GoT Spoiler Alert: Rape

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I would call it a spoiler alert if we didn’t all know that it was coming. It’s not so much a spoiler alert as it is a given. Which is depressing.

I should preface what follows by saying that I did not watch the recent Game of Thrones episode wherein yet another decent character gets raped. I didn’t watch it for the same reason that I have not watched the show so far: because I have already done enough harm to my psyche by reading the books. Why on earth would I want to watch again the unsatisfying non-conclusion of hours of torture and severing of limbs and heads and moral compasses? At least a book doesn’t let me hear every excruciating detail of what is being described to me.

It was around the time when Reek came on the scene that I had to put down George RR Martin’s endlessly tormented series and never pick it up again. I did this for several reasons. First of all, after reading four books in the series, I was starting to get really irritated by the torture that was going on, both emotional and physical. Second of all, the description of what was happening to that poor man was egregious and overwhelming in so many ways. It was easily the worst thing that I had read in the series. And finally, and most importantly, I knew there wasn’t going to be any pay off.

Now I know what you’re thinking, we don’t always need a Hollywood Ending where the Hero gets revenge on the Dude Who Wronged Him. And I agree with you. And denying the hero that chance is fine. It’s good, even. Challenging the easy outcome in works of fiction is a really good, powerful thing to do. My problem with GRRM is that he has written over 5,000 pages of A Song of Ice and Fire, and the chief theme seems to be that the bad guys are going to just kill and fuck up everything that you like with no discernible consequences. I mean, yea, they might kinda be worse people afterward? But they still have money and power and they still keep using it to destroy everything that you love. And after 5,000 pages, that tactic is draining, disheartening, and honestly makes me never want to read a word written by the man ever again.

Needless to say, the combination of GRRM and rape-happy HBO did not leave me thrilled at the prospect of the television series. I watched the first episode or two because I, like many people, could not resist the lure of the lush fantasy world I had invested so much time in being projected on a screen so that I could really see it. I will also admit to being drawn to garbage television, because that is a very real thing in my life.

Needless to say, I was not surprised in the least when they decided to rape Sansa in the show. I mean, how else were they going to make sure that she suffered? Having her father beheaded in front of her and his head paraded around by her sadistic and insane fiance wasn’t bad enough, clearly. Neither was being publicly beaten and humiliated by that fiance. Or being accused of murdering that same dude (which, to be fair, I totally would have actually done). Or having her uncle creep on her. Or being nearly thrown to her death by her insane aunt. Nope. A real strong female character is made strong by the introduction of a man’s penis forcibly inside her. Nothing more, nothing less.

The problem that I have with rape as a plot device is that it feeds into this idea that women need to suffer a specific type of trauma in order to become heroines. They cannot be considered serious contenders unless they have been broken and dehumanized by other characters first, which is, to me, totally unacceptable.

On top of this entire pile of issues with rape as a plot device, the idea that a woman has to be changed into the best version of herself after being brutally violated by a man lights my blood on fire. Like oh, wait, she can’t have just gone through some serious shit, she needs to have a dick inside her before she really decides to play the game. It all goes hand in hand with the idea that women are somehow fundamentally changed – and by “changed,” I mean “devalued” – when they lose their virginity. Which is, of course, horse shit of the highest order.

And if rape isn’t being used in order to destroy a woman enough so that she can be justified in her role as a cut throat contender for The Big Plot Thing of a given story, it’s being used in order to motivate a male character to kill other men so that he can be a contender for The Big Plot Thing. So women are either raped into being cutthroat contenders, or raped as a plot device to anger men enough into making change happen.

Good. Great. Glad we covered all of that. And you wonder why we need feminism.

TL; DR: Rape as a plot device is lazy, played out, sensationalist, ratings-hungry bullshit.

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Adult Life Lesson #359

You are going to keep running across things you didn’t realize you should have known the year before. And you are going to feel like a total idiot for not realizing it earlier. And it’s gonna just keeeeeep happenin, so you might as well get used to it.

Case in point, my refrigerator.

This weekend Frankie and I went to AC Moore as we are wont to do on a weekend. As we were leaving the house to go over I told her that I would like to get a thing that we could use to make cold brew coffee this summer and easily store it in the fridge. She agreed that would be a great idea.

Hey there, good lookin!
Hey there, good lookin!

On my way into AC Moore I see this lovely fella.

And I’m like “Shut up and take my money, AC Moore. And stop reading my goddamn mind.”

So we get it and we take it home and I clean it out and put the little nozzle on it and go to put it in the fridge. Fuck. Too tall.

I decide not to fuck with it too much because Hilary and Thomthulu are coming over and it’s just not worth the frustration.

But after they leave I decide to empty the fridge and put the shelves and stuff in different places. I move one of the smaller shelves down to accomodate the new addition and it all fits perfectly. But I have this extra wire shelf that just… won’t fit now? And it bothers me because it doesn’t make sense that we would have a shelf that just doesn’t go in the fridge for some reason.

Then it hits me.

Behold: The way my fridge should have looked for the past year and three months.
Behold: The way my fridge should have looked for the past year and three months.

It belongs in the freezer.

And I open the freezer door and there are these holes that are set perfectly for the thing to fit in there and I’m just gobsmacked. Like, how have we lived here for over a year, bitching the entire time about how unruly our fucking freezer is, mind, and not realized that this stupid wire shelf belongs up there? The wire shelf doesn’t even really fit in the fridge. It slides back and forth and stuff falls behind it. It’s just… impractical.

So yea. You’re never too old to learn new things. Or to feel like a dumb ass for not having learned them sooner.

Whee, adulthood!