“In Game of Thrones, the rapes are — man, this will never not sound gross — “ongoing.” It’s an…”

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

“In Game of Thrones, the rapes are — man, this will never not sound gross — “ongoing.” It’s an ever-unfolding rape carnival, a parade of sexual assaults. (Here, by the way, someone will surely say something about why are we so concerned about the rape but, say, not concerned about murder or Greyjoy’s “dick removal scenario.” To which I would respond, frequency again becomes an issue: if every season contained one major dick removal scenario, you’d probably start to say, “Hey, Game of Thrones writers, maybe cool it on the cock-chopping. It’s feeling like you have a thing against dicks. Do you hate dicks? Why do you hate dicks so bad?” And here we could ask the same about women. Do you hate women? Why do you hate women so bad? Do you have a thing against them?”

This article regarding the perspectives and treatment of women in Mad Max vs. Game of Thrones (via thedeathofmyredlizard)

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A quick note on objectification

Monday, June 1st, 2015


I just realized why it felt so good to see a movie (Mad Max: Fury Road) that could talk about the horror that is rape and sexual violence without feeling the need to show any of the violence for “impact.” It’s not just the horror of seeing that kind of degradation of women, it’s that those kinds of scenes reinforce the objectification and make the viewer complicit in it. A human being, albeit a fictional one, is being used as an object to entertain the viewer or to get them to react. How can you claim to be speaking out against the objectification of women if you objectify them with the very art you’re making to show the wrongness of it?

We know what happened to the Wives. We don’t need to see it for ourselves. We don’t need to make them into objects to spark our feelings of outrage or disgust. We are outraged at their treatment because they are human beings.  Fury Road has the integrity to insist that women ARE NOT THINGS, and then it backs up that statement with EVERY SINGLE SECOND of screen time.

Coming on the heels of my disappointment with show GoT’s choices in depicting the Sansa/Ramsay/Theon arc, the contrast with how Fury Road dealt with that issue was striking, and this analysis gets to the heart of what was different about it.

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Critics’ Reactions to the Sansa Rape Scene in Episode 5.6 of Game of Thrones

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015



The show has creators. They make the choices.They chose to use rape as a plot device. Again.Jill Pantozzi, The Mary Sue 

It is possible to write fantasy without falling back on the harmful cliché that an old-timey setting offers a free pass to show women getting raped all the time. –Everdeen Mason, Refinery29

The issue with the show returning to rape as a trope is not simply because there have been thinkpieces speaking out against it, and is not solely driven by the rational concerns lying at the heart of those thinkpieces. It’s also that the show has lost my faith as a viewer that the writers know how to articulate the aftermath of this rape effectively… –Myles McNutt, AV Club

We already knew that Ramsay Bolton was a sadist and an abuser of women, we already knew that Theon Greyjoy was his tormented puppet. Showing Sansa’s dress ripped, showing her face shoved down into the bed, hearing her screams did nothing to reveal character, or advance the plot, or critique anything about Westerosi society or about our own conceptions of medieval society that hasn’t already been critiqued. – Steven Attewell, Salon

In general, I’m not a big fan of people getting raped in entertainment as a manipulative way of heightening the stakes, but I’m even less of a fan of people getting raped in entertainment when it accomplishes absolutely nothing.  – Laura Hudson, Wired

What character development could be wrung from this tragedy that could not have been created without a violent rape? Why does Game of Thrones — and so much popular entertainment — revert to this horrific crime when they want their female characters to “grow”? – Michal Schick, Hypable

Was it really important to make that scene about Theon’s pain? If Game of Thrones was going to go there, shouldn’t they at least have had the courage to keep the camera on Turner’s face?…But the last thing we needed was to have a powerful young woman brought low in order for a male character to find redemption. No thank you.  – Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair

To show Sansa being raped as the kicker to an episode — and then to cut to Theon, as if it’s his view, his reaction, his internalizing of the moment that matters — just felt like more of the same old same old we’ve been getting since Ros died, since Tansy was hunted, since Cersei was raped.Nina Shen Rastogi, Vulture

There are thousands of ways to make a character and a series compelling without having to humiliate and dehumanize her with sexual force. Come on, Game of Thrones, you should know better than that. – Rachel Semigran, Bustle

Now with Sansa and Ramsay, Game of Thrones is seemingly confirming that it has no idea how to use rape as a storytelling device — crass as it may sound, fictional sexual violence can be extremely powerful if managed carefully (see: The Americans) — and rape is just about the worst storytelling device to deploy clumsily. Jen Trolio, Vox

Welcome to cable drama, where a woman’s rape is an opportunity for a man’s character development….what really makes the wedding night rape of Sansa Stark notable is the fact that as brutal and honestly unnecessary as the moment is, the show doesn’t even have the courtesy of letting Sansa’s emotions about the event serve as the center of the moment….

This was a choice and the choice was to marry off a teenage girl, rape her, and not even have the dignity to care primarily about her feelings about her fate.

Libby Hill, Salon

The show pretty much added a new, and in my opinion, entirely unnecessary victimization to her story. More concerningly, after Jaime’s rape of Cersei last season, it’s yet another rape Benioff and Weiss decided to add to the show that was not in the text and at this point, we don’t need anymore. – Lauren Morgan, New York Daily News

There have been numerous plot points and characters from Martin’s novels that have been omitted from the series; I’d love to hear what the showrunners’ arguments are for not only keeping the brutal assault of a young woman, but changing the storyline so that it happened to a beloved character. I’ll be waiting for an explanation, but like Jaime Lannister’s guilt [over raping Cersei], I’m not expecting it to actually arrive. – Casey Cipriani, Indiewire

There were so many ways around this very horrible and very predictable outcome and D&D decided to use what would shock viewers the most.  Maybe I’m naive and hope too much for the good things, but I’m also a fan of good writing and creative characters who grow. Sansa’s “wedding” involved neither.- Jen Stayrock, Workprint

Bad enough that the assault upon the Stark princess by ghastly Ramsay Bolton was explicitly presented as an exercise in voyeurism, with Theon Greyjoy forced to watch as Sansa was violently assailed.  What made the scene worse, and perhaps unforgivable, was that the rape was in the context of Sansa displaying increased maturity and independence. – Ed Powers, Independent.ie

Personally, I’d really like Game of Thrones to be a good 30-40 per cent less weird about women (and having Warrior Princess fighting girls in Dorne isn’t quite what I’m after, chaps). – Chris Bennion, Independent.co.uk


“Fans have a direct experience with the crime than with murder or other really serious violent acts.  

Often you can tell exactly what the story line was because it’s prompting calls about a certain issue or from a certain group of survivors.”  – Scott Berkowitz

president and founder of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)  The hotline which receives a noticeable increase in calls every time there’s a portrayal of rape on a popular show.  Support is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE

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A word about bronies.

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

A word about bronies.:



So I just got back last night from a brony convention in San Francisco. I was working a booth for a vendor friend, and let me tell you what happened:

We met a little girl who was there with her family. She got a button drawn at our booth, told us all about her favorite…

Lots of individual bronies have reblogged this with the “but I’m not a creep defense,” which is to be expected. But this is not about you. This is not about individual bronies being creeps. This is about a larger trend that makes a little girl feel unsafe at an event intended for her. Are we going to go around surveying every adult male in a My Little Pony t-shirt, asking them whether they sympathize with Twilight Sparkle or just want to fuck her? No, because the safe space is more important than your interest in a cartoon about ponies and friendship. JFC.

Side note to Taylor: With all respect, for the individual bronies who object to being stereotyped, it is about them. And it’s also about making events intended for children safer for them. In the real world, things often are about more than one thing at once. When you stereotype a whole class of people and associate them with child molesters and rapists, you pretty much guarantee that many of them are going to object. If your larger goal is something as important as protecting children, it’s worth being careful not to dismiss the concerns of a whole class of people simply because they look like the people who are causing the problem.

The rest of this response is directed at the OP.

Label this Paragraph A for future reference. I’m addressing this to you, the OP, even though I figure it’s unlikely you’ll ever read it. The original post and blog are gone, and 45K notes later everything that might have been said to you about this post has surely already been said. But I had a reaction, and I wanted to share it. Taking everything you say at face value (because I have no other source of information), you were certainly a hero/heroine to help out that young girl. Your discomfort with people who label themselves as bronies is understandable and deserves to be heard, and your underlying message that it is wrong for adult men to appropriate a show intended for young girls, and do so in a way that makes them uncomfortable, is one that I, and hopefully most people, agree with. Finally, it is very much the case that for a few otherwise-privileged people to be slightly disadvantaged so that children can be made safer and happier is a no-brainer.

With that said, I think you did two things wrong. One of them is a big thing, the other a smaller, more subtle thing. But both of them are wrong.

The big thing you did wrong was to limit yourself to merely hiding the young girl, and coldly sending her would-be abductor on his way. That is, you didn’t confront him about his actions, didn’t report him to the con authorities and/or law enforcement, and apparently didn’t say anything about him to the girl’s parents, even though you had access to them.

You seem to recognize that this inaction was problematic, because you try to justify it by citing the girl’s wishes. “At this point I’m ready to set him on fire, but when I ask if she needs me to go report him, she shakes her head. She doesn’t want to get in trouble, or make anyone mad.”

That doesn’t excuse you. You had, by your account, credible information that a large adult man had been following an 11-year-old girl around a convention all morning, had been asking her to come up to his room, and had grabbed her in an elevator in an attempt to physically abduct her. Having obtained this information, as a responsible adult (I’m assuming from your account that you are an adult) you should have taken one or more of the steps listed above. The fact that a frightened 11-year-old girl didn’t want you to is irrelevant. You had an obligation as a grown-up to make a grown-up assessment of the situation and do what was necessary to make her safe.

I’m going to assume that you yourself are relatively young, and not a parent. There’s a lesson you learn really fast when you have a child of your own. You learn that your own comfort zone (which might lead you to want to appear “cool” in a child’s eyes, to accept her into your circle and treat her as a quasi-adult, to respect her wishes, and so on) is sometimes completely beside the point. Sometimes it’s necessary to do something for a child’s welfare that the child, left to herself, wouldn’t do, and wouldn’t want you to do. You do it anyway.

The small thing you did wrong — and it really is a tiny thing in comparison — is that as a result of this experience, perhaps because of the residual guilt you feel about your own inaction, you are now stereotyping older male fans of MLP, in effect tarring them all as potential child abductors/rapists. And notwithstanding the things laid out in Paragraph A, and notwithstanding the fact that the victimization of little girls by adult male sexual predators is a hugely, overwhelmingly more important problem than the unfair stereotyping you’re doing, it’s still wrong.

I’m an older adult male. I think MLP is a pretty cool show, and have unironically enjoyed watching it with my kids. I don’t, and wouldn’t, call myself a brony, but I know people who do, and they are people whom I know to be sane, moral, non-problematic individuals who deserve to be treated as such. By your own account, you’ve encountered many such people yourself.

It’s easy to stereotype those people, especially if they fall into a class you yourself will never be in, and treat them all as, in your phrase, “gross neckbeards.” To decide that they don’t have a right to enjoy this show you’re into. That by virtue of the actions of those other “skeevy dudebros” who wanted to make a children’s show “about their dicks”, that all older male would-be MLP fans deserve to be on the receiving end of your distrust, and even your fury. Though you’ll make an exception, maybe, if they are parents or older siblings or younger boys (until they grow up and start sprouting neckbeards; then fuck ‘em).

I can see the argument that for skeevy dudebros to change their ways, the whole dude subculture has to change, and that for non-skeevy dudes to be inappropriately stereotyped by traumatized victims of the skeevy dudebros is a necessary step in that direction. That is, it may be necessary for some lashing out at dudes generally in order for things to change. It’s still wrong, but it might be a wrong that is a necessary step toward righting the much greater wrong of rape culture.

Please refer back to Paragraph A. I’m not defending the people who inappropriately sexualize the show and its young female fans. I’m not suggesting that those people have any right at all to attend a con. I’m saying that actually it was you, the OP, by your own stated actions, who enabled that. You let a sexual predator roam with impunity and did nothing about it. That’s pretty fucked up.

As a member of the targeted class, I think it’s also fucked up, though in a much smaller way, for you to try to make up for it after the fact by stereotyping a bunch of people who haven’t done anything wrong. It’s your prerogative, and it might even be justified as part of the larger campaign against rape culture I talked about above. But if that’s what you’re doing I think it’s unfortunate, and not just for people like me, because I think you may have allowed yourself to become a version of the evil you oppose.

But that’s not as important. What’s important is that the next time some creepy sexual predator is stalking a young girl at a con, don’t let him get away with it. The way you did this time.

P.S. I think there’s a decent chance the story is embellished for effect, or is outright fictional. Trolls will be trolls. But I think it’s still worth pointing out the problematic things about the account.

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Umm you old creep who prob rapes kids get of tumblr

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

So I actually want to thank you for the ask, anon. Not for the hateful accusation (obviously, because srsly, wtf) but for the reminder of something I’ve been thinking about lately, which is how Tumblr gives me a chance to experience being a member of a disadvantaged minority, if only briefly and in a limited context.

I’m aware, on an intellectual level (mostly because of Tumblr itself) that I enjoy lots of privilege. I’m white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered… In almost every way it’s possible to have an undeserved, societally-enforced advantage, I have it.

I try to be aware of my privilege, and of the unfair discrimination that is its flipside. But that’s not the same as actually experiencing a tiny taste of discrimination myself.

Being subjected to slurs and negative stereotypes not because of anything I’ve done, but merely because you hold an irrational animus, sucks. And I can know that intellectually, but actually experiencing it firsthand is way more effective at helping me understand how unjust it is.

So thanks for the lesson. But no, I don’t plan to go away anytime soon. You should just block me. We’ll both be happier.

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