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Jodie Foster Slams writers for use of

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by SeverinR, May 18, 2016.

  1. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Jodie Foster | Jodie Foster Slams Male Writers For Use Of Rape Plots | Contactmusic.com
    "When you really got to the overriding motivation of that women, by the end you'd always found out it was rape."

    It does seem to be the common force in most women's motivation of many movies. (and some books)

    *this topic could fit in other places, speaking of movies, but it's also writing. But it's not specific about how to, or what to write. So I put it here for a discussion.

    IMHO people are people. Every motivation known to "man" is also possible to female. (My philosophy on other races too. Every motivation known to man can be known to elves, orcs, Dwarves or even Noids.)

    I do believe the cause might be the old writers don't know how to write a female character and are restricting themselves to the "old ways". "The only reason a nice gentlelady would be so _____, has to be because some evil man somewhere raped her." (spell check is racist, gentleman is one word, gentlelady should be two words per spell check here. It's the same word just a different sex.)

    I think writers that actually work at creating believable characters can write a female character with any motivation.

    I wouldn't automatically write it off as a motivation, but it does seem to be overused.
     
  2. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Torture and rape, both, seem to be overused in fantasy literature. I think I've encountered more torture than rape in the novels I've read, but then I tend to read novels with male protagonists. (And some of those stories have had instances of males being raped.) I think these two fit within that set of tropes that are easy kill-the-puppy / save-the cat go-to's. Want to show someone's evil? Have him rape, torture, kidnap and torment someone close to the MC if not the MC himself/herself. (Or have him kill a dog for no reason but his love of cruelty.)

    When we consider the type of pre-industrial milieu of many fantasy worlds, the question of whether such brutality is par for the course is an interesting one. I do believe that pre-modern society, particularly the farther back in time you go, would have had a larger incidence of rape—while also believing that this doesn't mean every woman was a victim of rape. In a brutal patriarchal society, in which violence plays a much larger role and policing a more minor role, the threat or possibility of rape would rise, I think.

    I think Jodie Foster has a stronger point when addressing movies/plots set in a modern time period. I also think that writers of fantasy could benefit from considering alternative motives for women in their novels—as some do.
     
  3. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Fair warning... before this thread goes any further... Please review our Forum Guidelines. More specifically under Sensitive Topics. For those who don't feel like clicking on the link I'll share that part here:


    Anyone who fails to follow the aforementioned guidelines shall face my wrath. Thank you in advance for your participation and cooperation.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
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  4. Hmm, maybe I am reading the wrong books and wrong movies but I often don't see these. I mean I do in the Abercrombie and the Martin style books. But I haven't really seen it in the other stuff I read. Although, I did read a Clancy book where the MC was motivated by the horrific actions committed by a pimp to the MCs GF.
     
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Seems a bit hypocritical to win an academy award for starring in a movie where your role is a victim of rape (and the source of the character's motivation) & then slam writers for the use decades later, without so much as a mention of the role.

    I can see where the issue lies if that was the only motivation ever used, or if, as Foster implies, rape is used as a fallback for weak writing. But, I don't think it's as prevalent as the article seems to imply.

    I might be wrong. I'm just not reading/viewing it as a norm.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
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  6. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    The rape scene in that movie was also half the movie's length. A hard one to watch.
     
  7. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    No one takes any celebrity seriously. Especially when it comes to serious societal issues.

    They're so far removed from real life that the comments they make about anything other than being a celebrity border on the farcical.

    She obviously has an agenda and doesn't actually care about the real issue itself.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    Hmmm...

    Wrote a short story years ago where the plot revolved around a woman who chose to stay with a violent, abusive husband.

    Apart from that, there's 'Empire: Capital.'

    The MC, Tia, is in the imperial palace, officially as a witness in a cultic mass murder, but unofficially to snag an aristocratic husband - her well off commoner family is trying to increase their social status. And there are a lot of single noble men there, many of them heroes of a devastating war. But they returned from that conflict 'damaged' - dangerous. More, as the emperors friends, they are protected from the consequences of dang near any act short of treason. But this doesn't stop Tia - and quite a few other young women like her - from courting these fellows. A risk/reward situation - rape, physical abuse verses a jump in social status. Not sure if it fits the standard 'rape story motif,' but its what I wrote.
     
  9. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Everyone has an agenda, even if their agenda is "leave me alone".
    And I would be wary of saying she doesn't care about the issue. She may not express herself in a way that motivates you but it motivated her.
    As an aside are all the poster's in this thread male?
    I would be interesting to hear another perspective.
    As a white middle-class middle-aged man from a fairly comfortable background, I'm not sure I have the chops or experience [and maybe the right?] to comment with authority on some issues that others see as affecting them.
     
  10. Sheilawisz

    Sheilawisz Queen of Titania Moderator

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    I would advice people to take this issue more seriously.

    A very long time ago, we had a problem when people were bashing famous authors and one of them actually showed up here (using a different name) in order to defend him or herself. Please do not attack Jodie Foster personally in your posts, because she could be reading this and we do not want to look like a site that throws personal attacks at famous and generally admired people.

    Many actors and actresses have participated in roles and films that they later regretted.

    I also dislike very much how the issue in question has become so common in Fantasy stories these days. I am not sure why or how this has happened, but I agree with Foster on her opinion that the tendency is wrong. It's a very serious, delicate issue and it should be treated with more respect.
     
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  11. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Celebrities are people, they can have opinions, and they can take roles that seem to go against their stated opinions. I didn't offer this discussion to get into celebrity bashing.

    Like I said, I think if someone suggests there is a "common" writing occurrence it might be worth looking at. Just because she said it, doesn't make it true. But I have seen many movies that have the OP mentality.

    Fifthview: I agree, she is talking more Civilized period times, but the limited way of thinking for one genre could also be in others.

    Cupojoe:
    I did not realize, there is very little to tell male from female in the identifiers for each person. Some you can assume, (some I have had discussion with and know) but just looking you don't know.

    Personally, I try to stay away from issues like this to much. My motivations are more universal, usually motivations that could be male or female. My main reason is because I want a character to be more then a rehashed version of someone else's character.
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think the response here would be better if it wasn't Jodie Foster. But she's also a producer and director, and if you consider how many scripts she must read, she has every right to comment in this area.

    Regardless, I think rape has risen to the level of a fad, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was mentioned in the same breath as "Zombies" on the list of story content a publication won't accept. (For those saying they don't see a lot of rape.... how many zombie stories do you see?)

    I can't really comment on why people want to write about rape. I don't understand it at all.
     
  13. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Besides Game of Thrones, Thomas Covenant, & maybe a Joe Abercrombie story (I haven't read them all), where is this practice so common in fantasy?

    I think the backlash against writers, male writers, is largely coming from the TV series Game of Thrones where the TV writers made a different choice of direction for the character Sansa, which a great number of people disliked, female and male.

    It should be noted that this was not the original writing by GRRM. It was altered for TV.

    Due to the show's popularity, I can see why that might stoke the fires on the issue of proper agency for female characters, but I still think it's being overblown. I'm open to persuasion though if someone can provide a contemporary list of male authors relying on rape as a female character motivator. Even concerning Martin's ASOIF series, I remember threats of sexual assault being leveled, but I don't remember the action depicted blatantly. It has been awhile since reading those stories though.

    To be clear, I don't mind Foster voicing an opinion that is in opposition with a previous role. I do, however, think she should be more forthright about her change of mind and the role in question, not just the article mentioning the link to the movie The Accused.
     
  14. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    The Accused is from 1988, so something like 28 years ago, and it was about a rape and subsequent trial.

    I think there is a difference between a story about rape and a story that uses a rape merely to amp up tension, sympathy, and give a character a strong motivation. These combine in The Accused, but in other movies and stories, they might not.

    I'm not sure that pointing out Foster's role in The Accused, although a rhetorical flourish, is a strike against her point.
     
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Terry Goodkind, Sword of Truth, which is extremely popular for some people.
     
  16. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Haven't read that, but we'll add it to the list:

    Donaldson - Thomas Covenant 1977
    Martin - ASOIF 1996
    Goodkind - Sword of Truth 2008
    Lawrence - Prince of Thorns 2011
    Abercrombie - ?

    I agree. But, it should be part of her discussion primarily to properly frame her change in thinking from starting actress to director.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  17. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm having trouble finding more because the words "fantasy" and "rape" do not belong in the same search box.
     
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  18. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Agreed.

    I didn't want anyone to do a search. I was hoping people would know these stories offhand if they're so prevalent.

    I only limited the discussion to fantasy as that is the topic genre here at MS, & the prevalence in fantasy was mentioned earlier in this thread.
     
  19. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    [Brandon] "Least favorite tropes or clichés?" Jake Lingual asks. Is this too big for a micro cast?
    [Dan] I think we could each give one really quick.
    [Brandon] Okay. Yeah.
    [Dan] I will say bullies. I realized that that's a real problem, but I hate reading YA books about bullies. Like in Harry Potter, the world is going to end, it doesn't matter if Draco Malfoy doesn't like you.
    [Brandon] I would say mine's similar. My least favorite trope is where a female character is made... Is proven to be strong by beating off rapists or by being raped and then overcoming it.
    [Mary] That was the one I was going to say.
    [Brandon] I stole it.
    [Mary] So I'm just going to ditto it.

    http://www.writingexcuses.com/2014/04/27/writing-excuses-9-18-microcasting/

    I think that rape and the threat of rape are not uncommon in certain subgenres of fantasy, but pinpointing an exact case of rape being used as a primary motivator for female MCs is...not so easy for me.

    First, my tendency, as mentioned earlier, is to read fantasy novels with male protagonists. Second, the rape or threats of rape I've encountered tend to be directed toward supporting characters rather than those male protagonists–so maybe a motivator for the male MCs, or maybe merely a tool to show how evil an antagonist is or to raise sympathy for the MC and surrounding supporting characters. Or, as a kind of backdrop, when rapes are mentioned as part of a description of the aftereffects of warfare.

    I also sometimes read m/m fantasy romance and related sorts of novels, and these too often seem to include torture and may include rape. Storm Constantine's Wraeththu series, for instance, includes rape–although the characters in that series are post-apocalyptic mutated (or, evolved) hermaphrodites technically. C. S. Pacat's Captive Prince series includes multiple instances of male rape, and one of the two MCs suffered when young from the attentions of his uncle and has that experience as a motivator (although this is not made explicit until the third book in the series.)

    I think that in this discussion, we might somewhat be confusing mere incidence of rape and threats of rape with the more specific issue of using rape as a primary motivator for female MCs. The one is rather common; not sure about the other.
     
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  20. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    I will weigh in as a 32-year-old woman :)

    GRRM defends his use of sexual violence in a few ways:

    But Martin told the New York Times that although his books are epic fantasy, they are based on history (the series is loosely inspired by the Wars of the Roses). And "rape and sexual violence have been a part of every war ever fought, from the ancient Sumerians to our present day".

    "To omit them from a narrative centered on war and power would have been fundamentally false and dishonest, and would have undermined one of the themes of the books: that the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And the heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil," the author said.


    George RR Martin defends Game of Thrones' sexual violence | Books | The Guardian

    "I'm writing about war, which is what almost all epic fantasy is about, but if you're going to write about war and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don't portray [sexual violence], then there's something fundamentally dishonest about that," he said.

    "Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It's not a strong testament to the human race, but I don't think we should pretend it doesn't exist."


    Game of Thrones: George RR Martin insists omitting rape would be 'fundamentally dishonest' and criticises 'Disneyland Middle Ages' stories | News | Culture | The Independent

    "People will say 'Well, he's not writing history, he's writing fantasy - he put in dragons, he should have made an egalitarian society'," he said.

    "Just because you put in dragons doesn't mean you can put in anything you want. I wanted my books to be strongly grounded in history and to show what medieval society was like.

    "Most stories depict what I call the 'Disneyland Middle Ages' - there are princes and princesses and knights in shining armor but they didn't want to show what these societies meant and how they functioned."


    http://mythicscribes.com/forums/chit-chat/16570-jodie-foster-slams-writers-use-2.html#post237686


    Am I tired of the constant portrayal of women as sex-objects in media? Yes. Of course.

    Do I think that rape is a huge problem in media and needs to be avoided at all costs?

    No.

    I'm raising a little boy right now. One thing that I have noticed since becoming a parent is how sugar coated everything is. How much we try to protect our children. How much we avoid certain conversations and pretend that certain things don't exist. At our local play school group they can't sing "The little old woman who swallowed a fly" because the song is about death.

    Are you freaking kidding me?

    We live in a rural town. Our cat catches mice and squirrels from the mountain and eats them, dragging the carcasses home. I had a friend try to use the "he's only sleeping" BS.

    It bothers me that we keep trying to push rape, racism, homophobia etc under the carpet and pretend it doesn't exist. It does exist. Is has existed for a long time. As a person who is very interested in history, I think we have a lot to learn from history. I think out children have a lot to learn from history so that history does not repeat itself.

    So while of course I'm not going to talk to my four-year-old son about rape, I will talk to my 14-year-old son about rape, racism, homophobia, and how and why those things are not OK. I'm not going to sugar coat real tragedies that happen in our world.

    So back to literature. I feel like when we Disneyland our literature then we are dumbing down our society. Sheltering them too much does not make leaders of change.

    So while I do agree that woman should be portrayed as more rounded than simply objects of rape, I also think that Fantasy is a safe venue to explore some of these terrible experiences that have happened (and still DO) happen in our world. Fantasy can be a great way of addressing social issues in a manner that is 'removed' enough from the 'real world' so that we can learn from them.

    I read "The Giver" every year with my Eighth Graders . This is a YA book where a child is in charge of keeping the memories of the community. One baby born into the community does not fit the mold of what the community expects, and so he is going to be destroyed. Injected with a toxin to stop his heart and then dumped down a chute into an incinerator.

    That is some pretty heavy stuff! But the fantasy setting and the fact that it is fiction... (We aren't reading articles about infanticide) makes it sort of a safe way to have some really tough conversations about what really happens in the world.

    So after all that (lol) I agree with Jodie Foster that women should have other roles then just being raped and surviving rape.

    However, I still feel that rape does have a role in story telling and should not be avoided completely.
     
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