Gender Questions - Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013
Source: Gender Questions 1, pp 1 –2 (2013)More Less
From being a marginalised field of study, gender has become part of the mainstream of academic interest and endeavour. Gender studies academics are delighted with this shift in the status of our discipline, and the establishment of Gender Questions - a new journal in the field of gender studies - is a visible sign of the prominence that gender has acquired. We are delighted to welcome you to this first issue, which showcases the theoretical sophistication and scholarly rigour that we will infuse into all subsequent volumes of the journal.
Author Tisha DejmaneeSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 3 –17 (2013)More Less
This article contextualises the body in cyberspace, using the specific examples of the performative body and the social networking site Facebook. Technology is established as a process which continually unfolds and illuminates new understandings of subjectivity, unfurling in parallel with the performative body - and gendered identities - that Judith Butler articulates. Here, the author conducts a close analysis of the technological affordances of Facebook as a site that fosters the construction of a phantasmic, performative subject that Butler describes. This argument relies on an understanding of technology and the body as having their meaning dynamically constituted through mutual interconnection - an understanding of interface that is taken from the theoretical work of Donna Haraway and Vicki Kirby. The purpose of seeking out the performative body in cyberspace is to explore the possibility of technologically-derived, subversive bodies. This is done by examining the emergence of pleasure in human engagement with technology. This pleasure suggests that subjects are enticed by the creative possibilities which technology offers, as it leads to regenerations that, under the right conditions, yield subversive bodies.
The construction of gender through discourse on the social network Badoo : exploring virtual interactionSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 18 –32 (2013)More Less
Nowadays many meetings and conversations take place through social networks. Badoo.com is one of the best known, with more than 102 million users in 2010. This article concentrates on communication through the chat in Badoo between 150 men and the author. The study analyses the main linguistic characteristics in the conversations (orthography, use of capital letters, emoticons and strategies of courtesy and discourtesy) in order to observe how gender is constructed in interaction. The analysis shows that the conversations have characteristics of oral discourse. Moreover, the author prepared five questions as a survey in order to observe what men expected from Badoo, what their values and hobbies were, if they would like to marry and the characteristics they value in women. The analysis of the survey results shows how the participants in the virtual interactions investigated here, negotiate their gender identities.
The make-up and performances of Turkish-German homosexuality : a reading of Kutluğ Ataman's Lola und Bilidikid (1999)Source: Gender Questions 1, pp 33 –44 (2013)More Less
In 1999, Lola und Bilidikid emerged as the creative product of Turkish-born director, Kutluğ Ataman, and provided a rare example and highly nuanced exploration of homosexuality in a Turkish-German context. This article explores the film's representation of a group of characters marginalised not only on the level of their cultural background, but also on the level of sexual identity. Through a close analysis of the film, various demonstrations of and responses to homosexuality as a sub-culture within a patriarchal, migrant (and therefore already marginalised) group will also be explored, including particularly the notions of drag and performance. These responses will be analysed from the perspective of the protagonists, who are themselves not only both gay and of Turkish origin, but also demonstrate almost fundamentally conflicting approaches to homosexuality. This is particularly evident in the varying degrees to which they either accept or reject their own homosexuality. The article will also explore the consequences of the acceptance and rejection of their respective homosexualities and the extent to which this informs the construction and/or perpetuation of a particular performance of masculinity.
Case study narrative accounts of gender and sexual orientation in young black women from an Eastern Cape township in South AfricaSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 45 –57 (2013)More Less
In South Africa, the experiences of gender non-conforming young women, as a population separate from adults, are understudied. This article explores what distresses young gender non-conforming females from a South African township. The challenges facing such women growing up in a township in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa are discussed and illuminated through case studies of participants' personal accounts. The sample was obtained through snowballing. One-on-one in-depth interviews were held and subjected to domain analysis. Domains discovered were: pressure to conform to a female gender identity to be like a lady; being misunderstood in their communities; and disapproval from peers, family and other members of society. The challenges young, black, gender non-conforming girls faced in growing up were based on familial, personal and social factors. Familial and social environments, such as the school, seemed to have a policing effect. Concerns about being isolated, ousted and alienated from society resulted in perceptions that their homes and schools were unsafe and insecure environments. Education and culturally competent support services are needed to educate families about the importance of offering protective support to adolescents, and for schools to create a comfortable environment for gender non-conforming female learners.
From kitchen to corridor of power : Yoruba women breaking through patriarchal politics in south-western NigeriaSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 58 –82 (2013)More Less
Since the 1990s, a number of socio-cultural agencies have played a significant role in the rise of Yoruba women in civil politics. Amongst these are the increasing value of monogamy and women's greater access to Western education; the culture of first ladies in government; and female socio-economic empowerment through paid labour. Despite their increasing participation, women are still marginalised in elective politics. Using the ethnographic methods of key informant interviews, observation and focus group discussions and a theoretical analysis of patriarchy, this article examines gender relations in Yoruba politics and in the nationalist movement in south-western Nigeria. The rise of Yoruba women in politics in south-western Nigeria is discussed, along with the factors influencing women's participation in civil politics. The study concludes that patriarchal politics still exists in the Yoruba political system. Factors inhibiting the total collapse of patriarchal politics in south-western Nigeria include the nature of Yoruba politics; women being pitted against women in politics; gender stereotypes and household labour. Thus, to make Yoruba politics friendlier to all, it would be desirable to create more political openings for women.
Author Jennifer L. EpleySource: Gender Questions 1, pp 83 –97 (2013)More Less
Through the lenses of structuration and gender performativity, this article investigates how select YouTube videos speak to the complexities of waria identities and the politics of heteronormativity. Waria are male-to-female transgendered individuals in Indonesia. Although the YouTube videos often try to 'humanise' and 'normalise' waria to non-waria viewers with the hope that such exposure can lead to greater tolerance and support, the videos present particular images and messages that, at times, reinforce a heterosexist gender binary framework, while on other occasions resisting that system or duality. Using an interpretative approach, the analysis treats the videos as data and texts. The general orientation of this type of content analysis is to uncover patterns of actions and meanings. This article pays special attention to the ways in which identity is socially constructed, and how the YouTube videos both support and challenge current dominant discourses about gender in Indonesia.
Homosexuality in Cameroonian prisons : perspectives of female inmates, prison staff and NGO representativesSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 98 –111 (2013)More Less
Homosexuality is highly resisted in Cameroon by all spectrums of the social strata and it is a criminal offence under Cameroonian criminal law. Yet there has been little research on homosexuality in Cameroon, let alone prison sexuality. Defence lawyers for lesbians, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex individuals (LGBTI) and their families receive anonymous telephone calls and text messages threatening them with death if they do not withdraw from defending homosexuals. The National Commission for Human Rights and Freedom (NCHRF) refuses to protect LGBTI victims from arbitrary arrest and police brutality, and their subsequent incarceration in prison. Workshops organised for sexual minorities are being disrupted even when the organisers obtain due authorisation. The article examines the continuation or spread of the practice of homosexuality despite its criminalisation, as well as the dynamics of the practice within a prison system. The research is qualitative, involving the narratives of 38 research participants distributed as follows: 18 female inmates, 18 prison staff members and two NGO representatives. The findings reveal that homosexuality exists in Cameroonian prisons and is more common in men's cells than in women's cells. Prison staff have attempted to limit its practise in the cells, yet it is ongoing and both prison staff and inmates punish the perpetrators of this offence. The decriminalisation of homosexuality as an offence has become imperative, because in this author's view sexual orientation is not biologically determined but rather the result of socialisation.
Sworn virgins, male and female berdaches : a comparative approach to the so-called 'third gender' peopleAuthor Armela XhahoSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 112 –125 (2013)More Less
The phenomenon of sworn virgins in Northern Albania applies to women who, by taking a vow of celibacy, dressed and behaved as men (Young 2001). Berdache males and females are aboriginal North-American Indians1 who assumed the dress, occupation and roles of the opposite sex by changing in this way their gender status (Blackwood 1984; Schnarch 1992). This article is based on a comparative approach which looked at different cultural variations of sworn virgins, male and female berdaches. The reason for examining such practices is to show how gender and sexuality can be seen as culturally defined phenomena, embedded in society and not necessarily in biological sex. Therefore, it is important to look and think beyond labeling individuals based on Western gendered and sexual prescriptions, as is evident in the terminology. These categories do not fulfil the notion of gender normatively; they can be seen as cross-cultural gender variations that need to be analysed in greater detail.
Jacketed women: Qualitative research methodologies on sexualities and gender in Africa, Jane Bennett and Charmaine Pereira (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Deirdre ByrneSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 126 –127 (2013)More Less
Do gender researchers approach their subjects differently from the way other researchers approach theirs? Should they conduct their research according to particular ethics and methodologies? These questions have been discussed for decades by scholars such as Sandra Harding, Liz Stanley, Linda Alcoff, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Gayatri Spivak. The general consensus, which is appropriate for the postmodern academic landscape where decentralisation and micro-knowledge are the order of the day, is that gender research should, itself, be gendered. One of the most important working principles of research into gender is that it should not 'speak for' the research subjects. A more appropriate position for enunciation is, in Trinh T. Minh-ha's words, speaking 'next to' or 'adjacently to' those who are being researched. This involves the researcher placing him/herself on an equal plane of enunciation with the subjects of research and enabling those subjects to be heard equally or perhaps heard even more loudly than the voice of the researcher.
Source: Gender Questions 1, pp 128 –130 (2013)More Less
How do homosexual men, particularly those in small-town South Africa, negotiate a (gay) identity which is caught, as it were, between two almost opposing poles of influence? On the one hand a constitution which has been hailed as one of the most progressive and exemplary in the world in terms of its recognition of, respect for and protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) rights, and on the other hand a country in which tradition, and traditional values and culture, exert an influence of almost gravitational force in terms of its dismissal of homosexuality as a product of Western import and therefore fundamentally un-African.
South Africa and the dream of love to come: Queer sexuality and the struggle for freedom, Brenna M. Munro : book reviewAuthor Gibson NcubeSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 131 –133 (2013)More Less
An axiomatic 'rainbow nation', in 1996, post-apartheid South Africa was the first country in the world to recognise gays and lesbians as full citizens in its constitution. Brenna M. Munro's book, South Africa and the dream of love to come: Queer sexuality and the struggle for freedom, informed by queer cultural studies and historiography, sets out to systematically chronicle the changing (and often contradictory) status of queer sexuality and citizenry in South Africa, as presented in diverse literary and artistic media. This book places particular emphasis on the often disregarded role played by queer citizenry in the construction of new imaginings of the 'rainbow nation'.
Author Beschara KaramSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 134 –135 (2013)More Less
Julia T. Wood's 10th edition of Gendered lives does not really need an introduction. That it is a tenth edition is itself a testament to the significance of this text. For both academics and students alike, it is considered to be a foundational work - most especially for undergraduates. This review is therefore simply a reiteration as to why this book is, and should remain, an essential source for those teaching and studying gender issues, whether in the fields of cultural studies, media or visual studies, developmental or sociology studies.
Author Jeanne EllisSource: Gender Questions 1, pp 136 –137 (2013)More Less
Gayle S. Rubin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, made her first impact on feminist and gender theory in 1975 with the publication of her groundbreaking essay 'The traffic in women: Notes on the "political economy" of sex', in which she introduced the term 'sex/gender system' as a corrective to what she saw as the conceptual limitations of the word 'patriarchy' for theorising gender and sexuality. When 'Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality' (a 'protoqueer' text that became foundational to queer studies) was published in 1984, she had already established her reputation as a fearless and often controversial pioneering theorist of the politics of sexuality and an activist on behalf of sexual minorities, which brought her into open conflict with some sister feminists - notably those spearheading the anti-pornography lobby.