Just Sex?: The Cultural Scaffolding of Rape

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2005 - Psychology - 268 pages

Winner of the Association for Women In Psychology 2006 Distinguished Publication Award!

The past two decades have witnessed a significant shift in how rape is understood in Western societies. This shift in perception has revealed the startling frequency of occurrences of date rape, obscuring the divide between rape and what was once just sex. Just Sex? combines an overview of the existing literature with an analysis of recent research to examine the psychological and cultural implications of this new epidemic. The result is the conclusion that feminist theory on sexual victimisation has gone both too far and not far enough. The reader is presented with a challenging and original perspective on the issues of rape, sex and the body, incorporating subjects including:

* rape as a social problem
* the social constructionism of sex, subjectivity and the body
* heterosexuality under the microscope

This book succeeds in making a valuable contribution to feminist and social contructionist work on rape that will be of interest to those studying psychology, gender studies, cultural studies and sociology.

Just Sex? The Cultural Scaffolding of Rape was selected as a 2005 winner of AWP's (Association for Women in Psychology) distinguished publication award.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book is a fascinating examination of the discourses that frame how we understand sex and the possibility of refusing sex that we don't want. The focus is on adult and adolescent heterosexual women accounting for their unwanted—but not necessarily coerced—sexual experiences, and her theoretical lens is heavily influenced by Foucault. Gavey identifies and traces the impact of several discourses that determine how women understand their options in sexual encounters with men:
--the "coital imperative" that sees all sexual intimacy as necessarily and inevitably moving toward intercourse and male orgasm
--the "have–hold discourse" that claims that a woman must be broadly sexually available, even when she doesn't want to, to maintain a relationship with a man
--the "male sex-drive discourse" that takes sex to be a primal need for men, which absolves them of responsibility for their actions and justifies the demands they place on women. Gavey's analysis is truly insightful, and has become a starting point for many serious discussions of this topic since.
Don't be distracted by the feigned indignation of people who do not like her argument about "women raping men," which is completely peripheral to the book itself. This book is thoughtful, nuanced, and truly insightful for both academic and casual readers.
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Absolutely horrific. Not only does Nicola Gavey level accusations of rape against many innocent people in this book, but she repeatedly, and hypocritically, apologizes for rape herself. In one chapter entitled 'Turning the Tables' she deems the rape of males to be a 'newsworthy distraction' from the rape of females and suggests that rape is simply not rape when it happens to a man. 'Unrapeable' is a word she uses to describe, in particular, heterosexual white men.
In the same chapter, Nicola Gavey establishes an algebraic formula for her own rape apology. She says that if 'x' happens to a woman it may be considered rape. If 'x' happens to a man it may not necessarily be considered rape. Her justification for this is flaky and stupid, and basically comes down to men not being held with any regard or dignity.
This is a stupid theory considering what a problem the sexual victimization of males is in society, and considering Niccola Gavey's formal position in regards to the subject. Although Niccola Gavey may extrapolate rape apology in the general populous, only she can be attributed to this book, a book with a theory and thesis founded on rape apology. Niccola Gavey is a rape apologist, and has no business accusing others.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
RAPE IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT
15
Rape as a social problem
17
The discovery of a rape epidemic
50
GENDER POWER AND SEXUALITY AND THE LIMITS OF INDIVIDUAL CHOICE
77
The social construction of sex subjectivity and the body
79
Heterosexuality under the microscope
102
Unsexy sex Unwanted sex sexual coercion and rape
136
GOING TOO FAR NOT GOING FAR ENOUGH
167
Can a woman be raped and not know it?
169
Turning the tables? Women raping men
193
Toward ending rape
214
References
235
Index
263
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Nicola Gavey is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her work examines the convergences of gender, power and sexuality, in order to critique cultural conditions of possibility for rape.

Bibliographic information