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

Yes, Stephen King's novels are sexist Show more Show less

His novels do not give women the respect or treatment that they deserve.
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Stephen King frequently portrays violent acts against women

Women are often subject to domestic violence, abuse, and harassment.
Literature Sexism Stephen King

The Argument

Domestic abuse, violence, and harassment are a constant in many Stephen King novels. His female characters are subject to many, many forms of trauma, ones that the male characters are not exposed to as frequently. If we bring up the example of It, we can see that the main female character, Beverly Marsh, is subject to not just one but two abusive relationships—her father and her husband in the future. While her male counterparts don't necessarily have the best lives, their struggle comes nowhere near the uncomfortable level of sexual and physical torment that Beverly is subjected to.[1] In Rose Madder, the plot circulates around a poor woman attempting to escape domestic violence. It contains graphic depictions of this abuse. In Gerald's Game, the main character's haunting visions and motivation to survive come from the domestic and sexual abuse she experienced as both a child and an adult. It is implied that she is drawn to this abuse. While many of these are strong characters, that doesn't excuse the fact that Stephen King subjects his female protagonists to an excessive amount of abuse. This abuse often is central to the story, while in male-centered stories, it is not.

Counter arguments

Abuse like this happens in real life. And, unfortunately, it happens more often to women. It is disproportionate, yes, but accurate to the reality of abuse within households in America. King writes horror, and this is certainly horrific and terrifying. Unlike his monsters and demons, this is real.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Stephen King characters frequently experience many forms of abuse. [P2] These experiences are disproportionate between men and women.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] This is simply a reflection of real life.

References

  1. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/09/171448/it-beverly-father-sexual-abuse-movie-review
This page was last edited on Thursday, 5 Nov 2020 at 23:12 UTC

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