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Challenging women’s vulnerability

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  • Donzelli, S.

Abstract

This paper considers explanations of rape related to perceptions of women’s vulnerability and of men’s violence and strength as problematic, because of the limitations they impose on women’s agency. Under the framework of poststructuralist feminist politics of rape and politics of representation, it analyses how to bring about change, in relation to these beliefs, at the level of discourses. The principal justification to focus on the production of discourses rests on the argument that ideas of women’s vulnerability and men’s strength participate in constructing discourses that legitimise and normalise rape. These reflections are then used to look at the experience of “Sexto Sentido,” a Nicaraguan feminist telenovela, produced to incite stimulating critical reflection and debate on different oppressive relations of power. More specifically, this study discursively analyses how this soap opera challenges dominant discourses on masculinity, femininity and rape in Nicaragua. Overall, the paper critically discusses the potentialities and challenges of fostering social change through discourses.

Suggested Citation

  • Donzelli, S., 2010. "Challenging women’s vulnerability," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19673, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:19673
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    File URL: https://repub.eur.nl/pub/19673/wp494.pdf
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    Keywords

    discourses; femininity; feminist politics; intersectionality; masculinity; politics of representation; power; rape;

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