Friday, May 22, 2015

I know I'm a bad mother...

... because I 'let' my sixteen-year-old son watch R-rated rape scenes on his computer screen in his bedroom, unsupervised and illegal. But what I don't know is what to do about it and how to be a better mother. He is too old for me to restrict his computer time or police the content, as I used to do with his older brother until I gave that up too, feeling in the end it was not worth the bother. 

We do have arguments about the excessive violence on the computer games he plays, which invariably enrage him to the point of non-communication for days and don't seem to get us anywhere or change anything. 

So I'm blogging about it instead. (He doesn't generally read my blog, any more than I watch his computer games and downloaded shows. I know I am supposed to but I literally can't face the violence. This is probably partly because I spent ten years researching domestic violence and homicide for my PhD thesis. Also, I don't feel comfortable invading his bedroom space for more than a few seconds at a time. There are a number of very good reasons for this).

Yesterday and this morning I've been reading some of the online reaction to the latest "Game of Thrones" episode that I am told culminates in a shocking and many say deeply exploitative rape scene of a main female protagonist. The comparison is made with the latest Mad Max movie which is said to cover the issue of sexual abuse and violence against women in a much more progressively feminist way. Abused women get to regain some power. The author of "The Vagina Monologues" was a consultant on the film.

A few links to the discussion:

After reading some of this discussion yesterday I did confront my son with a question about his reaction to the rape scene in GoT, presuming he had watched it, which he had, and he totally disagreed with the criticism, though he said he could 'understand' it, whatever that means, and that he'd watched it with his 18-year-old online mate, whom I have never met, and said that afterwards they were both speechless with shock and awe for some time. 

At least it wasn't passé to them, I suppose, as just about everything else seems to be to teenage males of the Computer Age. I was some way pleased it rendered him speechless, as much as I despaired at his passionate defence of the scene's artistic merits. 

Rape is a part of life as we know it, as many defenders of the latest cultural manifestation of entertainment rape are keen to remind us, but does it have to be? To what extent are these cultural representations condoning and perpetuating it? And what do we, as mothers and fathers, do to make our children see the possibility and advantages of a different, non-misogynistic world where males of all ages are not awe inspired by representations of rape and other forms of violence, much of it against women?  That is the question. Pity Shakespeare didn't ask it.  

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