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Lecture 1

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Saartjie Baartman, Blac Chyna, 2015–16 Nfl Playoffs

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Leslie Nichols

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DATE: Jan 9, 2016
LECTURE TITLE: "Representations Matter: Ideals of Femininity"
Important Reminders:
Key Terms/Concepts/People:
1. Pleasure critique nexus
2. Saartjie Baartman
3. Racist sexism
4. Hegemonic Masculinity
5. Ideal Feminists/ emphasized femininities
6. Trap of individualizing
7. Binary thinking
Pleasure-critique nexus:
1. How do we critique images that often bring us pleasure?
2. Example: many enjoy kanye wests music or led zepplin, but cringe at some of the
lyrics or video content
3. How can we be criticle and aware, informed, knowledgeable and still experience
4. Gainer (2007) “pleasure-critique nexus”: children to engage critically with media
texts without sacrificing the pleasure of the medium/experience.
5. The pleasure-critique nexus: viewers (children) can partake in an intense critical
review, while still maintaining a sense of enjoyment.
6. Pop culture is complex: not a one-way street with consumers having a false-
consciousness regarding what they see, read, hear, and consume
Representations Matter
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1. Feminists in all three ways have been concerned about representations of women
2. What we see, hear, and ‘know’ about wo/men, same sex desiring, straight,
racialized categories, transgender, the ‘young’ and ‘old’ informs our beliefs about these
3. Femininity/masculinity have been represented in unequal ways in various forums:
religion; mythology; pop culture; folk stories; science; music; literature
4. Gender norms influence many facets of our lives and govern our beliefs.
5. Example: The biblical creation of Adam and Eve-- the temptress 'punished' for
her actions.
Result: Women are seen as temptresses, untrustworthy (root of misogyny)
1. Example: In science traditional stories about conception play into gendered
expectations- as active sperm 'finds' a passive egg just waiting to be fertilized
2. Great deal of complexity and contradictions in the images we are shown
Historical and Colonial Legacy
1. Womens bodies are to be consumed
2. Consumption of women's bodies is a form of power
3. Black women's bodies were seen as sexually available, insatiable
4. Black men are positioned as insatiable, sexually promiscuous
5. Laws enforced racial separation due to erroneous beliefs about "differences"
6. Science of the 19th and early 20th centuries supported racist assumptions about
abilities based on race
7. Example: in slavery black women were relegated to certain jobs based on their
physical appearance.
8. Physically and sexually: Violated by white men
9. Example: Saartjie Baartman (Hottentot Venus) from South Africa put on display
in 19th century Europe.
Video: Saartjie Baartman (1789-1815)
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