Dr. Sarah Projansky, Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs and Professor in Film & Media Arts and Gender Studies, recently spoke at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Her book “Watching Rape: Film and Television in Postfeminist Culture” addresses media representations of sexual assault, not just in explicit instances, but in implicit ones as well.
For her presentation, Dr. Projansky said she prepared by reflecting on media she had seen over the past few days and found at least six recent examples of sexual violence, whether direct or implied. “Sexual violence is pervasive, it is everywhere,” she said.
Dr. Projansky noted that trends in media show that representations of sexual violence drive ratings. “Sexual violence is generative. The media rely on sexual violence for narrative, ratings and advertising dollars,” Projansky stated. This pattern inspired Dr. Projansky’s research and her continued study in film and media scholarship.
Given the pervasiveness of sexual violence in media, Dr. Projansky also looks for meaningful representations that increase the social dialogue on sexual violence.
Her most recent book “Spectacular Girls,” published in February 2014, discusses the representation of gender, race and sexuality in relation to girls in media.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and focuses on healthy sexuality and empowerment to prevent sexual violence.