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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

do films showing rape glamourise it?

51 replies

darleneoconnor · 12/06/2011 19:29

Watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I found the rape scene quite disturbing. I am of the opinion that having rape scenes in films glamourises it, leads to copycat behaviour and creates a demand for more (ie porn). Other feminists, though, disagreed with me.

Another probelm I have with rape scenes like that is that they perpetuate the myth that the only real rape is violent rape as opposed to acquaintance rape. (I felt the rape scene in Mad Men was well done, as it showed a more common rape scenario and aftermath).

What do MN feminists think of this?

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MillyR · 12/06/2011 19:37

The rape scene in the sequel to 'This Is England' was justified I thought, because it was extremely distressing and did show the the rapist was someone the victim initially thought she could trust, and happened in a domestic setting.

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darleneoconnor · 12/06/2011 19:46

I've not seen that. Do they actually show the rape?

I think in a lot of these films they could just say the rape happened, actually showing it does border on titilation at times.

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HerBeX · 12/06/2011 19:52

I haven't seen This is England.

All the rape scenes I ahve ever seen in films (and I can't actually remember any specific ones right now) have been shown either from the rapist's POV or from the audience's - never from that of the victim. That's wht I think is prob wrong with them on the whole.

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sparky246 · 12/06/2011 19:56

i dont know the film youre talking about Darlene but i think a lot of films glamourises rape.
i also think that they can "normilise "it.
i saw "this is england"Millie-or rather i didnt-
but for me the interesting[and alarming]thing was-
i felt sick at the rape scene and so did many women i know.
it went above a lot of men i know!!!!!

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PonceyMcPonce · 12/06/2011 20:00

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SardineQueen · 12/06/2011 20:01

No idea TBH because I go out of my way to avoid films with this content.

I do watch a lot of glossy US crime dramas though Grin and can certainly confirm that:

  • Rape is seen as a great way of getting a bit of naked female flesh onto the screen
  • Even to the point of really bizarrely loving lingering over the dead body on the slab as it is washed down prior to post mortem etc
  • That more storylines feature rape than other kinds of crime, and the majority of victims seem to be women

    I definitely feel that rape is becoming interchangable with sex in terms of getting some "sexy" content onto the screens and that is unbelievably worrying
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MillyR · 12/06/2011 20:01

Yes, they did show the rape. I can't remember what happened during the rape, but it was definitely shown to be about power and it was utterly horrific.

I think it was seen from the victim's perspective, because prior to the rape she is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with his behaviour, but he isn't actually doing anything 'wrong' at that point. There is just something not right about the situation. I think that is the kind of context that many women find themselves in and are encouraged not to be rude in, or make a fuss about.

The whole thing, from what I remember, is also set within a wider context of the man having already been accused of rape by a family member, and not believed. She is also criticised for being rude to him, and making a fuss, despite her allegations.

I don't think it glamourises it at all - it is a story about the women it happens to, not the men who do it. I agree about the Accused though.

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SardineQueen · 12/06/2011 20:03

The majority of all victims seem to be women I mean, the rape victims are almost exclusively women. Sometimes children. Very very very occasionally men. But actually I can't think of an episode with a scary man going around raping men, off the top of my head.

And I watch a lot of this shite.

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MillyR · 12/06/2011 20:06

I don't really watch any crime based TV programmes, so I might have a naive perspective on the issue, because I don't watch the right kind of programmes to notice the ubiquity of it.

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SybilBeddows · 12/06/2011 20:07

that's another one for the MRAs to campaign for then - rather than go around grumbling that feminists always ignore male rape victims, they can put their efforts into picketing Hollywood & the tv companies to show some more men as victims....

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AyeRobot · 12/06/2011 20:07

The depiction in the second This is England is realistic, I think. (Struggled to find a word to describe it). Shocking, chilling, oh so believable.

Oh, just read what MillyR said about it. Yes, spot on description there. Phenomenal acting from Vicky McLure too.

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PonceyMcPonce · 12/06/2011 20:08

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PonceyMcPonce · 12/06/2011 20:10

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SheCutOffTheirTails · 12/06/2011 20:14

I agree Milly, the rape scene in This is England '86 was really well done. It was sickening though, I'm haunted by it still.

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SardineQueen · 12/06/2011 20:14

Oh just thought of one.

I haven't seen it for ages but the rape scene in saturday night fever isn't very glamorous. It is seen from the male perspective, the male perspective in this case being utterly callous. That's an acquaintance rape scene, as well, with the added complication that she has agreed and then changes her mind, and it's horrible.

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PonceyMcPonce · 12/06/2011 20:17

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SheCutOffTheirTails · 12/06/2011 20:18

Have any of you ever heard The Boiler by the Specials?

It's a song about rape, and it is really scary, but I think it doesn't glamourise it in any way - it's the woman telling the story from her own perspective, and ends with a blood-curdling scream. Apparently it's well known that people rarely listen to the song twice. A male friend thinks it is a bit dodgy and salacious, but I thought it was good.

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StewieGriffinsMom · 12/06/2011 20:49

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darleneoconnor · 12/06/2011 21:11

trying to think of films with rapes in them...

Thelma and Louise
The Magdalene Sisters
The Accused (the Jodie Foster one)
Monster
Boys dont Cry
Braveheart (I think?)
Rosemary's Baby

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neepsntatties · 12/06/2011 21:29

I had a problem with The Accused. I didn't like that they felt they had to show the rape at the end during the trial - could we not have just believed her? Also Ken - the witness to the rape - got to tell it and we saw it from his point of view so the victim never got to tell her story.

The worst I have seen is Straw Dogs, there is a double rape in that with the first one being an ex and it is often interpreted as being consensual. I think a lot of films are like that - Basic Instinct and 91/2 weeks for example. I also think rape is often used as a narrative device and a lot of the time what you see is the impact that rape has on the male characters not the female.

More to say on this but baby screaming.

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PonceyMcPonce · 12/06/2011 21:31

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bemybebe · 12/06/2011 21:38

Rape scene in Irreversible www.imdb.com/title/tt0290673/
is extremely powerful and showed from the victim's pov imho. I found it upsetting in the extreme.

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allegrageller · 12/06/2011 21:42

bemybebe- what worried me about Irreversible was this bizarre linkage of the rapist with a 's&m' gay bar. As if to be a rapist he also had to be a 'pervert'- whereas we know that most rapists are not likely to display 'abnormal' sexual behaviour- or indeed be gay or bisexual, if their primary victims are female.

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bemybebe · 12/06/2011 21:44

Powerful male rape is in Deliverance www.imdb.com/title/tt0068473/
I did not find it any more or less shocking as in Irreversible.

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icraveaphantom · 12/06/2011 21:45

Of course, it is impossible to answer this question generally, as it entirely depends on how it is directed etc. Dramatising rape could glamourise and sensationalise it, if done poorly and out of desperation, for want of anything else of interest in the plot. However, I do not agree that this is the case in general. I have seen some extremely distressing rape scenes, and I have very good reason to want to avoid them. But I think that to omit such scenes in films, Tv shows etc (when relevant or central to the plot obviously), would send the issue firmly under the carpet. Why shouldn't this aspect of life be subject to representation in art, in the same way as any other? birth, death, marriage, adultery, boring domesticity, war, and so on. Why should an audience not be made uncomfortable by it, or have to face a tiny amount snippet of what a rape victim might experience?

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