M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of English
This thesis analyzes the visual rhetoric of sexual assault through the unique medium of web-based comics composed by noncommercial artists. The focus was on features compiled from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen’s Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, as well as one related to representation of those involved in sexual assault: abusers and survivors, art style, act and gaze, size of frame and social distance, horizontal angle, and vertical angle.
This examination reveals four things about the rhetoric of sexual assault and consent in these comics. First, the comics are used as documentary-like, objective teaching tools. Second, they primarily use calls to action that demand behavioral change rather than demand overt physical action. Third, these comics fill the need for the survivor’s perspective. Finally, consent is generally passed over in favor of concentrating on the consequences of sexual assault.
Burke, Brianna Marie, "Visual Rhetoric in Comics: The Rhetoric of Sexual Assault in the Wake of Mattress Girl" (2019). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 6891.
Northern Illinois University
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