Images of Sex and Rape: A Content Analysis of Popular Film

Americans are spending increasingly greater portions of their leisure time consuming audiovisual forms of media, such as movies and television. Given the regularity of media consumption and the assumption of its influence on the perceptions of viewers, it is important to study the content of media programming. In this study, we conduct a content analysis of the 50 top-grossing films in 1996 to measure the prevalence and nature of sex and rape depictions. We find that movies present a rather patriarchal vision of sex and rape. Rapes in the movies are committed by sadistic, disturbed, lower-class individuals who prey on children and the vulnerable. This unidimensional movie picture of rape may help to perpetuate the real problem of rape and sexual abuse in our society by ignoring the reality of most real life rapes
Author: 
Bufkin,Jana
Eschholz,Sara
Notes: 
10.1177/1077801200006012002
Reprint Status: 
IN FILE
Start Page: 
1317
End Page: 
1344
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Violence Against Women
Volume: 
6
Issue: 
12
Abstract: 
The authors conducted a content analysis of the 50 top-grossing films in 1996 to measure the prevalence and scope of sex and rape depictions. The authors conclude that movies tend to present a patriarchal vision of sex and rape. In the movies, rapes are committed by disturbed, sadistic, lower-class persons who prey on children and the weak. The authors contend that this unidimensional and limited picture of rape may actually help to perpetuate the real problem of rape and sexual abuse in our society in that such films ignore the reality of most real-life rapes.
Topic Areas: 
Media/internet; myths/stereotypes
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
2373
Publication Date: 
2000/12/01