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Door County Cherry

S01.E06: Swish

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Coming late, but put me in the camp who thinks we can't apply 21st century standards here. Neither Daphne nor Simon would have any context for thinking of what she did as rape.

I'm not a total moral relativist; here are certain things that any person of ordinary feeling should recognize as dead wrong. If Simon had overpowered Daphne on their wedding night while she sobbed and pleaded for him to stop, that would be horrific regardless of his living in a time where "marital rape" was not a crime and his entitlement to his wife's body would have been taken for granted.

But what Daphne did is different. By the standards of our time, yes, it was a form of rape once he asked her to stop and she wouldn't (I agree that "wait" is tantamount to "stop" in this context). Even within the context of her time, Daphne is doing a knowingly bad thing: she couldn't have confronted Simon directly, and clearly decides not to do so out of a desire to wound him if it turns out she's right about what he is doing. But despite all the sex she's been having, she barely understands it, and she certainly doesn't understand it in terms of a modern sexual ethic. She has no reason to regard violations of bodily or sexual consent as something that would be uniquely awful or psychologically damaging. She does not understand things like trauma or PTSD. And she really doesn't even have a framework for understanding that someone should have the right to choice in sexual matters. Had she been forced to marry Berbrooke, she would have been expected to submit to him and bear his children. Simon is expected to sire heirs. She was willing to accept that he couldn't, but when she finds out that he simply won't, that is beyond the pale for their time.

From Daphne's perspective, she isn't physically hurting Simon, and she's having sex that, at the outset, he seems to very much want. All that she's doing is preventing him from doing what would have been regarded as an unnatural and sinful thing. There's an obvious anger behind what she's doing, but I don't think it makes any sense to judge her by values that she couldn't possibly be expected to possess.

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People don't understand how limited the options of women really were back then.  Even wealthy titled women.   Especially wealthy titled women.   Poor women would often go into the fields or factories with their husbands and brothers and even form love bonds.   Wealthy (yes white) women would be more often then not sold into marriage to men they hardly knew at a young age and even then if they didn’t produce a male heir it was THEIR FAULT.  

I know it hard but we really can’t put 20th century values on 11th century actions because Daphne wouldn’t understand what she was doing was wrong.  And the idea that Simon asking her why he wouldn't be enough is actually cruel because he would literally be all she had. He could leave for weeks, months and  years at a time and no one would bat an eye.   But Daphne would be stuck in a marriage without children to take care of and at that class without even a home to take care of.   What she did might have been wrong but I could see her doing it for her own survival.  Divorce wasn’t really an option so she had a long marriage of cold stares and a baby might have made it tolerable for her.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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I'm not sure why there's a debate about whether what Daphne did was sexual assault.

If you force someone to do something sexually that they don't want to do, that's sexual assault.

Daphne knew that Simon didn't want to ejaculate inside of her, but she didn't give him a choice - she kept moving up and down, even after he said "wait" more than once, and thus forced him to orgasm inside of her. That's sexual assault.

Is that anywhere near as bad as holding a knife to someone's throat and forcing your way inside of them? Of course not. But they're both forms of sexual assault.

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For me, the question isn't whether or not it is sexual assault. The question is whether or not that's a terribly meaningful category given the time Daphne lives in.

Taking a belt to a child for misbehavior is child abuse. It is and has always been child abuse; it just hasn't always been recognized as such. But if a father in Bridgerton whipped his eight or nine year old son, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to talk about how terrible and abusive the father was, because he would be acting in what he and most of is peers considered to be a responsible manner--one that was in fact in line with what was believed to be good parenting practices. Good, loving parents of the time weren't beating their kids bloody, and probably weren't regularly whipping their kids, either. But a degree of physical punishment was standard, and it would be silly to evaluate a parent of the era on modern grounds, abuse or not.

Daphne's situation is slightly less clear-cut, because she's not acting in accordance with any recognized social norm, and I do think the show is critical of her; she knows she's doing something likely to be hurtful to Simon. But she still lacks  the context necessary to recognize what she's doing as a massive violation, and I don't think this is something that should be intuitive to her. As such, it doesn't radically alter my view of her character--even though it would if something similar happened on a show set in the present day.

 

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44 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

For me, the question isn't whether or not it is sexual assault. The question is whether or not that's a terribly meaningful category given the time Daphne lives in.

Taking a belt to a child for misbehavior is child abuse. It is and has always been child abuse; it just hasn't always been recognized as such. But if a father in Bridgerton whipped his eight or nine year old son, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to talk about how terrible and abusive the father was, because he would be acting in what he and most of is peers considered to be a responsible manner--one that was in fact in line with what was believed to be good parenting practices. Good, loving parents of the time weren't beating their kids bloody, and probably weren't regularly whipping their kids, either. But a degree of physical punishment was standard, and it would be silly to evaluate a parent of the era on modern grounds, abuse or not.

Daphne's situation is slightly less clear-cut, because she's not acting in accordance with any recognized social norm, and I do think the show is critical of her; she knows she's doing something likely to be hurtful to Simon. But she still lacks  the context necessary to recognize what she's doing as a massive violation, and I don't think this is something that should be intuitive to her. As such, it doesn't radically alter my view of her character--even though it would if something similar happened on a show set in the present day.

You're discussing whether Daphne should be judged as a good or bad person. I'm discussing the nature of her actions.

Many of the most brutal things to watch on this series (like Daphne and Martina being treated like livestock for sale) were considered acceptable by the standards of the time. As a viewer, I can acknowledge how damaging their actions were without personally denouncing the characters themselves.

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On 12/27/2020 at 2:05 AM, katha said:

It was just a failure on all fronts tbh and the relationship depicted consequently is so toxic and unhealthy, while they try to sell it as "twu wuv." And I don't get how they didn't just avoid that whole mess. Everything regarding that conflict is terribly written by Quinn, so the obvious solution is a complete rewrite. Have them disagree about children, but address it with actual communication. I know, it's not as "edgy", but also not as deeply disturbing.

Wow.  I guess I'm in the minority here because I didn't waste one brain cell worrying about this.   I didn't find it disturbing and I don't see the relationship as toxic or unhealthy.  I see two people who were very attracted to each and because of the time they live in, got married without a whole lot of real information about the other person as a person.  They have no clue what truly makes the other person tick, what informs their opinions or beliefs.  So now, they have to figure it out.  Is the attraction (or love they feel) enough to weather the storm?  Can they reach an understanding and make the marriage work?  Relationships are messy, true love or not.

Edited by TaurusRose
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On 12/29/2020 at 7:56 AM, Roseanna said:

According the law of the time (and long afterwards) a rape couldn't happen in marriage. On the contrary, as St. Paul wrote, a wife nor a husband had no right to deny the spouse her/his body. And Oonan's sin wasn't masturbation but that he refused his duty to give a child to the widow of his brother.        

Actually, one can doubt if Daphne and Simon were even married. I studied a little about Catholic concepts about marriage when I saw The Tudors and Wolf Hall. It seems that if either party had entered into the marriage without the intent to have "a lifelong, exclusive union, open to reproduction", the marriage is invalid. Even the intercourse doesn't mean consummation, if contraception is used.

Does somebody know what the concept of the Anglican Church and the British law was at that time?

 

 

Good to know.  However, for the purposes of this story, they're married.  

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7 hours ago, TaurusRose said:

Wow.  I guess I'm in the minority here because I didn't waste one brain cell worrying about this.   I didn't find it disturbing and I don't see the relationship as toxic or unhealthy.  I see two people who were very attracted to each and because of the time they live in, got married without a whole lot of real information about the other person as a person.  They have no clue what truly makes the other person tick, what informs their opinions or beliefs.  So now, they have to figure it out.  Is the attraction (or love they feel) enough to weather the storm?  Can they reach an understanding and make the marriage work?  Relationships are messy, true love or not.

I think that you are on the beam. However bad thus show is (IMO), it follows the traditional patters of the romance.

What would have happened if Daphne had asked Simon, he had explained his reasons and she had accepted them? There would have been no drama.

The crux of the matter is making a mistake or even breaking a taboo, but in the end all is forgiven.

If only Simon had been guilty (he married her without telling the truth and violated his marriage vows by denying her children), Daphne would have been even more boring character she is in the show. 

 

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10 hours ago, Roseanna said:

What would have happened if Daphne had asked Simon, he had explained his reasons and she had accepted them? There would have been no drama.

He was lying to her.  He said he "could not" have children, implying infertility.  He never said to her "I don't WANT to have children."

Until his reaction after ejaculating she was not even sure her guess was correct and he was lying his ass off.

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On 2/14/2021 at 11:03 PM, Umbelina said:

He was lying to her.  He said he "could not" have children, implying infertility.  He never said to her "I don't WANT to have children."

Until his reaction after ejaculating she was not even sure her guess was correct and he was lying his ass off.

He had ejaculated before, only not inside her.

 

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4 minutes ago, Roseanna said:

He had ejaculated before, only not inside her.

 

Yes, and she finally put it together that that was probably how conception occurred.  Still, she wasn't SURE he was deceiving her until she saw his reaction after it happened.

Even though she was "pretty sure" she'd been lied to by her husband, treated as a fool by him, until she saw his face after?  She was still hoping he had not been lying to her that way.  That just maybe, her conclusions were incorrect.

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Yes, and she finally put it together that that was probably how conception occurred.  Still, she wasn't SURE he was deceiving her until she saw his reaction after it happened.

Even though she was "pretty sure" she'd been lied to by her husband, treated as a fool by him, until she saw his face after?  She was still hoping he had not been lying to her that way.  That just maybe, her conclusions were incorrect.

This is how I took this scene as well, and I see neither as a villian.

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On 12/26/2020 at 10:44 AM, ouinason said:

Simon definitely lied.  He could have told her the truth, but he didn't.  He could have corrected her when she brought up how upset she was for him that he was "unable" to have children, but he didn't.  He knew perfectly well that she had no clue whatsoever about sex, and he used that innocence to his advantage and treated her like a dim child (which is creepy as hell since he was doing it to manipulate her sexually).

Daphne took agency away from her husband.  She figured out his true motives and she absolutly did something violating of his wishes.  She could have confronted him.  She could have asked him about it.  But she didn't.  She decided to hurt him back instead.

 

In the game of "who's the asshole" they both win.

This was the point where I was like 'This is the show that people are going apeshit over? These two?'  I thought up until then, Simon's dad was the WORST (and someone told me he tops that in the book.)  Then this episode happened.  I was perfectly fine with the wedding night because they finally admitted they have feelings for each other.  But I did find it hard to believe that Daphne knew NOTHING about sex.  Eight kids in the family, with 3 older brothers and knew NOTHING? And her mom left her to figure things out for herself? 

Then she finally figured things out, knew that she was lied to and then proceeds anyway.  And Simon was perfectly fine lying to her to fulfill his needs until she learned about the birds and the bees.

 

There's nothing romantic about this despite the sex.  They're just awful people to each other. 

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1 hour ago, mtlchick said:

This was the point where I was like 'This is the show that people are going apeshit over? These two?'  I thought up until then, Simon's dad was the WORST (and someone told me he tops that in the book.)  Then this episode happened.  I was perfectly fine with the wedding night because they finally admitted they have feelings for each other.  But I did find it hard to believe that Daphne knew NOTHING about sex.  Eight kids in the family, with 3 older brothers and knew NOTHING? And her mom left her to figure things out for herself? 

Then she finally figured things out, knew that she was lied to and then proceeds anyway.  And Simon was perfectly fine lying to her to fulfill his needs until she learned about the birds and the bees.

There's nothing romantic about this despite the sex.  They're just awful people to each other. 

I think that's harsh. IMO, they aren't so much "awful people to each other" as much as they are "people who made mistakes about their relationship, as we all do from time to time."  Both made some bad decisions - Simon, by not being upfront about why he "couldn't" have children, and oh yeah, his bad relationship with his dad; and Daphne, by not confronting Simon BEFORE they had sex and therefore crossing a boundary of trust - but... that happens in real life. Sometimes people do or say things in their relationships that can harm the relationship because relationships are hard, people are human, and they make mistakes even if they are fundamentally decent people who care about each other. 

Part of what is compelling about the romance genre is seeing how couples recover from some rather large mistakes that they make in a relationship. Usually, it requires communication and rebuilding of trust, but that is also what happens in real life, too. And that's how I see this particular conflict between Daphne and Simon. 

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On 2/7/2021 at 1:01 PM, Blakeston said:

I'm not sure why there's a debate about whether what Daphne did was sexual assault.

If you force someone to do something sexually that they don't want to do, that's sexual assault.

Daphne knew that Simon didn't want to ejaculate inside of her, but she didn't give him a choice - she kept moving up and down, even after he said "wait" more than once, and thus forced him to orgasm inside of her. That's sexual assault.

Is that anywhere near as bad as holding a knife to someone's throat and forcing your way inside of them? Of course not. But they're both forms of sexual assault.

I still can't see how little Daphne was forcing him. He's a fighter with his friend in the boxing ring and he's a fighter at the club with his friend and he can't flip her over? Oh she's so powerful; she probably weighs 105 pounds and he's full of muscles that I enjoyed watching.

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Now if only someone had told Daphne that the pulling out method is not a good way to prevent conception... 

What was cruel was to have her lady's maid explain conception.  We are talking about an era where the servants couldn't marry.  If they married they had to leave service.

 

Edited by Macbeth
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