melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-03-17 04:57 pm
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I was prepping a laundry load of newly thrifted fabric and recently finished sewing projects, and decided to throw in my pincushion, as it was getting kind of grungy.

This pincushion is the one I made as my first project in 6th grade Home Ec, by sewing together two small squares of cloth and then stuffing them. I've been using it for twenty years.

After pulling all the pins out, and then all the visible needles, and then squeezing it for awhile to get all the hidden needles, I threw my hands up, took out the stuffing, and went through it that way.

There were forty-five needles hidden in it.*

...has anyone yet invented a pincushion that doesn't eat needles?

Anyway, I am still working on Kushiel. This week's FMK poll is still neck-and-neck, so your vote could turn it! You have until I get back from the St. Pat's dinner in an hour or two. I took the first three weeks' K books to the thrift store today (where I bought the fabric that is being washed. And two more books shhh) so I can't chicken out, augh. I am now finding myself wanting to buy books just because they will fill out a good set for an FMK poll. No, melannen! Bad! Bad!

In preparation for writing my thoughts on Kushiel, here is a poll for you about evolving terminology in reviews:

Poll #18094 Rape vs. rapeyness
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 71

If I describe a creative work as "rapey", I mean that it:

View Answers

has at least one rape in it
7 (9.9%)

has a lot of rape in it
13 (18.3%)

has unnecessary amounts of rape in it
31 (43.7%)

may or may not explicitly include rape, but has a lot of dubcon/noncon sort of situations or references
42 (59.2%)

may or may not explicitly include rape, but a general aura of rapiness hangs over it
42 (59.2%)

may or may not explicitly include rape, but uncritically includes many lovely exemplars of rape culture, such as victim-blaming or 'he couldn't help it he's an alpha male'.
56 (78.9%)

I will give you my answer in comments
5 (7.0%)

I would never use that word and don't find it a useful descriptor
2 (2.8%)

*I did not intend that as a metaphor for rape culture, and yet there it is.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-03-17 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe the one with the word "uncritically" in. Definitely all higher options, though I might sometimes choose more specific phrasing.
espresso_addict: Two cups of espresso with star effect on coffee pot (coffee cups)

[personal profile] espresso_addict 2017-03-17 09:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I wouldn't use 'rapey' and I find it ambiguous; I might read it to mean any of your examples, and additionally:

--contains no sexual violence, but eg appropriates culture in a 'rapey' fashion;
--contains no sexual violence, but squicks me for reasons I can't quite pinpoint.
mecurtin: Doctor Science (Default)

[personal profile] mecurtin 2017-03-17 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I never use the word myself, but it's a useful descriptor (=warning) when used by other people.

I might use it, thinking back to the college summer I found a stack of someone's abandoned Harlequin romances and read a bunch of them. Some were SUPER rapey: not just because the heroine was raped, but because she ended up with that guy because he was so Passionate, y'know? ugh ugh ugh UGH

Even at the time (c 1977) we were horrified.
muccamukk: Natasha lowering her sunglasses to see over the top. She looks alarmed. (Marvel: Shades)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-17 10:08 pm (UTC)(link)
If I call something rapey (which I don't think I usually do, as it's not that precise, or I do and add why I called it that), I feel that I mean that it has explicit rape (or rape that explicitly happens, it doesn't have to be on page) that doesn't feel like it serves the plot, and this happens more than once. Uncritical rape culture also tips it towards that, but it tends to be books that include multiple sexual assaults, sexual harassment or threats of said, that don't seem to have any point to them past author needing to shortcut that the bad guy is bad, the hero(ine) is in peril or other situations that could be depicted sans rape save that the author is lazy/hasn't really thought about it.

If the book includes rape, even multiple instances of it, and they seem like the author has put thought into why they included that, then I'm a lot easier with it.

Maybe I should have ticked the aura of rapeiness box too.
muccamukk: Spock casually leaning in a doorway, arms folded. (ST: Spock)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-17 10:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Having done a word search. I have described two things as Rapey,

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon: which had three threats of rape, a tentacle monster and an actual rape in the first forty pages of a YA fantasy novel, with no reason I could see other than angst and to move the plot along.

Lock & Key the audio play, which had a gratuitous rape and murder of the MC's mom, and then pretty constant rape threats for as far as I listened. They... didn't really add anything?
muccamukk: Close up of Rey wearing a beat up X-Wing pilot's helmet and looking up at the sky. (SW: Dream of Stars)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-17 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
My search illuminated that I tend to use it more in regards to a character "Rapey Dude" or a thing "Rapey backstory" than a general description.

I think "unnecessary" is bigger for me than "lots." It's just easier to roll over one time (though a book by Nora Roberts I read had a single deeply unnecessary rape scene of an unnamed character and no other rape, and pushed the author onto my do not read list forever).

(I also find that "unnecessary" and "uncritical rape culture" often to come as a bundle.)

There are certainly works with a fair bit of rape in them that I've liked, and liked a lot. Fifth Season is a recent example, but there it seemed to be an important part of what the author was trying to say about the world.

It's often difficult to pin down the balance between aura of rapiness and well handled.
muccamukk: Athos walking through a field, clothes dishevelled; d'Artagnan following at a distance. (Musketeers: Lost in a Field)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-17 11:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad I didn't read any more! The one I had just did the villain PoV.

I've decided that just because I like someone's online persona does not mean I'm going to like their books, in fact is often seems to mean I WON'T like their books, which puzzles me.
muccamukk: Amanda playing with bubble bath. Text: "Bubbles!" (HL: Bubbles!)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-18 09:25 pm (UTC)(link)
In relation to some of the conversation below, these are my metric for pro works. I would never use rapey to describe fic.
gehayi: (evil manifest (averii on jf))

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-17 11:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I prefer the term "an example of rape culture", followed by the example, a definition of rape culture, and an explanation of why this is not a good thing. However, if I had to use the term "rapey", I would say "may or may not explicitly include rape in the first, second or third degrees** or non-consensual sexual contact, but uncritically includes things like dubious consent, victim-blaming for things like molestation, sexual harassment and sexual abuse, absolving rapists/sexual abusers/sexual harassers/molesters of responsibility for their actions, objectifying people, and normalization of all of the above."

** Rape in the first degree: rape involving physical force, including the use of weaponry or the threat to use such weaponry; kidnapping; the infliction of physical injury on the victim, including rendering the victim unconscious; or illegally entering the building where the victim is.

Rape in the second degree: rape that involves force or forcible compulsion (duress) but no weapons or threats to use weapons; rape that happens when the victim is incapable of consent because they are physically helpless (comatose or paralyzed, for instance) or mentally incapacitated (drunk, high, asleep, catatonic, etc.); rape that happens when the victim has a developmental disability and the rapist has supervisory authority over them (teacher, social worker, etc.), was providing transportation, within the course of his or her employment, to the victim at the time of the rape, or is a health care provider, the victim is a client or patient, and the sexual intercourse occurs during a treatment session, consultation, interview, or examination.

Rape in the third degree: rape where the victim does not explicitly consent and their lack of consent is clear through their words, actions and behavior, or where the rapist threatens substantial harm to property to compel the victim.

These are all Washington state laws. I spent a LOT of time analyzing the Fifty Shades series. Christian Grey is guilty of all three at one point or another.
gehayi: (stunned Ed and Al (chaoticdraconis))

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-18 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
Which one of those would apply to "illegally sold as a slave to a man who expects you to warm his bed but never actually makes the threats implicit in the slavery status explicit as long as you go with it"?

Well, "illegally sold as a slave" does encompass kidnapping. And unless you're talking about a BDSM slave who has a contract and limits and who can walk out of the situation with zero repercussions, which we're obviously not, given the whole "illegally sold" thing...well, a REAL slave, by definition, can't consent to sex with their owner. Even if a real slave rebels, the owner can always do something worse to them or to someone they care about as punishment, and the slave knows it. That sounds a lot like forcible compulsion--or duress--to me.

So I'd say that the situation of your friend in a book is rape in both the first and the second degrees. (PLEASE tell me that this isn't the protagonist you're talking about.)
woggy: (Small Frog)

[personal profile] woggy 2017-03-18 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
*pokes nose in*

It, erm. Protagonist is the one being sold-as (and it is full-blown Actual Slave, not BDSM-flavor). The situation is presented, to my reading anyway, as "this is really fucking not okay, but what choice do i have". Which is better than the alternatives, perhaps, but still a thing.
woggy: (Small Frog)

[personal profile] woggy 2017-03-17 11:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I would, I think, want more in the sense of context and such, and would not feel comfortable condensing down to a single word.

Relatedly, am muchly looking forward to your review of Kushiel. It's been embedded in my...what is words, fictional Important Places landscaping? so long I may have forgotten why the canon looks like to a newcomer. ^_^;;
woggy: (Laughing Frog)

[personal profile] woggy 2017-03-17 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)

Explicit divine intervention, not so much. (it continues to be my wife and I's headcanon that Joscelin has *something* above-and-beyond from Cassiel, though. Take that as you will.)
woggy: (Small Frog)

[personal profile] woggy 2017-03-17 11:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah. The former. It's never made explicit in the text, unlike some other folks who have been Blessed(tm), but he's not very much like the other Cassilines.
woggy: (Lurking Frog)

[personal profile] woggy 2017-03-17 11:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry to disappoint.
rachelmanija: (Princess Bride: Let me sum up)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-03-18 02:53 am (UTC)(link)
I voted for "unnecessary amounts of rape" but would also have voted for "has at least one rape or rape threat or discussion of rape, and uncritically includes many lovely exemplars of rape culture, such as victim-blaming or 'he couldn't help it he's an alpha male'." I probably wouldn't use "rapey" to describe the latter if it had absolutely no actual rape or rape threats, but would instead say it's sexist or misogynist.

(Unnecessary amounts of rape without partaking in rape culture: Esther Friesner's Psalms of Herod is an anti-rape, anti-rape culture, feminist novel. And it has so goddamn much rape that I don't know how else to describe it. I could name a whole bunch of others like that. "Show that sexism is bad by having a rape every few pages" was especially big in 80s fantasy by women. ("Have a rape every few pages just because" was big in 80s fantasy by men.))

I also would have voted yes on "a general air of rapeyness" if it included at least one rape or rape threat or discussion of rape. Without that, it's back to sexist or misogynistic.

For lots of dubcon or noncon, assuming those terms are used in the fannish kink sense, I'd just call it dubcon or noncon.
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-03-18 03:55 am (UTC)(link)
I would not tend to use the word and also what I assume it means is based entirely on how I perceive the person using it parses stuff and all other things being equal will also immediately put me on the SUPER-defensive because it immediately ties in with an entire branch of discourse that has literally had me witness a rape survivor being terrified of the social consequences from other so-called feminist women if she wrote a story that had rape in it.

Soooooo. >.>
recessional: bare-footed person in jeans walks on log (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-03-18 04:44 pm (UTC)(link)

Oh definitely - just for me, at this point, "rapey" has absolutely hit the point where it's a sign of the Ugly Weaponized Discourse, not of "I just want to let you know that this is basically Dragonflight except it was written last year so . . . "

(I don't really hold the original Dragonriders' trilogy's shit against it, but if you're writing the same shit NOW and presenting it totally unproblematized, WELP.)

And since the Ugly Weaponized Discourse is 1000% one of the things that I know feeds my anxiety to the point of making me incapable of writing, and I know does it to a bunch of other people I'm very fond of*, and I've got a big chunk of scars from it, at this point the word preeeetty much serves as a Warning Sign? Because . . . I'm poking at words to explain it, here, but like my experience is that once it's become the frame even people who wouldn't normally get into the UWD-version start framing things that way.

Tl;dr, I guess: mostly what the word indicates for me is "we have now switched to viewing anything in this work that might if we squint look like it applies to sexualized violence through a lens of Is This A Socially Responsible Work and exactly where that line gets drawn is based entirely who's framing this discussion, and I need to figure out who that is. Or actually just need to leave the discussion before I start hissing like a teakettle as we talk about 'but is this book entirely about war, violence and power full of TOO MUCH rape and ERGO BAD because it PARTICIPATES in rape culture while also critiquing it and really is writing rape ever Justified?™'"

Which: the words "for me" are germane, but. (And, ironically, I'm a person who DOES need a warning for sexual/ized violence in fic, avoids the Trash Party like the plague**, and definitely curates her reading based on "can I deal with sexual/ized violence right now", which is why The Secret History of the Mongol Queens has gone on pause right now because I cannot deal with the shit the great Khan's piece-of-shit sons started doing after he died and they all got threatened by their sisters and aunts being better than them.)

Summarize the summary of the summary: this also is totally not meant to be "STOP USING THE WORD!" Or whatever, just, "this is what it means to me, and why, and I bother saying anything at all because I know I'm not alone I'm just way more willing to be obnoxious and throw greenish ungulates at people about it."

(*just, in the way of anxiety crap, usually people whose anxiety ALSO prevents them from going "HEY GUYS A THING". Brains, man.)

(**not because there's anything Wrong there but just because the whole frame Upsets Me because of how I relate to fiction and so on. They are 100000% free to do their thing and I will fight for their right to do it as long as I don't have to look at it. ;P)

stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-03-18 04:32 am (UTC)(link)
A couple that you didn't include, which would get that description from me:

- It has normalized or fetishized rape in it. By "normalized" I mean stories where the rapist's viewpoint (including all his internal justifications) is privileged, or the Stockholm Syndrome ones where the woman falls in love with her rapist afterwards (sometimes because of the rape). By "fetishized" I mean specifically that the rape is presented as HAWT!!! A lot of bodice-rippers fall foul of this; so does Dragonquest with F'nor/Brekke.

Note that I will give fanfic a partial pass on this if and only if it is warned for. Even if I'm specifically looking for porn, this is something that needs to be noted.

- It uses rape as a lazy-writer's substitute for motivation and characterization. Need a bad-ass woman who kicks ass and takes names? She was raped, and It Changed Her Life. Need a man similarly? His wife/daughter/sister was raped, and It Changed His Life. No further work required on the part of the writer.

ETA: That said, I have to confess that I wrote one of those Stockholm Syndrome fics. In my defense, (1) that was 20 years ago, and (2) the structure was implicit in canon -- it was back-story for Gul Dukat and Tora Neprem on DS9, and based on what we were shown in the episode ("Indiscretions") there just wasn't any other way to write it.
Edited 2017-03-18 04:44 (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-03-18 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
On a totally different topic, the way to avoid having your pincushion eat needles is to put a large wooden bead in the middle of the stuffing, so the needle can only go in as far as the bead.
qem_chibati: Coloured picture of Killua from hunter x hunter, with the symbol of Qem in the corner. (A cat made from Q, E, M) (Default)

[personal profile] qem_chibati 2017-03-18 05:28 am (UTC)(link)
On the pin cushions - my grandmother has a small plastic jar with a small cushiony type top on it. The cushion isn't big enough to eat a needle - and if they go through they end up in the jar underneath it.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-03-18 03:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I think I would also include in this, as a major factor, works where a situation that I would think of as rape is uncritically presented as sexy. So something like where the woman says no but then after the man has [done whatever] she finds herself enjoying it and so obviously he was right to insist or force her, because she didn't know that she wanted it.
peoriapeoriawhereart: blond and brunet men peer intently (Napoleon & Illya peer)

[personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart 2017-03-18 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I think I would use 'rapey' when there isn't explicitly a rape but rape culture is there without a denunciation.

IM3 isn't rapey because Pepper gets to take a flaming clue by four to Aldrich, so the catharsis is right there.
dhampyresa: (Default)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2017-03-18 09:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't use the word, but it could interpret it as being/have seen it used as any of the first five answers.