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Gender, Sexuality and Feminism

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1 Gender, Sexuality and Feminism
Tyrone Connell and Mikaela Brusasco

2 Gender in debating What is gender? Is gender a good or a bad thing?
Is it opted into by individuals or imposed by society? Should society attempt to regulate expressions of gender? Banning things (e.g. sexist films) Regulating things (e.g. equal gender ratio of tv content) How effective is society at doing this? E.g. TWS ban all advertising of products on the basis of gender, except where there is a specific and proven need to do so

3 Sexuality in debating Is sexuality individually or socially constructed? Should society regulate people’s sexuality? Banning and regulating Subsidising things (e.g. paying for prostitution services for the severely handicapped) How effective is society at doing this? E.g. TWS ban all pornography Since sexuality is an important domain for the expression of gender, debates about sexuality often engage questions of gender

4 Feminism(s?) There is debate about what constitutes feminism:
Radical feminism Liberal feminism Libertarian feminism Women of Colour feminism/womanism Marxist feminism Some argue that each of these is a valid expression of feminism of equal value. Others disagree. Can a social movement function with disparate/conflicting elements? E.g. That feminists should reject Slutwalk Appropriation/parody or conformity?

5 Where did feminism come from?
Western feminism: 1st wave (turn of the 20th century) – women’s civil and political rights; the suffragette movement 2nd wave (1960s-1980s) – social and sexual inequalities; reproductive rights; workplace rights Divisions: the ‘Sex Wars’ 3rd wave (1990s-present) – reclamation, individualism, WoC, corporate board representation, legal inequalities, intersectionality Many liberal feminists have rejected elements of the 2nd wave which opposed liberal sexual expression Feminism in non-western countries, womanism, minority feminism E.g. Aboriginal feminism in Australia

6 Has feminism succeeded?
1) Feminism is largely failing Radical feminists: since the Second Wave, liberal feminism has seen the reemergence of some harmful gendered practices Pay parity has hardly shifted in recent decades, lack of corporate board representation ‘on the wrong track’ 2) Feminism is on a positive trajectory While there is still much to do, there are many marks of progress: Paid parental leave schemes, ERA in the US, increasing representation in the workplace/politics 3) Feminism is over/complete (‘post-feminism’) Quite difficult to argue in debating/objectively wrong

7 Movements based around sexuality/gender diversity
LGBTIQ… Lesbian rights – dealing with erasure of lesbian experiences from the social discourse, within the ‘gay’ discourse Gay rights – ‘marriage equality’, historical repeal of sodomy laws, political representation, reform of religious doctrine Bisexual rights – again, issues of erasure; conflation with stages of homosexuality, etc. Transgender – access to state-funded surgery/debates within transsexual community about the gender binary, recognition of ‘third gender’ or ‘non-gender conforming’ identities Do these groups all belong in the same movement? What are their similarities? What are their differences?

8 Debates about sexuality
E.g. That we should criminalise the demand but not the supply of prostitution E.g. That the BDSM movement is bad for feminism What’s good about the BDSM movement? What’s bad about the BDSM movement? How do these things relate to feminism?

9 Consent A common justification for gender/sexuality practices that might (because of social norms, for example) seem harmful Consent theory generally requires the proof of: 1) access to information 2) rationality E.g. That we should regret the rise of the ‘hook up’ culture Who’s consenting? Questions of intersectional disadvantage Power imbalances Intersects feminist debate – libertarian vs. radical feminism

10 Gender in ‘non-gender’ debates
TWS regret the federal government’s intervention in the Northern Territory TWS not give development aid to countries without population control

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