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Are Stephen King's novels sexist? Show more Show less

Stephen King is one of the world's top-paid authors, with over sixty published books and even more films and TV shows based upon these novels. The way he portrays women in these books, unfortunately, is not always the best. Women are constantly subject to abuse, fantasy, and objectification. Are Stephen King's novels sexist, or not?

No, Stephen King's novels are not sexist Show more Show less

He portrays women as strong, depicting them as triumphant.
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Stephen King constantly includes strong female protagonists

Stephen King has an abundance of strong female leads in his stories.
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Stephen King empowerment literature sexism

Context

The Argument

There are so many examples of strong female leads in King's novels - ones with power, excellent morals, and the ability to find their way out of whatever situation they've found themselves trapped in. In Gerald's Game, Jessie Burlingame uses her past trauma to escape from her chained position - finally moving from victimized to triumphant. She beats all those who abused her in her life to start again, both physically and mentally.[1] Rosie McClendon in Rose Madder fights to escape from her abusive ex, utilizing a painting. Beverly Marsh defies all odds in It, fighting for her place in the world despite all that she is experiencing. These are strong characters that can be looked up to, admired. The battle through circumstances with strength and willpower like no other. There is no sign of sexism in empowerment.

Counter arguments

Simply placing women in lead roles is not enough to determine whether the novels are sexist or not. It's the treatment and portrayal of women, and within that lies the issue with Stephen King's books.

Framing

Premises

[P1] King creates admirable female leads. [P2] They empower rather than put down women.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The issue is not the women's personalities, but how they are treated in the novel.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://screenrant.com/stephen-kings-strongest-female-leads-ranked/

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 29 Apr 2020 at 10:48 UTC