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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's stories often show females as overcomers

Women overcome all odds in his books, showing strength.
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Stephen King literature sexism strength

Context

The Argument

On top of being strong, the female leads in Stephen King's novels are shown as overcomers, frequently triumphing over whatever was tormenting them. Donna Trenton in Cujo kills the terrifying dog, ending the torment and finding revenge for the death of her son. She is triumphant, powerful. A woman killing a beast is not very common in many horror scenarios, so this is a powerful and rather feminist moment. Carrie White triumphs over everyone who tormented her in Carrie. She finds her revenge on the terrible kids at her school and her abusive, crazy mother. In 11/22/63, Sadie Dunhill perished but emerges victorious in the sense that she makes a difference in the world no matter what timeline she is in. She escapes an abusive relationship and supports her new one with all that she is. She's a survivor. It's a relief to see stories in which females are not just victims. Women are shown as powerful, determined, and intelligent.

Counter arguments

Although these women triumph over evil, there is often not a valid reason why they are in these situations in the first place. The circumstances are unnecessary, and could be told without putting women in these terrible situations.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Stephen King writes women as powerful overcomers. [P2] This is rare for many horror novels.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The situations they are placed in to overcome are sexist.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

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    This page was last edited on Tuesday, 28 Apr 2020 at 10:20 UTC