prozacpark: (Default)
[personal profile] prozacpark
I've always off-handedly known that Joss had planned a gang rape for Inara by reavers at some point, but never really pursued the details past what I had briefly come across? But it's something that comes up for me often in "Firefly" discussions in the context of So Glad It Died Before That. [livejournal.com profile] ide_cyan provided some links in my last post with more details, and it was too tempting. I now have details. And thoughts. And rage, OH SO MUCH RAGE. Because the interview linked was done by Tim Minear, aka my TV God.

Hi, fuck you, Tim Minear. I have liked you in the past because while you’ve failed before, you have also been good about admitting the fail and then correcting it where possible, which is incredibly rare with writers. So I had assumed that you had gotten past the issues you had displayed randomly on Angel? Because you gave us “The Inside,” which is a wonderful deconstruction of some very problematic tropes and will never not be epic. And “Drive.” And “Wonderfalls.” All with awesome women and no rape! But apparently, it never goes away.

He goes on for almost three minutes about the Rape of Inara plot here (around the 35 minute mark). Which apparently is what Joss Whedon used to pitch the show to him. You know, Joss the Feminist. (Honestly, at this point, I'm surprised that Buffy had five seasons before rape entered the narrative arcs.) The word “beautiful” might have been used in the context of a RAPE PLOT. Women’s suffering/death as beautiful? My thoughts on it haven't changed. Just…I kind of want to crawl under a rock and avoid fandom forever. Tim Minear was the ONLY writer I had any respect left for.

Like, I do think that Minear tends to be at his worst when working under Joss. But his failure to recognize the fail of a rape plot in the context of Man Pain? At worst, he’s a horrible misogynist, and even at best, he’s one of the Joss-is-God people who can’t see anything wrong with what Joss does. Either way, NO WORDS.

Also, I am now gleefully happy that “Firefly” got canceled. Not that I wasn’t before, but now? I can almost forgive FOX for canceling all those TV shows if it means that Inara was never raped. Also, TV, can you stop having the women with sexuality be raped or otherwise punished for having it while pretending to be edgy for having women with ‘unconventional’ sexualities?



"It opens with Mal and Inara fighting (as they do). Mal tells her she pretends to be a lady and wants everyone to bow before her and kiss her hand but she’s just a whore. Then the Reavers attack and take Inara. While trying to get her back they learn that she had something that would make anyone who had sex with her die. When they finally track down and board the ship they find all of the Reavers dead and Inara shaking and traumatized. They take her back to the ship and Zoe guards her room. Mal tries to get in to see her and Zoe tells him he’s the last person Inara needs to see. He pushes past her, kneels before Inara and kisses her hand."

So the framing of the episode is through Mal, who calls Inara a whore and then learns a lesson and is forced to acknowledge that she’s really a lady. This bugged me, but I could not figure out why because of the EPIC RAGE and despair, which eventually subsided to give way to thoughts: So, what makes her a respectable lady instead of a whore at the end of the show? Nonconsensual sex with a gang of reavers, which results in their deaths.

In other words: A woman having consensual sex that she enjoys and/or profits from is a whore, but a woman being raped can be a lady. It's the taking away of her CHOICE that elevates her to the status of a lady because it's okay as long as she didn't want it. Is it any wonder that our fiction is so filled with RAPE when we’re not COMFORTABLE with women having consensual sex, when fiction constantly feels the need to punish women for *wanting* sex, especially sex outside the bonds of a socially sanctioned monogamous relationship? Inara is, from my brief strays into the Firefly fandom, the most hated character, which is not really surprising given how uncomfortable fandom is with certain types of heroines. But this whole attitude that Inara somehow owes Mal something and all her sexing is actually cheating on him and how he doesn't deserve her? Gah. He calls her a whore repeatedly, slut shames her, and ENJOYS it. When she has asked him not to, and this is our hero. The one who learns an Important Lesson from her rape.

Jessica Valenti in “The Purity Myth” states it best, “While boys are taught that the things that make them men—good men—are universally accepted ethical ideals, women are led to believe that our moral compass lies somewhere between our legs. Literally. ”

Our fiction is made up of this double standard. This is why the romance genre is so littered with rape, because heroines can be forgiven for having sex and be heroines only when they never wanted the sex, when the hero has less than consensual sex with them and when they want sex only with that one man. So they get to experience it without ever wanting it because it’s the active desire that makes them whores, and whores are bad. The romance hero who has had a million relationships in his past finds true love and reforms, but how many romance arcs (in or outside of romance novels) have sexually adventuress heroines who reform? Because you can’t redeem whores, apparently. Their morality is not determined by how *good* they are as people, but how PURE and chaste they are. And it’s not even about their character because they can’t be redeemed simply by giving up their sexual liaisons because once they have fallen off of some pedestal, they’re irredeemable in patriarchal narratives.

When we made the list of anti-heroines, I had initially listed Inara, which was questioned by [livejournal.com profile] nicole_anell (<3), and it occurs to me that the reason I had done so was because all my studies in Western literature taught me that Hookers with a Heart of Gold are anti-heroines, and I have never really questioned it because I like anti-heroines so it’s not really a bad thing in my book?

However, Hookers with Hearts of Gold are, of course, GOOD people with good intentions who usually end up sacrificing themselves for the greater good. So why the anti with that type of heroine? Because the flaw is a moral one where morals are judged by PURITY and not actual actions or goodness. Can you imagine a male hero with that type of personality ever being referred to as an anti-hero no matter how much sex he has? We have a whole literature made up of this, of women dying for being unconventional, often in sexual terms, because if women with sexuality are not punished properly, it somehow takes away the HEROINE bit of the anti-heroine. Because they must always, ALWAYS suffer for having a sexuality. It’s probably rarely intentional, not anymore anyway, and often just seems like ‘edgy’ plotting, but our fiction is still filled with this. Do good women get punished as often? Who are the women that usually get the rape arcs? And who learns a lesson from that rape and who is hurt the most from it, narratively speaking? I…honestly haven’t consumed enough fiction with rape to start giving examples because that’s usually my cue to stop watching/reading, but I’m willing to bet that there are patterns and that they’re not pretty.

Also, lastly, the slew of comments following this planned plot detail for "Firefly" were all, "Oh, noes! I can't believe the show died before it got to that brilliance! Poor Joss." And these are the people apparently fit to decide who is and isn't a feminist? Not a single comment where anyone objected to the rape.

Date: 2011-01-14 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prozacpark.livejournal.com
Mal's treatment of Inara is horrible, and while we hear from Inara that she has called Mal worse things than a whore, I can't think of any bad word for men that holds the same stigma that the word whore does for women? But I'm pretty sure we're supposed to find Mal calling her a whore amusing and charming, when it's clear that it makes her uncomfortable. GAH.

Date: 2011-01-19 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] star-healer.livejournal.com
Yeah, I got that impression, too... like it's supposed to be endearing. But it wasn't!

Profile

prozacpark: (Default)
prozacpark

March 2015

S M T W T F S
123 4567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 29th, 2017 04:06 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios