Watching Rape

Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Many people have contributed to the project, many more than I have the space to thank here. Faculty at the University of Iowa helped prepare me to write this book. In particular, I want to thank Lauren Rabinovitz, Bruce Gronbeck, Rick Altman, Dudley Andrew, and Barbara Eckstein for their insights and encouragement.

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Introduction

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pp. 1-25

Just this week, as I was writing this introduction, I walked across campus to clear my head, only to encounter numerous antirape messages. Printed in chalk on the sidewalk beneath my feet and on sidewalks all across heavily traveled sections of campus were antirape writings, no doubt put there by activist feminist students. These writings declared, ...

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Chapter 1: A Feminist History of Rape in U.S. Film, 1903–1979

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pp. 26-65

This chapter is a history of the representation of rape in mainstream1 U.S. film from 1903 through 1979, but it is not a comprehensive history of these representations during this time period.2 To write such a history would be nearly to write the history of cinema itself. Scholars argue that rape is pervasive in narratives generally, and cinema is certainly ...

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Chapter 2: The Postfeminist Context: Popular Redefinitions of Feminism, 1980–Present

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pp. 66-89

Most simply, given a dictionary definition of “post” as “after,” popular texts that use the term “postfeminism” imply that the contemporary moment is “past” feminism. These texts promise that postfeminism has moved us beyond feminism; yet, in the process they also produce the particular versions of feminism that are supposedly defunct. Thus the ...

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Chapter 3: Film and Television Narratives at the Intersection of Rape and Postfeminism

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pp. 90-120

Rape is in the news constantly, and, as Helen Benedict (1992) and Marian Meyers (1997) both argue, contemporary news coverage of rape is problematic from a feminist perspective. For example, they argue that news media represent violence against women as “a matter of isolated pathology or deviance” (Meyers, 117); privilege whiteness and “stereotypes” ...

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Chapter 4: Feminism and the Popular: Readings of Rape and Postfeminism in Thelma and Louise

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pp. 130-162

Near the end of Thelma and Louise (1991), Thelma asks Louise if she is thinking about making a deal with Hal, the sympathetic, paternalistic cop who helps to track them for murdering Harlan, the man who rapes Thelma early in the film.While on the phone with Louise, Hal uses his inside knowledge about “what happened to [her] in Texas” (presumably ....

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Chapter 5: Persistently Displaced: Black Women in Rape Narratives

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pp. 154-195

This chapter looks at a series of post-1980 films and television shows that represent a relationship between Black women and rape.1 My choice of this critical focus speaks back to postfeminism, challenging its pervasive whiteness and thus further exploring its boundaries and limitations. I choose to focus on representations of Black women in particular ...

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Chapter 6: Talking Back to Postfeminism? Rape Prevention and Education Films and Videos

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pp. 196-230

In this final chapter I examine rape prevention and education films and videos (many of which implicitly or explicitly define their projects as feminist) that complicate even further this book’s multifaceted examination of representations of rape. These films and videos self-consciously engage and reflect on the process of representation in order to ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 231-238

Despite examining hundreds of films and television shows that represent rape, attempted rape, or the threat of rape in some way, in this book I have really only touched the surface of the plethora of representations of rape in twentieth-century U.S. popular culture. I have even covered only a fragment of the many representations that saturate the last ...

Notes

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pp. 239-274

Works Cited

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pp. 275-296

Index of Film and Television Titles

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pp. 297-304

General Index

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pp. 305-310

About the Author

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