Brad Pitt Should Not Make Movie About Steubenville Rape, Because
Great news, everyone! Brad Pitt wants to make a movie about the awful terrible no good very bad ordeal frequently referred to as the Steubenville rape. (Can it please be starring Brad Pitt? Please? We hope so because mmmmmmm, Brad Pitt.) This seems like a really great idea, because there are not a lot of movies about rape and rape culture and how when sportsball stars, like the Steubenville rapists, commit acts of rape, more often than not, their friends and coaches and schools and communities tend to protect and defend them because SPORTSBALL!, while demanding that the whore who was just begging to be raped apologize to everyone for getting herself raped and also ruining the “promising futures” of those sportsball stars, what with her being raped by them. This is a issue, an epidemic, if you will, so it is a Good Thing that someone would like to tell that story and bring more attention to it and make it a “not cool” way to react to rape and raping. Right? Apparently not, according to Think Progress:
The upcoming project will reportedly focus on the “hacktivist” group Anonymous, which helped make the sexual assault in the tiny Ohio town into a national story. The protagonist will be the hacker at the center of the case, Deric Losutter, who faces more jail time than the rapists themselves do. […]
And he’s a sympathetic character; many people are outraged that the criminal justice system doesn’t punish rape more harshly than hacking.
But considering the cultural legacy of Steubenville, this may not be the right story to tell about the sexual assault case that shook a nation.
Let’s stop right there. See, we think the story of an apparently pretty decent dude who brought attention to a story that was basically getting swept under the rug — as most rapes are — is a pretty good story. Even though he is not a ladee and therefore cannot possibly comprehend Rape Culture and Oppression By The Man and such, his actions, for which he might well serve more time in prison than the sonofabitch rapists he exposed, is actually sort of heroic for saying “Hey, world, pay attention to this effed up stuff!” Ah, but that’s ProblematicTM, apparently.
In a culture where rape survivors’ voices are often ignored, and women’s stories about their own lived experiences of sexual violence and oppression are constantly brought into question, it’s discouraging to envision a movie about one of the most famous rape cases in the country that places a “white knight” at the center. Although it’s likely not the intention of Plan B Entertainment, that framing choice ends up further obscuring the real women who are victimized by sexual assault. […]
And it’s even more problematic when sexual assault cases become interesting only when they involve an outside intervention to legitimize a woman’s abuse. There are plenty of victims across the country who need society to believe them even when they don’t have the weight of Anonymous behind them.
It’s not like we don’t get the point. We do. Honestly, though, we just don’t care. This is a real story that really happened, and the hacktivist who helped bring national attention to it is part of the story. Could there be a whole movie about the Steubenville rape that focuses solely on the victim? Sure, though we don’t know she’d want that; maybe she’d just like to try to get on her with her damned life. Or maybe she would even be superpissed, like the women who talked about their rapes on Twitter, and then got superpissed when Buzzfeed did a story about them talking about their rapes on Twitter.
(You’re not going to believe this, but sometimes it almost seems as if Twitter feminism can be a bit of a pile-on!)
We don’t know. But this movie is not going to be that movie, and that’s okay with us because if there are going to be more dudes out there calling bullshit on rape, we are all for it. We do need it, not because all victims require a white knight to rescue them but because we need to have as many people as possible calling bullshit when calling bullshit is called for and demanding accountability not only for rapists but for their accomplices and enablers who think protecting rapists is more important than throwing their rapey asses in prison. We welcome our penis-having allies in the fight to hold rapists and their apologists accountable, despite their penis-having. Sure, we don’t expect this movie (no, seriously, can it please star Brad Pitt?) to be the thing that ends rape forever. Heck, we’ve seen The Accused, which is all about a rape victim and her lady lawyer, and that certainly didn’t end rape. There is maybe room for at least one more movie about rape, heck even two or three or four.
But we are not going to dismiss a movie about some goddamned rapists just because it might not be the Perfect Feminist Tale of Feministm. Also because we are not a bunch of Christian fundamentalists who will rage against a movie we have not actually seen. Maybe movies about rape will be the Next Thing, like how Hollywood was really into movies about fast cars for a while. That would be good, we think, if we had more examples in our culture that provoked more conversation that exposed more of the dark and quiet side of how rape gets covered up ALL THE DAMNED TIME. Will all of those movies be good? Of course not because they are movies. Will they all put the victims at the center of the story in exactly the right way, where there are no men in the story at all except for maybe the rapists? Probably not. That’s okay. Rape has a lot of angles to it, and if we get to have eleventeen movies examining all of them, maybe that is for the greater good of openly and honestly discussing rape and rape culture.
So. Those sportsball bastards in Steubenville raped that girl and texted about it and laughed about it, and practically their whole damned town was happy to protect them, until formerly anonymous hacktivist Deric Losutter, despite his penis, was incensed enough at sportsball stars getting away with rape to do something about that. And we think that’s actually a pretty good story to tell.