THE O.J. Simpson test is certainly one expression of just just how domestic physical physical violence haunts society that is american. Is “Gone utilizing the Wind” another? Particularly, did Rhett Butler rape or, less offensively, ravish Scarlett O’Hara?
The debate started a several years straight back in educational journals additionally the lecture hallway between two feminist philosophers — one of these Christina Hoff Sommers, who may have since outraged many feminists together with her book “Who Stole Feminism? Just exactly exactly How Women Betrayed Women,” posted year that is last. The argument inside her guide — that feminism is dominated by people who look for to persuade the general public that American ladies “are perhaps perhaps perhaps not the free animals we think our company is” — is foreshadowed within the dispute over Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War saga.
In the event it was missed by you, the debate has resurfaced once more. Listed below are excerpts. TOM KUNTZ
From a message offered fall that is last the American Enterprise Institute by Ms. Sommers, a co-employee teacher of philosophy at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and reprinted in the present problem of The United states Enterprise:
Until 1989, I became a scholastic feminist in good standing. My essays had been contained in feminine anthologies. I became invited to conferences that are feminist. My courses had been cross-listed with ladies’ Studies. We went afoul of this establishment that is feminist We published an essay into the Chronicle of Higher Education that said something politically incorrect in regards to the famous staircase scene in “Gone with all the Wind.”
“Many women,” we wrote, “continue steadily to take pleasure in the sight of Rhett Butler Scarlett that is carrying O’Hara the stairs in a fate undreamt of in feminist philosophy.”
We intended that to be both lighthearted and a severe caution that feminist theorists had been out of touch with females. However, my remark incensed users of the Society for females in Philosophy. . . . At a gathering of this culture the philosopher that is feminist Friedman would read a paper showing for good exactly exactly just how my views had been treasonable to ladies.
The paper by Ms. Friedman, connect teacher of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, starred in the Journal of personal Philosophy (Fall/Winter 1990):
Sommers’ remark that Scarlett O’Hara’s rape by Rhett Butler is just a fate undreamt of in feminist philosophy is . . . just stunning. (remember that Sommers doesn’t make use of the word “rape” here — one of the many omissions in her own writings.) A good passing familiarity with feminist philosophy reveals that rape is scarcely undreamt of inside it. Rape, needless to say, isn’t a fantasy; it really is a nightmare. Any style of intimate violence can include coercion, intimidation, degradation, real punishment, battering, and, in extreme situations, death.
The truth of rape is rendered hidden because of the novels that are many films, such as “Gone utilizing the Wind,” which romanticize and mystify it. They portray the rapist being a handsome guy whoever domination is enjoyable during sex, and portray women as pleased to have their particular intimate alternatives and refusals crushed by such males.
In a tradition by which these types of betrayals hot older mexican women are routine, it really is no real surprise that this scene arouses the sexual interest of some males. The title of Richard Speck, to simply just take one of these, can remind us that most rape isn’t the fantasy that is pleasurable in “Gone utilizing the Wind.” To place the idea graphically: would “many women” still swoon over Butler’s rape of O’Hara he urinated on her if they knew? If you are the target of a bad rape, there isn’t choice that is much what are the results.
To which Ms. Sommers responded in a message during the gathering that is same and reprinted in identical journal:
At the full time we made the remark, I happened to be unacquainted with a guide who has since come right into my fingers called “Scarlett’s Women: ‘Gone Using The Wind’ as well as its feminine Fans.” The feminist writer, Helen Taylor, really did a study of females whom read “Gone With the Wind” or saw the film asking them whatever they thought occurred between Rhett and Scarlett . . .:
” T he almost all my correspondents (and I also agree) recognize the ambiguous nature associated with the encounter and interpret it as being a scene of mutually enjoyable sex that is rough . . Definitely a lot of the women that taken care of imme personallydiately me saw the episode as erotically exciting, emotionally stirring and profoundly memorable. Number of them known it as “rape.’ ” . . .
A few of you might find Friedman’s perverse insistence on rape simply stunning. Well we too think it is perverse but I’m not stunned. We read a significant great deal of just exactly exactly what the sex feminists compose. And I also discovered which they more often than not interpret a text in a fashion that places the essential construction that is humiliating ladies’ experiences with males. The gender feminist “subtext” of every little thing written about gents and ladies when you look at the patriarchy is rape, prostitution, debasement. . . .
Rebutting Ms. Sommers’s rebuttal of her rebuttal, Ms. Friedman published a write-up when it comes to exact same problem of the log:
Look at the essential scene. . . . As soon as of Rhett Butler’s first look within the novel, their physical energy is emphasized: their big size, effective create and exorbitant muscularity. . . . O’Hara and Butler fundamentally marry, but their relationship is definately not blissful. . . . Butler warns : “I’m riding you with a slack rein, my animal, but never forget that i am riding with curb and spur simply the exact exact same.” Whenever O’Hara expresses her aspire to don’t have any more kiddies, clearly implying that she wants no longer intimate relations, they quarrel. Claims O’Hara, “we shall secure my door every evening” Responded Butler, “Why bother? If i needed you, no lock would keep me out.” This seems for me like a threat that is verbal of. Can it be simply my humiliating that is own construction to view it therefore?
The controversial intimate encounter develops following a consuming bout for which Butler becomes progressively more violent and intimidating. . . .
” ‘Observe my fingers, my dear,’ he stated, flexing them. . . . ‘we could tear you to definitely pieces if it would take Ashley out of your mind with them with no trouble whatsoever and I would do it. However it would not. And so I think we’ll eliminate him from the mind forever because of this. We’ll place my arms, therefore, for each part of the mind and I also’ll smash your skull out.’ ” . among them such as a walnut and which will blot him . .
Then your paragraph that is fateful
“He swung her off her legs into their hands and began up the stairs. Her mind ended up being crushed against their upper body. . . . She was hurt by him and she cried out. . . . Within the stairs, he went when you look at the darkness that is utter up, up, and she had been crazy with fear. . . . He stopped unexpectedly regarding the landing and, turning her swiftly in their hands, bent with a savagery and a completeness that wiped out everything from her brain but the dark into which she had been sinking plus the lips on hers.” . over her and kissed her . .
Because of enough time Butler extends to penetration that is genital O’Hara is intimately stimulated. Whether or perhaps not that produces her a prepared participant is really a further debatable point. As it is debatable (although i’d argue for the negative), the slim notion of rape will not use immediately. Nevertheless, i personally use the expression “rape” in a wider feeling, for which it relates to any really intimate sexual contact which can be initiated forcibly or from the might of this receiver. Maybe . . . we ought to relate to this wider idea as “sexual domination.” . . .
Yes, O’Hara becomes stimulated by the encounter. That is just what some feminist theorists have objected to: she becomes stimulated when you are that is sexually dominate . . .
Inside her own words of recollection the second early morning, as published by Margaret Mitchell, O’Hara happens to be “humbled,” “hurt,” and “used . . . savagely.” O’Hara, this indicates if you ask me, has a far more understanding that is credible of own experience than does Sommers. . . .
To not be outdone, Ms. Sommers reacted within the log the spring that is following
In her go that is second at Friedman changed her tune by what did occur. She no further compares Rhett Butler to Richard Speck and she acknowledges that the “narrow idea” of “rape” may well not use. . . . Therefore Friedman insists that also whenever “no” turns to “yes,” a rape has occurred. . . . She now discovers by herself within the place of conceding into the macho male the sexist thesis that females just like the concept of being raped (within the “wider sense”).