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Dangerous Discourses

Feminism, Gun Violence, and Civic Life

Edited By Catherine R. Squires

Dangerous Discourses brings together new work by feminist scholars who provide a multifaceted view of the ways contemporary media discourses inscribe particular understandings of gendered social identities, gun violence, and public policy.
The chapters examine multiple media locations where discourses about guns and violence against women proliferate, including social media, mainstream news, National Rifle Association-sponsored magazines, gun research, public policy debates, popular magazines, and television drama. 
Utilizing theory and empirical research, this book helps us see more clearly how gender, sexuality, and other intersecting identities must be included in analysis of media discourses of guns and gendered violence.  The authors discuss the role of patriarchal ideologies, and center feminist thought and concerns in order to get beyond the one-liners, sound bites, and truisms about bad guys, the Second Amendment, mental health, and personal freedom that currently dominate public debates about guns and violence. 
With its unique views on the ways gun violence and gender inflect each other in the United States, this book is designed for courses in media studies, women’s studies, and sociology.
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Chapter 5. The Black Shadow of White Sympathy: Hunger Games, Disposable Black Girlhood, and the Unspoken Politics of the National Gun Debate


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Hunger Games, Disposable Black Girlhood, and the Unspoken Politics of the National Gun Debate

Brittany Lewis

Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her, but I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and family and have the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya? Oh we know that story. Just a week after she performed at my husband’s inauguration she went to a park with some friends and got shot in the back, because some kid thought she was in a gang.1

— Michelle Obama

On April 10th, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama, fought back tears as she spoke to a group of Chicago business leaders, pleading with them to take action to combat youth gun violence. Using the death of a young black girl to frame her address, the First Lady relied on “enactment” to try to jolt her mostly white male audience to include black girls in the social imagination of childhood innocence. Enactment is “an electrifying form in which the speaker incarnates the argument; she is the proof of her claim.”2 She used the comparison between herself and Hadiya to persuade them to consider the nation’s role in protecting black girls in the inner city. This was of particular importance to the First Lady, because she was once a young black girl living on the South...

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