Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I recently saw the "Divergent" movie.

There are several changes between the book and the movie, but the one that bothered me the most had to do with the simulated rape scene between Tobias and Tris.  (To explain, Tris in her simulation believes that Tobias will harm her/ rape her and she has to fight him off.) The entire point of Tobias' relationship with Tris is that he is not coercive, he is emotionally open to her and he listens to her. Her fear is not a fear of being raped. Her fear is a fear of intimacy in general. She is afraid of being that vulnerable, that open to somebody. In the book, he wants to sleep with her (in the simulation) and her response is that she doesn't want to sleep with him in a simulation and she kisses him, and that's enough for her to be able to move on to the next sim. It's about her being able to set up emotional boundaries, not her actual fear of him physically harming or disrespecting her. And it's about her fear of beautiful sex, not her fear of violent rape.

It upsets me that this fear -which I think is nuanced and important and reflective of some of the women who struggle with sexual dysfunction- was not seen as "valid" enough to transmit to the big screen, and instead her fear had to become one of sexual assault and rape.

We understand fear of sexual assault and rape. It may be harder to understand that a woman would be afraid of going too fast with someone she cares about or even loves, that she might be afraid of being bare, of being vulnerable. But I think that's the more important narrative to tell specifically because it is hard to understand.


rachel blain said...

Hi, this isn't specifically relevant to this post, but I saw this article and it made me think immediately of this blog. It's about a woman with very similar problems, and perhaps you'd be interested: http://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/learning-to-love-life-without-sex

Stefanie Nicholas said...

This is so interesting. It can be such a harmful narrative to women who are struggling with sexuality. I can't imagine hearing these messages all the time and having to live the reality.

God bless you for sharing your story with others