Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: September 1, 2023 - Last updated: September 1, 2023


Author: Batul Fatima Shafiq Thahim

Title: Benevolent and Enlightened Sexism in Contemporary American Literature

Subtitle: A Psychoanalytic Investigation of Sidney Sheldon's Novels

Thesis: Undergraduate Research Project, Institute of Business Administration, Pakistan

Advisor: Safia Mahmood

Year: 2023

Pages: 56pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Society: Rape Culture; Representations: Literary Texts / Sidney Sheldon


Link: Institutional Repository of the Institute of Business Administration (Restricted Access)


Author: ResearchGate

Abstract: »The rise of grass-root movements, such as #MeToo, has brought attention to the prevalence of misogynistic 'rape culture' and the emergence of 'benevolent' and 'enlightened' sexism. This research delves into the portrayal of women in popular media and literature through the lens of feminism and psychoanalytic literary criticism and how authors of contemporary novels such as Sidney Sheldon can perpetuate hyper-feminine, hyper-sexual representations of women, which contradict the progress made by feminist movements. Focusing on Sidney Sheldon's selected novels, this research examines the author's portrayal of his female characters as beautiful, vengeful, and dependent on men's romantic love despite possessing immense social power and material wealth. Through a comprehensive analysis of the chosen literary works, I aim to promote critical thinking about popular culture's impact on societal perceptions of women and feminist ideologies. I draw on the psychoanalytic interpretation that views literature as reflecting the human psyche to critique whether Sheldon's female characters genuinely advocate for female empowerment or subtly reinforce dominant and sexist ideologies. This psychoanalytic interpretation offers a comprehensive understanding of the innate complexities embedded within contemporary American novels. By unraveling the unconscious motivations, desires, and defense mechanisms of Sheldon's characters, this research sheds light on the intricate interplay between literature and the human psyche, providing profound insights into gender dynamics and societal norms portrayed in literary works.« (Source: Institutional Repository of the Institute of Business Administration)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | Literature: American literature / Sidney Sheldon | Sex and the law: Rape / Rape culture, Rape in the United States