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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