How A Teenage Girl Almost Made Me Cry

I overheard a teenage girl say something at a Blockbuster that almost had me in tears. (Yes, I still use Blockbuster and yes I almost always eavesdrop on other people’s conversations.) I still can’t believe it and it’s still ringing in my ears after a week so I thought I would share it with y’all and maybe you can help me get some perspective on it.

Teenage girl: Yeah, I saw that movie, there is a rape scene in it but the girl who was getting raped was ugly so it was just gross. 

I literally felt as if the Earth dropped out from under me when I heard her say that. WHAT. THE. FUCK. ¬†Would the rape scene not be gross if the actress had been pretty?? Rape is always gross, it is always demeaning, it is always horrifying, and never under any circumstances no matter how pretty or ugly the girl is, is rape acceptable. NEVER. I am utterly and completely horrified at her attitude. I don’t have the words, I just don’t have the words to adequately express my shock and dismay at hearing a teenage girl say something like that. Later, when her words were replaying in my head, I got a bit teary. Teary because her words made me angry, and sad, and frustrated, and I felt helpless. Helpless because how do you even begin to make a someone who says things like that understand how wrong, how absolutely wrong they are? How do you make them understand?

I don’t know. Do you?

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32 thoughts on “How A Teenage Girl Almost Made Me Cry

  1. What’s really, truly sad about this is that it seems to imply that this girl doesn’t understand the difference between rape and sex. Which is terrifying.

    But it also says something about portrayals of rape in entertainment. I mean, was this a Girl With The Dragon Tattoo rape scene or was it one where the person getting raped just cried instead of screamed? Something tells me (or at least, part of me hopes) that viewers wouldn’t be able to be so nonchalant after watching Rooney Mara scream her lungs out and struggle violently.

    And that’s not even getting into the “attractiveness” issue! I’m just as lost as you are.

    Ironically, I read an article yesterday at postmasculine.com (a website for dudes) wondering why feminism was still a thing, because haven’t we achieved equality? And then I look at things like this girl’s statement and I say, this. This is why feminism is still a thing.

  2. You couldn’t be more right than this- in no way EVER should someone not only say something like that, but have the capacity to say so. I think a problem we have, coming from someone who just graduated college, is that not only do films portray the act in a way that limits the severity and brutality of the action, but college age promiscuity is now the role model. Of course rape is never justified nor acceptable in any setting to any person; it is just unfortunate that rape is starting to be meshed with sex as one in the same as it happens at frat parties and young people’s gatherings. If this is true, then the girl at the store must be taking it beyond and making a shallow comment towards the girl in the film’s appearance. Who know how to explain what that girl was thinking when she said it, but that is the best I can think of to add some kind of explanation behind her words.

    • Thank you for your thoughts! As upset as I was at the girls comments, I’m glad it’s opened a door for discussions like this.

  3. Oh. My. Oh. My. I just have no words. Is she just a self-centered adolescent who only cars about appearances, or is she so desensitized by our culture of beauty and women as victims that she cannot see straight? Where are we headed if this represents the thoughts of our young people. And what has her mother been teaching her, reading to her, and letting her watch? I am as befuddled and upset as you are.

  4. i think it’s important to remember that a lot of these reactions are not the fault of people like that girl, but of people who make those films.

    there are very many ways to portray any event, but in a culture like ours where we’re desensitized to rape by things like victim blaming and casual use of the word, it’s easy for a filmmaker to elicit many reactions other than simple horror when an event like that is depicted (since, very unfortunately, that is not automatically the first and only reaction in a society like ours).

    it seems to me like the more significant way to handle situations like this (not that talking to the person voicing those sentiments isn’t also important – i just don’t think it’s the root of the problem) is to get the film industry to change the way they think about and present scenes around this topic.

    thanks so much for this post. it’s really something that needs to be discussed more.

  5. Wow. That’s the kind of thing that I always want to be able to turn around and say something really cutting and reprimanding, but can never think of it at the time. Teenagers… they aren’t nearly as grown-up and intelligent as they’d like to believe.

  6. I totally see your point. I find that whenever i watched the news and a woman has died, if she’s physically attractive people will say “oh, it’s so sad, and she was so beautiful!” As if her being beautiful makes it more tragic. People don’t mean to do it, but women in particular are judged so often on their looks that even in macabre situations we STILL judge their levels of beauty.
    Rape scenes are disgusting, there are no exceptions, i hope this girl will realise this when she’s older xx

  7. It’s actually frightening that a young girl would have that kind of attitude about rape. I don’t even understand how such a thought could even occur to someone.

  8. Wow… that’s just… yeah, kind of depressing. I’m sure the same girl has said things along the line of “Yeah, I’d totally let Chris Brown beat the crap out of me because he’s smoking hot.”

    In fact, did I read about those Chris Brown tweets in this blog before?

  9. Sadly this doesn’t surprise me. This culture has shifted to valuing the superficial and appearances above all else. It is no wonder with attitudes like that, rape still is under reported with many victims not wanting to face the scrutiny of not only their attacker but the public

  10. Shocked. Utterly, utterly shocked. Maybe it’s to do with the general desensitisation of the society around us. I’m not saying that rape is becoming acceptable, but I remember when I was young it was almost an embarrassing word to say. Not embarrassing as such, but it just never felt acceptable to say. It made, and still makes, my skin crawl to think of the word.

    Youth today are so blasse about these sorts of things. It’s shocking. And disgusting.

  11. Teenager these days don’t understand about this kind of things that’s why I talk to my cousins who are teenagers about these things and I’m still learning long the way myself, parents should teach about rape and sex it’s not to pretty when parents don’t teach there kids, they look bad towards the end.

  12. What a post. Unutterably depressing I agree. Like you, I feel angry, but also so sorry for these girls that they’ve been brainwashed by the society we live into thinking that the way a woman looks is in any way related to her being raped – which in any case is about power and not sexual attraction. We still have so much work to do – and this will be example I give next time someone asks me why I’m still a feminist.

  13. I think we live in one of those societies where people say things like that – she was ugly so it’s ok… she was dressed like a s**t so it was ok…. It’s so sad, but girls these days have such a low opinion of themselves, it’s an everyday occurance to hear something as shocking as this. Then you take a look at some of the movies/TV shows/music videos these girls are looking at, and you can almost understand the low opinion. In a society where sex is everything, especially with things like Fifty Shades of Grey that portrays vicious sex as the “norm”, it is hard for girls to keep some dignity about themselves…. maybe this is where her low opinion of the girl in the movie comes from? Girls are seen as objects of desire in so many places. Sad but true.

  14. I couldn’t agree with you more – and especially coming from girls it is just so sad. Why do girls and women say this about each other?? Interesting timing on this – Daniel Tosh (comedian) JUST had a blow-up about a rape joke actually: http://breakfastcookie.tumblr.com/post/26879625651/so-a-girl-walks-into-a-comedy-club That’s the blog recounting the details and here is CNN’s article on it http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/16/opinion/burton-bruns-tosh/index.html. Rape is never funny, and its never OK, regardless of age, beauty, etc. Rape is never OK. Great post!

  15. In my experience, people don’t understand until they have stood in a rape victim’s shoes. I’m not sure if anyone remembers this, but a while back Congress tried to change the meaning of rape to sexual assault committed with a weapon. Obviously, it did not go over well. I have felt for a while that women’s rights are going backwards, and things like this are proof of it. Is it easier to place blame on the rape victims than to live in a world where it can happen to anyone with no rhyme or reason? I am a rape survivor, and I have been told horrible things. That I made it up because I regretted having sex with the rapist, that I should have known better than having a man in my room to watch a movie, that I shouldn’t have been wearing v-neck tops. That I was overreacting when, at a later time, a man grabbed my ass and I told him that he didn’t get to touch me, ever, and if he did again he was getting a stiletto through his foot. That was said to me by another rape victim. Many that I have encountered treat it very nonchalantly like, like it is just something that happens, and think I’m weird for still being hurt by it many years later. Your story is further evidence of this. Thank you for bringing this into the open and inspiring discussion about it.

  16. HI, nice blog!!
    I am sorry that you had to endure listening to this horribly insensitive girl. Chances are, she probably doesn’t know how wrong she is in this, even if you take time to explain to her. I guess teenagers and the young ones growing up are increasingly desensitized to violence (even rape), and when it is a movie, it is known to be an act, so i guess people are still feeling detached from the real experience. Lately i have been pretty disturbed that i no longer feel squeamish, when i saw pics of dead people (body parts) in the news (Syria).

    In addition to being desensitized, girls also put too much attention on physical beauty as a result from pop culture and demeaning lyrics about milkshakes. I feel like we are regressing… and it is sad. And girls do not remember that their own gender comes first (in many cases), and all the cat-fighting and being self-absorbed with one’s self hindered them from thinking deep. Sad, but true.

  17. HOLY CRAP. ( I would say something different, but my parents would kill me if they read this comment with that particular word in it.) Who the heck does she think she is??????? As a self-respecting teenager of the south, I say, shut the heck up and pay attention to the words that just came out of your mouth. Gross… Ugly???? Yes, those are both words that I would use to describe rape. Not the girl. I’m not sure whether to be enraged, sad, or a combination of the two. Enraged, because rape is a very serious and real thing, and the girl at blockbuster probably thinks that it only happens in the movies. Sad, because, is this what my age group has come to be? A bunch of jerks who care about nobody but themselves? I’m sorry for my rant, but this is just unbelievable.

  18. So, let me get this straight: This girl would’ve preferred to see a pretty girl get raped? Is this about titillation for her? Or about jealousy and punishment of women she finds threatening? Either way, it’s pretty sick and sad.

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