Critics’ Reactions to the Jaime/Cersei Rape Scene in Episode 4.3 of Game of Thrones
"I wonder, then, if the rape was on some level a misguided attempt to give Cersei even more pathos, a la the convenient backstory rapes that have become depressingly common on prestige TV (and Scandal)…I wonder if TV Thrones‘s writers just have a tendency to change problematic book sex scenes into clear scenes of unconsensual sex.” - Hillary Busis, Entertainment Weekly
“Game of Thrones has a rape problem.” - Kevin Spak, Newser
"In the original depiction, Jaime never says “Why have the Gods made me love a hateful woman?” — a line that the TV show added in, which in context makes Jaime look like an abusive rapist (the gods made me do it!)”- Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
Jaime forced himself upon Cersei despite her demands to stop. “It’s not right,” she cried, to which Jaime snarled, “I don’t care.”…we can never unsee that godawful scene. - Leanne Aguilera, E! Online
"If this scene really just is a miscalculation in direction (and potentially the writing of Benioff and Weiss, neither of whom have yet commented on it) and doesn’t get any payoff later in the season, then it truly deserves all the criticism it has been receiving.” - Terri Schwartz, Zap2It
The director who shot the scene and the man who acted in it both believe it wasn’t necessarily nonconsensual sex— an attitude that isn’t totally surprising in a society that’s deeply confused about what constitutes consent, and that doesn’t always recognize sexual violence for what it is. -Tara Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress
So then Jaime … well … no other way to put this, really. He rapes his sister beside their corpse of their murdered son. This is the same guy who protected Brienne from a similar fate last year. - James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly
"…the show’s overall treatment of women as disposable objects onto whom physical and emotional violence are relentlessly enacted. Sexual violence is so pervasive on the show that nearly every woman on the show has been raped or threatened with rape. The show, and the books, reveal the disturbing and cavalier facility with which rape becomes a narrative device.Rape is used to punish. Rape is used to make a woman more sympathetic or to explicate their anger or other unlikable qualities. Rape is used to put women in their place.” -Roxane Gay, Salon
"The entire scene in the sept was an exercise in Cersei’s belittlement. She watched her father degrade and dishonor (albeit truthfully) her firstborn’s legacy and then manipulate her youngest into serving as his marionette. Then, on the floor next to the body of her dead son, the only man she’s ever taken into her confidence abused that trust in the most vile way imaginable.” - Hillary Kelly, The New Republic
"A giggling dead body would have at least taken our attention away from, you know, the raping." - Johnny Brayson, wetpaint
"Whether the show meant it to come across that way or not, what we saw was a rape.” - Erik Kain, Forbes
"The scene, which has Cersei pleading “stop it” repeatedly and struggling against Jaime, appears far from consensual." - Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times
In the show there’s no other way to interpret it as unambiguous rape. Jaimie isn’t loving when he tries to have sex with her in the show, he’s shown as being angry and hateful, cursing her for being a wicked woman. There’s no point in the scene on the show that we can see Cersei consent, which makes the whole scene significantly different from the book. Some readers have pointed out that the rape in the show is damaging for Cersei’s character arc since she had to endure the marriage to Robert Baratheon in which he essentially engaged in marital rape, Her consensual sex was always with Jaimie who made her feel safe. Jaimie raping her in the show completely destroys their relationship and destroys the trust she has in Jaimie leaving her without anyone. - AJ, the Digital Times
The rewritten scene also takes away all of Cersei’s agency. In the original text, Cersei chooses to have sex with Jaime, grotesque as it and the setting may be — because she wants to, or because she uses sex to manipulate, it doesn’t matter. Cersei has power and control. The scene in the show deprives her of all of that. - Amelia McDonell-Parry, The Frisky
His response is not to stop loving her, not to stop believing that he is victim to the gods. Instead, Jaime rapes his sister, passing that sense of unendurable pain on to her. He must know that this is the worst possible way that he could hurt her. Jaime knew that Robert raped Cersei, and in the novels, he wanted to kill Robert for it. Not only does raping Cersei remind his sister of her repeated, humiliating violation, Jaime is poisoning their own relationship, the thing that had been Cersei’s antidote to the miseries of her marriage. It is an exceptionally cruel thing for Jaime to do. - Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post.
It’s hard to shake the idea that Game Of Thrones, the show, doesn’t see a problem with pushing a scene from complicated, consensual sex to outright rape. It would be easier to accept that idea if it were clear what the show was trying to do with those changes. - Sonia Saraiya, AV Club
If Graves intended to depict consensual sex in the end, he completely failed. This wasn’t even one of those terribly clichéd scenes where a man starts raping a woman only to find that she comes around to thinking it’s hot. Cersei is still kicking and protesting when the camera cuts away. It’s as straightforward a rape scene as you’ll get on TV, unless you buy the ridiculous myth that a woman can’t be raped if she’s consented to sex with a man before. - Amanda Marcotte, Slate
This isn’t the first rape scene in Game of Thrones—far from it. And there’s been controversy over the show’s use of rape before. But what makes this scene the most upsetting one yet is that the director didn’t realize he was filming a rape scene…Whether or not the creators intended this to be a rape scene is irrelevant; they made one anyway. And worse, they made one that encourages the most dangerous thinking about rape imaginable. - Laura Hudson, Wired
"How will victims of sexual assault be affected when a director and actor in one of television’s most popular shows questions whether no really means no?" - Eliana Dockterman, Time Magazine
I’ll go ahead and say it: Jaime Lannister has become a rape cliché. He’s the boss, like every other on-screen rapist we’ve ever seen. - Hayley Krischer, Salon
"I’m not opposed to shows depicting sexual violence, but rape-as-prop is always distressing…Rape and abuse have consequences for the victims who carry those traumas with them. While I don’t know exactly how the show will depict the aftermath of Jamie raping Cersei, GoT does not have a strong track record of acknowledging or exploring the lingering effects of surviving sexual assault." - Margarey Lyons, Vulture/New York Magazine
"I can’t think of any comparable defense for the rape scene in "Breaker of Chains," which feels like a naked and ill-conceived attempt to push Game of Thrones into even darker territory. …I’m concerned that Game of Thrones has made a mistake it can’t take back — and one that sets a troubling precedent for the show’s future.” - Scott Meslow, The Week
The Game of Thrones Rape Scene Was Unnecessary and Despicable….The fact that showrunners might be asking us to overlook this for the sake of character development is downright insulting and says a lot about how we treat victims, especially the ones who come off as unlikable. - Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.com
Is “Game of Thrones” Obsessed With Sexual Assault?…Frankly, there are some weeks when “Game of Thrones” doesn’t seem worth the effort. - Sam Adams, IndieWire
2014 is not a good year to be a teenage girl. The last of the 90’s kids are growing up and we are starting to see the effects of being raised with the Internet. For generations before us, hormonal teenage boys looking for sexy images of women had limited options; they could brave the embarrassment of going to the counter and buying Playboy, they could look through their sister’s Cosmo or they could use their imagination. Porn today has rid itself of the embarrassment-factor by embracing the anonymity of the World Wide Web; Playboy isn’t really considered to be porn anymore, the real stuff lives in your phone, on your laptop, your tablet; it is available anywhere, anytime at the touch of a button. In fact this very website receives a steady stream of hits that result from someone googling some combination of ‘housekeeping porn’ + ‘sex’, ‘lesbian’ and/or ‘rape’. As you read this, somewhere there is an eleven-year-old boy curiously typing ‘porn’ into Google, probably hoping to see some big boobies. Fast forward a couple of years and he is masturbating to a video of a crying woman who is being tied down, simultaneously penetrated by three men, spanked, and being called a whore. Young boys are being de-sensitized to violence and the more they consume, the more abusive, the more graphic the porn has to be to excite them."
On the left we have the lyrics from Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. On the right we rape survivors participating in Project Unbreakable, showing the various things that were said to them by their rapist.
Editor’s note: By now, you’ve probably heard about the terrible (because it’s all too common) incident that happened recently at the Hollywood Laugh Factory between comedian Daniel Tosh and a female audience member who was vocal about her displeasure with Tosh defending rape jokes in his stand-up act.
Tosh, who is known for his over-the-line comedy, both live and on-air, apologized over Twitter to the offended individual, providing some legitimacy to the claim that he went way over the line in this instance.
The he-said/she-said details of this particular instance, however, are far less important than the emerging discussion by comedians, feminists and media experts who have either expressed their support of Tosh or stand-up in general or commented upon the persistence of “off-limits” joke territories.
Lovers of the art form generally seem to agree that comedy is one of the few sacred spaces where commentary can be made on difficult, taboo topics in order to invite dialog. But most would also agree it takes a keenly honed sense of awareness and subtlety to execute these types of jokes successfully.
Of all the blog posts and news articles written about this recent flare-up of the age old comedy question so far, it’s been Austin area comedian Curtis Luciani who offered up the most deceptively eloquent statement on the larger matter that we’ve seen yet. As a member of sketch comedy groups Your Terrific Neighbors and The Hustle Show, he’s no stranger to flirting with that razon-thin line between hysterical and ostracizing. But he’s also, clearly, a really smart dude who gets the meaning and use of satire.
Published with his permission, here’s his response in its full, unapologetic glory (be advised: it contains dirty language) as it appeared on Facebook Wednesday.
Let’s imagine a world in which women cut men’s dicks off. Like, frequently. To the extent that one in five men has had his dick cut off by a woman or had a woman attempt to cut his dick off.
(I apologize immediately if it sounds like I’m being flip. I am not being flip. Imagine the pain and shame and humiliation of someone cutting your dick off. Imagine it in earnest.)
Sometimes it’s a clear-cut case where a woman attacks you in the street, out of nowhere, and cuts your dick off. But more often it’s a situation where you actually know the woman, maybe you trust her, maybe you think everything’s okay, and then one day she cuts your dick off.
Still with me? This is going to take a while. I’ll tell you when I’m done. (And if you think I’m being insufferably self-righteous: Good news, you don’t have to read this!)
Okay, now let’s also say that the shame and guilt around having your dick cut off is so strong that many dick-cuttings go completely unreported. After all, someone is likely to raise the question of whether or not you were “asking for it” in one way or another. And if you do accuse a woman of cutting your dick off, you can expect to see people (quite naturally) rally to her defense and slander your character in response.
You can expect to see her friends… who are maybe also friends or yours… shrug their shoulders and say “Well, I don’t know, it’s complicated… it sounds like something was just happening between the two of them and maybe it got out of hand. I dunno. But I know that Sarah’s not a bad gal. I know she would never, like, MALICIOUSLY cut a dude’s dick off.”
So, a shitty state of affairs for the men-folk of our imaginary world, yes?
Now imagine that in this world, something like 90 percent of professional performing comedians are women. And they’ve accepted that there are certain codes of behavior when it comes to comedy. Most people who “like comedy” generally accept the premise that there are no subject areas that cannot be somehow given a comic treatment, but it is also accepted, as a practical rule, that as the subject gets more troubling, more intense, more painful, a more skilled approach is necessary to find the humor in it.
However, it is also accepted that people are people and they are going to have authentic responses to things. It is accepted, for example, that you probably should not go in front of an audience that contains several black people and start tossing around the n-word unless you have an EXCEPTIONALLY sophisticated and road-tested routine built around it, one that you are confident will overcome the very significant risk you are incurring. If a comedian did this and did NOT overcome the risk, no one would be shocked if the audience shouted her down and stormed her out of the club, nor would anyone be particularly eager to defend her.
HOWEVER, there’s this ONE thing. Many of the comediennes of this world have this ONE little sticking point. One little thing. It just IRKS the hell out of them that they can’t seem to make jokes about cutting dicks off without some whiny pussy male in the audience throwing a shit fit about it!
Now, sure, there’s a few comediennes at the top of their game who can pull it off. Their approach is skillful, and they somehow make the joke without minimalizing or trivializing the actual pain involved. But then the rest of them think, “Well, geez, if they can do it, why can’t I? It’s not fair, darn it! I should be able to work with the same material as someone much better than me and get the same result and not make anyone hate me or say mean things about me on the Internet! Waaaaahhh!
“I mean, after all, do that many men REALLY get their dicks cut off? I’ve heard the statistic, but that’s probably overblown. And I bet a lot of them were asking for it. I mean, in any case, there’s a lot of grey area. I know one thing for sure: none of the men I KNOW has ever had his dick cut off. If they had, they would tell me, right? I mean, right? And besides, there’s a principle at stake here. I AM AN ARTIST. I should be able to say whatever shitty thing I want, and people should be able to suppress their authentic response to it!
“And if they DON’T suppress their authentic response to it: why, that’s censorship or something! Besides, I know this and that example of a time where a comedienne I know made a joke that wasn’t even ABOUT dick-cutting, and some whiny pussy dude got upset about it anyway! It’s just these humorless masculinists! They can’t take a joke about anything anyway. So, since I can think of examples where a comedienne was unfairly criticized by someone without a sense of humor, this must be what happens in all cases.”
Okay, I think we see what I’m getting at here.
Fine, yes, WHAT-THE-FUCK-EVER. I will concede the following points that every comedian wants us all so badly to concede:
1) Theoretically, there is no subject that should be considered off-limits for humor.
2) There will always be some example where a performer of extremely high skill can take something very painful and make it work.
Here’s what YOU need to understand:
1) Rape is way, WAY more prevalent than you seem to think it is. Are there more than five women in your audience? You do the math, and then you run the little fantasy scenario that I just put together in your head, and you tell me how it feels.
2) I ain’t buying any of that “If I can make jokes about genocide, why can’t I make jokes about rape?” Horseshit, unless you made those genocide jokes during a gig at the Srebrenica Funny Bone. You got away with making a joke about genocide because your odds of having a holocaust survivor’s kid in the audience were pretty fucking low.
And if you did happen to have one in the audience, and he heckled you, walked out, and wrote something nasty on the internet… would you be more likely to be a human being and say “Wow. I can understand why that person’s authentic response to what I was doing was so emotional and negative. Maybe my genocide material just isn’t good enough to justify the pain that it inflicts. Maybe I need more skill in order to pull this off.” Or are you gonna be a lousy piece of shit and say, “Yeah, I apologize, I guess, IF YOU WERE OFFENDED.”
Offended hasn’t got anything to do with it, moron.
People have wounds, and those wounds are painful. That doesn’t have shit to do with the weak concept of “taking offense.” If someone talks about Texas being a shitty state, I might “take offense” at that. Fine, whatever. All of us who like comedy are generally in agreement with the idea that “taking offense” is lame, and a comedian should be willing to “offend” whenever he or she wants to.
But causing pain is quite a different fucking matter. Your job as a comedian is to take us through pain, transcend pain, transform pain. And if you don’t get that, you are a fucking bully, and I’ve got zero time for bullies.
Sterilized by North Carolina, she felt raped once more: Elaine Riddick was only 14 when the state decided that she was not capable of mothering children and quietly cauterized her fallopian tubes. The $50,000 now offered to her only makes her angrier.
This is one of the most disturbing stories we’ve ever read.
Between 1929 and 1974, nearly 7,600 people were sterilized under orders from North Carolina’s Eugenics Board. Nearly 85% were women or girls, some as young as 10. The state estimates that 1,500 to 2,000 of the victims are still alive.
The board’s declared goal was to purify the state’s population by weeding out the mentally ill, diseased, feebleminded and others deemed undesirable.
In a 1950 pamphlet, the Human Betterment League of North Carolina said the board was protecting “the children of future generations and the community at large,” adding that “you wouldn’t expect a moron to run a train or a feebleminded woman to teach school.”
The pamphlet went on: “It is not barnyard castration!”
Photo: Elaine Riddick, 57, listens as Dr. Laura Gerald, unseen, chairwoman of the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force, announces on Jan. 10 the panel’s recommendation of a $50,000 payment to each victim. The meeting was held in Raleigh, N.C. Credit: Shawn Rocco, Raleigh News & Observer
Netizens Mourn After A Moroccan Girl Who Was Forced To Marry Her Rapist Commits Suicide
#RIPAmina is gaining traction following the suicide of a young girl, Amina from Larache, Morocco. According to online reports, Amina was raped by a man 10 years her senior a year ago. Following an agreement between her family and a civil court Amina was forced to marry her rapist, which protected him from any criminal charges according to Moroccan penal code.
The snapshot below highlights Article 475 from Moroccan law which decrees that anyone who rapes a female minor, under the age of 18, will receive immunity from criminal charges as long as they marry the minor.
Women’s rights groups in Morocco, like Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles (MALI), have been vocal in their opposition against Article 475.
MALI issued the following press release on March 8, also International Women’s Day, to protest Moroccan law.