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Oh no, not another post about rape

Lots of my friends are posting about rape and the rhetoric and activism surrounding it. Don't worry, this post is a bit lighter.

A problem which is often raised is the way that we live in a rape culture and the way that this leads to people thinking that it's acceptable to coerce people into sexual activity and not thinking of that as rape or sexual assault. So I thought I'd start a discussion about films buy into and go against that rape motif. I'm thinking of the films I've seen over the last couple of weeks. Three of them (Coraline, The Bishops Wife and Keeping up with the Steines) are kind of neutral, in that they don't involve any hooking up. Star Trek was a bit pro-rapey, in that the hero Kirk harassed Uhura a bit. I was trying to think of a film which was a good example of only having sex when consent is freely and enthusiastically given. Oddly enough the example which came up with was Austin Powers. OK, it's part of the joke that all Austin Powers has to do to get enthusiastic consent is to wiggle about with his shirt off, but there is a lovely moment when his partner who he's been wanting to have sex with and who he ends up having a romantic relationship with, gets drunk and starts flirting with him in the hotel room they're sharing and he makes clear that he's not interested in doing anything like that when she's drunk and might regret it in the morning.

So, what films do you think of which promote rape mentality or an anti-rape mentality?



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
The Philadelphia Story? Tracy goes off drunk with Mike Dexter and can't remember anything the next morning, and he reassures her that he didn't do anything because "there are rules about that sort of thing."
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
I thought of one today - 10 Things I Hate about You. The Petruchio character has driven Kate home after a party where she drank too much, and she's leaning in to kiss him, and he doesn't, even though it really pisses her off, and the subtext is fairly clearly that he doesn't want to take advantage of her. There's a lot of pretty sketchy gender stuff in that film, but that particular scene is good.
Jun. 17th, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
I thought of that one. They also have a very unsympathetic portrayal of the 'popular' guy who took advantage of Kate before the film started. I think the film has a bit of a problem in that it follows the classic rom/com stalkerish "boy loses girl, boy does over the top thing to get girl back" narrative.
Jun. 18th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
It's been a while since I've seen Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, but I recall Robert Downey Jr's character refusing to have sex with his childhood friend at one stage because she's in a messed up place, and earlier trying to head off a man who was feeling her up while she was passed out (and getting beaten to a pulp for it).

In the new Star Trek, I think that at least it showed that Kirk coming on to Uhura was Kirk being faily. And I don't think he presses the matter after that scene?
Jun. 18th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Here via Linkspam.

The Cutting Edge promotes anti-rape mentality. Yes, it's cheesy as hell and from the 80's. But there's a scene wherein a hammered drunk female lead tries to get the sober male lead to sleep with her. And he's like "no. You are drunk. Have some water and go to bed."
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )