Men talking, writing and imagining violence/violation offline/online

Jeff Hearn, Matthew Hall, Ruth Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How to represent violence – that is, talk about, write about and image violence – without reproducing violence/violation, is a challenge. Violence can be presented, re-presented, and represented in many ways, and through diverse narratives. In this paper, we analyse the narratives of those using violence, either when subsequently talking about the violence or in doing violation itself. Thus, we write about violence and violation, and explore how men’s violence and violation are talked of, written, and imaged by men, even whilst they may well not be aware that they are enacting violence/violation. We attend to some of the continuities and discontinuities in men’s narratives between those talking about their use of immediate, direct physical violence/violation, especially as with violence against women, and those doing various forms of digital violence/violation through writing violence/violation. In the latter case, two examples are foregrounded: first, what is popularly known as ‘revenge pornography’, that is, non-consensual sharing and distribution of sexual images and texts; and second, ‘upskirting’: covert, non-consensual taking of photographs and videos of (usually) women’s bodies and clothing. We draw on or analyse these practices through understandings of men, masculinities, and variable masculinist narratives. The final part of the paper compares the three examples and considers the implications of material-discursive analysis, and the increasing overlaps and blurrings between offline physical violence and digital violence/violation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStoryworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jun 2023

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