I don’t know why everyone kicked up a fuss about Anna’s rape when no one even cared at all that Mary got raped three seasons earlier. Is it because Mary’s a jerk and Anna’s so sweet? Like, bitches deserve to get raped?
I think the only people who aren’t upset about Mary getting…
It seems to me that there are a couple, probably more, differences between these scenarios, though I don’t think either justifies seeing only one of them as “real” rape.
One is that Anna’s rape is violent; Green hits her, and Mrs. Hughes finds her crying and disheveled. It looks like every single rape featured on Law and Order SVU or other crime shows. Of course, in the real world, rape is often non-violent; people who are drugged or frightened into submission usually don’t fight back. The fact that Mary never names it as rape, and that she’s upset that Pamuk is dead, is probably enough for anyone anxious to call rape by any other name. I’d be interested to find out if Fellowes sees it as rape.
The other reason, unfortunately, is that there’s a man around in Anna’s case to name the incident rape
and make it all about himself. Mary’s story immediately becomes about her reputation; it’s interesting to me that she forgets what Pamuk did to her in a second, but is clearly going to hold Edith’s actions against her for the rest of her life. In Anna’s case, the fact that it’s explicitly recognized as rape justifies Bates’ storyline for the rest of the season.
Re whether Fellowes sees the Pamuk incident as rape, I believe the answer is no. He has said in interviews that Mary “wanted a sexual awakening”, or some such thing, and he wrote lines for her that suggest a view of the incident as consensual: “He was so beautiful”, after the three women return him to his own bed; “I finally know what it is to be happy”, to Carson the day after; and referring to Pamuk as “my lover” in an argument with Cora. It’s as if to Fellowes, the violence of rape can never be other than brutishly physical; Green hit Anna and dragged her away by the hair to make it crystal clear what was happening to her. Fellowes may not be aware of just how rapey a vibe the Pamuk scene had, in terms of psychological pressure on Mary.
I think Fellowes just has some odd priorities when it comes to writing about sexual harassment/assault all around. Some other examples:
- The narrative practically bends over backward to absolve Robert of any serious guilt or consequences over his fling with Jane, despite masters abusing their power over their female servants in this way being a serious and common problem in domestic service. And Jane’s so happy about it too - she effectively lost her job, but her son gets to go to a good school now, yay!
- The sleep kiss has some pretty sinister staging that undermines the already-questionable fairytale parallel, and yet going by later interviews Fellowes is apparently convinced that Thomas’s feelings for Jimmy are noble and romantic and so forth. This is probably the most forgivable instance in this discussion, however, because Thomas suffers various consequences for his behavior and because he acts more maturely in response than any of the other characters on this show guilty of sexual harassment or assault.
- Conversely, the fallout from the Jivy bench grope makes little sense either ethically or thematically. Ivy gets subjected to a fair amount of victim-blaming even though Jimmy is supposed to be getting characterized as an unfeeling cad, and Jimmy apparently learns nothing from the incident and expresses nothing beyond mild annoyance over time and money lost.
In summary, aristocrats are awesome, women need a dramatic dubcon sexual awakening, unrequited love excuses almost anything
especially if it provides an excuse not to write any more romantic plotlines for a gay guy eww, and…I’ve got nothing on the Jivy thing.