old book discourse, sexual assault 

Okay real talk time, though: I keep seeing the disc horse accusing the novel 1984 of being “rape apologism” and as somewhat who read it relatively recently… wut?

Like, sincerely: wut?

Anyway tl;dr this discussion has brought me to the conclusion that everyone in fandom needs to read and write at least one essay analyzing the themes of 1984 before being allowed to write any Thoughts On The Internet about what people are "allowed" to ship or whatever because, seriously. People.

George Orwell died like seventy years ago and he still S A W Y O U

While you're at it, the Extra Credit Bonus Essay is on: Current Modes of Fandom Discourse Around "Purity" in Media Consumption and Creation Owe Their Roots to the Specific Theological Teachings of Far-Right American Evangelical Christianity and Attempts to Impose Them as Universal Moral Precepts are American and/or Christian Cultural Imperialism (Discuss).

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alis yeah idgi either. Definitely has some weird sexuality takes but like... wat

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alpine_thistle I didn’t even think it’s sex-takes were all that odd? Like, Orwell is obviously Making A Point about human relationships getting messed up by authoritarianism, but…?

I’m so confused, lol.

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alis it's been a hot second since I read it, but I remember the portrayal of sex being kind of weird and ~problematic (though that could also be my attitude at the time coloring my memory of the book) if not the actual ideas behind it. But that's too complicated for today's crowd apparently

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alpine_thistle Refreshing my memory with Wikipedia (lol), Winston apparently does have some rape/murder fantasies about Julia early on in the book when he thinks she's a spy for the Thought Police and before she initiates a sexual relationship with him, so I guess that's what people are referring to?

Maybe it's just that the whole thing about "fanatical young women as the militant enforcement arm of The Party" is, like Too Real for the fandom anti set, lol.

@alis every single time someone says something about ~morals I'm just like "ok did you learn that at Jesus Camp"

@alpine_thistle There's a couple of posts going around on Tumblr at the moment that have, like, this combination of "any media creator not 100% Morally Pure is Cancelled 5eva and no one should ever read anything they ever write because none of it has any value of any kind!" and "any protagonist not 100% Morally Pure is also Cancelled 5eva for Doing Fiction Wrong!" that kind of, like, blend together in the whole "oh okay I guess we're not even pretending any more" sort of way...

@alis it's funny because demanding that everything be uncomplicatedly moral to begin with removes the ability for stories to ask readers uncomfortable questions about their OWN relationship to morality

@alpine_thistle It's almost like... and this is wild so just bear with me for a sec, but it's almost like...

t h a t ' s t h e w h o l e p o i n t

... or nah that's not it, surely?

@alis what do you MEAN by suggesting that any of these people have anything else to learn about themselves?????? They already have it figured out!!!!!!

@alpine_thistle My [insert authority figure here] already told me everything I need to know about myself and the world. Making me question any of that is uncomfy and making me uncomfy is Wrong and that means you're Bad for doing it and I'm going to backread everything you've ever written on the internet to make a call-out post so that everyone knows just how Bad you are.

@alpine_thistle Extreme facetiousness aside, I don't think this is quite the whole story because there is definitely a space that needs to be carved out for, like. Performative guilt? Like it's Moral to be made uncomfy for guilt over something you have little/no control over, but as soon as the uncomfyness comes from something that requires some kind of personal action/change/growth/whatever it's Bad and people are Wrong for making you feel it. Or something?

@alis it's okay as long as it's framed and concluded in Appropriate Ways. It should never leave you with a sense of anything but Righteousness

@alis something about the holy sacrament of "publicly acknowledging and disavowing your privileges"

@alis which reminds me of the "public confession of sins" incident my wife remembers from her childhood church (her parents stopped taking them to that church shortly afterward lol)

@alis yes, okay, I keep being like "this is some cultural revolution shit"

@alpine_thistle I think it’s more that it’s just a well-worn tactic for authoritarianism in general. It’s one of those things no one really has a “claim” to, and it keeps getting re-invented over and over again by whomever needs it to support whatever agenda. McCarthyism is the obvious American equivalent, for example.

@alpine_thistle So it's more about identifying when the pattern pops up again. No one is immune.

@alis Ah, people and having opinions on the internet, name a better duo

@Gargron The only person allowed opinions on the internet is obviously me, and also potentially anyone who agrees with me, but they should know I'LL BE WATCHING THEM just to check...

@Gargron He was the hero in the book, right? I'm pretty sure that's right.

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alis all i remember is very early on when winston fantasizes about raping julia when he catches himself thinking about her in the middle of the two minutes hate

was there anything else?

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@carcinopithecus I don't think so, no? From what I recall, once Julia approaches him their relationship is consensual, and it's portrayed relatively positively (given the constraints of the world they live in), and the fact that the Party actively tries to destroy it is the book's kind of ultimate "isn't authoritarianism fucked up because it does this?" message.

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alis how old is Julia? I remember she was something-teen while Winston is over 40 and I assume that's what people are on about.

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@tparadox According to Wikipedia, she's 26, but mentions she starts sleeping with Party members at sixteen.

(Recreational sex/sex outside of marriage is illegal in Ingsoc, so this is pretty blatantly portrayed as her way of rebelling against the Party; it's a whole Theme about whether this kind of individual "rebellion" is actually effective or not versus for e.g. collective action; arguably the book thinks you need both.)

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@alis oh that's what I remembered. And I agree her choice to engage in recreational sex comes from her rebellion against the state and Winston is just the latest opportunity to rebel.

old book discourse, sexual assault 


Wikipedia says she was born in 1958 but it's a) been a while for me as well and b) there isn't a text citation for that claim.

(I do remember thinking the age gap was gross when I read it in high school but that's a personal hangup and not a binding judgment on real people's relationships.)

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@kissmeagainarthas @tparadox Like I think it is supposed to be a bit gross? She's The Younger Woman (Winston is married but separated from his wife; divorce is illegal), but she's definitely, like. An adult.

She's actually kind of an Ur-Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype (*and* a deconstruction thereof, all wrapped up in one!), which is what amused me the most when I was reading it. :P

old book discourse, sexual assault 

@kissmeagainarthas @tparadox (Also, duh, the book is out of copyright, so I just Ctrl+F'd a PDF online and it definitely has the line "Julia was twenty-six years old" so... yeah.)

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