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“Too drunk to say no”: binge drinking, rape and the Daily Mail

Meyer, Anneke (2010) “Too drunk to say no”: binge drinking, rape and the Daily Mail. Feminist Media Studies, 10 (1). 19 - 34. ISSN 1471-5902

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Abstract

In recent years, both the media and the government in the UK have been increasingly preoccupied with the problem of rape involving alcohol. For example, in order to increase low conviction rates, the government proposed, yet eventually rejected, reforms equating drunkenness with incapacity to consent to sexual intercourse. Research evidence, for example studies by Benedict (1992) or Finch and Munro (2005, 2007), suggests that conviction rates are influenced by an interplay of cultural discourses and legal arrangements. This article uses discourse analysis to identify and critically examine the major discourses which are produced around rape involving alcohol in one major daily newspaper, the Daily Mail. This conservative paper disapproves of women's binge drinking and is unsympathetic to victims of rape involving alcohol. The analysis indicates that its discourses deprecate and delegitimise victims by a) reinvigorating and refashioning old rape myths, b) re-gendering rape involving alcohol as a problem of female drinking rather than male sexual violence, and c) masquerading women's responsibilities and risks as rights. These findings open up the possibility for research into the popularity of these discourses across contemporary culture and their impact on cultural consumers, including those involved in legal decision-making processes.

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