Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today's Complaint: Rapist and Rapee in Love

This post contains spoilers for Kare Kano[manga version] It also contains triggers since the title is rapist and rapee in love.

Kare Kano- One might not ordinarily think of this as a title with rapist and rapee in love, but I think it is. Now, in volume 15, Miyazawa notices that Arima is lying to her, and confronts him in what looks like a library. He starts yelling in an irrational manner, and then we see him grabbing her wrists, being on top of her, and Miyazawa says 'wait', and then it cuts to a reprise of the Miyazawa as a little kid figure that we've seen in their previous sex scene, except for she's surrounded by thorns instead of a peaceful scene.

Of course, there's some weird intimate psychotherapy, and somehow raping Miyazawa frees him of his childhood angst or whatever. But that bullshit is only peripherally related to today's complaint. No, no, the issue is that Miyazawa spouts some bullshit about how she didn't tell him no once, and plus, there's some blather about fake and real selves, etc, etc.

And then their love is perfectly fine! Arima complains that he feels bad about stealing the one he loves' body and making a child[really! that's almost a direct quote!] as somehow Miyazawa is magically able to sense OMG, CONCEPTION, despite the fact that that doesn't happen that way at all.

But anyway, happy end! The whole extremely dubious sex doesn't do anything to their relationship at all.

This really bothers me. All through the manga, this couple is treated as a wonderful love story, but Arima is shown as possessive and maybe a bit controlling. Takefumi is even warned by Asapin that Arima doesn't like Miyazawa getting close to other guys. IRL, this would probably not be a very healthy relationship. I also have a bone to pick with the 'her love saves him' stuff. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, but it's not enough to paper over rape.

A girl who is able to be so resentful over someone making 3 points higher on a test is all "oh well over rape? I just can't see it. Tsuda's art is beautiful and emotional, so she sells it on a surface level, but on a deeper level, that message really falls apart.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous kurukurushoujo said...

This happens in yaoi ALL THE TIME. And from what I've seen in some mature shoujo (like Mayu Shinjo), too.
There seems to be the common perception that rape is an acceptable way to show your feelings. Because of this the pool of BL appealing to me shrunk significantly. :/

8:17 AM  
Anonymous shannon said...

I'm not much of a BL fan, but I hope they don't genderflip the whole 'the love of a good woman' crap.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is a very old post, but I just finished reading the series and read your complaint.

First of all, I do not think there is any implication that being forceful about having sex with Miyazawa saved Arima or helped him reconcile his feelings/past. It is quite clear that thinking that he practically raped her (in an attempt to drive her away and show her how horrible he is/how dark and possessive he feels his love his for her thus she should leave and get out) he felt extremely guilty and slipped further into depression. This resulted in him driving a box cutter through his hand.

When she realized what he had done to himself, Yukino emphasized that it was in fact consensual. She would have preferred that he wait a bit (possibly so she could get a condom?), but she did not dislike it or try to stop him, and enjoys/is happy to do things like that with him.

Lastly, please realize that Japan is a very different culture from places like, say, America. In America, if someone is raped, it is a horrible crime and the men are to blame. Our system is so biased against the men, I have in fact seen a guy go to jail because he was accused of rape (over the course of the trail it became clear he did not rape her, and that she may have a vendetta against him, but she was a minor and there "may" have been some kind of "misconduct" on his part, so he went to jail for a year, was put in the cell blocks for rapist and pedophiles, and has to register as a pedophile (she says she thinks he might have touched her breast, he says he did not)). Knowing her, I am pretty sure that poor boy didn't do anything. THAT, is how biased and messed up our system can be in America.

Now in Japan, it is completely different (I'm not saying it is better or worse, but it is completely different). I read a post from a student of women studies in Japan that explained this. Pretty much, if a woman is raped, it is her fault for either being misleading or allowing herself to be alone with a male.

It is viewed as more of an "Oh well" kind of thing and people would look down on her or think she is stupid for letting herself get in to that kind of situation. This puts much more responsibility on the woman and results in rape not really being a crime that people go to jail for in Japan. I have heard of horrible cases in which this is abused, but it also seems to be pretty accepted.

The author of the post I read commented that a Japanese student she asked about this added that she would not go to her boyfriend's house alone unless she was prepared to be "attacked". Think about every time a girl has gone into a boy's house or room alone in a manga. If anything they tend to make a pretty big deal of it and one or both parties imply they won't do anything weird. Does this context make more sense now? (for example, in Skip Beat! why Ren acting as a teacher did NOT want a lone female student to enter his apartment, i.e. it would have heavy implications and the little old ladies in the neighborhood might gossip about it. at the end of the scene he says he was teasing her to teach her a lesson and hopes she will have more self awareness in the future.)

Ok! I just had to get that out there. Hope that helps you see this manga and scene in a different light? :)

9:19 AM  

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