Tropes vs. Law & Order

Just a quickie, since I’m time-constrained. Let’s put Anita’s analysis to work on the recent Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode about which “feminist” “critics” are crowing.

Isn’t “rape as plot device to show antagonists as evil” deeply problematic in and of itself for trivializing rape, its impact on victims, and its prevalence in society?

Then, there’s the Anita Sarkeesian stand-in being actually damseled, having been kidnapped by the “they’re evil because they’re rapists” gamer-terrorists to be rescued by the heroes…who just happen to be predominantly male.

I say “predominantly” because there’s the character Olivia Benson, who spends — what? — a third of the episode as background decoration, a third of it as token “ignorant of (insert subculture here) exposition feed” (because she’s a woman, and obviously women can’t be gamers, am I right?), and a third of it as fighting fucktoy.

…and at the end of the episode, the Anita stand-in quits gaming anyway, because she’s apparently disposable or something. Or, alternatively, in terms of her own career she becomes the “euthanized damsel”. In Sarkeesian’s own words,

So when developers exploit sensationalized images of brutalized, mutilated and victimized women over and over and over again it tends to reinforce the dominant gender paradigm which casts men as aggressive and commanding and frames women as subordinate and dependent.

Although these stories use female trauma as a catalyst to set the plot elements in motion, these are not stories about women. Nor are they concerned with the struggles of women navigating the mental, emotional and physical ramifications of violence.

Instead these are strictly male-centered stories in which, more often than not, the tragic damsels are just empty shells, whose deaths are depicted as far more meaningful than their lives. Generally they’re completely defined by their purity, innocence, kindness, beauty or sensuality. In short they’re just symbols meant to invoke the essence of an artificial feminine ideal.

The episode make zero effort to “explore loss, death and grief in more genuine or authentic ways”, and instead “sensationalize[d] [and] exploit[ed] victimized women”. I wish I could go on, but in the two-and-a-half years and hundreds of thousands of dollars acquired, these are the only tropes actually covered thus far.

Advertisements