Added: January 6, 2007 – Last updated: January 2, 2016


Author: Lisa M. Cuklanz

Title: Rape on Prime Time

Subtitle: Televison, Masculinity, and Sexual Violence

Place: Philadelphia, PA

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

Year: 2000 (paper), 2010 (ebook)

Pages: 189pp.

Series: Feminist Cultural Studies, the Media, and Political Culture

ISBN-10: 0812235223 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-10: 0812217101 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9780812217100 (paper) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780812204001 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Representations: Films



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Author: Lisa M. Cuklanz, Department of Communication, Boston College


  Chapter 1
Introduction: Rape and Prime Time Episodic TV (p. 1)
    Why 1976-1990? (p. 3)
    Prime Time Rape Episodes (p. 4)
    The Formula Plot (p. 6)
    The Rape Reform Movement (p. 7)
    Prime Time Television and Social Change (p. 12)
    Rape in the Mass Media (p. 15)
    Hegemonic Masculinity (p. 18)
    The Detective Genre on Prime Time (p. 19)
    Evolution of the Detective Genre and Prime Time Rape Plots (p. 23)
    Race, Masculinity, and Victimization (p. 25)
    Preview (p. 27)
  Chapter 2
What Is Rape? Prime Time's Changing Portrayals (p. 28)
    Different Views of Rape: Common Law and Feminist Reform (p. 30)
    The Attack in Basic Plot Episodes (p. 32)
    Prime Time's Shift Toward Date Rape (p. 36)
    Simple Rape: Conventional Date Rape Scenarios (p. 40)
    False Accusations Plots (p. 43)
    Focus Episodes: Baretta, "Shoes" (1976) and Miami Vice, "Blood and Roses" (1988) (p. 55)
    Conclusion (P. 60)
  Chapter 3
Hegemonic Masculinity and Prime Time Rape (p. 62)
    Masculinity as Central Theme: Illustrative Episodes (p. 63)
    Masculinity in the Basic Plot: The Rapist (p. 68)
    Rapists in Later Episodes (p. 73)
    Masculinity in the Basic Plot: Detective (p. 76)
    Detectives in the Later Episodes (p. 81)
    Male-Female Detective Relations (P. 82)
    Males as Family Members and Intimates of Victims (p. 86)
    Focus Episodes: Little House on the Prairie, "Sylvia" (1980) and In the Heat of the Night, "Rape" (1989) (p. 90)
    Conclusion (p. 96)
  Chapter 4
Representations of Victims and Rape Reform Ideas (p. 99)
    The Basic Plot Victim (p. 101)
    Victim Dialogue and Feminist Ideas (p. 105)
    Minority Victims (p. 110)
    Macho/Cop Victims (p. 111)
    Date/Acquaintance Rape Victims (p. 116)
    Focus Episodes: Rockford Files, "Return of the Black Shadow" (1978), and Cagney and Lacey, "Open and Shut Case" (1983) (p. 119)
    Conclusion (p. 126)
  Chapter 5
Unusual and Groundbreaking Episodes (p. 128)
    Unusual Subject Matter: Marital Rape, Male Rape, and Gang Rape (p. 129)
      Marital Rape: Barney Miller, "Rape" (1978) (p. 129)
      Male Rape: Kaz, "A Day in Court" (1978) and Cagney and Lacey, "Violation" (1985) (p. 132)
      Gang Rape: 21 Jump Street, "Hell Week" (1988) (p. 135)
    Groundbreaking Treatments (p. 139)
      All in the Family, "Edith's 50th Birthday" (1977) (p. 139)
      The Facts of Life, "Fear Strikes Back" (1981) (p. 141)
      21 Jump Street, "Fun with Animals" (1988) (p. 143)
      L.A. Law, "The Brothers Grim" (1987), "Hey, Lick Me Over" (1988), and "Belle of the Bald" (1988) (p. 146)
      Miami Vice, "Hell Hath No Fury" (1988) (p. 150)
    Conclusion (p. 152)
  Chapter 6
Conclusion (p. 154)
    Further Change in Prime Time's Rape Depictions (p. 157)
    Directions for Future Research (p. 159)
  Appendix 1. Program Descriptions and Episode List (p. 161)
  Appendix 2. Timeline of Rape Reform and Related Events (p. 170)
  Notes (p. 171)
  References (p. 175)
  Index (p. 183)
  Acknowledgments (p. 189)


»Depictions of rape on television have evolved dramatically, from hard-boiled stories about male detectives to more insightful shows focusing on rape victims. Rape on Prime Time is the first book to examine those changing depictions of rape.
Lisa M. Cuklanz reveals that prime-time television programs during the 1970s—-usually detective shows—-reflected traditional ideas that "real" rape is perpetrated by brutal strangers upon passive victims. Beginning in 1980, depictions of rape began to include attacks by known assailants, and victims began to address their feelings. By 1990, scripts portrayed date and marital rape and paid greater attention to the trial process, reflecting legal reformers' concerns.
While previous studies have examined one series or genre, Cuklanz examines programs as dissimilar as Barney Miller, Dallas, The Cosby Show, and Quincy. She outlines the "basic plot" for rape episodes, then traces the historical development of rape themes. In each chapter she includes close analyses of episodes that add depth to findings derived from scripts and taped episodes.
Rape on Prime Time provides important insight into the social construction of rape in mainstream mass media since the inception of rape law reform in 1974.« (Source: University of Pennsylvania Press)


Dixon, Lynda D. Journal of Communication 51(2) (June 2001): 433-434. – Full Text: Wiley Online Library (Restricted Access)

Monahan, Molly B. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 30(3) (May 2001): 267-268. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

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