The Sexist

Observe and Report’s Date Rape Apologism

[youtube:v=2DHF__5EvxA]

Observe and Report, Seth Rogen's new film, is a dark rom-com about a mall security guard in love with a beautiful, alcoholic flashing victim Brandi (played by Anna Faris). Rogen's character unsuspectingly date-rapes Brandi after she downs several shots, pops some pills, vomits all over herself, and passes out. But it's okay, because she actually wanted it.

The clip from the scene is at the 2:40 mark. Rogen's take on date rape:

SETH ROGEN: when we're having sex and she's unconscious like you can literally feel the audience thinking, like, how the fuck are they going to make this okay? Like, what can possibly be said or done that I'm not going to walk out of the movie theater in the next thirty seconds? . . . And then she says, like, the one thing that makes it all okay:

BRANDI: "Why are you stopping, motherfucker?"

See, she just prefers to fuck while sleeping! And so, an entire theater's ambivalence toward date rape is miraculously resolved in a good, long, laugh, and the date rapist who is meant to be protecting Brandi from the penis flasher remains the hero.

If Observe and Report were really in the business of edgy, "dangerous," black comedy, Brandi would leave Rogen for the arms of an even more heinous sexual abuser, like a gang rapist, then leave him for a child molesting middle-school teacher, before finally settling down with a serial prostitute killer. If only somebody in Hollywood had the balls to do it.

  • Huitzil

    Geez Jan, if such a woman does not believe she was raped, does not experience any trauma of rape, generally is okay with the whole deal and was not pressured or coerced into thinking so, do you think she is a rape victim? Should she feel raped? Would you attempt to convince her so? And if not, how can there be a rape with no victim?

  • takethecake

    Huitzil, I just hope for the sake of any future gf or bf you get with you'd know that this is considered rape.

    I think the only people who make excuses for this sort of thing are the ppl who can picture themselves being the perpetrator of said rape, and therefore feel sympathetic for them.

  • FluffyBird

    Ah, Huitzil. If someone penetrated your hypothetical woman under the very circumstance you so adamantly propose, it is rape. In case you don't know, that's why Rufies are illegal.

    There have, in fact, been cases of women contacted by police about pressing rape charges who didn't even know they had been raped. What would we do without morons who are stupid enough to VT themselves committing crimes so they can prove to their friends exactly how imbecilic they are, eh? Priceless.

    I can see you're an advocate of the "If no one saw it did I really break the law?" school of thought. But your 'no harm, no foul' ideas about sexual assault are shockingly old school.

    So to welcome you to the 21st century, & perhaps aid you in staying out of trouble, keep in mind: the days of including paying for sex or being married to each other as implied consent are over.

    Frankly, Seth Rogen wouldn't know a good joke if it kicked him in the junk.

  • Steph

    Thank you for staying around, Huitzel.

    I think it's time to reveal that I am an attorney.

    The character did not gain consent before the act. It is rape. Huitzel, this is rape. It is quite simple:

    the defendant has the responsibility to ensure that the other party consents to the sexual activity. The other party must consent by choice, and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

    "If such a woman does not believe she was raped, does not experience any trauma of rape, generally is okay with the whole deal and was not pressured or coerced into thinking so, do you think she is a rape victim?:

    Yes. She may not press charges, but she was raped.

    "Should she feel raped?" Up to her. "Would you attempt to convince her so?" It would be irrelevant.

    " And if not, how can there be a rape with no victim?" There is a victim in the eyes of the law.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    If Seth Rogen date-rapes you in the forest, and no one sees you puke, is he still a douchebag?

  • Chris

    "The guy in this situation has not harmed anyone. Rape is a crime because it creates physical and psychological harm to the victim. If the victim is not harmed, what purpose is there to saying a crime occurred? How can there be a rapist without a rape victim?"

    I just explained this to you. If a guy can do this to one woman, who may happen to like it after the fact, he can do it to other women who most likely will not. I don't think rape, from a legal standpoint, is about the feelings of the victim, it's about the actions of the perpetrator. Just like any other crime. It would be like someone stealing from someone else, and later the victim decides to let the thief keep whatever it was, because she was going to let him have it anyway. That doesn't make the actions of the thief any better or any more legal. He is still a thief. Rogen's character had sex with a woman without her consent. Nothing she does or says after that fact negates what he did. Even if it's somehow not rape in the eyes of the law, in the eyes of any rational human being this guy is a dangerous rapist.

    Also, I wanted to address some points that were made earlier about why we react more strongly to rape jokes than murder jokes or other kinds of dark humor. For me, it's because rape is a lot more subtle than those other crimes. Like I said earlier, most rapists don't believe they are rapists. Most people react viscerally to brutal and violent depictions of rape in movies, but that's not how it usually happens. It's usually between people that know each other, there is usually no struggle, and women usually have trouble figuring out if it was "real" rape. Look up the statistics on this if you think I'm making this up. Or just take a poll of people on whether or not they think getting someone drunk so they will have sex with them is rape. Most people don't think that's true. With other crimes like murder, we see them as pretty black and white. But stuff like this, as depicted in this movie...the whole point of the joke is that what he's doing isn't really a crime. Rogen and Faris even say that it's OK. But it is still rape, and it is not OK at all. People need to understand that, and right now most people don't. This movie, and many others that treat rape as a joke, help perpetuate that.

  • Steph

    hahahahahahaha

  • Steph

    "I don’t think rape, from a legal standpoint, is about the feelings of the victim, it’s about the actions of the perpetrator."

    Exactly.

  • Steph

    "the whole point of the joke is that what he’s doing isn’t really a crime. Rogen and Faris even say that it’s OK. But it is still rape, and it is not OK at all. People need to understand that, and right now most people don’t."

    Exactly.

  • Chris

    Not to mention women who report rape are far more prone to skepticism from others, even the police, compared to people who report other crimes. When we get robbed, no one asks if our wallet was hanging out of our pocket, but when girls get raped everyone asks what they were wearing. No one asks if he gave them the money, everyone asks if she wanted to have sex. This movie perpetuates that "can't rape a slut," "she wanted it anyway" logic that is tragically widespread in our society.

  • Steph

    yup.

  • Rai

    If a woman gets drunk and drives a car and kills someone, is she held responsible?

    Of course.

    So why is a woman not responsible if she gets drunk and goes home with some random guy and has sex with him?

    Furthermore, if said drunk driver is confronted, what is said to her?
    "You shouldn't have gotten so drunk."
    "You shouldn't get drunk and get behind the wheel of a car."

    So why do we not say to a drunken sexual partner:
    "You shouldn't have gotten so drunk."
    "You shouldn't get that drunk and go home with someone you don't know/like/really want to have sex with"

    Why do men have to be responsible for women when women themselves refuse to be? Why are men being drafted into this role of protectors of women's virtue? Is it really that hard to just stop drinking/taking pills at some point during an evening?

    What exactly do women want us to do? Walk around with breathalyzers and lawyers just to make sure that women can be completely divorced from the consequences of their actions? How should men go about making sure that yes really means triple-promise, pinky-swear, honest-to-god, on-my-mother's-grave, cross-my-heart, hope-to-die, yes?

  • Cyberwulf

    Hey, Rai, how about YOU DON'T RAPE DRUNK WOMEN?

    I know it'll be super super hard on you since that's the only way any woman would ever lay a finger on you, but maybe if you stopped being such a disgusting, entitlement-minded piece of shit, women might actually like you.

    Is it really so hard to say to someone who's slurring their words, staggering, vomiting, maybe calling you by her boyfriend's name: "Look, this isn't right, babe. Maybe tomorrow, huh?" Is it?

  • Rai

    Cyberwulf - what makes you think I do? Because I think women should be responsible for their own behaviour?

    Maybe I should clarify a bit - I don't think it's a particularly good or pleasant idea for a man to have sex with a drunk woman. I don't think any man has a right to force himself upon a woman. I don't think a man has a right to drug, or ply a woman with alcohol in order to make her amenable to his advances. No means no, simple as that.

    But when I get drunk and do something stupid (like we all have) it's my responsibility and my responsibility alone. It's not my car's fault that I drive drunk. It's not random Joe's fault that I threw a punch at him. It's not the cop's fault that I spend the night in jail.

    So if a woman chooses to get drunk and then jumps on the first guy he sees, why is it his fault? Why does he deserve to have his life ruined? Why is he a sex offender? If he was more drunk than her, has he been raped?

    I'm not saying he should do it. I'm not saying I condone, approve, or find the behaviour anything other than distasteful. I'm just asking why the woman bears no responsibility whatsoever for any of her actions when she is drunk? Why should a man's life be destroyed because of a series of bad decisions on her part? My comment is more about taking responsibility for your own behaviour than blaming someone else.

    Is that clear enough? Or would you like to call me some more nasty names?

  • April

    A sober person should not have sex with a seriously inebriated person, even if he or she interprets the inebriated person's actions as "wanting it."

    If both are drunk, in many situations (not all) we can compare it to one drunk person punching another drunk person. Both were drunk, and both were involved in this exchange. However, only one is responsible. Being raped is passive. Raping is active. Who is the person actively initiating and then continuing the sexual act? If one person is unconscious/near unconscious while another person, drunk or not, pumps away, the active person is committing rape. Being drunk does not remove the responsibility of choosing to take advantage of another person. Rape, like punching another person or driving, is not an inevitable result of getting drunk.

  • Cyberwulf

    " if a woman chooses to get drunk and then jumps on the first guy he sees"

    ...WHY DOESN'T HE TELL HER NO?

    "I don’t think it’s a particularly good or pleasant idea for a man to have sex with a drunk woman."

    But if he does, it's totally her fault. Even if she's so drunk she CLEARLY can't agree to it. Right?

  • Cyberwulf

    "I’m not saying I condone, approve, or find the behaviour anything other than distasteful."

    Oh, you're condoning it all around, Rai. Becuase as far as you're concerned, it's the victim's fault. She "made a series of bad decisions" and the asshole who looked at her, staggering, vomiting, maybe unconscious, "doesn't deserve to have his life ruined". You're disgusting.

  • Cyberwulf

    *looked at her and decided "mmm, sexytimes!"

  • FluffyBird

    So, Rai. You eagerly apply your Drunk's Rules to yourself when it comes to driving or getting into a bar fight. But lets make it a genuinely parallel hypothetical.

    What if you got really hammered and some big guy decided you looked really sexy right then (a la Deliverance) & you were just too drunk to do anything about it. He thought your protestations were cute, your mouth may have been saying no but he knew you really wanted it.

    Would you say 'My bad' the morning after? Or do you think you might feel a wee bit violated?

  • FluffyBird

    Ok, folks, here's an analogy for ya. If someone drops their iphone is it OK to step on it & smash it up? Or how about just picking it up & using it? I mean, the owner was obviously careless right?

    NO. It's not your property. If you don't have the class or time to bring it to the lost & found then just leave the dang thing where you found it.

    Ya know, frankly, this whole discussion is ludicrous. Bottom line - if a man has to TAKE sex wherever he can get it, including from someone who's unconscious or unwilling he's not a man. HE'S A LOSER.

    I can't imagine that a man who argues that a woman asks to be raped with her behavior, or thinks that a woman really won't mind if she's in the right frame of mind, has any female contact whatsoever. There can't be a mother, sister, friends, co-worker, girlfriend or wife that he respects or cares about in his life. If there was he'd never want to see them go through the pain of having been brutally violated. He wouldn't be making excuses for these creeps who behave as though they're entitled to take what hasn't been offered. He wouldn't cut any slack to a guy who's deepest fear is that if a woman got to know him she'd see him for the waste of space he really is.

    Have we forgotten what a real man is? A real man likes a challenge, even if he doesn't win. A real man has enough confidence in himself to want the thrill that only the attention from a real, live, breathing, flesh & blood, awake & alert woman can provide.

    Only a whopping tool with no self respect would take the time to think of justifications for trying to get his penis into somewhere it doesn't belong or isn't wanted.

    My advice? Stick to your blow up dolls, little boys. They're perfect ladies - always in the right frame of mind, they never say no, or get drunk & throw up on themselves. But don't tell your little boy friends about her. 'Cause she won't say no to them either.

  • Placebo

    Okay, this is just getting patently ridiculous.

    Rai has put forward a perfectly reasonable position. It doesn't describe the situation in the movie at all, which may be causing your confusion. However, it's clear he's not talking about a situation wherein the female party to the intercourse is unconscious or otherwise not the initiator of the act.

    The fact of the matter is that it is all too common for men, who may have been equally inebriated, and may not have even initiated the sex, to be charged for offenses such as rape because the woman later regrets her drunken "decision" (In quotes to indicate that I fully understand that such decisions are not considered informed consent in a legal context) to fuck the poor slob.

    I think it can be agreed upon that the hypothetical scenario that Rai is bringing up should not be considered rape, but is equally the responsibility of two incapacitated parties, and doesn't constitute someone taking advantage of another. Why he's bringing it up in the context of this movie, or among such a group of excitable and illogical debaters, is lost on me.

    To everyone else in this conversation: Please learn to read for content before responding, as this reactionary bullshit really only serves to make a strawman out of your own position by making you appear ignorant and childish.

  • Cyberwulf

    Placebo, by Rai's logic any man who is charged with rape because he had sex with a woman while he was drunk has only himself to blame. By Rai's logic, it's his fault for getting drunk. Funny how you and Rai hold drunk women responsible for their actions even while so incapacitated they can't remember them, yet bleat about poor innocent drunk men having their lives ruined by predatory vindictive women.

  • Cyberwulf

    Also: over two thirds of rape victims who present for counselling do not report their rapes to the police. Of the number of rape reports made to the police, only about four percent result in a conviction. It is not 'all too common' for drunk men to be charged with rape because a woman changed her mind. That's a myth propagated by those who want to be able to rape drunk people with impunity.

  • Jonathan

    Of all those here screaming (typing) bloody murder over this scene and say that Rogen condones rape, who's actually seen the film and the scene in question?
    I thought so.
    It's one thing to have an opinion about something you have actually seen and then there's the ignorant hate spouting about something you are basically regurgitating from somebody else.

    And people make fun of murder victims all the time in movies, I don't see people going up in arms about that. What makes date rape so special?

  • Brian

    Huitzil- You're the most rational person on this forum.

    Huitzil is just understanding of where the joke is coming from. It's always hard to resist making issues black and white, feelings malicious or benevolent. it takes a lot of courage to call something for what it is, which is what Huitzil is doing.

    And for the people trying to demonize Huitzil, or make his logic appear ignorant, well I feel sorry for you.

    I'm automatically assuming Huitzil is a male. I could be wrong!

  • Cyberwulf

    Jonathan - why don't you read the responses here before having a fullblown hysterical fit because people pointed out how dangerous it is to trivialise date rape and reinforce the appallingly dismissive attitudes many people already hold about it?

    And what kind of soulless human being makes fun of murder victims?! Oh wait, maybe the kind of dipshit who whines because people insult a film he likes.

  • Jonathan

    Cyberwulf. Cinema has trivialized murder since it began, you know that as well as I do and you have laughed at someone getting shot or beaten to a pulp in a movie many times, you know this also as well as I do and don't pretend that hasn't happened.
    I'm not whining about people dissing a movie I like, I'm whining about people dissing a movie they haven't seen and are jumping to conclusions because somebody else said something. It's the nature of the internet, shoot first ask questions later.
    "Opinions are like assholes on the internet; everybody is one."

  • Cyberwulf

    Jonathan- YOU may have laughed at people getting murdered and beaten to a pulp. If you have to project your callousness and lack of empathy onto me to convince yourself that your reaction was normal, that speaks volumes about you.

    Second, when a murder takes place in a film, there isn't a load of rationalising bullshit about how it wasn't really murder because the victim wanted it, or that no murder occurred at all. When a murder occurs in real life, no one rationalises it away like that either...but they do with rape. People are doing it in these comments.

    Thirdly - the rape scene is in the trailer. If you're going to come back and whine about how the victim was hitting on her rapist earlier in the movie and therefore it's fine, I suggest you don't waste your time. This has been covered in comments already.

    As another commenter said, it's amazing the number of people who don't give a shit about a rape scene being played for laughs but frantically dirty themselves because people don't like a Seth Rogan movie.

  • Jonathan

    No Wulf, you have as well. I know. Don't pretend to be any better than the rest of us cause it's not working.
    And because you are basing your views on a glimpse of it in the trailer then you have wasted your time and everybody's else's.
    Go see the movie, sit down and watch it and THEN base your opinion on that educated evaluation. Cause right now you are pissing in the wind. But since you've gotten in to this furious state over something you haven't seen then I'm sure it's not going to change your mind what so ever. Especially since you've been bitching and whining about this to all your friends and it would look kind of silly to all of sudden change your mind about it. Got to keep it real right?
    Fucking sad.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    The problem is not as simple as rape being played for laughs---and by men who clearly have no experience with the less funny real-life rape experience. The problem is the way the joke is set up in the film in order to justify it to the men who created it.

    In all discussions of this scene, Rogen, Hill, and their fans have all made pains to insist that the sex is not ACTUALLY rape---see her "consent" as punchline). To them, that is what makes the scene funny---that is what, as Rogen says, "makes it all okay."

    Why are we mad? Because the scene does portray rape, because women who stumble, vomiting into bed cannot consent, and passed out mumblings after the fact do not signal consent.

    Obviously, this movie is about two people that we are not meant to consider role models or examples of moral behavior. So why do Rogen and Hill need the woman to "consent" in order to absolve them of their on-screen rape? Isn't it funny that it's all the woman's fault in the end? Not really.

    It would have been fairer to just have him rape her and have it accepted as such, in the movie and in interviews. As another commenter pointed out, when Rogen's character beats men up in the movie, they're not expected to get up and say "it's okay: I wanted it."

  • Cyberwulf

    Please, Jonathan, continue to try and make yourself feel better about being the kind of wretch who laughs at murders and who furiously soils himself because people don't want to waste their money and/or risk being triggered (bet you didn't read THAT comment) by going to see a movie that trivialises rape. 'Fucking sad' indeed. Honestly, why don't you just come right and out and say that you think rape is funny?

  • Jonathan

    Rape is hilarious. I soil myself every time I hear that word. Whoops there is goes again. Doh!
    The thing is wulf, if that is your real name. Everything you've blathered on here is utterly irrelevant, doesn't mean zilch, zero, nada. Why? BECAUSE
    YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE YOU ARE CONDEMNING. That's as idiotic as me complaining about a book I haven't read but I read a few lines from it online and then heard allot of people complain about it.
    Get it now?

    You are irrelevant, your ignorant hate speech is irrelevant because you don't know what you are talking about. I do however. Stop wasting my time and other here.
    Come back when you've seen it.

  • Cyberwulf

    Condemning the trivialisation of rape = hate speech. Keep proving my point, Jonathan.

    PS: Didn't your parents teach you not to use your real name on the internet?

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Jonathan, have you seen the movie? Is the scene presented in a way that's different from what we've all seen in the trailer, or different from the way the filmmakers have all chosen to contextualize it in numerous interviews? If we've got the facts wrong, let us know---otherwise, the point is we don't want to reward them with our 10 bucks.

  • Jonathan

    See, this is just typical. People criticizing something they haven't seen or know anything about.
    How can you make a point on something you know nothing about?
    And yes the scene is slightly longer than those 8 seconds shown in the trailer.
    Use those 10 bucks to educate yourself on the subject, then you have a valid point of criticism. Or you can download the thing if you rather spend those 10 bucks on something else.
    If not you have no business being in this discussion.

    Wulf. Calling people rape advocates because they don't agree with your rant= hate speech.

  • Cyberwulf

    What a surprise! Jonathan didn't answer the question. Because he can't.

  • Cyberwulf

    Come on, Jonathan! Argue against what the actors and filmmakers have said about the scene. Or maybe they don't count because they haven't seen it.

    And if you don't want to be labelled a rape apologist, stop sounding like one.

  • Jonathan

    Really Wulf? Is this the highlight of your day? Waiting to see if an anonymous person answers a question about a movie? Did you get all giddy because you thought I ran away with my tail between my legs? I bet you did. I bet you scoffed out loud and smirked and wanted to give somebody a high five but there was nobody there....oops.
    That's some sad shit I got to say.

    Like I said, go see the movie, then we'll talk. Then I can condone rape some more since you seem to enjoy that so much.

  • Cyberwulf

    Jonathan, I'm still not seeing an answer to Amanda's question. Surely you have something to say in the movie's defence - after all, you've seen it and we're all just ignorant haters. So tell us what makes this rape scene not a rape scene. Tell us why we're wrong. Preferably without getting emotional and trying to guess my motivation for posting.

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  • http://tyciol.livejournal.com Tyciol

    You can totally have sex if one person is unconscious, it's just that the 'you' is singular, not plural. It's still sex, just like rape is still sex, but rather, they are forms of sex without active informed consent happening throughout it, and thus looked down upon.

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