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A critical reading of western newspaper narratives of rape in India and their implications for feminist activism

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This article is based on a review of around 100 western English print press articles recording rape in India. No cases were reported prior to the tragic and brutal rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi on the 16th December 2012. The article presents a critical analysis of the dominant discourses running through the articles and highlights the extent to which the colonial lens is still present as the main perspective through which India is viewed. The article highlights how press narratives are problematic for two main reasons. Firstly, because of the narrow reporting of only rape which suggests it occurs only to middle-class or modern urban women, the daily experiences of low-caste and Dalit women for example is ignored. Secondly, we identify the construction of a problematic-male who is labelled deviant, sexually feral and the key perpetrator of all rape violence in India. This article in no way denies the reality of violence against women in India, quite the contrary, but argues that the distorting imperialist picture emerging through the press does not support the work of feminist activists in India whose nuanced and complex understanding of the realities of violence must lead the way to eradicating it.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalContinuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2016


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