IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Challenging women’s vulnerability


  • Donzelli, S.


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:19673. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RePub). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.