Bleackley 2004 Rape

Title Information

Author: Deborah A. Bleackley

Title: Representing Rape

Subtitle: A Semiotic Analysis of Rape Myths in Three Popular Films

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia

Year: July 2004

Pages: v + 62pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Representations: Films / The Accused, Boys Don't Cry, Pulp Fiction

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Additional Information


»This essay considers the representation of rape in three popular films and how these depictions may reinforce or undermine ideas surrounding rape, gender and normative sexual behaviour. Often rape myths (female sexual availability and male sexual aggression) are mobilized in conjunction with the depiction of rape, and it is through this mobilization of rape myths that explorations of normative sexual behaviour and gender are considered.
Each of the three films examined (The Accused, Boys Don't Cry and Pulp Fiction) depict a different type of rape (the gender of the victim is different in each), offering a considerable opportunity to explore issues of sexual violence and gender, especially masculinity. Significantly, these films also inadvertently comment on issues of race and class through their representation of rape.
Taken together, the three films reflect an androcentric heteronormative view of sexual behaviour and gender, where male sexual aggression toward women is possibly justifiable and gender is conceived of as binary (masculine or feminine) and fixed. A critique of these sexual codes indicates the necessity of rejecting the binary conceptions of sex, gender and sexual behaviour in favour of more fluid conceptualizations. In this instance sex, gender and sexual behaviour would be understood as a range of behaviours and identities rather than as an either/or alternative and thus be inclusive and not exclusive of a wider range of identities, desires and expressions.« [Source: Thesis]


  Abstract (p. ii)
  List of Figures (p. iv)
  Acknowledgements (p. v)
  I. Understanding Mythical Realities (p. 1)
    A. Rape Myth in Film: An Overview (p. 3)
      i. Literature on Rape (p. 4)
      ii. Literature on Film (p. 7)
    B. Lights, Camera, Action: Toward a Methodology (p. 10)
  II. Scenes of Sexual Violence (p. 18)
    A. The Accused: Where Men Rape (p. 18)
      i. Summary (p. 19)
      ii. Primary Signification (Denotation): The Rape Scene (p. 21)
    B. Pulp Fiction: Where Men Are Raped (p. 28)
      i. Summary (p. 28)
      ii. Primary Signification (Denotation): The Rape Scene (p. 29)
      iii. Analysis: Pulp Fiction (p. 33)
    C. Boys Don't Cry: Where Men Are Not "Men" (p. 36)
      i. Summary (p. 37)
      ii. Primary Signification (Denotation): The Rape Scene (p. 38)
      iii. Analysis (p. 41)
  III. "Problem done. Let's go to bed.": Toward a Deconstruction of Rape Myths (p. 44)
  IV. Endnotes (p. 57)
  V. Bibliography (p. 58)
  VI. Filmography (p. 61)

Wikipedia: The Accused (1988 film), Boys Don't Cry (film), Pulp Fiction

Added: February 1, 2014 | Last updated: February 1, 2014