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Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top09-09-2013 04:17:40 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I've always interpreted SKU as having many victims, each entering into their victimhood as individual agents of their own fates. Led, perhaps? Created from circumstance? Absolutely. But not without free will or control of any kind.

So the idea that Akio is a rapist, and Anthy and Utena are therefore helpless victims of sexual assault, has always rung false to me. It sells all the characters involved short and it removes any free will or, let's call it what it is, blame, that could be placed on Anthy and Utena. This, apparently, makes me a rape apologist. Interpreting events leads me to see Anthy and Utena as having made decisions that allowed things to play out a certain way, to the greater benefit of another. Are they coerced? Abso-fucking-lutely. And technically speaking, has a form of rape occurred? Yeah, it has. But simply saying 'ANTHY WAS RAPED AND RAPED AND RAPED AND SHE'S A VICTIM AND AKIO'S A BIG MEANIE' reduces a very complex situation into a completely unilateral one.

Similarly, saying Utena was raped removes, to me anyway, one of the most important things about my interpretation of her character. I don't see her as a victim that's risen above her sexual assault. I see her as someone who made a horrible decision, partly out of disbelief in her own free agency even as she exercised it, and rose above that mistake. She sought forgiveness from Anthy and from there on refused to see herself as a less of a person for it. Growing up is about making mistakes. And learning from them. Growing up isn't about getting raped--or it shouldn't be, and I don't think that's what SKU is going for.

Akio is, for both of these characters, the ultimate mistake. He's an easy mistake for both of them to make, because their issues lead them right into it.

Anthy makes this mistake because it shields her from the world at large that she fears more, and being bound in a destructive sexual relationship with her brother was, to her, the better choice to taking her chances outside. This is born largely from an utter lack of self-esteem. One Akio does help support. But Anthy knows she could leave. I think she even knows she's capable of that where he is not. It's what she uses against him when she attacks. The tragedy of her character is that she doesn't value herself enough to leave an unhealthy relationship that feels like the only affection or support that's available to her in life. Is it messed up? Hell yes. But is he holding her down and sexually assaulting her every Saturday? No. If this sounds like blaming the abused housewife for staying, on some level, I suppose it is. No one deserves abuse of any kind, but you don't get to say women are equal, deserve respect, and must stand up for their rights, and then also say they are absolutely helpless victims of male dominance. So when it's a payscale difference we should stand up, but if it's unhealthy abuse of sex an intimacy, we get a free pass? Anthy grows up by recognizing her self-worth and making a move to live up to that. I think it was a much more complicated, difficult, and nuanced decision than getting raped or not getting raped.

For Utena's part, while she was coerced into bed, she certainly wasn't forcibly dragged out to a hotel, shoved into a bath, and held down by her throat during the act. I dare say that would have been easier. Victims of outright and violent sexual assault actually tend to have a better emotional prognosis than ones for whom guilt in complacency is a greater motivation in their reinforcement of their low self worth. Utena, knowing he was engaged, that he was her best friend's brother, and knowing that he was an experience she wasn't ready for, did it anyway. We see no attempt on her part to impede his path, verbal or otherwise. We see her guilt tripping herself, reminding herself he's engaged, but this doesn't ever extend to an effort to keep him away. She presents more as a victim after the fact, when she realizes she doesn't know what her role here is, what the rules are, or why, exactly, she did it. (This, of course, is Akio's influence. I'm not trying to say this is entirely her fault or even half or a third. He's still a total asshole.)

In short, I think each victim of Akio's in some way makes themselves that. That's the challenge for them, and the reason it's so hard to get away from him. He makes it easy, to be sure. But calling it rape, and suggesting no one had any choice or any control, sells them all short. SKU is about choice. It's about growing. It's about growing pains. It's about looking back on the decisions you've made, the opinion you've had of yourself, or the way you've solved problems in the past and going 'That's unhealthy and I'm better than that.'

SKU takes advantage of some huge, glaringly obvious archetypes to achieve the telling of this story. One, is the Devil. We're even told that. But when in any story where the Devil has a hand to play, is the theme not about the choices people make under his influence?

Also flame option: If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?


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#2 | Back to Top09-09-2013 04:44:07 AM

Internal Clock
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Canberra, Australia
Registered: 06-30-2012
Posts: 14

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I feel I can agree with your interpretation - I admit I interpreted the scenes themselves involving some level of consent on the part of Anthy and Utena - although I feel you could probably offer some expansion as to why Anthy repeats her actions with Akio over the course of series (and if you feel there is any 'catalyst' or 'stimuli' that could prompt Anthy to partake in 'doing it' or if it is something more of a ritual that she has fallen into)


Giovanna wrote:

Also flame option: If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?

I anticipate that our flame option is going to require some level of separation as to Touga's 'doings' to the female students as opposed to his 'doings' to the male students*

*You'll probably agree that this only seems to apply to Saionji.... so .... I'd better leave before- etc-wankgirl etc-saiowank ...too late

Last edited by Internal Clock (09-09-2013 04:45:01 AM)

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#3 | Back to Top09-09-2013 05:25:59 AM

Aelanie
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Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

This is a difficult subject, and I'm not sure I possess the eloquence - or tact - to address it in a comprehensive fashion. I'd just like to say a few things.

The most important one is that regardless of how it happened, all responsibility much fall fully and completely on Akio. Regardless of the manner in which Utena and Anthy arrived in their situations, he must not be excused from his role as the ultimate initiator and executor of the sexual coercion and misuse of both girls. This is something which must be conceded, and in the minds of most people, coercion - which means anything less than an informed, fully considered and clarified assent by adult parties - is rape, plain and simple.

Having established that, I want to address this:

If this sounds like blaming the abused housewife for staying, on some level, I suppose it is. No one deserves abuse of any kind, but you don't get to say women are equal, deserve respect, and must stand up for their rights, and then also say they are absolutely helpless victims of male dominance. So when it's a payscale difference we should stand up, but if it's unhealthy abuse of sex an intimacy, we get a free pass?

I'm afraid that it does. The problem with your analogy is that the societal issues of women's rights and pay inequality are fought on a societal scale, where empowered women can and have banded together to support each other. However, the victims of sexual battery are very often alone and isolated, without aid or support, and with no means or hope of finding any.

But one important thing I have to say is that you can be a "victim" without being "helpless". Having power, or lacking it, does not alter the origin and thus responsibility of the wrong inflicted. It is still a wrong. Maybe they did have sources of support they could've turned to. Maybe there are choices they could've made that would've prevented it. That would've been well for them, but not having done so, regardless of the reasons why, places no weight of responsibility on them one way or the other. None of that is important to the attribution of blame. It rests fully and solely on the aggressor.

Did Anthy know what she was doing? Did she allow Akio to inflict his sexual aggression on her without resistance? Yes. Does that make her in any manner responsible for his actions? No. They are his and his alone. No amount of "circumstances" could change the fact that Anthy would prefer not to be sexually used. I think that's something pretty much everyone can agree about. For reasons of her own, she endures it, but endurance is not consent. Is she powerless? No. But power or lack of it does not change the totality of the injustice a victim of sexual aggression finds themselves enduring in the moment, however it may have arisen.

Utena's case is even more egregious because unlike Anthy, at that point in the story she is completely unequal to understanding or dealing with Akio. His power over her - as an adult, as an insidious and cynical intelligence, as a supernatural being, and whatever other qualities you may wish to attribute to him - is all-encompassing. Episode 33 is one of the post powerful moments in the show because of how effectively it conveys that. The scene where Utena is in Akio's bed is the moment of the show in which she is at her most powerless, her most vulnerable. All of her strength and noble ideals have been stripped away from her, leaving only a naked teenage girl, rambling and confused.

That indeed was Akio's intention: to rob her of her agency and make her his pawn. I believe that no one could rationally argue that her finding herself in that situation was the result of an "informed,  fully considered, and clarified assent" - and if that cannot be said to have been given, then the question of sexual battery has, for me at least, a very clear answer.

I hope I've managed to convey these remarks in a calm, constructive, and disciplined manner. With all due respect however, I would ask you to reflect seriously on the amount of blame you are apportioning to Utena and Anthy - and much more importantly and consequentially, to the women in the real world who find themselves the targets of sexual aggression, however it may have come about.

Last edited by Aelanie (09-09-2013 06:50:08 AM)

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#4 | Back to Top09-09-2013 08:03:01 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Giovanna wrote:

If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?

Well, he's raping them. And/or sexually assaulting them.

There's some allure in it, and it doesn't dehumanize Touga or turn him into The Rapist, but it's still sexual assault and intimidation.

There is, yes, something to be said about the choices they're making, but the guilt they may feel, that Akio/the Devil may use against them, is unnecessary guilt in most of the cases, as it's survivor's guilt or "I made the adult in charge of me rape me when I was fourteen because I got in his car and he was hot." It's a bit suspect.

The Akio and Anthy interactions are all abusive, to me, because they're all predicated on false pretenses that allow the two of them to hurt children easier. If being abusive or a rapist dehumanized a character completely, though, Anthy would never be able to get out or get past her own guilt, which at least movie-Akio has the excuse for of being dead, if he was even ever truly alive. What's keeping Anthy in the cycle of abuse is the dead nightmare buried under her roses and vacuous smiles.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#5 | Back to Top09-09-2013 09:19:53 AM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Giovanna wrote:

If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?

Well, he's raping them. And/or sexually assaulting them.

There's some allure in it, and it doesn't dehumanize Touga or turn him into The Rapist, but it's still sexual assault and intimidation.

Itís a case of numerous faceless under-eighteen girls throwing themselves at an under-eighteen boy, and the boy taking them up on their offer.  I myself cannot see how that constitutes the boy dishing out any more 'sexual assault' than those three girls who gave him Ep9ís reverse gangbang.   

As for intimidation (I'm assuming you mean the kind towards making girls have sex with him) . . . I donít see Touga doing it on even Utena, upon whom he uses Ďseductioní and Ďliesí.  The only instance I see him intimate a woman with intent of possession is with Anthy Ė and whether thatís even sexual or not is arguable.  Thereís the Rose Bride role through which Anthy put herself out to the student duelists.  Note how despite depicted as an overtly sexual boy, Touga was not shown having sex with Anthy after temporarily winning her from Utena: rather, he simply make use of her as a weapon that could help himself get further into the duels and closer to power.  Did he tried dominating Anthy the Rose Bride into becoming his subservient tool while he was  the Victor Duelist?  Yes.  Was he sexually assaulting Anthy?  Not from what we saw on screen.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#6 | Back to Top09-09-2013 09:20:27 AM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I'll be blunt here: I think Akio is a rapist, and I think what he does to both Anthy and Utena is rape. Then again, I also think that what he does to Touga and Kozue is rape as well (since, among other things, they're underage students) so God knows how valid any of my views are...

Having said that, I think the problem with what Akio does is that a lot of it falls into the "dubious consent" grey area, in which it should definitely be called rape if it happened in real life but doesn't quite code as such within the context of the piece of fiction that it's part of -- and I should stress that the term "dubious consent" only applies to fictional situations. In Utena's case, for example... she could ostensibly be said to be consenting on the grounds that she ends up naked in bed with Akio and isn't overtly saying "no", but there are several factors that would render any consent there completely invalid, such as the fact that she's a middleschooler and he's an adult with a stack of power over her both as the acting chairman of her school and as Ends of the World.

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

There is, yes, something to be said about the choices they're making, but the guilt they may feel, that Akio/the Devil may use against them, is unnecessary guilt in most of the cases, as it's survivor's guilt or "I made the adult in charge of me rape me when I was fourteen because I got in his car and he was hot." It's a bit suspect.

This is another thing that makes the scene in ep 33 uncomfortable for me. It feels to me like Akio is silently and psychologically intimidating her there, just by being a grown man who's on top of her and looking down on her while she gets agitated by what's inevitably about to happen. I also get the impression that, although she's not explicitly saying "no", it's almost like she feels she can't say "no", if that makes any sense; as if saying it would be like admitting to herself that she's being violated, so instead she keeps rambling and wracking herself with guilt -- which may well be what Akio wants.

Akio/Anthy is unquestionably abusive, as far as I'm concerned. I think the reason Anthy has stuck with him for so long, besides her nonexistent self-esteem and fear of the outside world, is that he's literally all she's had since the rest of humanity branded her as a witch. I suppose the fact that he's family makes it that much harder for her to leave him, too. =/

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#7 | Back to Top09-09-2013 01:29:23 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Aelanie, I really appreciate your restraint, but there is one thing I'd like to say, not just to you but to everyone, in a hopefully gentle discussion-moderation sense.

Aelanie wrote:

I hope I've managed to convey these remarks in a calm, constructive, and disciplined manner. With all due respect however, I would ask you to reflect seriously on the amount of blame you are apportioning to Utena and Anthy - and much more importantly and consequentially, to the women in the real world who find themselves the targets of sexual aggression, however it may have come about.

Please don't make judgments about someone's real-life beliefs and behaviors because of their opinion of a fictional situation that's deliberately made to be morally vague. This is both irrelevant to the topic at hand and insulting to the person in question any time it happens, and I'd really like it if we can all stay away from it. These sort of statements are ad hominem attacks on personal character regardless of how tactfully they're put, and we don't need to talk about each others' personal lives when the fictional situation at hand already provides more than enough potential for argument and hurt feelings due to the close way many of us identify with the characters.

So, uh... let's not open that can of worms, guys. http://ohtori.nu/forumstuff/emotes/emot-can.gif


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#8 | Back to Top09-09-2013 01:46:08 PM

Kita-Ysabell
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Registered: 11-18-2012
Posts: 818
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I'll admit I have this kind of knee-jerk reaction to a lot of Akio's sexual conquests that goes along the lines of THAT IS A CHILD GET YOUR DICK OUT OF IT OR I AM GOING TO RIP YOUR RIBS OUT ONE BY ONE.

Yeah, I know, "child" isn't 100% accurate, these are adolescents and their powers of agency and consent are consequently greater, but that's still how I feel about it.  Except for Anthy.  She's like... how old now?  Really old.  So that falls more under the reactionary category of "bleh?" than FROTHING RAGE.  And Utena, well, it happened, it was horrible, and then she shoved him in the face.  Yay catharsis!

Likewise, a lot of the difficulty that Kanae has with her relationship with Akio is the lack of intimacy which, here, isn't so much of a problem, unless he's using that to sleep with her, and I got the overall impression that he could barely stand to be near her.  And Mrs. Ohtori's a grown woman.  She can make her own damn terrible decisions, no one's skewing her world view in any way that it hasn't been skewed already.

So really I'm most pissed about Touga.  That shit is chronic.

Giovanna wrote:

Also flame option: If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?

Preying on their insecurities and self-image problems in an ineffective attempt to fulfill his own desire to be loved?  It's pretty much a lose-lose proposition.

And if I was feeling particularly snarky, I could say, "recreating the scenario of his own trauma," (I just spent like half an hour looking to see if there was a more technical term for this.  It was not a fun time. emot-gonk ) although I think this would apply more specifically to younger boys that to the army of fangirls he seems to prefer.


"Et in Arcadio ego..."

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#9 | Back to Top09-09-2013 01:49:29 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Preying on their insecurities and self-image problems in an ineffective attempt to fulfill his own desire to be loved?

:sighs: Isn't he just dreamy? etc-love


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#10 | Back to Top09-09-2013 03:09:53 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Internal Clock wrote:

I feel you could probably offer some expansion as to why Anthy repeats her actions with Akio over the course of series (and if you feel there is any 'catalyst' or 'stimuli' that could prompt Anthy to partake in 'doing it' or if it is something more of a ritual that she has fallen into)

I suspect by the series the catalyst is 'It's Saturday and it's dark and he's already half undressed giggity giggity.' The repeating the act over the course of the series is partly ritual, for sure, but I think as the series develops and their relationship becomes strained, sex is not only how he asserts dominance, but it's how she fights back. I think Anthy chooses to have sex with him because from underneath him she has the most power to hurt and scare him. Passivity in day to day life is not something that tastes good to Akio. A lot of the strained moments we see between them (ie. when the teacup breaks because he grabbed her) begin with Anthy being incredibly passive and unengaged with him. This, above all else, is the most dangerous thing Akio could see happening, and she knows it. She taunts him with it. Later on, she does it after sex, and it's finally scary enough for him to comment on it. By that point in the show, Akio may be instigating the act out of habit, but he's also far and away the one suffering more from it. I think this is something the show goes go great lengths to illustrate: the development of Anthy's feelings toward Utena and the world at large seen through her frighten Akio. He is not a happy man at the end of the show, and not nearly as confident as he was 30-odd episodes ago. Does he stomp around the duel arena being all smug telling Utena what's what about Anthy? Yep. Was it entirely for Utena's sake? Very much doubt it. He was trying to remind Anthy of her place also, because he was terrified she was beginning to forget it.

Internal Clock wrote:

*You'll probably agree that this only seems to apply to Saionji.... so .... I'd better leave before- etc-wankgirl etc-saiowank ...too late

Actually in my headcanon the only real rape in the story is what Wakaba probably did to Saionji when he was a little suspiciously deep in his sleep. Bwaha.

Aelanie wrote:

The most important one is that regardless of how it happened, all responsibility much fall fully and completely on Akio. Regardless of the manner in which Utena and Anthy arrived in their situations, he must not be excused from his role as the ultimate initiator and executor of the sexual coercion and misuse of both girls. This is something which must be conceded, and in the minds of most people, coercion - which means anything less than an informed, fully considered and clarified assent by adult parties - is rape, plain and simple.

I donít concede this, because I donít agree that all responsibility falls on him. I do agree that he shouldnít be excused from being the ultimate initiator and executor of these events; Iím not attempting to apologize for someone who is pretty much in every way a horrible individual, nor am I condoning his behavior. Iím saying that what transpires between these characters isnít done with anyone completely in the dark. Even Utena, the far and away most innocent of them, if ignorant to the full weight of her actions, knew several things very wrong with them, and did not attempt to stop him. She attempts, poorly, to stop herself, but never him. And this is from a character that pretty explosively rejects Touga earlier on. Are there differences? Of course. Akioís quite a bit sneakier than Touga. But at the end of the day a character we see mount considerable offenses against things she thinks are wrong or doesnít want to have happen, is letting this happen with very little in terms of a serious attempt to stop it. This is, ultimately, a rape; Utena is too young and too ignorant to consent to it. But she did choose it, as a free agent, knowing full well that she shouldnít. Episode 33 is haunting because sheís made her decision before you even see her face. Maybe it was when he invited her out at all. Maybe it was when they were checking into a hotel. But the moment we see her, hear her, she knows whatís coming, and that she isnít necessarily wanting it to stop. Sheís terrified, confused, conflicted, yammering because she doesnít know if she wants things to go faster or slower, and doesnít know what to do at this point if she were to change her mind, and a gentleman seeing all of that would probably not have made her go through with it. But Akioís no gentleman, obviously.

And I donít think that everyone necessarily agrees with such a strict definition of rape. Between adults and not adults pretty much anything is rape, and most do agree on that point. But between adults? Whatís seduction but a focused effort to coerce another into sex? And many of us not only enjoy seduction, but expect it. As far as I can tell, coercion in regards to sex and how itís popularly used is basically a descriptor for seduction when the consent is not as established at the outset. And itís often portrayed in a far more glamorous light than it is here. Itís a horrible message to send to men about what we want if weíre going to call it rape afterwards.

Aelanie wrote:

The problem with your analogy is that the societal issues of women's rights and pay inequality are fought on a societal scale, where empowered women can and have banded together to support each other. However, the victims of sexual battery are very often alone and isolated, without aid or support, and with no means or hope of finding any.

Youíre right. My point was, though, that if women want to be empowered, that canít simply extend to when itís safe and bolstered by numbers. The expectation has to be on each and every one of us to refuse to be victims and to make decisions to protect ourselves. In every abusive relationship, thereís that first threat. That first impact. If you donít leave then, for whatever reasons, because youíre part of a long cycle of abuse, because youíre threatened, afraid, or alone, youíre still by complacency allowing the next attack. You donít deserve it. You deserve help. But youíre not empowered. Thatís an expectation placed on women by other women only when itís easy. Or when theyíre far away.

Aelanie wrote:

But one important thing I have to say is that you can be a "victim" without being "helpless".

This was essentially the entire point of my post.

Aelanie wrote:

Maybe they did have sources of support they could've turned to. Maybe there are choices they could've made that would've prevented it. That would've been well for them, but not having done so, regardless of the reasons why, places no weight of responsibility on them one way or the other. None of that is important to the attribution of blame. It rests fully and solely on the aggressor.

Weíve just agreed that not all victims are helpless. Some have resources. Support they could have turned to, choices that would have prevented. If they did not access those supports or make those choices, they bear some, not all, not half, but some, responsibility for what occurs after.

Aelanie wrote:

Did Anthy know what she was doing? Did she allow Akio to inflict his sexual aggression on her without resistance? Yes. Does that make her in any manner responsible for his actions? No. They are his and his alone.

I never said Anthy was responsible for Akioís actions. Sheís responsible for hers. What another physically overpowers you into doing against your will (not what I think happened) is not your fault. What do you do about it after? That is up to you. In her case? I think her complacency in their sexual relationship is because sheís using the act as well. They use sex against each other, and the victor is not necessarily as clear as it seems, I think.

Aelanie wrote:

That indeed was Akio's intention: to rob her of her agency and make her his pawn. I believe that no one could rationally argue that her finding herself in that situation was the result of an "informed,  fully considered, and clarified assent" - and if that cannot be said to have been given, then the question of sexual battery has, for me at least, a very clear answer.

That was absolutely his intention. Itís what he does and what happens to her. She doesnít give a fully considered and clarified assent. She waded into the deep end not knowing how deep it really was. But she knew it was deep. Utena is as dumb as a sack of bricks sometimes, but if sheís so dim as to think itís a good idea to get into a car alone at night with a man thatís been making sexual overtures to her for several episodes now, and that itís an even better idea to go into a hotel with him, and that these things should occur with nothing less than a kick in his balls and a run in the other direction, well. Sheís too young to give informed consent, but sheís not that young or ignorant.

Nanami would have been, though.

Aelanie wrote:

I hope I've managed to convey these remarks in a calm, constructive, and disciplined manner. With all due respect however, I would ask you to reflect seriously on the amount of blame you are apportioning to Utena and Anthy - and much more importantly and consequentially, to the women in the real world who find themselves the targets of sexual aggression, however it may have come about.

You have, and Iím very appreciative of it. I know this subject is an especially touchy one, for you and a lot of others. I hope my responses arenít against the spirit of your restraint here. A subject as touchy, personal, and potentially offensive as this is almost impossible to discuss without some stepping on toes. That doesnít mean I donít think we as a group are mature enough to handle it. Me, I just broke my toe yesterday so Iím all good for more.

That said, with all due respect, I would have to say that I have been reflecting on this issue for a very, very long time. This debate and my involvement in it is fifteen years old, so Iíve had a lot of time to ask if Iím being too harsh, or wrong, or assigning blame where I shouldnít. And truth to tell? Iím actually harsher on Utena and Anthy as time goes on, and I see their actions filtered through what is clearly a story about the decisions people make. Not whatís forced on them.

Itís a television show. Itís a cartoon even. A cartoon framed in a culture not necessarily reflected in many of our views of the world. Itís a cartoon written by a god damn maniac ridiculous man. It has a lot to say, but at the end of the day, as someone who has been running an enormous website about it...it is just a cartoon.

Do I hold women at large, in real life, to this same standard of self-empowerment? Nope. But I do think the message that maybe we should expect more of ourselves is part of what the showís about. Itís a tough message to hear. It makes a more comfortable world of victims and aggressors into a grey area where each of us has a will of our own to enforce, to a more significant degree than necessarily wanted, our own destiny. I like that message. It helped me grow. It made responsibility for my actions and choices mean more than that I was a victim as some point within them. So yes, Iíve reflected deeply, and personally, on this. I came to a different conclusion.

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Giovanna wrote:

If coercion is rape, what's Touga doing to half the student body?

Well, he's raping them. And/or sexually assaulting them.

There's some allure in it, and it doesn't dehumanize Touga or turn him into The Rapist, but it's still sexual assault and intimidation.

Agreed! I'm not trying to dehumanize him at all. Since I'm god damn married to his biggest fan, I shouldn't probably even attempt that. emot-biggrin

BUT. The overall enjoyment fans get out of characters like him, and the endorsement of his behavior, sets a very dangerous standard and says not awesome things about what women want from men. I feel for dudes.

'Be like Touga. But but don't be like Akio, he's a bag of dicks.'
emot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confusedemot-confused

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

The Akio and Anthy interactions are all abusive, to me, because they're all predicated on false pretenses that allow the two of them to hurt children easier. If being abusive or a rapist dehumanized a character completely, though, Anthy would never be able to get out or get past her own guilt, which at least movie-Akio has the excuse for of being dead, if he was even ever truly alive. What's keeping Anthy in the cycle of abuse is the dead nightmare buried under her roses and vacuous smiles.

Absolutely. If the beauty in Utenaís lesson is that you make awful mistakes, one that hurt you terribly, and still overcome them, Anthyís is even more stark. Maybe even feels a little wrong. You can do absolutely horrible things to others. You can abuse, hate, punish, and still redeem yourself. She doesnít try to escape her actions. She owns them and resolves not to do that crap anymore. Akio isnít redeemed because he chooses not to be. He canít forgive anyone, he wonít seek forgiveness, or even admit his actions have been wrong. Granted, he enjoys a position for his actions thatís far more favorable than Anthyís ever was, so I donít really fault him for not wanting to change. I wouldnít either. But he doesnít, and that makes him pretty much a bag of dicks. Iíd be a bag of dicks, too.

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Note how despite depicted as an overtly sexual boy, Touga was not shown having sex with Anthy after temporarily winning her from Utena: rather, he simply make use of her as a weapon that could help himself get further into the duels and closer to power.  Did he tried dominating Anthy the Rose Bride into becoming his subservient tool while he was  the Victor Duelist?  Yes.  Was he sexually assaulting Anthy?  Not from what we saw on screen.

What Touga wants out of the girls he seduces is for them to want him. He measures Anthy unwilling or even incapable of this desire for him, so he doesnít even bother or try. That doesnít mean heís not sexually coercive with the girls he does sleep with, and while all involved are underaged now and that changes the assigning of blame a touch, I donít think most people interpret Touga as ignorant to the nature of his actions. He knows what heís doing and he doesnít regard the girls he seduces as equals. He wants something very specific from them, a salve for his self-esteem, and unbeknownst to them, tricks them into providing it.

Touga is much more Ďgrown upí than Utena is. Technically heís underage, but we do not assign the same weight of wrongness to Akioís sleeping with him, because whether we mean to or not, most of us seem to interpret Touga as much more consenting figure in the situation. Heís still underage, though, and by our own standards, itís still rape. Or is it because heís male that we give Akio a pass on that one?

MikoGalatea wrote:

I'll be blunt here: I think Akio is a rapist, and I think what he does to both Anthy and Utena is rape. Then again, I also think that what he does to Touga and Kozue is rape as well (since, among other things, they're underage students) so God knows how valid any of my views are...

Theyíre just as valid as anyone elseís thatís thought about it! This show does not help you at all with these things. Thatís why the debate is so rich. But you are being a lot more consistent than I am, at least. emot-smile Whether it should or not, Touga and Kozue never register as rape to me because I think theyíd make the exact same decisions informed and old enough or no. Anthy is old enough, even if she doesnít look it. Utena? Sheíd probably not have done what she did as an informed adult. So that registers to me as more rapey? Probably a bentass way to view this, but there it is.

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

And Utena, well, it happened, it was horrible, and then she shoved him in the face.  Yay catharsis!

You know, I think thatís why, in the end, I donít rage over Akioís actions more. I mean, the dude pays for it in the end. Gioís headcanon silly post-series fic aside, itís unlikely lifeís going to go very well for him after the series. At least not for a long time. At the end of the story, he is the only character that is truly, completely, inexorably alone. And itís his fault.

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Likewise, a lot of the difficulty that Kanae has with her relationship with Akio is the lack of intimacy which, here, isn't so much of a problem, unless he's using that to sleep with her, and I got the overall impression that he could barely stand to be near her.

I guess when you get to his age, your fuse for completely vacuous people with nothing at all to say and pretty much no reason to exist gets short. I do get the impression he genuinely dislikes being around her though, and that itís not just an act to isolate her or piss her off or some other use it would otherwise have.

Yasha wrote:

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

Preying on their insecurities and self-image problems in an ineffective attempt to fulfill his own desire to be loved?

:sighs: Isn't he just dreamy? etc-love

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#11 | Back to Top09-09-2013 03:32:38 PM

Kita-Ysabell
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Registered: 11-18-2012
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

If I can make a sweepingly general statement, I think that part of the reason behind negating the agency of victims of abuse is that it is almost unbearable to think that someone could be in such a terrible position that they would make a decision so self-destructive as to stay or return to a abusive situation.  Which... yeah.  It sucks.  It sucks a lot.  But that's the way it is.

And I think that Anthy's character in particular raises the somewhat troubling issue that victims can react to their victimization by becoming... not very nice people.  There's a whole host of personality disorders, (like Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder) which, if I remember my DSM IV correctly, correlate highly with a combination of genetic predisposition and a history of trauma, including abuse, and which are manifested in all sorts of disruptive, manipulative, and destructive behaviors.  This doesn't make those that fall prey to this tendency, as Anthy does, not victims.  But it makes them a whole lot less tragically picturesque.

So, when Utena chooses to trust Anthy, she is taking a huge risk.  And whether it pays off or not, it's the right thing to do, and I hope that I would do the same in any similar situation.

And, with more sweeping generalizations, I feel that the tendency to place blame for an abusive situation is in itself problematic.  It can't be positive for victims to be told that they should feel less innocent for trying to fight back, or that any positive conceptions or emotions that they have for the abuser are illegitimate.  And abusers certainly are not rehabilitated through demonization.  So, while I reserve the right to rip the throat out of anyone who lays a finger on a child, I still think that the best approach to the situation is to view it as something akin to a natural disaster: it's all horribly fucked up, but it's no one's fault, and the best reaction is to pick up the pieces and do what you can with them.


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#12 | Back to Top09-09-2013 04:14:12 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Aelanie wrote:

But one important thing I have to say is that you can be a "victim" without being "helpless". Having power, or lacking it, does not alter the origin and thus responsibility of the wrong inflicted. It is still a wrong. Maybe they did have sources of support they could've turned to. Maybe there are choices they could've made that would've prevented it. That would've been well for them, but not having done so, regardless of the reasons why, places no weight of responsibility on them one way or the other. None of that is important to the attribution of blame. It rests fully and solely on the aggressor.

I agree with this as far as the aggressor's actions.  There is nothing a person can do that causes em to deserve to be raped.  And yet I don't feel that this ends the discussion.

I'm going to use an extreme example in order to better illustrate what I mean.  I am not saying that what happens to Utena or Anthy is tantamount to this extreme example.

Let's say I tweet the following: "lol hi evryone, its 2am and im in the alley behind subway w/ a big bag of unmarked nonsequential benjamins, come say hi!"  By tweeting this, I am not asking to be mugged.  I do not deserve to be mugged.  If I am mugged, then the mugger is fully responsible for eir own actions -- which were criminal, while mine were not -- and the mugger ought to be caught and put in jail.  This is America and I can tweet what I want.  But there's no denying that my tweet -- while it was not the immediate cause of the mugging -- was certainly a proximate cause.  And that means I bear some responsibility for the crime (though not for the mugger's own actions!!), because a mugging was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of an action I was responsible for.

If this is hard to see, then imagine I had instead tweeted that my friend Jim is in the alley behind Subway with a big bag of hundreds, and Jim gets mugged.  Am I without responsibility then?  Of course not.  I knew what would likely happen.  Just because I didn't hold the knife doesn't mean I shoulder none of the responsibility.  This does not change when I am the victim instead of a third party.

In either scenario, I made an informed choice, knowing what the consequences might be, and a mugging happened down the road as a result.  That doesn't mean that Jim or I deserves to suffer.  But it does mean I don't get Crimefighter of the Year Award.  So I think Gio is on point, above, in suggesting that a lot of this discussion turns on whether we think Utena and Anthy made free choices and understood the probable consequences of what they were doing with Akio.  And I agree with her that they did -- because if they didn't, then the show is not about making choices.  That does not absolve Akio of one iota of responsibility for his own choices.  (In fact, it makes them more significant.)  It just means that the other characters must also take responsibility for their choices, and that this responsibility is not zero.  If it were, SKU would be a worse story.

Last edited by satyreyes (09-09-2013 04:22:54 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top09-09-2013 04:30:32 PM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Giovanna wrote:

Do I hold women at large, in real life, to this same standard...

This is great, and I understand that you are answering Aelanie, but can this be the end of that particular line of discussion? I don't want to discourage anyone from conveying their personal investment in SKU, but we're not talking about real life survivors here.

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#14 | Back to Top09-09-2013 05:45:25 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

That doesnít mean heís not sexually coercive with the girls he does sleep with, and while all involved are underaged now and that changes the assigning of blame a touch, I donít think most people interpret Touga as ignorant to the nature of his actions. He knows what heís doing and he doesnít regard the girls he seduces as equals. He wants something very specific from them, a salve for his self-esteem, and unbeknownst to them, tricks them into providing it.

What I don't see is just how is Touga ever 'sexually coercive' with the girls he does sleep with.  Those girls are depicted as rabid fans who lust  after him - yes, it's lust, not love, because its conditional upon his looks, SC status, fighting ability, wealth etc, the 'material' things he possess that they gush over.   In the TV series, they are shown swarming him like hungry insects around a flower just like Nanami said (much like how those Shiori butterflies in the movie swarmed him).  One can say that Touga shows off seductive qualities to bait the girls into bedding him, yes . . . but being coercive to them?  I don't think so . . . unless mere seduction on its own equals coercion.  And while he does not see the girls as equal, I don't think that alone can mean he is coercing them into sex with him.

Touga is much more Ďgrown upí than Utena is. Technically heís underage, but we do not assign the same weight of wrongness to Akioís sleeping with him, because whether we mean to or not, most of us seem to interpret Touga as much more consenting figure in the situation.

If sleeping with Akio is 'wrong' for Utena and Touga, it's because the act hurts Akio's fiancee Kanae.

So let's compare the two cases:

Utena is a person ruled by her morals, and prides herself on doing what's right.  She herself told Wakaba stresses how Akio is an engaged man thus off limits prior to EP 33.  She knows she's doing something wrong - by her own moral standards - having an affair with another girl's fiancee (cause it hurts the girl), but still decides to let herself do it to sate her own desires.  She is seduced by Akio into committing evil, but she does end up committing a willful evil against Kanae by her own decision.

Touga, amoral to begin with, offers his body to Akio without a care about what's right or wrong with it.  Infringing on Kanae's property is not something that's remotely problematic by his own low moral standards - which, incidentally, means that he's guilty of a lesser 'willful evil' against Kanae (though it still is wrong, of course).

Heís still underage, though, and by our own standards, itís still rape. Or is it because heís male that we give Akio a pass on that one?

I think it's worth noting that Akio is really an immortal demi deity.  He don't see human beings as his equal, but rather, 'foolish lifeforms' (quote him calling Utena that on Ep38).  For him, raping a human in his school is likely the moral equivalent of a farmer breeding a heifer in his farm.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
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#15 | Back to Top09-09-2013 06:05:01 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Giovanna wrote:

I do think the message that maybe we should expect more of ourselves is part of what the showís about. Itís a tough message to hear. It makes a more comfortable world of victims and aggressors into a grey area where each of us has a will of our own to enforce, to a more significant degree than necessarily wanted, our own destiny.

That's an interpretation of the franchise I can totally agree with, and I think you've put it in a very effective way. However, there is a very large difference between expecting more of ourselves, and expecting others to expect more of themselves.

Really, now that I think about it, the entire current situation in the show can be boiled down to a single statement: "Anthy isn't being strong." Not that she couldn't have been, not that it wasn't within her power to be, and not even that she hadn't been in the past - she certainly had been strong in the past by taking all of the world's hatred onto herself - but simply that she was not being strong in the current situation. She was allowing Akio to do whatever he wanted, including hurt other people, and she was running away from any personal responsibility or choice.

However, for me at least, the show gives no moralistic sense that more should've been expected of her in her situation. Utena certainly did not expect more of Anthy. Her unconditional kindness, her desire to free Anthy and save her is not tempered by any notion that Anthy should've done better for herself.

Is it believable for Utena to be able to be so virtuous in that situation? To be entirely fair, maybe it isn't - which would certainly add some interesting fuel to the debate on whether Utena succeeded in becoming a Prince. The fairy-tale Prince does not pause to pass judgement on the past deeds of those that they rescue. Their empathy and aid is given unconditionally, without presuming about what the rescued might've done to avoid landing in distress.

However, I don't think that that is such a superhuman stance to take - and so, to speak more generally in that vein,

Giovanna wrote:

if women want to be empowered, that canít simply extend to when itís safe and bolstered by numbers. The expectation has to be on each and every one of us to refuse to be victims and to make decisions to protect ourselves. In every abusive relationship, thereís that first threat. That first impact. If you donít leave then, for whatever reasons, because youíre part of a long cycle of abuse, because youíre threatened, afraid, or alone, youíre still by complacency allowing the next attack. You donít deserve it. You deserve help. But youíre not empowered. Thatís an expectation placed on women by other women only when itís easy. Or when theyíre far away.

I don't expect women to be strong. I hope that they can and will be, and I would give aid to making that come about in any way I could, but it is not an expectation. The world is a hard and cruel place, and it's difficult for almost everyone to make their way in it. Many people, women and men alike, simply do not have the inner strength to struggle with and overcome adversity. That makes them pitiable, but not contemptible. On the contrary, I'd say that the worse the adversity is - and sexual abuse is a horrendously virulent one - the more understandable it is that they were just not able to assert themselves.

So I don't expect women, or any human beings, to always have the strength of character to do what we would like to see them do in situations where they are being wronged. To me that simply isn't realistic, and I believe that having such expectations does inevitably lead to a sense of dissatisfaction with the wronged - "blame", if you will - when, for whatever reason, they didn't manage to exhibit the behavior we would've wanted to see from them.

Last edited by Aelanie (09-09-2013 06:42:59 PM)

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#16 | Back to Top09-10-2013 07:51:16 AM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

My, what a can of worms to open.

...Well, while I think that a grown man seducing a 14-year old girl is creepy as hell (and this guy being in a position of power over said girl definitely doesn't make this any better), I also think that presenting Utena as consenting to Akio's seduction works better for the story than having her be a victim of rape. Because making Utena responsible for her own mistakes makes her a more interesting main character, and it drives home the point better to have her willingly lose her innocence... and still being a hero in the end. So basically I agree with the OP (most of it, anyway).

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#17 | Back to Top09-10-2013 08:29:40 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

This is a fascinating subject, and I'd like to copy and paste something I wrote in another thread, specifically, "So when does Utena figure out she's about to get laid?" :

Crystalwren wrote:

Atropos wrote:

Alright, this has been making a stir as of late, so I'll ask the obvious question:
Was this a rape or not?

Honestly? No. Was she betrayed? Manipulated? Used? Oh, most definitely! With bells on! However, as someone who was once taken advantage of in a broadly similar manner, it wasn't rape.

If she were in the same country as I am, where the age of consent is sixteen (fun fact: in Australia, you are legally able to have sex several years before you're legally allowed to drink or drive a car or gamble...hmm) I'd be there at the door with a large stick before you could say, 'mental and emotional maturity does count, you know!' but in Japan, there seems to be a certain cultural push towards a child going straight from childhood into being a young adult. Not much by way of teenage years. I could be wrong about this, but...it does carry a sort of implication that the Japanese are introduced to certain concepts much sooner than Westerners are. This may not seem to work in practice, i.e Utena, however. So while Akio and Anthy did one hell of a number on her, others of her age might be expected to have more tools to defend themselves. A Japanese person might well interpret the entire situation quite differently to the way we do; I think that this is an important point to factor in.

So, here's what we have: a teenager who, in Japanese society, should have at least the basic concepts of sex and love in place. And there's Akio, the seducer, the tempter, the Morning Star. See, thing is, did Akio ever actually coerce her? Lie to her? I don't think he did. He laid the track, he manipulated Utena with a terrifying brilliance, he hedged, he omitted, he mislead... but there was always the choice for Utena: all she had to do was say no. Akio led her to his bed but he didn't make her lie down on it.

He manipulated the living fuck out of her.... but ultimately, all he did was show her the way. She walked there herself. We could argue that she didn't know any better, and that's true... to an extent. But the thing is, she had her doubts, she knew what she was doing with Akio was wrong. Admittedly, she thought she was doing wrong for all the wrong reasons. But it does prove that she had some of the tools she needed to defend herself. Even if they weren't quite the right ones.

So, at the end of the day, Utena wasn't raped. But Akio is still a fucking paedophilic incestuous parasitical mongrel regardless.

I think an additional point needs to be addressed: at the time SKU was made, was Utena considered underage or able to consent according to Japanese law at the time?

I'd like to add that I admire the way people have been able to discuss this highly sensitive subject with so much civility. emot-keke

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#18 | Back to Top09-10-2013 10:20:04 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I have a much longer post planned. I love this thread. BUT. Ahem.

The national legal age of consent is 13.

Assuming the school is in Tokyo Prefecture, however, a 'Youth Protection Law' raises this to 18. As far as I could tell with a quick googling, every prefecture has laws making the limit 18. So Akio is a disgusting pig either way. emot-dance


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#19 | Back to Top09-10-2013 11:38:17 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

I just don't get how Anthy ever gets a free pass when someone's listing up Akio's crimes and faults. The movie ought to make it impossible, because Akio's dead before it starts and never, ever there. But the TV show paints Anthy as an awfully cruel and manipulative person, just plain torturing ignorant teenagers and smiling faux-innocently or crying crocodile tears the whole time, but because she can play submissive, it seems we're geared to forgive her faster. We want to make excuses for Anthy, and to a degree, even I can make excuses for her, but they're just excuses, aren't they?

Anthy and Akio both are seemingly ageless, timeless, and incredibly powerful and they have nothing to do but hurt each other or torture teenagers. If she was all ugly and wielding a chainsaw, we'd probably feel less forgiving, is all. But since she hurts people subtly or through proxies, and she's cute and smiles and stuff, well, how bad can she be?


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#20 | Back to Top09-11-2013 12:17:37 AM

Ashnod
La poťtesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

I just don't get how Anthy ever gets a free pass when someone's listing up Akio's crimes and faults. The movie ought to make it impossible, because Akio's dead before it starts and never, ever there. But the TV show paints Anthy as an awfully cruel and manipulative person, just plain torturing ignorant teenagers and smiling faux-innocently or crying crocodile tears the whole time, but because she can play submissive, it seems we're geared to forgive her faster. We want to make excuses for Anthy, and to a degree, even I can make excuses for her, but they're just excuses, aren't they?

Anthy and Akio both are seemingly ageless, timeless, and incredibly powerful and they have nothing to do but hurt each other or torture teenagers. If she was all ugly and wielding a chainsaw, we'd probably feel less forgiving, is all. But since she hurts people subtly or through proxies, and she's cute and smiles and stuff, well, how bad can she be?

I'm one of Anthy's biggest critics, and to me, she's never actually forgiven. She's worse than Akio in many, many ways.


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#21 | Back to Top09-11-2013 12:54:23 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Anthy and Akio both are seemingly ageless, timeless, and incredibly powerful and they have nothing to do but hurt each other or torture teenagers. If she was all ugly and wielding a chainsaw, we'd probably feel less forgiving, is all. But since she hurts people subtly or through proxies, and she's cute and smiles and stuff, well, how bad can she be?

That works both ways though. If Akio weren't such a beautiful, suave, and stylish man - if he were fat, balding, and middle-aged, perhaps - people would undoubtedly judge him more harshly as well. As far as that goes, I consider Akio and Anthy equal in the "we're attractive so we get sympathy" department.

Last edited by Aelanie (09-11-2013 12:56:48 AM)

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#22 | Back to Top09-11-2013 01:03:39 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Aelanie wrote:

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Anthy and Akio both are seemingly ageless, timeless, and incredibly powerful and they have nothing to do but hurt each other or torture teenagers. If she was all ugly and wielding a chainsaw, we'd probably feel less forgiving, is all. But since she hurts people subtly or through proxies, and she's cute and smiles and stuff, well, how bad can she be?

That works both ways though. If Akio weren't such a beautiful, suave, and stylish man - if he were fat, balding, and middle-aged, perhaps - people would undoubtedly judge him more harshly as well. As far as that goes, I consider Akio and Anthy equal in the "we're attractive so we get sympathy" department.

Is she really? I'm not hugely enmeshed in SKU fandom, I admit, but it seems most fans are less willing to condemn her than they are her brother. And I know there are at least some viewers who didn't/don't blame her at all.

Does Anthy ever explicitly say she's going to stop fucking with people, at the end? Or is she just leaving? Because those aren't the same thing at all and one is a lot nicer than the other.


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#23 | Back to Top09-11-2013 01:09:43 AM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Giovanna wrote:

I have a much longer post planned. I love this thread. BUT. Ahem.

Considering that you made it, I should hope so! emot-tongue

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

I'm not hugely enmeshed in SKU fandom, I admit, but it seems most fans are less willing to condemn her than they are her brother. And I know there are at least some viewers who didn't/don't blame her at all.

There is a lot less bad sentiment for Anthy than there is for her brother. A LOT. It's as if being hurt by her situation-- I won't say victimized because I believe her to be stronger than that-- gives her a free pass as far as the hurt she does to others in the eyes of some fans.

I could probably make an educated guess as to why that is if I thought about it for a while, but I'm lazy and no one has asked for this emot-keke


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#24 | Back to Top09-11-2013 01:16:51 AM

Katzenklavier
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From: Back of your thoughts.
Registered: 09-13-2008
Posts: 1120

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Aelanie wrote:

Many people, women and men alike, simply do not have the inner strength to struggle with and overcome adversity. That makes them pitiable, but not contemptible.

I would argue that "inner strength" is a very subjective concept. Everyone has a finite amount of resources, for one, and the factors that affect that capacity are numerous and diverse. For instance, a person can be genetically predisposed to depression. And even then, what constitutes as a weakness depends entirely on the situation. In our culture, a woman who submits to the violence of her partner is seen as submissive and disempowered. But in other contexts, such traits and tendencies may be revered.

People are not fundamentally better or worse than one another. What ultimately operates as strength or weakness is circumstantial. Ultimately, it's all subjective.

Subjectivity at the core of this debate itself. How is rape defined? How encompassing is that definition? How is the definition a product of historical and societal context? To what extent does it hurt or help people? The strength of the show has always been its ambiguity, and I truly appreciate its ability to inspire such complex discussions on complex topics.

But. Just to play devil's advocate. Or, since I'm arguing that for the U.S. legal definition of rape, PC's advocate.

Gio, you argue that Utena ultimately had a certain degree of agency in her decision. However, she is only 14 and quite inexperienced at that. Her prefrontal cortex, theorized to be mostly responsible for judgment and complex decision-making, is far from being fully developed. The age of consent exists because children are not yet fully capable of assessing the outcomes of their choices. This is especially true when compared with adults.

Utena, as a child, was significantly impaired in her ability to analyze and ultimately make the decision. Therefore, she was unable to give consent. Should a five-year-old be held accountable for playing with a furnace and accidentally burning down a house? Only in Texas (ba-zing). Furthermore, Akio represents an extreme power differential. He used this to manipulate and prey on someone in a vulnerable position. Because this person was a child, his actions go beyond coercion and constitute as rape.

school-devil

Last edited by Katzenklavier (09-11-2013 01:18:14 AM)


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#25 | Back to Top09-11-2013 01:33:58 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take "The Rapists" for $200.

Yasha wrote:

It's as if being hurt by her situation-- I won't say victimized because I believe her to be stronger than that-- gives her a free pass as far as the hurt she does to others in the eyes of some fans.

And in the eyes of some fans, the fact that Anthy did a lot of bad things - which she undoubtedly did, though they were all in the service of advancing Akio's goals - means it okay that she was being abused, and even that she deserved it. Also, having strength does not make you more or less of a victim, as I talked about earlier. "Victim" and "helpless innocent" are not synonymous.

Katzenklavier wrote:

I would argue that "inner strength" is a very subjective concept. Everyone has a finite amount of resources, for one, and the factors that affect that capacity are numerous and diverse. For instance, a person can be genetically predisposed to depression. And even then, what constitutes as a weakness depends entirely on the situation. In our culture, a woman who submits to the violence of her partner is seen as submissive and disempowered. But in other contexts, such traits and tendencies may be revered.

People are not fundamentally better or worse than one another. What ultimately operates as strength or weakness is circumstantial. Ultimately, it's all subjective.

...I don't really get what point you're trying to make here. You wrote a lot of words but didn't seem to actually say anything. All I can get out of it is, "people are different and react differently to things", which...completely and totally agrees with what I said.

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