sasha_feather: trinity from The Matrix (trinity)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
I love Eastwick for a lot of reasons. I missed one episode because I don't have TV, but the episodes I've seen have been fun, engaging, light-hearted, and have made me want more. It is a show that puts womens' friendships at the center of the story, and is about women finding and coming into their power. It has some silly fun dialog and interesting characters. I was sad to hear that it was canceled, but not really surprised-- almost all shows I like get canceled.

I was disappointed in last night's episode.

Joanna knows that she has the power to control men's actions by looking into their eyes and commanding them to do things. She tried this on her co-worker Will already, basically putting a spell on him to love her, and it went badly. She felt guilty about it, understandably, and now Will has moved on.

So in last night's episode, Joanna is at a party, feeling sorry for the state of her life but determined to have a good time. She ignores the man that is clearly interested in her and starts dancing with a good-looking fellow that we never learn the name of. When they are done dancing, he tries to leave, she grabs his hand and propositions him. He acts confused. She stares into his eyes and puts a spell on him, first to make out with her, then to take her upstairs to have sex.

Cut to after, and the man acts disoriented and confused. "I've never had sex with a woman," he tells her.
"Oh, I cannot believe you're a virgin," Joanna says.
"That's not what I said," he counters.

A moment later, the man's husband walks in on the two, angry because he thinks his partner has cheated on him. Joanna tries to own up, "This is not his fault, I hypnotized him with my eyes," she says, but of course no one believes her.

She flees to her best friend Penny's apartment, where she makes up the fight they've been having by confessing her "shame story"-- Penny is upset over her own romantic situation, and Joanna says, "Would it make you feel better if I told you I slept with a gay man?"

This whole thing seems to be played for laughs, or perhaps to teach Joanna a lesson. Of course they do not use the R word. Of course Joanna is not going to say that she raped someone. >:(

I've read books where the main character almost rapes someone, and as a reader I've felt sympathy for that character, and felt weird about it: Shevek in The Dispossessed and Mark in one of the Vorkosigan novels. Both of those books acknowledge the discomfort and the horribleness of the respective situations, and in my mind they both stop at almost, although your mileage may vary. Yes people do messed up things, yes they abuse their power, no it doesn't autmatically mean that these people are evil monsters. But let's at least call rape what it is, let's at least acknowledge a crime when we see one, and let's think about the weight of the damage done here, and what messages are conveyed in this story. Somehow it would have been OK if this guy were straight, or single? No, no, no.

Date: 2009-11-26 08:55 pm (UTC)
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Ashe)
From: [personal profile] laceblade

Some day I want to write a lot about how Spike is treated on Buffy after this happens, too.

Date: 2009-11-27 09:03 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (expectant)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
I want to read it!

Date: 2009-11-26 09:00 pm (UTC)
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
From: [personal profile] owlectomy

I was going to write something about how this is connected to the cultural idea that sex is something women have and men take from them, and therefore it's illogical for a woman to want sex when a man doesn't want it, or for a woman to rape a man, because CERTAINLY we would never advance the idea that it's all right to brainwash a woman to have sex with you...

And then I remembered Dollhouse.

Date: 2009-11-26 11:55 pm (UTC)
aria: ([life on mars] facepalm)
From: [personal profile] aria
Ick, no.

On the other hand, at least it gives me some warning when I watch the episode tonight. And, I suppose, a reason to be less sad it's canceled. /o\

Date: 2009-11-27 02:02 pm (UTC)
sunflowerp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sunflowerp
Oh, but they had to use a gay character, because Everybody Knows het men never turn down women offering sex. /sarcasm

I'm half-tempted to come up with a "dominant-paradigm sexual narratives" bingo card, now - that one would hit several squares (including a homophobic one, because in that narrative "het" is code for, or at the minimum can be read as code for, "real"). I can get as annoyed as the next feminist about "what about the menz?!?" derailings, but the men aren't rapeable/women can't rape trope is one that falls between the cracks too often. (And, come to think of it, that's a binary-reifying trope as well.)

I'll take a swipe here at the "abuser of power = evil monster" trope here, too - no one is magically immune from abusing power, no one is innately Not One Of Those Bad People (whether the "badness" in question is rape, or emotional abuse, or *isms/*phobias, or, well, pretty much anything).

I'll stop unpacking thoughts before I write a whole post (which probably I should - or several - but now's not the time.)


Date: 2009-11-26 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was SO PISSED OFF. Also I watched it back-to-back with Glee, and the combination was just so much horrible social fail and DOING IT WRONG that then we had to stay up late watching Star Trek just to make the world okay again.

Date: 2009-11-26 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I kept thinking, surely one of her friends is going to stop her, or she will come to her senses and stop herself! Surely they are not going to go there! And then they did.

I read some Glee posts this morning and was like, OH NO THEY DIDN'T.

Yeah, at least we will always have Star Trek!!

Date: 2009-11-26 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That made me angry, too. It's one thing if she does it and then realizes how awful it was and feels guilty and tries to make it better. But it's like ... I don't think the writers even *thought* about the fact that this was rape. If a man had done it to a woman, they might have at least addressed it as some form of malicious seduction if nothing else. But this... yea. Wow. It's all about how sad it was for her that she had to resort to doing it and that it ended up being a gay man. Mrrrr.

I put the show into the "lots of fun, but definitely problematic" category myself anyway, so I can't say this surprised me all that much.

Date: 2009-11-26 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, agreed. It seems like the writers didn't realize what they were doing!

Date: 2009-11-26 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've missed the last few episodes of Eastwick, and that does not make me want to start watching it again. I thought they'd made their point about Joanna's powers when she tried it on Will and realized how wrong it was to trick him into being in love/having sex with her.

Date: 2009-11-27 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Agreed! How many times do they need to explore the same plot line?!

There were other things I liked in this episode, namely Roxie and Darryl, and even the bickering between Penny and Joanna was kind of funny and interesting. But it was soooo disappointing.

Date: 2009-11-27 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
its interesting through too, it kinda breaks the premise that her power was based on sexuality to begin with. Also it bugs me a LOT that it was assumed it would be ok if he had been a virgin, gay or not.

just so much wrong here i don't even think i can express it right.

Date: 2009-11-27 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's true, it's weird that her power would just work on gender or "men" (however they are defining men) on not on some kind of sexualized premise.

I didn't get the impression that it would have been assumed to be OK if he had been a virgin, but it did bother me that it couldn't POSSIBLY be true that this guy could be a virgin. I mean, surely adult virgin men don't exist! /sarcastic

Date: 2009-11-27 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't seen this one yet, I guess i was making assumptions from what i read.

Date: 2009-11-27 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that's no problem!


sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)

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