a few thoughts on rocky & rape culture.

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In English, we watched the 70’s film Rocky. I liked it enough, although it certainly wasn’t even near to being my favorite movie of all time. It also didn’t help much that I missed a big chunk of the movie because I went on a full-day mock trial event. However, I heard about a particular scene in which there were, apparently, ‘rape-y’ tones. (That being, a scene where, after Rocky and Adrian’s first date, they went back to his place.) That being said, I wasn’t there to see the scene myself, and a friend of mine vehemently denied any ‘rape-y’ allegations to the scene.

Whether consent was or wasn’t dubious, it got me around to thinking.

There are many who believe that misogyny no longer exists in modern society, and that, therefore feminism is completely unnecessary – some of these people even believe that men can be discriminated against. In no way does feminism equate to misandry; however, I’d just like to point out that men have never had laws passed about their reproductive rights, or had to be given the right to vote 200 years after the creation of the USA. Men aren’t paid on average 25 cents less than women, and men are certainly never physically threatened just for being men. Just today, in fact, Elliot Rodger shot and killed 6 women because he was a 22-year-old virgin and he blamed women for rejecting him.

Tell me now that misogyny no longer exists in modern society and that feminism is unneeded. Tell me that when there are men so infected with ‘Nice Guy Syndrome’ that they believe being ‘polite gentlemen’ means they suddenly deserve and are even owed sex or romantic interest from women.

That is pretty much rape culture at its finest. But at the same time, rape culture isn’t always as ostentatious and doesn’t always have a body count and breaking news articles. It’s as simple as telling a rape joke and when someone doesn’t laugh, telling them to ‘take a joke.’ (By the way, rape is NOT a joke, and if you actually think so, it just goes to show how problematic this is.) It’s as simple as seeing a woman dressed nicely on a date and suddenly thinking that she’s dressing up to get a man’s attention or is asking for sex. (It isn’t. If you haven’t realized, 87% of the time women dress up or do their makeup, it’s because they like the way they look.) And it’s as simple as sympathizing with rapists, saying that ‘they made mistakes’ or ‘they had such a bright future’, and saying nothing for their victims who will have to live their lives knowing that not only did someone take advantage of them, but the rest of society could not give a damn. Little things, right? But they’re little things that are so terribly prevalent and dehumanize women, one careless remark at a time.

I don’t know if Rocky did try to force himself on Adrian. I don’t know if Adrian wanted him to kiss her. But I know that a woman’s body is not for anyone but herself, and a woman’s consent is something that is not owed to anyone. And if you take anything away from this terribly drawn-out post, let it be that.

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1 Comment

  1. As someone who really likes the Rocky films, I’m not someone who’s going to ignore the fact that Adrian is a terrible female character. She was written to be submissive and weak under the excuse she was “extremely shy”. I understand that there are people that are shy, but you would think the writers would choose to have Adrian play a more powerful role (for women) in the OTHER 4 MOVIES. (Yes, she stays almost exactly the same.) Rocky and Adrian’s love was supposed to seem genuine but there’s that constant underlying tone that she was just an accessory.
    Rocky’s advances towards Adrian made me extremely uncomfortable and seemed extremely out of character. They could have introduced their relationship in a healthier way. A man should not advance if a woman doesn’t tell him it’s okay. Women shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to tell a man what they do or do not want.
    The movie was written in a different “time”, almost 40 years ago, but it’s scary to see how little has changed (for women) since then.

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