Godlike Men and Sex Assault Coverage: The Cases of Cosby and Kumar.

Media Report to Women, 46(3), 6-11, 21-23.

Posted: 21 Jun 2018

Date Written: June 5, 2018


This study feminist framing analysis compares and contrasts the news coverage of two recent cases in which the men facing sexual assault charges or accusations were celebrities: former TV star Bill Cosby, convicted on three counts of sexual assault in April 2018 and still facing at least 10 civil lawsuits, and former Bollywood actor Inder Kumar, who was never tried and died from a heart attack in July 2017. The cases were chosen to compare Western and Eastern news narratives about rape within the context of Western and Eastern mythological narratives, respectively. The goal was to contextualize the dominant media frames against the backdrop of archetypal narratives about rape that have shaped culture and social memory across time and space. The analysis suggests that elements of Greek-Roman and Hinduist-Buddhist mythical narratives about rape, such as the many passes given to godlike men and the “monstering” of their victims, have continued to persist in contemporary news coverage even as Cosby’s conviction became the first legal victory against a celebrity in the #MeToo era.

Keywords: media framing, archetypal narratives, feminist analysis, mythology, sexual assault, rape, Bill Cosby

Suggested Citation

Blumell, Lindsey and Sternadori, Miglena, Godlike Men and Sex Assault Coverage: The Cases of Cosby and Kumar. (June 5, 2018). Media Report to Women, 46(3), 6-11, 21-23.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3191440

Lindsey Blumell

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom

Miglena Sternadori (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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