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Midterm

WGS101 Study Guide - Institutional Racism, Sexualization, Existentialism

3 Pages
77 Views
Fall 2016

Department
Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
WGS101
Professor
Felice Lifshitz
Study Guide
Midterm

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Womens Studies Definitions Prep
Polysemy: Nothing really has a stable, unchanging definition because everyone can interpret
anything differently, and therefore many possible meanings can exist. Meaning is created
between the viewer and the message/product, and all meanings can be considered valid.
The Gaze: The system of objectification and policing of people’s bodies, especially women’s
bodies. The Gendering of women as “to-be-looked-at.” The “male Gaze” refers to the sexual
objectification of women from men, but the gaze itself reflects how women can objectify each
other, either praising or shaming others for conforming to hegemonic standards of beauty. The
Gaze also encompasses how women police themselves and their bodies in how they conform or
reject these societal standards. For example: judging other women for wearing too much makeup
(considering them “trashy” for not fitting in with societal expectations.)
Historiophoty: Written history, as compared to a visual history (historiography). Nothing we see
or read about is the actual past, but a representation of it.
Prosthetic Memory: the experience of identifying with a well-made film/ media representation
is so powerful that people feel they actually experienced it. Films can evoke the same emotional
servitude we evoke with memory. Like a prosthetic, their experiences become ours.
Commodity/Consumer Feminism: When advertisers exploit or co-opt feminism/ feminist
messages to sell products. Feminist ideas and icons are appropriated for commercial purposes,
emptied of political meaning, and then resold as a hot commodity. Doing this often excuses
enlightened sexism, because on the surface, these companies seem to be good, despite doing
nothing to actually help the movement. For example, Nike had tons of commercials working
towards “empowering” female athletes, which would have been great except for the fact that
women in sweatshops often produced their clothing lines.
Intersectionality: the concept of how different levels of oppression and privilege intersect.
Intersectionality acknowledges that not everyone’s experiences are the same, because factors
such as race, sexuality, ability, social class and gender all affect a persons life on different
levels. For example, the oppression faced by a black lesbian would be completely different from
a straight white woman, despite sharing the oppression of being female. Nothing can universally
define a human experience because of intersectionality.
Performativity- the idea that identity is not something you have, but something you do. Identity
is a performance that we “put on” in order to fulfill a role, just like playing house and doctor as a
kid. For example, we perform gender by molding ourselves to gender roles, so a woman
performing gender would wear makeup and exude femininity, in contrast to a man who would
perform masculinity by peacocking his strength and manliness. As Judith Butler claims, if
gender was some inherent, natural binary, we wouldn’t have to perform it.
Othering: othering is a concept originating from philosophy in which the creating “the self”
involves creating the other. We define ourselves by what we are not and in the context of
women’s studies, the “woman” is created as an “other” to the man. Woman is everything that the
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Description
Womens Studies Definitions Prep Polysemy: Nothing really has a stable, unchanging definition because everyone can interpret anything differently, and therefore many possible meanings can exist. Meaning is created between the viewer and the message/product, and all meanings can be considered valid. The Gaze: The system of objectification and policing of peoples bodies, especially womens bodies. The Gendering of women as to-be-looked-at. The male Gaze refers to the sexual objectification of women from men, but the gaze itself reflects how women can objectify each other, either praising or shaming others for conforming to hegemonic standards of beauty. The Gaze also encompasses how women police themselves and their bodies in how they conform or reject these societal standards. For example: judging other women for wearing too much makeup (considering them trashy for not fitting in with societal expectations.) Historiophoty: Written history, as compared to a visual history (historiography). Nothing we see or read about is the actual past, but a representation of it. Prosthetic Memory: the experience of identifying with a well-made film/ media representation is so powerful that people feel they actually experienced it. Films can evoke the same emotional servitude we evoke with memory. Like a prosthetic, their experiences become ours. Commodity/Consumer Feminism: When advertisers exploit or co-opt feminism/ feminist messages to sell products. Feminist ideas and icons are appropriated for commercial purposes, emptied of political meaning, and then resold as a hot commodity. Doing this often excuses enlightened sexism, because on the surface, these companies seem to be good, despite doing nothing to actually help the movement. For example, Nike had tons of commercials working towards empowering female athletes, which would have been great except for the fact that women in sweatshops often produced their clothing lines. Intersectionality: the concept of how different levels of oppression and privilege intersect. Intersectionality acknowledges that not everyones experiences are the same, because factors such as race, sexuality, ability, social class and gender all affect a persons life on different levels. For example, the oppression faced by a black lesbian would be completely different from a straight white woman, despite sharing the oppression of being female. Nothing can universally define a human experience because of intersectionality. Performativity- the idea that identity is not something you have, but something you do. Identity is a performance that we put on in order to fulfill a role, just like playing house and doctor as a kid. For example, we perform gender by molding ourselves to gender roles, so a woman performing gender would wear makeup and exude femininity, in contrast to a man who would perform masculinity by peacocking his strength and manliness. As Judith Butler claims, if gender was some inherent, natural binary, we wouldnt have to perform it. Othering: othering is a concept originating from philosophy in which the creating the self involves creating the other. We define ourselves by what we are not and in the context of womens studies, the woman is created as an other to the man. Woman is everything that the
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