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My Beef With/Jokerology 101: Joker/OC RapeFics (Rated M for "Multiple Fanfics")

Posted on February 12, 2010 at 8:25 PM

With Resuscitate in the works and Ten Cuts not far behind, Sugary took another blind leap into foreign territory and wrote a third fanfic. This one, called The Telephone Game, is another M-rated fanfic - because it includes smut, rape, and psychological torment at the... er, hands of the Joker. Only, this isn't your typical 'Romantic' Rape!Fic. No, this is a heavy slam against the Dark Knight trope I like to call "Rape Is Ok If It's Joker on OC". This is the cliche that in the Nolanverse, if a female OC is raped by the Joker, she will eventually wind up falling in love with him, usually becoming a Nolanverse Harley Quinn in the process.

 

Uh, yeah. There's a lot wrong with this cliche, especially for a Batman universe that's meant to be a more realistic portrayal of the crime in Gotham City and therefore should have a more realistic portrayal of rape to go with it.

 

Let's start with the basis for the cliche - a little trope called Rape Is Love. This is a fairly well-known trope. According to it, if a girl (or guy, but it's usually a girl) is a victim of rape, the girl will inevitably fall in love with her rapist- and as an added twist, the rapist might only have actually raped the girl because s/he loved her back! In Nolanverse Rape!fics, especially those involving the Joker, this often overlaps with the tropes of Rape As(really, really cheap) Drama, Rape As Redemption, and the idea that It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It. Never mind that in reality, rape (by either gender towards either sex, gay or straight, male or female) is done for power instead of sex, and is as a whole a horribly violating crime that leaves heavy emotional and psychological scars that can take years to heal - young authors want self-fulfillment, they want it from (the admittedly gorgeous behind all that make-up) Heath Ledger, and they want it NOW, damn it!


In a real, truly Nolanverse fanfic, the very idea of the Joker raping an OC should horrify, not titillate. Hell, the Joker as a character should horrify every member of the audience that sees him. He is quite simply not the guy you'd ever want to have sex with you, period. Granted, I realize that rape fantasies happen, and virtually everyone has one or toys with the idea of it at some point in their sexually mature lives. That the Nolanverse Joker was played by an actor most people regarded (and still regard) as handsome, combined with the trope that All Girls Love Bad Boys and his scars (yes, that is a turn-on for several people, as is his scene in the nurse outfit and his sadomasochist tendencies) doesn't help much - and this mix is precisely what draws so many females (and more than a few gay males) to Ledger Joker. In fact, I bet at least half of you girls in the audience started drooling over the potential turn-on factors for Ledger Joker, and I'm sure there's several more traits you could think up that I didn't even mention here.

 

What disturbs me the most as an admitted coulrophile (and I mean that in the fan way, not in the fetish way, so keep your shirt on) and insane Joker fan is the idea that young authors, often inexperienced ones, are idolizing him as a sex god. It's funny to pretend a character is a sex god when your character is, for example, Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill franchise, who actually did rape two monsters in the second game (at the same time and on camera, mind you). His whole existence is about masculine power and potency that the main character won't face. He's iconic of the series, yes, but at least his rapist status isn't intended to be glorified in a sexual way, though it certainly can be. Now, let's take a look at the Joker: He's killed at least as much, if not more than, Pyramid Head does; he's much more overtly insane than the symbolic Pyramid Head; and he, like Pyramid Head, has no remorse whatsoever for any of his crimes. Pyramid Head rapes and murders. The Joker, meanwhile, has over the course ofhis long and lucrative criminal career:

 

  • Paralyzed Barbara Gordon/Batgirl,stripped her down to take nude photos of her, and possibly raped her in The Killing Joke
  • Used those photos to torment Jim Gordon until he nearly went insane in the same Graphic Novel
  • Bashed Robin's head in with a crowbar before blowing him up in A Death In The Family, which in turn
  • Caused Batman great psychological torment that has haunted him ever since
  • Kills people with a chemical that makes you laugh so hard it keeps you from breathing
  • Tricks people into thinking they'll live before turning the tables entirely and killing them with some gag or another
  • Tortured DCAU Robin into giving up Batman's secrets, then drove him insane and turned him into Joker Jr.
  • Kidnapped Nolanverse Harvey Dent and his fiancee, switched the addresses of their locations on purpose causing the fiancee to die and half of Dent's face to burn off, and then found Dent at the hospital and epically mindfucked him into becoming Two-Face before blowing up the hospital and everyone in it
  • Committed genocide by eating the entire population of China in the Emperor Joker storyline
  • Epically mindfucked Harleen Quinnzel until she lost her mind with love for him and became Harley Quinn
  • Constantly treats Harley like total crap despite her undying and unhealthy affection for him
  • Skinned a man alive in the recent Joker Graphic Novel
  • Possibly raped the protagonist's wife in the same Graphic Novel
  • Killed almost the entire population of Gotham not once, but several times
  • Is considered a terrorist by several characters in The Dark Knight...

You guys get the idea. Meanwhile, Pyramid Head over there's still raping Mannekins and trying to kill the protagonist of Silent Hill 2, arguably much less horrible than all the Joker crimes above. And yet the Joker's getting sex idol status? Why aren't young authors having their OCs give comfort sex to Harvey Dent, who surely needs it more? Why aren't they trying to jump Johnathan Crane, who was played by the adorable Cillian freaking Murphey for Queen's sake, as much as they try to get the Joker to jump them? This isn't to say that young authors aren't writing M-rated Sex Fics about Crane or Two-Face (or possibly both) - they just seem to be much less common. They also usually don't contain as much rape. Why is that? Is it the idea that the Joker is horrible enough to use rape in order to coerce a woman? Is it the idea that he has more potency as a man just because he is brash enough to attempt rape?

 

All I know is, I weep every time I see another OC/Joker 'Romance' fic that uses rape as a plotpoint. Not just as a Joker fan who likes keeping her Joker a horrible monster with a killer sense of humor just that, but also as a woman. Every time I see one of these trite, overused, cliched Rape!fics, I want to punch a small child in the nose. It's insulting that young women think that allowing a man to dominate and take what they want from them is love, all fantasizing aside. I don't generally read them and I don't generally want to - but I do wish young authors would grow just a little bit of common sense and realize that rape isn't love - and it should never be an excuse for true love, not for an OC, not for a Sue, and certainly not for them.


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