Eyes Wide Shut: Homosociality, Justice and Male Rape through an Australian Lens

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The depiction in Australian cinema of male-on-male rape offers a lens for understanding homosociality and justice within Australia and across the globe. Male rape is an assault that objectifies the victim and valorises the perpetrator as both powerful and outside the rules. It is a recurring but largely unrecognised feature of the Australian screen. It is evident in for example iconic works such as Wake in Fright, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Mad Max and Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead. Those works often use distinctively Australian landscapes, one that are recognisably not the American West or Scandinavia. They involve brutality in an environment in which legal authority, in other words enforceable conventions about rules and remedies, is absent, weak or indifferent. It is a homosocial environment in which ‘mates’, men whose deepest emotional relationships are with each other, are complicit bystanders. They are contemptuous or even amused by the ‘unmanning’ of a victim through force or intoxication, placed outside their brotherhood and without a redemptive ending. If ‘mateship’ is a distinctively, although increasingly fictive, Australian value the films offer a dark view of complicity and violence within a land where male eyes are wide shut to brutality. At a global level, they tell us something interesting about anxieties at the heart of manhood and about the efficacy of law where victimisation excludes men from justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLaw, Lawyers and Justice
EditorsKim D. Weinert, Karen Crawley, Keiran Tranter
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780429288128
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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