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Sat Jun 27, 2015, 11:43 AM

The truth about TV’s rape obsession: How we struggle with the broken myths of masculinity

Fascinating Read.

The truth about TV’s rape obsession: How we struggle with the broken myths of masculinity, on screen and off
“The Sopranos” did it in 2001, when Lorraine Bracco’s Jennifer Melfi was suddenly and violently raped in a parking garage. “Veronica Mars” made it part of the titular protagonist’s backstory, in the 2004 pilot. In 2006, “The Wire” introduced and then never confirmed it, when it showed us the story of Randy (Maestro Harrell) keeping watch as a girl named Tiff “fooled around” with two boys in the bathroom. “Mad Men” did it in 2008, when Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) was raped by her fiancé, Greg (Sam Page) on the floor of Don’s office.

A few shows were practically founded on it—“Law And Order: SVU,” which premiered in 1999, has dealt with rape in nearly every episode of its 16-season and counting run. “Oz,” the 1997 HBO show set in a prison, regularly featured male-on-male rape.

But starting around the turn of the decade, rape on television morphed from a delicate topic to practically de rigueur. In the last two years alone, shows as vastly different as “Downton Abbey” and “Game Of Thrones” have graphically portrayed violent rape—typically, but not always, perpetrated by men onto women—to the point that depictions of sexual assault on television have become a regular part of the national discourse. “SVU,” “Outlander,” “Broad City,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “Tyrant,” “Stalker,” “Shameless,” “Scandal,” and “House Of Cards” have all handled sexual assault, in their own way—either by depicting rape, exploring whether or not a sexual encounter is rape, or making jokes about how often rape happens. For a crime that has a dismal 2 percent conviction rate, it certainly is getting talked about an awful lot.

I can identify that this is a phenomenon that is happening. It’s a little harder to explain why. Some of it is purely a numbers game: There’s more television than ever—and more and more of that television is not on broadcast networks, with their stricter censorship rules and mandates for reaching a mainstream audience. It’s certainly easier to depict and discuss sexual assault on television now than it ever was before.


http://www.salon.com/2015/06/25/the_truth_about_tvs_rape_obsession_how_we_struggle_with_the_broken_myths_of_masculinity_on_screen_and_off/

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Reply The truth about TV’s rape obsession: How we struggle with the broken myths of masculinity (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jun 2015 OP
malthaussen Jun 2015 #1
ismnotwasm Jun 2015 #2
gollygee Jun 2015 #3
geek tragedy Jun 2015 #4

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2015, 12:06 PM

1. I'd speculate that rage is on the increase...

... even if crime is on the decrease. There are a lot of really pissed-off people who are resorting more often to violence to express their anger. I think this accounts not just for increase in rape, but for increases in mass shootings and police violence.

Since the TV industry is still mostly oriented to entertaining the specific demographic that is most pissed-off, they are increasingly offering the rape du jour as part of the menu. There has been, lord only knows, eons of depictions of deadly violence, but rape I think is particularly satisfying to this demographic because of the attendent humiliation and shame for the victim. Or, to put it another way, if Sam Colt made men equal by producing the revolver, rape makes them superior by dominating others.

Just a speculation.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 27, 2015, 12:27 PM

2. I couldn't have "speculated" better myself..

Great analysis

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sat Jun 27, 2015, 04:52 PM

3. Very interesting article

I'm going to be thinking about that for a while.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Jun 28, 2015, 09:55 AM

4. Or is the real question why television avoided the subject

 

for all of those years?

There is an uptick in extreme violence on television--not just fistfights and gunplay, but torture, beheadings as well as graphic rape scenes.

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