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

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Women's studies and the women's movement in Taiwan; and: Lesbianism in mainstream cinema

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Women's Studies and the Women's Movement in Taiwan examines the relationship between women's studies and the women's movement in Taiwan and explain why and how this relationship has shifted. Specifically, it explores the disconnections and the bridges between women's studies and the women's movement. Finally, it concludes with a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of connecting women's studies and the women's movement for both academia and activism. Keywords: Women's Studies, the Women's Movement, Taiwan Lesbianism in Mainstream Cinema analyzes how lesbianism has been depicted in mainstream cinema from the 1960s to the 2000s. It traces the historical development of lesbian films. It also analyzes the dynamic of lesbian representations, such as the elimination of explicitly lesbian sexuality in film versions of lesbian novels, the transformation of butch portrayals, the employment of happy, tragic or other endings, the power relationship between characters, and the lesbian subplot in mainstream cinema. Keywords: Lesbianism, Mainstream Cinema, Portrayal of Lesbian Representations, Lesbian themes in motion pictures

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

Enslaving temporary migrant women: Canada's shifting immigration policies

Date created: 
2012-08-28
Abstract: 

Canada’s adherence to the expansion of the neo-liberal ideology has been accompanied by the federal government’s implementation of an immigration policy shift from a focus on permanent residents to a focus on temporary migrants. Not only has the amount of temporary migrants increased, but so too has the amount of temporary migrant women, indicating the demand for their unfree reproductive labour. This thesis analyzes the changes made to the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) over the past decade and argues that the Canadian federal government has purposefully implemented a series of changes to the TFWP to render temporary migrant women unfree in Canada and facilitate the extraction of their unfree reproductive labour, ultimately rendering temporary migrant women as modern day slaves. Through a feminist post-colonial lens, this thesis concludes that the expansion of the TFWP is a result of the country’s adherence to neo-liberal ideology and the desire to secure a cheap, flexible source of unfree labour, which is necessary to increase the country’s national comparative advantage.

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

Shaping embodiment in The Swan: fan and blog discourses in makeover culture

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-08-15
Abstract: 

This dissertation explores the ubiquity of North American makeover culture from a feminist cultural studies perspective. Using an interdisciplinary and multi-methods approach, I conduct discourse analysis of Fox network’s The Swan (Galan 2004), online audience research of web forums devoted to The Swan, and email interviews with a small group of bloggers who wrote about their cosmetic surgery experiences on the web portal, Makemeheal.com. A postfeminist, neoliberal discourse of choice utilized in makeover culture belies the continued social and discursive regulation of embodiment, directed primarily at women. This re-regulation of embodiment contains the ontological threat of bodily hybridity made visible in makeover culture. In other words, the potential threat of the surgically altered body to expose the instability of bodily integrity is contained through makeover culture discourse that positions women as passive subjects while simultaneously addressing them as active agents. I use a somatechnics rubric, a poststructuralist approach developed by scholars meeting bi-annually since 2003 at Australia’s Macquarie University, to interpret the hybridity I identify in makeover culture. Somatechnics scholars foreground the inseparability of the soma (body) and techné (technologies/techniques). My dissertation develops from the theoretical starting point that bodies are never pure, pre-cultural entities. Rather, bodies become meaningful through their relationship with technologies of daily practice. I add to somatechnics scholarship by concentrating on the nuances of makeover culture techniques afforded the most credibility. Current academic work on makeover culture tends to make generalized assumptions about its participants. By adopting a somatechnic approach, I move beyond well-worn arguments determining agency or coercion of makeover culture subjects. Instead, I concentrate on ambiguities between the natural/constructed or authentic/inauthentic dichotomies in makeover culture discourse. The result is a project that destabilizes moralistic judgements about elective cosmetic body modification and its participants, and refocuses attention to the production of acceptable bodies in popular texts and mediated personal narratives. This project makes an important contribution to ongoing feminist investigations of normalized body modification practices, and advances the study of makeover culture by relocating the site of analysis to the repetitive form(ul)ation of embodied subjectivity within its symbolic borders.

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.

Adolescent motherhood and food- and body-related anxieties: at the crossroads of maternal obligation and teenage uncertainty

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-04-10
Abstract: 

North American adolescent girls have tremendous anxieties about food and their bodies. But what form do these anxieties take when adolescence overlaps with motherhood? One-on-one semi-structured interviews with 10 teenaged mothers were conducted in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and voice-centred methodology was used to analyze interview transcripts. Stretch marks, weight gain, and change in breast shape from breastfeeding were cited as reasons for corporeal distress. Some participants desired a return to their ‘skinnier’ selves. While participants were able to express frustrations with their bodies, they had difficulty identifying the social context that gives rise to these concerns. Acquiescence, resistance, and contradiction are the three keys ways teen mothers engaged with dominant discursive constructions about eating and the body. To stem the tide of body and eating anxieties, schools with teen mom programming could add a body image component to the curriculum, employing a ‘Health at Every Size’ approach.

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

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.