Watch the Scene and Tell us What you Think, WAS IT RAPE?
What Rape Culture? A Conversation with Kate Harding and Anne K. Ream
I haven’t seen “Wolf of Wall Street,” but I remember seeing Joan’s rape by her fiancé in season two of “Mad Men,” and thinking it was almost unbearably realistic. Then, the next day, the internet chimes in, and it turns out a lot of people thought the scene was ambiguous. Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan, has said she was shocked by that reaction as well—in her mind, and presumably in the writers’ and director’s, it was unquestionably a depiction of rape. (The character clearly rejects her fiancé’s advances, verbally and physically, before essentially resigning herself to it and going limp, staring straight at the camera.)
I think that’s a perfect example of what we mean by “rape culture,” right there. I can barely understand how anyone can watch a scene like that and have questions about whether it was a crime, but that’s what rape culture does: It obfuscates the issue of consent, and tries to make rape all about the intention of the aggressor, as opposed to the desires of the person being acted upon. So people think, “Are we absolutely certain he knew she didn’t want it? Is it possible it was just a miscommunication? Is he a dark and evil person, even if he seems so nice and normal otherwise?” But those aren’t the right questions. The right questions are, “Did she make a good-faith effort to communicate her lack of consent, and did he willfully blow right past her?”
I mean, whether a sexual act constitutes rape is really very simple: Did all parties agree to it? If not, it was rape. If so, it wasn’t. But rape culture teaches us that determining whether your partner has consented to sex is incredibly complicated and confusing. It teaches us that if the victim isn’t screaming “No!” and clawing at the perpetrator the entire time, any claims that she resisted are not credible. It teaches us that men are lust-addled buffoons who don’t have the social skills to understand non-verbal cues, or indirect refusals (as in, “Honey, not right now,” as opposed to, “NO! Back, beast!!”), even if they’re perfectly capable of nuanced communication in other parts of their lives. And it teaches us that women who typically enjoy sex—especially if they’ve been known to enjoy it outside of marriage or serious relationships, as Joan has—are generally suspect, and that rape cannot really occur between two partners who have had consensual sex in the past. So it’s not really a surprise that some people would interpret that scene as something other than a rape, but it’s still terribly disappointing. - See more at: newcity.com
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If you don’t remember or haven’t seen the Mad Men scene depicted above, here it is: (TRIGGER WARNING)