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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 10. Lady Killers: Twenty Years of Magazine Coverage of Women Who Kill Their Abusers

Extract

· 10 ·

LADY KILLERS

Twenty Years of Magazine Coverage of Women Who Kill Their Abusers

Pamela Hill Nettleton

When a woman accepts a date with a man, he may wonder, “Do we have anything in common?” but she must wonder, “Will he kill me?”

If a woman is beaten or murdered, it is almost always by her boyfriend or husband. Nearly one in four women are beaten or killed by an intimate partner,1 and that number is likely low, because most victims of domestic violence do not report it.2 This intimate partner is overwhelmingly likely to be male: men commit 100% of the rapes, 92% of the physical assaults, and 97% of the stalking acts against women, and 70% of the rapes, 86% of the physical assaults, and 65% of the stalking acts against other men.3

Women are measurably less violent than men; although women are more than half of the U.S. population, they commit fewer than 15% of the homicides—but more than half of those murders are of their intimate partners.4 Women who fight back physically and/or kill their batterers are rare, and media coverage of them and studies of that coverage are also rare—but understanding how those public, mediated conversations about violent women are conducted is critical to addressing this troubling and long-standing issue of social justice that crosses class and race boundaries. Before communities can meaningfully and effectively address domestic violence, they must...

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