Rom-Com Rape Culture Tropes

[Content Note: Rape culture; stalking; sexual assault.]

We've previously discussed in this space many times before the "stalking as romance" rom-com trope. Another increasingly ubiquitous rape culture trope I've seen played out over and over in recent years, in both romantic comedy films and in sitcoms, is a scene that goes like this: Female Protagonist and Male Protagonist wake up together in bed after a night of heavy drinking. Female Protagonist is deeply hungover and can't remember what happened, but is embarrassed and scared that they "had sex." Male Protagonist assures her that they didn't "hook up," and she is so relieved!

I hate this scene so much for so many reasons.

I hate that the possible sexual encounter is never framed as rape, even though Female Protagonist was too inebriated to even recall what happened. (Although, almost always, the scene then continues with her recalling vague details of her drunken antics that are "adorably embarrassing.")

I hate that we're meant to believe that Male Protagonist is definitely telling the truth; that there's some world in which he raped her and then admits it the next morning.

I hate that the purpose of this scene is inevitably meant to serve as character development that defines Female Protagonist as a scatterbrained flake who needs help getting her shit together, and defines Male Protagonist as a great guy. "Doesn't rape vulnerable women" is a goddamn low bar for being a great guy, but that's all it takes, apparently.

That's not a complete list, but you get the picture.

Anyway! What are some of the other rom-com rape tropes that you hate?

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus