As written by GHH member, TVacademic

There's this underlying message that does not sit [well] with me... It's the "saving" of Abby.  First, there's the set up: as a stripper, she, of course, hates her job and has low self-worth.  These elements are not fully troubling (though suspect) on their own, but are then further blurred by the question of prostitution--does she or does she not sell herself for sex, and should we or should we not equate these two things?  Even the presumption that prostitution and stripping are linked is problematic, and I'm not sure that the line has been fully drawn by anyone but Michael.

Then there's Abby's redemption through "saving."  The issue is not that she does not deserve respect--just that one's survival of attempted rape should not alone be reason to receive it.  Both Carly and Sonny have changed their minds about Abby's role in Michael's life, and it seems to be for two equally troubling reasons: 1) that she helped Michael heal and open up presumably by nearly being raped herself (there's a scary implication that her attempted rape had a positive outcome because Michael got to save her--so, in short, her assault was not about her, it was about him) and 2) that, now that she's clearly a victim, she's worthy of respect.

Prior to being sexually assaulted and having the tar beaten out of her, she was suspect; however, it is apparently impossible to be both a victim and a person of questionable morals, so she must be good.  This not only reinvigorates the age-old sexual dichotomy in which women are forever trapped (femme fatale vs. angel in need of saving), but it undermines Abby's sexual agency--her ability to define herself, her own sexual boundaries, and her own conduct--whatever that is.  She's been defined externally by events, not internally by self.  What's worse--she seems to identify with these definitions, seemingly supporting the notion that being "saved" by Michael is the fundamental moment of her attempted rape--he is the focal point of the experience, not her.


Characters have power through longevity and complexity, and Abby, who I actually think is potentially pretty interesting, is in danger of being a plot point in Michael's recovery (in part because he has more power as a character--he's enmeshed and she is not), and this sends a very dangerous message when rape is involved.  She is not only objectified by her rapist but by nearly every character on the show (even Michael sees the attack on her as a watershed moment for *his* emotional awakening); she's a symbol, not a fully defined person.  I hope this changes because there are elements of this story that are truly fantastic, but it's highly problematic to make the attempted rape of a woman about the rape of a man, just as the reverse would be.

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