Boys will be boys : feminist and patriarchal perspectives on sexual violence and masculinity in coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape scandal



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This thesis examines how the news media respond when rape allegations first enter the public discourse, as exemplified by local newspaper coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape scandal in the spring of 2006. Guided by the academic literature on feminist and patriarchal understandings of sexual violence and gendered representations in the media, a textual analysis explores how journalists framed and articulated a rape story in its earliest inception and what this coverage reveals about patriarchal and feminist ideologies operating in the public realm. This research demonstrates that feminist voices have fractured the dominant traditional perspective by challenging and re-articulating patriarchal narratives on rape. However, a reluctance to critically examine misogynistic or aggressive male behavior demonstrates the normalized state of sexually violent masculinity and the hegemonic power of patriarchal ideology.