March 25, 2016 at 9:41 am #320025thedarkonedearieParticipant
A crime in the traditional sense, no. But there is an emotional crime here and while I’ll concede that “wonky consent” might not be the best turn of phrase for it, there is still a deep betrayal here. One that need more than a “I’m sorry, sweetie” from the offender and more than just an acknowledgement of some suckyness. Because the real question is: had Belle know who Rumple was when she came back (the newly instated Dark One) would she still have slept with him? That’s your litmus test. Belle believes she is sleeping with pure-hearted, hero Rumple. She’s not. She’s sleeping with the man who had that status, apparently learned something during that time, and then consciously and readily gave it all up to become the man who is not pure hearted and not a hero but, instead, the man who stands in opposition to all those things, who is still a man who “takes what he wants.” The same person whom, last time, Belle kicked out of town and magically divorced. In other words, Belle is now sleeping with a man with whom she did not wish to engage in any romantic liaisons last time. The answer to the above litmus test then: no. That’s a problem. That’s a big problem and more than just a lie of omission. So yes, she’s sleeping with Rumple in the broad sense of his identity. This isn’t thinking your sleeping Marian, but really it’s Zelena territory. But in a less broad definition of Rumple’s character, Belle did not consent to sleep with the man Rumple is now. She consented to sleep with the man she thought he was–and while it’s absolutely possible that Rumple could become that man again (via plot device hat suck or otherwise)–in that moment, that single moment in time, Belle doesn’t really *know* who she is having relations with.
Ok, so this is kinda of difficult to process. I actually see both sides to this argument and I think after seeing what RG wrote above, I think I may actually land on that side as well. It is absolutely consent. When a husband lies to his wife about something he’s done, something she’s been upset about and basically divorced him over in the past, then sleeps with her when she doesn’t know this lie, is very wrong. It is consent. But there is no way she would have slept with him if she had known that piece of information.
But let’s say you’re at a party, and this girl meets this guy, they have a great time, they both drink, she consents at the end of the night….but he doesn’t tell her that he’s been convicted of a crime before and was in jail for it and just got out. She completely consented, but she probably would not have had she known this information. But what makes the Belle situation so personal, is that it’s a lie we know she would not be ok with. Now it’s also fair to say that a big reason why she kicked him out of Storybrooke was because of the gauntlet showing he cared more for his power than her, and it’s possible that although Rumple took back the power again from Hook this time around, perhaps he has changed in that he cares for Belle more than the power, even though he has the power back. Maybe he just wants to have his cake and eat it too. And maybe she would accept that. But people lie or leave details out in order to “get with” some guy or girl all the time. It’s not rape, it’s just sleazy. And the show should recognize that and give us more than just a simple apology from Rumple when Belle finds out. It should be a bigger deal than that. But there’s no issues of morality here. It just shows that Rumple continues to be a sleazy power-hungry emotional train wreck who continues to bring Belle down this addiction path with him.[adrotate group="5"]March 25, 2016 at 10:43 am #320027KebParticipant
It’s not the Dark One that Belle objects to, though she certainly would have objected to his nullifying Hook’s sacrifice in the way he did. She fell in love with Rumple as the Dark One and married him as the Dark One. His being the Dark One was not why she left him (though it did influence the behavior that caused her to leave).
Mainly she objected to not being chosen over power and being lied to. Very reasonable. So yes, she probably would not have slept with him immediately given full disclosure in this case.
I think that they may yet make it work IF Rumple comes clean to her (and we don’t know everything he told her before leaving yet–there could be more), and IF she realizes that he wasn’t choosing power over her because she was no longer in the picture at that moment. She knows better than anyone what kind of man he is and what weaknesses he has, though she’s naive enough to believe he can overcome them through willpower alone. She may not understand how the darkness controls a person’s outlook, but she has wrestled with her own demons of insecurity. That’s part of why it hurt so much when she realized he was lying to her about the dagger–she needed him to trust her as much as she was trusting him, and both sides of the equation were completely violated.
Meh. I agree that it was not fully-informed consent, but I think it was consent nonetheless. And that doesn’t make the baby less precious or important. Nor does it make the story less interesting, though it does fit into a trend of A&E presenting serious consent issues without really addressing what’s going on, starting with Graham in S1.
I’m still looking forward to seeing how this plays out, however. I’ve said since the beginning that the Rumbelle relationship (and, actually, most of the core relationships on the show) is no model for a real one. Marrying a man who murdered his first wife…or falling for a woman who killed/tried to kill both her parents…or a man who keeps trophies of his kills…all REALLY REALLY bad ideas in real life. Our core villains/anti-heroes are NOT GOOD PEOPLE TO DATE.
But they also have magic and exist in a magical storybook. They are characters with extreme flaws. At least Rumple and Killian have both been shown to care about a woman’s consent to some degree. In shipping these characters, we have to treat their myriad crimes as…I guess more allegorical. Otherwise even Snowing would be problematic.
Keeper of Belle's Gold magic, sand dollar, cloaks, purple FTL outfit, spell scroll, library key, copy of Romeo and Juliet, and cry-muffling pillow, Rumple's doll, overcoat, and strength, and The Timeline. My spreadsheet: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6r8CySCCWd9R0RUNm4xR3RhMEU/view?usp=sharingMarch 25, 2016 at 11:05 am #320028
t’s not the Dark One that Belle objects to, though she certainly would have objected to his nullifying Hook’s sacrifice in the way he did. She fell in love with Rumple as the Dark One and married him as the Dark One. His being the Dark One was not why she left him (though it did influence the behavior that caused her to leave). Mainly she objected to not being chosen over power and being lied to. Very reasonable. So yes, she probably would not have slept with him immediately given full disclosure in this case
I agree with this. And that’s what makes 5×11 so damning. He was free from all that darkness, all power, and he chose it again. If he had been the Dark One all along, and still sent her away, and she came back without the in-between nature of the pure-hearted hero, then it’s a whole different ballgame. She knows who he is in that situation.
I think that they may yet make it work IF Rumple comes clean to her (and we don’t know everything he told her before leaving yet–there could be more),
*Highly* doubtful. When Rumple can get away with lying, he will. I doubt very much,that having just awoken from a night with his true love after thinking he’d never see her again, he told her that he was the Dark One again through his own actions and decisions, plotted from the moment Emma walked into the shop.
And that doesn’t make the baby less precious or important. Nor does it make the story less interesting, though it does fit into a trend of A&E presenting serious consent issues without really addressing what’s going on, starting with Graham in S1.
Well, no of course it doesn’t reflect on the baby. No one’s implying that. But it does mean that not only are A and E once again playing with serious consent issues without addressing them, but given where we think the story will likely go (baby heals Rumple for good because love) it means the baby is nothing more than a plot point to explore Rumple’s character because in A and E’s world babies magically fix everything (unless the baby is Nealfire, and that’s a whole other issue that I won’t get into here). It’s the hat suck but with a human face.
Otherwise even Snowing would be problematic.
They are problematic though. And the longer the show goes on, the more problematic their “together or not at all” and random abandonment of their child attitude gets. Remember the Love and Romance thread we had a few years ago? One of the biggest takeaways was that everyone who participated found Snowing more troubling than we wanted to admit initially.
So yes, we could treat the relationship on this show as allegorical and completely disconnected from the real world, but there are a few problems with that. First, it’s not where this show started. It began as very human, very real. It had the fairy tale elements but everything about it felt grounded in a reality that we could understand and touch because the stories, legends, myths, and fables are supposed to speak to the human condition and connect with us across time and space. Second, simply saying it’s all allegorical or that we can’t apply real world logic means that the writers have free licence to do as they will without facing the music (like the never ending consent issues, even if the Rumple/Belle situation here is, as @thedarkonedearie put it, really hard to process. There are others that aren’t so hard to process). And third, it means that the show is getting further and further from anything real and character-driven because everything is about the plot and big dramaz which begs the question of why anyone should be invested in characters that act outside the parameters of humanity.
I agree with @thedarkonedearie that it’s so hard to process but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing if the show gave these complex issues room to breathe and be explored in their narrative. But plot always comes first and I sincerely doubt we’re going to get much in the way of human exploration for these issues in the upcoming episodes. This isn’t something that can be solved in one centric. It should take time. But it most likely won’t and that makes me deeply uncomfortable."He was a lot of things to me" "The only conclusion was love"March 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm #320053nevermoreParticipant
Ok, I’m going to throw in my two cents, with the caveat that I think there are no good or easy answers here. But before I get on, I also wanted to highlight something. The criminalization of marital rape began in the US in the 1970s, and by 1993 most states had recognized it as a type of sexual offense. Similar timeline for the UK I think. If you think about this, it’s extremely recent in the grand scheme of things. Before that, non-consensual sex between spouses was a non-issue because, the logic went, a marital contract stipulated the husband’s sexual access to his wife, period, and this access could not be retroactively retracted. I’m bringing this up because I think, because Belle and Rumple are technically married, there is a risk of treating consent a little differently, which shouldn’t be the case.
Ok, what follows is long so,
TL;DR: If we treat Rumple’s issues as a form of addiction then what he did is indeed an offense, but I don’t think the offense is sexual in nature, and treating it as such unduly conflates sexuality with intimacy more broadly defined.
All that being said, there’s a couple of things that come to mind for me. First, I think the writing in the recent seasons has tended towards the vapid. There is a lot of very weird, clunky, and pretty tawdry plot twists around sexual intimacy (Zelena and Robin, this thing with Rumple and Belle, and, lets face it, much of CS) that seems to me to be aimed at a kind of soap-opera (or, lets face it, high-schoolish) sensibility. I think this is harmful, because a family show that’s constantly treating sex in this sort of breathlessly scandalous way is not doing anyone any favors: it’s not feminist, it’s not helping create positive and interesting conversations around the topic with younger viewers (sure, you can turn anything into a “teaching moment,” but in OUAT’s case it’s more the result of how bad and thoughtless some of its gender politics seem to be), and it’s not offering adults the sort of intellectual provocation that S1 certainly had on the table. So with this in mind, I have trouble thinking through the Rumbelle thing because I honestly don’t know how much thought the writers put into it. It’s one thing to contemplate an ambiguous and divisive object — to use an art analogy, say a Kandinsky, or a Picasso — and an altogether another to read too much into a toddler’s squigglies, or a splash of ketchup on the wall.
But back to the Rumbelle debacle — the problem is that insofar as the show is “allegorical,” it would be important to decide what it’s an allegory for. So we don’t have a society that has a morality built around magic use. Therefore we have to apply a different set of moral codes to OUAT, by analogy. But that’s the question — what analogy do we choose? For example, if we say that Rumple’s DO thing is an addiction like, say, alcoholism. If a husband promised his wife he would stop drinking because it puts a strain on their marriage, but then he secretly starts again but doesn’t tell her, and they have sex, is this wonky consent? I don’t think so. Grounds for divorce, or at the very least some serious couples therapy? Oh yeah. No doubt about it. But is that a sexual offense? Again, I don’t think so, because that’s privileging sex as somehow the core of the marriage or the main thing that makes it real, or the main thing that’s imperiled by the alcoholism, at the expense of other aspects that constitute the partnership. I mean, we wouldn’t get so upset if they went out for ice cream and dancing and Rumple’s failed to fess up, so why make sex the pivotal litmus test for the breach of trust? Again, I think you guys are right — this is a breach of trust, it is grounds for some serious criticism of the relationship. But I am very reluctant to equate it to a sexual offense because it gives a very specific expression of sexuality (heterosexual, cis, and in this case, reproductive) undue weight.March 25, 2016 at 4:57 pm #320055
I’m bringing this up because I think, because Belle and Rumple are technically married, there is a risk of treating consent a little differently, which shouldn’t be the case.
Am I going crazy or didn’t they divorce in 4B? Isn’t there a line somewhere that alludes to them divorcing? Like early on in the arc?
I don’t know how that changes your argument–if it does at all–but it is something to consider, I guess.
But I am very reluctant to equate it to a sexual offense because it gives a very specific expression of sexuality (heterosexual, cis, and in this case, reproductive) undue weight.
You’ve definitely got a point here and I am trying to concede to not calling it a consent issue because I suppose it’s not really that in the same way that Regina/Graham is wonky consent. But how on earth do we even classify this? Because it’s such, to me, a deep level of betrayal because there was sex involved–or maybe, we should say intimacy involved since sex and intimacy don’t have to go hand in hand and moreover, it was reconciliation intimacy after a lengthy separation–that I have to call it *something.* Calling it problematic isn’t giving it the full weight that I do think it requires."He was a lot of things to me" "The only conclusion was love"March 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm #320060thedarkonedearieParticipant
a deep level of betrayal
You nailed it. THAT is what it is. Betrayal.March 25, 2016 at 5:16 pm #320061nevermoreParticipant
But how on earth do we even classify this? Because it’s such, to me, a deep level of betrayal because there was sex involved–or maybe, we should say intimacy involved since sex and intimacy don’t have to go hand in hand and moreover, it was reconciliation intimacy after a lengthy separation–that I have to call it *something.* Calling it problematic isn’t giving it the full weight that I do think it requires.
This is exactly what I was trying to put my finger on — that the problem is the intimacy more broadly defined, and focusing it back on sex misses the deeper psychological and moral quandary. Here, I think, is one of the problems: it’s that we’ve gotten used to thinking that truly profound moral offenses are only recognizable through legal redress. And so making it a sexual offense puts it in that realm where justice might, conceivably, be done. But this doesn’t help us with cases that are ambiguous, like this one.
That’s a cultural thing, too. For example, there are/were cultures where (moral) offenses might have been dealt with by public shaming. Essentially, the logic is that if you take liberties with the social order, there will be consequences. The moral offender would get placed in a circle of his peers, and they’d all loudly recite all the bad juju he’d done and embarrass the crap out of him for the whole village to laugh at and scold. Then there’d be some penance, typically through labor. And to be sure, the way our legal system works also has this element of public shaming, but that’s arguably not its alleged function. So, exactly, how does one classify this (because it should be recognized for exactly all the reasons you so beautifully list, as something profoundly immoral) without trivializing it as a talking point for a divorce lawyer?March 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm #320063
So, exactly, how does one classify this (because it should be recognized for exactly all the reasons you so beautifully list, as something profoundly immoral) without trivializing it as a talking point for a divorce lawyer?
Betrayal is getting us there but it does it get us there the entire way? Is the show even going to call it that? What will the show call it once Belle does find out?
Side note: but after a quick conversation with Matt, the divorce was not in the same sense we use it; I guess just kicking him out of town signaled the end of their marriage from Belle’s perspective because I do also remember a lengthy conversation about whether Belle was technically cheating on Rumple with Will."He was a lot of things to me" "The only conclusion was love"March 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm #320070
To bring this back, slightly, to our current arc, but the show has been referencing Dante’s Inferno a bit since we started and it’s interesting that the lowest level of Hell is “Betrayal/Treachery,” specifically those who betray a specific relationship (Caina: family, Antenora: country; Ptlomoaea: guests; Judecca: lords and benefactors)
I have no reason to believe that Dante’s depiction is going to play a significant part here, but maybe it does mean that Rumple has to face the music about a seriously deep betrayal of his family. Maybe it means the show will call it more than a mere lie; they’ll emphasize how deeply betrayed Belle feels."He was a lot of things to me" "The only conclusion was love"March 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm #320071PriceofMagicParticipant
Screwball Ninja came up with a good point about how Rumple gets fiercely protective about his children eg Spinner Rumple burnt down a castle and killed the previous DO in order to protect Baelfire.
Hades has just threatened Rumple’s second child. Hades is not going to walk away from this unscathed.
All magic comes with a price!Keeper of Felix
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