Photo by wintersixfour
Jessica Valenti’s recent article in the Guardian was no surprise to me, but I am very appreciative that she wrote it. The article I am referring to is entitled “Why do women love The Walking Dead? It might be the lack of rape scenes” and Jessica is spot on.
I LOVE The Walking Dead. Yes, it is violent. Yes, it is gritty. Yes, I have to shield my eyes sometimes. But I find post-apocalyptic stories so darn entertaining. Moreover, there are multiple complex women and girl characters with layered identities and goals. Is the show perfect? No (see: “Abortion Pills” episode). But what it DOESN’T do is shove violence against women down my throat every chance it gets. The Walking Dead doesn’t go out of it’s way to remind women that “hey, those things you are scared to face everyday of your life? We’re going to depict them in the background for no apparent reason, even though we’ve already established rape is a popular thing to do here. We thought you might need a reminder.” In other words, the Walking Dead is not like SOME other shows we know…
Jessica states this very well:
In a post-apocalyptic setting like the one on The Walking Dead, surely rape would be a reality as well – but you don’t need to depict extreme sexual violence for millions of people on a television screen in order to maintain the authenticity of a compelling television series.
That rape is a regular part of The Walking Dead’s world is hinted at several times throughout the series: we hear about rapes that have taken place, but we’re not forced to endure watching them. For me, this makes all the difference.
Are you listening TV/Movie producers? I hope so, because I refuse to support shows and movies that persist in depicting graphic (and non-graphic) sexual violence on screen WHEN IT IS NOT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO DO SO. Can rape never be depicted in movies or on television? No, rape does happen and it is an issue that should be addressed, but it has a time and a place. The context of the violence, and the framing of the conversation surrounding the violence, is everything.