Perhaps I was a little unclear in my last meta. Perhaps I fell victim to my English-major habit of needing to prove everything, even things only tangentially related to my topic. If I did, I apologise. Perhaps I wasn't talking about what you wanted to talk about. I don't apologise for that.

I talk about a lot. I talk about sexism, ablism, and Castiel and Ruby as counterbalances, among many other things. I even have a convenient list if you don't believe me. But I also talk about uncomfortable things and I'm getting the feeling that I'm treading on uncomfortable ground here.

To clarify my point, I'm going to copypasta from my previous meta:

Dean's fight with Zachariah, where he keeps telling him that no, he won't let Michael take him is both heart breaking and terrifying. It is one thing to think of a demon - Meg or Lucifer or Azazel - taking someone against their will, but the brutality of the angels is beyond cruel.

Zachariah says to Dean, "You're Michael's weapon or, rather, his receptacle... Michael's vessel. You're chosen. It's a great honor... I am completely and utterly through screwing around.... Now, Michael is going to take his vessel... You understand me?"

I think part of the terror is how easily Zachariah dehumanizes Dean. Dean isn't a person. His consent doesn't really matter (or, in Zachariah's words, the angels' god-given need for consent is "unfortunate"). Dean is an object - he is a receptacle and a vessel. Dean is empty until Michael fills him and uses him. Dean is nothing; he is empty until Michael rides him.

I really don't blame Dean for saying no to that.

Then Zachariah takes it a step further. He broke Sam's legs because Dean was mouthing off at him, but when Dean actually dares to say no - dares to assert himself as a person - Zachariah is visibly furious. He offers to heal Bobby, if Dean will say yes, but says that if Dean says no again, Bobby will never be able to walk. After Dean says no again, Zachariah gives Dean stage four stomach cancer, saying he will heal him if he allows Michael to take him. (Stage IV gastric cancers are usually metastasized tumors that have spread to other parts of the body - probably Dean's only hope of recovery is a miracle.) At another no, Zachariah removes Sam's lungs.

Unsurprisingly, Dean begs for death at this point. Zachariah has, after all, pretty much run out of people to hurt and Dean is in visible agony from his gastric cancer, while Sam struggles behind him. Zachariah, however, tells him, "Are we having fun, yes? ... Kill you? Oh no, I'm just getting started." Zachariah is ready to torture Dean into allowing Michael to ride him.


I want to talk about this.

I want to talk about how Dean is being victimized here. I want to talk about how we have a (manly man's man who drinks beer and listens to rock and roll and eats red meat and sleeps with women and drives a classic car and likes big guns) is having his choice - his consent, his ability to say no - taken away by a (should-be-trustworthy, older, authority figure) male. On a (mainstream, regular, not-special-interest) television show, Dean is being told that, regardless of his own desires, Michael is going to take him and Zachariah is going to have fun in forcing him to say yes to Michael.

Some brief information on assaulted men: Men are even less likely to report assault and rape than women. Imagine, briefly, how off that makes our statistics. Male rape, particularly penetrative rape, is associated with a loss of manhood, making it problematic on multiple levels. Like all rape, it is about power, not sexual desire. According to Wikipedia, the first successful prosecution of male-on-male rape in the UK was in 1995. According to RAINN, in 2002, one in eight rape survivors was male. Have some links.

Male sexual violence is also rarely depicted in media, especially mainstream media. The victim is usually a child, gay, or in prison. The media offered by Mankind Counselling fit these boundaries, almost exclusively features characters who are molested as children. I'm still looking for another representation that is like what we saw in Sympathy for the Devil (5.01), which, according to the information I have found, is fairly realistic in what male rape actually does look like.

As I said in my previous meta, I'm not sure what it means. I am, indeed, grappling with what it means that Castiel took (rode, possessed, was inside) Claire and then took Jimmy, when Jimmy was dying and desperate to save his daughter. I'm grappling with what it means that the men of the show - John, Bobby, Sam - who manly men and men's men and all-American men with big guns and fighting skills have been taken and ridden and filled against their will, except for Dean who was so clearly, visibly brutalised in a highly sexual manner.

It's one thing, as a friend pointed out to me, for Lilith to take little girls. It's one thing for Ruby or Meg-demon or Azazel to ride an unwilling victim. But it's a new line, a new violation for an angel to do this, even if we don't find angels to be terribly trustworthy. What does it mean that even angels will ride roughshod over consent with pleasure?

And what does it mean to have this representation of male rape in mainstream television and have it primarily - as I see it, correct me if I'm wrong - ignored by its normally highly rape-conscious, misogyny conscious fanbase?

I don't know which bothers me more, to be honest.
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From: [identity profile] 04-lover.livejournal.com


I'm pretty tired right now, so please excuse my slowness :) could you clarify this to me? ...except for Dean who was so clearly, visibly brutalised in a highly sexual manner. When/how was Dean brutalized in a sexual manner? Are you talking about his interaction with Zachariah (in which case can you expand on how that situation was sexual) or about how the show depicts Dean as a man who sleeps with a lot of women?

These are very interesting thoughts. I do see Dean as a victim though and I agree with you that "his choice - his consent, his ability to say no - taken away by a (should-be-trustworthy, older, authority figure) male."

But it's a new line, a new violation for an angel to do this, even if we don't find angels to be terribly trustworthy. I'm not sure if it's any different for an angel to do this than a demon, only because Kripke has stated that the angels are dicks (with the exception of a few of them, Castiel, Anna). They're not nice guys, they're downright bastards, as we've found out along with the boys. They're not the angels we know from religion. For all we know, all the angels are like that. So I'm not sure if I see the difference besides being forced to ask for consent. (Which makes it seem all that much worse, doesn't it? Zachariah going out of his way to get Dean to say yes was pretty disturbing.)
ext_21906: (blades)

From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


I mean that the interaction between Zachariah and Dean was highly sexualised and brutalised Dean (it did give him stage IV gastric cancer and removed his brother's lungs, after all).

Whether or not we see the angels as dicks - and I have been saying that the angels aren't trustworthy since Castiel showed up - there's a huge difference between being dicks and forcing someone to beg for his life, to force him to say yes. There's a massive difference between being an ass and raping someone (or being happy and willing to rape someone). There's a difference between being untrustworthy and taking pleasure in others' pain, taking pleasure in torturing people.

Additionally, there is the culture we exist in. No matter Kripke's decrees from on high, Supernatural doesn't exist in a cultural vacuum, anymore than fandom does. While we can know logically that the angels aren't trustworthy, there is the idea that angels and demons are different. If they aren't - why would Lucifer fall? What difference is there between Heaven and Hell? When John escaped the torture of Hell did he, then escape to the torturous fires of Heaven? Even if angels are asshole bastards, I think before this, I held them to, at least, a slightly higher standard than, say, Lilith, even if I thought they were scum.

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From: [identity profile] ginzai.livejournal.com

1/2


I don't separate out demonic and angelic possession in the same manner that you do, but I think it's an interesting (if ultimately depressing) concept to consider. However, I only can contemplate possession as a metaphor for rape as one form of sexual violence among the several varieties used within the show.

Supernatural has never really pulled its punches in referring to sexual violence, even male on male sexual violence. I've no doubt that TPTB knew exactly what they were doing when demon!John pressed Dean to the wall and then invaded his personal space with a long, lingering stare. You also had Nick the Siren, who was extremely sexualized himself. He slipped Dean a drug via his drink that caused him to lose his inhibitions, spat in Sam's mouth, and then forced them into a duel to the death to win his affections. Alistair practically personified a creepy stalker ex, complete with sexually charged references to non-consensual past actions. He sang about dancing "cheek to cheek" and mused on how "daddy's little girl" would want revenge for "all those pokes and prods." There was also the guy from Croatoan with the Stepford smile who tried to force Dean to leave the Impala, the one that Dean called a handsome devil but declined on account of not swinging that way.

Point being, the act of possession, whether from an angelic or a demonic source, is scarcely the only form of male on male sexual violence on the show. That said, possession itself is referred to in incredibly sexualized terms - Dean's "you full on had a girl in you for a week - that's pretty naughty" implies it, Zachariah's choice of wording here very much is indicative of it (and as you mention in your other meta, out of context sounds like nothing so much as demanding consent for a sexual act), Meg Masters claims that the demon who possessed her "cut my hair and dressed me like a slut" (this despite the fact that demon!Meg did not particularly dress in a provocative fashion) and so on.

I can't think that all of this has been accidental and that TPTB weren't aware of all of the unfortunate implications. However, I don't think the writers are really separating out angelic vs. demonic possession with the in the manner you're referring to.

They're both pretty horrifying, after all. Demonic possession is done completely by force and often kills the human; I think Ruby even refers to demonic hosts as being "ridden hard and put away wet". Angelic hosts, however, DO have to consent - even if it's a mostly uninformed consent - and they are generally fully healed when injured in the line of duty and kept alive throughout the entire process.

I think the concept of consent is important because there's no way a human really can know what they're getting into ahead of time. It's significant, therefore, that angels have to ask for permission at all. The consent isn't fully uninformed either, from the four angelic possessions we've seen thus far. Castiel seemed to speak to Jimmy for a matter of days before taking possession (though this is perhaps something of a retcon, along with Castiel's claim that Jimmy had prayed for it in 4x01), Lucifer is upfront and honest with Nick that it will likely be an unpleasant experience for him, despite the severe amounts of mental manipulation that go with the explanation. Dean obviously had some time to hang around the angels before Zachariah put the deal out there (which, on an offtopic really makes me wonder why Dean was allowed to wander off to begin with. He could have been resurrected and then kept in the green room until Sam got around to killing Lilith, which frankly would likely have been faster had Dean not been there. So why was Dean allowed to return anyway? They'd likely have gotten his consent had he been more ignorant of what his consent would actually have enabled). The only one who didn't much much opportunity to consider the offer was Claire and she at least had seen demons and knew how dangerous they were, which was more than Nick had the chance for.

From: [identity profile] ginzai.livejournal.com

2/2


So it's not like the humans (that we know about, anyway) have gone in completely blind. This might have something to do with the angel in question, of course; I could see Uriel or Zachariah outright lying in order to gain permission, but that doesn't seem to be Castiel (or Lucifer's) style. In a weird way, if demonic possession is out and out non-con, angelic seems to be dub-con. It's just as twisted and perhaps in a way even worse since the illusion of consent just adds insult to injury. However, that doesn't make demonic possession any less horrific, especially since it seems to often end with a dead human. And maybe demonic possession is worse after all; Meg was dropped out of a seven story window and hadn't healed at all months afterward. How incredibly painful and terrible must it have been to feel your shattered bones literally grinding against one another for that long before you're allowed to finally die? Angelic possession adds a mindfuck to a physical rape, but demonic possession must be like living in an eternal snuff film.

I can't separate the two concepts completely. They're both rape to me and both pretty damn scary. I don't find possessed!Sam in BUaBS to be less horrific than the concept of Michael!Dean in 5x01. Sam was no less robbed of his own free will than Dean would have been. The language in Dean's case just is a bit more explicit.

I don't think the implications have been completely ignored though. There were a significant number of posts after DT aired that spoke of the threat of sexual violence from demon!John and where they suspected things might have gone if "this was aired on HBO" and I do think the writers, if not explicitly the fans, were very much aware of the threat of sexual violence in 5x01.

I'd almost argue that they're MORE aware of the concept of male instigated sexual violence than they are of other forms of it. Meg and the CRD have both forced kisses from Dean, Meg also forced a kiss from Sam as I recall (which is a rare threat of sexual violence towards Sam; it's an unfortunate implication in its own right that Dean alone among the main cast seems to be pretty much the sole target of sexual violence in Supernatural, from demon!John to Bela - that "don't objectify me" comment - to the CRD to Alistair to YED!Samuel and now again with Zachariah) but the concept of female on male sexual violence is generally ignored. The most we get about it is Dean telling Sam to find a girlfriend who's less of a bitch.

So to for that matter is male on female; Meg might have in control, but she was very much possessing a male body when she knocked Jo out and sniffed her neck. Likewise, there's the issue of consent of Ruby's host. TPTB tried to get out of an implication of rape by declaring Ruby's host braindead in S4 but if a male attending slept with a female patient in a persistent vegetative coma, you can bet your ass it would still be considered rape. Necrophilia is rape as well, if they're arguing that her host was dead and so therefore had no say in the matter. The dead cannot consent. Sam sleeping with that girl's body was still rape because there was no possible way she could have consented. They also tried to handwave Lilith's seduction of Sam with a "she wants it too" remark but could anyone really believe Lilith when she said that?

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure why the male on male sexual violence is that much more noteworthy or appalling than the other forms of sexual violence we've seen on display. It's ALL disturbing. Dean sticks out to my mind because there's the implication that he was physically raped by Alistair in Hell and because the threat of sexual violence towards him seems much more prevalent than it is with other characters. Dean can't make it through a full season without someone invading his personal space and leering at him. However, Dean has been the object of both male and female sexual aggression and while it seems to happen to him the most, he's very much not the only one. Male on male violence does come up with alarming frequency in SPN but I'd argue that it actually receives more attention and focus (and care of handling, for that matter) than the myriad other varieties out there.
ext_21906: (Default)

From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com

Re: 2/2


I'm focusing on the sexualised violence enacted on men because it's not present in other forms of media.

I literally went looking. I wasn't happy to go looking and I had to steal myself up for it. I'm a survivor of sexual violence myself. But I don't know if it was more horrifying that I couldn't find it.

I seen and read works about sexualised violence against women. Sometimes it supports rape culture, sometimes it doesn't. The only non-child abuse media portrayal I can remember of sexual violence enacted on a male is in Life on Mars - and that was not dealt with at all, that I can remember.

If RAINN's stats are right and one in eight rape victims is male - what does it mean that these men have no representation? They have no fictions. They have no models. They have the idea that they're gay and wanted it, that they were in prison, or that they were children. That's not right and it points to a huge vacuum - what does it mean that Supernatural is filling it?

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From: [identity profile] smallcaps.livejournal.com

Re: 2/2


I'm a little troubled by the fact that, in both posts, when Chase said "I want to talk about this", a lot of people have reacted with "but these other things are worse/just as bad/what about this/this/this".

I'm not saying that's intentional, far from it, but it does smack of derailing, somewhat.

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:)

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From: [identity profile] smallcaps.livejournal.com


Thinking about the sexualised language, is it significant that Alastair, one of the nastier demons, consistently refers to wearing bodies (like clothes) rather than taking or riding them? And how does that relate to what we know about his and Dean's relationship in Hell? Maybe he gets all of his metaphorical raping needs taken care of downstairs.

I'm also thinking about the fact that Uriel (whose vessel was a black man) used racialised language to refer to humans (mud monkeys). The disdainful attitude of angels to humans is fairly obvious. So here we have angels twisting and forcing consent from men to violate their bodily integrity - what we're essentially seeing, on screen, is humans (because of course white males represent all of humanity, ugh) being portrayed as a minority group, powerwise. The angels look down on them, disregard them, feel free to use and abuse them with little regard for their welfare and it is their place. In terms of this sexualisation - 'humans' are women and angels are men.

But then, is it problematic that I'm essentially still saying rape is a women's issue?
ext_21906: (Default)

From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


I think it is problematic to say that rape is a women's issue.

I did a lot of research (okay, a day's worth, but my brain is not happy with that) before I posted this follow up. Men's stats as victims of sexual violence are so under reported as to be unknown - but RAINN did estimate that one in eight rape victims was male in 2002.

By media standards, men don't get raped (unless they haven't hit puberty or are in prison - otherwise they want it). It's not even that rape of men is hot - it literally doesn't exist. (I am sort of ready to cry that my search for fiction books dealing with male rape turned up law books. I admit it.) Obviously, media standards are deeply wrong. Men are, obviously, brutalising other men in this way. Women are using men in this way, as well, but it's estimated that you've got a better chance of finding a unicorn than getting that reported because it's not real, don't you know?

Perhaps Alastair doesn't need the metaphorical rape of riding his bodies because he actually rapes souls like Dean in Hell? Maybe that's more of a power trip, since he's head torturer?

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ext_23814: sam (spn - next person)

From: [identity profile] datenshiblue.livejournal.com


Here per your suggestion. ^^

Just some thoughts, definitely not "answers", I don't think your questions have simple ones, if they did, they wouldn't be so uncomfortable to contemplate.

What does it mean that even angels will ride roughshod over consent with pleasure?

My take?

It means nobody likes us (humans) very much.

According to the known mythos, God created humans and required his angels to defer to them. Lucifer revolted against that, as explained by Uriel.

If true, and it's all angelic hearsay, or human mythology, why would God require than angels defer to man? What is so special about humans? Whatever it is, it has placed them in between these two warring factions of angels and demons.

In the movie Prophesy (which SPN seems to borrow from), it's asserted that man has a "soul", angels do not.

If we take what Anna described as an angel's existence, angels have only obedience, not volition. There's a lot of question thrown on that at the moment, who are Zachariah and his cronies "obedient" to? But the concept is that angels obey God's Word, whereas humans were given free will.

The price of the exercise of free will according to scripture was expulsion from paradise, from easy living in protected comfort, into the world full or dangers, disease, disasters. Humans have free will, but not power, not the power of angels, nor of demons.

Angels lack a soul, and maybe a soul is what it takes to respect the sovereignty of consent?

And/or...

It means that as Anna suggested, something is very very wrong "up there" in heaven.


And what does it mean to have this representation of male rape in mainstream television and have it primarily - as I see it, correct me if I'm wrong - ignored by its normally highly rape-conscious, misogyny conscious fanbase?


It means that it's a lot easier for female fans to perceive and react to female issues?

To bring up an old argument, in 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer, there was a huge backlash against Sam for fucking a demon, and the whole necrophilia issue, but only a handful of people I noticed ever reacted to the fact that Sam was coerced and seduced.

Sam said no, not once but several times, and Ruby didn't back off until she provoked a reaction in line with what she wanted. At least one person I know of was so sensitive to this that they considered it dub-con for Sam, and I tend to agree. But the larger fandom reaction was against Sam, with little sympathy for the fact that his refusal clearly meant nothing to Ruby.

Was this because, as a male, the rule no means no doesn't apply for Sam?

With that reaction in the recent past, it doesn't surprise me much that there hasn't been more reaction to the rape-like aspect of Dean's torture.


I don't know which bothers me more, to be honest.


From the point of view of the show itself, I think the message was put plainly, and some of us (yourself included) got it.


God is not in His heaven and all is not right with the world.
ext_21906: (Default)

From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


Speaking as a feminist and as a survivor of sexual violence and all of that jazz: Why on earth should we expect men to respect our right of consent if we refuse to respect theirs?

That really, really bothers me about what I'm seeing as I watch reactions unfold. Maybe I'm too close to the issue and am overreacting, but it does bother me.

If it doesn't matter if Sam says no or Dean says no, then why should it matter if Ruby or Jo or Anna says no or not?

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From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com


Sam said no, not once but several times

Thank you for pointing this out! I too was confused by the backlash against Sam, when clearly it was Sam that was the victim in the situation.

It is disheartening to realize that rape, or dub-con, is not recognized as such when it is female->male violence.

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From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com


I think you make some really good points. And I agree with everything you say about the Michael's Vessel scene. Like a commenter before me, I find it interesting that Dean is continually sexually-assaulted/victimized/objectified in the show. In this episode, he was assaulted by both demons and angels - both a female and a male (at least in body..."meg" was male when she assaulted Jo). Both the forced kiss by Meg, and the torture scene at the hands of Zachariah, were uncomfortable to watch.

In terms of Castiel though, I see him and Jimmy not as rape, but as more of an abusive relationship, in which the abuser does not realize what they are doing. Jimmy DID give consent and he WAS infatuated with Castiel before he gave it...he DID pray for it, and he was glad to give himself to Castiel...until he actually found out what it meant. By then though, it was two late, and he was trapped in a relationship with Castiel that he no longer enjoyed. When he was finally free of it, Castiel moved on and found another willing host - presumably willing because she was frightened of demons, but willing nonetheless. At this point, Jimmy begged for Castiel to take him back, not because he missed Castiel or wanted to be in the relationship again, but because he realized that he could save Claire from the same abuse that he suffered, by turning the abuse back on him.

Now, I don't want to say that Castiel is guilt-free here, that his possession of Jimmy isn't as violent or nasty as the other possessions on the show, but I think the difference is that Castiel doesn't really realize HOW violent and nasty it is for Jimmy. He knows that Jimmy thought it was "rough" but he also knows that Jimmy CHOSE to be with him, so I think he believes that it's not actually THAT bad for Jimmy.

Perhaps I am letting my own personal experience inform me in this - I did have a male friend who suffered assault and abuse (and possible sexual abuse, though, typically, my friend will not admit to this and only alluded to it once by accident) from a girlfriend of his...a girlfriend who never did realize that what she was doing to him was wrong.

Anyway, just some thoughts. I really enjoyed reading yours.

From: [identity profile] annapeace.livejournal.com


Technically, if you're saying Castiel and Jimmy were/are in an abusive relationship, then it is still rape - something more like spousal rape, in this case. Castiel may not have been fully aware of what he was doing, but Jimmy came to the conclusion that he didn't want it anymore, so to have Castiel continue on inside him is definitely rape. Even though Jimmy "asked for it" the context can't be ignored: it came down to "take me, don't take my daughter" and that is hardly real consent.

And if this is the case, wouldn't angelic possession be so much worse than demonic? After all, demons just take people, and even though it's absolutely miserable, at the very least, the people can say with certainty that they never wanted it, never consented and fought the entire time. (At least, so I believe.) Being in an abusive-rape relationship with someone - someone you might have trusted, someone you invited to you - is much more damaging to the soul, isn't it? You don't want it anymore, and the person you trusted yourself to doesn't care.

In terms of legality, spousal rape is still a hard thing to prosecute, especially because it doesn't necessarily involve physical abuse at all. Men or women could be trapped in situations where they are powerless - no money, no family, etc. - so they'll do what it takes to keep the hubby/wife happy because they can't think of an alternative. Isn't that so with Castiel and Zachariah? "Give in or your daughter is mine. Give in or the world ends." In the end the rape becomes commonplace, and people may argue they can't call it rape if the victim no longer cares.

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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


I would agree with your interpretation of Castiel and Jimmy in an abusive relationship where Castiel doesn't realise what he's doing. After all, it's implied that heaven has tortured him while he was away in The Rapture and, as a friend of mine point out, Castiel is heavy on the "he consented to this; he prayed for this" in Lazarus Rising.

I think Castiel thinks that Jimmy wants this - even if Jimmy doesn't. Zachariah, on the other hand, is fully aware that Dean doesn't want to be taken by Michael and is happy to force the issue. It is also Castiel who saves Dean from being forced, implying, at least, that Castiel does not approve of forced vessels in this manner.

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From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-09-15 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile] isaacsapphire.livejournal.com


Point 1) Last night I finally got to see 5.01. And what graced my little laptop screen but a guy getting force-kissed by a girl and NOT liking it. Not even a little bit. Being utterly disgusted, and not because the girl was ugly or the man was gay or something. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

Point 2) Show is so many kinds of awesome for bringing up these issues. I've seen SPN as a show that's sort of "The Secret Lives of Manly Blue-collar Men (w/ghosts)" or something like that, but I've been impressed just how far they're willing to go.

And I need to be at work early tomorrow, so I can't go over this comment with a fine tooth comb before posting like I should, but I'm going to anyway. I'll be back.

From: (Anonymous)


I know that this might be slightly off-topic, but in comics fandom (read: Marvel or DC), where someone is mind-controlled or something similar every other month, it seems to be the general consensus that mind-control is at least comparable to (some, and I agree, might say it is) the mental equivalent of rape. So, regardless of the language used in Supernatural in connection with possesion (or any mind-controll that might be happening, though I can't of anything right now), one might say that possesion is the mental equivalent of rape, with the same or similar traumatic effects on the victim. No sexualized language needed.

From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com


I actually know there's been some discussion about male rape in SG/SGA fandom, and I'm hoping some people who know the issues better than I come in and have the discussion, because I only saw it in passing over the discussions over Universe.

There's also a little of the issue in Dollhouse, both for Victor, who's essentially a sex slave, and the FBI agent whose investigations take up much of the first season. I remember discussing that specifically with [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore, among others.

From: [identity profile] esorlehcar.livejournal.com


And what does it mean to have this representation of male rape in mainstream television and have it primarily - as I see it, correct me if I'm wrong - ignored by its normally highly rape-conscious, misogyny conscious fanbase?

This, in a nutshell, is what bothers me about your meta on this subject. You're suggesting it's problematic that a few people in fandom have focused on depictions of "actual"--i.e., not allegorical--rape in canon (or things that looked like rape until canon clarified further, such as Sam's sexual relationship with Ruby), which have occurred only to women, instead of the allegorical rape you see in demon and angel possessions, which occur to men and women, but which tend to be treated as worse when they happen to men.

You have some interesting things to say, and there's nothing problematic about explaining why you view possession as analogous to rape and why you feel that it's interesting and important topic given how little male rape is explored in pop culture. I don't disagree with you on the latter, and while I think the former is a bit of stretch, mileage varies hugely on these kinds of things, and I think it's great that you put the opinion out there. The problem arises in your apparent feeling that a) male possession victims are sexualized in a way female possession victims are not, so fandom should be focusing on the former rather than the latter, b) In the context of SPN, violence again men, whether by women or other men (and for the record, while we don't know if angels are gendered, we do know that demons are--Azazel refers to his son and his daughter in Devil's Trap), is more important and more worthy of discussion than violence against women, and c) People focusing on instances of sexual violence against women in canon, which include sexual assault and clear-cut misogyny, instead what you see as allegorical rape somehow proves the fandom as a whole is treating sexual violence against women as worse than sexual violence against men.

I don't think any of those things are true, and I particularly take exception with the latter two. Male rape and sexual violence is absolutely an important topic, despite the fact that it's a commonly used derailing technique to shut down discussion about violence against women, but it's nowhere near as prevalent, either in RL or in SPN, as sexual violence committed against women. Unless you count the comments from Alastair some people have interpreted to mean Dean was raped in hell, we've never seen non-allegorical sexual violence directed against a man in the SPN universe, so of course people are going to focus on that instead of the allegorical rape you see, an allegorical rape that is also committed against women.

Basically, it's great that you're interested in this topic, and that you feel SPN has provided such a neat illustration of it. It's less great that you seem to feel it's a problem that eclipses sexual violence against women in canon, and that others are focusing on sexual violence against women when they should be focusing on this.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com


First of all, I don't know where I said violence against men is more important than violence against women. I think it says something that I haven't seen anyone talk about it t all vs the amount of discussion generated about violence against women in the show. I don't think that there should be less discussion about the violence against women, mere more discussion that encompasses both or discusses the violence against men. This meta is also very much a reaction to the reactions to the linked meta, where the response from many was, "Why aren't you talking about the women of Supernatural? They're what's important," and that reaction is what bothers me.

I would also direct you to the comments in this post made by [livejournal.com profile] hells_half_acre and [livejournal.com profile] datenshiblue if you think there has been no actual sexual violence against men in the show. Your statement only backs up my belief that this is something that actually needs to be talked about.

To quote [livejournal.com profile] datenshiblue because they put it much better than I could at the moment:
To bring up an old argument, in 4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer, there was a huge backlash against Sam for fucking a demon, and the whole necrophilia issue, but only a handful of people I noticed ever reacted to the fact that Sam was coerced and seduced.

Sam said no, not once but several times, and Ruby didn't back off until she provoked a reaction in line with what she wanted. At least one person I know of was so sensitive to this that they considered it dub-con for Sam, and I tend to agree. But the larger fandom reaction was against Sam, with little sympathy for the fact that his refusal clearly meant nothing to Ruby.

Was this because, as a male, the rule no means no doesn't apply for Sam?


And there is no non-allegorical sexual violence against men in this series?

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From: [identity profile] siyahsaclikiz.livejournal.com


It's less great that you seem to feel it's a problem that eclipses sexual violence against women in canon, and that others are focusing on sexual violence against women when they should be focusing on this.

How on earth do you interpret her wishes that her meta on this specific subject, which can be considered a subset of the larger issue of sexual violence seen/implied in the show (and I, for example, do consider it that way), stays on this topic as "others are focusing on sexual violence against women when they should be focusing on this."? Never has she said that this issue is more important than the non-allegorical, physical sexual violence against women. What she has said is, she wishes people would stay on the topic for this meta - the male-on-male violence. Her first meta yesterday wasn't about sexual violence in the show in general, either. I can see why some people would bring in examples of violence against female characters, sexual in actuality or allegorically sexual (like Ruby's death scene) - I thought it could be considered relevant myself, as she discussed language and I personally take the style of language and imagery to be more or less in the same boat, as subtextual material. So bringing sexual violence against females up in her last meta, I get - I hadn't realized that she wished to discuss THIS SPECIFIC KIND OF VIOLENCE either. But when she explains it clearly, and yet others still keep trying to steer the discussion in other directions, that implies a willful disregard for both her wishes as the writer of this meta on that specific form of violence (allegorical or not) and that form of violence itself. Which she finds upsetting, and explains the reasons to find it upsetting very well both in the meta and in the comments here.

She is NOT saying that it's problematic people are focusing on female-on-male violence. She has discussed that issue many times, and not on just fandom-related ways. She is a survivor of sexual violence herself, and has posted about it, talked about it at length. Many times. Many, many times. I think it's mindblowingly rude that you're accusing her of this, to be honest. What she is saying is: It's problematic that when she's trying to discuss male-on-male violence, people keep bringing up male-on-female violence as though that is more important than male-on-male violence. Because both are of equal importance.

To keep trying to steer the topic to male-on-female violence, when there are many posts, metas, places that's discussed (including by chasingtides herself), when there are very few, if any, places/posts discussing male-on-male violence and when she has explicitly stated is the purpose of these metas IS problematic. Just because she wishes to discuss this specific topic in this specific post instead of discussing sexual violence in general doesn't mean she thinks this is a problem that eclipses sexual violence against women in canon. Nor does it mean she thinks other should be focusing on this and not that. It just means that she wants to discuss THIS, in this (and the previous) post(s). And really, when she includes male-on-male violence representation in media in general (not just SPN) in the post, I think it makes it clear she isn't just focusing on this issue in SPN, which you think is less important because it's only allegorical instead of physical the way male-on-female violence is. She is discussing this allegorical violence in the show, and uses it as a stepping stone to discuss this kind of violence in general and not just within the context of the show. She is writing a meta on male-on-male violence, and uses SPN as a case study, if you will - instead of writing a meta on SPN's portrayal of male-on-male violence (allegorical or not).

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From: [identity profile] siyahsaclikiz.livejournal.com

Unrelated to SPN


Male-on-male sexual violence (where the victims are not children, gay or in prison) was portrayed in an episode of Criminal Minds, by the way. It's a serial rapist/killer, but the show's focus mostly is on serial killers, so that's more or less to be expected. It was in the last season, the episode with Jackson Rathborne guest starring, if you're interested.

There was also an episode of Law & Order: SVU that I remember seeing, focusing on male-on-male rape. There was a frat and hazing involved, but it was definitely and clearly non-con and they dealt with it as they would have a male-on-female case, as far as I remember. I don't remember anything more about that episode, it was random chance I ended up watching it anyway.

So it's not that it's never portrayed (I'm a bit nitpicky about stuff like this, sorry), but it's definitely much, MUCH rarer, to the point of being a true exception, while it's not as exceptionally rare in real life. Definitely a huge representational problem.
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From: [identity profile] chasingtides.livejournal.com

Re: Unrelated to SPN


Thank you for that info! I don't watch a whole lot of television and even then, I've usually got a book in front of me that I'm half-re-reading while I watch, so I often don't catch the whole storyline. I was relying on research to help out, but, often, one day's preliminary research only takes me so far.

It does me good, actually, to know that it has some representation in media, especially mainstream media like Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds.
ciaan: revolution (Default)

From: [personal profile] ciaan

Re: Unrelated to SPN


On CM there was also the recent attack against Hotch by the killer who equated stabbing to penetration while stabbing him... definitely at least a metaphorical rape, possibly meant to be an implication of actual rape...
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From: [identity profile] azdaja-dafema.livejournal.com


Having read these two metas I found two things very interesting. One was the idea that Lucifer was more welcome in his form as a not-stranger: someone with whom the potential vessel had been intimate. The second was the dilemma of Claire's possession and how it fits with Castiel's persona.

On the first note, you're right. As his wife, Lucifer is more appealing. His "need" is more plausible, if only subconsciously through a familiar mouthpiece. It would have been interesting to see had the genders been reversed, or even if the familiar person was male also.

And regards to Castiel. As you said, he is like Lucifer in his method for choosing vessels. Which makes me feel as if he /did/ perhaps speak to Claire offscreen: perhaps in her mind. It struck me as a desperate choice; presumably there aren't that many angel-worthy vessels around. Especially given as he himself had just returned from Heaven where he had been chastised for his intimacy with his charges.

John, Bobby, Sam - who manly men and men's men and all-American men with big guns and fighting skills have been taken and ridden and filled against their will, except for Dean who was so clearly, visibly brutalised in a highly sexual manner.

You are right about Dean, looking back on it: he is objectified over and over. I really need to rewatch the YED!John ones because I think that those were a really interesting, if chilling, example. If only to contrast them to Alistair who probably serves as some kind of father figure himself given the amount of time he spent with Dean.

I'd actually really love to see Dean in hell in his last ten years. It would serve as an interesting counterpoint to the men who have been possessed to act in a certain way seeing a character driven to acting of his own will (however coerced).

From: [identity profile] c0ntrarywise.livejournal.com


I liked both of your articles, they were certainly interesting. But I'm afraid I will have to disagree with a fair bit of it. Most definitely, being possessed by either angels or demons is easily construed as sexual, as the above-mentioned dialogue (and phrases like "angel condom") present within the show. But I do not feel that the violence Zachariah uses on Dean is at all sexual. Yes, it is horrifically violent, and yes, sexual violence is horrific as well, but that is where the parallels end. Zach is hurting Dean and his family, a la Mafia, to achieve an end. It is far too great of a leap to consider that violence sexual.

I'm sorry if my argument seems weak (I'm a biology student, essays aren't my bag), but I've been taking a vampires in literature and film course for a GPA booster, and a number of the discussions we have seem to be stretches as well... In "Dracula," the vampiric mouth is a gender neutral, erotic feature, and story points and dialogue easily make it seem like Dracula intends an act on Jonathan that is highly sexual, especially by today's "Twilight"-riddled standards. But, again, some of the conclusions my classmates make regarding the sexual elements of the book are somewhat ridiculous. We use the phrase "sometimes a pipe is just a pipe."

Bram Stoker was angry his book was printed with a yellow (denoting pornographic content) cover. Would this imply he did not intend a number of the sexual conclusions drawn regarding his book? Could this not be the same for Kripke? There's no way they cannot notice the sexual nature of being possessed (the dialogue proves the recognition), but Supernatural is an action show and a fair amount of the violence depicted is just for violence's sake. Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

Thanks again for this essay, it was quite interesting. I wonder how you feel about some of the other instances of male-male sexual violence on the show? Such as Dean and Sam fighting each other to win the male Siren, after said Siren drugs Dean in the fairly standard date-rape style (I think in the strippers episode?).
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