Gender and Force in the Media

Detailed Table of Contents

Victoria Herche: Editorial
Interview with Feminist Activist Anne Wizorek
Johanna Schorn: Empowerment through Violence: Feminism and the Rape-Revenge Narrative in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Abstract: One of the many problematic facets of the constructions of rape victims in popular as well as news media is the way in which they are consistently denied agency. Passivity is deemed the hallmark of a ‘true victim’ (contrasted with those women who are accused of lying about rape or having ‘asked for it’ with their behavior), and the victim remains in this passivity while a supportive male avenges her. An alternative to this is presented by the rape-revenge narrative, in which the victim reclaims agency and resorts to violence to avenge her own rape, insinuating that brute physical force may be a victim’s only recourse in a rape culture dominated by systemic misogyny. Using as an example Stieg Larsson’s novel "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", I examine the feminist potential of the rape-revenge narrative and its application in the novel.
Author's Bio: Johanna Schorn holds a BA in English and European History and an MA in Intercultural Anglophone Studies, both from the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Currently she is a PhD candidate and instructor at the English Department of the University of Cologne, where she is writing her dissertation on the topic of construction of trans* identities in film. Her research interests include Queer and Gender Studies, Contemporary Popular Culture and Vampire Literature. In addition to her academic work, she is involved in queer and feminist activism and has been a volunteer for, an online sex-education service for teens, since 2007.
Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky: The Postmortal Rape Survivor and the Paradox of Female Agency across Different Media: Alice Sebold’s Novel "The Lovely Bones" and its 2009 Film Adaptation
Abstract: Alice’s Sebold’s 2002 bestseller, The Lovely Bones, challenges the silencing process surrounding the crime of rape by paradoxically establishing a postmortal rape survivor as its narrator. The paper traces how the narrator’s voice and agency are negotiated and supported, and how and where the 2009 film adaptation diverges from the novel’s feminist agenda. While both film and novel seek to condemn violence against women, the film sets out to do it by casting female characters in the role of helpless victims, whereas the original medium establishes them as canny survivors.
Author's Bio: Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky holds an M.A. in English Studies, German Studies and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Cologne, where she is currently employed as an instructor by the English Department. She is working on a Ph.D., analysing the works of Neil Gaiman from a gender studies perspective. Her research interests include contemporary British drama, magical realism, representations of monstrosity in literature, and detective fiction.
Sarah Youssef: Murderous Honor Past and Present: Webster’s "Duchess of Malfi" and Contemporary Crimes of Honor
Abstract: The United Nations estimate around 5000 yearly cases of ‘honor killings’ worldwide, numerous NGOs and human rights activists guess that the numbers of crimes committed in the name of ‘honor’ is closer to 10 000. ‘Honor killings’ are not limited to class, geography or gender (although the majority of the victims are women) but a socio-political issue that needs to be addressed globally. Current cases of Banaz Mahmod (UK) and Arzu Ö. (Germany) received wide media coverage. One of the finest Jacobean plays, John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, becomes exceptionally relevant when looking at the relationship of ‘honor’, family, justice and women’s rights then and now.
Author's Bio: After completing her BA degree in Theatre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, Sarah Youssef received her MA in Text & Performance Studies from RADA, London, UK, and a MA Cross Sectoral and Community Arts at Goldsmiths College, London, UK. Internationally she has worked as a director, writer and dramaturge. She is a part of the CAST Artists' Network - Creative Arts Schools Trust, an organization that supports international theatre training of politically and socially disadvantaged children. In August 2010 her first full-length play, Citizen Erased, premiered in London at the Camden Fringe Festival. Additionally she has worked as an freelance Assistant Director on numerous productions in Germany and was Dramaturge and Education Manager at Theater im Bauturm. Since spring 2012 Sarah has been a PhD candidate, editorial assistant of and research assistant the University of Cologne.
 (Review)Lawrence R. Schehr: "French Post-Modern Masculinities: From Neuromatrices to Seropositivity"