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

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Stitching up the natural: "Manboobs," pregnancy, and the transgender body

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-11-29
Abstract: 

This thesis is an examination of the construction of the “natural” male and female body through gynecomastia surgery (chest surgery for “excess” breast tissue on men) and pregnancy, read within the discursive fields of medicine and online support groups. I take as my starting point the accusation that the transgender body is constructed, which rests on the assumption of a “natural” body, free from “harm,” “physical intervention,” “modification,” and “mutilation.” In contrast to most academic engagement with transsexuality, I shift the focus to the “natural” body and emphasise its construction through close comparative interrogation using Foucauldian discourse analysis. Comparing gynecomastia and female-to-male transsexuality, I highlight the production of the “natural” male body through gynecomastia surgery, and by exploring pregnancy in relation to infertility, I reveal the constitution of the “natural” female body through pregnancy. Through this reconsideration of gynecomastia surgery and pregnancy as naturalised body modification, I emphasise the sexed body as effect rather than cause or, in other words, I challenge the common understanding of sex as biological foundation. Reading for, what I identify as “technologies of the natural,” disrupts the natural/constructed binary and challenges dominant ideas about sexual difference and reproduction. It provides the means to contest the narration of a “natural body,” which represents the ground upon which transgender people are subject to physical violence and excluded from social and political life, and constrains all bodies within a rigid epistemological and ontological framework. Providing a poststructural perspective on sex and gender, this interdisciplinary project draws from feminist theories of the body, transgender studies, queer theory, cyberstudies, the politics of reproduction, sociology of health and illness, critical race studies, and disability theory. Situated within the framework of “somatechnics,” it is an attempt to reconceive the body, technology, and the relation between them, and provide a reconsideration of the nature of embodiment. Given the extent to which the sexed body is a site through which unequal relations of power are maintained in our present social landscape, this project is a necessary contribution to the interrogation of the operations of power (and resistance) in this historical and cultural moment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Helen Hok-Sze Leung
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The female body and place: the case of young Iranian women in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-08-17
Abstract: 

Since all regulations in countries labeled as “Islamic” are adapted to the Islamic principles, the female body in these countries is viewed in light of an Islamic interpretation of sexuality. In Iran, after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Islamic codes have attempted to dominate in regulating social life. In this research, I investigate how Iranian young immigrant women, who were born after the Islamic Revolution, experience and connect with their own bodies. My analysis is based on interviewing with 10 Iranian young women living in Vancouver in addition to pieces written by them as letters to their own bodies. I use Michel Foucault’s notions on discipline, docile bodies, surveillance, and resistance to conceptualize my arguments. One of the remarkable findings of this research was that female body was highly connected to place, specifically the public sphere and also memory in the voice of my participants.

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

Midwifery, informed choice, and reproductive autonomy : a relational approach

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Brian Burtch
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Rethinking critical strategies in feminist film theory and criticism

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1996
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jacqueline Levitin
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Womantalk goes on-line : the use of computer networks in the context of feminist social change

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1991
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Liora Salter
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Rethinking reproductive freedom : in-vitro fertilization and a woman's right to choose

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1992
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Susan Wendell
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.