Is this plot surprise sexist, like I was told?

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Double Retired
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07 Nov 2021, 6:14 pm

I would think an important thing would be that at the end of the book she is presented--to the reader--as being a bad person.

And the supposed rape must never be condoned...not when the reader thinks it really happened...and not when it is uncovered as not having happened (it would still be a bad thing, just not a bad thing that actually happened).


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07 Nov 2021, 7:19 pm

Double Retired wrote:
I would think an important thing would be that at the end of the book she is presented--to the reader--as being a bad person.

And the supposed rape must never be condoned...not when the reader thinks it really happened...and not when it is uncovered as not having happened (it would still be a bad thing, just not a bad thing that actually happened).


Oh yes, but don't I do this in mine as well though?



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08 Nov 2021, 3:20 pm

One thing you can do to make a story feel less like it's supporting a stereotype is to have other characters who don't fit that stereotype.

So, in this case, have other characters who say they were raped, and actually were raped. And make sure that the genuine rape victims are varied enough to not fit rape myths or the stereotype of the "good victim" (a rape victim of chaste character who prefers modest fashion and screamed "no" and struggled throughout the rape, and reported it immediately after it happened).



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08 Nov 2021, 11:28 pm

Oh okay, thanks, I can try to come up with some things. Do you think maybe the problem is is that a female villain is a tough sell maybe, because readers are more sensitive to a villain being female in today's politically sensitive times?



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09 Nov 2021, 12:53 am

Whose point of view are you writing from?

If you are writing from the man's point of view, he would know whether he actually raped the woman or not.

If you are writing from the woman's point of view, she would know whether she was actually raped or not.

Unless there was drunkenness or drugs involved, both the man and woman should know what actually happened, and there should be no element of surprise involved.

I haven't read your story so I don't know if it applies but it could be that you were deliberately hiding some key information for no other reason other than to have a 'surprise' and that is why it didn't work.



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09 Nov 2021, 1:27 am

I'm writing it from the point of view of another character, the protagonist detective, who is investigating the case, and he figures out what happened. The man and woman are supporting characters in the case more so. The detective doesn't know what really happened until later, and the reader finds out when he finds out. Or at least that is how I wrote it so far.

Unless I should give it away earlier that there was no rape, right from the beginning, and the reader will know that before the detective finds out, if it helps ease the reader's minds better?



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10 Nov 2021, 6:30 am

Is the detective not considering at all the possibility of a false accusation? I don't see how it can be a surprise if the detective is thinking about the possibility throughout the investigation.



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10 Nov 2021, 9:19 am

It's a possibility in the detectives mind, but he doesn't actually verbally say it to anyone. I just played it like it anything is possible without saying, unless that's the wrong way to play it?



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11 Nov 2021, 1:32 am

Is this story read (i.e short story, novella) or is it seen like a stage play or screenplay?

If it is read, then there should be ample opportunity to write about what the detective is thinking.

If it is seen, then I guess it is a bit harder.



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11 Nov 2021, 2:16 am

Sorry for not clarifying. I am writing a screenplay. The detective does get sucked in to wanting to believe the woman and care for her. But then realize later that he's been had by a manipulative villainess with alterior motivations. However, it seems that the idea of a female villain is seen as antifeminist to readers so far?

Unless maybe I should make it clear that she is lying from the very beginning so it's not such a punch in the gut to later on, when the detective finds out?



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12 Nov 2021, 10:52 pm

You might be able to sow doubt by having a scene where the detective sounds it out when talking to another person (e.g another detective to go over the case, a bartender, a friend etc...)



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13 Nov 2021, 12:34 am

The issue is NOT the idea of a female villainous, it's the idea that what makes her villainous is that she falsely accuses people of rape. Would you write a male villain who antagonizes women by accusing women by accusing them of raping him? That's what makes it a sexist plot. You also need to remember that in the real world, men rape women and then try to make the women they raped out to be the villain by accusing the victim of falsely accusing them of rape. You're approaching a very touchy subject in a very thoughtless manner. If you're not making a political statement, then why not do something else instead?


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14 Nov 2021, 9:48 am

Ganondox wrote:
The issue is NOT the idea of a female villainous, it's the idea that what makes her villainous is that she falsely accuses people of rape. Would you write a male villain who antagonizes women by accusing women by accusing them of raping him? That's what makes it a sexist plot. You also need to remember that in the real world, men rape women and then try to make the women they raped out to be the villain by accusing the victim of falsely accusing them of rape. You're approaching a very touchy subject in a very thoughtless manner. If you're not making a political statement, then why not do something else instead?


Both things happen. Men get falsely accused of sexual harrassment and or rape. And other men really do commit sexual harrassment and or rape, and try to make their victims out to be liars.

Its a REALLY sensitive issue. Not only that but a lying accuser is not really a surprise ending per se. Its an obvious thing to suspect.

Sensitive, and not really a surprise. Two almost mortal wounds to the story.

Kinda like a coworker who was telling me his idea for a sci fi novel about aliens invading earth. It involved alien prisoners of our defense dept. taken alive from UFO crashes in the Nineteen Forties being tortured by earthlings to get info and intel out of them. This was right at the same time Bush was occupying Iraq, and stuff was coming out about Abu Graib and Gitmo etc. Told him to "be careful how you handle the issue of torture- all I can say dude." because that very thing was sensitive at that time.

One suggestion: make the detectives be a man-woman team. And have the woman be herself a victim of some past real sex crime (maybe in childhood). So she really driven to find the perp.

You could have the hero be one person... who is female...but I am thinking that it would be easier for you imagine a team with one member being your own gender assisting rather write it all from the opposite sex pov.

Anyway.... she is driven to find the perp who raped the lady. This creates misdirection (the very essence of every magician's act)because the reader will get caught up in the hero's emotional trauma and so forth... that will more surprise the audience when you spring it on them that ... there was no "perp". And further you will have a female hero (who did survive a real sex crime) to balance this female fake victim who turns out to be the real villain. Defuse the sensitivity, and create real surprise.



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14 Nov 2021, 7:41 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
The issue is NOT the idea of a female villainous, it's the idea that what makes her villainous is that she falsely accuses people of rape. Would you write a male villain who antagonizes women by accusing women by accusing them of raping him? That's what makes it a sexist plot. You also need to remember that in the real world, men rape women and then try to make the women they raped out to be the villain by accusing the victim of falsely accusing them of rape. You're approaching a very touchy subject in a very thoughtless manner. If you're not making a political statement, then why not do something else instead?


Both things happen. Men get falsely accused of sexual harrassment and or rape. And other men really do commit sexual harrassment and or rape, and try to make their victims out to be liars.

Its a REALLY sensitive issue. Not only that but a lying accuser is not really a surprise ending per se. Its an obvious thing to suspect.

Sensitive, and not really a surprise. Two almost mortal wounds to the story.

Kinda like a coworker who was telling me his idea for a sci fi novel about aliens invading earth. It involved alien prisoners of our defense dept. taken alive from UFO crashes in the Nineteen Forties being tortured by earthlings to get info and intel out of them. This was right at the same time Bush was occupying Iraq, and stuff was coming out about Abu Graib and Gitmo etc. Told him to "be careful how you handle the issue of torture- all I can say dude." because that very thing was sensitive at that time.

One suggestion: make the detectives be a man-woman team. And have the woman be herself a victim of some past real sex crime (maybe in childhood). So she really driven to find the perp.

You could have the hero be one person... who is female...but I am thinking that it would be easier for you imagine a team with one member being your own gender assisting rather write it all from the opposite sex pov.

Anyway.... she is driven to find the perp who raped the lady. This creates misdirection (the very essence of every magician's act)because the reader will get caught up in the hero's emotional trauma and so forth... that will more surprise the audience when you spring it on them that ... there was no "perp". And further you will have a female hero (who did survive a real sex crime) to balance this female fake victim who turns out to be the real villain. Defuse the sensitivity, and create real surprise.


Or maybe just keep one detective and turn him into a her who had survived sexual assault, and wants to hunt down the perp.


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14 Nov 2021, 8:41 pm

:skull:

Ganondox wrote:
The issue is NOT the idea of a female villainous, it's the idea that what makes her villainous is that she falsely accuses people of rape. Would you write a male villain who antagonizes women by accusing women by accusing them of raping him? That's what makes it a sexist plot. You also need to remember that in the real world, men rape women and then try to make the women they raped out to be the villain by accusing the victim of falsely accusing them of rape. You're approaching a very touchy subject in a very thoughtless manner. If you're not making a political statement, then why not do something else instead?


Well it's just that other fiction has done this type of idea before without being seen as sexist. To Kill A Mockingbird had a woman falsly accuse a man of the same thing, and no one says its sexist, and it's a classic. So how do other works do it and are not considered sexist though?

As for the question would I write a male villain who falsely accuses a woman of raping him, it depends. It depends on what the story is about and other things within the story. I get ideas for stories, and I write them, but I cannot say would I write this or that, without knowing more of what happens in the story first.

It's that I mean to come off as close minded or dismissive of the issue, it's just that this has been done in other works of fiction before and it was fine. So I just need to know how I am the exception in order to understand it, if that makes sense?



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15 Nov 2021, 3:56 am

I had a line in my memoir where one woman read it and commented that it showed how much I loved women, and another woman read it and think it was misogynistic.

Whether someone views your work as sexist or not depends more on that someone rather than your work.

What probably happened is that your story had some structural issues (like not showing what the detective character is thinking so that the reveal comes as a "surprise" when it shouldn't have been), then the reader (I assume the screenplay hasn't been filmed yet) blaming it on sexism instead of the actual problem.