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Raping The Fantasy Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

“Rape Fantasies” by Margaret Atwood looks at first as a humorous short story about a group of friends who use to chat every day but, as the reader starts analyzing the story deeper, one can find several traces of patriarchal oppression underneath the chat going between the women in the story. Using rape as the central point in the story, Margaret Atwood addresses the topics of media taking control and shaping the minds of women, different stereotypes associated to women, the power struggle between men and women and the idea of voicing as a means of liberation from patriarchal oppression.
Even when magazines are only mentioned at the beginning of the short story, they are a tool of ...view middle of the document...

Many women are controlled by this search of perfection and the ideal body and eventually –some of them –might face some physical and psychological negative consequences because of it. This little reference to the lunch of one of the women in that ladies lunch room show us readers how controlled by patriarchy women are; they are not capable of feeling good with who they are and their appearance but they need to change it to feel good with themselves. The same happens with Chrissy who is “varnished” in makeup. She has adopted the social imposition of wearing makeup to be pretty for men which is another form of oppression used by patriarchy. Chrissy is not only forced to spend money on makeup, but she is also forced to use it every day thus hiding her true self and renouncing to her self-hood as she is defined for her external appearance and not by her actions. Furthermore, magazines portray society’s expectations of what women should do when they encounter a rapist: “not to resist” (Atwood, 2). In this sense, magazines are telling women to be passive, vulnerable and submissive even when their integrity is in danger as “all the articles say it’s better not to resist, that way you don’t get hurt” (Atwood, 2). Thus, directly or indirectly magazines are complying with rape, as they place it in women’s minds attached to the idea of been passive if they are placed in the situation of a potential rape.
In addition, it seems in the short story that women have unconsciously accepted the idea of rape. The notion of fantasizing with rape is created by the media and makes a violent sexual act in something to be fantasized about. In fact, there is a “myth [which claims that] women are secretly willing victims of rape” (Bond and Mosher, 162). This myth is “generated by the false belief that rape is sexual in its essence, rather than violent in its motivation, execution, and consequences for the victim” (Burt, 1980; Feild, 1978). In this context, we can assume that the myth of “pleasurable” rape has been created by the media in order to have certain control if the rape is actually committed in real life. This is why sometimes a victim or rape feels victimized by society as there is a notion still going around that it should be pleasurable for her as it involves sexual intercourse. What happens in Atwood’s “Rape Fantasies” is the adoption of that myth as a reality, women start fantasizing about the idea of rape and they give different scenarios on which they imagine their “rapes” happening. For example, Chrissy’s fantasy is “about being in the bathtub ... and then the door opens and [a man is] standing there”; the man is “blocking the doorway, so [she] just lie[s] there” (Atwood, 2). This fantasy shows Chrissy’s internalized ideas about rape and its implications. First, she eroticizes herself in the fantasy. Being in the bathtub is an erotic representation which is mainly used to allure men. Thus, Chrissy has become a sexual object in...

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