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Wallace Wong and Fatima Natascha Lawrence

In my years of practice with transgender children and youth, I have learned that body image is a complicated subject for them. It is hard for the ‘general population’ to deal with their body image in current gender binary culture, where media influences and social expectations dominate the definition of one’s beauty and body image. Unfortunately, it is even harder for trans-youth to deal with this issue; especially when ‘their bodies don’t match what they see inside.’ For them, there is a persistent identity message of gender incongruent about their sex and their physical bodies. Interestingly for trans-youth, body images are more than external beauty. They are indicators of how well they can ‘pass’ as the gender they desired. To them, having a body image that passes successfully is not only a matter of beauty; it has a direct effect on their safety and is a way to lessen potential stigmatization that society has bestowed on them. Different research has indicated that the better they pass as the desired gender, the better social emotional adjustment they have in their later development. With these imminent pressures, it is easy to see that how some may be at greater risk for developing eating disorders, depressive symptoms, and low self-esteem. This presentation will use the qualitative data from their Self-Portrait Drawings, to get a glimpse of how they see and feel who they are inside. These drawings allow us to better understand their inner view of themselves. In addition, they also tell us their struggles and strengths, as well as the relationship between their bodies and the sense of self.

Mirjam M. Frotscher

Representations and portrayals of non-heterosexual love and desire in mainstream media are not particularly new these days, nor are they still considered especially shocking. Homosexual desire has become quite palatable to mainstream appetites. This however is only possible as long as we can locate the non-heterosexual desire within the dichotomous framework of sex, gender, and sexuality. I argue that portrayals of a desire that is not easily located in the hetero/homo divide are met with strategies of re-inscribing the non-normative bodies into exactly the kind of logic that these bodies defy. Furthermore, these normalizing strategies, and whether they are employed and in what way, can tell us quite a lot as to who the cultural offering was actually intended for – rarely ever a non-normative audience. Moments are analyzed when trans* bodies – bodies that are running the risk of becoming unintelligible in the mainstream eye if their queer position is maintained – are brought back to legibility by either relocating the bodies through their desire or by pushing the bodies back into a supposedly natural state. These moments do not create heterosexuality exclusively; within the logic of the binary, homosexuality is deemed just as acceptable, highlighting how it helps in stabilizing the heterosexual matrix.

Canice Chukwuma Nwosu

The relationship between male and female folks motivates gender issues that reinforce stereotype identity for women and a chauvinistic personality for men. Love is like a springed measuring scale that dangles these issues, swaying them more to men and intermittently to women. Despite this war of sexes, love is a bridge across the gulf that exists between both sexes. Even when one woman is at war with one man for trying to dictate, control and determine her destiny, love makes her place her fate in the hands of yet another man. Sometimes her struggles to break the walls built by identity and cultural practices put in place by men are carried out with yet another human of the male specie. Love is a sensational feeling that indicates acceptance and affection between/among persons. However, emotional flows from young lovers sometimes suffer inhibitions created by identity, cultural dams of taboos and myths that create gulfs between lovers. Hence, Love entangles, divides and separates. Be it as it may, most nations of the world still cling to these cultural practices: taboos and traditions on the grounds that they hold the fabrics of their society together. While the Western world, over time has succeeded in diffusing and refiguring the impact of these cultural practices; Africa is still struggling with the deconstruction of her negative cultural practices targeted mainly at the female folk. This chapter examines gender issues raised by these inhibitions and implications of such on young lovers in Africa as well as efforts being made by feminist dramatists to deconstruct these taboos in African literature. The researcher focuses on Tess Onwueme’s The Broken Calabash using case study and content analysis research designs of the qualitative research method.

Chen Yuan-Tsai

This chapter will analyse the creative exploitation of cinematic conventions to depict either overt or carefully-hidden lesbianism in Weimar Cinema through silent to sound era (1920- 1931). There had existed some taboo on homosexuality in Weimar films because of a stern anti-homosexual criminal law putting gay men in prison and also a strict anti-homosexual censorship code banning any film containing gay content. However, the whole Weimar society is very tolerant to lesbian elements expressed in the films because of the society’s particular male-centered concepts on female sexuality and also the specific artistic techniques ingeniously deployed by the directors to blind the censors from seeing the lesbianism. Therefore, since the homophobic German film censorship had been re-established in 1920, the films transpiring obvious and devious lesbian visual pleasure become a very important vehicle for scholars to decode the directors’ cinematic lesbianism and to discover the society’s discrepant attitude toward gay love and lesbian love - it is the gayness, i.e. male homosexuality that Weimar censorship is more concerned with, but not lesbianism. Mostly, the lesbian visual pleasure was intentionally designed and skilfully disguised in the films by the directors knowing the blind side of the anti-gay censors, patriarchal society and its audience. This chapter will examine how lesbian visual pleasure in Weimar Cinema was utilized, deployed and disguised to convey the lesbian narrative impulse as an artistic support for the homosexual liberation movement that was developing ardently in Weimar period.

Raadhika Gupta

The chapter examines how gender and disability render women with disabilities incapable of love in the eyes of society and often in the eyes of law. Feminist and disability rights movements have not adequately addressed multiple discrimination against disabled women. The discourse on love reveals how gender and disability as two identities get pitted against each other for women with disabilities. While women, often assumed to be caring, loving and nurturing, are fighting against imposition of roles of wives and mothers, women with disabilities are denied these very roles. Persons with disabilities are often viewed as asexual, dependent and incapable of or uninterested in love. This chapter examines how the intersectionality of sex and disability operates to deny access to love to girls and women with disabilities. It focuses on three sites of love: sexuality, marriage, and parenthood. The chapter examines the social and legal barriers that hinder accessibility to love at these sites. For example, performance of forced hysterectomies on disabled girls exemplifies the denial of sexuality, relationships and roles of love to women with disabilities. The chapter looks at Indian legal framework to examine how law has also supported such denial, for example by facilitating divorce or denying child custody on the grounds of disability. By denying access to these sites of love, the society and law continue to deny disabled women basic values of intimacy, relationships, self-expression and love. This chapter argues for an approach based on the social model of disability that focuses on elimination of such barriers and creation of support mechanisms to enable disabled persons to access and enjoy love.