Margaret Atwood's "Rape Fantasies" was first published in the Canadian version of Dancing Girls and Other Stories in 1977 but was omitted from the American edition of the collection. It has become one of Atwood's best-known works, particularly after its inclusion in the 1985 edition of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. The story, a first-person narration in which a woman discusses her concerns about being raped, exhibits many of the qualities often associated with Atwood's work, including biting humor, vivid characterizations, and an exploration of the power struggle between men and women. Furthermore, it highlights many women's fears of crime and victimization in an urban environment where safety depends on striking a delicate balance between trust and suspicion.
Although "Rape Fantasies" is one of Atwood's most popular stories, little criticism of her work focuses on it specifically. Several critics have noted that Estelle seems to be a naive protagonist, but that view is rejected by an equal number of reviewers. Estelle and her female coworkers have very different ideas on what romance is and how to obtain it without falling prey to the insidious forces in society. The story is often used as a starting point for discussing the gap between men's and women's perceptions of each other.