at trial.
On the other hand, a violent rapist should never again see the light of freedom.
And rape has to be rigorously defined. No accusations from regret. And knowingly false accusations should be rigorously prosecuted.
Cause it raises ratings
Game of Thrones is a BIG HIT
and it’s full of unnecessary
sexual encounters, rape, sadism
But is it ‘rape’ rape?
Hollyweird thinks this is normal behavior.
Will gays start complaining that there aren’t enough homosexual rapes on TV?
You should see what happens to them in comic books: Women in Refrigerators
Why does anyone watch any of this garbage.
It’s like drugs.
TURN good solid history based patriotic TV that doesn’t make good and evil an ambiguous conceptual thing.
...right you are...Turn is indeed very good...
Don’t assume people will know what show you are talking about from the photo.
Why is raping of women on TV a big deal, while the killing of men on TV is not?
Reminds me of all the quicksand stories in old westerns and dramas. Whenever the writers ran out of ideas, they'd have an episode where the hero falls into quicksand...which was all over the place, wouldn't you know. Women getting raped is somewhat the same. The writers are getting desperate for ideas. And Downton Abbey has one of the women sexually involved with a visiting black american jazz musician. I bet that happened a lot in England in those days. (snicker)
You mean you didn’t cheer when the Martians blew up Congress in Mars Attacks!
Forcible rape should be a capital offense. And if you were to survey the number of women around you, I believe most men would be shocked to know how many have been raped over the years. And the number would be even higher except so many women are too embarrassed and ashamed to admit they were raped.
not if you are a director of xmen...(btw accused not conviction)