Study group summary notes from one of the readings

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7 Apr 2011
Haneen Aboshawish
WGS205 Summer 2010, Study Group Readings and Notes
Brasfield, Rebecca (2007), Rereading Sex and the City.
Main Concept: Hegemonic Feminism (p.152)
Definition: Hegemony / Hegemonic
The predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or others;
leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a
Leader / leadership, predominance, authority.
The political, economic, ideological or cultural power exerted by a dominant group
over other groups, regardless of the explicit consent of the latter; better defined as
emphasizing how control is achieved through consensus not force.
Ascendancy or domination of one power or state within a league, confederation, etc,
or of one social class over others.
Definition: Discourse
Communication of ideas, information, etc., especially by talking; conversation.
A long and formal treatment of a subject, in speech or writing; lecture; treatise;
Ability to reason; rationality; the process or power of reasoning.
To speak or write (on or upon a subject) formally and at some length; to speak or
write formally and at length.
Brasfield examines the hegemonic feminist narrative in the series Sex and the City, by
analyzing the series methods of addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and
class; claiming of we are not critical we end up just repeating and/or reproducing our own
oppressions: When we fail to critically read and reread media presentations, we run the
risk of internalizing and reproducing our own oppression. (Brasfield, 2007, pp.138).
The show: Sex in the City portrays the lives of 4 privileged white women and their
resistance to wanting to challenge their own bigotry in favour of reinscribing and
reproducing hegemonies through difference. (Brasfield, 2007, pp.130).
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Haneen Aboshawish
WGS205 Summer 2010, Study Group Readings and Notes
The series was not a hit for feminist opposed to white supremacist capitalist patriarchy
(hooks, Feminism is for Everybody, 4) i.e. Radical Feminists. Series more associated
with liberal feminist politics and hegemonic feminist agendas Though in her conclusion
she points out that the series does NOT accurately reflect the views and beliefs of liberatory
feminism. (Brasfield, 2007, pp.132).
Hegemonic Feminist Practices and Sex in the City (pp.132-133):
Feminist theory is diverse there are diverse ranges of perspectives on gender and
power; same platform, but different theories and practices that are varied and at
odds with one another.(pp.132)
Mary Dietz, Current Controversies in Feminist Thought She writes about 3
types of feminisms (include: Difference, Diversity, Deconstruction), she describes
them as divergent and oppositional. (pp.132)
Liberal feminism are not blind to their own dominating and hegemonic tendencies
that are repeatedly used to oppress marginalized others, because that makes up the
core elements / basics of their movement which seeks upward mobility within the
existing social hierarchy and equality with and among those who currently posses
more power within this structure. (pp.132)
Sex and the City a medium (for social analysis) reflects the perspectives and
values of white, middle-class, heterosexual women who define themselves primarily
as oppressed victims of patriarchy; these women are protagonists and subjects
whose voices are heard.
Sex and the Citys master narrative: the womens aim is to gain equal power to
white, heterosexual, middle-class men within the hegemonic social structure.
Narrative only addresses the centered subjects. By developing the subjectivity of
centered subjects, while at the same time exploiting marginalized groups, the series
sustains a hegemonic feminist discourse. (pp.133)
(Brasfield, 2007)
Racism, Ethnocentrism, and Sex and the City (pp.133-134):
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Haneen Aboshawish
WGS205 Summer 2010, Study Group Readings and Notes
White women focus upon their oppression as women and ignore differences of race,
sexual preference, class and age. There is a pretense to homogeneity of experience
covered by the word sisterhood that does not in fact exist (Audre Lorde, Assessment
of the contemporary womens movement, pp.289). (pp.133)
Sex and the City is careful to employ plotlines promoting limited and racist
depictions of persons of colour. i.e. Stereotypes. (pp.133)
African American characters are constantly marginalized by white female centered
subjects. (pp.133) *Example of African American stereotype in episode is in the last
paragraph on page 133*
Asian stereotype, top paragraph on page 134.
Non-white characters are repeatedly tokenized for stereotypical story line purposes.
Carrie and The Russian Referring to Aleksandr by his ethnic identity
essentializes his character as the ethnic Other. In this instance a non-American
identity is positioned as a conflict to be resolved. (pp.134)
(Brasfield, 2007)
Sexism, Patriarchy, and Sex and the City (pp.134-135):
Gender and sex are important themes in rereading Sex and the City, because so
much of the womens identities is determined by their views of masculinity and its
dominance over their lives. Whether one of the women is being exploited by a man or
has internalized patriarchal thinking, sex and gender issues are always present.
Sexism describes exploitation based on gender and sex identification. (pp.134)
Sex and the City positions biological women higher in the social hierarchy than
transgendered women Privileged with female biological sex organs. Example given
from episode dealing with Preoperative transsexual males who work as
prostitutes, 2nd last paragraph on page 134. The pre-operative are transsexuals
whose sex transition is incomplete, making them merely transgendered instead of
‘women; characterizing the hierarchical view of woman is reflected by depicting
preoperative transsexuals as prostitutes; sex is situated as a commodity that can be
bought and sold. (pp.134)
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