Clueless is one of those films where the quotes are so well known, at least by girls who grew up in the 90s, they just roll of the tongue in response to a related incident. Just like when someone says they can’t make plans – they get shot with a ‘boo, you whore.’ Or when someone asks someone else if they’re looking at them, they get the whole Robert Deniro thing. So while the British public has its knickers in a twist over Downton Abbey’s rape scene, I’m throwing out Cher Horowitz’s “Until mankind is peaceful enough…”
Much of society watched Taken, read The Lovely Bones, listened to Love The Way You Lie, and did so without causing uproar. But when Sunday night period dramas incorporate such a matter into their script, it’s another story.
Downton Abbey isn’t written by Walt Disney where the plot lines lure women into a false sense of security when it comes to life and love. Downton is a period drama based on real life situations.
The show’s plots thus far have explored war, death, imprisonment, premarital sex, and miscarriages. It’s made life’s tragedies no secret and it shouldn’t do so now because some are in denial that rape can happen.
Rape is part of the world we live in. We can hide it all we want, but it’s not going to disappear. Rape rarely arrives with warning. It arrives unannounced, every day to everyday people. Just like it came to to the fate of Anna Bates last Sunday evening.
The story, despite its unpleasantness, is intriguing. We’ve seen how the characters have coped with everything else life has handed them. We’ve seen the damage war causes. We’ve seen the damage death causes. We’ve seen the damage lies cause. We’ll now see the damage rape can cause.
Boycotting a period drama because it offers an insight into real life is no different than denying such atrocities happen. For as long as rape and violence exists in non-fiction, it will exist in fiction, too.