Friday, October 20, 2006

Rape of the Month - Tangential

Heroes is not a comic, it's a TV show. But it is a show about people with strange powers and has been deliberately associated with superhero comics. It also has a co-executive producer who is not only a popular comics writer but is associated with another TV show with superhero comic connections. He also wrote the third episode. The one in which one of the two super-powered female characters is sexually assaulted. The only reason she is not raped is because she suffers a fatal wound to the head during the struggle. The irony of being saved from rape by having her skull penetrated is not lost on me, but the grotesque things that happen to this girl are not negated because the physical scars heal up, however light her mutilation is treated.

And the only other female character with powers? She got her sexual abuse in the previous episode. You think they'd leave something for the rest of the series. Now they are either going to have to introduce more super powered women or start in on the non-super supporting cast females.


Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Boy I noticed that right away, too and have been thinking about it for the past week. I haven't really read comics in quite a few years, but I started stumbling around all these comic blogs and am a lot more aware of what they've been doing to female chracters in the books. Claire (the high school girl who was nearly raped, I had to look it up) is going to have a lot of drama coming up in the near future, having this on the second (or third) episode was cheap and needless.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the episode I almost contacted you and ragnell right away. I find it sad that they can only find the strength to be heores by being sexually abused. Most of the characters are bland anyway--except hiro. He's the only reason I watch. I guess the show has a hidden message--if girls want to be strong, then the need to be raped.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought about that two watching the episode, too.

For what it's worth, I think they did need a way to show that even though she can't be permanently hurt that Claire is a) far from invincible and b)she's not super strong, which most non-comics reading people equate with nigh-invlunerability.

I also understand the need for an impetus to get Claire to start thinking about how her power can be used to help people (i.e. stopping the rapist nobody else will) rather than as an inconvience that seperates her from "normal people". I just wish they could have thought of something less cliched.

Then again, I try and think of something else that would get Claire to the same point and everything I think of is just as cliched - her friend Zac getting hurt or something happening to her family. And bad as that is, I think it may be preferable (from the viewpoint of Hollywood) to indulge in the cliche of "another woman driven to become stronger by an attempted rape" than to kill off Claire's mom and have everyone say "Oh, well she's just a female Peter Parker".

I'm amazed there's no commentary on Nikki's "other self" going ahead and crossing the line that Nikki herself refused to...

Anonymous said...

Actaully, nothing needed to happen to either of the women for them to become stronger. The attempted rape or the woman forced to sleep with some guy needed not to happen. Women to need a reason to want to do good. Look at most of the male characters--they want to do good on their own accord. Hiro wants to do good. The brother of the politician wants to help people, and the painter is trying his best to put things together. Yet, women must be harmed in some way in order to save the world. It's preety deranged.

Marionette said...

Anon is right. The only reason that these two women are in this situation is because they are written this way. Why does Claire have to be the reluctant hero who needs to be pushed into using her powers due to injustice and abuse? Why couldn't she be the one who embraces her specialness? Why make her a cheerleader with a perfect life rather than a science nerd who is getting bullied? Now that would be a character who would be far more easy to relate to.

Why, of all the possible lives she could be leading, does Nikki need to be an internet stripper? Why give her the abusive ex-husband? Why have her blackmailed by the mob to become a prostitute?

Heroes has some good stuff in it and I would like to like it, but the Suck is strong.

Anonymous said...

And Claire already DID good all by herself without being pushed into it--she ran into the fire to rescue that man. And, despite grumbling, she let her arch-rival walk away with the credit rather than showboat for it.

Moreover, when she learned of the quarterback's history of sexual abuse and saw he was moving in on another girl, she


took him for a ride and rammed him into a wall. From her attitude when she asked him for the ride and the chance to drive, I think she meant to do it all along, though his being an @sshole when she confronted him didn't serve to change her mind.

This is a bold girl. I wish the writers would remember that and just let her off her leash. There is a good character here, and if they'd stop saddling Nikki with so much bad girl garbage and let her and Micah run with their story, they could have two major women in this show.