Helen Mirren On Rape Is A Royal Ignoramus

Illustration for article titled Helen Mirren On Rape Is A Royal Ignoramus

Earlier this fall, in an interview with GQ, Helen Mirren said that if a woman is date raped, she shouldn't press charges because if she's voluntarily in a man's room with her clothes off, that's something to be "worked out between them." Yesterday, in a jaw dropping interview with the Times of London, Mirren was quoted saying that women are sexually competitive with other women, and as a result, they are less likely to convict rapists when on a jury. "In a rape case the courts in defense of a man would select as many women as they could for the jury, because women go against women," Mirren says. "Whether in a deep-seated animalistic way, going back billions of years, or from a sense of tribal jealousy or just antagonism, I don't know."At first, I thought perhaps the context of Mirren's statement would make it less nonsensical. I mean, why is Mirren even bringing up rape in an interview in the first place, much less for the second time in less than a year? I can't really imagine Julia Roberts weighing in on rape when talking to Redbook. But the context makes Mirren's statements even more damning, since she brings up rape apropos of nothing. First, Mirren claims to love women more than men, but then the reporter, a woman named Chrissy Iley, brings up the fact that in the past, Mirren has requested male interviewers instead of female ones. To that, Mirren says:

I prefer male journalists because there's a streak of female journalism - the bitches - who are mean-spirited and nasty because you are another woman and want to make you feel crap. It's very upsetting. I'm more careful when I'm being interviewed by a woman because, from experience as well as reading articles about other women, I know there is a little stiletto knife hidden behind the back.

Right after that, she launches into the part about rape cases quoted earlier. Perhaps the saddest part of all is the fact that Illey agrees with Mirren. "She's laughing as she sizes me up," Illey writes, "But she's right. On the whole, women don't like other women, because women are competitive with each other." Even more odd is that Illey spends the entire article basically drooling over Mirren's looks, describing her"simmering sexual presence" and skin-tight suit. "She’s wearing a cotton suit in milky beige and a white T-shirt. As she bends down, the skirt stretches over her bottom and thigh. Extremely tight." Then, after all that rape talk, Illey describes how Mirren aggressively flirts with her: "As I get up to go, she stops me and says, 'And thank you for the view.' I blush. I was jet-lagged, I had no clean underwear, so I’d gone without. I didn’t think she’d notice. But she did. And she laughs, the minx." In this interview as well as the GQ piece, Mirren talks about how she has been raped before. "She has said in the past that when she was forced to have sex against her will it was the lethal result of a combination of feminism — not wanting to be a victim — and innocence — not knowing how not to be a victim," Illey writes. "She has said that it wasn’t about just saying no, because the man wouldn’t take no for an answer." Great Britain has a pathetic record when it comes to rape prosecution — only 10% of rapes are reported and of those, only 6% get convictions — and as such, activists are furious with Mirren. Solicitor General Vera Baird tells the Daily Mail, "This is just such an ignorant thing to say, to suggest that the defence or prosecution have any involvement in the selection of a jury…It's such a shame that a person who has a high profile feels qualified and able to put forward this nonsense. It's capable of being quite dangerous because someone in that position saying that sort of thing, suggesting that she knows more than she actually does." What remains a mystery is why Mirren continues to insert her feet firmly into her mouth. Is it because her ego is so huge she thinks she can do whatever she pleases without repercussion? Is she just projecting her own feelings of hate onto other women? Is it something deeper and more personal? Or is she just an asshole? In her interview with Illey, Mirren says, "I learn from the positive, not from the negative, but I do believe in getting on with it. Taking responsibility for yourself and not blaming other people is an incredibly important thing." Helen Mirren: Perennial Pin-Up [Times of London] Helen Mirren: Sexually Jealous Women Jurors Think Rape Victims Are Asking For It [Daily Mail] Earlier: Helen Mirren on Being Raped And Why Women Should Just Learn To Work It Out The Rape Conviction Rate In Britain Is Pathetically Low Related: Me And My School Photo: Helen Mirren [Daily Mail]

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The Curse of Millhaven

I'm a man and I have found the replies to this story interesting. What I see is that many of the replies suggest that women either do or should all think alike and constantly support each other as a bloc, and that someone who does not follow that line and claims to have had contradicting experiences is a fool or a villain. One doesn't have to like what someone says, but it is blind to totally deny that what Mirren says may actually reflect real experiences.