Corrective Rapes and Hegemonic Masculinity

I have already blogged about the epidemic of sexual violence in South Africa. Corrective rapes, the raping of lesbian women to put them back on the "right" track, are a subset of that and reflect hegemonic masculinity in that they involve a woman’s submission, against her will, to forcible intercourse with a man. Needless to say, it is hard to see how a straight rape could act as a corrective to lesbianism. I don’t see victims of such acts going "oh yeah, now that I’ve been raped by a man, I’m totally going to be straight!" And since it does not make sense, that means it is not the correct frame of analysis.

Let’s try a different tack here:

In the context of hegemonic masculinity in South Africa, lesbians are seen as women who voluntarily put themselves outside of the sphere of potential "hits" for straight men who are entitled to sex with any woman, whether the woman likes it or not. A lesbian is a woman who has found  a way out of this phallocratic system. A corrective rape is not so much geared at "turning her straight" but to put her back in the sphere where she is accessible to men. She tried to get out of the narrow box of gender roles, she’s violently thrown back in. From these men’s perspective, the lesbian is the one that almost got away with not submitting to hegemonic masculinity, THAT is what needs correcting.

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  1. Pingback: Enforcing Heteronormativity | The Global Sociology Blog

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