Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marriage Bootcamp Encourages Marital Rape

So one of my guilty pleasures is Marriage Bootcamp: Bridezillas. I liked Bridezillas to an extent, so I thought I would try this show. While I have known from the first season and most of this (second) season that it has sexist values and gender roles, this week was the episode that dealt with sex and intimacy. Of course, they assured this batch of bootcampers that sex is essential in marriage, leaving out asexuals and anyone who doesn't want sex, but there was a new disturbing thing said that wasn't on the last season. When the youngest couple there, Shaun and Sofia were talking about sex and what they want from it, Sofia let out her frustration of Shaun not wanting it, which Shaun has explained working long and hard, going to the gym and living with Sofia's mother have all contributed to his lack of sex drive as of late. What Elizabeth, one of the directors, said as a response really angered me: Never say no to your mate. She implied it hurts your marriage when there is not sex and for your mate to feel rejection. Shaun, and a couple of the others there, Blanca and Gloria, expressed their distaste at such an idea, which Blanca summed up well when she said what if I feel sick? Isn't it selfish to try to have sex with me when I don't want to? This returning to this type of old school marriage is not good, considering marital rape is still a problem and is hard to prosecute. And even then, not all states of laws about marital rape. For this show, that is supposedly helping people with their marriages, to perpetuate rape culture and ancient gender roles is not only harmful to relationships already hurting, what happens when people watching with struggling relationships also take this advice? This is telling partners that is ok to have sex as long as you want to, disregarding your partner's feeling and their bodily autonomy. Since the comment in question happened when the male in the relationship said he did not want to have sex, what does this mean for males in general? That as husbands, and as males, they have no right to refuse? This goes hand in hand with the idea that men cannot be sexually assaulted and are always ready for sex. These gender roles that they are perpetuating through their program is not helping these marriages, it is just adding more hurt and even victimization possibly, and it would be nice that they were checked for such a thing. Rape is rape no matter your gender or relationship status. Being male or married does not mean you lose your right to say no. Bodily autonomy is for the rest fo your life, and you always can say no.

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