An ecofeminist approach to rape culture in contemporary novels
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper examines the concept of kyriarchy and interspecies violence in Michel Faber’s Under the Skin and Aprilynne Pike’s Wings and Spells, the first two books of her fantasy tetralogy. Under the Skin and the Wings series highlight the similarities of environmental abuse and abuse of the female body in subverting humans and non-humans hierarchy. Both texts challenge kyriarchy, which is the interlocking matrix of all hierarchies including those of gender, species and social class, by debunking the historical subordination of both females as the second sex and the natural world as a resource for human use. Despite this foundational similarity, the texts explore kyriarchy differently. Under the Skin focuses on female-on-male violence between species – aliens and humans – while Wings and Spells focus on male-on-female violence between species – trolls and faeries. The intricate interweaving of species hybridity alongside gender conflicts in these texts thus exemplifies the concept of kyriarchy by showing how disparate exploitations of gender and species are interlinked. The violence of kyriarchy is not limited to women, but also affects both men and non-human organisms. The paper will examine how kyriarchy is similar to and thus also reinforces rape culture while the treatment of the natural world is inter-implicated in society’s treatment of women.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University