Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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The Women’s Poverty–Empowerment Nexus: Engendering Microfinance in the Global Political Economy

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-06-06
Abstract: 

The creation of the women’s poverty-empowerment nexus in development discourses has legitimized the widespread use of microfinance. Despite the success of microfinance in supplying credit, the evidence to suggest it has substantially reduced poverty and increased women’s empowerment is mixed. This thesis examines the link between trends in the global political economy, microfinance, and gender. To reveal this link, a critical discourse analysis of development discourses and a content analysis of impact studies of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and BancoSol in Bolivia are employed to assess the gap between rhetoric and impacts of microfinance. Insights gained from Tanzania provide a deeper understanding as to why, despite the success of microfinance in delivering credit, poverty and gender inequality persist. This research reveals that far from addressing economic and social inequality, microfinance exists and functions within gendered power structures and relationships rather than resolving them.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Habiba Zaman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Pretty, Witty and Femme: Negotiations of Gender and Sex in Sartorial Representations on Tumblr - and - Smoking Hot Dykes: Smoking Imagery and Lesbian Style on Tumblr

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-01-30
Abstract: 

1. Pretty, Witty and Femme: Negotiations of Gender and Sex in Sartorial Representations on Tumblr. This paper addresses the primacy of visual representations of queer femme-ininity on the microblogging platform, Tumblr. Three femme styles are analyzed using a qualitative queer and feminist intersectional theoretical framework. The analysis revealed that sartorial expressions of femme-ininity on Tumblr reflect a postmodern approach to conscious gender presentation that re-defines. Sartorial negotiations of femme gender and sexual desire are complex and varied, and visibility as a sole sartorial strategy for subversion is restraining. 2. Smoking Hot Dykes: Smoking Imagery and Lesbian Style on Tumblr. This paper discusses the role of the cigarette as a component to a lesbian sartorial style on the website Tumblr, called pomo dyke style. The investigation examines how the cigarette fashions the pomo dyke in a qualitative analysis of images depicting this style. Findings revealed themes in imagery depicting the pomo dyke style, including melancholy, whiteness, thinness, and class rebellion. Fashionable deviance materializes on the queer who values wilfulness in self-presentation while disregarding factors influencing her privilege.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mary Lynn Stewart
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.

Focusing on reality TV: exploring women's participation in talent-based competition shows

Date created: 
2013-04-15
Abstract: 

Reality TV has become a source of entertainment as well as scorn for North American audiences and critics. While American reality TV and their contestants have received much attention in media studies, very little has been written about Canadian reality show participants, despite the popularity of this type of programming in Canada. Women on both sides of the border who participate on reality TV are particularly scrutinized and those with high public profiles have faced an overwhelmingly negative backlash. Using a feminist cultural studies framework, this dissertation examines Canadian women's motivations and understanding of the reality TV process, from audition to post-show life. A total of 14 women from across Canada, who competed in such shows as Canada's Next Top Model, Canadian Idol, Project Runway Canada, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Rock Star: INXS, and Popstars: Boy Meets Girl, were interviewed using a combination of online and in-person interviews. The women’s narratives of reality TV participation reflect and extend contemporary scholarly concerns and debates about women and celebrity culture, media power, television audiences, and new media technologies. Specifically, the interviews complicate current assertions and assumptions about women’s participation as either ‘empowering’ or ‘victimizing’ by illustrating how such participation cannot be isolated from economic factors and gender dynamics at play in contemporary models of television production. While the women have little to no control over how they are represented in these shows, they find ways to assert their agency that disrupts (but does not stop) the production process, while simultaneously ‘domesticating’ the space of reality TV in order to make it a habitable and liveable place. Finally, this dissertation makes two major methodological interventions into the study of television. Firstly, using a cultural studies approach to television research, the author understands reality show contestants as a distinct category of research respondents who challenge and blur rigid divisions between audience and text, and audience and producer. Secondly, the author draws on the tradition of self-reflexivity in feminist research in order to examine and theorize to what extent the interview process may position the researcher as a ‘scholar-fan’.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Cindy Patton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Paid domestic labour as precarious work in China

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Paid domestic labour in China revived in the early 1980s after the state began its transition from a socialist centrally planned economy to a socialist market-oriented economy. This dissertation focuses on what happened to gender relations as well as class equality in the wake of the development of private domestic service during this economic transition. Using a socialist feminist framework, the analysis of the current marketization of domestic labour is situated in both the context of global capitalism and the reconfigured nature of patriarchy under neoliberal governance, albeit in a socialist state. The current market-oriented labour system and specifically paid domestic workers’ situation in China can be understood through the inter-related nature of emerging capitalist markets, and historical patriarchal institutions related to both state socialism and the family. This dissertation analyzes the ways that market reforms in China have affected women and the state and their relationship to paid domestic work. The consequences of the marketization of various aspects of domestic life that used to have a more communal character have radically changed social reproduction responsibilities and have put them even more squarely on women in the private sphere. Economic and state policy changes related to social reproduction create both the new supply of and demand for paid domestic work. Based on interviews with domestic workers, their employers, their social advocates, and government officials, this investigation examines the economic and social security of domestic workers and provides information about their precarious work circumstances that could be improved through public policy. China is rapidly reconfiguring its regime of social reproduction and is in a period when new policy needs to be considered: the economic and social securities that had been provided by the pre-reform social reproduction regime are substantially weakened through the marketization of domestic labour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
D
Department: 
Department of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Islamic laws, gender discrimination and legal injustices: The Zina Hudood Ordinance of Pakistan and its implication for women -AND- Shared oppressions and narrative and cross-cultural communication through autobiography in the Muslim world

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The first essay will examine the trend of sexual violence against women that emerged in Pakistan with the introduction of the Idamipation process through the implementation of the Sharia laws since 1979. The paper's main focus will be on rape and the state-legislation that governs it, namely the Zina Hudood Ordinance of 1979 and the Law ofEvidence of 1984, and how the gender-discriminatory nature of these laws in the name of religion serves to subjugate women. The second essay d evaluate the importance of M u s h women's autobiographical writings as a medlum for resistance and cross-cultural communication in the M u s h world through shared histories of gender-oppression. The essay will explore the writing of a Pakistani feudal wife, Tehmina Durrani through an analysis of her autobiography, My Feudal Lord, whch sets out to expose the Palustani feudal male elite and its mistreatment of women.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Essays (M.A.)

The scientific uncertainty of the harm and benefits of pesticides in organic and non-organic food

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

In this thesis it is argued that the relative safety of organic food versus non-organic food is complex and subjective. Expert and lay people are interviewed using scenarios to assess their differences in understanding of situations involving scientific uncertainty, namely the evaluation of pesticide safety and the control and regulation of the pesticide’s use. Ecofeminism is used to analyze the results as it is a theoretic that links the destruction of the environment with social hierarchies. A novel schematic for expanding scientific uncertainty beyond the scientific method is presented as a way for both a more nunaced understanding of scientific uncertainty and for greater civic participation in scientific decision-making.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Recalling our social movement origins: diversity and the shifting practice of contemporary midwifery in B.C. - and - Representing Gardasil: a close textual analysis of print advertisements for the vaccine Gardasil

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Paying particular attention to the context of British Columbia I outline some transformations in midwifery practice in recent decades and highlight emerging challenges as midwifery shifts from a grassroots lay practice to a mainstream profession. With a focus on the social movement context of the origins of contemporary midwifery practice, I argue that the present midwifery system does not adequately contend with the diversity of birthing women’s interests. A close textual analysis of Gardasil print advertisements, found in North American medical association journals and fashion magazines, serves as an entry point for understanding some of the social values and assumptions at play in the representation of the vaccine Gardasil as a “cure for cancer.” I pay particular attention to how visual imagery, semantic relations, and hyponymy work to produce distinct representations of the world that simultaneously emerge out of and are immersed within discourses of health, disease, morality, and protection.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
C
Department: 
Dept. of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Essays (M.A.)

Beyond marginality: exploring black women’s labour market participation in the Greater Vancouver Regional District

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

What have Black women’s labour market experiences been in the Greater Vancouver Regional District? How have education, family, and systemic barriers been perceived by and impacted Black women in the labour market? Utilizing qualitative methodological techniques, primarily open-ended interviewing, and centred in critical Black feminist and endarkened feminist epistemological approaches, as well as anti-racist or critical race theory, I explore these important questions. Historically and currently marginalized, this thesis puts Black women’s experience at the forefront of investigation and provides an opportunity for five women to voice their knowledge, thoughts, and observations on employment in British Columbia. Findings suggest that while some view the educational system as unsupportive and alienating for Blacks, it is ultimately deemed important for labour market success. The results also reveal a pronounced focus on personal rather than systemic barriers to success, and stress the value of family and other support networks in fostering individual empowerment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
H
Department: 
Dept. of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Beyond skin deep: An Exploration of female-to-male transgender embodiment and exploring Vancouver's queer and transgender youth organizations

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Essay 1: Beyond Skin Deep explores a specific subculture of female-to-male (FTM) transgender individuals who use tattoos as a method of expressing identity. By accessing this contemporary subculture of FTMs from a combination of autobiographic self-reflections and an analysis of the XXBoys photography project, this paper demonstrates how a subculture of tattooed FTM bodies challenge particular assumptions about the body that have been understood in previous representations of the transsexual body. Essay 2: Youth Organizations evaluates the current resources for queer and trans (QT) youth in Vancouver. By engaging in a close textual analysis of the commitments and services provided online by two main organizations within Vancouver, I argue that programs for QT supportive organizations are not being implemented to their full potential. The paper builds this argument on the basis of interviews with volunteers of these programs, as well as QT youth who have use the services in Vancouver.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
H
Department: 
Dept. of Women's Studies - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Essays (M.A.)

Border-Crossing: The Transnational Activism of Women in an Era of Globalization

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

The importance of women's transnational activism, or activism beyond national borders, has become increasingly relevant as the gendered impact of globalization intensifies. By focusing on the way that globalization affects women's lives, this thesis illuminates the contradictory and complex nature of global processes. An investigation of social movement theory and the "global women's movement" serves to provide the framework for the conditions under which the organizations in this study engage in activism. Employing institutional ethnography, this study highlights the transnational activism of the Maquila Solidarity Network (Toronto, Ontario) and the Philippine Women Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia) within the context of globalization and the processes of social, political and economic restructuring occurring throughout the world. The four women interviewed in this thesis shed light on the dynamics of organizing transnationally and illustrate how the activities of the Maquila Solidarity Network and Philippine Women Centre engage women to resist, challenge and shape processes of globalization. My findings demonstrate that through transnational exchanges and by building alliances, women are questioning the authority and inevitability of globalization. By enacting individual and collective agency at the local, national and global levels, diverse women are mobilizing and acting to address processes of globalization in an effort for positive change.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Women's Studies) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)