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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Rape scenes on TV/in the movies

31 replies

roseability · 12/01/2011 15:25

I was half watching something last night (whilst mumsnetting!) and a particularly brutal rape scene was shown

I had to look away. Is it necessary to show such scenes? Is it harmful to women or does it rightly highlight how awful and degrading rape is for a woman?

OP posts:
GetOrfMoiLand · 12/01/2011 15:29

To be honest with you, i think a lot of those scenes act as titillation.

I remember watching The Accused when i was younger and thought it was very hard hitting and powerful, and thought the rape scene was integral to it.

But then i watched it a few months back and was disgusted at the scene. It was brutal but in an almost lacivious way. Slow motion, background music etc.

It was not actually necessary to show that scene imo as it was at the end of the film, there was enough power in Jodie Foster's performance and it certainly didn't need to be so graphic.

GetOrfMoiLand · 12/01/2011 15:29

I personally don't think it is necessary, especially in light of the fact that some blokes enjoy 'rape porn'

scallopsrgreat · 12/01/2011 15:31

I don't think it is necessary. Part of me used to think that it was OK and that the reason I felt uncomfortable was because I had a problem with violent scenes. Now I think I ahve a healthy view to violent scenes and those people who can view them comfortably are desensitised.

I also think that that watching a lot of violence has a drip drip affect. So that person won't necessarily turn into a serial killer overnight but will gradually become less empathetic with other human beings. And if they see a lot of violence against women then they will become less empathetic towards women.

I am sure I could have worded that a lot more briefly Grin!

GetOrfMoiLand · 12/01/2011 15:32

I am the same actually - I cannot watch a fight scene in a film, I cannot bear violence.

JBellingham · 12/01/2011 15:34

Let's all just watch bland landscapes then and listen to Radio 3. There is a button on the remote that can sort it.

GetOrfMoiLand · 12/01/2011 15:37

Oh J this is a debate. There is no need to make dim comments fgs.

Mrsfluff · 12/01/2011 15:38

There was a rape scene in the last series of Sons of Anarchy, I found it very hard to watch and upsetting. I don't think it was done in a gratuitous way, but it was very brutal and raw.

roseability · 12/01/2011 15:38

I left the room JBellingham

The jump from bleak landscapes to gang rape scenes is pretty big - is there nothing in bewteen?

OP posts:
JBellingham · 12/01/2011 15:40

Yes, its the watershed or age certificate on your DVD. Watch what you like, avoid what you dont.

StewieGriffinsMom · 12/01/2011 15:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wukter · 12/01/2011 15:42

How insightful.

Next week - How do you jazz up plain rice? Ans: don't. Eat pasta instead.

TeiTetua · 12/01/2011 16:27

"The Forsyte Saga", anyone?

In the book you just had to imagine it all. It was just something like "when Soames had finally asserted his rights...".

Sarsaparilllla · 12/01/2011 16:32

I think if a rape scene is done in the right way, not titillating but showing the reality then it's important to show, because it happens. Censoring things we don't want to happen on tv won't make them go away

The rape scene in the This Is England 86 really disturbed me, it was awful to watch, really horrible, but it was an important part of the story

Prolesworth · 12/01/2011 16:41

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

HerBeatitude · 12/01/2011 16:49

I've never seen a rape scene done well (haven't seen This is England).

I remember the commentary on the Accused was all about how well the rape scene was done, but I came out thinking it was jsut about titillation. The reason being, was that the rape scene was all done from an outsider's pov - you saw the men and the woman from above. You didn't see it from the woman's pov. It struck me very forcibly and I wondered how come all the newspapers, magazines, radio etc. had all commented on how sensitively and well done it was, when a crass 20 year old like me could see that it was shit.

D0G · 12/01/2011 16:52

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wukter · 12/01/2011 20:08

Does anyone rememeber the rape scene in The Sopranos? When Dr Melfi got raped by a stranger in a car park. That was difficult to watch also. You were really made aware of the physical pain of it.

ISNT · 12/01/2011 20:22

I can't watch anything like that on the TV, always switch off, never go and see a film if it contains rape (have never seen the accused for eg, recorded all of this is england but decided not to watch it when I realised what it contained).

The problem I am finding is that where sexual violence used to be rare in films and on TV, and would be mentioned in the reviews etc, that it has become much more prevalent. So many films and TV programs seem to have rape thrown in gratuitously, and it's so common that no-one thinks to mention it, which means I am really often caught unawares by scenes of this type.

I think that if progs contain violence or sexual violence it should be made very clear indeed.

It also bothers me the loving way that scenes of violence against women and dead female bodies are depicted in so many programs.

ISNT · 12/01/2011 20:32

I am not sure how the response "if you don't like it switch it off" answers the question posed in the OP TBH.

Nor how one is supposed to avoid programs which contain rape scenes if there is rarely any warning given.

wukter · 12/01/2011 20:33

I agree ISNT.
As DH said the other day while watching one of those CSI type programmes 'Fine pair of tits for a brutally mutilated dead chick'

Sardonically obviously, before you all think I married a monster.

fluffles · 12/01/2011 20:37

I think it would be more harmful to women not to show brutal rape if it is a feature of the plot/narrative.

I think that a lot of people underestimate the violence of rape. And it can be talked about more as 'sex you wish you hadn't had' rather than as a serious violent assault.

I thought the one in the film of Girl with the dragon tatoo was done well. It was terribly uncomfortable to watch but that was the point.

ISNT · 12/01/2011 20:40

I get really annoyed actually, as I love cop shows/detective shows/that type of thing. I used to love CSI but the "naked dead woman being lovingly washed down while the camera lingers on her body" shots are just getting silly. The presentation of a female body to ogle, and it doesn't make any difference whether she's alive or dead, is just really dodgy. Note the male corpses are not given this treatment.

The worst is a program called criminal minds where the plot is nearly always exactly the same - women and children are apparently the only victims of really nasty serial killers and it is necessary to show as many terrified women and (usually female) children as possible. They are invariably sexually attacked and murdered. I usually have to switch over. But it's annoying, why don't they vary the plot? Is there really such a huge appetite out there for the abuse of women and children as entertainment? Apparently so Hmm

I want to watch these progs Hmm so keep going back but it's always the same. CSI used to be good FGS.

NannyState · 12/01/2011 20:46

I finally got 'round to watching This is England 86 last week. I found the rape scene (where Lolly's dad rapes her mate) unbearable to watch. I flushed hot and started shaking. It was so real.

I found myself asking just that: was it necessary?

I think it was. It made horrible, horrible viewing, but it showed rape for what it is: vile, violent, tied up with power issues - a truly base act, that is all about negating, diminishing, humiliating the victim. There was nothing remotely glamorous or sexy about it. It was very powerful.

However, in general, rape and other violent acts against women seem to be depicted all the time on TV and in film, almost always as entertainment. I find it sickening, to be honest, and deeply worrying.

ISNT · 12/01/2011 20:52

Yes that is how I feel nannyslate. If it is portrayed as really awful, and there for a reason, as it seems to be in thisisengland, then that's one thing. If it's there for a spot of titillation - in the way that a standard sex scene used to be - and is not relevant to the story - and is shot in a way which is code for "sexy" - then that's a really bad thing IMO. And it's everywhere now.

queenofthecapitalwasteland · 13/01/2011 13:52

I hate to see rape/ sexual assult scenes on TV but agree with stewiegriffinsmom about Sons of Anarchy, not just because the rape itself wasn't glamorised, it showed how horrifing the aftermath can be and how gemma struggled and eventually recovered.

Totally opposite to the rape scene in Halloween (Rob Zombie version) totally unnecessary, gratutious and horrifing. Made me sick to watch it.

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