Happy New Year folks, it is wonderful having you around in 2014 again. Thanks for your support in 2013 and I sincerely hope you will stick around this year as well. I am sorry I have been unable to post before today. I overshot the mark in some stuffs, and I have to wait for them to get back into sync. Anyway I’m back again with my first post for the year, I hope you enjoy it
It has been almost a week since the controversial rape joke by popular comedian Bright “Basketmouth” Okpocha started making the rounds on social media. The most heart warming thing about the whole issue is that Mr Basketmouth quickly came out to apologise to all who have been rubbed the wrong way about what he meant to be for laughs. The good thing about that is that he will be back in the good graces of his fans, the bad thing is that his apology has denied writers (including yours sincerely) an angry blog post ─ or many.
The piece today is not designed to talk about that incident, it has no desire to flog a horse that is so dead it will start to stink any moment from now, what the piece intends to talk about is a disturbing trend which is starting to become the norm in recent years and which is manifesting in sex and more disturbingly rape. This brings me to the subject of Trinity, not the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, mind you, but a certain fictional character by that name.
Everyone who has watched the Matrix series knows who Trinity is. For those of you who haven’t watched the series, you can read about here. So what does a female fictional character have to do with rape? The answer is an examination of Trinity and what she represents in the movie.
In a particular scene, Morpheus, the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar is captured while trying to protect Neo who is the One, Neo begins to ruminate on why he should risk his life to rescue Morpheus. After much thinking, he comes to the conclusion that contrary to what Morpheus told him about him being too valuable to risk, he is not the One. When he tells Trinity of his plan, Trinity looks confused and says
“I think there has been a mistake.”
Then she adds:
“I had a dream, that I would meet and fall in love with a man that would turn out to be the One, and when I met you I fell in love with you, so you must be the One (not her exact words)
The implication of Trinity’s statement is that she has already been prepared for Neo even before he learnt of his own identity. He is going to save the Human race, and his reward for doing so would be Trinity, little more than a slave who is always at his beck and call. Trinity herself had no say in the matter, it was already predetermined. Neo could be blind, deaf and dumb, or he could be a raving lunatic, the fact that he is “the One” means Trinity has no option than to love him. That is why Trinity follows Neo into suicide mission after suicide mission despite the fact that, unlike Neo who could not be harmed by the agents, she was mortal and could be killed any time. This is why the issue of rape comes in. Years of watching action films have imprinted them in the average male’s subconscious. Every male imagines himself as an action hero,(though not all men act like dicks like action heroes do) who has to save the world in his little corner. The man imagines that because he is awesome and he is doing awesome things like “the One”, there must be a “Trinity” somewhere swooning at his awesomeness and ready like the fictional character, to give him anything he wants including sex. Unfortunately for him, life doesn’t give a shit about things like that, and the fact that you are doing something you believe is awesome does not mean you deserve “a hot sexy girl”. Our action hero becomes disappointed that Trinity does not find him awesome (at least she doesn’t jump into his bed immediately), and she won’t give him his reward, so he takes it by force. That is where rape comes in. In order to bring the example closer to home, let us examine the basket mouth joke itself
1st date: Coffee
2nd Date: Kiss
3rd Date: sex
1st Date: Fast food
2nd date: Hug
3rd date: Chinese restaurant
4th date: Kiss
5th date: attempted sex but failed
6th date: Shopping
7th date: Cinema, New phone, more shopping
8th date: attempted sex but failed
9th date: RAPE!!
The man being referred to in the joke believes he is the One. Every time he takes the lady out, or buys things for her, he imagines that it is his own equivalent of fighting agents, entering the matrix and saving the human race, every time he attempts sex but fails, he feels like Trinity is not giving him the reward he is entitled to. When he can bear it no further, he resorts to taking his due by force, rape. This is what I call the Culture of Entitlement. The culture of entitlement is the reason when a man rapes a woman and then he gives excuses like “it is her fault for wearing the cleavage revealing dress and the miniskirt,” or “it is her fault for always swinging her hips and buttocks when she is walking past me” (in other words she finds me awesome, so she was inviting me to take her as my reward). Or excuses like “how can she say no to me, with all the things I have bought for her? (I’m doing something “awesome” like Neo by buying these things for her, why doesn’t she become my virtual slave like Trinity?) The culture of entitlement is the reason why people liked the Basketmouth joke without realising its implications. The culture of entitlement has made us inured to the fact that not every woman can be Trinity and that there is more to a woman is than her lady parts. This trend is not just in the Matrix either. It is every action movie and every superhero movie. Superman has Lois Lane, Spiderman has Mary Jane Watson, James Bond has his bevy of girls, the list is endless. It seems that We are now looking to a group of fiction al characters to tell us how to live our lives, unfortunately it seems every action hero is an object lesson in lack of respect for women (see James Bond for example), since they are all always flocking around him. We are ignoring the plight of thousands of people whose lives have been ruined, because we believed that like Trinity, they are merely for our gratification. They don’t have to like it, and is it then surprising that the menace of rape continues to grow?
I fear for our generation, I fear for youngsters who are being taught by superheroes to not to respect women. We all condemn people who beat their wives, yet most of us see women as a reward for our badassness, it is the same spirit. Nothing has changed from the time women were not allowed to vote till now; we still have a generation of scriptwriters who still think all women should be like Trinity, as property for the “hero” to mess around with as he pleases. I pity a generation that thinks Bond girls are still the standard for women to aspire to. I pity a generation that is going to grow up believing, that the a woman is not worth more than the gifts they are buying for her.
Until we get away from the screen, until men of our generation stop seeing women as Trinity to our Neo, until we stop believing in the erroneous myth that life owes us a a beautiful sexy woman for what we are doing, until we learn to not look at ourselves through rose tinted glasses, until we stop believing that “you can do anything you put your mind to” and recognize our limitations. We will never overcome the culture of entitlement and many more lives of our women will continue to be ruined.