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Are Stephen King's novels sexist? Show more Show less

Stephen King is one of the world's top-paid authors, with over sixty published books and even more films and TV shows based upon these novels. The way he portrays women in these books, unfortunately, is not always the best. Women are constantly subject to abuse, fantasy, and objectification. Are Stephen King's novels sexist, or not?

Yes, Stephen King's novels are sexist Show more Show less

His novels do not give women the respect or treatment that they deserve.
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Mother characters are often depicted as monsters

More frequently than not, mother characters in these novels are depicted as villains.
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literature sexism Stephen King


The Argument

Mother characters make up a large number of villains in Stephen King novels. Although there are plenty of bad fathers, their evil tends to come from something sexual AGAINST the female characters. Mother monsters, on the other hand, are just depicted as pure entities of evil. Placing female characters, especially mothers, as common villains speaks volumes of King's perception of women. The most popular example of this is in the famous book Carrie. The protagonist is tormented by her abusive and strict mother, who is the cause of most of Carrie's troubles throughout the novel.[1] Sonia Kaspbrak in It is depicted as a tormenter of her son, Eddie. She gives him placebo pills and convinces the young boy that he has illnesses which, in actuality, are nonexistent. Mary Brady in Sleepwalkers is a creepy woman who romanticizes her son AND murders people. His upbringing is damaged by what he experiences through this woman. The use of evil mothers in King novels is a little too common. It builds the mindset that women are not capable of raising children properly. It also reveals King's view of female authoritative figures.

Counter arguments

There are many examples of good mothers in these novels. Wendy Torrance in The Shining will do anything to make sure that her son is safe and sound. Donna Trenton risks her own life to save her son from the massive dog in Cujo. Rachel Creed tries to Dave her relationship and change her husband's mind in Pet Sematary. There may even be more examples of good mothers than bad mothers within King's works.



[P1] Mother characters are frequently depicted as evil in Stephen King novels. [P2] This association reveals King's feeling about female authoritative figures.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Mothers are just as often, if not more often, depicted as positive forces.


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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 29 Apr 2020 at 10:40 UTC