Week 9 Gender and sexuality

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Week 9 Gender and sexuality

  1. 1. Race, Gender & Sexuality The Racial State Week 9 Dr Alana Lentin a.lentin@uws.edu.auMonday, 22 April 13
  2. 2. Overview… ★ Constructions of race/ gender. ★ Objectification & stereotyping. ★ Double discrimination or intersectionality? ★ Issues in the politics of race, gender & sexuality.Monday, 22 April 13
  3. 3. Constructing race & genderMonday, 22 April 13We see both race and gender differences on the body.Recalling Hall’s work (week 2) on race as a floating signifier, we can seen how “reading the body as a language” is relevant also tothe discussion of gender.The body - the visual signifiers of race and gender - is read through our understandings of what each body is mean. This meaning issocially constructed.2. The social construction of the meaning we attach to the visual signifiers of race and gender are not dissociable from power.Hall argues that the purpose of power and ideology are to fix meaning. So if we think of racism as an ideology, part of its function - ifnot its entire function - is to define racialised others as immutably so and reduce the racialised to their supposed race. This is seenas their essence. As we have seen, the same process applies to culture - new cultural racism reduces those who we seen as‘other’ to their culture as if that is what wholly defines them.The point, argues Hall, is that meaning is never completely fixed but can always be subverted and can change over time. So, just asrace is a flexible signifier that attaches itself to different social and political circumstances over time, so too the meaning of gender isnever completely fixed.However, there is a constant drive to fix gender which is very strong. We are all socially driven to work with clear definitions of manand woman with not much room for play in between.Because of the need for power to define and classify, race and gender as ways of reading the body have undergone similarprocesses of fixing AND similar processes of resistance to being fixed.3. We could argue that, due to the similar ways in which they are socially constructed, it is important to look at race and gendertogether from a conceptual point of view.But also, there are important points where racism and sexism, or racism, sexism and homophobia or transphobia collide. Womenand gay, lesbian or trangender people (queers of colour) are often the targets of both racism and sexism. But there are alsomoments when the alliance between groups fighting sexism and those fighting racism has not been as easy or natural as one mayassume.In the lecture, we are going to explore some of the ways in which the worlds of race, gender and sexuality come together and pickout some examples of the difficulties raised by the co-existence of both racism and sexism or homophobia.There are many many spheres which we could look at simply because almost all of the issues that are to do with racism also affectracialised women and LGBT people (as people generally).
  4. 4. Constructing race & gender ★ The body as visual signifier.Monday, 22 April 13We see both race and gender differences on the body.Recalling Hall’s work (week 2) on race as a floating signifier, we can seen how “reading the body as a language” is relevant also tothe discussion of gender.The body - the visual signifiers of race and gender - is read through our understandings of what each body is mean. This meaning issocially constructed.2. The social construction of the meaning we attach to the visual signifiers of race and gender are not dissociable from power.Hall argues that the purpose of power and ideology are to fix meaning. So if we think of racism as an ideology, part of its function - ifnot its entire function - is to define racialised others as immutably so and reduce the racialised to their supposed race. This is seenas their essence. As we have seen, the same process applies to culture - new cultural racism reduces those who we seen as‘other’ to their culture as if that is what wholly defines them.The point, argues Hall, is that meaning is never completely fixed but can always be subverted and can change over time. So, just asrace is a flexible signifier that attaches itself to different social and political circumstances over time, so too the meaning of gender isnever completely fixed.However, there is a constant drive to fix gender which is very strong. We are all socially driven to work with clear definitions of manand woman with not much room for play in between.Because of the need for power to define and classify, race and gender as ways of reading the body have undergone similarprocesses of fixing AND similar processes of resistance to being fixed.3. We could argue that, due to the similar ways in which they are socially constructed, it is important to look at race and gendertogether from a conceptual point of view.But also, there are important points where racism and sexism, or racism, sexism and homophobia or transphobia collide. Womenand gay, lesbian or trangender people (queers of colour) are often the targets of both racism and sexism. But there are alsomoments when the alliance between groups fighting sexism and those fighting racism has not been as easy or natural as one mayassume.In the lecture, we are going to explore some of the ways in which the worlds of race, gender and sexuality come together and pickout some examples of the difficulties raised by the co-existence of both racism and sexism or homophobia.There are many many spheres which we could look at simply because almost all of the issues that are to do with racism also affectracialised women and LGBT people (as people generally).
  5. 5. Constructing race & gender ★ The body as visual signifier. ★ Power & ideology fix meaning.Monday, 22 April 13We see both race and gender differences on the body.Recalling Hall’s work (week 2) on race as a floating signifier, we can seen how “reading the body as a language” is relevant also tothe discussion of gender.The body - the visual signifiers of race and gender - is read through our understandings of what each body is mean. This meaning issocially constructed.2. The social construction of the meaning we attach to the visual signifiers of race and gender are not dissociable from power.Hall argues that the purpose of power and ideology are to fix meaning. So if we think of racism as an ideology, part of its function - ifnot its entire function - is to define racialised others as immutably so and reduce the racialised to their supposed race. This is seenas their essence. As we have seen, the same process applies to culture - new cultural racism reduces those who we seen as‘other’ to their culture as if that is what wholly defines them.The point, argues Hall, is that meaning is never completely fixed but can always be subverted and can change over time. So, just asrace is a flexible signifier that attaches itself to different social and political circumstances over time, so too the meaning of gender isnever completely fixed.However, there is a constant drive to fix gender which is very strong. We are all socially driven to work with clear definitions of manand woman with not much room for play in between.Because of the need for power to define and classify, race and gender as ways of reading the body have undergone similarprocesses of fixing AND similar processes of resistance to being fixed.3. We could argue that, due to the similar ways in which they are socially constructed, it is important to look at race and gendertogether from a conceptual point of view.But also, there are important points where racism and sexism, or racism, sexism and homophobia or transphobia collide. Womenand gay, lesbian or trangender people (queers of colour) are often the targets of both racism and sexism. But there are alsomoments when the alliance between groups fighting sexism and those fighting racism has not been as easy or natural as one mayassume.In the lecture, we are going to explore some of the ways in which the worlds of race, gender and sexuality come together and pickout some examples of the difficulties raised by the co-existence of both racism and sexism or homophobia.There are many many spheres which we could look at simply because almost all of the issues that are to do with racism also affectracialised women and LGBT people (as people generally).
  6. 6. Constructing race & gender ★ The body as visual signifier. ★ Power & ideology fix meaning. ★ Engendering race/ racing genderMonday, 22 April 13We see both race and gender differences on the body.Recalling Hall’s work (week 2) on race as a floating signifier, we can seen how “reading the body as a language” is relevant also tothe discussion of gender.The body - the visual signifiers of race and gender - is read through our understandings of what each body is mean. This meaning issocially constructed.2. The social construction of the meaning we attach to the visual signifiers of race and gender are not dissociable from power.Hall argues that the purpose of power and ideology are to fix meaning. So if we think of racism as an ideology, part of its function - ifnot its entire function - is to define racialised others as immutably so and reduce the racialised to their supposed race. This is seenas their essence. As we have seen, the same process applies to culture - new cultural racism reduces those who we seen as‘other’ to their culture as if that is what wholly defines them.The point, argues Hall, is that meaning is never completely fixed but can always be subverted and can change over time. So, just asrace is a flexible signifier that attaches itself to different social and political circumstances over time, so too the meaning of gender isnever completely fixed.However, there is a constant drive to fix gender which is very strong. We are all socially driven to work with clear definitions of manand woman with not much room for play in between.Because of the need for power to define and classify, race and gender as ways of reading the body have undergone similarprocesses of fixing AND similar processes of resistance to being fixed.3. We could argue that, due to the similar ways in which they are socially constructed, it is important to look at race and gendertogether from a conceptual point of view.But also, there are important points where racism and sexism, or racism, sexism and homophobia or transphobia collide. Womenand gay, lesbian or trangender people (queers of colour) are often the targets of both racism and sexism. But there are alsomoments when the alliance between groups fighting sexism and those fighting racism has not been as easy or natural as one mayassume.In the lecture, we are going to explore some of the ways in which the worlds of race, gender and sexuality come together and pickout some examples of the difficulties raised by the co-existence of both racism and sexism or homophobia.There are many many spheres which we could look at simply because almost all of the issues that are to do with racism also affectracialised women and LGBT people (as people generally).
  7. 7. Creating objects Racialised women have been objectified and stereotyped in many different ways: ★As sexually deviant ★As exotic ★As submissive ★As angry….Monday, 22 April 13Knowledge created about the “nature” of non-white women has been used to racialise and dominate them in a variety of contextshistorically - colonialism, slavery, but also more recently as migrants.Although we might laugh at some of the ways in which African or Middle eastern women were thought about during colonialist times,a lot of these ideas have filtered through into public culture and discourse and remain strong to the present day.They are also manipulated by the media - for example, think of the image of black single mothers, portrayed as being sexuallypromiscuous and irresponsible - having children from multiple fathers.Similar stereotypes connect e. European migrant women to the sex industry.So where do these ideas come from?
  8. 8. Icons of female sexuality “By the 18th century, the sexuality of the black, both male and female, becomes an icon for deviant sexuality in general.” Sander Gilman (1985)Monday, 22 April 13Gilman talks about how a fascination with black sexuality came to determine how 18th and 19th century Europe viewed sexuality.For Stuart Hall, the way in which black and “oriental” females in particular were represented in iconography (pictures, painting etc.)of the time is crucial to understanding how the objectification of non-white women works.In week 2, we saw how racialisation works through a variety of process including dehumanisation. It was necessary for early racethinkers to construct racial inferiors as “less human” than Europeans in order to justify their domination.Women were an object of particular fascination, especially in relation to their sexuality.Gilman shows how a fascination with female Hottentots is exemplary of Victorian obsession with sexual deviancy.Racial “scientists” like Buffon in France focused on the apparent “apelike sexual appetite” of black women. The icon of the blackwoman came to stand for black sexuality in general.The fascination with black sexuality is linked to the function that the racialised other fulfilled for Europeans - as an object both ofdisgust and desire. The whole relationship that white Europeans constructed with this other is a double edged sword that both wantsand rejects the other.On the one hand, they were curious and desirous of that which is different and strange - representing something untasted andtherefore, exciting. On the other hand, they are repelled by the difference which is seen as deviant.Sex is the most crucial taboo because it is linked to procreation. The biggest fear promulgated by race scientists was the dilution ofthe “race’ through mixing - so heterosexual sex with black women or men is dangerous because it was thought it could lead to theweakening of the race.The term for this was miscegenation - the pollution of the race through mixing.Gilman argues that by the 18th century, sex with non-whites was thought of in the same way as sex with prostitutes - I.e. as deviantand wrong, leading to both physical disease and moral degeneration.
  9. 9. The “Hottentot” VenusMonday, 22 April 13The example of Saartje Baartman is used. Saartje (pictured) was a Hottentot woman who was brought to Europe to be shown atvarious exhibitions which were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.As Gilman argues, the Hottentot was seen by race thinkers as the “lowest rung on the great chain of being”.If black female sexuality was seen as the antithesis of European sexual ideas and morals, the Hottentot was the most extremeexample of everything that white women were said NOT to be.Europeans were facinated with the protruding buttocks of the Hottentot woman (greatly exaggerated by the drawing). This was seento be a sign of their primitive sexual appetite.Saartje Baartman - the Hottentot Venus as she was called - was reduced to her sexual parts. Her buttocks and genitalia were theonly facets of her being that were of interest to those scientists and members of the public who viewed her.On her death, her various body parts were dissected and conserved in the Musee de l’Homme in Paris.The image of Lil Kim and Saartje Baartman were joined together by a blogger who was making the point that the way The HottentotVenus was looked at in the early 19th C. is not that different from the icons of black female sexuality today especially incommodified images (I.e. images used to sell things).The blogger, Larry Lyons, says:“so, i cant look at that picture without seeing Saartjie_Baartman aka "Hottentot Venus". i cant shake it. with each glance, i see thedisarming contortions of kims diminutive form as a (failed) approximation of the curves and the boldness of her similarly exploitedancestor.”
  10. 10. Deconstructing raced gender stereotypes Submissiveness Beauty idealsMonday, 22 April 13Let us look at how stereotypes around race and gender have impacted on racialised women’s lives…
  11. 11. Submissive docility 1. Orientalism & the hijab.Monday, 22 April 13Hijab:Outward visible signs of cultural or religious identity have also been important in processes of racialisation around naturalisation.Like skin colour, the Muslim veil can be understood as a racial signification. This is because in the current political climate Muslimsare the targets of a particular type of racism, that some people have labelled islamophobia.Rather than being an objection to islam as a religion, Islamophobia (like antisemitism) is based on the association of all Muslims withnegative characteristics that are associated with people who are perceived to be Muslim. In other words, you may not have toactually be Muslim to be a victim of this type of racism because when visible signs (such as skin colour) is used to identify people,often brown-skinned people who are not Muslim are also targeted.The hijab has been taken to be the symbol par excellence of Islam as a culture. In France, it has been made illegal to wear the hijabin public spaces such as schools and government offices. This has led to girls being excluded from school for refusing to take offtheir hijab.French burqa ban.In Britain, in 2007 a government minister famously made the remark that the niqab (full face) veil was a visible sign of separation andthat women who came to see him should take it off. He associated wearing the veil with a refusal to integrate into British society. Inother words, the veil is being given much more importance as a cultural and political symbol than as a religious dress code (such asthe Jewish kippa).The issue of the veil has united integrationists and those on the left such as some feminists. There is a belief that wearing the hijab isa sign of the oppression of women. It is felt that women are forced to wear the veil by their husbands of fathers.This is part of the Orientalist discourse (Said) about “Eastern” women as completely dominated by the men in their lives. Thecolonialist idea about women from the Middle east in particular as totally powerless has pervaded into our culture aided bystereotypical views of veiled and other “oriental” women as docile and lacking in independence.If African and black women were seen as overly sexualised, Indian, Pakistani and Middle eastern women were seen as tantalisinglyhiding their sexuality away from western men under their veils.
  12. 12. Submissive docility 1. Orientalism & the hijab.Monday, 22 April 13Hijab:Outward visible signs of cultural or religious identity have also been important in processes of racialisation around naturalisation.Like skin colour, the Muslim veil can be understood as a racial signification. This is because in the current political climate Muslimsare the targets of a particular type of racism, that some people have labelled islamophobia.Rather than being an objection to islam as a religion, Islamophobia (like antisemitism) is based on the association of all Muslims withnegative characteristics that are associated with people who are perceived to be Muslim. In other words, you may not have toactually be Muslim to be a victim of this type of racism because when visible signs (such as skin colour) is used to identify people,often brown-skinned people who are not Muslim are also targeted.The hijab has been taken to be the symbol par excellence of Islam as a culture. In France, it has been made illegal to wear the hijabin public spaces such as schools and government offices. This has led to girls being excluded from school for refusing to take offtheir hijab.French burqa ban.In Britain, in 2007 a government minister famously made the remark that the niqab (full face) veil was a visible sign of separation andthat women who came to see him should take it off. He associated wearing the veil with a refusal to integrate into British society. Inother words, the veil is being given much more importance as a cultural and political symbol than as a religious dress code (such asthe Jewish kippa).The issue of the veil has united integrationists and those on the left such as some feminists. There is a belief that wearing the hijab isa sign of the oppression of women. It is felt that women are forced to wear the veil by their husbands of fathers.This is part of the Orientalist discourse (Said) about “Eastern” women as completely dominated by the men in their lives. Thecolonialist idea about women from the Middle east in particular as totally powerless has pervaded into our culture aided bystereotypical views of veiled and other “oriental” women as docile and lacking in independence.If African and black women were seen as overly sexualised, Indian, Pakistani and Middle eastern women were seen as tantalisinglyhiding their sexuality away from western men under their veils.
  13. 13. Fair & Lovely?Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  14. 14. Fair & Lovely? ★Whiteness as a yardstick for beauty.Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  15. 15. Fair & Lovely? ★Whiteness as a yardstick for beauty. ★Skin whitening products.Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  16. 16. Fair & Lovely? ★Whiteness as a yardstick for beauty. ★Skin whitening products.Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  17. 17. Fair & Lovely? ★Whiteness as a yardstick for beauty. ★Skin whitening products.Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  18. 18. Fair & Lovely? ★Whiteness as a yardstick for beauty. ★Skin whitening products. ★ Black is beautiful.Monday, 22 April 13In Caribbean slave societies, “mulatto” women were seen as more beautiful. Light skinned women were encouraged to marry whitemen in order to improve their racial and aesthetic “quality”. The beauty of women was seen as a key to social and economicadvancement (described by Fanon in BSWM).This has not gone away - light skinned and straight haired women are still more desirable in Caribbean culture according to ShirleyTate (2007).Think of Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty!Shirley Tate argues that beyond skin, the discussion around hair quality is important for defining black women’s beauty. Forexample, it may be said about a woman that “she is light skinned but her hair is tough/afro/natty/kinky/peppercorn.” Here, says Tate,“her skin saves her from the ugliness of non-straight hair.”Over 2,400,000 hits for “skin whitening” on Google. Simply a huge market for pills, creams and other treatments including surgery toreduce skin pigmentation.Show film: this ad from India reveals how ingrained the idea of fair skin being desirable is in the culture. Both men and women aretargeted by products like Fair and Lovely.3. In the 1960s, with the rise of black power, the slogan “black is beautiful” was intended to re-empower black people throughvaluing their own bodies, hair and skin which for so long had been associated with ugliness and primitiveness in the logic of racethinking.This movement brought the afro on both women and men into style.Afro or cornrows etc. are said to be authentic black stylesBut... Shirley Tate discusses how ‘authenticity’ in terms of hair/skin colour etc. can also be used as a way to police women (andmen). She talks about the need to challenge this so that values of beauty - both white and black - can be reassessed. There is aneed to combat the essentialism that determines that there are certain types of looks for certain women and not others. This isultimately a challenge to a wholly racialised way of looking at standards of physical appearance.
  19. 19. “Multiple oppression theory” Racialised women & LGBT suffer discrimination in: ★ Employment ★ Housing ★ Education ★ In the family ! ! ! etc…Monday, 22 April 13Theories of multiple domination emerge out of Marxist and socialist feminist analyses.These rely on dual systems theory to examine the interrelationship between capitalism and patriarchy.Race was merely added into the mix - therefore, women of colour were said to be oppressed triply - by capitalist, patriarchal andracist structures.But, the triple discrimination approach has been criticised for failing to look at the particular identities and problems related tocoming from certain positions.In other words, the particular ethnic, religious, national or class background should also be taken into account when seekin toaddress the specific problems faced by different groups of women.
  20. 20. Intersections “We often find it difficult to separate race from class from sex oppression because in our lives they are most often experienced simultaneously. We know that there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual.” A Black Feminist Statement (CRC, 1977)Monday, 22 April 13In the 1970s black feminists, majority worls feminists and lesbian feminists like bell hooks, Audrey Lorde, Angela Davis and ChandraMohanty started to question the add-on ideas behind Marxist-inspired triple oppression theory.The idea of intersectionality emerges out of critical race studies. It seeks to analyse the way in which multiple forms of power (race,sex, class) interrelate with each other, each having an effect on the other continuously and in many different ways.Intersectionality is based on the belief that you can never really look at the processes of racialisation, sexism or classism asseparate.Rather each of these processes of domination constitute each other - they hold each other up and rely on one another in order tofunction.The theory of intersectionality emerged in critical legal studies in the 1980s and was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black feministlegal theorist who is often thought of as the instigator of Critical Race Theory. She wrote that identity politics often led to thedifferences that exist within groups being ignored, leading thus to tensions between groups and the break-down of solidaritybetween, for example, white and black feminists. Rather than be fixated on the ‘large’ differences that appear to divide us, we shouldbe alive to the ways in which we are all composed of a variety of identities and exposed to various structures of oppression that mayshape our experiences in different ways and at different times.In particular, Crenshaw was interested in the ways in which patriarchy and race intersect in violence against women of colour. It isimpossible to look at either factor in isolation. So too, just as women can never be reduced to the category ‘woman’, her lifeexperiences can never be said to be shaped by her gender, her ethnic identity, her class, her age, whether she is able-bodies or not,and so on. Rather an individual’s life includes all of these facets, and so any theory that attempts to explain women’s conditionshould take account of these important intersections. Crenshaw explains how this works in practice by asking us to consider theanalogy of a traffic accident [click to reveal quote]Theories of intersectionality have been influential because they appear to describe reality more adequately than what have beenreferred to as ‘add-on’ or ‘double or triple discrimination’ theories, those that look at the various forms of discrimination faced bywomen as occurring in separate realms. Such theories do not see race and class, or race, gender, class and sexuality for exampleas imbricated in each other. However, most theories of race would agree that it is impossible to explain racism historically withoutgrounding it in an understanding of capitalism.
  21. 21. Beyond intersectionality?Monday, 22 April 13Intersectionality as a concept has been critiqued by people who identify themselves as ‘queer of colour’ - that is gays, lesbians,bisexuals, transgender people who are also racialised as black, brown, Muslim, etc.This is because the question of sexuality has generally been omitted by the feminist critical race theorists who introduced the idea ofintersectionality.This has been rectified more recently, but critics claim that transgender issues for example have been left out of the equation.2. Erel et al. in their paper on “The Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk” argue that activism based on intersectionality often onlypays lip service to the complexity of these intersections.So, for example, activism may be based on white gay men and heterosexual migrant women working together, bur rarely are themore complex realities of gays, lesbians and transgender people who are also racialised brought to the fore.As Erel and all say in the paper, class too is taken off of the agenda. So, conversations about intersectionality tend to remain amongrelatively privileged people.3. Thirdly, Erel et al. argue that both queer activists and black and anti-racist activists generally ignore each other’s issues.At one extreme, racialised trans people have been seen as victims of a “white disease” among certain black organisations.At the other extreme, trans activism is notoriously white. Rather than working together WITH anti-racists, queer activists oftencompete with them for minority status!
  22. 22. Beyond intersectionality? ★ Intersectionality critiqued for ignoring sexuality.Monday, 22 April 13Intersectionality as a concept has been critiqued by people who identify themselves as ‘queer of colour’ - that is gays, lesbians,bisexuals, transgender people who are also racialised as black, brown, Muslim, etc.This is because the question of sexuality has generally been omitted by the feminist critical race theorists who introduced the idea ofintersectionality.This has been rectified more recently, but critics claim that transgender issues for example have been left out of the equation.2. Erel et al. in their paper on “The Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk” argue that activism based on intersectionality often onlypays lip service to the complexity of these intersections.So, for example, activism may be based on white gay men and heterosexual migrant women working together, bur rarely are themore complex realities of gays, lesbians and transgender people who are also racialised brought to the fore.As Erel and all say in the paper, class too is taken off of the agenda. So, conversations about intersectionality tend to remain amongrelatively privileged people.3. Thirdly, Erel et al. argue that both queer activists and black and anti-racist activists generally ignore each other’s issues.At one extreme, racialised trans people have been seen as victims of a “white disease” among certain black organisations.At the other extreme, trans activism is notoriously white. Rather than working together WITH anti-racists, queer activists oftencompete with them for minority status!
  23. 23. Beyond intersectionality? ★ Intersectionality critiqued for ignoring sexuality. ★ “Multiply minoritised” are ignored.Monday, 22 April 13Intersectionality as a concept has been critiqued by people who identify themselves as ‘queer of colour’ - that is gays, lesbians,bisexuals, transgender people who are also racialised as black, brown, Muslim, etc.This is because the question of sexuality has generally been omitted by the feminist critical race theorists who introduced the idea ofintersectionality.This has been rectified more recently, but critics claim that transgender issues for example have been left out of the equation.2. Erel et al. in their paper on “The Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk” argue that activism based on intersectionality often onlypays lip service to the complexity of these intersections.So, for example, activism may be based on white gay men and heterosexual migrant women working together, bur rarely are themore complex realities of gays, lesbians and transgender people who are also racialised brought to the fore.As Erel and all say in the paper, class too is taken off of the agenda. So, conversations about intersectionality tend to remain amongrelatively privileged people.3. Thirdly, Erel et al. argue that both queer activists and black and anti-racist activists generally ignore each other’s issues.At one extreme, racialised trans people have been seen as victims of a “white disease” among certain black organisations.At the other extreme, trans activism is notoriously white. Rather than working together WITH anti-racists, queer activists oftencompete with them for minority status!
  24. 24. Beyond intersectionality? ★ Intersectionality critiqued for ignoring sexuality. ★ “Multiply minoritised” are ignored. ★ Race and queer issues rarely meet.Monday, 22 April 13Intersectionality as a concept has been critiqued by people who identify themselves as ‘queer of colour’ - that is gays, lesbians,bisexuals, transgender people who are also racialised as black, brown, Muslim, etc.This is because the question of sexuality has generally been omitted by the feminist critical race theorists who introduced the idea ofintersectionality.This has been rectified more recently, but critics claim that transgender issues for example have been left out of the equation.2. Erel et al. in their paper on “The Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk” argue that activism based on intersectionality often onlypays lip service to the complexity of these intersections.So, for example, activism may be based on white gay men and heterosexual migrant women working together, bur rarely are themore complex realities of gays, lesbians and transgender people who are also racialised brought to the fore.As Erel and all say in the paper, class too is taken off of the agenda. So, conversations about intersectionality tend to remain amongrelatively privileged people.3. Thirdly, Erel et al. argue that both queer activists and black and anti-racist activists generally ignore each other’s issues.At one extreme, racialised trans people have been seen as victims of a “white disease” among certain black organisations.At the other extreme, trans activism is notoriously white. Rather than working together WITH anti-racists, queer activists oftencompete with them for minority status!
  25. 25. Sexularism & HomonationalismMonday, 22 April 131. Burqas and bikinisTime cover of Aisha/Nazia demonstrates how brown/Muslim women’s bodies have been used as a battleground in the ideologicalconsensus building post-9/11.War in Afghanistan sold as a war to liberate Afghan women from Taliban although we know their plight is same/worse todayWestern focus on honour killings and forced marriages portrays Muslims as diabolic - capable of worse crimes. So calling it honourkilling rather than murder sets tis crime apart from other murders giving the impression that domestic violence is more prevalentamongst Muslims while statistically this is not the case.Joan W. Scott refers to the western approach to the treatment of women in Islam as ‘sexularism’.According to Scott, sexularism refers to the way in which secular European or western modernity is seen as leading naturally tosexual liberation and gender equality. However, this denies the fact that gender equality is anything but achieved in westerncontexts and makes presumptions about the link between the wearing of the veil/burka and women’s subjugation.As Lila Abu-Lughod argues, the increase in veiling in the Arab world in the 1970s and 80s was in fact a symbol of modernisation andindependence for many women. Similarly, many women who wear the veil today describe doing so as a sign of their politicalallegiance and critique of the West’s actions in the Muslim world. This view problematizes the view of the veil/burka as always asymbol of women’s oppression.Many women who grew up in families where the veil is not enforced are choosing to wear hijab as an outward sign of their religiousaffiliation and as a protest against the culture that - in their view - denigrates the Muslim religion and Muslims as people (give Levysisters example).2. Hijack this...Sexuality has also been used as a means for dividing between ‘liberal’ and ‘illiberal’ societies.Lisa Duggan example of mainstream gay organisations who “objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to the publication of an APphotograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the war but because ‘“themessage equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to thepublication of an AP photograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the warbut because ‘“the message equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen.”This is what some theorists such as Jasbir Puar have referred to as ‘homonationalism’ in which homosexuality is normalised inwestern societies in opposition to non-western ones despite the fact that equality for gays is far from achieved.
  26. 26. Sexularism & Homonationalism ★ Burqas & BurqinisMonday, 22 April 131. Burqas and bikinisTime cover of Aisha/Nazia demonstrates how brown/Muslim women’s bodies have been used as a battleground in the ideologicalconsensus building post-9/11.War in Afghanistan sold as a war to liberate Afghan women from Taliban although we know their plight is same/worse todayWestern focus on honour killings and forced marriages portrays Muslims as diabolic - capable of worse crimes. So calling it honourkilling rather than murder sets tis crime apart from other murders giving the impression that domestic violence is more prevalentamongst Muslims while statistically this is not the case.Joan W. Scott refers to the western approach to the treatment of women in Islam as ‘sexularism’.According to Scott, sexularism refers to the way in which secular European or western modernity is seen as leading naturally tosexual liberation and gender equality. However, this denies the fact that gender equality is anything but achieved in westerncontexts and makes presumptions about the link between the wearing of the veil/burka and women’s subjugation.As Lila Abu-Lughod argues, the increase in veiling in the Arab world in the 1970s and 80s was in fact a symbol of modernisation andindependence for many women. Similarly, many women who wear the veil today describe doing so as a sign of their politicalallegiance and critique of the West’s actions in the Muslim world. This view problematizes the view of the veil/burka as always asymbol of women’s oppression.Many women who grew up in families where the veil is not enforced are choosing to wear hijab as an outward sign of their religiousaffiliation and as a protest against the culture that - in their view - denigrates the Muslim religion and Muslims as people (give Levysisters example).2. Hijack this...Sexuality has also been used as a means for dividing between ‘liberal’ and ‘illiberal’ societies.Lisa Duggan example of mainstream gay organisations who “objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to the publication of an APphotograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the war but because ‘“themessage equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to thepublication of an AP photograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the warbut because ‘“the message equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen.”This is what some theorists such as Jasbir Puar have referred to as ‘homonationalism’ in which homosexuality is normalised inwestern societies in opposition to non-western ones despite the fact that equality for gays is far from achieved.
  27. 27. Sexularism & Homonationalism ★ Hijack This ★ Burqas & BurqinisMonday, 22 April 131. Burqas and bikinisTime cover of Aisha/Nazia demonstrates how brown/Muslim women’s bodies have been used as a battleground in the ideologicalconsensus building post-9/11.War in Afghanistan sold as a war to liberate Afghan women from Taliban although we know their plight is same/worse todayWestern focus on honour killings and forced marriages portrays Muslims as diabolic - capable of worse crimes. So calling it honourkilling rather than murder sets tis crime apart from other murders giving the impression that domestic violence is more prevalentamongst Muslims while statistically this is not the case.Joan W. Scott refers to the western approach to the treatment of women in Islam as ‘sexularism’.According to Scott, sexularism refers to the way in which secular European or western modernity is seen as leading naturally tosexual liberation and gender equality. However, this denies the fact that gender equality is anything but achieved in westerncontexts and makes presumptions about the link between the wearing of the veil/burka and women’s subjugation.As Lila Abu-Lughod argues, the increase in veiling in the Arab world in the 1970s and 80s was in fact a symbol of modernisation andindependence for many women. Similarly, many women who wear the veil today describe doing so as a sign of their politicalallegiance and critique of the West’s actions in the Muslim world. This view problematizes the view of the veil/burka as always asymbol of women’s oppression.Many women who grew up in families where the veil is not enforced are choosing to wear hijab as an outward sign of their religiousaffiliation and as a protest against the culture that - in their view - denigrates the Muslim religion and Muslims as people (give Levysisters example).2. Hijack this...Sexuality has also been used as a means for dividing between ‘liberal’ and ‘illiberal’ societies.Lisa Duggan example of mainstream gay organisations who “objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to the publication of an APphotograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the war but because ‘“themessage equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen objected during the invasion of Afghanistan to thepublication of an AP photograph of a US warhead emblazoned with the words ‘Hijack this Fags’ not because of opposition to the warbut because ‘“the message equates gays with the enemy”’ and dishonours gay servicemen.”This is what some theorists such as Jasbir Puar have referred to as ‘homonationalism’ in which homosexuality is normalised inwestern societies in opposition to non-western ones despite the fact that equality for gays is far from achieved.
  28. 28. Femen vs. Muslimah Pride Twitter Stream Video: The Stream 14Monday, 22 April 13
  29. 29. Debate This House believes that Muslim women need to be saved 15Monday, 22 April 13
  30. 30. 16Monday, 22 April 13

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