Media Representations of Gender and Torture Post-9/11

By Marita Gronnvoll

© 2010 – Routledge

174 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415634212
pub: 2012-04-20
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Hardback: 9780415874809
pub: 2010-04-30
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About the Book

In this timely book, Gronnvoll offers a feminist rhetorical examination of gender and torture, looking at the media coverage of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, as well as recent popular entertainment television serials where torture appears as a plot device (including 24). In exposing news media coverage to such scrutiny, she finds that cases of American personnel engaging in torture achieved notoriety chiefly because of the fact that women were perpetrators. The language of commentators suggests at least as much social outrage over the gender performance of the women as over the fact of torture being committed by Americans. At the same time, political and social discourses sketch a portrait of an intractable enemy in the form of the Muslim "Other" and betray a longing for a savior warrior hero who is capable of prevailing over this perceived "evil." Yet, news coverage of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay suggests women warriors are socially perceived as lacking the necessary qualifications to be such saviors. This finding provides a transition into an examination of popular entertainment television programs that feature male and female heroes as government agents engaged in fighting the war on terrorism. Ultimately, Gronnvoll's analysis suggests that a Western cultural longing for a savior is partially fulfilled through fictional programming portrayals of masculine warriors who engage in torture and remain heroic.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1: Interrogating Torture 2: Gender (In)Visibility at Abu Ghraib 3: Sex, Blood, and Degradation: The Women of Gitmo 4: Torture Television 5: 24: Reshaping the Messiah 6: A Question of Torture Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Marita Gronnvoll is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric in the Department of Communication Studies at Eastern Illinois University.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Communication

This series is our home for cutting-edge, scholarly studies and edited collections in the fields of rhetoric and writing studies. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC010000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOC051000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society