akashiver: (avatar)
[personal profile] akashiver

I've posted about the lack of male rape in George R.R. Martin's books before, so I was interested to read Sophia McDougall's much more developed essay on popular culture & male rape in The Rape of James Bond.

Some thoughts on the Evil Gay Man trope: Our culture is terrified of male rape. I wonder whether part of the rationale for the Evil Gay Man caricature isn't also an attempt to control the threat of male rape by positing that the people who would do THAT are <<Evilgay,>> and therefore not anyone the viewer would want to be. Only over-the-top Evilgay (TM) characters, or prisoners, would even contemplating raping a man and so that act becomes both evidence of and explanation for their deviant identity.

Meanwhile, it's perfectly possible for a character to be portrayed as both a rapist of women and normal. Even admirable. I'm looking at you, Rhett Butler, Thomas Covenant, etc. To rape a female character is merely to commit a crime, whereas to rape a male character is to define one's identity.

Date: 2013-03-26 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com
It's complicated by the fact that a lot of guys who are in fact rapists don't think of themselves that way. She was leading him on/she really wanted it/the act wasn't technically rape/etc. But as soon as you switch that over to a male target . . . very few guys are going to rationalize committing any sort of homosexual act by saying he was leading him on/he really wanted it/the act wasn't technically rape. If Thomas Covenant had come across a man in what he thought was a dream world and said, "welp, I might as well act out my fantasies," that would have been a RADICALLY different statement on the character: not just that he fantasizes about nonconsensual sex, but that he fantasizes about it with men. Vastly fewer readers are going to nod and think that seems perfectly normal to them.

Which isn't to say male rape doesn't get rationalized. It does; but the rationales I'm familiar with are kind of verboten under our current ideology concerning homosexuality. In other words, "it isn't gay if you're the active one," "I'm doing it to show contempt for him," etc. At this point we're either too twitchy about or too accepting of homosexuality for either of those to really make sense -- you should either NEVER TOUCH ANOTHER GUY THAT WAY or you should be doing so in a loving and healthy manner.

Date: 2013-03-27 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] d-c-m.livejournal.com
Very powerful.

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