Etienne's stray thoughts and ficlets
(Trigger Warning: discussions of rape)
I’m going to preface this by stating that I really like the show. I’d never seen the entirety of season 4, though, which is why I spent yesterday making my way through the latter half of it (still have 4 episodes left to go). But there’s one episode that left me deeply disturbed: ‘Who Are You?’. It’s the episode in which Faith, having switched bodies with Buffy, proceeds to run amok with her friends and family.
There’s a whole mess of disturbing themes in this episode. The one that’s stuck with me, though, is Faith’s rape of Riley.
Now, before anyone’s gut reaction can say ‘but that wasn’t rape, she didn’t force him’, let’s talk about ‘informed consent’. Because that’s a thing. Hell, ‘statutory rape’ is defined on the concept that minors cannot give informed consent. Lack of informed consent is rape by legal definition, even if we disregard the moral aspect. Riley wasn’t a minor, of course, but he still wasn’t informed. He believed that the woman making advances on him was Buffy: his established girlfriend and someone he both loved and trusted. In actuality, it was a complete stranger hiding inside Buffy’s skin. Faith used her disguise to take advantage of Riley. That’s rape. End of story. (Note: there’s also the issue that Faith used Buffy’s body without permission, and the levels of violation that occurred there would take me a whole other essay/rant to cover, so I won’t be touching that particular mess here.)
Now, TV can be an appropriate medium to discuss this sort of thing. I’m not upset that the above happened in the show. I’m upset with how it was handled. I started getting an uneasy feeling the instant that Buffy found out that Riley had slept with not-her. It was the look on her face, and the choice of words: “You slept with her?”
Later on, in the episode ‘Superstar’, Jonathan gets to the heart of Buffy’s problem.
Jonathan: "Buffy, you know what I think: I don’t think this about you being angry with Faith, I think you’re angry with Riley. I mean you have this amazing connection with him, and then at the one moment when it matters the most he looks into your eyes and he doesn’t even see that it’s not you looking back at him."
Buffy: “There’s no way he could know. I mean you don’t just look at someone and say ‘Hey that’s not your body, get out of that body with your hands up!’”
Jonathan: “I know you know that. But you have to believe it! Buffy if there’s any part of you that’s blaming Riley for what happened, it seems like there’s a part of you that needs to forgive him.”
Okay, victim blaming is something that happens. All the time. It’s sick and it’s wrong, but the way that Buffy treated Riley is similar to how so many women are treated by their partners after they’ve been raped. This would have been an excellent opportunity for the show to delve into that and to point out just how fucked up it is.
Instead, with only half a sentence, Jonathan validates victim blaming: “there’s a part of you that needs to forgive him.”
"Forgive him". As though Riley needs forgiving. As though he’d done something wrong. This attitude is treated as normal and right, and it’s sickening.
Now, Riley doesn’t act as though he’s been victimized, but considering how the writing treats this entire scenario, I’m not putting much credence into his response. Faith violated him. He, as the victim, gets some of the blame. And this is treated as legitimate.
That’s fucked up.
Roger [Delgado], amongst other things, was terrified of water. This was slightly inconvenient as a large part of The Sea Devils was set at sea; but we knew that Roger would not let us down. There was one sequence, however, during which I got very angry with one of the production team members.
The scene involved Roger and me floating in the sea whilst wearing inflatable immersion suits. We had a hell of a job trying to persuade Roger to get into his immersion suit in the first place, because he knew we were going to put him in the water, and he didn’t want to go in the water. We managed to get him in the suit, and Katy [Manning] and I talked to him very gently — Katy was always very good at calming Roger down — and eventually we reached the point at which he was about to agree to be floated in the water in order to get an establishing shot before a stuntman took his place as the Master was hauled from the water into a boat. Then an assistant director suddenly butted in with: ‘Oh, come on Roger. For God’s sake, we’ve waited enough already…’ I turned on him immediately.
‘Oh belt up!’ I said sotto voce. ‘We’ve had enough trouble getting Roger into the suit in the first place, and now you come up and start upsetting his confidence. Why don’t you just jump into the sea and cool off.’
Michael [Briant], the director, hurried over when he saw what was happening and took the assistant director to one side, saying, ‘Look, leave Roger alone. Let him do it in his own time.’
Eventually, after about forty minutes, the director got the shot he needed of the Master floating in the water. Roger needed gentle persuasion and calm reasoning to get him to do these things, and the fact that he did made me immensely proud of the man. There are not many who can face up to their fears as Roger did, and this made him one of the bravest men I knew.
Jon Pertwee, I Am the Doctor (via perpugilliam)
WE NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE WHEN LANCE ARMSTRONG GOT CANCER AND LOST A TESTICLE IT WAS ALL ABOUT HIS HEALTH AND HOW INSPIRATIONAL HE WAS BUT WHEN ANGELINA JOLIE GETS A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY TO PREVENT HERSELF FROM GETTING CANCER, IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW SHE WON’T BE A SEX SYMBOL ANYMORE AND HOW MEN ARE OFFENDED CAUSE SHE WON’T BE AN OBJECT FOR THEM
“Hello. Do you eat olives?”
“I do not really care for olives.”
“Okay. Have a nice day.”
There. If I can accept people that don’t like olives then you should be able to accept people who are asexual.
As Classic Whovians, we should all conspire and tumblr-bomb (is that a thing?) the Ninth Doctor tag with Shalka!Doctor one weekend.
Just coordinate a global Shalka!Nine day or something.
I approve of this endeavor.
Plot twist: Tumblr.com is an unused domain. You log onto a blank page every day. The people you follow are all personalities in your split mind. Their ramblings on your dash are ramblings in your head. As you follow more people, your personality fractures into more shards. You are on a downward spiral into self-conversing insanity and not even you know it.
You know what this means? Every time you find a post and you’re like ‘man, that is clever as fuck, I wish I’d thought of that’, you can pat yourself on the back. Because that’s YOUR split personality shard that’s being clever as fuck.
You know, a few months ago this dude friend of mine showed up to hang out with me all dejected. Over a couple of drinks he explained his long face — earlier that night, he’d been walking down the street behind this really cute girl, and when she looked back at him over her shoulder, he thought it was in interest and smiled at her. Now, this guy is tall and skinny, can most commonly be found in glasses and t-shirts scrawled across with math jokes, is kind to animals, considers himself a feminist. What he doesn’t consider himself is threatening, so he was surprised, confused, and even hurt by what happened next: the girl in front of him responding to his called greeting of, “Nice skirt,” by taking off down the darkened street in a dead run.
“Yeah,” I said, “she probably thought you were going to rape her.”
“But that’s not fair,” he said. “I’m a good person; I’d never rape anyone! How could she think that? She doesn’t even know me.”
Out here in the wilds of the internet, I often find myself making arguments about shit like feminism and rape culture unilaterally. For one thing, there’s so much (like, so much) out there arguing unilaterally against this shit that I feel it’s necessary; for another thing, ‘round these parts there’s a lot of people jumping to hostility when it’s painfully clear they don’t have a handle on all the facts. But I’m more lenient with the people in my real life, especially dudes like the one mentioned above. I’m willing to extend to them a patience that I wouldn’t with strangers on the internet, because they matter to me, and it matters to me that they understand. So when my friend sat there that night, whining over his beer and responding to my attempted explanations with, “But I’d love it if a girl smiled at me on the street, or even catcalled at me! Fuck, even if a dude did it, I’d be flattered,” I decided to spend some time thinking about how to clear things up for him. It took awhile, but I finally came up with a metaphor to get the job done:
Consider the bank.