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Attack Frames

Framing Processes, Collective Identity, and Emotion in the Men’s Rights Subreddit

Chelsea Starr

Framing processes concern how movements communicate with members and the public, defining what they stand for and articulating grievances and solutions. I extend the literature on framing processes to include an online-only movement of the Right with no formal movement organization. I performed a content analysis of 435 memes posted on the Men’s Rights subreddit, concluding that three main frames appear in their discourse: men as victims, antifeminism, and denial of gender inequality. Men’s rights activists (MRAs) accomplish a global transformation of the feminist frame using rhetorical strategies to deny gender inequality exists, simultaneously asserting men are victims of inequality and sexism. “Attack frames” provide MRAs with a common definition of feminism. This understanding contributes to building a collective movement identity centered on a narrative of men as victims. The attack frames can be deployed to sustain affective processes such as anger, which motivate a countermovement against feminism.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Childless

The Politics of Female Identity in Maternité (1929) and La Maternelle (1933)

Cheryl A. Koos

This essay explores Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein's box-office success La Maternelle and their lesser-known Maternité in the context of interwar debates over women's roles in society. Reflecting natalist-familialist conceptions of motherhood and femininity, the films magnified three pervasive cultural icons in French social and political discourse: the monstrous, childless "modern woman," the exalted mother, and the "single woman" who fell somewhere in the middle. As both products and vehicles of these tropes, La Maternelle and Maternité not only illustrate how popular cinema disseminated and justified certain value-laden assumptions about female identity in the late 1920s and early 1930s; they also reveal the limitations of French feminism and socially-engaged, progressive art of the period.

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Between Liberal and Republican Citizenship

Feminism and Nationalism in Romania, 1880-1918

Maria Bucur

This essay explores feminism's relations with nationalism and liberalism by examining specifically how feminists in late-nineteenth-century Romania understood citizenship and how they articulated views about women's empowerment starting from specific assumptions about individual rights and responsibilities in the community (as regulated by the state through citizenship). This perspective enables me to explain the eagerness of many feminist activists to work within the dominant paternalist/patriarchal context not as a paradox, but rather as an outgrowth of locally grounded, powerful contexts that worked together to afford specific choices to women struggling against patriarchy. In the case I discuss below feminists understood women's empowerment in terms of validating and increasing women's civic duties and responsibilities, rather than struggling for individual rights. These arguments built upon a well-established, albeit not clearly articulated, concept of republican citizenship, and reconstructed it most often in the language of nationalism (frequently ethno-nationalism), which had wide currency in Romania in the late nineteenth century.

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A Woman Politician in the Cold War Balkans

From Biography to History

Krassimira Daskalova

This article is an attempt to shed more light on the topic of state socialist feminism in Eastern Europe by focusing on part of the biography of one of the most visible women’s activists and political functionaries in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe after 1944, Tsola Dragoicheva. It should be considered as a contribution to the ongoing debate regarding the character of state socialist measures toward women and the “gender contract” in the countries of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe between 1944 and 1989. It does not pretend, however, to cover and evaluate Dragoicheva’s entire life (or to agree with everything she did) or to create an exhaustive picture of state socialist measures toward women in Bulgaria (nor does it underestimate the significance of structured gender inequalities, which often remain unnoticed); rather, it discusses some facts and procedures dealing with “women’s issues” that researchers have only vaguely covered so far. The study is based on various archival materials from Bulgarian and international archives, and on the periodical press from the period under consideration, oral history interviews, and scholarly publications relevant to this topic. It is part of an ongoing project on Gendering Balkan Nation-States.

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Victoria Rowe

Through an analysis of articles and novels written by four Armenian women, which appeared in the periodical press from 1880 to 1915, this text evaluates the ways in which the trajectories of the intellectual and cultural movement known as the Zartonk (Awakening) in Armenian history facilitated women writers' emergence into the public sphere and their creation of the language and formulation of a discourse of women's rights in the Armenian socio-political context. The article provides biographical information on four women writers and examines the secular cultural institutions—such as the salon, the periodical press, the school, and the philanthropic organisation—which emerged in Constantinople and were conducive to women's participation in the public sphere. The article then problematises Armenian women writers' formulation of a specific political discourse of women's rights in the socio-political context of the Armenian millet in the Ottoman state and suggests that Armenian women writers produced a type of feminism that may have been typical of nations without independence in the context of state-sanctioned violence.

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Mara Viveros Vigoya

*Full forum is in French

English abstract: This article presents the dilemmas faced in Colombian feminist and gender studies within the framework of the contemporary socio-political context in Colombia, which is characterized by the recognition of the multicultural nature of Latin American societies. The author first examines the process that Colombian feminism has gone through since the 1970s, developing its paradigms of action and reflection, which have become increasingly diverse. Second, the author examines the current position of the social movements of autochthonous and Afro-descendant women in the Colombian feminist debates on the dilemmas and new perspectives that globalization has imposed on social movements.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo se trata de una exposición de los dilemas que se enfrentan a los estudios femeninos colombianos y los que se centran en el género, en el contexto sociopolítico contemporáneo caracterizado por el reconocimiento de la multiculturalidad de las sociedades latinoamericanas. Para ello, primero examinaré el proceso que ha seguido el feminismo colombiano desde los años setenta, desarrollando sus paradigmas de acción y reflexión, cada vez más diversos. En segundo lugar, examinaré la posición actual de los movimientos sociales de mujeres indígenas y afrodescendientes en los debates feministas colombianos sobre los dilemas y las nuevas perspectivas que la globalización ha impuesto a los movimientos sociales.

French abstract: Dans cet article, il s’agira d’exposer les dilemmes auxquels sont confrontées les études féministes colombiennes et celles portant sur le genre dans le contexte socio-politique contemporain caractérisé par la reconnaissance de la multiculturalité des sociétés latino-américaines. Pour ce faire, nous évoquerons d’abord les évolutions que le féminisme colombien a connues depuis les années 1970, en développant ses paradigmes d’action et de réflexion qui sont devenus de plus en plus diversifiés. Nous examinerons ensuite la position actuellement adoptée par les mouvements de femmes autochtones et afrodescendantes dans les débats féministes colombiens à propos des dilemmes et des nouvelles perspectives que la mondialisation a imposés aux mouvements sociaux.

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“Undoing” Gender

Nexus of Complicity and Acts of Subversion in The Piano Teacher and Black Swan

Neha Arora and Stephan Resch

Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001) and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) are films about women directed by men. Both films unorthodoxly chart women artists’ struggle with the discipline imposed on them by the arts and by their live-in mothers. By portraying mothers as their daughters’ oppressors, both films disturb the naïve “women = victims and men = perpetrators” binary. Simultaneously, they deploy audiovisual violence to exhibit the violence of society’s gender and sexuality policy norms and use gender-coded romance narratives to subvert the same gender codes from within this gender discourse. Using Judith Butler’s and Michael Foucault’s theories, we argue that Haneke and Aronofsky “do” feminism unconventionally by exposing the nexus of women’s complicity with omnipresent societal power structures that safeguard gender norms. These films showcase women concurrently as victim-products and complicit partisans of socially constructed gender ideology to emphasize that this ideology can be destabilized only when women “do” their gender and sexuality differently through acts of subversion.

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Kathryn Robinson

In imagining Indonesia’s future, its character as a country with the world’s largest Islamic population emerges as a critical issue. In the post-Suharto period, some commentators have seen the emergence of Islamist politics as a threat to newly attained freedoms. No sooner had women been freed from the constraints of ‘state ibuism’, i.e., the official policy promoting the role of wife and mother (ibu) of the New Order (see Suryakusuma 1996), which endorsed patriarchal familism as a cornerstone of authoritarian politics, than they faced a new kind of patriarchal authority in the demands for the enactment of shari’a as state law. For example, during her 2005 visit to Australia, Indonesian feminist commentator Julia Suryakusuma raised the specter of Islam as the greatest current threat to gender equity and to women as social actors in civic life, whose rights in the domestic sphere are now protected by the state. The growing influence of Middle Eastern Islam in Indonesia, evidenced by funding for organizations, translations of publications, and the increase in Islamist rhetoric, has caused alarm among many observers. This apprehension draws on the stereotype of the Middle East as the source of all that is ‘bad’ about Islam, taken as an undifferentiated whole. But this view of Islam fails to acknowledge debates within Islam and diversity in Islamic practice, not the least of which are the varieties of Islam that can be found throughout the Indonesian archipelago. These diverse practices have emerged as local communities and indigenous polities responded in distinctive and often unique ways during the long period of Islamic conversion, beginning from the thirteenth century.

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Engaging in 'Engaged' Anthropology

Some Pitfalls in a Development Consultancy

Pat Caplan

What does it mean to do engaged anthropology? How is it different from that which is disengaged? Does it mean being some kind of activist or advocate? Is it a form of 'action research'? More pertinently for the purposes of this article, are anthropologists who do consultancies also 'engaged'? This article discusses what happened when in 2003 I accepted an invitation from a Scandinavian women's organisation to go to Tanzania the following year and take part in an evaluation of the women's group they had been funding. Here I consider not only some of the perhaps inevitable pitfalls, contradictions and difficulties of carrying out such a consultancy but also the extent to which anthropologists themselves are part of the encounter and thus inevitably part of the material of fieldwork. It is shown that being an engaged anthropologist is a risky business before, during and after such projects. This does not mean that engagement should be avoided, and indeed such a stance may provide exceptional insights which one of greater detachment might miss.

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Julia E. Murphy

Feminist promotion of gender equity in development began in the 1970s, challenging development policy and practice and producing a rich body of debate and scholarship. Feminist anthropologists, through scholarship and activism, made important contributions to the project of reforming development. A recent anthropological critique of development, however, referred to as the anthropology of 'development', has raised important questions about anthropology's relationship to development, presenting new challenges to feminist anthropologists who would engage with development. This new approach, despite its attention to power, has not had questions about gender at its centre. Drawing on fieldwork in southeastern Campeche, Mexico, this paper explores challenges of a feminist anthropology of 'development', including pressures for engagement and disengagement, and the apparent contradiction between reflexive critiques of, and feminist engagements with, development.