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SPOILERS AHEAD - you've been warned

I'm pissed. What have they done to our hero June? Why have they done this??

She raped Luke. I know men can be raped my women and the specifics of if are quite complex, but why in the hell would June rape Luke??? She was repeatedly raped in Gilead, she was used as a human incubator, she was tortured... Why would she take it on Luke of all people?

I get that she's been through a lot of trauma and protagonists don't have to be perfect, but c'mon! I didn't see the character getting to this point. It felt completely out of the blue. She yealled at Serena in one of the most cathartic scenes in the show and then she raped her husband. Like, what the actual fuck? Yealling at someone she hates got her horny?? It makes no sense to me...

Someone said in another thread about the show that a man is writing this season. I guess it makes sense then... The show is mostly about the abuse women suffer in the hands of men, so now the male writer might want to do a turn tables of sorts, I don't know. I mean, this thing is so weird. I just don't think it's believable. That's not something June would do. What has this show become?

And the final scence where she's describing Serena's behavior while they show her, Luke and Nichole playing outside. She says "She's abusive, manipulative and narcisistic. She will beat you, she will rape you" etc. They clearly wanted to show how she was actually talking about herself. So ridiculous!

Do you guys feel the same way? I can't be the only one upset about this episode.

SPOILERS AHEAD - you've been warned I'm pissed. What have they done to our hero June? Why have they done this?? >! She raped Luke. I know men can be raped my women and the specifics of if are quite complex, but why in the hell would June rape Luke??? She was repeatedly raped in Gilead, she was used as a human incubator, she was tortured... Why would she take it on Luke of all people? !< I get that she's been through a lot of trauma and protagonists don't have to be perfect, but c'mon! I didn't see the character getting to this point. It felt completely out of the blue. >! She yealled at Serena in one of the most cathartic scenes in the show and then she raped her husband. Like, what the actual fuck? Yealling at someone she hates got her horny?? It makes no sense to me... !< Someone said in another thread about the show that a man is writing this season. I guess it makes sense then... The show is mostly about the abuse women suffer in the hands of men, so now >! the male writer might want to do a turn tables of sorts, I don't know. !< I mean, this thing is so weird. I just don't think it's believable. That's not something June would do. What has this show become? >! And the final scence where she's describing Serena's behavior while they show her, Luke and Nichole playing outside. She says "She's abusive, manipulative and narcisistic. She will beat you, she will rape you" etc. They clearly wanted to show how she was actually talking about herself. So ridiculous! !< Do you guys feel the same way? I can't be the only one upset about this episode.

38 comments

[–] LOriginedumonde 16 points (+16|-0) Edited

The show is mostly about the abuse women suffer in the hands of men

Yet no one gave a damn when all the women were getting beaten, raped, and impregnated in Gilead, but now there are hoards of people on Reddit saying they’ll no longer watch the show because of the June and Luke rape scene. The outrage is so telling.

I personally didn’t think the scene was that bad, at least not as utterly horrific as people are implying. I assume that the show is trying to transform June from the abused to the abuser and I think that really does a disservice to the overall message.

[–] [Deleted] 6 points (+9|-3)

Exactly. I honestly don't care. I don't watch the show because it's full of torture porn of women being raped. No idea why this is suddenly where the public draws the line.

[–] Stealthygal 4 points (+5|-1)

I quit two episodes into season 2 because it was clearly just torture porn now.

[–] Xact 1 points (+3|-2)

It's not torture porn, this is the most feminist show you're going to find, up until this very poor writing decision. June becomes a literal liberationist, the show is extremely critical of men, and she helps (and does) kill many men. The show is about revolution. By season 2, it's a lot less about the mundane daily oppression, and more about June's attempted escapes and her working with an undercover revolutionary network.

[–] remquarqk 2 points (+4|-2)

Yeah I don't think it's been torture porn either. Everything that happens in the show has happened somewhere in the world, to women. Unfortunately it's more realistic than if the show were more tame.

[–] kaitzi 0 points (+0|-0)

You can enjoy the show, but the most feminist show?

Please. Yanxi Palace, a literal harem story, is more feminist.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 2 points (+2|-0)

now there are hoards of people on Reddit saying they’ll no longer watch the show because of the June and Luke rape scene

is their outrage for the same reasons as mine? i'm confused.

I assume that the show is trying to transform June from the abused to the abuser and I think that really does a disservice to the overall message.

that's what i think too.

[–] LOriginedumonde 12 points (+12|-0)

They’re outraged over the sight of a male being raped by a female, and how the focus is always on women who are raped by men as if males are not the overwhelming majority of rapist, especially violent rapist.

I agree that men who are raped deserve to talk about it and receive help without being shamed but it’s really sad how people can watch the violent rape of women throughout the series and barely bat an eye but when they’re shown a passively implied rape of an man then they’re all up in arms.

[–] Xact 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

Yeah, I made a post on handmaid's tale reddit saying that this was a horrible narrative shift away from centering female oppression and using the most unlikiest scenario of female on male "rape", and that female trauma overwhelmingly doesn't manifest in rape like men's trauma does, and tons of male sympathizers and men lost their minds and got it taken down. The men were happy about that scene. You know why. They love seeing a show centering male violence and power implying that females are capable of the same thing, even though the perpetuators of sexual violence are over 98% male.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 2 points (+2|-0)

oooh i see. well, you know how it is. men always want all the attention. they're the biggest victims of the crimes they invented themselves eyeroll

[–] remquarqk 2 points (+2|-0)

I assume that the show is trying to transform June from the abused to the abuser

Yeah, it's really deeply annoying, not to mention simplistic. You can tell the writers haven't ever experienced anything traumatic, or any type of real loss. I hope in next episodes this trend doesn't continue. I've been waiting for a scene where June finally gets counseling.

I've also been annoyed at the path Serena's character has taken. I don't believe she would be wanting to get close to Fred again, and I have a hard time believing that the baby would be her first priority over freedom from the regime and war crimes. They've taken what her character learned last season and just sort of ignored it.

[–] Xact 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

I hate that they did this with a show that's supposed to be centering the oppression of women by men.

In regards to Serena, I also don't like the suggestions that Serena is responsible for Gilead. Women like her help uphold patriarchy, but she sure as fuck wasn't the one holding the reins and a cultural shift like that is not one person's doing or one person's book. In the scenes where they showed Serena doing speeches and people were mad, all the people were holding signs saying "Nazi", even though her whole fucking book was about the subjugation of women. Like, WTF?

[–] remquarqk 4 points (+4|-0)

To me it just seems like the writers are all wealthy libfem/liberal and therefore flatten the characters who aren't, making them extremely one-dimensional.

June's mother---they made her somewhat dislikable as the only strong radical feminist-minded character pre-Gilead. She became sort of a caricature---an older woman who is downright against marriage and against June having a normal job as a copywriter. No nuance there.

Serena--the conservative alt-right activist---obsessed with having a baby. I think they took her obsession too far, to the point where I don't believe it anymore. I think she was god-loving and conservative minded, sort of used as a pawn in the making of Gilead. But over time she definitely woke up and realized her domestic dream wasn't a reality in the regime. I thought it was okay up until then, but having her double down and claim June's baby in Canada really misinterprets her character for me. I don't think a real life Serena would double down like that, I think her views would be irrevocably shifted as she realized Gilead was evil. I just think the writers are ignoring how her subjugation would have re-aligned her beliefs in a real world setting.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 1 points (+1|-0)

great points. she contributed to the rise of gilead, but she wasn't responsible for it. she didn't have the power to do so. it's absurd. fred did the raping and june seemes to hate serena alone. i get that serena is the weakest of the two and june might not want to face her agressor, but it's just too weird for me...

[–] LOriginedumonde 1 points (+1|-0)

I hope the trend doesn’t continue either. Id love for the next episode to illustrate the nuance in what happened with the “rape” scene.

I’m actually fine with the direction Serena’s character is going. She helped create Gilead and wrote that book “a woman’s place” about how women need to be subservient to men. I think her character illustrates the evil of some women and how they will sell out other women for their own gain. That’s why I think making June out to be a “rapist” was a cheap shot when they already had Serena who’s no doubt experienced a lot of trauma yet she still held down women while her husband raped them. I’ll be pissed if they try to redeem Serena while making June out to be a monster. She only started disliking Gilead when her seat at the table was taken away, even though she helped set the stage for that to happen. I really want to see her and Fred face justice. I don’t think she ever learned anything, she just only cares about herself and her wants and doesn’t care how many people she has to hurt to get it.

[–] remquarqk 2 points (+2|-0)

I don’t think she ever learned anything

Kind of disagree there. I think in the previous season she was slowly realizing how bad Gilead was. Getting her finger cut off, seeing Eden killed. She even gave Nicole away because she knew how bad Gilead was for women specifically. At the end of the season she turned in Fred, tricking him to drive into Canada. But then she sort of stalled in character development this season, imo. And now she is regressing backwards.

It would be more interesting if at this point Serena faced punishment but also wanted to bring Gilead down. I don't think her and Fred on are on the same level here.

[–] kaitzi 0 points (+0|-0)

Yeah. When people the next day were like “the rape scene!” I was like “hmm I know I was only half-watching but how could I miss something this traumatic that on ‘the handmaid’s tale’ where women are regularly raped and tortured, but this is ‘too far’?”

Then I read and rewatched what everyone was referring to and was like “are you fucking kidding me.”

[–] remquarqk 8 points (+8|-0) Edited

She raped Luke.

Yeah they lost me with this one. It didn't make sense. Realistically, after the scene with Serena, she'd probably be a bit numb, in the body and mind.

This episode was actually written by a woman, Yahlin Chang. She says she talked to trauma experts and then made the scene about June bringing some of Gilead back with her: https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/05/10474960/june-luke-handmaids-tale-sex-scene-season-4

The Handmaid’s Tale writers room aimed to capture the unvarnished “truth” of what June’s return would look like through this upsetting scene. “We all want a fairy tale ending for June. I really, really do,” episode writer Yahlin Chang told Refinery29 over email. “Is it realistic, given what this particular character has gone through … given her years in Gilead and all the trauma and violence that has infused her life there (and some of which she has been forced to inflict), that on this particular day right after she left Gilead that she could instantly snap into a super healthy and tender intimate relationship with Luke?”

So it's almost like they said 'oh no we can't make it a fairy tale ending!' and instead decided for June to try and 'take back the power' like how one might in a bdsm porno. It was still a pop culture porno narrative, and an unrealistic one. They just did what they could to reverse a potential 'fairy tale.'

My initial interpretation was that June just wanted her old life back, and the scene with Serena reminded her of how much she lost. But then I read this dumb Refinery article and I was like....oh....really?? Yeah.

It also pisses me off that they assume everyone wants the fairy tale ending. It's like, I don't really think so?? The viewers want her to be FREE and free to be herself again. Reuniting with her children would be great, but no one I've seen is wanting her to fall back into a 'fairy tale.' I read the Handmaid's Tale subs and most of the women there (non radfem) don't even care about a stupid fairy tale ending. It's so cheap of them to assume this.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 6 points (+6|-0)

well, there are many ways to avoid a fairytale ending. no need to turn the victim into the perpetrator. as you said, she'd probably be numb after talking to serena. i see people in june's situation being revengeful (although never gettig their revenge), full of rage, depressed, traumatized, numb, etc. but i don't see them raping. i don't know... it just feels very incoherent with the character.

[–] remquarqk 2 points (+2|-0)

Yeah the victims I've known have shown signs of rage, numbness, dissociation, and especially panic attacks. There's no way June wouldn't be experiencing severe panic attacks at this point along with her flashbacks. It's annoying they picked showing her raping someone over having a panic attack---I just don't believe it.

[–] Xact 6 points (+6|-0) Edited

On a radical feminist website of all places, you're really going to align what June did to Luke as rape? Really? Women are the sex class, that is why rape is what it is. A woman covering the mouth of a man that says "wait, but,,," (and we all know he was about to ask if she was sure she wants to do this), and then has sex with his continued hard on, an act he is 100% capable of stopping at anytime, is not rape. Sex is the epitome of male power. Men are not scared of women, the implications are night and day. Unless we're talking about some physically disabled man or a child, which we aren't, people are extremely wrong to classify this as rape. We need to get out of this libfem ideology of consent, where "yes" or "no" are all that it takes, instead of taking into account an entire context, hence the reason these people see what June did to a man being rape and what BDSM and sex work is as CONSENT. You would have to ignore the entire context of their relationship and the power relations in place and implications that come along with it.

I'm extremely mad because the writers put in the scene, which was not characteristic of what female trauma looks like, and implied that it was rape with the monologue scene at the end. That's why I'm mad. They've been hinting at vilifying June this season throughout the scenes with Moira talking shit. So now they're falling down the obligatory trope in every show starring women where everyone as a group has to come down on the female protagonist.

But worse, they shifted the narrative away from misogyny with this one stupid scene and onto MaLe ViCtImiZaTiOn. I'm fucking pissed. And I'm a huge fan of this show and think they've done an incredible job, up to this point.

I also posted on Handmaid's Tale reddit about how they chose the unlikiest scenario of female on male rape, and people dogpiled me at the mere mention that female on male rape was extremely rare, which is a fucking fact. God fucking forbid we use that same all lives matter logic towards any other oppressed group and shit would hit the fan, but I can't acknowledge FACTS without people losing their minds.

[–] LOriginedumonde 5 points (+5|-0) Edited

A woman covering the mouth of a man that says "wait, but,,," (and we all know he was about to ask if she was sure she wants to do this)

See this is how my husband and I interpreted this when we saw it. It just seemed like he was about to ask if she was sure she wanted to do this because he knows all the sexual trauma she experienced.

I’m really disgusted with the direction the show is taking and I’m not sure if I can enjoy it any longer if it continues down this path.

[–] remquarqk 4 points (+4|-0)

I also posted on Handmaid's Tale reddit about how they chose the unlikiest scenario of female on male rape, and people dogpiled me at the mere mention that female on male rape was extremely rare

I think I may have seen this comment, or a similar comment where someone was like "yeah it wasn't that bad---female and male rape just aren't comparable" and the post was highly downvoted with some users getting raged over it. Absolutely stunning.

[–] Xact 4 points (+4|-0) Edited

I made a whole thread about it, and it was flagged and people called me a TERF. Here's what my post said:

"This is one of my favorite shows of all time, mainly because of its accurate depictions of misogyny and male-female dynamics under a system of patriarchy.

This newest episode just took a turn for the worst. So, I've noticed some narratives of shaming June that I haven't agreed with throughout this series, where it seems to be validating (like Moira says at some point in this episode) some Auny Lydia/Gilead shit, but I've usually brushed it off.

Now it seems like we're falling into the obligatory bring down the female protagonist/hero trope that I come across in EVERY female led series.

And now that June is finally in Canada, they're going to try to liken her and draw parallels between her and Serena? And you're also now trying to depict (or at least suggest) that she's a rapist? Come the fuck on, writers.

This might as well be straight from men's rights activism. In real life, her husband is 100X more likely to rape her than vice versa, but you choose to go down the most unlikeist rabbit hole. Something even much more unlikely than false rape accusations. We live in a world of male violence against women at epidemic proportions, and this is the narrative you decide to play out, out of everything you could have done.

Sexual assault by female rape victims is extremely rare, even moreso towards adult men. It's more likely that they hurt themselves and are at higher risk of being raped and traumatised by more men. But this is what you choose to do.

Shame on the writers."

And here's the link for thread and all the responses:

https://www.reddit.com/r/TheHandmaidsTale/comments/nlb4wx/spoiler_s4e7_writers_did_a_bad_job_on_this_one/

I don't think I said anything untrue or controversial in that thread. It's true, female rape victims overwheeeeelmingly don't become rapists, let alone rapists of adult MEN, and if anything, realistically, Luke is more likely to rape her, according to all statistics. I even had a dude digging deeeeeep into my post history (like half a year deep) to find a post where I said men are lucky we give them their time and that they should pay on dates, and he debated me on THIS. I mean, the amount of fragility concerning men's power throughout the thread is fucking absurd.

[–] remquarqk 5 points (+5|-0)

It's ridiculous and sad that liberal feminists have casually adopted MRA talking points.

[–] LOriginedumonde 4 points (+4|-0)

Oh god...reading through those comments about gave me an aneurysm. Sometimes I just wish that I could opt out of life if these are the types of people that I’m forced to walk among each day. I’m heterosexual but my all time dream is to have a sustainable female only commune on a beautiful private island or remote land. I’m so beyond sick of this shit.

[–] remquarqk 4 points (+4|-0)

Omg just skimmed, but the ignorance of female subjugation in history is mind-blowing. The same user arguing with you was the user I saw before getting mad at the other comment as well. Likely they are the ones who reported it. I'll have to read this whole thread.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 0 points (+0|-0)

apart from the "is it rape though?" thing, i agree with all the other things you wrote.

But worse, they shifted the narrative away from misogyny with this one stupid scene and onto MaLe ViCtImiZaTiOn. I'm fucking pissed. And I'm a huge fan of this show and think they've done an incredible job, up to this point.

they basically ruined the character who is the heart of the show. very upsetting.

On a radical feminist website of all places, you're really going to align what June did to Luke as rape? Really?

yes. really. i do think it was rape. the dynamic was very different from male on female rape, but it was rape as i see it.

i'll give a personal example of a situation that could have ended very badly for me. i once went on a date with a guy i had been seeing for a few days. he had adopted a kitten and i was excited to see it. he had to go home early and asked me if i wanted him to stay a little longer or if i preferred going to his house to meet the kitten. i said yes to the kitten and we left. when we arrived, i didn't even have time to pet the cat. the guy started kissing me and soon he took my top off. i didn't say anything. i didn't know how to react. i liked him, but i wasn't expecting sex. he never invited me to have sex. he invited me to meet the kitten. he simply assumed i'd want sex because we had been seeing each other for a couple days and had been making out. i was very uncomfortable, very quiet and motionless, but he didn't seem to notice. it was very difficult for me, but i could finally say "stop. i don't want this." he stopped.

what if i hadn't been able to say anything? what if i thought "well, i like him and if i reject him now, he'll be upset. better to just let it happen." would that have been rape?

i only realized that was fucked up after breaking up with him and thinking about it a lot. the reason why he didn't rape me was because he decided not to. in june and luke's case, i think the dynamic is different because luke could have stopped her. he's bigger and stronger. but i think he just didn't know what to do. maybe he didn't think much of it. but i do think it was still rape. it doesn't have to me violent and traumatic. rape is rape. silence isn't consent. and consent without enthusiasm isn't legit. luke was not enthusiastic about it. he said "wait" and she ignored him.

Everyone on the show subreddit is much more angry about this scene than any of the other rape scenes in the show. They're all tripping over themselves to go "men can be victims too!!!1!1" despite the 3.5 seasons of women being violently raped before this. Absolutely unreal.

[–] moody_ape [OP] 1 points (+2|-1)

i mean, it challenges tha """"natural"""" order of things: women are the ones supposed to be raped by men, and then accused of making it up or blamed for it. i get why they're so angry. (warning: tis comment contains irony)

Although I would agree that the scene was definitely unnecessary, I would not say that it happened out of the blue. Rape a lot of times is more about power or expressing anger than sexual release, and I am guessing that it was the whole point here- that June is trying to regain her power in otherwise powerless situation.

She’s clearly suffering from ptsd and hasn’t been offered any help for her mental problems, instead she’s just expected to deliver testimonies during the interrogation as well as fit seamlessly into semi normal domestic life with her husband. She feels entrapped and enraged, and since screaming at the top of her lungs at Serena doesn’t bring her any comfort or revenge, she’s using the only outlet she has.

What surprised me that a lot of people on the internet claim that the scene was more jarring and harder to watch than any other rape scenes shown in the series, and the only reason was because this time it was a man who was raped.

[–] remquarqk 6 points (+6|-0)

Rape a lot of times is more about power or expressing anger than sexual release

This is more true for men than women.

[–] Tolecue 2 points (+2|-0)

power and sexual release are most always linked. If it was mostly about power, why wouldn't men just simply beat up women and torture them without all the unnecessary penetrating sex. Rape is an efficient method for males to reproduce with females in the wild and sex for men is inherently about sexually dominating a woman.