Dear Emilia Clarke & Men-in-General (because yes, it appears to be 99.999% men objecting to the truth of this statement, everywhere I look) who seem confused at why “no one objects to violence against men” and use this apparently-universally-accepted truth as justification for sexist depictions of women being raped for entertainment value:
The history of entertainment media is also the history of protests against media depictions of “obscenity,” the history of censorship. People have long thought that showing violent images for the sake of entertainment value would lead to a damaging tolerance of said things, desensitizing people to the pain and suffering felt by others. Hell, according to journalistic ethics, showing *real* violence can be irresponsible, even if it is historically significant! Need I remind you of the campaigns against comic books, video games, action films, etc., all of which were perceived as too violent for not only children, but for everyone? The justification being: these things happen in reality, effect people deeply, and should not be a laughing matter.
The reason those campaigns ultimately failed was because people (translation: MEN, because MEN have historically been the vast majority of lawmakers & entertainment producers) ultimately agreed that censoring violence was unnecessary. First of all, censorship is a violation of constitutional rights to free expression, and 2nd) people are strong enough to handle fictional imagery without thinking it’s acceptable behaviour, and emulating it themselves. Even young kids are smarter than that, they argued, though children’s cartoon censorship has admittedly gone through its rough patches.
The logic: there was already a justice system in place for punishing violent crimes. Why create further (unconstitutional) disincentives to curb behaviour that was already illegal?
This makes sense in the context of traditionally-depicted violence against males. It is abhorrent and horrific to watch someone be tortured or murdered… But murderers are often caught, and only a very sick, small portion of the population enjoys seeing people die. This is in no way considered normal behaviour.
And no one blames murder victims for being murdered, no matter their sex.
That’s where the case for raping women in entertainment fails. Because though censorship IS a violation of 1st Amendment rights, there IS a justice system, and technically rape IS illegal… there is STILL a rape culture in our society that perpetuates its normalcy, and leads to an overwhelming imbalance when it comes to rapists being punished. 2% of accused rapists are incarcerated. As a result, most rape victims are still blamed and shamed into not even trying to bring their rapists to justice. On top of that ugly truth, viewing rape & fantasizing about rape is *SO NORMAL* there is an entire genre of pornography devoted to it, and viewers of said materials always offer the same excuse as Game of Thrones fans: “It’s not real.” So therefore, they’re not sick bastards for getting off to it. But what about when it is real?
These same people are the ones arguing that there is no such thing as rape culture.
& That’s the ultimate consequence – the reduction of the problem until it’s not seen as a problem anymore.
So forgive us “survivors” when we see rape happening on tv, and just groan knowing how many men are getting hard as they watch, and fantasizing about doing it themselves… and worse, getting away with it – sadly, a harsh reality for women, even in 2016.
With each new high-profile rape case, it becomes more and more unlikely that rapists will be punished for their crimes, unlike mass shooters and terrorists and everyday murders – against whom we are ALL UNITED. Women have everything, EVERYTHING, to fear when it comes to interacting with strange men; a man, however, does not have to worry about 99% of the violence he sees on screen actually effecting him in any way. And if it does happen, you can be damn sure the crime will be taken seriously & the perp will be caught and punished.
Final point: violence against men is ALSO often seen as a perfectly natural source of entertainment. Look at the popularity of fighting for sport, such as professional boxing and wrestling. Is this because the patriarchy insists that men must behave a certain way, and many males adhere to that out of convenience? COULD BE. Either way, you ALMOST NEVER see men getting raped for entertainment value on tv, and when women complain about seeing rape happening for entertainment value to women, men bring up general “violence against men” in response, as if they don’t statistically, demonstrably enjoy seeing it themselves. It’s voluntary (male directors depicting violence against males, knowing other males want to see it) and not used simply as a narrative device to make other characters look stronger/nobler in comparison.
TL;DR: The people who said that violence against men was fine, because it was entertaining and censorship is wrong, are the same people saying that violence against women is fine, because it is entertaining and censorship is wrong, AND THEN arguing that violence against men is not fine, because it happens in real life, (“What about violence against men?”) and that violence against women is fine, because it doesn’t happen in real life (denial of rape culture, & #NotAllMen).
But please, try to mansplain to me how this argument still holds water so you can feel good about continuing to watch women get raped “for the sake of the plot.”
– THE DUEL CITIZEN