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    Speaking out, and beginning to be heard: Feminism, survivor narratives and representations of rape in the 1980s

    Serisier, Tanya (2018) Speaking out, and beginning to be heard: Feminism, survivor narratives and representations of rape in the 1980s. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 32 (1), pp. 52-61. ISSN 1030-4312.

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    This article challenges common conceptions of the 1980s as simply a period of ‘backlash’ for feminism. Instead it argues that remediatory cultural activism by feminists shifted discussion and understandings of rape in this decade in complex and contradictory ways. While more space was given to feminist and survivor voices, survivors continued to be denied cultural authority. In addition, a lack of intersectional awareness allowed feminist understandings of rape to be incorporated within criminal justice discourses. The article illustrates these arguments through a 1990 media event, the publication by the Des Moines Register (Iowa) of a five-day series based on the experiences of a local rape survivor, Nancy Ziegenmeyer. The series was made possible through cultural antecedents, such as actor Kelly McGillis’ public disclosure of her own rape as part of the publicity for the avowedly feminist rape film, The Accused, and academic and Democratic political figure Susan Estrich’s writing about her own rape prior to becoming the manager of Michael Dukakis’ failed 1988 election bid. Consideration of three media events help to outline the complex cultural legacy left by feminist media activism around sexual violence in this decade.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): feminism, rape, 1980s, backlash, speaking out, survivors, media history
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Tanya Serisier
    Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 10:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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