Women and Rape the Main Thesis
- Length: 10 pages
- Sources: 10
- Subject: Women's Issues - Sexuality
- Type: Thesis
- Paper: #60300142
Excerpt from Thesis :
The overall literature available on this theory is more or less mixed as some studies claim that there is nor relation between the two concepts (Pelletier & Herold, 1988), whereas others state that rape fantasies are high where women are sexually suppressed (Hariton & Singer, 1974), yet another study concluded that the women who had higher ratio of rape fantasy were mentally more healthy towards the concept of sex (Gold et al., 1991; Shulman & Horne, 2006) and experienced lower levels of shame (Shulman & Horne, 2006; Strassberg & Lockerd, 1998). Hence, it is important to analyze whether there is actual link between rape fantasies and the sexual guilt phenomenon.
Openness to Sexual Experience
The philosophy of the openness to sexual experience is in direct opposition to the sexual blame avoidance phenomenon. Here the idea is that having rape fantasies is part of the sexual identity and need of a woman (Gold et al., 1991; Pelletier & Herold, 1988; Strassberg & Lockerd, 1998). Pelletier and Herold (1988) explained that the number or ratio of sexual fantasies of a woman was directly proportional to her active sex life i.e. The ratios sexual acts and partners that she has had. This simply denotes that with the amount of sexual acts increasing, the overall mindset of the extent of a sexual act also increases and hence includes the very different scenario of a rape fantasy as well. However, there is a lot that still needs to be explored in the relationship between the actual sexual life of a woman and her sexual fantasies. Most researchers agree that while this may be true for sexual fantasies, the rape fantasies might be different because women with high rape fantasies might not have experienced the actual act (Gold et al., 1991; Gold & Clegg, 1990; Kanin, 1982).
Desirability is another factor in the existence of rape fantasies. This philosophy mainly portrays the woman as being sexually more powerful then the man and is hence more inducing in nature to get the main to lose control of his emotions, get overcome with his desire for her and sexually rape her (Hariton, 1973; Heiman et al., 1976; Kanin, 1982; Knafo & Jaffe, 1984). Kanin (1982) explains that this boosts the confidence a woman has in her sexuality and excites her and many researches have supported the claim that the desirability of a man for a woman is a huge factor in any sexual act (Graham, Sanders, Milhausen, & McBride, 2004). Zurbriggen and Yost (2004) in their study explained that a man's desire played a huge role in the rape fantasies as well. However, no empirical and statistical data has been able to link desirability and high rape fantasies.
Male Rape Culture
Brownmiller (1975) in her study explains that the rape fantasies were a cultural phenomenon and an aftermath of the male-dominant society where the man is painted as the controlling and managing provoker of desire in women and women are depicted as the weak sufferer of the man's control and power. She feels that the women's own sexual growth and ideas have been suppressed and the man's ideologies and approaches towards sex have been engrained in them and have dominated them in the formation of their fantasies too. She feels that this is yet another way for men to conform women to do what they want. There is not a lot of data in support or against this study but certain researchers have analyzed that while the rape fantasies are high amongst women, only 15-20% of men have rape fantasies where they are dominated (Hunt, 1974; Person et al., 1989; Sue, 1979).
Biological Predisposition to Surrender
The philosophy of Biological Predisposition to Surrender basically highlights that the man has to be able to restrain the woman to an extent to conduct any form of copulation and this is one of the reasons behind the woman's high ratio of rape fantasies as they allow the domination of man (Fisher, 1999). Furthermore, Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1989) analyzes that the hero-victim phenomenon played by man-woman respectively is very obvious amongst animals and have existed from ancient times only to progress into what its is now. Helen Fisher (1999) explains that the nature of a woman is inclined towards compromising and conceding which forms the basis for fantasies but that doesn't necessarily related to rape fantasies because there is nor logic or evidence to believe that women make an effort to ask for rape. Furthermore, she says that the overall reproductive cycle of a woman is restricted and rape does result in impregnations from men with lose and filthy characters. This she explains hampers the entire process of reproduction and negatively influences the entire family hierarchy as the low-life genes are passed on to the children and can influence their behavioral structure and character in the long run (Fisher, 1999). She says that the actual act of a rape or the desire of a rape fantasy can and does simultaneously impact the reproductive system of women.
This particular philosophy of sympathetic physiological activation has not really been assessed or researched in connection with the phenomenon of rape fantasies but it does help in assessed the mechanism behind the occurrence of rape fantasies. The main idea of Sympathetic activation is that it highlights or pays attention to an individual's aggressive responses, physical and body responses, for example the forming of a fists, widening of the eyes, increasing bodily flow of blood or producing epinephrine to boost the overall metabolism rate. Every bodily or physical change denotes a trait or and emotion and contribute to the sexual stimulation of an individual. Palace and Gorzalka (1990) in their study assessed the impact that an exciting sexual video might have on the physical or bodily aspects of women who have previously watched exciting sexual videos. Their conclusion showed that the women who were more or less normal before watching the movie showed no significant changes where the women who had already been apprehensive sexually experienced and increase in the capacity of genital stimulation which is the increased degree of vaginal blood. This is also supported by various other researchers who claim that the situations that create stress or fear can result in dramatic and negative changes in women who are already apprehensive sexually (Dutton & Aron, 1974; Barlow, Sakheim, & Beck, 1983).
One of the other aspects that have been analyzed n connection with the rape fantasies is the denotations and representations of the concept of rape in romantic books. One of the studies analyzed that nearly 40% of the paperback retailing within the United States alone is of romantic novels (Salmon & Symons, 2003), and further assessment showed that in nearly 54% of the romantic novels rape is an experience that either the leading female in the book or another important female character of the book endures (Thurston, 1987). This is why many researchers like Hazen's (1983) claim that the rape depictions in the romantic books have a very obvious part to play in the formation of the rape fantasies amongst women. Hazen further states that the depiction of the man is very similar to the male-dominant theory aforementioned where the man is not only desirable to the woman but also stronger and independent and have a more dictatorial stance or role in the book (Gorry, 1999).
The women and rape concept is directly linked to the sexual identification and the sexual interactions between men and women. The identifications and the interactions that occur between men and women determine and dictate how their fantasies are going to be. Most sexual interactions, the men view themselves as the one doing the sexual act while the women view themselves as the ones who the sexual act is being done to. This then further transmits and carries in to the fantasies of men and women regarding sexuality (Ellis & Symons, 1990; Leitenberg & Henning, 1995). This is where the rape fantasies come in to existence, the women views themselves as vulnerable and weak objects that are overcome by a man who they desire and who has the strength to overpower them. The women think of themselves as someone who serves the passion and doesn't enjoy it herself which is why most women who have rape fantasies claim that they don't enjoy the actual act (Money & Ehrhardt, 1972).
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Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will. Men, women, and rape. New York: Simon…