Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lots of rape, hardly any rapists.


There is way more rape in horror movies than there are rapists. It is so often cartoonish monsters, or bad guys so evil that anyone can look at them with disgust. I think there is a place in horror for depictions of rapists that are a little closer to the truth - rapists who have excuses for themselves, who don't see themselves as evil at all.

Having a rapist like that in a movie might hit a nerve with someone, hit a little too close to home. It might make it harder for real live men to believe those self-justifications if they see them echoed on the screen so clearly connected to the horror of rape. If movie rapists aren't always just monsters that look nothing like real human beings, if they are monstrous because of their actions and the effect of their actions on others, it might occur to more men that what they're thinking about is actually rape.

10 comments:

  1. I could see an unreliable-narrator/Fight-Club type reveal halfway along.

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  2. http://jezebel.com/5866602/can-you-tell-the-difference-between-a-mens-magazine-and-a-rapist

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  3. This is a fantastic point. Thank you!

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  4. One of the saddest things I've seen was a guy talking about telling a women he wasn't interested in having sex with her, then waking up the next morning and realizing she'd kept pouring alcohol into him until he blacked out and had sex with him anyway. He said "If I were a girl, it'd have been date rape." He never talked about it, because he couldn't reconcile what had happened to him with what he thought rape was supposed to look like: monstrous, violent and clear-cut. And he also habitually got himself into situations where the consent he got was ... uh ... iffy, for probably very related reasons.

    Seeing as I'm a fan of the "oh god, wait, what if I'M the monster?" movies, yes, there is definitely room for that kind of nuance in movies.

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  5. @drmathochist

    Have you read The Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvin Welsh? Spoiler alert, but yeah, it does that, basically. Very good book. Deeply, deeply traumatising.

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  6. @Alex What a great book, that I never, ever have to read again.

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  7. Hi! I'm new to your blog and really like it. I just did my masters dissertation on rape in film and concluded that even when there are human rapists present, they are always portrayed as monsters and never as they skinny, spotty kid next door. Statistically, rape is committed by men across all demographics and rapists look like your next door neighbor or your shy coworker more often than they look like the muscle-bound, pack-traveling monsters in films.

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  8. The vigor at which some horror films fight against complexity can be seriously discouraging.

    To me, the most memorable scares come from an understanding of the way we, as humans, operate and understand our worlds and then just fucking with it. Rather than just trying to traumatize everyone.

    Being a horror fan can be a real mind fuck sometimes. Let The Right One In and the fucking Hills Have Eyes are apart of the same general genre of horror. It's madness!

    -Meghann

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  9. I once rented Hills Have Eyes--after about 5 mins I ran to the bathroom and almost vomited. I'm glad that other people are horrified by this, and I'm even more glad that you have written this post. I don't think rape is funny or entertaining, either.

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