Rape culture is slowly being dissected, discussed and exposed. For decades the idea of rape only included the obvious scenarios. A monster like predator abducting a woman and brutally having sex with her against her will. However, as times have been changing, society has gained more insight on the many forms of rape that were once deemed acceptable in the past.
We live in a patriarchal society where men possess certain privileges and passes that are not rewarded to women. The whole idea that women have to strive to “not get raped” is an ideology that men have been benefiting from for years.
In the Season three premiere of The Carmichael Show “Yes Means Yes”, we find the Carmichael family gathered together in the parent’s kitchen. Maxine shockingly reads a friend’s Facebook status that sets the tone for the entire episode. She reads that one of her close friends has been raped a year ago and is just now finding the courage to talk about it. She later finds out that there is an entire hashtag campaign dedicated to women sharing their similar stories.
The whole family is on board, stating that what happened to Maxine’s friend was horrible and shameful, until Maxine announces that the victim was not attacked in the traditional way. After meeting a guy at an event, she agreed to go to his home but only to make out with him, not to have sex. This is when things get complicated.
Maxine tries to explain to the family that a woman’s consent is always needed in any case scenario. She urges them that it is very important to hear a woman say “yes” before preceding with sex. The family disagrees for they are still holding onto the idea that only vicious predictors are considered rapist, or “rappers” as they called it.
After listening to Maxine, Bobby realizes that he may have indeed rapped a young lady the night before. She was intoxicated and did not give her consent. Jerrod tries to talk him out of the idea of being a rapist by insuring him how much of a good guy he is.
Watching the episode up until this part left me with a lot of emotions. One thing that I love about the Carmichael Show is the different perspectives of each character. These are everyday people living ordinary lives. They speak like us and think like us. They have been influenced by their surroundings just like we all have . So naturally, everyone was not going to agree with Maxine’s views on rape.
However, I was waiting for the two other women in the room, Cynthia and Nekiesha, to stand up and take Maxine’s side. They never really did. Yes, they did have input and expressed their opinions but, she was solely in this battle alone. I understand that all three of these woman share different experiences and have different backgrounds. I just really wanted to see the mother show some wisdom in this subject matter. Yes it is true that the generation in which she grew up in shared different beliefs about rape. The ideas were not as progressive as they are now. Still, I think that a woman should still be able to feel when something is wrong.
It was very refreshing to see Bobby showing remorse for what he may have done. He learned something very valuable at that kitchen table and it hit home. An escape from Jarrod who was holding firm to his traditional beliefs.
In the end, we learn that Bobby’s alleged victim did not believe she was raped. We find out that she just didn’t enjoy Bobby’s sex. She even says that he “wasn’t aggressive enough”. Leaving the cast even more confused about rape than they were before.
In true fashion, The Carmichael Show did a great job with the mixing of comedy and drama. As I said before, because these are real everyday people, things cannot become too awkward for they are just being themselves. I only wish that the message of consent was drove home more strongly. Maxine did argue it over and over again but because she was severely outnumbered, I am not sure if the audience was able to completely receive the message. All in all, it was a job well done.
I want to thank The Carmichael Show for continuing to explore taboo topics. It is very much needed to day!
This is an unofficial review. I am in no way connected to The Carmichael Show or NBC. I do not own the rights to any images used in this blog.
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