Posts Tagged ‘consent’

I actually wouldn’t have read this SMH article about the release of the iPad were it not for the quote on the link to the story from the front page, which, as it turns out, is also the headline: “Like a gorgeous woman”. I decided to go looking for context. It was worse than I expected:

James Stuart trekked to Seattle from Canada, where, like Australia, the iPad won’t be on sale for another month – too long, in his mind.

“It’s like a gorgeous woman – you just want to touch it,” he said.

And that, people, is rape culture.

I was expecting “It’s like a gorgeous woman – it’s so beautiful” or something like that. That would have been bad enough, constituting objectification and all.

But no, the concept that a gorgeous woman is just there for you (you being a straight man, of course) to touch – what she wants appears to be irrelevant here – well, people, that’s rape culture. Right there.

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TRIGGER WARNING: This story sickens me. But can we please have some perspective on who to blame?

I repeat a VERY STRONG TRIGGER WARNING if you’re clicking through. If you’re not, there’s a summary after the jump, and I repeat the TRIGGER WARNING.


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A Japanese man has married his virtual girlfriend.

I’m not sure what’s worst about this story. The contenders:

(1) The first sentence of the article:

We may occasionally wish our spouses had an “off” switch but a Japanese man will have that luxury full-time…

This sentence assumes that the audience are all (a) male, (b) heterosexual and (c) misogynist.

(2) The fact that the game Love Plus

invites players to pick a girlfriend and then challenges them to woo her by taking her out on “dates” and perform boyfriend duties such as saying “I love you” 100 times…

So, Nintendo also assumes that its target market are all (a) heterosexual, (b) male and (c) interested only in wish-fulfilment game-playing, rather than having an actual relationship with an actual person who is actually not a stereotype of a woman.

(Of course, it could just be that Asher Moses’s description of the game – the game itself may allow you to also choose a boyfriend. Somehow, I doubt it. I’m cynical that way.)

(3) The somewhat condescending comments (the first is “Oh dear”). That condescension says, to me, “look at that poor little [different person], we’re not like that”, and that, to me, pricks up my racism-alert hackles.

And whaddaya know, a couple of comments down there’s a comment which suggests that giving these games to “young Chinese and Indian men” could “stop the population boom”. Yep, that’s racism!

Oh dear, indeed.

I’m not going to go into the marrying-the-game-character thing. I do find it a bit disturbing, and I think that’s because of the implied power imbalance. Which is not so much a problem for the individual game character involved (!), but for what it potentially says about the man’s attitude towards women, and what he wants in a woman. I find that more problematic than the idea that he wants to marry the game character, per se. But I haven’t unpacked it enough to write about it coherently, and I don’t want to fall into the trap of sounding (or being!) condescending or racist by writing about something I don’t really get.

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From The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary (4th ed):

spree n. colloq 1 lively extravagant outing (shopping spree). 2 bout of fun or drinking etc. [origin unknown]

Trigger warning.

Not quite the word one would have thought appropriate when describing a man indecently assaulting 5 shop assistants in 3 hours.

You can almost hear them, can’t you? Guffaw guffaw … it’s about shop assistants … you know, it’s almost like he went shopping … you know, like a spree or something! Guffaw guffaw.

Actually, that’s probably giving them too much credit – it was probably much more unthinking and unconscious than that.

Just another example of the trivialisation of sexual offences in our community.

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This is the fourth in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, the second is here and the third is here. In this post, I attempt to draw the discussion to some kind of conclusion.

In the second post and the third one I’ve outlined some of the messages which I think come out of Picoult’s books. I’ve also alluded to the reasons why I find some of them troubling. In my first post on this topic, I also noted that I perceived two main problems: (1) it suggests that false allegations are common and problematic; and (2) it hides the horrendous way in which many complainants of rape are actually treated.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about some of the many other real ethical problems surrounding the way complaints and charges of rape are treated in our society – and how I think the stories Picoult wrote could have been tweaked a bit to explore these issues, rather than the fake issue of false rape allegations.

First, here’s a list of some of these real ethical problems surrounding the reporting of rape and the criminal process which may follow:

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This is the third in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, the second is here and you will find the fourth here when it goes up tomorrow. In this post, I address the specific ethical issues raised by Salem Falls.

As with yesterday’s post: SPOILER ALERT!

I have even more problems with this book than I do with The Tenth Circle. It opens with Jack (from whose point of view a lot of the book is written) walking along a deserted road in the snow. He’s just got out of prison. He can’t go back to wherever it was he came from before that, he knows that teaching is out of the question, he doesn’t care where he goes. Someone gives him a lift, and he gets out at a friendly-looking small town. That town is Salem Falls.

By the time he’s there, we’ve already guessed he was in prison for some kind of sex crime, and we’ve also had a couple of parts of the story from the point of view of the owner of a diner in town and the point of view of a teenage girl with a very protective and loving father.

Jack gets a job at the diner, and goes to the police station to report – confirming our guess he was in prison for a sex crime.

There are a few threads drawn through the book. The relevant ones are:


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This is the second in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. The first is here, you will find the third here when it goes up tomorrow and the fourth here the day after. In this post, I address the specific issues raised by The Tenth Circle, which I think is the least offensive of the two books I’m going to talk about.

It’s been a while since I read the book, and I’m writing this post from memory, because I’m really disinclined to go back and re-read the book. Apologies for any errors. By the way: SPOILER ALERT!

The book is largely written from the perspective of a man who is the father of a teenage daughter (who I think is called Tracy). His wife is a lecturer on Dante (and maybe Italian poetry in general?) at the local university (I think her name is Laura). I can’t remember if they have children other than Tracy.


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This is the first in a series of posts about Jodi Picoult’s use of false rape allegations as a plot device. There will be three more, and they will be posted daily. You will find the second here tomorrow, the third here the day after and the fourth here the day after that. In this post, I introduce the topic, Jodi Picoult, the books I’m talking about and a few of the issues.

The post title might seem like a bit of an oxymoron. After all, one may ask: isn’t the point of fiction that it’s not true?

Actually, I’d argue the opposite. I’d argue that one of the purposes of literature is to tell the truth about life, without necessarily telling the reality of life.

Where this duty really comes into play is where an author uses assumptions and stereotypes as if they are real.

Much fiction does this, and sometimes it is reasonably unobjectionable as a plot device or tool.

Where I really start to get angry is when someone does something like what Jodi Picoult has done in at least two of her books (and I’ve only read four!) and premises the entire plot on a false rape allegation.


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