This book analyses rape culture through the lens of the ‘me too’ era. Drawing feminist theory into conversation with peace studies and improvisation theory, it advocates for peace- building opportunities to transform culture and for the improvisatory resources of ‘culture- jamming’ as a mechanism to dismantle rape culture.
The book’s key argument is that cultural attitudes and behaviours can be shifted through the introduction of disrupting narratives, so each chapter ends with a ‘culture- jammed’ re- telling of a traditional fairy tale. Chapter 1 traces an overlap of feminist theory and peace studies, arguing that rape culture is most fruitfully understood through the concept of ‘structural violence.’ Chapter 2 investigates the gender scripts that rape culture produces, considering a female counterpart to the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’: ‘complicit femininity.’ Chapter 3 offers analysis of non- consensual sex and a history of consent education, culminating in an argument that we need to move beyond consent to conceptualise a robust ‘respectful mutuality.’ Chapter 4 ’s history of sexual harassment in the workplace and the rise of #metoo argues that its global manifestations are a powerful peace- building initiative. Chapter 5 situates ‘me too’ within a culture- jamming history, using improvisation theory to show how this movement’s potential can shape cultural reconstruction.
This is a provocative and interventionist addition to feminist theory scholarship and is suitable for researchers and students in women’s and gender studies, feminist theory, sociology and peace studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Interpreting Cultural Fairy Tales
- once upon a time … Rape Culture is Structural Violence
- a beautiful girl met a handsome prince … Toxic Masculinity and Complicit Femininity
- and it was love at first sight … The Spectrum of Problematic Sex
- until it wasn’t anymore … How ‘Me Too’ Came to Work
- and they all lived better than before … Culture-Jamming Our Way to a Better World
Tracey Nicholls lectures in Politics and International Relations at Massey University in Aotearoa New Zealand. Previously she taught peace studies and gender studies at Soka University (Japan), and philosophy at Lewis University (United States). Her doctoral work, in philosophy at McGill University (Canada), introduced her to questions of political and ethical significance of improvised music that shaped her research programme. Her first monograph developed an ethics of improvisation, translating practices of improvising musicians into strategies for building more democratic political communities. Her engagement with anti- rape activism has focused on student- led consent-education efforts. These strands of work inform this book’s exploration of improvised resistance (‘culture- jamming’) as a response to rape culture, presenting ‘me too’ as a social movement with peace- building possibilities.