Rape scripts and rape spaces

constructions of female bodies in adolescent fiction

Aiyana Altrows*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article offers an analysis of the construction of female bodies in adolescent fiction about rape, arguing that the absence of a developed rapist character results in a focus on and pathologising of female characters. This positions female bodies as the cause of rape, rather than societal problems or rapists themselves, creating 'rape spaces'. The positioning of female bodies as the cause of rape sanctions public and state control of those bodies, removing a female's subjective agency and right to manage her own body. I demonstrate how the depiction of psychological relationships to bodies as they develop sexually during puberty and attract unwanted male attention can function within the narrative to undermine a girl's ability to manage her own body, and how female sexual desire can either undermine or reinforce a girl's ability to manage her own body. I analyse how fraught relationships to clothing and food can be either accepted and interpolated to reinforce the construction of female bodies as rape spaces within these texts, or problematised to portray empowered female characters as they recognise and reject them as potential tools of patriarchal control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-64
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Research in Children's Literature
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

Keywords

  • rape
  • bodies
  • feminism
  • adolescent fiction
  • scripts

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