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More rape scenes in Labyrinth

More rape scenes in Labyrinth published on No Comments on More rape scenes in Labyrinth

There are at least three of them beyond Jareth’s B&E, and most of them occur to Sarah.


1. Concurrent with Jareth’s B&E [or slightly before, I guess, if you want to get technical], the goblins B&E themselves and snatch Toby, removing him to the Labyrinth. Since they’re pretty much an extension of the Goblin King at this point, who, as I pointed out, is behaving rapistly, I consider the kidnapping another rape. The obsolete definition of “rape” — to seize and take away by force —  also comes into play here.


2. Chronologically, the next one occurs in the shaft of the Helping Hands. Just in case the rapeyness isn’t apparent, think about the Helping Hands for a moment.

  • Given their voices, they’re coded as male characters, and they specialize in, uh, groping.
  • They even toy with Sarah like Jareth does. When Sarah tries to rescind her wishing Toby away — [“But I didn’t mean it!”], the Goblin King mocks her [“Oh, you didn’t? …What’s said is said”] just to reinforce the fact that Sarah’s true interests [i.e., preserving her and Toby’s safety] have no bearing here. Instead, she’s going to submit to what he wants. In the case of the Helping Hands, Sarah objects to their grasp — “Ow, you’re hurting me!” — and the Hands are like, “Well, you want us to let go?” They then drop her for a few feet, just to scare her and demonstrate that she’s under their power.
  • Like Jareth, the Hands also coerce her by presenting a choice that’s not really a choice. Jareth acts like Sarah has the option to “forget about the baby” and, by extension, opt out of his mind games by refusing to play. But Sarah recognizes that, if she wants to accomplish her aims, she has to play by his stinkin’ arbitrary rules. So she does what she has to do. In the same way, the Helping Hands suggest that Sarah can go either “up or down” in their shaft, but, as they demonstrate by dropping her down [“Well, you want us to let go?”], they don’t really do upward trajectories. It’s not a choice if there’s only one option that someone has to take under duress!

You know what? I’m just gonna call the Helping Hands the Sexual Assault Pit and be done with it.


3. Just as Lovelace thinks that drugging and raping Clarissa is going to make her do what he wants, so Jareth has similar ideas about forcing Sarah to comply with him. He drugs Sarah by forcing Hoggle to give her the magical peach. After taking a bite, Sarah experiences an altered state. She thinks and moves more slowly than usual; she loses her memory and defenses, becoming confused and passive. The Goblin King exploits her reaction to this magical Roofie by [further] entrapping her in a bubble, towing her around the dance floor, and singing about “Valentine evenings” and shit — all sexually charged tactics that he performs with the goal of making Sarah forget her quest. Yup, that’s rape all right. Clearly he’s been reading his Clarissa and taking cues from Lovelace.


I picked up on all this bullshit from the very first time I saw Labyrinth in the theater, but I’ve just apparently needed about three decades to explicitly identify why it was bullshit. In the intervening decades, I tried very hard to convince myself that it wasn’t bullshit, and those thirty years of discounting my intuition have made my life, uh, complicated.

"You tracked my cell phone?!" [50 Craps]
“You tracked my cell phone?!” [50 Craps]

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