Raping Men: What’s Motherhood Got to Do With It?
As a cultural phenomenon, rape stands disturbingly at a crucial nexus of the historical and mythic dimensions of Western society, providing, on the one hand, a daunting material record of sexual violence against women1 and offering, on the other, a compelling icon of how women’s bodies have been constructed as alluring, provocative, and necessarily violable.2 In Catharine MacKinnon’s formulation, rape both actualizes and symbolizes the cultural disempowerment of women in the Western world.3 If women are sexually assaulted because they are women, it is not, as MacKinnon explains, individually or at random, but “because of their membership in a group defined by gender” (“Reflections,” 379, my emphasis). To be treated like a woman in this sense does not derive from “any universal essence or homogeneous generic or ideal type” but results from a “diverse material reality of social meanings and practices…” (“Reflections,” 378).
KeywordsSexual Violence Female Body Silk Cloth Cultural Narrative Female Protagonist
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