Week 3 Summary

Following from last week a selection of research areas and questions were presented. They were as follows:

  1. How do representations of masculinity in Disney films display heteronormative, patriarchal ideals? Does this influence formation of identity, and views of gender politics throughout childhood?
  2. With the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 what is the relationship between male rights and privilege? Could these events be a reaction to the loss of either/both?
  3. In the Channel 4 show Genderquake, what role does the media play in polarising discussions around gender politics? How does this influence perceptions of gender and identity in the wider public? (Focus on the conflict between second and third wave feminism)

With these prompts we went on to discuss the links and viability of each of these areas as possible sites for research:

The exploration of feminist theory critiquing the bodied-ness of masculinity, which it works against and moves away from. This is a potential source for the conflict between second and third wave feminism.

The formation of identity and self in childhood through the influence of Disney media. The potentiality for a unified theory to unite our disciplines, such as a “prince charming” theory being one of hetero-normative patriarchal gender performance. How Disney is performed in the playground?

A connection was made last week’s discussion with the possibility of talking to journalists writing about trans and non-binary gender identity politics. This would explore trans identity in childhood and the narratives surrounding this. It was suggested this could be a way of connecting with Mermaids UK for research and interviews.

Around each of these we noticed common influences could be compartmentalised into media, school, and family.

We worked on these areas seeking links between them and declared where each of our interests lay. Then we moved to focus these into a working research question/area;

CONFLICT BETWEEN NORMATIVE AND NON-NORMATIVE IDENTITIES THROUGH CHILDHOOD

With the sub genres as mens rights & toxic masculinityDisney & childhood, and trans rights. With these in place we each took a sub genre to read around and bring a brief bibliography with us to the next session.

It was flagged that some caution should be held in mind in this research with a possible problem of falling into a hole of prescribing identity to childhood where the self is very much in formation. With a danger of pathologizing the slightest non-gender conforming behaviours. An interesting moment at the end of our session was a brief discussion around the political utility of populations to have normative identity.

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