Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged rape

Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love

After a promising introduction I was ready to absorb the essays that lay before me in Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love, a short zine concerning radical parenting with narratives exploring issues of sex and love. Needless to say, this zine made me feel a range of emotions: offended, entertained, informed, and bored. Some of these essays do not concern love or sex or are only very loosely related to the topics in an abstract way. Rad Dad himself falls flat in his own personal essay.

Rape New York

Rape New York: Jana Leo’s title seems to defiantly ask its readers to ‘rape’ New York. It also simultaneously turns ‘rape’ into an adjective with which to describe New York City. Fascinated with this title, I pondered the difference a comma could have made. Rape, New York would then turn ‘rape’ into a borough of the city. This wordplay is not insignificant in Leo’s ultimate argument.

Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics, 1974-2007

A student of Judy Chicago and Allan Kaprow, Suzanne Lacy’s collection of essays about her performance art pieces showcases not only Lacy’s development as a powerhouse feminist artist of her time but also the changing landscape of political art throughout the past four decades. Following a thoughtful introduction by her friend Moira Roth, Leaving Art traces Lacy’s self-criticism, the intended meaning behind her pieces, and reflections about the effectiveness of her work, at times in journal form (e.g., “While I was working on this piece I figured out why it has been so hard for me to consider myself grown up”) and at times as she reflects about the meaning of art more broadly. As an introduction to Lacy’s work, or as an in-depth look at Lacy’s artistic process, the book will appeal both to those newly familiar with Lacy or with those who have long followed her career.

The Photograph

The Photograph begins with an old man slowly examining old photographs with his hands. The viewer feels almost intrusive watching the gnarled fingers pass over the pictures he knows so well that he need only touch their frames to bring the images to mind. The slow, tender motions of the old man are a direct contrast to the brash, young protagonist, Sita, who is introduced in the next scene.

Lynchpin #1

You’re a bold Canadian Mr. MacLean. For your first full-length comic, Lynchpin #1, you decide to tackle sexual assault in high school, and then sent it to the Elevate Difference. You even went so far as to specifically request our uncensored assessment. Well, you asked for it. Though you clearly had the best of intentions and appear to want to help your friend find a little justice by sharing her story with the world, you missed the mark. Your courage in tackling this very personal subject matter is astounding.

I Spit On Your Grave

There's very little chance of spoiling anyone with this review. The original I Spit On Your Grave is notorious, if not for its legend then for its lingering controversy, especially amongst feminists. Meir Zarchi, writer and director of the 1978 film, apparently based his simple rape-revenge story on his own experience finding a woman who had been brutally beaten and raped near a park in New York City.


“This night I was trying to describe what my orgasms were like, but I doubted if what I wanted to say would sound compelling to anyone but me...” explains Suzanne, before writing a letter to a convicted rapist who is serving his sentence in prison and whom she has established a relationship with. Maureen Gibbon’s Thief is the story of Suzanne, a complex woman trying to make sense of her own rape, while exploring her own sexuality.

Death to the Dictator!: A Young Man Casts a Vote in Iran’s 2009 Election and Pays a Devastating Price

Less than one year after Iranian demonstrators took to the streets to protest the fraudulent re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of the Islamic Republic, writer Afsaneh Moqadam tells the true story of Mohsen Abbaspour, a man in his early twenties who votes for the Reformist party and its leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Swept up in the euphoria of possible change, the once politically apathetic Mohsen finds himself alongside his friends and fellow reformists in the streets posing the greatest challenge to Iranian authorities since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


I recall visiting a horror movie convention soon after Kill Bill had come out. Nearly every film production table had at least one "sexy lady getting revenge" movie poster predominantly on display. Attractive female murderers are the perfect shortcut to fulfilling violence and sex in films.

Voces Zine (Summer 2010, Issue 3)

Unapologetic. Raw. Honest. The third issue of Voces Zine is a collection of poetry by artists from different communities—indigenous, people of color, trans, and queer—sharing their experiences as survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Originally inspired by a small community of Latino immigrants, this issue represents a first-time inclusion of contributors from outside of its original roots. The eclectic air of the compilation reflects this shift.

The Mockingbirds

I don’t know how many times I can say a book is one of the best I’ve read this year and maintain any credibility; we’ve still got quite a few months left in 2010, so I guess we’ll find out. The thing is, I’m pretty convinced that this is a golden age for YA, and Daisy Whitney’s The Mockingbirds really is a phenomenal debut novel–one of the best I’ve read this year. Last summer, I took a Children’s Lit class at Cal State University, Northridge.

The Hanging of Susanna Cox: The True Story of Pennsylvania’s Most Notorious Infanticide and the Legend That’s Kept It Alive

The story of Susanna Cox, as detailed in Patricia Earnest Suter, Russell Earnest, and Corinne Earnest’s The Hanging of Susanna Cox, nearly perfectly follows the trajectory of the seduction of the mid-to-late eighteenth century: a naive girl is lured from her family, “seduced” (often, in actuality, raped), left by her lover (or rapist), and left to die alone. Seduction novels were simultaneously didactic, propagandistic, prurient, and hugely popular.

Get Him to the Greek

Aldous Snow (Russell Brand)—the uber-sexual, tongue-in-cheek (and anywhere else you’ll let him stick it) Brit-rocker introduced to audiences in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall—is back in the latest film from yet another member of the Apatow Film Club for Boys.

The Red Riding Trilogy

Movies about rape, murder, and child abuse should not be photographed this beautifully. Channel Four Film’s Red Riding Trilogy, shown as a miniseries in the UK but as three movies in the U.S., is one larger story connected by characters, place and the unrepentant horror of Yorkshire, in the northern England. In the north, as the characters say, they do what they want. The three films are set in three years, 1974, 1980, and 1983, respectively.

Women Without Men

The story of director Shirin Neshat is almost as compelling as her first feature. Born in religiously conservative Qazvin, Iran, Neshat has been using visual art to explore gender relations under Islam for nearly two decades, traveling back and forth between the States and Iran to enrich her perspective. But because her work has been so politically outspoken, Neshat has been exiled from her native country since 1996.

Don’t Be a Dick

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture has made an array of otherwise lofty topics accessible through the format of personal zines that aim to educate and inform—from bicycle maintenance to vegan cooking. In particular, the strong foothold that DIY culture has in radical politics and feminism has allowed for the creation of some radical, eye-opening work. Paul Brown’s zine, _Don’t Be a Dick, _is an archetypal DIY zine, complete with staples, a gray-washed Xeroxed background, hand-drawn pictures, and a curious layout.

The Line

This documentary, which clocks in at just twenty-four minutes, will continue to haunt you long after it ends. The Line is Nancy Schwartzman’s wonderfully brave effort to interrogate the circumstances of a sexual assault she endured while living aboard.


In his first few shots, all very wide angles and washed-out greens, Abdullah Oguz shows his cards as an ambitious, technically brilliant filmmaker. In the Anatolian countryside, a flock of sheep turns a slow circle as the camera, peering down on a girl’s body, does the same. A melody—composed by Zülfü Livaneli, who also wrote the book on which this film was based—hums through the valley.

Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression

Ida Lichter’s Muslim Women Reformers ambitiously highlights the work of Muslim women around the globe involving an array of interrelated issues, including lack of gender equity in education and the workplace, domestic violence, human trafficking, biased family law practices, and rape with impunity.

Lumo: One Young Woman's Struggle to Heal in a Nation Beset By War

Lumo is a documentary, named after its central character, of an African woman healing from a rape endured by military men that left her with a medical condition called fistula, a tear in the wall between the vagina and bladder caused by violent rape. It left her incontinent and uncertain of her chances to birth children.

She Said, She Said (3/18/2009)

As a Wellesley alum, I am probably the perfect person to review Kathryn Chetkovich’s She Said, She Said, an intimate portrait of a group of friends who met at a women’s college and are now, years later, forced to contend with many of the sociopolitical issues they faced in the seventies. The triad of feminists, now in varying degrees, is shaken to the core when one of their own, Jamie (Shelley McPherson) reveals that her recent ex-husband Ross (Mark Hofmaier) has raped her.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

The Apostate: My initial reaction when I heard about the Yes Means Yes! anthology was mixed. It seemed that the problem of rape was being used for a catchy slogan's sake (the catchy slogan being a play on the anti-rape "no means no" rule), and not because it made any real sense.

Speaking Truth to Power

“I’m no longer scared to hear people’s truths, and that has been incredibly liberating,” says feminist writer, filmmaker, and activist Jennifer Baumgardner. Truth-telling has been at the heart of Baumgardner’s work since she left Ms. magazine in the late-90s to become a prominent third wave feminist leader.

Lust, Caution

Ang Lee seems to have a thing for short story adaptations and violent sexual encounters. While I respect much of Lee’s previous work and believe he often possesses masterful vision, Lust, Caution is a sadistic, repulsive disaster. Lee takes great liberties with this pseudo-drama portraying an amateur conspiracy against a prominent Japanese collaborator in 1940s occupied China.

A Woman Alone at Night

A Woman Alone at Night is a story loosely based on St. Mary of Egypt, a prostitute who "reveled in her sexuality before repenting".

Mommy's Angel

Most savvy feminists can argue their way through complex social problems such as sexual violence, poverty and drug use. Most savvy feminists, though, could not articulate those issues though a fast-paced, sharply written story like Mommy’s Angel.

Cry Rape: The True Story of One Woman’s Harrowing Quest for Justice

Justice and rape have a horrible history of rarely being bedfellows. This is one of the best chronicles of how torturous the justice system can be to women who have been forced into sexual acts against their will. Equally inspiring is the fact that it was written by a man, Bill Lueders, who is a news editor for Isthmus, Madison, Wisconsin's newsweekly.

Xtra Tuf No. 5: The Strike Issue

This zine is such an interesting peek into the world of commercial fishing in Alaska that it’s almost possible to overlook the story’s dismissal of the gang rape incident. Written in a style that is at once comforting and compelling, Moe Bowstern respectfully tells her story of life-as-an-Alaskan-fisherman. Xtra Tuf No. 5 takes us through the 1997 Alaskan Fisherman’s strike. It ends in 2005 with Moe coming full circle, back to her fisherman’s-soul’s life. We’re glad she does. Moe has heart.