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Understanding
Gender and Sexuality
Abby and Ffion xxxx
Initial thoughts
• For this presentation we chose to read parts of Natasha
Walter’s book, Living Dolls – The Return Of Sex...
Social Constructions
• Walter also talks about what it means to be a women and how the
feminine image is a social construc...
In this Rolling Stones
cover of Janet Jackson
we see an example of
what Walter was
talking about in her
book about sexuali...
Sexualisation and male gaze
• Walter then goes on to talk about the damaging effects
of current feminist discourse surroun...
• In her book, Walter talks about the current
feminists discourse has taken a step back,
instead of liberating and empower...
Critique
• Walter does an excellent job of walking a
controversial line. She criticises the pornified
culture that pushes ...
• Overall the reading gave us insight to the more
contemporary approaches to sexuality and
gender. Walter successfully exp...
‘One is not born a woman, but becomes one’
- Simone de Beauvoir
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understanding gender and sexuality

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understanding gender and sexuality

  1. 1. Understanding Gender and Sexuality Abby and Ffion xxxx
  2. 2. Initial thoughts • For this presentation we chose to read parts of Natasha Walter’s book, Living Dolls – The Return Of Sexism. • In her previous work she talked about the objectification of women becoming less of a problem however in her most recent work she describes how this may not be true. Walter’s main stance throughout Living Dolls is that there is hyper-sexulisation of mass culture occurring across western society. • She speaks about how women face an added pressure in order to fit the unrealistic image of femininity and what it is to be a woman today.
  3. 3. Social Constructions • Walter also talks about what it means to be a women and how the feminine image is a social construction; there are many different things that play a part in the construction, from being slim, beautiful and even sexy are all becoming increasingly prominent. • As mentioned in yesterdays lecture, Simone de Beauvoir, who also agrees that gender is a product of social and cultural processes. • ‘The image of female perfection to which women are encouraged to aspire, has become more and more defined by sexual allure’ What Walter means by this is that women are now valued in terms of their sexual attraction and their appeal to men. • Walter goes on to talk about the stereotyping of products and toys targeted towards young people. This refers back to the title as she argues that young women and children are increasingly encouraged to aspire to look like dolls.
  4. 4. In this Rolling Stones cover of Janet Jackson we see an example of what Walter was talking about in her book about sexualising the female body for mens benefit.
  5. 5. Sexualisation and male gaze • Walter then goes on to talk about the damaging effects of current feminist discourse surrounding female sexuality. She believes it is merely encouraging women to accept a sexist and sexual culture, which largely caters to the fulfillment of male fantasies. • This is similar to the concept coined by Laura Mulvey, the male gaze. She talks about the male gaze being present in visual arts such as film, tv, advertisements etc. Mulvey describes the tendency in visual arts to depict the world and women from a masculine point of view.
  6. 6. • In her book, Walter talks about the current feminists discourse has taken a step back, instead of liberating and empowering women to be sexual in their own right, it has instead hyper-sexualised the female image to benefit a male audience; it is as if women are taking part in their own continual subordination.
  7. 7. Critique • Walter does an excellent job of walking a controversial line. She criticises the pornified culture that pushes young women towards lap dancing and topless modelling, but never judges the women themselves. • However a critique of Walter is that she neglects the autonomy of the girls working in the industries that some if not most are happy working in these industries.
  8. 8. • Overall the reading gave us insight to the more contemporary approaches to sexuality and gender. Walter successfully explores different aspects of society and focusing on how sexual images are becoming increasingly dominant in mass culture, she makes clear that sexism still exists and calls for feminists to recognise the new ways in which it exists today. "We have come so far already. For our daughters, the escalator doesn't have to stop on the doll's floor."
  9. 9. ‘One is not born a woman, but becomes one’ - Simone de Beauvoir

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