Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Colluder Alert: Dame Helen Mirren

image What is my obsession with colluders you may ask?  Colluders are problematic beings because they help to maintain patriarchy as a system that oppress women emotionally, physically, sexually, and economically.  They are dangerous women, and their commentary should never be considered to be benign. 

Dame Helen was recently interviewed by GQ magazine, wherein she saw fit to excuse date rape.  This is just what men need, to be told that they should not be held accountable for raping and assaulting women.

She told GQ: "I was [date-raped], yes. A couple of times.

"Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will."

Dame Helen said it was rape if a couple engaged in sexual activity but the woman said "no" at the last second.

However, she said: "I don't think she can have that man into court under those circumstances."

So let me get this straight, yes it is rape if a man forces himself on a woman, but if she knew him, she should not be able to charge him?  I do not what kind of twisted logic that this woman is using to justify her statements, but knowing someone does not give them the right to violate you ever.  Even though Mirrin herself is a rape survivor, this kind of  apologism is unacceptable. Men do not exist with the inalienable right to have access to womens bodies.   In a culture that views womens bodies as disposable, these kinds of statements are dangerous.

H/T  The F Word.


Ebony Intuition said...


fantome14 said...

Look, she said "I don't think she CAN have him court," not "I don't think she SHOULD BE ABLE TO have him in court." She could have expressed herself more clearly, but to me, I think she was talking about how difficult it is to press charges when it's her word against his, which we all know is the case. The "can" implies what is true rather than what she thinks should be true.

Renee said...

@fantome..so now you are in the business of interpreting the words of another?

fantome14 said...

Well, I am in that business, since I am a literary critic, but that's beside the point.

We're taking about the meaning of words here. "Can" talks about ability. "I don't think she has the ability to have him in court." There is no judgment on her part of that lack of ability if you take the statement purely at face value.

I should have put in a caveat that I think she needs to clarify her statement, but my belief is that, until she clarifies or says differently, "can" means "can" not "should."

fantome14 said...

Sorry for posting again, but my brain is till waking up. Basically, I don't think there is enough there to condemn her until she comes out and says CLEARLY that she does not think date rape should be a prosecutable crime. Just to say that it is almost impossible to prosecute is reiterating a sad truth, especially in the UK. If she clarifies that she thinks it shouldn't be prosecutable, I will be the first person in line to condemn her for it.

jgoreham said...

I wonder if as North Americans we just don't understand the context of what the Dame is saying here. I've just spent the past year and a half in the UK, and for a year and a half I've been reading news stories saying how rapists simply aren't being convicted in the UK, and that the law just isn't sympathetic to rape victims.

I'm there with you when you say that nobody has the right to violate you ever, but most English people seem to think that if your skirt is too short, or if you had something to drink, that you deserve what you get (I have a study done by The Tonight Show with Sir Trevor MacDonald in mind, but sadly can't find any numbers about their findings- sorry! Frankly, we're talking about a country where the residents donate more to Donkey reserves than to women's shelters...).

I interpret Helen Mirren's statement to be that of a victim who feels defeated, not somebody who condones date rape.

mikeb302000 said...

I interpreted Helen Mirren's statement to condone date rape in that brainwashed imbecilic way that many women have suffered from, and which makes them their own worst enemies.

I say, and I speak as a man who's had plenty of experience, when the woman says no, that means no and it doesn't matter when she says it.

fantome14 said...

Okay, I saw the very next comment after the quoted material, and this makes me stop defending her (though I maintain that my interpretation holds up out of context. Context is everything, though):

"It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don't think he was a rapist."

uppitybrownwoman said...

Oh, crap. I have NOTHING to say to that, especially about the Mike Tyson bit.

Ashley said...

Glad I read the comments for once before I posted. I too interpreted "can" as "able to, likely to work," and thereby didn't think of Mirren as a colluder. But that Tyson comment definitely, just, ugh.

professorwhatif said...

Dang, and I was a fan of Helen! So disappointing when you find out someone you admire is a colluder. Thanks for the heads up.

zooeyibz said...

so depressing... i've always hugely admired dame helen. and yes, also agreed with fantome14 that maybe she was merely alluding to the difficulties of prosecution. but no way to excuse that awful mike tyson comment.