Rape scenes are lazy


At Wired, our Laura writes about the emerging media cycle surrounding rape scenes in TV shows and the euphemistic bullshit used to justify the bottom-shelf storytelling they embody: "If you're a woman in media, you're basically the sexy Halloween costume of human beings in a world where Halloween never ends."

It's not a "how to do rape scenes" article, but rather a lucid tour of the self-justifying motivations, tropes and excuses that emerge whenever some clueless writer gets defensive about his or her awful rape scene.

Because rape is widely acknowledged as a Very Serious Topic, there's also a tendency to treat rape scenes as a means to be edgy or shocking. You know, as a way of creating really serious, mature content. Most of the time, however, this approach radiates nothing so much as ignorance and immaturity… Think of it as a recipe for cheap drama: Take a story, add one rape, stir vigorously, and presto—instant emotional reaction! This is both incredibly lazy and incredibly callous, but it works, so people keep doing it. Rape has been so overused and misused in popular media that adding yet another manipulative sexual assault to the world just to heighten the stakes of a story or have a Very Special Episode is not just one of the most offensive things a writer can do, it is also one of the most boring.