Tag Archives: game of thrones

‘Kinda Rapey’ Part 2: Jessica Jones saves power, sex, and violence in 2015

 

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Last week I wrote about the problem of rape in serial television this year — in particular the hoopla surrounding Sansa’s rape on Game of Thrones* and Jamie’s rape on Outlander. A friend on Facebook also commented on “glamorized” rape in American Horror Story which I must say I’ve had several water cooler conversations about with fans who find it borderline unbearable this season (emphasis on the borderline!). If, as I suggested, a flooding of sexualized rape and violent sexuality is desensitizing viewers to discerning the difference between the two, is there any place on television where this is not happening? And can we learn from it?

[* GoT showrunners announced last week that they will be toning down the sexual violence on the show following Internet backlash to this scene.]

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“Kinda Rapey” Part 1: The Problem of Rape on Serial TV in 2015

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You don’t have to be an entertainment or art critic to pick up on a trend when it’s going around on television. Superhero adventures, modern family dramas, and epic fantasy macro-trends multiply from one channel (ahem, streaming service) to the next, faster than you can say “season two”. On the other hand, micro-trends like repeating character archetypes, story arcs, and racial or sexual themes sometimes take a finer toothed comb to sift through. Yet, these are just as prominent and often a much better measure as to our collective subconscious than the common genre oversaturation.

This year, there was one emotionally uncomfortable trend  which stuck out so vividly I didn’t even need that fine toothed comb for it: rape. The truth is that outside of procedurals the likes of Law & Order: SVU, television (and modern serials in particular) has not dealt with the issue of sexual assault quite as frequently or wisely as one may think considering its resonating dramatic impact.

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