Basic Outline of Philosophical Contribution

In today’s meeting, we have been doing individual research and putting our ideas together when necessary.

We have initially discussed the order of our presentation, where I will start by discussing the philosophical issues raised from the identity of the transgender. Such issues will involve the dilemma of the justification of the belief in one’s gender after being transitioned. I might also discuss the strength of one’s desire for becoming transitioned overcomes one’s religious belief.

I will use the case study of the Chinese transsexual dancer and host Jin Xing, who has successfully completed her identity transformation to a woman and meanwhile being recognized as a woman by the public, to argue against the dilemma of the transsexual.

Next, Victoria will stretch the argument towards the vagueness of the transgender and issues in the imperialism of the German colony.

Emmanuelle and Augustin will continue to discuss the topic from the film/media perspective.

Still, we think it would be a good idea to make the philosophical approach as a ‘thread’ throughout the presentation: to react with the philosophical puzzle I presented based on their case studies.

Week 5 meeting summary and reflections

We started with a quick catch up for last week as Emmanuelle and I were absent last week. Victoria suggested that instead of using PowerPoint, we could present our project by making a plan of different individual objects and link them together to illustrate our research meanwhile echoing with our theme of fragmentation. We all think it would be great to do so and I thought it would be even better if we use PowerPoint to demonstrate each individual object when necessary. I have shared my philosophical research last week on a paper ‘The transsexual dilemma: being a transsexual’ written by Nicholas Mason who is a transsexual. It is interesting that the opponent power driven by religion is mentioned in the paper. What’s more, it is worth to think about that as a Christian, Mason’s desire to change his identity overcomes his faith to Jesus, to ‘go against the God-given’. Such a point reminds Victoria of the German colonial issue and also India as a decolonizing state: As written on a CNN article, ‘in 2014, the Supreme Court of India established rights of equality and equal protection for transgender people nationwide’, which eradicates the old British policies.

When moving back to films, we thought it would be a good start point for our presentation to compare the transsexual norms in Hollywood movies/American pop culture with the norms shown in other cultures such as the German and the Chinese and then extend to further discussions in other disciplines.

We spent the last minutes in establishing the research question and have a rough one:

How are the Hollywood norms challenged through the transgender, colonial, spacial and comparative context from the identity aspect?

We tried to put the keywords together such as gender, transgender, power, desire and imperialism. Speaking of power, we all thought of Foucault who has studied power as an individual object. We decided to unfold our presentation by introducing the definition of power given by Foucault which will work as a good bridge leading to all the subtopics.

References:

Mason, Nicolas. ‘The transsexual dilemma: being a transsexual’. Journal of medical ethics 6. 1980. 854-9.

Gupta. Swati. ‘Indian state takes a step forward for transgender rights’. CNN. [Accessed July 16 2018] <https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/16/health/india-kerala-transgender-laws-bill-intl/index.html>.

Reflections for the first and the second meeting

From the initial meeting, we have established an approximate direction towards our presentation topic which is related to queer theory and issues related to LGBT. As we are a group with four different majors, we started with finding a middle point of our own interests. While I was presenting the metaphysical puzzles about the identity, that objects might be composed by temporal parts (i.e. me as a baby and me as an adult), the theme of identity seems to attract the others attention. It was then that Victoria suggested to look at the queer theory and extended to the LGBT contemporary debates which have sustainable relations to the theme of identity.

As a philosophy-majored student, I am inspired to explore under the theme of the believability of one’s sexual intention. I was very struggled with this suggestion at first since the philosophical issues are always complicated to explain within a limitation of words. Since we are doing a presentation-based project, I was worried about the object not having enough time to be clearly presented. However, after some discussion, I thought perhaps this subtheme would be a good ‘bridge’ to link the whole project.

We were suggested by the supervisor to have a look in some feminist campaign and social media for which I am assigned the former one—Woman’s place UK. I found that the text on the website all results to be the propaganda of the campaign and aims to appeal to more people to join them. Interestingly, such a feature seems like a pyramid selling to me. Also, one article records the failure of the communication to several female MPs for some female-victimized event. An interesting contrary is shown here that the female MP is seen as the opponent to them whilst Woman’s place UK appeals for the eradication of the inequality of gender. Here, the incommutability of the female MPs is seen as the hierarchic role which is against them as a female group which echoes to the phenomenon that normally the role played by the female MP is played by the male-power.

In our second seminar which was carried out very well, after we expanded our research, we were attracted to the theme of LGBT expressed in the performance art. Whilst Victoria and Emmanuelle gave out some related films to explore such as boy don’t cry, I thought of one of the Chinese transsexual dancer Jin Xing, who is the only mainstream transsexual public figure. Contrary to Caitlyn Jenner, who holds a rather conservative attitude towards equality in sex and whose sexual orientation is female, Jin Xing adopted three children in 2000 and has been married to her German husband in 2005. Jin Xing did her transsexual surgery in 1995 which was a very early era, especially when she was born in a traditional family in northern China. I presented an interview video during the meeting for the others to have an initial image of her https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiv9p8qdPMk

Although Jin always pursues the femininity, she also persists the importance of independence for the woman. The fact that she is being more accepted, especially by the young generation, makes her positive for the Chinese future. Her talk shows and all the tv programme she stars all publicizes the ‘non-conservative’ thoughts, i.e. marriage shouldn’t be trapped by the original family, the woman should accept her minor social position in China nowadays as mere truth but should also fight for her own rights for a better society.

On the other hand, we have discussed to switch the way of presenting the philosophical issue in our project: after researching, I can help everyone to prepare a small philosophical talk into their presentation, which would make the presentation more interesting and more cohering. I will be looking at more of the philosophical issue presented in LGBT and share my thoughts with the others in our next meeting.