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Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I thought I’d post a followup essay to my post yesterday. Whereas yesterday I wrote about questions writers should ask themselves when considering writing a rape scene, today I’m going to talk about three things that have shaped how I think about writing scenes like that.
Trigger warning for rape and hate crimes.
1. Nah, actually, you don’t know
When I was first dating the woman who would eventually be my wife, she once asked me to do something I found very strange: ”My sister needs to get gas,” she said. “Can you go with her to the gas station?”
This puzzled me. I was hanging out at her family’s place, and the idea that someone would need to assist her sister with going to get gas – the station was literally less than a quarter mile down the road – was strange to me.
“You mean, like, pay for it?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I mean go with her. So she’s not alone.”
“Why wouldn’t she want to go pump gas by herself?”
“She didn’t ask for you to go,” she said, irritated. “I want you to go with her. And I want you to because she’s nineteen, it’s ten o’clock, and it’s a gas station.”
“What,” I said, laughing, “you think something’s going to happen? We’re out in the suburbs!”
She shook her head. “You’re such a boy. You don’t know anything about this. Just go.”
So I did. I sat in the car with her and stood with her while she pumped gas. It seemed an odd thing to do. But I started to wonder what it must be like: to be a small, young woman, alone, in the dark, with total strangers coming and going. I had never even considered such a place could be a threat to me. And, after all, it wasn’t quite the suburbs: her parents’ car had been broken into more than a few times.
Then, about three weeks later, there was a notice in the news: a young woman in Austin had been out jogging in an upscale, urban area, and someone had just snatched her off the street. They’d pulled up in a car, grabbed her, and drove off.
“See?” my wife said. “Do you still think I’m crazy to worry?”
I can’t remember if they ever found the woman.
It took me awhile to realize that not everyone lives the same way as me.
This seems like a vapid thing to say – we’re taught from day one that there are people different from you. But it’s another thing to realize that, for me, as a tall white dude, there are places I can go where other people can’t. There are situations I don’t worry about that other people absolutely have to. I can pump gas at 11:00 PM at night at nearly any gas station in the country and not feel anxious. I can walk down the street at night and feel just perfectly fine. I can go to a bar and drink away and feel quite certain I’ll wind up all right.
I’m not wanted. I’m not watched. I’m not sought after. I’m just some guy.
So yeah, I don’t actually know what it’s like to live under threat of sexual abuse or assault. To me it’s just some thing that happens in the papers or in the history books. It’s certainly not something that could ever happen to me.
I’ve never had to think about it. So I don’t really know.
So why is it showing up in books more and more these days?
2. Sexual abuse has been codified
When George RR Martin came out with Game of Thrones, his books were remarkable for three things, which every sucker on the planet stampeded to try and copy:
1. Lots and lots of characters, each with a chapter from their own POV, each tense and often ending on a cliffhanger. This is arguably the most-copied thing GRRM did: there are now plenty of books with 5, 6, or 7+ POVs where every other chapter moves to a different part of the action, always ending on a tense note. It creates a difficult-to-resist sense of tension and momentum where you just fall down through the pages and can’t stop.
2. The awareness that any character could die. No one was invincible because they were in the first opening pages. And there was a good chance they wouldn’t even die a meaningful death. Lots of main characters died miserably and pointlessly.
3. And the cherry on top of that last one – that anything could happen – would also mean that the plot would go places other books were too timid to attempt. Like, having a main character get castrated, or mutilated – or brutally sexually assaulted. Or having the main characters themselves commit sexual assault. There was a nihilistic grimness to his works that was sensational and lurid and shocking at the time – and still is.
But here’s the thing: now that GRRM’s stuff has become copied, codified, and has essentially become its own genre – the nebulous term known as “grimdark” – now, to a somewhat limited extent, sexual abuse is a standard of the genre. It’s expected. It’s almost like having a chase scene in a car movie, or sending a noir private eye to a bar. It’s a signal the writer sends to the reader telling them exactly what kind of literature this is that they’re reading.
And many writers and readers have become accustomed to it. “Rape exists in real life,” they say, “and it’s happened during times of war throughout history. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to write what we want to write, the way we want to write it?”
And yeah, absolutely, you’re allowed to write and read whatever you please. But I can’t bring myself to think of rape and sexual abuse as a genre standard.
3. I think about writing about rape the same way I would think about writing about a hate crime – like a lynching.
That is to say, very carefully.
Now, I’m not saying that rape is as horrific and damaging as slavery and the institutional racism and suffering America brought upon itself. I’m saying that there are some correlations between the two.
Both of these demographics – African Americans and women – have been the targets of incredible abuse. We know about the abysmal savagery of slavery and the Deep South (or maybe we just know the tip of the iceberg there, so we can sleep better at night), but it’s worth remembering that domestic violence and marital rape were just culturally accepted for decades, even centuries, throughout many levels of society. Remember how reluctant Elizabeth Bennet was to marry Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice? One reason for that might have been that marital rape was legal back then. Marrying someone you didn’t like, as a woman, came with a whole host of awful possibilities, all of them legal in the eyes of the law. And this went on for a long, long while.
Both of these demographics also lacked many basic human rights until just recently. Freed slaves got the right to vote in America before women did, though that’s not to say that those in power let them use it – if I recall my history classes correctly, the first black man who tried to vote in Texas got shot in the head before he could do so, in the town square, and his killer got off scot-free. But it makes you wonder about other parts of the country where racism wasn’t so virulent – did they just forget about women? And women today still aren’t guaranteed to make as much as their male counterparts, let alone the numerous reproductive issues still in debate, even mundane ones like maternity leave or pumping at work.
And today, members of both of these demographics are aware of everyday situations that make them fear for their safety – situations that I, personally, will never worry about. For women, it might be going on a blind date, going to a bar or a club, pumping gas at night, talking to a coworker alone in a room, or talking to a man on the internet. For African Americans, it could be a routine traffic stop, knocking on someone’s front door when they don’t expect it, or simply standing in a Walmart holding something that could be considered threatening.
For both of these demographics, our society isn’t completely safe – or, at least, not as safe as it is to a guy like me.
All of these histories, all of these anxieties, are all brought to a head when one brings up one of two acts that, historically, are entwined with oppression and systemic abuse – hate crimes or sex crimes. Both are expressions of superiority, those in power putting those that are powerless in their place.
So imagine writing a scene with a hate crime in it, like a lynching, and trying to explain to an African American colleague that, hey, this is in line with this character, with this world. “This is a really bad guy,” I’d say. “He’s a psychopath. So, you know. That’s why.”
I imagine that this colleague would say that to use an act so linked with a dreadful history, so entwined with a system of oppression that is still going on today, as just character-building or world-building is tone deaf at best, and morally irresponsible at worst. Actual human beings have and are suffering such fates right now, and to use this experience as a literary trope trivializes their suffering.
And then I’d feel like shit. Because I’d know that to be true.
I’d feel the same way about a rape scene.
If I were to write about such things, I would have to earn it. I’d have to think long and carefully about it. I’d have to be aware that I’m venturing into lives that I haven’t lived and probably have never even considered living.
Perhaps such subjects in fiction are a little like pumping gas at night. To some readers, it’s something expected, abstract, mundane. They read these things and they yawn. They’ve never really had to think about it. But to others, it’s fraught with horrendous and well-founded anxieties.
NOTE: Since yesterday my post on things you might want to consider before writing your rape scene got a lot of attention from A. Game of Thrones fans who thought I was disparaging the events of an episode I’d never even seen before, B. Internet people who had a lot of Todd-Akin-style questions about what does and does not count as legal rape, and C. some charming people who thought I should never write ever at all because I suggested people tread lightly when writing about raping a woman, I’m gonna go ahead and close the comments on this one. I take myself VERY seriously as an author THANK YOU VERY MUCH
UPDATE: I don’t give a shit about the episode of Game of Thrones in question. Not even a quarter shit. This isn’t about that rape scene, but all rape scenes. I don’t want to hear about Theon or whoever the hell.
UPDATE 2: You know what, forget it. Comments closed. There are other, better places to be stupid online.
Though if you want to read how I, personally, think about sexual abuse scenes, you can read it here.
The title of this post isn’t an accusation. It’s a genuine question. And it’s also a subject that’s been on my mind just about since I got started writing.
Trigger warning for all kinds of bad shit.
Rape is a thing in books. It’s been a thing in books for awhile now, but in the past 10-20 years, this horrific taboo has become more explored and prominently used in literature and art. It feels like it’s come to a head recently, what with yet another brutal, degrading rape in last night’s Game of Thrones, a show I’ve only ever watched occasionally but increasingly feels like a conga line of sexual violence.
A lot of people are mad about it. Other people say, “Well, it’s that world. It’s also in history, and in war. It’s perfectly justified to feature rape in a story. And that character is a monster.”
So here’s a thought exercise I’d like you to try.
You’re writing a rape scene. A woman gets brutally raped by a monstrous male character in one scene in your book. It’s scandalizing. It’s disturbing. It’s graphic. People are going to talk about this.
Okay. Now substitute another sex crime in its place – say, homosexual pedophilia.
Now instead of raping a buxom, weeping young woman, your Extremely Bad Dude is now raping a terrified six year old boy.
Does it still feel like it deserves to be there?
To use the usual fictional rape apologist arguments, there’s no reason this scene shouldn’t exist. Child rape exists, and no doubt happens in times of war. It probably happens even more in third world countries that are at war. Historically speaking, I’m sure there have been thousands of child rapes since the dawn of humanity. Maybe millions.
Practically speaking, it would be remiss not to include a child rape scene or two, right? It happens. We must be truthful to reality. It’s our duty.
Or, wait – is it possible you’re using this horrific, degrading, monstrous act as window dressing?
That’s why a lot of people feature rape scenes, it seems. “This is a very bad dude,” a writer might say, “and I need to prove it to the audience.” And the audience might say, “Yes, that character WOULD do that. That’s absolutely in line with their nature.” And so they’re fine with it.
Or maybe the writer just wants to signal to the reader that this world is extra, super-duper grim and gritty. The audience would then say, “Well, that’s the world this story’s set in. It’s monstrous and brutal. But them’s the shakes.” And so they’re fine with it. (This is basically adding ambiance to the story. “Let’s throw a little rape in the background,” the writer thinks, “so folks get the picture.”)
But while audiences seem willing to sit and watch a young woman get raped to make these points, raping a six year old boy suddenly seems… excessive, right? It’s way over the line. No one wants to watch a sobbing child get sexually violated. So why are we willing to sit and watch one awful sex crime but not the other?
And if you go through rape-heavy books, and swap out all the rape victims with young boys, then, shit howdy, you’d probably start thinking, “Whoa, what’s the fucking deal here? Why does this writer keep featuring scenes with this awful shit? Are they getting off on it? Do they think that I’m getting off on it?”
And that’s a tough question. Are you getting off on it? Are you including this rape scene for titillation, to be sensational, to set tongues a wagging? Are you using rape as a tool, a signal, a way to tell the reader that you mean business?
And is there no other way for you to do that? Do you have to make someone get raped for your story to work? Or do you just want to see it happen?
So here’s the things you need to ask yourself if you’re writing a rape scene:
Rape gets trivialized in the real world. It’s frequently hushed up or waved off. The victims are forgotten. So think long and hard about why you’re including it in your book. To use such a monstrous act as window dressing is to trivialize it further.
Taí um anime pra ver :)
Somewhere there exists a mysterious bar. When you arrive at it, you are forced to play a game—cards, bowling, darts, etc.—against another person. If you win, you get to leave. If you lose, however, you die.
The post Shutting Down Your Computer Before Going to Sleep [Comic] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
A pair of kendo swordsmen engage in a duel… with lightsabers. Now how cool is that?
May the force be with them!
The post Watch these Kendo Swordsmen Fight a Duel with Lightsabers! [Video] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
Beating either Mega Man X or Mega Man X 2 is a satisfying feat. Beating them both at once is pretty amazing. Beating them both at once using the same game pad? Well that’s just nuts.
From my pal Rich over at Aggressive Comix:
Terminator Genesys inspired us to make a cocktail in honor of our favorite terminator, the T-1000
2oz Triple Sec
Black Metallic Powder
Shake the gin and Triple Sec in a Shaker tin. Follow that up by adding Seltzer water and Metallic powders. Do not add too much of the powder as it will over power the drink quickly. Once all ingredients are added to the drink stir.
The post The T-1000: A Drink That Was Sent from The Future to Terminate Your Liver [Video] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
Also: How the project manager imagines my work - by Stefan
As entrevistas dos doutores Gabor Maté, James Gilligan e Robert Sapolsky, citadas ao longo desse texto, podem ser encontrados, na íntegra, no filme “Zeigeist: Moving Forward”, de Peter Joseph.
Todo mundo, minimamente consciente, sabe que um país se faz, principalmente, com educação de qualidade. Os protestos por mais direitos, por menos corrupção, sempre envolvem educação de qualidade. É uma pena que na hora em que professores estão apanhando da polícia militar, o discurso de muita gente muda. “Eles estão atrapalhando o trânsito”, “todo grevista é vândalo e vagabundo”, “tem que descer o cacete mesmo”, “apanharam pouco”, foram algumas das expressões que li recentemente depois do que houve no dia 29 de abril de 2015, em Curitiba.
Professores em greve queriam participar da seção de votação do projeto de lei que altera a Paraná Previdência, e que acarretaria perda de benefícios. O pacote de austeridade do governador Beto Richa (PSDB) seria para cobrir o rombo nos cofres estaduais devido a vários casos de corrupção. O prédio da Assembleia Legislativa estava cercado de policiais militares, por ordem da justiça e do governador, para não atrapalhar a seção. Não vamos esquecer que a Assembleia é uma casa do povo, que não deveria ser impedido de assistir à votação. Pedindo por não violência, os professores se mantiveram firmes do lado de fora do prédio. Começaram então agressões com cassetetes, spray de pimenta, em seguida evoluindo para bombas de gás lacrimogênio, rasantes de helicóptero, cães da raça Pitbull e um blindado disparando jatos d’água.
Cerca de 200 professores ficaram feridos na investida, oito em estado grave. Fontes não oficiais dizem que cerca de 50 policiais militares se recusaram a participar da ação e foram presos, sob o risco de serem exonerados. As fontes oficiais dizem que nenhum PM foi preso. Os professores feridos foram atendidos no local, dentro dos prédios ao redor e deslocados até UPAs e hospitais. E enquanto os professores apanhavam do lado de fora da Assembleia, lá dentro eles se faziam de surdos para o que ocorria, e alguns até comemoram a ação da polícia militar sobre os professores.
O caos da educação não é novo. Greves e ações violentas da polícia massacram professores há anos. Em Goiânia, os professores da rede municipal em greve também foram repelidos com excessiva força da parte da Guarda Municipal, com diversos feridos. Em São Paulo, professores estão em greve há mais de 40 dias e o governador nega a existência de uma paralisação da categoria que luta, não apenas por equiparação de salários com outros funcionários públicos do estado, mas por melhores condições de trabalho, redução de alunos por sala, mais escolas e salas, o fim das escolas de lata, mais segurança…
As pautas não mudam porque o sistema não muda. Desde que entrei para a rede estadual de ensino, em 2008, que os problemas são os mesmos e agora em 2015 eles ficaram mais agudos. E pelo tanto de greves e manifestações que vemos pelo país, a situação em vários estados também piorou. Se não são direitos sendo retirados, é a precarização do ensino. O estado de São Paulo, por exemplo, impede que professores readaptados e de licença-saúde possam pegar a jornada completa de aulas para compôr o salário. Podemos pegar apenas a jornada básica de 24 aulas semanais, o que reduz severamente nossos vencimentos. Professores OFA (temporários) não-estáveis não têm direito ao Hospital do Servidor. Nosso vale-refeição, o conhecido “vale-coxinha” é de 8 reais ao dia e se o professor tiver a jornada máxima de aulas, não tem direito ao cartão. Temos salas super lotadas, sem carteiras para todo mundo. Experimente entrar numa sala de 6ª série, com 50 alunos lá dentro. É impraticável.
Enquanto professores ainda tentam, em sala de aula, ensinar seus alunos na velha prática do GLS – giz, lousa e simpatia – nossos governantes estão rindo de professores apanhando nas ruas. E a população, que deveria fazer um panelaço, que deveria estar nas ruas, lotando as avenidas e cobrando por mais respeito aos professores e ao ensino e por investimentos em educação de qualidade, estão em um vergonhoso silêncio acomodado, enquanto arrotam os velhos clichês de sempre como ‘fora-PT’. Enquanto nossos professores sangrarem e apanharem da polícia, o sangue destes profissionais estarão nas mãos de todos nós e de cada um que saiu no domingo para pedir intervenção militar e pedir impeachment.
Somos todos professores. Todo apoio aos professores deste país.
A companhia teatral “Os fofos encenam” apresentaria, no dia 12 de maio, no Itaú Cultural, a peça chamada “A mulher do trem”. Disse apresentaria porque uma personagem dessa peça, que não por acaso é a empregada doméstica, é caracterizada com Black face.
Só o fato da personagem ser a empregada já demonstra a intenção e a não neutralidade: mulheres negras comumente são relegadas a esses lugares. Mas o problema maior é que é um homem pintado de preto que faz esse personagem. Basta abrir uma janela do navegador para pesquisar o quão ofensivo isso é.
O black face surgiu por volta de 1830, durante a era dos shows dos menestréis, quando homens brancos se pintavam de preto de forma bem caricata e se apresentavam para grupos formados por aristocratas brancos com o intuito de ridicularizar pessoas negras.
Essa, posteriormente, ganhou espaço nos cinemas e televisão. A prática serve tanto como estereótipo racista como forma de exclusão, porque se no primeiro caso ridiculariza, no segundo nega papéis a artistas negros.
Fora isso, como as pessoas não conseguem percebem que pessoas negras são diversas? Querer criar um “tipo ideal” de negro nega nossa diversidade e humanidade.
A peça ser cancelada foi uma vitória. Devemos mesmo nos indignar com práticas racistas.
Porém a resposta de algumas pessoas da companhia só evidencia o quão preconceituosos eles são. Um ator defendendo a companhia chamou os militantes de “anta, sem estudos e que eles deveriam ter estudado em alguma Unianta da vida”. Essa frase é problemática por diversas questões. Primeiro, como ele pode afirmar que essas pessoas negras não estudaram? Segundo, percebam o elitismo dele ao desconsiderar universidades particulares, muitas vezes aquelas às quais a população negra consegue ter acesso (e isso por conta do racismo estrutural, 354 anos de escravidão, dá um Google aí menino) e terceiro, percebam a arrogância desse ser ao julgar que não pode ser criticado.
Essa pessoa também tentou justificar o black face dizendo que máscaras são tradições da arte circense.
Por mais que possam ser, o que essa pessoa não percebe é que em relação às pessoas negras isso tem outro significado, carrega um histórico de opressão e não pode ser validado sob a justificativa de que é arte. Ele julga que somente sua perspectiva do que é arte é valida. Então, eu sugiro a ele que leia a visão de Jean Paul Sartre e Walter Benjamim. Sartre, por exemplo, propunha uma arte engajada e dizia que a mesma não está descolada da política.
É necessário abdicar das desculpas fáceis e perceber que arte, humor, música não são invenções de uma galáxia distante, seus discursos não estão isentos dos valores da cultura, não há nada de neutro. E a obrigação de reconhecer a dignidade humana, a cidadania plena e o acesso a direitos negados em decorrência de uma estrutura social herdeira do escravismo e do patriarcalismo? O poder sempre se esforçou para esconder a origem social das desigualdades, como se as disparidades fossem naturais, meritocráticas ou providencialmente fixadas. Cômico, senão fosse trágico, é ver também pessoas brancas julgarem o que é racismo ou não e ainda fazer críticas ao movimento negro sem sequer conhecer suas práticas.
Lamentável ver o racismo e também a falta de humildade, esclarecimento e crítica e autocrítica destes artistas, que ao receberem estas críticas estão respondendo às pessoas de modo desrespeitoso e até racista. Esses artistas estão cometendo diversos equívocos em vez de repensar e debater. A reação dos militantes não é censura, mas contestação de um ato racista. No momento de se desconstruir e assumir seus erros, a gente percebe que os Fofos não são tão fofos assim.
Caralho, num acredito que ri dessa porra ahahahahah