Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mid-Week Read: on Rape in Fiction

I'll leave you just one thing to read today, and it's a long one. Sophia McDougall writes about sexual assault in popular culture, referencing A Song of Fire and Ice (which I haven't read, and don't intend to, given all I've read about it), Batman, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and James Bond.

She asks this interesting question:
So where are they, all the raped male characters? People say, it would be unrealistic if she wasn’t raped, but take it for granted that of course he wasn’t.
My go-to example for this used to be James Bond. “Is it realistic that James Bond has never been raped?” I would say. How many times has he found himself utterly at the mercy of men who want to hurt, degrade and humiliate him before killing him?

 My first point is not that I am arguing for all this rape; it’s that if you are going to argue in favour of the current level of fictional rape of women and girls, you should be. You, if you care so much about realism, must demand the rape of Batman and James Bond. In fact, given not only that so many male fictional characters find themselves in such high-risk environments but that male fictional characters outnumber female ones about 2 to 1,   we should be seeing nearly as many raped men in fiction as raped women.
Read the whole thing: it's great food for thought. 

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