Gender and violence: Rape as a spectacle on prime-time television


SOCIAL SCIENCE INFORMATION SUR LES SCIENCES SOCIALES, vol.58, no.4, pp.681-700, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0539018419883831
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.681-700
  • Keywords: gender, hegemonic masculinity, prime time, television serials, violence
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


This article focuses on the representation of rape on prime-time Turkish television and its context, where the industry, marketing and politics intersect, to investigate how the representation of rape on television serials functions. Since 2010, the prime-time episodic television of Turkey has used images of beautiful young girls and women who have been raped as a motif. A large number of TV serials have featured male violence against women as a central narrative concern, while there has been a rising trend featuring female characters as victims of rape. Often an episode in a television serial that features the act of rape is the most-viewed one in the series. The eroticization of violence against women through rape and gang rape scenes demonstrates that media, especially television, plays a key role in the construction of a violent masculinity that works according to the motto 'I hurt therefore I am'. However, the television serial that give rape a central place in their narrative open a new space for public discussion about rape and other issues related to violence against women, and could encourage public outcry and defeat the government's proposals based on traditional norms unfavorable to victims of sexual violence. While this article accepts the potential of television serials in bringing about social change, it does not forget the function of television series as entertainment and their active role in strengthening hegemonic masculinity. This article aims to shed light on the complex relations between gender, violence and television, as well as how gender relations are reproduced at a time when politics, media and economy interact and interlace.