Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Conversation About Chick Flicks

After my recent post about Korean Dramas, Chick Flicks, and Domineering Men, Rachel was for some reason unable to post any comments. Instead, we had a conversation on facebook, so I'm including that conversation below:

  • Emily : ‎Eleanor, I think you'll be interested in this.
    February 7 at 1:21pm · 
  • Eleanor: I especially liked your last paragraph. I think part of the problem comes because we don't talk about communication, attraction, and sexual relationships enough in our society, and so people get really confused. I think humans really struggle to see others as humans sometimes which is why there is so much horror, brutality, and pain in this world.
    February 7 at 1:28pm · 
  • Crystal: This is really good - and, incidentally, why I really *dislike* romantic comedies as a general rule. I get really irritated with all of the main characters and can't focus on the storyline at all. That, and even on a more basic level, characters in romantic comedies never actually *communicate.* Things just somehow work out, but they never tell each other what's going on. That's the opposite of how you build a lasting relationship.
    February 7 at 2:31pm · 
  • Rachel: I tried to comment on the blog, but it wouldn't let me.
    February 7 at 9:37pm · 
  • Rachel: I think your end point is definitely interesting and one that I think makes sense if you think in terms of a "cognizant" patriarchy. Hypothetically, if the dominant gender managed to convince the oppressed gender that they weren't sexual and that they shouldn't want sex, but the dominant gender must have some release, then you place the dominant gender in a place where rape isn't that serious, right?

    I mean, you just needed a release...especially if you treat it as a joke. I mean, the girl really actually did find the man attractive, she's just shy about sex since that's how she's supposed to be, so you were just helping her by being the aggressive one.

    That's kind of conspiracy theory-ish sounding, I know.

    February 7 at 9:37pm ·  ·  1
  • Crystal: Although let's not forget "Forty Days and Forty Nights," in which the male protagonist is raped by his ex-girlfriend and blamed for it by his current love interest. The movie doesn't even address the fact that the situation was a rape, and it's impossible to argue that it was anything BUT. This type of nonsense harms everybody.
    February 7 at 9:46pm · 
  • Rachel: Ahh, good point Crystal. I was mostly speaking hypothetically, but your point is valid, sexual abuse is not limited to one gender.
    February 7 at 9:47pm · 
  • Crystal: I wasn't intending to argue, just to throw an example into the mix. I think everything that's being discussed here is important - but I'm becoming more and more interested in the ways the patriarchy harms *men*. And it's astonishing to me how much it does.
    February 7 at 9:50pm · 
  • Crystal: (Which is certainly not to say I'm any less concerned about women!)
    February 7 at 9:51pm · 
  • Rachel: Oh, no worries, I didn't think you meant to argue or anything. Ya, I have several male friends who are dealing with sexual abuse. It's incredibly sad that it happens to so many men and is so underdiscussed.
    February 7 at 9:55pm · 
  • Crystal: Agreed. And I think the really horrible thing about the example I gave is that it follows the same logic as what you outlined above: the male protagonist has given up sex for Lent and so he needs a release. The ex-girlfriend is portrayed throughout the movie as this "easy" sexual object who is horrible and manipulative on top of that. When she rapes him, the film (and all the characters) treat it like "he had sex." He feels guilty because he's cheated on his current love interest, and he's failed at holding off all through Lent. The movie does not realize that he hasn't done anything wrong because it doesn't acknowledge that something was done TO him. But that can't be, because he's the man, and he needed his release. The logic is seriously, seriously twisted. It gives men the right to be predatory, but in a really messed-up way, it gives women the right to do so as well. Very, very problematic.
    February 7 at 10:05pm · 
  • Crystal: ‎(Essentially, I'm trying to say that I don't think you sound like a conspiracy theorist. In fact, I think your analysis is spot-on.)
    February 7 at 10:06pm · 
  • Rachel: You know, I haven't seen that movie in years, but now that you mention it, the parallels between the two are startling. And no one even mentions that scene as a rape scene, you're right, I don't think it's ever discussed as that in the film. Our culture is far too flippant towards sexual abuse and rape.
    February 7 at 10:09pm · 

  • Emily: I wonder what's going on that's preventing you from commenting, Rachel? Any objections if I post this conversation as a comment, formatted like a play? (Crystal: this is really good.... Rachel: I tried to comment...)
    February 7 at 10:10pm · 
  • Crystal: No problem here, Emily. :)
    February 7 at 10:11pm · 
  • Rachel: Go for it--maybe it doesn't like the korean servers?
    February 7 at 10:12pm · 
  • Crystal: That whole scene in the movie is ridiculously disturbing. I don't know whether I'm more disturbed by the scene itself, or that the movie's producers didn't realize what it was they were making.
    February 7 at 10:12pm · 

  • Emily: I haven't seen the movie - what happens in the scene?
    February 7 at 10:12pm · 
  • Rachel: It would make a great paper, Crystal
    February 7 at 10:12pm · 
  • Rachel: Discussing, that scene and it's implications I mean
    February 7 at 10:13pm · 
  • Rachel: In the movie, the main character is a huge playboy, but he gives up sex for forty days and forty nights and a few bets abound about whether he'll be able to last the full forty days. He meets a great girl that he actually likes and the girl is excited to have sex with him when he finally is done with his "fast". Well, his crazy ex-girlfriend (possibly to get some money from the bet, I don't remember) goes into his room on his last night of lent and while he's sleeping, has sex with him and tells everyone about it.
    February 7 at 10:15pm · 
  • Crystal: It probably would make a good paper.
    February 7 at 10:16pm · 
  • Rachel: Thereby causing him to lose the bet and for a little while at least, the girl he really liked doesn't want anything to do with him, believing that he betrayed her---I can't remember whether she thinks he was actively engaged in the sex or not.
    February 7 at 10:17pm · 
  • Crystal: He wakes up and the girlfriend is climbing off of him. The new girl walks in and sees the ex leaving and the boyfriend tied to the bed and assumes that he cheated on her.
    February 7 at 10:18pm · 

  • Emily: And the movie doesn't at all acknowledge it as rape? That's insane.
    February 7 at 10:18pm · 
  • Rachel: Something else I was thinking about, Korean culture is hugely patriarchal, in their culture, you would never see a show that showed a man being taken advantage of.
    February 7 at 10:18pm · 
  • Rachel: I just don't think it would compute that it's really a possibility.
    February 7 at 10:18pm · 
  • Crystal: Not at all. The closest the movie comes is in blaming the ex-girlfriend, but it's treated more like she's just this horrible manipulative monster. The male protagonist spends the rest of the movie apologizing to the new girl.
    February 7 at 10:19pm · 
  • Crystal: ‎(As opposed to a rapist.)
    February 7 at 10:19pm · 
  • Rachel: In the movie, I think that they show him as being in some crazed, sex-deprived dream state when the girl rapes him, so it's sort of portrayed as, he desperately wanted the sex in his dreams and so couldn't help himself.
    February 7 at 10:20pm · 
  • Crystal: The movie sets up the expectation that he has to apologize, and the new girl has to forgive him.
    February 7 at 10:20pm · 
  • Rachel: That always bothered me as well, I mean why not just tell her that the girl took advantage of you. It just didn't make sense logically.
    February 7 at 10:21pm · 
  • Crystal: That's just it. I don't think the writers, or producers, or directors, or anyone *realized* it was a rape at all. I don't think they even realized that.
    February 7 at 10:22pm · 
  • Rachel: The scene is definitely not treated as a rape, even though that's obviously what's going on.
    February 7 at 10:23pm · 
  • Rachel: I feel like I need to watch this movie again since I haven't seen it in so long.
    February 7 at 10:27pm · 
  • Crystal: I wasn't impressed by any of it at all. I felt like it just made the argument throughout that men can't control their sexual appetites, and made a huge joke out of it. Blah.
    February 7 at 10:30pm · 
  • Crystal: But then, I don't like romantic comedies. Except for "Hitch." I actually really like "Hitch."
    February 7 at 10:31pm · 
  • Rachel: I liked Friends with Benefits and Easy A
    February 7 at 10:32pm · 

  • Emily: Rachel, some of the studies I've looked at find that men are afraid of being stigmatized as weak, since so many people don't think men can be raped - or at least not by women.
    February 7 at 10:35pm · 

  • Emily: A lot of men don't disclose their experience in order to avoid that stigma.
    February 7 at 10:36pm · 
  • Rachel: Oh absolutely, it's just one more way that gender stereotypes are harmful.
    February 7 at 10:37pm · 
  • Rachel: And the gender stereotype that men are masculine and never weak is still huge, that one isn't going away for a while, I'm thinking of certain movies here that still promote it, bad boys, the hangover series, anything directed by michael bay...
    February 7 at 10:39pm · 
  • Rachel: You know what's interesting though, have you seen Pulp Fiction?
    February 7 at 10:39pm · 

  • Emily: No, I've never seen pulp fiction
    February 7 at 10:43pm · 
  • Rachel: Not that it's not problematic or without issues, but that film actually does have a scene where two very masculine men are put into rape/sexual abuse context. Anyway, I think this is a random tangent from your article and I really wish I could post all of this on the blog, but there are movies that are dealing with these problematic, sex as violence, issues.
    February 7 at 10:47pm · 
  • Rachel: They're just still in the minority it seems.

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