In 1983, Andrea Dworkin addressed the Midwest Men's Conference in Minneapolis. She discussed the rape culture in which we live, noted the similarities between rape and war, and, following the title of her talk, asked for a “24-hour truce in which there is no rape.” And she asked why men and boys are so slow to understand that women and girls “are human to precisely the degree and quality that [they] are” (n.p.). Every sexual assault begins with the dehumanization of the victim. And sometimes, after the violation, after the pain and the fear, comes the institutional dehumanization visited upon the victim who seeks medical or legal help. Two recent memoirs bring to the surface rape culture, evident in the young men who raped these girls and the systemic dehumanization they suffered when they sought justice. describes the aftermath of being sexually assaulted, when she was just out of college and still living at home, by someone she met at a fraternity party. Although the case against her rapist was as strong as possiblethere were eyewitnesses and physical evidence was collected immediatelyhe was sentenced to only six months in the county jail, and she was repeatedly shamed, her humanity denied by the judicial system. describes the aftermath of being sexually assaulted, when she was 15, by two boys, students at her New England boarding school, including an account of how school officials refused to do anything other than label her promiscuous and protect the boys. The ways in which she was silenced by St. Paul's, which disregarded her health and future, and denied her humanity because she was only a girl, were profound. In both cases, the promising future of the perpetrators was prioritized over the humanity of the girls by many institutions, including the judiciary and the press. Crawford was raped just seven years after Dworkin made her plea to that men's conference, but Miller was assaulted twenty-five years after, making perfectly clear that rape culture has become only more entrenched.
Survivor Resistance in Rape Culture
Gay, Roxane, ed. 2018. Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. New York: Harper.
Possession as Rape in Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Contemporary Young Adult literature is a favored genre for exploring sexual assault, yet rarely interrogates the social structures underpinning rape culture. In its representation of heterosexual relationships, Young Adult paranormal romance offers insight into the processes and structures that uphold rape culture. Genre tropes normalize abusive behavior and gender ideals, demonstrating the explicit and implicit construction of rape culture, culminating in the depiction of supernatural possession analogous to rape. Here, I reflect on power, control, rape culture, and girlhood in a textual analysis of Nina Malkin's Swoon, Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, and Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Covenant. A constructive reading reflects implicit cultural discourses presented to the girl reader, who can apply this to her own negotiation of girlhood.
Gilmore, Leigh, and Elizabeth Marshall. 2019. Witnessing Girlhood: Toward an Intersectional Tradition of Life Writing. New York: Fordham University Press.
A Discourse Analysis of Media Coverage
Lyndsay Anderson and Marnina Gonick
In September 2013 student leaders at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, used a chant about the rape of underage girls as part of an Orientation Week activity for new students. The incident garnered national and international media coverage. In this article, we analyze and critique a selection of Canadian media articles published in the weeks after the rape chant was used. We draw on feminist analysis of post-feminism and the sexualization of youth cultures to show how, in their struggle to make sense of the incident, the media critique reiterates harmful discourses of youth, gender and sexuality while undermining deeper understanding of rape culture.
Between Legitimation and Punishment
In this article, I analyze certain ideas circulating in early twentieth-century Mexico about the sexual abuse of young and adolescent girls, and how ideas about the prohibited, permitted, or legitimate uses of their bodies were sustained by complex webs of corruption and injustice. Not only criminals but also families, lawyers, judges, and police officers commonly considered the bodies of young girls from working-class families as legitimate spaces of sexual violence. Some newspapers also propagated this idea. Prevailing notions about the gender and sexuality of young and adolescent girls fed into family-based concepts of honor and chastity that were reproduced in practices and narratives related to the abuse of children's bodies, and this contributed to the perpetuation of a rape culture among Mexicans.
Supporting Girls’ Action Against Rape Culture
Alexe Bernier and Sarah Winstanley
Reflecting on our work with girls, we discuss what we have learned about how they experience rape culture and engage in activism to confront it. We explore how rape culture manifests in the lives of adolescent girls who are between 10 and 15 years of age in Calgary, Canada. We then demonstrate how groups of girls have moved from awareness to collective action meant to challenge rape culture and consider the impact that this action has had on them. Our aim is to show how popular education and feminist methodologies are effective in supporting girls’ activism on issues like rape culture so that others working in community with girls may gain new tools that might aid their work.
Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower
In this short personal appreciation of The Men and the Boys, the author admires the ethnographic and writing skills Raewyn Connell displays—the craft and artistry that animates her insightful theories. From her prose's clarity to the deftness of her interviewing, Connell models how to empirically ground foundational social theory.
Reflexivity, Dominant and Hegemonic Masculinities, and Sexual Violence
James W. Messerschmidt
In this article the author builds on the arguments articulated by Raewyn Connell in her seminal work The Men and the Boys (2000) by summarizing and analyzing a case study of an adolescent boy who was identified at school as a “wimp” and who eventually engaged in sexual violence. Such subordinated boys rarely are—if at all—discussed in childhood education, sociology, and feminist literatures on violence. The synopsis reveals the interrelationship among in-school bullying, reflexivity, embodiment, and the social construction of dominant and hegemonic masculinities through the commission of adolescent sexual violence. The analysis demonstrates the continued relevance of Connell's work, and the author builds on and expands on Connell's formulation through, in particular, an examination of reflexivity, dominant masculinities, different types of hegemonic masculinities, and intersectionality.
Male Migrants’ Attitudes to Homosexuality and What Age Has To Do with It
The main goal of this article is to show how age distinguishes attitudes to non-heterosexuality among migrant men and boys living in Germany and Sweden. It will especially focus on discussing various perceptions and narratives regarding sexual diversity, the visibility of which is higher in the host countries, identified during three qualitative research projects with adult and young migrant men in Germany and Sweden. In the context of this particular Special Issue, the focus is put on verification of the validity of Connell's statement that homophobia is a crucial factor shaping men's and boys’ (hegemonic) masculinity negotiations, and hence, on investigation into the extent homophobia is still a significant part of men's narratives that shape the process of (self-) masculinity negotiations.