Problematizing 'pro-feminist' depictions of female on male rape: American Horror Story's 'Rape of the Monsignor'

Cohen, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-7426-7010, 2019. Problematizing 'pro-feminist' depictions of female on male rape: American Horror Story's 'Rape of the Monsignor'. Crime, Media, Culture: an International Journal. ISSN 1741-6590

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Dramatised depictions of female-on-male rape, in inverting the conventional gendered rape binary of male assailant/female victim, are commonly regarded as subverting gender norms, and are thus celebrated as pro-feminist. I present a Foucauldian problematisation of this rationale - arguing that, through a process of over-writing gender, inversion of the norm masks a reversion to the norm. To interpret this as pro-feminist, one must be distracted by corporeal gender in the superficial role reversal, and blind to the anti-feminist effects in operation. Critical discourse analysis of an example drawn from the popular US television show American Horror Story illustrates that such depictions operate in discursive space as the locus for a process of ‘governmentalised recursion’. A close reading of the media text, and its audience reception is performed, methodological considerations in the intersection of feminist analyses and cultural criminology, vis a vis gendered lacunae and popular misinterpretation, are discussed, and the primacy of scenographic analysis is challenged via a focus on ‘the arc’. This piece thus contributes an intervention in the discourse predicated on a Foucauldian triangulation of media texts, audience responses and institutional frameworks and practices, to comprise a ‘history of the present’ in a controversial and neglected area.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Crime, Media, Culture: an International Journal
Creators: Cohen, C.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 22 March 2019
ISSN: 1741-6590
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 29 Mar 2019 15:16
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2019 15:16

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