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2023 Abstracts Stage 3

SCREW MEN? A CRITICAL STUDY INTO THE OVERTURNING OF ROE V. WADE AND THE RESULTING EFFECT IT HAS HAD ON AMERICAN FEMINIST ACTION

On the 22nd of January, 1973, the United States Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling in the form of Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade has correctly been characterised as a fundamental decision, particularly in regards to the ‘right to privacy’ and, on a larger scale, women’s rights as a whole. Brought to the Supreme Court by Norma McCorvery (‘Jane Roe’) and her lawyers in protest against Texas’ abortion laws, Roe v. Wade argued that the current Texan abortion laws were unconstitutional; Texan law, at that time, stated that all abortion was illegal with an exception for actions deemed necessary to save a potential mother’s life. Described by legal journalists such as Linda Greenhouse as a form of judicial activism, the 1973 ruling resulted in not only a new configuration for abortion in the States’ legal field but within its social and political spheres, too. Post Roe v. Wade, these laws alongside many others throughout the country were struck down and replaced with newer and more progressive federal rulings; the ruling given in the 2022 court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation was a complete systematic undoing of this earlier progression towards women’s rights. The decision overturned Roe v. Wade and began a political and cultural deconstruction of respect for women and their autonomy within the United States, upon which many women have begun opting out of heterosexual relationships as a form of self-preservation. This project will seek to examine the effects of overturning such a monumental legal decision, particularly in its applications within the modern feminist movement and the more radical forms of feminism that preceded it. Have the reactions of women in the face of this supposed ‘backwards’ ruling been justified? Is the decision to withdraw compliance and activity within heterosexual relationships personal, political, or a form of more active protest? Drawing on a range of feminist viewpoints and historically relevant events, this project will use the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade as a basis for its examination of female reaction and, more ultimately, its examination of women’s duty to heterosexuality.

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2023 Abstracts Stage 2

Exploring the Role of Masculinity in the 21st Century: Has the term ‘masculinity’ evolved too far and does the popularity of books such as Fight Club prove a yearning for the reinstatement of traditional masculine values?

It’s difficult to highlight an exact point in history at which the role of masculinity changed. In the 19th Century masculinity, along with being male as a gender, also connoted physical attributes such as strength, confidence, and the ability to provide for one’s own family. This was accompanied by the idea that, on an emotional level, they must appear emotionless and strong in times of fear and jeopardy.
During the early 19th Century, Great Britain participated in two world wars, in which it was expected that healthy male adults should join the army and protect their country against the threat of Nazi Germany. This, perfectly, epitomises the role of males in the period, as it exemplified the role of masculinity and protectors, as women and children were expected to stay at home and help the war effort in different ways, such as the manufacturing of weapons and artillery.
Whilst the refashioning of what the term ‘masculinity’ denoted was gradual, there were key historical points which helped redefine the term. Hence, following the war, however, in the 1960s and ’70s traditional gender roles were challenged following the influence of the feminist movement.
This thesis will look at the history of masculinity in Great Britain since the 19th Century; explore how it has changed following the rise of feminism; and how the role of books such as Fight Club (1997) and American Psycho (1991) have appealed to the modern man desiring for ‘old-fashioned’ masculine values to be reinstated in society.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

A Discussion of the Representation of Women in Horror

This project seeks to explore the film genre of horror, and within that, its representation of women. With a territory surroudning the representation of women in horror, the objects of this project consist of a selection of horror films, most notably slashers from the 1970’s and 80’s. These include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre I & II, Halloween, Aliens, and the non-slasher Videodrome. The overall aim of the projects was to discover how a genre so fixated on producing an atmosphere of fear from the physical mutilation and sexual assault of women could be anything but negative representation. However, through the researching and writing of the project, it was discovered that, through the exploitation of cultural taboos, the horror provides space for concepts of female agency, inverted male-female dynamic, and critiques of existing gendered issues of domestic violence and the sexual exploitation industry, to be explored in ways which other film genres do not allow. Moreover, horror has always existed as a medium for representation, specifically for women, compared to more commercially and critically successful films have not.
Through utilizing Freudian psychoanalysis, and screen theory, this project dives into the aforementioned films, as to derive how female characters within the films are represented, through their costuming, framing, and overall qualities. In addition, Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex allows an application of feminist philosophy to the project, providing depth to the politically/culturally systemic nature to the representation of women in the broader sense. Furthermore, her reference to the Hegelian Slave-Master dialectic assisted in the analysis of the discussed films.
Other texts used within the project include Laura Mulvey’s ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, Coral J. Clover’s Men, Women and Chainsaws, and Erin Harrington’s ‘Gyneohorror: Women, Monstrosity & Horror Film’.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

SURROGACY – THE PROBLEM OF WOMEN’S SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

The unresolved issues of the prison system

The aim of this project is to explore the unresolved issues within the prison system that do not necessarily get thought about every day. My project will discuss those issues such as race, women’s sexual assault, gangs and inhumanity within supermax institutions.

The key philosophers will include Michele Foucault, Angela Y.Davis and Lisa Guenther.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Celebrity Power in a movie saturated culture with respect to objectification of women in society

This project focuses on Celebrity power with respect to the sexual objectification of women in the fraternity of Bollywood. Using the likes of John Rawls, Rae Langton, Martha Nussbaum and Catherine Mackinnon, the project goes into an in depth analysis of the kinds of objectification women are subjected to both within movies as well as in the culture that surrounds the social institution of the Hindi film industry. The project finds many problematic instances of the portrayal of women as tools and commodities, victim to oppression with the power majorly in the hands of Men when it comes to male vs female gender dynamics in society. Langton and Nussbaum demonstrate various forms of objectification and assert that the problem is severely ingrained in culture. MacKinnon shows that the issue is with regards to Power where the state perceives women through the viewpoint of Men and discusses the idea of the projection of ones own desires onto women. Lastly, the project uses Rawls theory of Justice, more specifically, his theory of fair and equal opportunity and applies it to the concept of celebrity power and gender dynamics in Bollywood. The findings show that Bollywood has for centuries been a breeding ground for sexism and misogyny, which its movies have normalised greatly over the decades and contributes majorly (though not solely) to South Asian culture being highly plagued with the degradation and oppression of women.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

DEATH TO THE PATRIARCHY: SHOULD FEMINISM ADOPT ANTI-NATALIST THEORY?

Anti-natalism is a world-ending set of beliefs. It calls for the extinction of humankind and suggests we no longer procreate via appeals to morality and ethics. The absolutist subject matter evokes a guttaral counterreaction from society so strong that the theory is shunned – why, then, are feminists not more in favour of it?

Feminism is a philosophical theory developed to critique and be active in its opposition to the marginalisation of women. Focusing on oppresions committed by the patriarchy, a social system wherein men are oppressors and women the oppressed, it is innately counter-cultural: today’s ‘mainstream’ is synonymous with ‘whims of the patriarchy’. As the patriarchy is a self-sustaining institution created by birth and life, and most feminists recognise that its indoctrination is inescapable, it draws into question why more feminist theorists do not advocate for anti-natalism. Bringing into existence new vehicles for male supremacy to brainwash should be the first thing feminists oppose – it is not enough just to make female existence bearable and content with oppression.

An investigation into feminist anti-natalism requires a close look into both feminist theory and the traditional bioethics of anti-natalism. Case studies and statistical analysis have been applied to the object of anti-natalism in order to create a holistic, fair exploration of the concepts used to review it.

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2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Are women a priority in medical care? A theoretical analysis of endometriosis and the menopause

My project is based on the question ‘Are women a priority in medical care? A theoretical analysis of endometriosis and the menopause.’ This question therefore looks at women’s general treatment as well as the specified problems their sex goes through and how the medical system impacts their life as it perpetuates the patriarchal norms in society. The dominant philosophy integrated through this work is the philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir and her concept of the woman as the other as she highlights women as a second to men and thereby put as a lesser priority which is a common theme when discussing how the medical system treats women. The first section discusses Beauvoir and the relation to women’s medical care as well as thinkers such as bell hooks, Judith Butler who analyse the problem of intersectionality for women who have other struggles than just being a woman such as women of colour and transgender women who both face problems white cisgendered women face. In the second section ‘women as the body’ I discuss how women’s body is significant due to their reproductive ability. Here discusses how those who suffer with endometriosis are only cared for in the case of fertility rather than for pain. In the section of the ‘aging woman’ Beauvoir’s concept of the third sex is discussed as it explains women’s break away from her reproductive system and into a sex that is no longer considered ‘woman’.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Drag as a Social Deconstruction: the argument between Natural Kinds and Societal Kinds

For the past centuries, gender has increasingly become an important point of discussion. With changes to the law to allow women to vote, to changes in government documentation with the allowance of labelling of non-binary individuals, to the popularisation of those who do not follow typical gender identitys in media. There is even more important changes occuring within this generations lifetime that allow gender to become understood and a topic people are no longer afraid to investigate
Territory:
There are many theories behind gender and possible explanations for why people identify certain ways. From the first argument which began thousands of years ago in Ancient Greece by Aristotle, which was natural kinds, whereby all females or males share the same ‘essence’ which later became the biological determinist theory which explained that there are biological reactions that cause individuals to either identify as male or female.
This is compared to societal kinds which means that gender identity is formed and continued through society. Our relationship with friends, family and the outside world determines how we identify. This is the position taken by most post-modern philosophers such as Judith Butler, Erving Goffman, and Nancy Chodorow. Each have a different explanation of how gender is formed and each place emphasis on different aspects of the individual’s social life.
Drag is a tool for individuals to help them experiment with their gender and an aid for helping improve self-esteem. This was studied by Jessica Strübel-Scheiner who helps to show the impact of drag in individuals from the lgbtq+ community.
Objectives:
To gain a deeper understanding of how gender is viewed in modern day society, compared to that of historical explanations.
To understand how drag can not only be used as a tool to help people understand their gender but as a way of combatting the stigma behind gender as well as creating a new environment for gender to progress.
Bibliography
Aristotle. (1999). Politics. (B. Jowett, Trans.) Ontario: Batoche Books.
Bach, T. (2012). Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence. Ethics, 2.
Barnes, J. (2001). Early Greek Philosophy. London: Penguin Group.
Butler, J. (2007). Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge Classics.
Butler, J. (2011). Bodies that Matter. Oxford: Routledge Classics.
Entwistle, J. (2007). Addressing the Body. London: Routledge.
Ereshefsky, M., & Reydon, T. A. (2015). Scientific Kinds. Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, 969-986.
Mambrol, N. (2016, December 8). Nancy Chodorow and Feminist Psychoanalysis. Retrieved from Literary Theory and Criticism: https://literariness.org/2016/12/08/nancy-chodorow-and-feminist-psychoanalysis/
Manders, B., & Windsor-Shellard, B. (2020, September 1). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved from Suicides in England and Wales: 2019 Registrations: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2019registrations#suicides-in-2019-by-english-region-and-wales
Millett, K. (1971). Sexual Politics. London: Granada Publishing Ltd.
Moi, T. (2001). What is a Woman? And Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Plato. (1952). Phaedrus. (R. Hackforth, Trans.) Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
Strübel-Scheiner, J. (2011). Gender Performativity and Self-Perception: Drag as Masquerade. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 12-19.

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2021 Abstracts Stage 3

In what way has Gender- regarding concepts of masculinity and femininity- changed in the past century and what does this mean for the future?

For this project I chose to explore that way that societies attitudes towards gender have shifted in the past 100 years. Through analysis of the work of Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir, I created an argument based upon the notion that we are defined above all else by our gender.
In order to bring my argument into the modern day, I looked into the Vogue December 2020 cover and article featuring Harry Styles and the subsequent backlash that it received.
Furthermore, I explored the territory of masculinity and femininity, referencing things such as the Mars and Venus symbols for gender and their meanings.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that gender whilst prevalent in modern society, has taken us as far as it can.

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2019 Abstracts Stage 2

Transphobia and Feminist Existentialism An Exploration of Feminist Transphobic rhetoric’s use of Existentialist language and ideas, using Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble’

‘Transphobia and Feminist Existentialism’ is an Exploration of Feminist Transphobic rhetoric’s use of Existentialist language and ideas, using Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble.’
In Gender Trouble, Butler theorised that Gender is constructed, rather than natural and therefore performed. Biological sex is also analysed to be a construct, emerging from ideas of gender. Feminist Transphobic rhetoric, or ‘Gender Critical’ or ‘TERF’ ideology puts forward that gender is oppressive to the female sex, and should be abandoned, leaving only biological sex. Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble’ is used to demonstrate why this is impossible.

The examination of these ideas will unfold in the following way: first examing the emergence of these Feminist Transphobic ideas, then an analysis of the Feminist Transphobic rhetoric. Next will follow an explanation of Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble’. This basic examination will allow an exploration of Butler’s perfomativity theory, applied to a critique of ‘Gender Critical’ ideas, including updating ‘Gender Trouble’ with current understandings of Gender variance, and providing an analysis and criticism of Feminist Transphobia with this updated understanding of ‘Gender Trouble.’ This updated understanding of ‘Gender Trouble’ will reveal how gender in the modern era can progress and expand in a way that allows emancipation from harmful stereotypes surrounding gender.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

What can Immanuel Kant and Voltaire reveal about women’s place in society after the revelations of Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar?

“I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue” Oprah Winfrey, Golden Globes Speech 2018).

This project aims to explore the territory of women’s position in society, after the scandalous revelations of Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar. The study of the sexual abuse allegations made against Weinstein and Nassar employs a comparative analysis of arguably the two highest profile cases of the 21 st century.

Initially, this project will delve into the inner workings of Immanuel Kant, and his maxim of ‘a means to an end’, in order to derive a sense of how women are still being treated. Following this, it will look into the deeply embedded issues in which our society is at fault for.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

When NO means NO

Rape Culture: “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalising or trivialising sexual assault and abuse.”
Consent: “someone agrees, gives permission, or says “yes” to sexual activity with other persons. Consent is always freely given and all people in a sexual situation must feel that they are able to say “yes” or “no” or stop the sexual activity at any point.”

Preliminary Questionnaire
 25 male students and 25 female students were asked to take part in a questionnaire about rape culture and what constitutes consent
 example: students were asked whether they thought women were sexually objectified – of the 25 females asked, they all said yes, and, in contrast, all 25 males said no
 questions also asked about the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in conjunction with sexual acts – whether an individual can consent to sex or not when under the influence

Case Studies
 3 cases used: Brock Turner, Judy Garland & Melanie Martinez
 all case studies had things in common but applied to the 3 thematic links of power, gender, freedom and agency

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Tolerance over time: ‘If we knew nothing about where we’d end up what sort of society would it feel safe to enter?’

‘If we knew nothing about where we’d end up what sort of society would it feel safe to enter?’

Aims:
How does secularisation affect the religion?
Why Britain become more secular?
How does the rise of terror by Islamic extremists affect the Islamic community?
What is the purpose of the EDL and why is it so against the Muslim community?
How has the role of the woman changed throughout modernity?
Why do measures still exist that prevent women from achieving equality?

Methods:
I intend to explore Rawls’ view of tolerance by using various approaches; these include: a Historical Approach and an Axiological Approach. The Historical Approach has been chosen as a means of depicting to the reader the changes and transformations in both the role of the woman in society, as well as the role religion plays in a seemingly secular society. As a result, I will trace the historical, social and political changes affecting both issues at hand. Furthermore, an Axiological Approach will be used to assess whether there are challenges that both religion and women have faced is just throughout contemporary society.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 3

The Case for Drag: Exploring drag performance and culture through the work of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Given the rapid rise of drag performance in pop culture, it is now one of the most popular and varied forms of entertainment. But isn’t seeing drag performance and culture as nothing more than a source of amusement, to obfuscate swathes of its political, emotional and metaphysical potential? How might we do drag justice? How might we unlock this potential? The answer lies in the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, an engagement with whom, will help us see the potential drag offers.Early Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy helps us understand drag’s potential in revealing a harsh reality, and in making it possible to bear by transfiguring suffering into beauty. Middle-period Nietzsche: Nietzsche sews the seeds for the ideas which develop in his mature work. Mature Nietzsche: Nietzsche’s critique of the Kantian subject helps us understand how drag pulls us towards a less anxious, less restricted and more emancipated subjectivity. Thus Nietzsche helps us appreciate drag as more than a piece of entertainment, as offering us a more tolerable and healthier way of being in the world.

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2017 Abstracts Stage 2

The Shift Of Equality and Power for Men and Women, within the United Kingdom overtime.

Object:
The difference in equality and power between men and women.

Territory:
Early 20th century to modern day.

Concepts:
Thomas Hobbes- Leviathan
Jeremy Bentham- Utilitarianism
Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex

The object of this project is to produce an accurate analysis and an understanding of the shift of equality and power for men and women in the UK, showing how the status of a woman and a man has changed overtime from the early 1900s to modern day. It will focus on Thomas Hobbes’ theory on power being the deepest drive, thus this will explore why men are deemed to have the most power in society. Jeremey Bentham’s theory on Utilitarianism gives the statement ‘The greatest good of the greatest number’ therefore this will focus on those who are in the majority do actions that are in their favour. Also a look at Simone De Beauvoir’s analysis on the ‘Second Sex’ will suggest how civilisation has constructed the woman. Consequently this project will offer possible reasons as to why the status between men and women have been so different overtime.

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2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Has the Sexual Objectification of Women Led to Them Being Regarded as Silent Objects and Consequently Aided the Creation of a ‘Rape Culture’?

Project aims:
To explore different areas of the media (such as advertising, TV and films) to assess the level of sexual objectification that people will view on a daily basis.

Explore the inequalities that women still face in modern society and assess whether the situation is improving or growing worse.

Assess rape statistics – especially in respect to how many rapes occur and how many are reported – to see if sexual objectification could have removed the female voice to the point of silencing them completely.

Finally discuss if the situation can be resolved and potentially how this could be done.

Philosophers:

Catherine MacKinnon,
“Pornography makes women into objects … Objects do not speak.”

Jean Baudrillard,
“In the ‘eroticized’ body, it is the social function of exchange which predominates.”

Simone de Beauvoir,
“The division of the sexes is a biological fact, not an event in human history.”

Immanuel Kant,
“The human being… exists as an end in itself, not merely as a means to be used by this or that will”

Thomas Hobbes,
“The Desires, and other Passions of man, are in themselves no Sin.”

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2012 Abstracts Stage 3

Can the Exclusion of Women from Becoming Priests in the Roman Catholic Church be Justified?

Key points to consider:
– What are the reasons why the Roman Catholic Church prevents women from joining the priesthood? 
– Why do other Christian Churches allow and encourage women to enter their priesthood? 
– Can the exclusion of women be considered in any way just? 
– Is it fair that the Roman Catholic Church do not treat the role of men and women as equal? 
– Is this justifiable according to John Rawls and his theory of justice?

Why don’t the Roman Catholic Church ordain female Priests?
Reasons include: 
– Church Traditions. 
– Religious Beliefs and Teachings. 
– The role and duty of women is different, but equal to men. 
– The main reason for this is due to their belief that Jesus was a male and those who become priests are carry out the work of Jesus. 
– Also the 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were all male and therefore priests should all be male. 
– This is a deep rooted teaching within the Roman Catholic Church which has yet to be changed or even considered for alteration.

Why do the Church of England allow women to become Priests?
 Equality in the Church.
 Fairness in the religious teachings.
 Trust in the individual’s faith rather than the gender.
 A belief that the Bible contains the core of all Christian faith and thought.
 They belief that the gender of the individual does not matter as long as they have the faith it takes to become a member of their priesthood.
 A firm commitment to the ministry of all of God’s people both lay and ordained together.

John Rawls.
– Leading figure in moral and political philosophy. 
– Published his Theory of Justice in 1971. 
– Rawls aimed to outline what is justice. 
– From his theory we can understand which actions are justifiable and which are not.

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2009 Abstracts Stage 2

The Silent Woman. A Philosophical Study into the Relative Equality Between Men and Women from the 18th Century to the Present Day

The traditional application of philosophy is intrinsically tied to a set of values, methods and self definitions which excluded women. Because philosophical works attributed to women have been devalued and therefore not included in recognized works, the traditional history of philosophy is a history of men’s ideas. Womanless history, however, is a distortion of the past which serves to justify the status quo, women philosophers are challenging mainstream philosophy to cease evaluating itself according to the standards set by men.

The aim of my investigation is to determine whether Feminism would ever have been necessary if the philosophical works of women were given any credit. I intend to look into the social theories of Rousseau, Locke and Hume. These thinkers preached the idea of equality, yet is there any correlation in the fact when writing of the collective they term it ‘man’? I intend to study the role of women and how if any Feminism has altered this view.

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2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Women in Society: Identity, Self-image and Social Determination

Territory: Women and their representation within society over the last 100 years. Object: Within Territory looking at women in relation to Identity, Self-Image and Social Determination. Philosophical Concepts: Sartre – Existence preceding essence. Debord – Society of the Spectacle, Donna Haraway – Cyborg and a sexless society. Over the last 100 years, the representation of women within society has completely turned around. With advancements in liberation and law, women now enjoy an equal status in UK society. I was initially inspired by fashion, and how women have used fashion as a vehicle of expression. However I realised the way women dressed and expressed themselves, merely mirrored the social and cultural changes of the time. I looked at each decade over the last 100 years in the UK, studying the major changes of each decade which have impacted women’s liberation. How women’s identity has changed from a second class citizen, to the role of a strong maternal figure, to enjoying equal status. Key historical moments like WWI/WWII and women getting the vote have helped. Women’s self-image has changed, as women enjoy relaxed rules about dress, sex, marriage and children. This has allowed women to liberate the way they are seen and how they feel about themselves. Fashion movements like the mini skirt along with movie stars like Marilyn Monroe encouraged women to view and express themselves differently. Women’s social determination has moved to a point where first and second wave feminism are contradicting each other and influences from the media mean women are confused about their true role and representation within society. From Thatcher to Madonna, how are women now supposed to fit into society?