Thursday, February 18, 2010

Doyle is Still a Rapist (Heroes)

So, on February 10th, David H. Lawrence XVII linked to my “Rapists of Heroes” post on his Twitter account. It seems his Facebook page also displays his Twitter feed in the wall section. I found the tweet there, and it has a few people commenting on liking the link. Thanks, folks. I do disagree with the opinion of DMaria Scaglione, who posts:
This opinion is just too dark for me.Everyone is has one (an opinion). I don't see Doyle as a rapist. To me the character is a man in pain and uses his powers to have people listen to him. Doyle reminds me of the dark side of the clown Emmett Kelly. The quiet clown who sadly no one would listen to. Yet, Doyle may be a face in the crowd, he uses his powers to be heard. Oh crap...I am tired. hopefully I made sense. Good night.
In none of that does she explain why Doyle isn’t a rapist. Rape: any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person. Rapist: person who performs rape. It doesn’t matter what his motivation might be.
I suppose I might have been mistaken when I described Doyle as a sociopath, though. That was more speculation on my part. It could be that he’s not a sociopath, but surely the vast majority of rapists aren’t sociopaths. A quick Google search brings up these statistics about rape. I believe the number of sociopaths is 1 in 25?
Sociopaths aside, it just doesn’t matter that Doyle is a man in pain. I’ll agree that he is in pain. He wants romance, he’s attracted to Meredith, but he can’t get her unless he forces her. It’s okay to sympathize with the character; however, he is a rapist. That should be recognized.
Even if he doesn’t actually forcibly have sex with Meredith on the show, there is a very strong rapist vibe about him. He forces her to participate in a date against her will, which is at least sexual violence. He does rape a woman in the graphic novel Puppet with No Strings, in which he forces a couple to let him in their house, eats their food, and has the woman undress for him. There is the strong implication that he then has sex with her, which is rape.
As for Emmett Kelly, I hadn’t heard of him before this, but he seems nice from his Wikipedia article. I’m not sure how to really apply him to Eric Doyle.
So, yeah, Doyle’s still a rapist, or at the very least a sexual predator. There are shades of grey to many of the villains, but their crimes should never be overlooked because they may be sympathetic. Samuel was obviously in a lot of very understandable pain when his girlfriend dumped him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a mass murderer because the act of destroying the town was brought forth from the place of pain.


David said...

I completely agree with you. It's really important to you to make this fact clear, isn't it? The writers of Heroes has cast my character as someone who controls others, and makes them do things against their will. Almost every other character on the show has engaged in murder, torture, armed robbery, assault...but rape holds a special station with you. Might it even be worse than murder, because of the power differential and gender/sexuality prurience?

Eric Doyle is one of a number of fictional characters on a television drama that sensationalizes the best and the worst of human nature. That's what Eric Doyle is.

Dragonclaws said...

Well, there’s that, and the way it’s built into the pervasive sexism in society where its existence is often denied or excused. The reason I’m so interested in ranting about it has to do with having interacted with several girls and women who were victims of rape. It impacts me more personally as a result.

I would say that murder is worse than rape. Taking away someone’s life without their consent is an ultimate crime, and while rape is really bad it is not as bad as murder. The thing with murder, though, is that it tends to be universally recognized both for what it is and for its ethical value. People are less likely to say “it’s not murder because there was no penetration… only bludgeoning” than they are to make a similar comment about rape, or are they likely to say the victim was asking for it by wearing a come-kill-me outfit and should have known they would arouse the killer’s bloodlust.

As for why I’m writing so much about Heroes and other fictional works is because I’m a fan of such. I like reading and watching certain dramatic works, and like to voice my opinion of certain portrayals. It’s not always that realistic, but the creators do have messages and just ways of thinking that come across in the story.