Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In which an Eastwick heroine rapes a man. And everyone ignores it.

I watched my first episode of Eastwick two weeks ago (hey don't judge - there was nothing else on) and I’m still a little shocked that the writers had one of their main characters rape a man in order to get a few laughs. I mean, seriously wtf were they thinking? For one, I cannot be sympathetic towards a rapist. Second, just because a woman uses her “magical” abilities to hypnotize the person doesn’t mean it’s not rape. And third, rape is not a fucking punch line in a joke. It’s a horrible traumatic experience that should never be casually thrown around, especially with a culture that is so unwilling to treat rape as the serious crime it is (and this goes doubly for male rape).

Here’s a loose rundown of what happened:

The character Joanna (pictured) has the ability to make men do what she wants by basically hypnotizing them with her eyes. I guess the main point of this situation was to reinforce the idea that Joanna is learning that abusing her powers is wrong (though it shouldn’t take raping a person to figure that out). Anyways, while at a party Joanna is feeling pretty down and is trying to make the man who replaced her at her job (she got fired for some shit that wasn’t made clear to me) and so she is getting drunk and dancing with any man she can. Then she starts dancing with this really attractive man and everything is grand. But once he tries to leave (he says he has to go), she does her eye trick to get him to stay and make out with her. She then makes him take her upstairs in order to make her co-worker jealous.

Are you still with me? (I want to give you enough information without making it too complicated.)

The episode then carries on with the other two characters, but when we get back to Joanna she and the attractive man are in a huge bath (that’s empty) together and they look all disheveled. The man is disoriented and after she says some tripe about not usually being a slut or some crap he says, "I've never had sex with a woman." Then Joanna says, "Oh, I cannot believe you're a virgin," and he replies with, "That's not what I said."

And if that wasn’t clear enough for you, a moment later the man’s husband walks in and finds them together in the bathtub. Get it. He’s a gay man that has never had sex with a woman before. How hilarious! At this point Joanna does try to take the blame saying, "This is not his fault, I hypnotized him with my eyes," but obviously that doesn’t fix anything.

And then, as if the whole fucking situation wasn’t infuriating enough, Joanna goes over to her best friend’s house (also pictured) and tries to make her friend feel better about her quasi-break up by saying, "Would it make you feel better if I told you I slept with a gay man?"

At this point I don’t even know what to say, but woo fucking hoo this show is being canceled. I just find this whole thing disgusting and I want to know why I could only find three different blogs or forums that talked about this situation seriously. I hate to be the one to point out a double standard, but if this had been a man raping a woman the internet would have blown up over this situation. Where are feministing, shakesville, Jezebel, and Feministe at? How did no one know about this? Even if Eastwick isn’t that popular, I find it hard to believe that not one of these sites was able to catch this.

What could have been an excellent platform to talk about how rape hurts all members of society (or how the beliefs that men can’t be raped, that gay men aren’t really gay, or that rape isn’t that bad are still rampant in our society) has instead been quickly and quietly forgotten. And I think that pisses me off the most.

I had wanted to do this post a couple weeks ago, but I totally forgot to be quite honest (which I feel bad about).


  1. I wonder how Jezebel missed it--they usually find this stuff.

    I agree, though--it's not funny, and it sounds like the show's writers need to find a new job.

  2. The only way those sites find these things is if someone sends them in. Send it in to tips at jezebel dot com, and there's a good chance they'll pick it up.

    I agree, it's infuriating. If the gender of the parties was reversed, it would have been all over the place.

  3. Wow, I stopped watching after the second episode. Rebecca Romijn's vacant stare got to be too much for me.

  4. Oh gosh yes, in Jabootu terms, it would fit the 'designated heroine' trope.

    And the vignette of the rape itself in context does go to chilling places. Religious fundamentalists and totalitarians have come up with the idea of 'corrective rape' of homosexual people by members of the opposite gender.

    Either the writers just gave it no thought at all or they were trying to put forward that idea.


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