Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dear Universal Studios: Does Everything Have to Be So Rapey?

Right around the time Brock Turner was getting a stern tsk-tsking for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, a group of us went to Universal Studios to celebrate one of my best friend's birthday.  I was dreading it maybe just a smidge, because even the lure of Harry Potter World was struggling to offset a four-hour round-trip drive to mill about cheek-to-jowl with thousands of other people on the hottest day of the year to date.

But I went! With my friend and three of our collective four daughters,  And Harry Potter World is all that and a box of Chocolate Frogs, seriously, totally worth the trip and the exorbitant price of admission.

Maybe it was just that Brock Turner (or perhaps his dad, infamously lamenting his son's lack of appetite for rib-eyes after "20 minutes of action" had landed the poor misunderstood collegiate swimmer rapist in hot water) had flipped the "confirmation bias" switch in my brain, sure felt like rape was everywhere.

Shrek 4-D was super-cool.  I mean, that extra "D" really adds a level of realism.  I felt like the frog's tongue flicked THISCLOSE to my ear to snap up that fly. So you can imagine how compelling it was when the ghost of Lord Farhquad hatched his evil plan to KILL FIONA so that he could then force her ghost to be his bride.  Because forcible marriage is an appropriate topic for an all-ages attraction at a major amusement park.  And clearly, there's no way Universal Studios has the creative capital to come up with a plot that doesn't involve rape.  I mean, what other core conflicts are there?  Besides "You spurned my advances, now I'll teach you a lesson for all eternity, bitch!"?  Really, none.  BRING YOUR KIDS!

Then there was the "Waterworld" stunt show, billed as "Universal Studios' #1 rated show!"  And I'll be honest, the stunts were amazing.  People were lit on fire and raced around on jet skis and fought and jumped off of 70' high towers.  And one of those people was a woman, badass Brittany Servidio.  And because she's a woman, and probably has a vagina instead of a penis, there is no way for there to be a compelling plot with her as the protagonist unless the bad guy threatens her with rape.  I mean, none.  It's not enough that she's riding zip lines one-handed and doing hand-to-hand combat and tearing around an inundated planet looking for dirt, for god's sake, presumably to grow plants in, I guess.  That would feel so...flat. Contrived, even.  So thank goodness for the talent at Universal Studios, who recognized that the sine qua non plot element for characters with vaginas instead of penises is the threat of rape.  But it's a family show, so you have to be very subtle about your rape threats, so let's have the Bad Guy (you know he's the antagonist because he's bald and has an evil laugh) inform her that she will BE HIS WIFE and (creepy pause for effect) HE WANTS LOTS OF KIDS.

Speaking of kids, hey kids in the audience watching Waterworld at Universal Studios, you know how people make babies, right?  That's right!  The man puts his penis in the woman's vagina!  And if he does this without her explicitly agreeing to it, it is called RAPE.  Which is so awful that Stanford swimmer rapist and all around great kid rapist Brock Turner had to go to jail for a whole three months for doing this to an unconscious girl on the ground behind a dumpster.  I mean, that's not as much time as you'd probably get for other bad stuff, like maybe felony vandalism or holding a big bag of pot for a friend, but it's still pretty bad.  I mean, Brock doesn't even want to eat steak any more.

Good thing the judge in Brock's case had the decency to understand that any more of a punishment would have a "severe impact" on him.  Not as severe as being forcibly penetrated by a stranger while unconscious or forcibly impregnated by the bad guy who murders all your friends or murdered yourself so your ghost can be ghost-raped by some shithead with a Napoleon complex, sure, and probably not even as bad as being a writer tasked with creating plotlines that don't involve rape, but still pretty danged bad.

Brock is out now, BTW, as of this past week, having paid his debt to society.  He should celebrate at Universal Studios.  They LOVE the rapey bad guys over there.  Hey, he's a swimmer rapist!  He could probably even get a walk-on part in Waterworld.

1 comment:

  1. this article was a good read and i am glad some one stepped up and raised the issue with the industry. but i think they do it for more awareness. i am sure everything is open for opinions