Rape in the news: On rape genres in Swedish news coverage

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Abstract

This article deals with narratives of rape in Swedish newspapers between 1990 and 2015. Though perpetuating myths and stereotypes about rape, rapists and rape victims, the main argument is that the narratives of rape in the news are diverse. This diversity is analysed in terms of different genres—narratives of “the lonely pervert”; “the sex slavery rape”; “the celebrity rape”; and “the suburb rape.” Genre will be used as a cultural analytical means to elaborate on the meanings of news reports of rape and the societal functions and effects of these meanings. It is exemplified how some genres form debates that push changes in national legislation or encourage proactive engagement in city planning on the local level, whereas others are characterised by questioning or justification. In the case of the celebrity rape, the sex slavery rape and the lonely pervert rape these genres produce narratives that hide patriarchal structures by “monstering” the perpetrator or by questioning the very existence of the specific rape. In the case of the suburb rapes the patriarchal structure is hidden behind a discussion of other structural problems.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Media Studies

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1194
Number of pages17
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Volume19
Issue number8
Early online date2018 Sep 2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes