“The Entity,” Rape Fantasies, and Scary Realities
Today I finally had the opportunity to watch the movie The Entity. I had heard a lot about the story from my in-laws who pride themselves on their encyclopedic knowledge of the supernatural, specifically those that happened in California, and so it made the story all the more creepy. The movie, frightening enough on it’s own, seemed to be scarier due to the elements that had been drawn from the true story. This was the story of a ghost (or demon) that actually raped his victim. (I use the gender pronoun “he” purposefully, as they witnessed the image of a man).
I knew only of crude comedic references ghostly sexual encounters, as seen in Scary Movie 2, or the occasional erotic story about a hot (and somehow less scary) succubus. I had never before faced the scary reality about the existence of such phenomena, and the somewhat scarier attraction I had to the “scenes” of rape in the movie.
It’s terrifying as a feminist to acknowledge that my desire and fantasies sometimes bring up questions about consent, sadism, and voyeurism. I know that if I were to listen to the real woman tell her story, my heart would overflow with empathy for the pain and violation that she had to endure. But here, safely in my living room, watching professional actress Barbara Hershey get smacked around and ravaged by an invisible being.
If I didn’t know any better, it would sound like a kinky porno that I would enjoy watching, had it included some sort of negotiation, consent, or obviously fictional storyline. But as it was, I was struck with conflicting feelings about the rising heat in the pit of my stomach and depth of my Cunt.
There was a scene where she falls asleep after having just left her boyfriend’s house, and begins to dream about an erotic encounter. As she sleeps, we watch as invisible fingers press into her exposed breasts and pinch her full pink nipples. She moans and writhes against her invisible partner, waking up only after orgasming. When she begins to understand what had happened she freaks out and feels a depth of shame and anger that she had yet to experience.
As a health educator I often explain that our bodies and our brains aren’t always in sync. It’s a huge mistake that many people make that if someone’s body is responding to your touch, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want the touch or are consenting to it. And as in this case, sometimes you can come to orgasm even if you’re being raped. There are some really powerful resources available for survivors of sexual assault that grapple with feelings of pleasure mixed into their memories of the assault. Pandora’s Project offers a variety of resources including an article on sexual arousal & sexual assault.
So, where does this leave me? Of course there’s a huge difference between the reality of sexual assault and the fantasy world where I can control all the players and events. But I do have to wonder what larger impact this desire has on society? How does this fantasy perpetuate the eroticism of violence against women? How am I implicated in my own oppression?
Of course, I will continue to have desires that center around power and control, pain and punishment, humiliation, paranormal activity, and watching/being watched. But I will continue these fantasies with a strong hold on the old adage “Be Careful What You Wish For”.