Women’s Liberation Movement
“Rape Fantasies,” by Margaret Atwood is a short story about the narrator, Estelle, recalling to an anonymous male a controversial conversation she has with a group of her female co-workers during their lunch hour. Estelle is critical of her female peers’ rape fantasies; however she fails to see the fallacies in hers. Estelle portrays herself as a heroine who tells stories to threatening males to compel them to not assault her.Atwood uses a temporal setting, a feminine first person point of view, irony, and allusion to warn readers of the vulnerability that comes from naivety and the downplay of rape.
The setting is temporal. The women’s liberation movement is thriving in the 1970s. Media is beginning to pay attention to non-superficial women’s issues: “The way they’re going on about it in the magazines you’d think it was just invented, and not only that but it’s something terrific, like a vaccine for cancer” (31). Magazines are beginning to advocate the Equal Rights Amendment, to converse about women's issues, to put domestic violence and sexual harassment on the cover of a women's magazine, and to feature a national study on date rape. History suggests women do not have or should not have sexual desires: “But if you’re being totally honest you can’t count those as rape fantasies” (34). Estelle and her coworkers label their sexual fantasies as rape to take away the sense of being personally responsible for their desires. The temporal setting occurs during the time feminine issues headline the media: “So at work they all have to talk about it because no matter what magazine you open, there it is, staring you right between the eyes, and they’re beginning to have it on television too”(31). After decades of amediablackout concerning feminine issues beyond the superficial the damn has been opened allowing the characters to discuss the taboo.Due to media’s growing attention of serious issues like rape Chrissy is...
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