What's So Bad About Mark Millar?

Abomination

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SadakoMoose said:
The point behind rape culture isn't that it outright endorses rape, but rather that it furthers a collection of beliefs, tropes, imagery, and cliches that make rape seem normal. Not good, not encouraged, but "normal" or "to be expected". No one is suggesting that rapists are ever portrayed as sympathetic, but the way rape itself is portrayed is often based more on cliches seen from the male perspective rather than honestly. That's the problem that most people have when the criticize Millar's work for it's depiction of rape, in that it's irresponsible and continues the tropes and idioms that perpetuate the modern, and still ignorant and still flawed, image of rape. Again, please read the contents on the site I linked in the previous post.
Then there's also a "murder culture" and a "violence culture" and a "birth culture" and a "food culture" and a "fart culture" and a "dog ownership culture" and a "beards on Jews culture".

If there's a "rape culture" then there's a culture for every bad thing ever.

Rape IS "normal" (or whatever that means). It happens. It's a bad thing. Unless you're trying to say that "rape culture" makes it seem that rape happens more often than it actually does? Wouldn't that be a good thing for the sake of awareness? I'm honestly trying to understand what "rape culture" is supposed to even mean, because it's so far nothing but a bunch of hogswash.
 

SadakoMoose

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Boris Goodenough said:
SadakoMoose said:
That's the problem that most people have when the criticize Millar's work for it's depiction of rape, in that it's irresponsible and continues the tropes and idioms that perpetuate the modern, and still ignorant and still flawed, image of rape. Again, please read the contents on the site I linked in the previous post.
Does this look like a missrepresentation of a rape victim? If no, then those that criticize his work (for that at least) are in the wrong. If yes, well fair enough.

It's not the way she's drawn that carries the wrong message but the story context. Again, we see rape treated as plot device, normalized as "something that bad people do". It ignores real world context and implications.
This FAQ, again, better states these points: http://upsettingrapeculture.com/rape_myths.html
 

Boris Goodenough

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SadakoMoose said:
It's not the way she's drawn that carries the wrong message but the story context. Again, we see rape treated as plot device, normalized as "something that bad people do". It ignores real world context and implications.
This FAQ, again, better states these points: http://upsettingrapeculture.com/rape_myths.html
So he should have made a stand alone story about her going through therapy and how she copes with daily life until she almost trusts the world around her again after many years before people would be allowed to write about rape?
How about people who get their knees kicked in and given a concussion at a bar by someone they don't know? Shouldn't they be given a story of their own to depict how horrible senseless violence is? Because men get assaulted more often than women.
Why can't it be used as a plot device for revenge? Isn't that the point, that rape is so horrifying that revenge is the only thing you can think about?
 

Abomination

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SadakoMoose said:
Boris Goodenough said:
SadakoMoose said:
That's the problem that most people have when the criticize Millar's work for it's depiction of rape, in that it's irresponsible and continues the tropes and idioms that perpetuate the modern, and still ignorant and still flawed, image of rape. Again, please read the contents on the site I linked in the previous post.
Does this look like a missrepresentation of a rape victim? If no, then those that criticize his work (for that at least) are in the wrong. If yes, well fair enough.

It's not the way she's drawn that carries the wrong message but the story context. Again, we see rape treated as plot device, normalized as "something that bad people do". It ignores real world context and implications.
This FAQ, again, better states these points: http://upsettingrapeculture.com/rape_myths.html
I'm sorry, but someone being killed is an "acceptable" plot device but someone being raped isn't?

Are you saying that rape isn't something that bad people do? I thought we had established that rape is pretty much one of the most defining ways to distinguish between someone who is evil and someone who is not evil. That being said, somebody doesn't rape because they are evil, but rape is an evil thing to do. If someone being "good" or "bad" is to be established in writing it needs to be done by that person being seen to do good or bad things.

Rape's pretty much a sledgehammer vs 2 inch nails when it comes to establishing if a character is evil but it doesn't mean that the context and implications are being ignored.
 

Raikas

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Abomination said:
Rape's pretty much a sledgehammer vs 2 inch nails when it comes to establishing if a character is evil but it doesn't mean that the context and implications are being ignored.
In the context of this thread though, we're talking specifically about a Mark Millar story - and Millar writes his rape scenes (and frankly most of his scenes of violence) in a way that does ignore most of the other implications. People talk about this one because the movie just came out (and because of the character's age), but he's been writing iffy/problematic rapes into his work for more than a decade (and again, not just male-on-female, male-on-male as well).

Talking about the way Millar depicts rape is not (or shouldn't be) the equivalent of talking about some generalized idea about rape in fiction.
 

mrblakemiller

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Master of the Skies said:
It seems the impasse in which we find ourselves is that I want to know why she said those things and am willing to make guesses, and you just really don't think I should make any guesses as to why she said what she said. If that's the case (and I'm saying it is), it seems we don't really have anything else to talk about (unless you really want to and can further the conversation while dropping any reference to her quote).
 

Abomination

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Raikas said:
Abomination said:
Rape's pretty much a sledgehammer vs 2 inch nails when it comes to establishing if a character is evil but it doesn't mean that the context and implications are being ignored.
In the context of this thread though, we're talking specifically about a Mark Millar story - and Millar writes his rape scenes (and frankly most of his scenes of violence) in a way that does ignore most of the other implications. People talk about this one because the movie just came out (and because of the character's age), but he's been writing iffy/problematic rapes into his work for more than a decade (and again, not just male-on-female, male-on-male as well).

Talking about the way Millar depicts rape is not (or shouldn't be) the equivalent of talking about some generalized idea about rape in fiction.
I'm hearing a lot of people saying he does it poorly but nobody has actually given an example as to HOW he does it poorly.

How is how he depicts violence doing a disservice to actual victims of similar violence?
 

mrblakemiller

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Raikas said:
Abomination said:
Rape's pretty much a sledgehammer vs 2 inch nails when it comes to establishing if a character is evil but it doesn't mean that the context and implications are being ignored.
In the context of this thread though, we're talking specifically about a Mark Millar story - and Millar writes his rape scenes (and frankly most of his scenes of violence) in a way that does ignore most of the other implications. People talk about this one because the movie just came out (and because of the character's age), but he's been writing iffy/problematic rapes into his work for more than a decade (and again, not just male-on-female, male-on-male as well).

Talking about the way Millar depicts rape is not (or shouldn't be) the equivalent of talking about some generalized idea about rape in fiction.
That's a good point, actually. Unless you want to put an end to all depictions of rape in fiction, then this conversation isn't about "rape as plot device," but "Rape as prominent tool in Mark Millar's narrative toolbox."

Which still absolves him, in my opinion. Can you count the number of rapes he's written? I've read the one in Wanted that's merely Wesley noting that he did it (and maybe we should be equally upset about the scene of him sniping random innocents?). I've heard of this one in Kick Ass 2. I believe there might be one in his run on Authority. That's it. Three times in a twenty-year career. Oh, wait, the Anti-Christ says he was raped by his father (Satan) for years in a throwaway line, delivered years later, at the end of Chosen. Kinda egregious, but then again, Satan and the Anti-Christ, so...

Conversely, there's the incredible writing of Ultimates, Ultimate X-Men, Superman: Red Son and more. Honestly, I think Millar's relationship to rape seems weird for two reasons: (1) he sees it as something a character who has taken a completely selfish and amoral view on life itself would do, possibly strictly for the purpose of crossing that line, and (2) he has no problem admitting to himself and his readership that it's a crime that does happen, and often, while so many other comic writers will show you a villain who will kill all day long but won't rape (which is totally their right, but let's admit that willingness to kill and willingness to rape make sensible psychological neighbors). That's harsh, and that's arguably unusual, and I understand anyone who doesn't want to read about rape not wanting to read his work. But none of that makes a good argument for why he's a jerk or why he shouldn't be writing what he writes.

Like I mentioned in the OP, I've also heard that, when confronted on it in interviews, he's rather carefree about it, like, "Yeah, I write rape. I want to, so I do it." I was hoping someone would point me to information confirming or rebutting that, but I guess I'll just have to look for it myself.
 

userwhoquitthesite

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Colin Murray said:
OP, did you read the rape scene from kickass 2 that was mentioned? I have, and calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately.

For background, I really did like the original Kickass as well as the film (but not quite as much), but I don't think I'd ever buy another work of Millar's fiction knowingly again.
How is it misogynist? An evil character out to PROVE he is evil does an evil thing. The ************ is heterosexual, Kick-Ass will suffer as well, and attacking a defenseless woman with a gang in her home when she's unaware of the possibility she could be tangentially related to anything dangerous means he doesn't have to put himself at real risk. It's an OBVIOUS move for the ************ to make. Is it wrong? YES. And that's the point. The comic never treats it as anything BUT awful, and even the rapist himself says so. The ************ is pulling up his pants, saying that this attack was TOO far, even for him.

How is this misogynist? The only way it COULD be is if you're correlating Katie's being a terrible human being with the rape, as some sort of "punishment" for her character, which says more about how YOU view women than the author. Especially since Katie herself is only one of the terrible people, who make up the entire cast of the series (with the POSSIBLE exception of Dave's dad).
Kick-Ass is a series where awful people do awful things to eachother for awful reasons.


And finally, if the point of Kick-Ass is to be gratuitous and offensive, why get mad when it delivers? That's like going to a sad movie and getting pissed it brought you down.
 

Raikas

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mrblakemiller said:
Which still absolves him, in my opinion. Can you count the number of rapes he's written? I've read the one in Wanted that's merely . I believe there might be one in his run on Authority. That's it. Three times in a twenty-year career.
No, it's a significantly higher number than that - just off the top of my head, I can count at least five just in The Authority - Swift, The Engineer, and Apollo all got raped during his run, there was a rape happening in the background when they first pick up Jenny Q, it's implied that Midnighter revenge-rapes the guy that raped Apollo, and the giant hillbilly villain talked about either being raped or being the product of rape (or maybe it was both- it's been years since I read that storyline*) And that's just one series.

*ETA: I googled, and it was both. That same search also gave me this: The Many Rapes of Mark Millar [http://www.thevhive.com/forum/the-v/sticky/the-many-rapes-of-mark-millar/1?folder_name=comics].
 

userwhoquitthesite

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I got bored and looked at this post like you asked. Lazy.

Now lets go through it, since you've invited me to look upon it as though it will prove you right.
Colin Murray said:
That was the impression that *I* got from reading the comic at the time. I also get a similar vibe from the works of frank miller.
not comparable at all. Miller writes nothing but oversexualized "whores". Milar's female characters (in kick-ass) are all awful people, but this is because they behave poorly to their fellow man, just the same as their male counterparts, completely independent of gender.
I'm not saying that the writer is *definitively* a misogynist, just that there's elements of misogyny in their works.
No, your exact words were "calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately". YOU DIRECTLY CALL HIM A MISOGYNIST. Don't backpedal, just stick to your argument or admit you were wrong.

It's like saying something someone says comes across as racist, the person's intent may or may not be there, that's not for me to *know*, I can only give a reaction based on what I see or hear.
Yes, you're right. It is just like that. Because there exists ALL KINDS of stupidity about such-and-such being racist, when there is no reason to take it as such. Defending your momentary lapse in rational thought by pointing out the similar lapse in rational thought of others just makes you look ridiculous.

As other people have said, it's not Millar that's the problem, it's his writing. The things he portrays are meant to shock, and beyond that there really isn't much else.
Yep, and it even says so on the cover.
I for example, really got behind the first Kick Ass, because the relationship with Hit Girl and her father reminded me of how awful parents can be when they try to live through their children (through activities like sports or beauty pageants). I was able to look over the rest of the book's flaws, because of that. Kick Ass 2, on the other hand, had no such insight, was was essentially just a series of really unpleasant set pieces that turned my stomach, and put me off.
and here you're just complaining that you got the product that was advertised. You missed the point of the first book and decided the second should live up to your sideways narrow view of the first. Kick-Ass is exactly what it says on the tin: a deplorable comic of depravity and violence. That's all. You CAN appreciate the cruelty within as an example of man can do, and that's not an incorrect view. But if you're going to do that, what about Dave's obsessive stalking? Katie's vindictiveness? The Genovese's and the willingness to hurt people just because you can? All thats there too. Not just the insane comic nerd who kidnapped his daughter to live out a fantasy.
And that's fine, really, it just means that I don't want to buy any more of his books, which is certainly within my right.
It certainly is. Kick-Ass is schlock for schlock's sake, and you clearly aren't a person who can appreciate that. So don't buy it. But why don't you JUST not buy it instead of trying to claim a moral reason for NO one to buy it?

Misogyny, racism, all this shit gets thrown around WAY too much. Instead of rushing to decry everything we find distasteful as immoral, how about we fucking grow up and leave that stuff for topics that deserve it?
 

Souplex

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Mark Millar's run on the Ultimates is one of my favorite comics of all time. (Damn you Loeb!)
Bearing that in mind, Kick Ass 2 was an comic.
It seemed to have been written with the express purpose of being an unpleasant offensive experience for the reader.
I loved Kick Ass 1, and felt that the comic was much better than the movie, which is why this makes me so very sad.
 

rob_simple

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evilthecat said:
rob_simple said:
Sorry, but I have no experience or understanding of being stabbed either. My point stands.
Of course you do.

We could all be stabbed at any time. Most of us have no experience of the precise physical pain of being stabbed, so in that regard, yes, most of us are merely guessing what being stabbed actually feels like, but we can empathize with people who have been stabbed because we can imagine ourselves in that position. We can react to that experience with a kind of humanity, we can put ourselves in the position of the person being stabbed and think "ow, that would hurt!" Because, you know, most of us have had to think about it at one time or another.

Sometimes we might choose not to, sometimes stories are set up so that we're not meant to think too hard about the pain of people who have been stabbed, perhaps because we're watching an action movie in which half the characters are just obstacles to be blown away. However, that doesn't noticeably impact on our reaction to stabbing as a concept or the ability to empathize with victims. Note, for example, that the internet isn't full of people crying:

For reasons which are actually kind of obvious, many men seem to have real trouble empathizing with anyone who has been raped. Furthermore, they seem to find it remarkably easy to project themselves into the position of the person who is actually doing the act, again, I suspect, for very obvious reasons.

There is an inadequate separation between the low-empathy rape-fantasies of some men, in which rape serves purely as either voyeurism, as code for humiliation, or as a cheap way of generating shock or motivation (particularly for the character who must defend or avenge "his" woman, as in this case) and popular attitudes, misconceptions and myths about rape which both facilitate it and make it very difficult to deal with when it does happen.
I'm curious, what are these 'obvious reasons' why men can't empathise with rape? Because, last time I checked, my arsehole will take a cock just as well as a vagina will, and there are any number of men/women out there strong enough to overpower me. I have every reason to be as scared of being raped as I do of being stabbed --and both are equally as likely, where I live-- so what exactly is it that you seem to think prevents me from empathising with a victim of either?

Many men =/= all men. As I said in my original reply to your post, I would be every bit as upset about a knife in the stomach as a cock in my arse; I can empathise with both because I can imagine how horrible each experience would be. Maybe I'm unique in that respect --being the paragon of equality that I am-- but I make no distinction between the two acts; they are equally awful, in my mind.

So much of what you have just written is entirely based on your presumptions of what most men are like (what the hell was that bullshit about most men projecting themselves onto the position of the rapist? That's a disgusting accusation,) so unless you have any concrete evidence to support these wild accusations I'm calling shenaynays. You keep highlighting these 'obvious reasons' and making outlandish assumptions about how the male population views rape but I'm yet to see you actually make a point that isn't just 'this is what I think therefore it is true'.

The thing I find more worrying about this attitude of rape being the worst thing ever, is that it implies, to me, that as a society we now view violence as being so commonplace that there's no need to question it's context in any form of media, it's just a means to an end, but if you decide to throw in a rape scene then, god help you, you better have a damn good excuse for doing it.
 

Soundwave

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8-Bit_Jack said:
That was the impression that *I* got from reading the comic at the time. I also get a similar vibe from the works of frank miller.
not comparable at all. Miller writes nothing but oversexualized "whores". Millar's female characters (in kick-ass) are all awful people, but this is because they behave poorly to their fellow man, just the same as their male counterparts, completely independent of gender.
The behavior of the characters is not the same as the undertones from the story. While it is true that both works (for ease of discussion, I'll only refer to the ones in Sin City, since that is ripe with examples of "oversexualized whores") feature awful human beings as characters, it is the way that the scenes are presented, that is the source of the 'undertones' that I'm referring to. Since, both works feature very exploitative scenes of cruelty to women, the comparison is relevant.

8-Bit_Jack said:
I'm not saying that the writer is *definitively* a misogynist, just that there's elements of misogyny in their works.
No, your exact words were "calling Millar a misogynist seems pretty inline with what I took away from what I'd read. I personally don't think a person could write something like that dispassionately". YOU DIRECTLY CALL HIM A MISOGYNIST. Don't backpedal, just stick to your argument or admit you were wrong.
It isn't backpedaling to clarify my statement to remove confusion. Which apparently failed because you didn't 'get it' the second time through. Or maybe you did and you're just being inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory. In which case, shame on you!

8-Bit_Jack said:
It's like saying something someone says comes across as racist, the person's intent may or may not be there, that's not for me to *know*, I can only give a reaction based on what I see or hear.
Yes, you're right. It is just like that. Because there exists ALL KINDS of stupidity about such-and-such being racist, when there is no reason to take it as such. Defending your momentary lapse in rational thought by pointing out the similar lapse in rational thought of others just makes you look ridiculous.
Again, issues with reading comprehension here, or you're trying to put "words in my mouth". It's not a lapse in rational thought for me to "see something", and then say "hey, I see something". It's just an observation. I'm corroborating other poster's observations with my own. As I'm not the only person who "picked up on" those elements. If you want to be the perception police then by all means, but I don't think you'll have much luck getting people to respect your authority.

8-Bit_Jack said:
As other people have said, it's not Millar that's the problem, it's his writing. The things he portrays are meant to shock, and beyond that there really isn't much else.
Yep, and it even says so on the cover.
Actually I got the hardcover omnibus version and it didn't say that on the cover. Here is a reference photo

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Lx3iMuNvL.jpg

8-Bit_Jack said:
I for example, really got behind the first Kick Ass, because the relationship with Hit Girl and her father reminded me of how awful parents can be when they try to live through their children (through activities like sports or beauty pageants). I was able to look over the rest of the book's flaws, because of that. Kick Ass 2, on the other hand, had no such insight, was was essentially just a series of really unpleasant set pieces that turned my stomach, and put me off.
and here you're just complaining that you got the product that was advertised. You missed the point of the first book and decided the second should live up to your sideways narrow view of the first. Kick-Ass is exactly what it says on the tin: a deplorable comic of depravity and violence. That's all. You CAN appreciate the cruelty within as an example of man can do, and that's not an incorrect view. But if you're going to do that, what about Dave's obsessive stalking? Katie's vindictiveness? The Genovese's and the willingness to hurt people just because you can? All thats there too. Not just the insane comic nerd who kidnapped his daughter to live out a fantasy.
Yes, I saw those elements there, I referred to them as "flaws". Saying which part of a work of fiction resonates with you is not the same as "missing the point" as you've put it.


8-Bit_Jack said:
And that's fine, really, it just means that I don't want to buy any more of his books, which is certainly within my right.
It certainly is. Kick-Ass is schlock for schlock's sake, and you clearly aren't a person who can appreciate that. So don't buy it. But why don't you JUST not buy it instead of trying to claim a moral reason for NO one to buy it?

Misogyny, racism, all this shit gets thrown around WAY too much. Instead of rushing to decry everything we find distasteful as immoral, how about we fucking grow up and leave that stuff for topics that deserve it?
This is another example of you either having reading comprehension issues or trying to put words into my mouth. I never said that the comics were "immoral", you used those words, not I. I also don't have to defend my decision to contribute to a topic that I have experience in.

Also, it wasn't lazy for me to politely suggest you look at another post of mine, it was practical. I had literally responded to a similar comment earlier that made the same knee-jerk reaction as you had. Why say the same thing twice (or thrice, I guess) when one could simply point?

Is it not fair to assume that one *should* take the time to read through a topic (granted, some of them get rather long, but as of now we're still only about 3 pages in) before posting something redundant?

Either way, thank you for your insight. I appreciate the attention that you've given my post.
 

Terminal Blue

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rob_simple said:
I'm curious, what are these 'obvious reasons' why men can't empathise with rape? Because, last time I checked, my arsehole will take a cock just as well as a vagina will, and there are any number of men/women out there strong enough to overpower me.
However, you've never had to think about any of those situations because, and let's be totally honest, they're not going to happen to you. Frankly, the kind of situation you seem to be thinking constitutes "rape" doesn't happen to very many women either.

Reality aside, and the reality is that men almost never get raped unless they fall into the categories described above, you have no reason to fear rape in the way women do. When is the last time the fear of rape prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? I presume you've probably faced violence in your life, did it even cross your mind in that instance that the violence could turn sexual? If it did, what triggered that?

Some drunk guy randomly shoves you up against the wall, do you fear he's going to sexually assault you? Some guy makes eye contact with you in a bar (no, not a gay bar) and doesn't break it when you look away, do you fear he's going to follow and try and sexually assault you? Some guy comes up to you when you're alone at night and starts innocuously talking to you, do you worry he might try to sexually assault you? You're getting dropped off by a cab and you're the last person out, do you worry the driver might sexually assault you? You've just broken up with a partner when they suddenly show up at your house drunk, do you worry they might try to sexually assault you? In all these cases, if it even crosses your mind, do you worry you might not be able to physically stop them?

I know this is hard, but come on.. it's not that hard, right?

rob_simple said:
So much of what you have just written is entirely based on your presumptions of what most men are like (what the hell was that bullshit about most men projecting themselves onto the position of the rapist? That's a disgusting accusation,) so unless you have any concrete evidence to support these wild accusations I'm calling shenaynays.
1) For someone who pointed out the limitations of the phrase "many men" you seem remarkably unable to grasp what it actually means. Hint: It means what it says, it means "a significant number without being all". There are a very large number (albeit no specific percentile) of men out there who can empathize with being raped because they have been raped, or because they've had to deal with the emotional fallout of someone close to them being raped, or because they otherwise haven't been bought up to think of rape as something which they personally don't have to worry about.

2) The phrases I posted, and infinite variations of them, exist in popular culture regarding rape. You can find many on this forum, others coming from the mouths of politicians, lawyers, policemen and virtually every corner of society.

You personally claim to treat rape and stabbing the same, and for purposes of this point I'll buy that. However, and I don't even want to get into the fact that they're physically not the same, they are clearly and demonstrably not treated the same. The way they are spoken about, both by men and by women, is completely different. You want evidence? Actually look around. Read current affairs pieces. Fuck, read internet forums since you've clearly managed to make it onto one somehow. Do some basic content analysis.

3) Why would any of this be the case? Well, beyond the physical realities that it's extremely rare, can you even remember a single piece of narrative media depicting or reference adult male rape outside of prison in a situation which wasn't an explicit joke or a metaphor for humiliation? You want me to even start to list the narrative media containing depictions or references to the rape of women? Indeed, almost all cultures where rape is acknowledged as a phenomenon, there is a clear perception that women get raped and men do not, clearly and publicly exhibited in media. Again, analysis.

4) If you don't trust your own analytical skills, there are hundreds and hundreds of attitudinal studies regarding gender and rape, but I'm not wasting my life finding references for you when the answers are this damn self-evident from a cursory glance and human society. It's not my job to pander to your state of denial.

rob_simple said:
The thing I find more worrying about this attitude of rape being the worst thing ever, is that it implies, to me, that as a society we now view violence as being so commonplace that there's no need to question it's context in any form of media, it's just a means to an end, but if you decide to throw in a rape scene then, god help you, you better have a damn good excuse for doing it.
What the are you even talking about?

Who the hell says rape is the worst thing ever? Who the hell says violence doesn't matter? Who the hell even phrased a comparison except you?

Because right now, all I'm actually seeing is you trying to claim that rape shouldn't be as big a deal to people as it is. Is that not in and of itself kind of an admission of a failure to display empathy? Maybe, just maybe, there's a reason other people feel like that which you, having no reference point, are not seeing. Maybe you're not the lone crusader for justice in a world flooded with estrogen, maybe you just need to check your privilege.