hells_half_acre: (Dean/Books OTP)
[personal profile] hells_half_acre
It's time for another post about everyone's favourite can of worms...Misogyny. 

As you all know, I LOVED 7x08. But, there was that one little aspect (of perhaps many) that threw some people off ...mainly, the fact that Sam was "roofied" and tied to a bed. I thought it was a great send up of the film Misery, and since Becky didn't actually do anything to Sam without his permission (besides kiss him and marry him), I was fine with the scene in general...heck, since male sexual-assault is one of my favourite sub-themes on Supernatural (not in a kinky way), I thought the whole episode was really par for the course.

Now, both the SuperWiki and some other sites pointed out that it was also very similar to a scene in Wedding Crashers (which I have never seen), in which the female actually does rape the man tied to the bed. When I heard this, I thought "weird...I thought Wedding Crashers was a comedy..." 

Two days ago, [livejournal.com profile] katsheswims sent me an blog article -  In Bed With Sexism - about the scene in Wedding Crashers, because obviously, she's gotten to know me fairly well. I was thinking of saving it for a larger meta I'm planning, but then realized that it's sort of off topic, so I'm going to share it with you today.

Basically, it asks the question: How come a female raping a male can be considered comedy? How come rape isn't rape when it is done to a man by a woman? 

I've always wondered this - because there's virtually no support system or even acknowledgment in the world of female against male abuse/rape. One of my theories was that it was because men were supposed to be stronger and not have that sort of thing happen to them (which is ridiculous), but the article actually points the finger at...well, our favourite can of worms: The level of unperceived misogyny that exists in our culture that goes unnoticed.

I thought it was a very interesting take on the subject. And maybe helps to explain why I'm one of the very few people who seem to realize that male sexual-assault is a recurring theme on Supernatural (though, in recent years it's gotten more blatant and more people are noticing, which has been very interesting for me to watch as well.)

Also, I've learned that I should never watch Wedding Crashers, because it would send me into a rage.

I kind of like this example, because it shows that my misogyny test (as opposed to the Bechdel test, which I loathe), actually works! My test is simple: If I genderswapped everyone in the story, would my reaction to the story be the same? Would the characters still be believable? Would I be more outraged or less?  I'm not saying it's a perfect test, but it's better than goddamn Bechdel. I HATE that thing.

Anyway, uh, as usual...sensitive topic...so if you comment, please be respectful. I'm not asking to open up a debate about whether or not Supernatural is misogynistic or not. So, I won't be engaging in any arguments of that sort myself. If you argue amongst yourselves in my comments, that's fine, but again, just be respectful of one another and anyone who might be reading in passing.

Date: 2011-11-17 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
It's a fair question, and there's the related problem of why there's virtually no support for battered husbands (i.e., male victims of non-sexual assault by a spouse)--which, well, Sam is, if you consider getting whacked on the head with a waffle iron domestic abuse.
I haven't seen the ep, and plan not to, precisely because I don't find that kind of thing funny. Not that I judge you for your own opinion of the episode, mind! It's definitely possible to think something's hilarious while still acknowledging its problems. But in the larger context, that kind of humor smacks not just of misogyny (which it definitely does) but also of misandry--the assumption that the man is always the aggressor and the woman is always the victim and that somehow a man who is genuinely the innocent victim of a female aggressor is someone to be mocked by both men who think he's weak and women who think he had it coming. It's just flat wrong all the way around.
No one deserves to be raped. No one deserves to be beaten by a spouse. No one deserves an abusive relationship. End of story.
And no, I'm never watching Wedding Crashers, either.

Date: 2011-11-17 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
Just re-read and noticed that you *had* mentioned "abuse/rape"--my eye skipped past it somehow. Sorry.

Date: 2011-11-17 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
but also of misandry--the assumption that the man is always the aggressor and the woman is always the victim and that somehow a man who is genuinely the innocent victim of a female aggressor is someone to be mocked by both men who think he's weak and women who think he had it coming. It's just flat wrong all the way around.

Yes, I completely agree. And this is the way I always say it - as purely a problem of misandry...which was why the article was so interesting to me, because it didn't occur to met that this issue actually stemmed from misogyny as well.

I'm really glad that I was told this about Wedding Crashers before I ever saw the movie, so that I can avoid it. I can't imagine what my reaction would have been if I had seen the movie and been SURPRISED by a rape scene. Oh man...this is why I always read the warnings on fics so carefully, there are certain things that I just can't stomach.

Date: 2011-11-17 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katsheswims.livejournal.com
Yay, you mentioned me! I'm glad you posted something about it.

I don't actually have much to say on the subject. Like you I've noticed the rather abundant amount of times Sam and Dean have been sexually objectified by other characters/and the camera and outright (or by implication) sexually abused. And actually I enjoy that the show is acknowledging that men can be victims of sexual abuse etc. Funnily enough the treatment of women by the show never bothered me (until the Ruby/Meg naked torture scenes, but I've accepted them because of the horror nature of the show).

Date: 2011-11-17 06:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yeah, I've also really enjoyed the fact that Supernatural actually "goes there", and I've liked the fact that they've been more blatant about it too recently. Unlike some people who criticize the show, I think they've handled it rather tactfully and realistically.

The Ruby/Meg torture scenes didn't bother me, because I accepted them as the horror nature of the show as well.

Thanks again for sending me the article! :)

Date: 2011-11-17 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
It's a complicated issue, one of those things that goes so far it doubles back again. Just like female-on-male violence, which is also used as comedy.

So the basic theory (as i understand it) goes like this: We've got certain ideas in our heads as to what constitutes masculine and feminine, and part of this is roles: men as the actors, women as the acted on, men as penetrating, women as penetrated, so on and so forth, I know you've already heard this before but I like starting from first principles. Also, I'm tired and if I don't go this step by step, I'll miss something.

The most easily identifiable aspect of it is that there's this idea that men can't be raped, at least not by women. And mostly this is rooted in old fashioned sexism: it runs contrary to a lot of really stupid ideas about what rape is, about gender roles (Women are the raped, duh! Men all want sex all the time from every female body. It's women's jobs to be the sexual gatekeepers!) The old feminist saying is "patriarchy hurts men too." There are as many poisonous ideas about masculinity as femininity in the misogynistic paradigm.

Then you've got the fact that a lot of humor relies on reversals of expectation. And the thing with reversals, whether used for humor or not, is that they're often used as a way of confirming the social order.

So anyway, the long and short of is that we've got this little social bias in our heads that says the right way of the world is men beating women and men raping women. That's not to say we condone it, just that it's kind of in our brains as the way the world works on the same level of dogs chasing cats and the sun rising in the east. Thus its use for humor: at some deep level, it's regarded as absurd...and impossible.

Which also IMO explains its use as a horror trope, too...especially in this show. In straight, non-supernatural horror, the rapist (or threat) will usually be male and the horror will be of an...emasculating kind. It puts a man (strong, active agent, penetrator, aggressor) into the role of a woman (weak, passive, penetrated, victim). When you add a supernatural element into it, you're throwing it into unnatural monster territory, which allows for truer reversals (demon little girls, beautiful women with giant phallic arm-spikes) that don't threaten the order. Humor can use reversals while confirming the status quo because it's highlighting the reversal as absurd, rather than a threat.

In defense of the bechdel test: it's just a tool to point out a trend in media as a whole. It's not a way of saying whether something is good or bad or not. It should be really easy to pass- any two women having a conversation that is not about a man, but it kind of isn't, but we're sort of blind to it. I mean, the reverse of it is nearly impossible to find (i've looked!) Even in the most sappy chick flicks, at some point, there will be two men who discuss something that isn't a woman/women.

It really shouldn't be used to judge movies on an individual basis (though it has to be applied on an individual basis), because some of the movies that pass it are really, horribly misogynistic, and vice versa.

ETA: I'm really sorry if this sounds all very duh. My brain isn't working very well right now and I can't seem to think in more sophisticated ways. But it's something I think about a lot! And now I have a chance to say something. Except I'm sucking at it and probably sounding kind of insulting.
Edited Date: 2011-11-17 05:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-11-17 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
And mostly this is rooted in old fashioned sexism: it runs contrary to a lot of really stupid ideas about what rape is, about gender roles (Women are the raped, duh! Men all want sex all the time from every female body. It's women's jobs to be the sexual gatekeepers!) The old feminist saying is "patriarchy hurts men too." There are as many poisonous ideas about masculinity as femininity in the misogynistic paradigm.

The funny thing about this "old fashioned sexism" is that it's actually fairly modern. The misogyny isn't, but the the "women as sexual gatekeepers" is. Back in the middle ages, it was the reverse. Women were considered the horndogs that needed to be kept in line by men. It's one aspect of the whole Witch-Trials thing that goes relatively unmentioned in popular histories. It was of course due to the sex-negativity of the church (along with the misogyny). If women are bad, and sex is bad, then women must be the sexual aggressor...or some such faulty logic. Today it's been reversed, yet, still men are considered better than women, go figure.

That all goes to say: I do very much agree that patriarchy also hurts men.

So anyway, the long and short of is that we've got this little social bias in our heads that says the right way of the world is men beating women and men raping women. That's not to say we condone it, just that it's kind of in our brains as the way the world works on the same level of dogs chasing cats and the sun rising in the east. Thus its use for humor: at some deep level, it's regarded as absurd...and impossible.

Very succinctly said, and also, when you lay it out this simply, it seems rather absurd that we (as a society) find it absurd or impossible. As individuals, of course, some of us know better, and wouldn't find it humourous at all.

In defense of the bechdel test: it's just a tool to point out a trend in media as a whole. It's not a way of saying whether something is good or bad or not.

True. I guess I should have been more specific. I hate it they way some people apply it as though it IS the absolute measure of misogyny. It's a fine tool for pointing out the weakness in media as a whole, but it doesn't apply in all scenarios, which I don't think people realize. Because, as you say, some things can pass "the test" and still be horribly misogynistic.

ETA: I'm really sorry if this sounds all very duh. My brain isn't working very well right now and I can't seem to think in more sophisticated ways. But it's something I think about a lot! And now I have a chance to say something. Except I'm sucking at it and probably sounding kind of insulting.

Don't worry! You're fine! I'm not insulted in the least. Actually, as someone who was raised by mathematicians, anything that begins with first principles is something that I like. ;)

Date: 2011-11-17 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
I apologize if this comment goes off at a tangent, Alix... delete it if you think it's too far off topic.

Well, the role of women in the church is a whole other can of worms, and it's not like the virgin/temptress fallacy was/is exclusive to Christianity. But AFAIK, you're right about the rationale shift being recent--just look at Viennese literature from the 1890s and 1900s, where a lot of authors/poets/playwrights were practically jumping up and down and shouting to draw attention to how messed up misogyny and sexual politics were making everyone, and there were really disturbing pseudo-scientific debates over the personhood of women going on. One of Freud's proteges even wrote a book called Geschlecht und Charakter (Gender and Character) that had the following theses:

1. Women have no souls and are inherently depraved.
2. Jews are just like women.
3. The British are just like Jews (except for Shakespeare, who still wasn't as awesome as Beethoven).

Yeeeeeah. Fun reading assignments for my 19th Century German Lit class. :P Only time I've ever been outraged enough by a short story to attempt a fix-it AU in German--I've forgotten the title of the original story, but it was about a Catholic nobleman who'd sowed his wild oats and was no longer healthy enough to have sex but decided he wanted to marry someone who looked like the Madonna in his favorite Pieta statue. So he married a pretty, innocent girl from a good Protestant family and emotionally abused her until she fit his ideal, but then she got the baby bug and read Song of Solomon and figured out where babies come from. Cue extremely desperate housewife having a one-night stand with hubby's live-in doctor, who genuinely loved her, and then (according to one ending) killing herself out of guilt.
ARGH. Still makes me mad. (In my fix-it, someone helps the girl get an annulment and run away to America with the doctor.)
You know which medieval poet surprised me in a good way, though? Chaucer, especially in Troilus and Criseyde. Most versions of the story paint Criseyde as the villain of the piece, but Chaucer dedicates his version to women who don't have a voice and goes out of his way to highlight just how few rights and how few choices Criseyde actually had as a young widow in Trojan society and as the daughter of a traitor. He can't get around the bad choices she did make, but he never portrays her as a temptress or her change of affections as malicious; his Troilus is an emo git who needs to get over himself, and his Pandarus is CREEPY as well as being a master manipulator. There's a scene early on, for example, where Criseyde, still in mourning, politely declines a letter from Troilus, and Pandarus stuffs it down her dress--and he's supposed to be her guardian. *shudder*

tl;dr: Yes. Good point.

Date: 2011-11-17 09:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Nothing is tangential when we're LEARNING!

That's all really interesting stuff. And you are right, of course, I didn't mean to imply that the virgin/temptress thing was exclusively the fault of the Christian church. I was just thinking of the witch trials in Europe, and at the time the catholic church was the predominant social/cultural leader.

I didn't know that about Chaucer, that's pretty damn cool of him.

I was had a misogynistic German lit PROF, haha, I wonder if that's why we never studied misogyny in all that German lit we read... :P

Date: 2011-11-17 09:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
Yay! :D

Fair enough, and it's true that there were all kinds of problems and abuses within the Catholic Church at that time. (For some reason I was thinking of Salem, which... had its own spiritual/social problems.) See also: Joan of Arc.
There's also the fascinating RL case from 1698 that inspired Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book, in which an Italian nobleman murdered his wife for suspected infidelity, got caught, and claimed he had the right to do so because she was his property. The wife (who didn't die right away) explained in her deposition that the husband had been abusive for a long time, that she was faithful but had feared for her life and her unborn child, and that most of the local clerics wouldn't do anything, aside from the one who helped her run away. The case ultimately went to the papal court because the husband was an ex-cleric (second son), and Pope Innocent XII ruled that the husband was in the wrong. Had that crime occurred under the Borgia Popes... well, there's no telling.
Browning sides with the wife, btw, but presents all of the he said/she said/he said/*they* said before giving the pope's verdict.

Re: your prof: that could well be! My profs were all women. :D And I actually got to use my fic for our final project that semester, which was cool.

Date: 2011-11-17 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, so that's my fault then - I studied European history, so I always think of it first. I forgot that the states had their own witch-thing :P

Anyway, once again, thanks for the cool info!

I had one female prof (in German lit), and I think we DID study the female literature from the time of salons and such...for the life of me though, I cannot remember anything about that course, besides the day that I fell on a patch of ice when leaving, and the professor had to help me off the ground. Haha, I didn't hit my head, but that'd be a nice excuse for not remembering anything from the course. I must admit, the lit courses were not my strong suit. :P

Date: 2011-11-17 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
That period of Europe is a little outside of my interests, but I do recall one of my friends in st andrews pointing out that most of the witch trials in Europe were of men, and that it was in the new world that they were focused on women. Though I may be misremembering.

I also remember sitting through a talk given by someone studying medieval pastorales who was arguing that some writer was a proto-feminist because he (the writer) argued that women shouldn't be blamed for sin (...because they're unable to control themselves, and it obviously means that their men aren't doing their jobs). And the whole room kind of went, "ummmm....."

Date: 2011-11-17 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Haha, oh man....yeah, um... :P

I think you are misremembering - though, I'm sure it was possible for men to also be tried as witches, the way it was taught to me, or at least, the description given for witches, was very much focused on women.

Date: 2011-11-17 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
I don't know, as I said...it was out of my period. Maybe it was just in scotland?

This is how I remember the conversation: I was on a great ranty diatribe about Minoan Crete, which has long been imagined as a matriarchal paradise without really any evidence (of anything regarding social structures, matriarchal or otherwise), and that the public perceptions and fantasies had (again, without much evidence) become so firmly entrenched that even the scholarship had become recursive (a bit like that recent xkcd strip), and that this was making it very hard to do my research on the interpretation of Minoan art.... which then lead to a discussion by someone else about the perceptions of vikings having horned helmets, which somehow got me back on the subject of how the Minoan Matriarchy was an idea latched onto by Victorian evolutionists and then handed down to second wave essentialist feminists, who ran with the idea big time.

And then the medieval person chipped in that their biggest pet peeve was the witch trials, and the way the narrative has been shaped by early feminists and neopagan interpretations.

Date: 2011-11-17 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Hmm, well, I don't know! It's been about 10 years since I learned about the witch hunts and of course, my knowledge would have been influenced by the professor, and I can't really remember his leanings. He was a young early-modern medical historian. So, yeah, unfortunately, I don't have any books on the subject here, so I can't confirm anything. Knowing history, we're probably both right.

That's interesting about Minoan society. I didn't know that. I LOVED that xkcd strip, because it was so true...and something I'm sure I've fallen victim to myself.

Date: 2011-11-17 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
Yeah,. the minoan thing drove me craaazy. Any of my studies to do with Rome were done out of love...my returns to bronze age greece were done out of sheer aggravation. It felt more like a grudge than a passion, haha. What happened is that in the course of a few classes on bronze age greece, I realized that basically anything you could find on Minoan society was nothing more than wild speculation, because person A would write a paper on whatever that was based on a paper by person B which was based on the work of person C and on and on...and every last premise relied on assumptions that no one seemed to question or source. The one that ended up becoming a huge pet obsession was over the interpretation of minoan paintings, since pretty much everything anyone ever says about minoan society is based on those. And they're very stylized, and not all that obvious. And to muddy the waters even more, they are all pretty much reconstructions by Arthur Evans, who while he was a huge improvement on many of the "archaeologists" of his day, was not above "correcting" things...and there's the fact that most of the frescoes were little more than fragments, and as a result, it's really easy to create a whole that is nothing more than a glorified mosaic...um, I'm ranting again. Anyway, the point is, there are huge piles of scholarship all based on the idea that you can tell the difference between female figures and male figures in the art by whether they're painted white or red.

This is non-obvious. The figures are all so stylized that they all have broad chests and wasp waists. There are some figures that are more obviously women or men, but there are plenty of times when the figures are identical. So I started digging. I wanted to know why that assumption had been made. But in the end, the citations all were fairly recursive...except for the ones that went back to Arthur Evans. I actually dug up Arthur Evan's work on the subject, and the first time he mentions it, he just states that obviously, the white figures are female and the red male. Period. A little more digging- into his personal journals- revealed that his assistant, who was the one with the real archaeological cred, was the one who suggested it. The explanation was no more than, "That's how the Egyptians did it."

At which point I went ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!. 100 years of scholarship on minoan society, all pretty much based on the fact that one early archaeologist assumed that the Minoans would have used the same aesthetics of sexual differentiation as the ancient egyptians.

Date: 2011-11-17 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com

I feel like there should be an expose on this in a major publication - that's insane.

Mind you, things like that happen in history ALL THE TIME. There's a particular German historian who wrote a book that everyone refers back to - because it's bold, and controversial, I guess...but, if you actually read it, it's NOT good history. He doesn't back up any of his "facts" with evidence. It's basically an opinion piece, but people refer to it as though he actually did the appropriate research. It's ridiculous.

I wonder if that early archaeological assistant realized that their assumption is the bases of 100 years of scholarship :P Man... I don't know the years on the Minoans vs. the Egyptians...but, I mean, is there any evidence they were influenced by them whatsoever? That just seems...I mean, even if they WERE influenced, they might have gotten it the wrong way round and made the women red. Stuff like that happens all the time!

Date: 2011-11-17 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, there was influence- they were trade partners, and we have diplomatic correspondence (on the Egyptian side). But it's still a leap, considering the fact that they were very different cultures. And that's odd, especially because so many scholars draw such thick lines between the Minoans and the Myceneans, who arguably had a lot in common. It's just that when a big wall is discovered in a Mycenean site, it's a defensive structure, because the myceneans were war like, and when a big damn wall is discovered in a minoan site, it's symbolic or religious, because the minoans were flower loving hippies.

I don't really think any of this would be so much of a shocking revelation...and if I ever got my PhD, I would probably try to get something published along those lines (with a lot more research, obviously- I was somewhat hobbled by the fact that most of my research had to be done in the 6 weeks I was home and able to get access to the UC Berkeley library), if only to see someone argue the other side.

The problem is that there really isn't anything to go on. We can't read linear A, but even if we could, it's probably not anything more than storage inventories. Knossos is problematic because of the reconstruction. There's very little we can know, as is evidenced by everything we have of Knossos that's not related to the frescoes. ("Well, this room was possibly a kitchen. Or a bedroom. Or a place ritual sacrifices were. This room is a cellar with three pillers with markings. It was probably religious. God knows why. Here is a mysterious thingy, we call them kernoi. We don't actually know if they're all the same object or not, they're just things that are generally roundish with a circle in the middle." )

Date: 2011-11-17 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
It's all very interesting. I mean, if you were to do a PhD, I'd be interested in reading your stuff.

And good point about the Mycenean/Minoan split. I remember that from a high school project I did on the Myceneans. Man, I'm going WAY back. There was a time when I thought I'd go into ancient history, but then I got sucked into modern Germany :P

Date: 2011-11-17 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
Yeah, we definitely have to be careful in applying proto-anything to medieval authors, especially in cases like that! Yikes.
To be fair, though, I didn't get that sense from Chaucer. The only reason Criseyde even gives Troilus the time of day is that her position--no property rights, no family--forces her to rely on Pandarus' protection, and Pandarus is all but physically pushing her into Troilus' bed because Troilus is a twit who's used to having women fall at his feet and doesn't know how to react when Criseyde doesn't. It's dub-con at best.

I never really studied the European witchcraft trials, either, but the stories/legends of *false* accusations that I know are all about women being accused by men who wanted something from them. One of the ghosts at Glamis, for example, is supposed to be a virtuous widow who refused the advances of James V; he framed her for witchcraft and confiscated the castle when she was dead.

Date: 2011-11-17 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramblin-rosie.livejournal.com
Ack, correction: James had been feuding with her clan, not trying to win her affections. Result was the same, though.

Date: 2011-11-17 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 4422shini.livejournal.com
You bring up an interesting point. This also reminds me of that Nicole Kidman remake film.. What was it? Oh yeah, The Stepford Wives. I've never seen the original, I'll say that upfront. And I wouldn't want to because I was livid when I saw it the first time. Of course the film is misogynist, but what upset me the most was the reprogramming of the women and the sex that would occur after. I was kind of horrified at the rape, considering it was marketed as a comedy, and the storyline kind of responds with, 'yeah, it's wrong, but it's their husbands, so it's more insulting that rapey.' I watched it with my mom and she told me to stop being so sensitive. THAT'S being in bed with sexism.

Remember that episode 4.08 Wishful Thinking? Remember the dweeby guy brainwashes the sexy girl to marry him and has copious amounts of sex? I do.
..Okay I don't know where I was going with THAT comment, but I just felt like bringing it up.

Date: 2011-11-17 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
VERY good point. And yeah, you were definitely not being too sensitive. Rape happens (most of the time) inside of relationships...especially when if we're talking about men being raped.

And I HAD actually forgotten about that...but yeah, Wishful Thinking WAS rapey.

So, I'll add Stepford Wives to the list of movies that I can't watch. Thanks for the warning.

Date: 2011-11-17 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
I felt a little bit better when they had the boys call the dude on it. And then I felt a little bit worse when I realized the show expected us to feel sorry for him.

I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 07:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jennytork.livejournal.com
I've seen both Stepford Wives movies.

I actually prefer the remake, because at least the women survive.

In the original, they are not reprogrammed -- they are brutally murdered and replaced. At the end, the main character is strangled by her duplicate, which then takes her place.

And also in the remake, the lead's husband realises what he's got and works with her to reverse it. In the original, he is an active participant in her murder.

So, in my opinion, the remake is much LESS misogynistic than the original.

If you didn't like the remake, though, I would definitely stay away from the original. It's more brutal and the body count is very, very high. And the ending is truly terrifying.

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
I haven't seen it, but I think I've read that it was intended as a biting, dark satire. I think that if something is played as horrific, it can be a way of challenging it.

While still being awful and unpleasant to watch, of course.

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 05:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Oh, good point.

I wonder if anyone knows if the remake was made as a satire as well? I think the original commenter was only referencing the remake (having never seen the original), so I'm wondering if perhaps the more "dark satirical" notes got lost somewhere in the re-adaptation.

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
I have seen the adaptation, and I think that's probably more accurate. Though it was really kind of a plot-hole ridden mess, but it has a happy ending, and by comparing the movie descriptions on Wikipedia, it seems that the remake didn't so much change the ending as extended it (fixit fic!). But it's still kind of disturbing because the women just force the men to do all that domestic housework while as revenge for....having their wills and agencies completely removed by people who supposedly loved them.

It's a little.... yeah.

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com

Yeah, I wouldn't really call that a fixit-fic then...it's more of a "screw it up differently" fic. :P

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 08:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
Supernatural has convinced me that IS the definition of a fixit. ;)

Re: I respectfully disagree re: Stepford Wives

Date: 2011-11-17 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
LOL I set you up perfectly for that one - and I do not regret it. ;)

Date: 2011-11-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (solitaire)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
I feel like there was an element of misogyny in this episode, which made me very sad, and I think it was in the utter assassination of the character of Becky. I liked Becky a lot, even though she was kooky, and now I can't respect her unless I strike this ep from the record, which I would dearly love to do. She made choices that are not defensible. She roofied Sam. That's not okay, even though some of the scenes that resulted were pretty funny. She is a villain now, and to me, that's the essence of misogyny -- taking a woman character, reducing her to a pathetic need for a man's approval, and taking her agency and wasting it on a crazy play for affection. Yuck. Very distasteful.

She went from being a wacky force for good in her own unique way -- I often ficced about her being part of a wider network of Winchester helpers -- to being a pathetic loser who would roofie Sam. Very, very sadface.

Date: 2011-11-17 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yes, my friend who I watch with her in Vancouver felt the same. I did not, but that's me. I know a lot of people saw the episode as a character assassination as you did.

"Stepford Wives"

Date: 2011-11-17 05:19 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (Juliet)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
PS on an entirely different note.

Ira Levin is the original author of the Stepford Wives (book, 1971; movie, 1975). He wrote his books during a time of backlash against feminism. The novel and resulting first movie were not what I would call empty misogyny, but rather, loaded cultural response to feminism.

As a result a whole generation of women learned to recognize when cultural expectations wanted to push them into that cookie cutter role of Stepford Wives. The first movie was indeed very much a horror film. I remember it very well, the terror when the woman realizes her best friend has been replaced, the horror of the smirking husband as the friend's tennis court is bulldozed.

It's weird to me to think that the current generation have now received a mixed signal about the meaning of this crystallizing term of resistance to patriarchal pressure.

Of course it's still a problematic term -- like when people attack Martha Stewart for celebrating home crafts because she was so good at it that people began to hate her. Calling another woman a "Stepford Wife" still entails an element of misogyny and self-hatred.

Another of Levin's stories is Rosemary's Baby (1968, movie dir. Polanski) -- about a woman who knows something is wrong with her baby but everyone around her treats her like she's crazy because they secretly have plotted for her to give birth to the antichrist. Also very horrific as you can see.

A third is Sliver (1991) -- it's about paranoia in yuppie days. I don't remember it very well! But his novels always play on the fears women have about the culture around them. I think it's too simple to just say "this work is misogynist" -- rather it's more fruitful to say, "this work really points out what is so misogynist in our culture."

Another similar artist of around the same time period would be Kubrick, with his portrayals of Lolita (1962, so, a little early) or of the ultraviolence in Clockwork Orange (1971). The violence against women is so shocking in Clockwork Orange that it changed the way we read that type of violence in film -- alerting us to the pornographic element of watching violence against women -- including educating us to a more feminist way to watch any horror shows where women are viewed iconically in certain ways (like on Show).

There's always a conversation going on between an artistic output and the culture.

In this particular ep I'm betting the writers were in fact thinking of Misery, esp. since they overtly referred to it in the first ep when we meet Chuck.... but I don't think they really thought through how stupid it was to have a character that some fans have identified with to be reduced to a pathetic loser and a morally corrupt one at that.

Sorry, sadface again.

Juliet is no man's Stepford Wife.

Re: "Stepford Wives"

Date: 2011-11-18 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khek.livejournal.com
I watched the original Stepford Wives as a kid. (It probably was the edited for TV movie-of-the-week version, since I know I wouldn't have gone to the movie theater. On the other hand, it could have been at the drive-in...the movie after I was supposed to be asleep). Anyway, the original was definitely billed and advertised as a horror movie. In retrospect, I'm rather surprised that my parents let me watch it.

I don't remember much of the movie, but I know that the whole thing I took away from it was that being forced to be "perfect" to fit into some male ideal would only lead to unhappiness and death. That being true to yourself and living to fill your own expectations (rather than a spouse's/parent's) is the only way to truly live.

Of course, some of that might also explain why I'm not married...

Re: "Stepford Wives"

Date: 2011-11-18 04:09 am (UTC)
ext_29986: (Uhura!)
From: [identity profile] fannishliss.livejournal.com
Yeah I watched it on TV as well, and it was really scary!

I'm surprised that the new one was meant to be comedy??

Date: 2011-11-17 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redrikki.livejournal.com
It's not just Wedding Crashers and this latest Supernature episode. Check out TvTropes entry for "Rape is okay when it is female on male." This trope is rampant in our society. Someone else further upstream already gave an insightful breakdown of why this is considered "funny" so I wont repeat it here, but it is clearly pervasive. Moreover, it is damaging. I actually had a long conversation today with some female co-workers of the problem of living in a culture where men regularly assume they have the right to comment upon and touch (and rape) the bodies of women (and occasionally children). Even as people berate women for not being careful enough to avoid rape, most people acknowledge that it is a traumatic event. On the other hand, when female on male rape is portrayed as funny, it makes it that much harder for a man to deal and find support for his trauma. The patriarchy hurts everyone, and while women are most often and most visibly the victims and deserve support, failing to acknowledge other victims isn't helping anyone. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RapeIsOkWhenItIsFemaleOnMale)

Date: 2011-11-17 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
I agree with all of that, of course. It's nice to know TvTropes has an entry for this stupid phenomenon. :P


Date: 2011-11-17 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metallidean-grl.livejournal.com
This has been an interesting discussion going on here. And I do agree that society treats a woman being raped as awful, but when the one being raped as a man, not so much a big deal. Like it was said, the man is strong and powerful and shouldn't have a problem overpowering any woman trying to rape him. So, double-standard to me.

I remember an episode of Law & Order: SVU many years ago where the story was about a man getting gang raped by a bunch of women. All the women in question played it out that he showed up as a dancer to their party and was there for that purpose and he was a joiner. But he was not there for that purpose, the women tied him up and repeatedly raped him. It was an interesting episode and a very hard case to prove. In the end, the women were acquitted, but the man was still raped and now had to deal with the ramifications of the rape as well as the ramifications of the trial. I guess the rape of a man by a woman is not out there as much because it is harder to prove and thus has become this unspoken 'thing' out there that people don't like to talk about. Much like rape of women was 15-20 years ago. I just hope our society will catch up with the seriousness of male rape before it's too late. You can be the strongest man in the world and still be subject to molestation and rape if the perpetrator is clever enough, and in Becky's case, she was, in that she roofied Sam.

As to Becky, well, I was not happy with her actions as I have stated before. Her forcing her will upon Sam was not right. I'm just glad they did have her state that they never consummated the marriage. That would have totally crossed the line for me if they had. So, yes, I'm glad they didn't go there, but still they did cross a line that I was not comfortable with. But yet, the double standards of victimization are very evident here.

Date: 2011-11-17 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
I guess the rape of a man by a woman is not out there as much because it is harder to prove and thus has become this unspoken 'thing' out there that people don't like to talk about. Much like rape of women was 15-20 years ago. I just hope our society will catch up with the seriousness of male rape before it's too late. You can be the strongest man in the world and still be subject to molestation and rape if the perpetrator is clever enough, and in Becky's case, she was, in that she roofied Sam.

It's also not out there as much because men just don't report it - BECAUSE they're afraid of being laughed at. And, you know, having rape be a comedy trope doesn't help.

Also, I think that it happens most in the context of relationship abuse - where it's not a question of strength (as would be, say, a man attacking a woman on the street), but a question of emotional abuse as well...which is another type of abuse that often goes unreported (for both sexes).

Anyway, this is all to say that my hopes are the same as yours, and that eventually society will catch on that it's a serious issue.

Date: 2011-11-17 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metallidean-grl.livejournal.com
There definitely is a stigma out there for male rape and agree that would be the big reason why there is not as much male rape reported as women. After all men are the strong ones right? Men need to adjust their thinking as well for this issue not to be such a stigma out there that it is now.

Also agree that alot of the abuse comes from within a relationship and emotional abuse is a big one. Women are just as good and capable with emotional abuse as are men, it doesn't matter how physically strong or weak you are. And yes, that doesn't get reported or talked about near enough. I think we all have suffered from emotional abuse in some degree or another without even realizing it. I know I have.

Date: 2011-11-17 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Men need to adjust their thinking as well for this issue not to be such a stigma out there that it is now.

I agree. It's really what the article on Wedding Crashers is saying - and that claudiapriscus stated above too - misogyny hurts men too, and this stigma for male rape has it's roots in misogyny.

I have a friend who used to give talks on how to recognize emotional abuse. Years later, it took his girlfriend crossing the line into violence for him to recognize that he himself was trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship. It can really happen to anyone - as you say, it doesn't matter how physically strong or weak you are, or how smart you are.


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