Yes, it’s perfectly OK for Mackenzie Phillips to sell her incest-rape story. Next question.

Ever since Mackenzie Phillips dropped her bombshell on Oprah – her father John Phillips raped her while high on drugs, and the sex even eventually became consensual – there’s been all of this discussion. Some people have been focusing on whether or not father-daughter incest is always rape, and others have been screaming “she has a book coming out! Poor John’s not even here to defend himself! She’s a money-grubbing skank!”

Oh dear, oh dear.

First of all, it makes perfect sense for Mackenzie Phillips to start talking about this long after her father’s death. Who could deal with the fall-out of a public revelation like this when both parties are still around? Very few people, I think.

But most importantly, Mackenzie Phillips has every damn right to cash in on this. Believer her or not, she’s telling a story, and that story is her own. Michelle Phillips might disagree. We might question Mackenzie’s motivation. But ultimately, I’m all for taking something that has hurt you terribly and making money off of it. As Steve Buscemi famously said in the postmodern cinematic masterpiece known as “Armaggedon,” – “I don’t mean to be the materialistic weasel of this group, but do you think we’ll get hazard pay out of this?”

If she wants to make money off of it, then that’s what it is, hazard pay. And anyone shedding big fat tears over poor John should honestly be glad he’s not around anymore, ’cause it would be that much bigger and uglier if he was.

As for Tracy Clark-Fory’s question – is it always rape? I’m going to go with a yes. Mackenzie Phillips was actually pretty brave to admit that the sexual relationship became “consensual,” but to an outsider looking it, it just looks like a case of Stockholm Syndrome taking hold, because – and this is important – I’m sure she cared about her father. No matter how awful he got, she probably loved him. And when the people we love do horrible things to us, we tend to disassociate from what the hell is going on in an attempt to protect ourselves from the betrayal being perpetrated against us.

As her dad, John Phillips had tremendous power over Mackenzie Phillips. On top of that, you must consider the drugs and the general batshit lifestyle of the man in question. This is John Phillips we’re talking about here.

Do all unequal relationships automatically translate to rape? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If you’re lucky enough to want the person in power, you might be alright. For a while, at least. But in the case of, say, a dad and his daughter, or, as recently discussed on Feministe, a slave owner and his slave, how real can consent be?

8 thoughts on “Yes, it’s perfectly OK for Mackenzie Phillips to sell her incest-rape story. Next question.

  1. I’m with you on this as well, both parts. Yes, it is always rape, and stories … stories are fucking powerful and need to be told.

    If someone can make some money from this kind of awful shit as well, more power to them.

  2. I am not a big fan of labels. If something is just sick and wrong, we could just agree to call it that, right? Is it normal for an older man, who held that child in his arms as a baby to then stick his penis in her ( or him)? No. Does it matter if he is blood-related or was a step-father? No. Not to me. I remember watching this french movie once, ages ago. It was a love story. this man looked after a little girl, was like a father to her, and then when she grew up she realized she was in love with him. so after a short-lived hesitation, he allows the relationship to blossom. I am sure the film-makers thought it was all cool. He was not officially her father., so what is wrong? everything is wrong. I felt sick after watching it.

    This black background is annoying me. :))))

  3. I’m not surprised she waited it’s kind of like Joan Crawford’s daughter and ‘Mommie Dearest’ because I’m pretty damn sure there was a FEAR in her life of him and maybe she felt she couldn’t confront her past demons until the asshole was finally gone. Man this story is so sad and sick on so many levels I can’t imagine how she could even sort this whole mindf–k out on her head.

  4. yeah I’m with scary azeri on the idea that what makes it wrong isn’t shared genetics but the fact one partner held the other as an infant. Not cool.

    I *suppose* it’s *possible* that a guy who had a kid at 13 might give her up for adoption and meet her later when she’s 30 and he’s 43 and fall in love, and that wouldn’t be rape, but the fact that one person was an influential grown authority figure in anther’s *childhood!* disqualifies any later sexual contact as ever consensual.

  5. Respectfully, I disagree with all the comments on this affair. They painted it like tragedy. I am positive because Mack herself confessed that she enjoyed he sexual intercourses with her daddy. To me this is shocking, but, I accept that possibility without understanding it.

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