This is about "Game of Thrones," but there are no spoilers here. I was just looking at the i09 post about the potential spoiler in last night's episode, some comments asked why there has been no outrage/outcry about the goddamn disgusting group rape scene with the mutineers, unlike the reaction to Jaime raping Cersei last week. I have these thoughts:
I'm SO over various forms of fiction using depictions of rape as shorthand for "These are bad men." At this point I just keep half my attention on my laptop during "Game of Thrones" because I refuse to fully absorb into the narrative. No, I haven't read the books, but even if I had, depictions on screen are different from the page for me. (If my not reading the books means to you that I have no place having an opinion on this topic, then help yourself to some other post.) It's my opinion that the dudes in charge the show kind of like to make those scenes, or else they wouldn't burn up so much air time on each one when there are plenty more rape scenes (and from what I hear, all sorts of other scenes to choose from) to shoot.
Whether something was or was not in the book, perceived/interpreted as different in the book from the way it was portrayed on screen, etc. is not the point of this criticism. Depictions of rape in fiction, especially the lurid, graphic, "You can't wait for these guys to get their throats ripped out, look how bad they are" variety are lazy, contrived, overused, and exploit as "edgy" a crime/experience we haven't actually learned to overcome or cope with as a society. When I say "we," I am referring to the Western, industrialized world, aka most of the consumers of the series and show, although no, I have not researched the viewer demographics. (If anybody wants to drop some relevant information on that in comments, then by all means...)
"We" aren't conquering cities to free slaves and crucifying our enemies in the name of justice, or fighting brutal infantry wars with swords and axes. Although we are unfortunately still torturing people, we're usually not making loyal Manchurian shells out of them, and we now at least say we're upset when we find out about torture, which is why it's kept secret from us. Until we are actually, collectively in a position to criticize, I don't think we should accept graphic rape scenes blending in with forms of violence and attitudes that are much more distant. The desensitization issue is what bothers me most. The people wondering about the lack of outrage/outcry on i09 were called "oversensitive" and "hypersensitive" by other commenters, one of whom condescendingly explained that their problem was being mad at the makers of the show rather than at the mutineers. The. Fuck.
It is upsetting that the dudes who write and choose how to depict the many forms of violence in Westeros don't seem to have an awareness that rape is still common, present in the audience, and physically happening in real life all the time, likely *while the episodes air*, unlike the other violence they portray. While yes, I realize we still live in a brutal and unjust world where horrible things happen to innocent people all the time, the audience is much further removed from crucifixion, decapitation, sword murder, immolation, siege, etc. than it is from rape. I find the absence of that recognition disturbing.