From today’s Technician:

Watchmen supports rape

I recently saw the movie Watchmen, and I was very upset with the way things were allowed to be portrayed in the movie. The scene that I am specifically referring to is the raping of Sally Jupiter by The Comedian. The fact that he used brute strength to force her to have sex and his name means more to me than just a rape scene. His name implies that the things he does are meant to be funny or evoke laughter. I personally do not find rape, in any way, as something to laugh at. In our society, children tend to look up to super heroes and try to act like them.

The fact that The Comedian is supposed to be a superhero sends a very bad message to today’s youth. Though he is not as big as batman or superman, he is still a super hero, and there will be kids who will see this movie and want to act like him.

Some of the people who have seen this movie have themselves been raped, and this makes it seem like it’s OK or that it is normal. I personally have stopped more than 100 people from seeing this movie and will continue to discourage people from going to see it. Supporting rape is never a good thing, especially in a movie where the superheroes do the raping.

I would like to see something written about this in the Technician.

My response:

The film Watchmen does indeed depict rape, however this is a far cry from “supporting” it. This is because rape is, specifically, depicted as an offensive and inhuman action that gets the rapist ostracized from his colleagues and prompts one character, Laurie, to express the gravest outrage at the rape.

It is not a “support” of rape any more than Watchmen “supports” murder, something else it shows without condoning.

Watchmen is a grim analysis of the human condition, attempting to show how even the most powerful heroes are still flawed people and that no one is perfect. The Comedian is a war criminal and assassin, as well as a rapist. He is a complex character who is never really portrayed in a positive light, much less as a role model to aspire to.

As for the charge that “kids … will see this film and want to act like [the Comedian]”: this is a film that well earns its hard-R rating for the gamut of adult content. Any child who sees this movie is already the victim of negligent parenting. It is ultimately the parent’s job to teach that rape, among other crimes, is reprehensible.

Watchmen is a dark tale of people who do good things for bad reasons, and bad things for good reasons, and everything in between. But the ultimate conclusion is that no one is above judgment. After all, “Who watches the watchmen?”

In this light, attempting to say that the portrayal of rape or anything else in the film is an unalloyed positive is missing the point.