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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 8. Misogyny, Gun Control, and Mental Illness: The Etiology of a Cultural Disease

Extract

· 8 ·

MISOGYNY, GUN CONTROL, AND MENTAL ILLNESS

The Etiology of a Cultural Disease

Gayatri Devi

They are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing.

—Margaret Thatcher1

We must not believe, certainly, that a change in woman’s economic conditions alone is enough to transform her, though this factor has been and remains the basic factor in her evolution; but until it has brought about the moral, social, cultural, and other consequences that it promises and requires, the new woman cannot appear … This she could do only through a social evolution.

—Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex2

The initial media discourse that ensued in the wake of the mass murder of eight students at UC Santa Barbara on May 24, 2014, perpetrated by another student Elliot Rodger, almost exclusively framed the murders in the language of the continuing social and political debate over gun rights, and the role mental illness may have played in these killings. The ensuing debates mimic those that arose after the spate of killings two years prior at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The collective response to mass murders perpetrated by lone gunmen in our present cultural moment appears to be one of righteous indignation over gun rights gone awry. Both the political left and the right argue their positions on these mass murders with de facto acceptance of the “facts” of ← 157 | 158 → the case...

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