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Posts Tagged ‘rape’

I recently saw the movie “Precious,” and I am currently reading (almost finished!) “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larsson. You might be asking, how can there possibly be a connection between the two? “Precious” is about a pregant Harlem teenager who experiences severe abuse and who eventually finds a place for herself in a supportive educational environment. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a Swedish murder mystery involving rape and domestic abuse (I can’t really say more, or I’ll ruin the mystery). The similarity between the two is that both of the works were created by men. (Although the book Push, on which Precious was based, is written by a woman, the director of the film is a man). Both works are also trying to provide some sort of critique/insight into the violence and sexual assault that many women have to deal with on a regular basis.  Although I appreciate the work that both of these works are doing to educate people about domestic violence and sexual assault, I wonder about the ways in which male critiques of this nature differ from female critiques.

In both “Precious” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” the scenes of violence and sexual abuse hit the viewer/reader hard over the head. The descriptions and images are shocking, raw, and exceptionally brutal. Of course, this type of violence is shocking, raw, and exceptionally brutal. But, I wonder if sometimes directors and authors purposely play up the violence and play-down the emotional effects of the abuse in order to get more viewers or readers. I wonder if this focus on the physical, visceral violence is more of a male trait, whereas sometimes I feel that in works created by female authors more time is given to the victim’s emotions and psychological responses. Unfortunately, in both “Precious” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” I feel like I ended up paying more attention to the abuser rather than the abusee. This troubles me, because I don’t think it does much to actually empower the exact women the creators are trying to call attention to. Instead, in some ways I feel like both Precious and the female characters in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” seem even more like victims, and less like the strong, brave women they really are.

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I just can’t help myself. I know this has been said many times by writers much more eloquent than I, but I must reiterate: Roman Polanski DRUGGED and RAPED a 13 -year-old girl. I’m watching this documentary about him, which conveniently excerpts pieces of the trial transcripts and tries to make it seem like the girl was some sexually experienced, drugged out, alcoholic. I don’t care what she had or had not experienced, SHE WAS 13!!!! I don’t care about cultural differences, I don’t care how good his films are, I don’t care how much tragedy he had experienced in his life, and I don’t care how long it has been – he should not be able to evade punishment by fleeing the country and be exonerated for raping a 13 year old. It infuriates me that because he is a celebrity there are actually people who are defending him.

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