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WMNST400, Week 2 Notes

by: Bria Williams

WMNST400, Week 2 Notes WMNST400

Marketplace > Pennsylvania State University > WMNST400 > WMNST400 Week 2 Notes
Bria Williams
Penn State
GPA 3.2

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These notes focused on discussions surround female genital cutting in non-western countries and female genital cosmetic surgery in the United States. We discussed the impact of these procedures, th...
Debates in Contemporary Feminism
Dr. Ariane Cruz
Class Notes
Feminism, female genital cutting, female genital cosmetic surgery, non-western culture, united states
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bria Williams on Thursday January 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to WMNST400 at Pennsylvania State University taught by Dr. Ariane Cruz in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views.

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Date Created: 01/14/16
WMNST400: Debates in Contemporary Feminisms Week 2: Feminist Members: Clits, Cunts, Vaginas, and…   Notes from “Transnational” by Laura Pairisi The terms “internationalize,” “globalize,” and “transnationalize” are being used interchangeably but have different connotations: - International refers to the particular historical, cultural, political, and socio-economic locations and practices of states, and how these factors shape relations and the interactions between states. - Transnational points to an emphasis on flows across borders and the differential impact of these processes. The underlying rationale for internationalizing the university is often centered around notions of “student preparedness.” Transnational feminist practices reject systems based on inequality and exploitation by tracing the uneven circuits of culture and capital which produce them, rather than accepting the power inequalities as a given, as the international frameworks tend to do. - This perspective gives us the tools to be self-reflective on multiple levels Notes from “Female Genital Cutting” Female genital cutting is commonly practiced in 28 African countries and some in Asia and the Middle East - most Islamic societies do not practice this - People most commonly cite religion and tradition as the reasons for supporting the practice. - There is widespread belief that young women are more marriageable and can attract men of higher economic and social status is they have been circumcised. - Health consequences: severe pain and bleeding, anemia, inflections, cysts, keloids, infertility, etc. - A common perception of female genital surgery is that it supports patriarchy by attempting to control women’s sexuality. Yet, Ahmadu stresses against this idea - It is believed that a woman’s clit will become masculine if remained uncut; female cutting will ensure one becomes a woman January 20, 2016 Tuesday’s lecture notes: Transnational Feminism is an intellectual field in women’s studies that emerged in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. - It challenges or rejects conventional understandings of the flow of knowledge as being produced in West, then moving other places where it is consumed. - A way of understanding and analyzing the interconnectedness of women’s lives around the world as well as political, geopolitical and economic structures that divide women. - Helps to see how processes cross international borders (flow of capital, ideas, people, and relationships) - A lens that critiques the universalizing tendencies and gazes of feminist scholarship Transnational v. International Transnational: extending or operating across national borders - Transnational feminist scholarship highlights the gendered, racialized, classed and sexualized dynamics of border flows International: existing, occurring or carried on between 2 or more nations - Nations or states remain the crucial site of analysis - Keeps state and state power very much in power Challenges: disregard of local context, “rescue mentality,” and hubris (outsiders don’t feel the need to ask locals for feedback) FGC (Female Genital Cutting) - A procedure involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury - The causes of this procedure include a mix of cultural, religious and social factor within families and communities Fran Hosken developed the feminist framing of fgc, mid to late 1970’s - Patriarchal violence against women - Female genital cutting is framed arrogantly - To locals, the procedure is a passage to womanhood January 22, 2016 Thursday’s lecture notes: Female Genital Cutting v. Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery - Cultural nuances - Standards - Aesthetics & conformity Johanna Gohmann, “The Vagina Monologues,” argues: - We need to deconstruct the “designer vagina” → an umbrella term for the results of female genital cutting - Based on a number of socio cultural aesthetic ideals that reflect the permeation of porn into mainstream culture as well as the infantilization of women - Vaginal cosmetic surgery blurs the line between the physical and the cosmetic What does the ideal vagina tell us about the ideal woman? - Youthful & virgin - “Barely legal” Genital self-confidence → sexual pleasure (healthy & positive) Genital self image: The image we possess and project about our own genitals - includes and is affected by things like self-confidence, pleasure, education, media, health, etc. The Medicalization of Sexuality & Sexual Pleasure Refers to 2 interrelated processes: 1) Certain behavior or conditions are given medical meaning (defined in terms of health and illness) 2) Medical practice becomes a vehicle for eliminating or controlling problematic experiences that are defined as deviant Virginia Braun, “In Search of (Better) Sexual Pleasure,” argues: - Female genital cosmetic surgery is both legitimized by and also legitimates “particular models of desirable sexual bodies and practice” - It is enabled by possible socio-cultural context which render certain choices possible and locates a solution such as fgcs Conditions that allow for FGCS: - Increasing medicalization of sexuality - Continuing negative meanings surrounding women’s genitalia - Increase in plastic surgery and its visibility/normalization of plastic surgery - Heteronormative framing of women’s sexuality - Body modification engagement - Phallocentric economies of sexual pleasure → focused on men + penis dominance & privilege


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