After having watched 300 twice now in mixed company, I continue to be disturbed, perturbed and supremely irritated by the fact that men still don’t seem to understand the difference between coercion and consent when it comes to sexual intercourse. 300 has a very distressing scene where The Spartan Queen offers herself to a Councilman in order to get the Spartan Council to send their army to assist the 300 soldiers battling Xerxes’ merciless horde. After offering herself, the Councilman slams the Queen into a wall and presses her face into it roughly, snarling into her ear from behind, “This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your King.” There seems to be some confusion with the male sex about whether this was or wasn’t rape. Men seem to think that because she offered herself it couldn’t have been rape and women across the board know that what took place was indeed rape of the worst form. I’m going to break it down very simply for men, or anyone, who may be unclear on the differences between coerced and consenting sex.
Rape is not just when a man violently forces himself on a woman as she screams “No NO NO.” Rape is also coercion. When a man pesters a woman and she has said “No” nicely a hundred times, but then gets scared because he won’t let up and so says “Yes” just to get rid of him…That, my friend, is rape. One hundred no’s and one yes do not balance out. One can be forced to have sex in many ways. Like in 300. While the Queen was the Queen, she was still a woman and the power balance between men and women is scarcely equal. Not in 2500 BC Sparta, not now. Probably never, because this is the world we live in.
Furthermore, just because a woman consents, whether coerced or paid or whatever, that does NOT give a man the right to hurt her. Telling someone that “This will not be over quickly” and that “You will not enjoy this.” That is rape. Hurting someone with sexual violence on purpose, knowing you are hurting the woman, that is indeed rape. That lady from Monster comes to mind, who was so abused by men as a prostitute that in the end she just snapped and began killing the men who came to her. And you know what, those men deserved it. Pedophiles and men who go to prostitutes should be castrated, but that’s a separate essay. It’s only a shame that the Councilman in 300 didn’t suffer more when he died.
To recap: Consent comes willingly, without a threat, without money exchanging hands, without coercion. If a woman is coerced into sex in whatever way the man manages to do it, that is still RAPE. It is rape because there is the absence of two consenting adults. Coercion is also rape.
I hope there will be no further questions about what happened in 300 and whether it was rape. It was. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.