Rape and Feminism

August 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

In an article published today by Salon, author Estelle Freedman discusses the role of feminism in changing America’s rhetoric and laws  surrounding sexual assault.

 As [feminism] evolved from the radical margins to the political mainstream, the movement proved far more effective than its predecessors in changing both laws and institutional practices. The rapidity of the shift, evidenced by an explosion in media coverage and legal reform, suggests that the spark of feminist politics ignited a backlog of fear and resentment among American women, many of whom had felt both physically at risk and politically disempowered by the threat of rape.

It’s a quick read, but an interesting read nonetheless–and one that discusses an issue relevant to all of us today. In fact, the BBC just published an interesting article about how feminist comedians are fighting back against the fact that domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape have become “open fodder for comedians at open-mic nights.”

As one of life’s odd correlations, just  before reading this article  I ran an ngram1 search for the words “rape” and “feminism” in all Google digitized books from 1800 to 2008. The result (click the image to enlarge):

ngram rape and feminism

1Ngram is a phrase-usage graphing tool which charts the yearly count of selected n-grams (letter combinations)[n] or words and phrases,[1][2] as found in over 5.2 million books digitized by Google Inc (up to 2008) (cite: wikipedia). In other words, it counts how many times a word was used in all google-digitized book for each year.

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