Last week Heather from CelebYouth took part in a Roundtable panel, at the University of East London, on the audit processes that are taking over UK universities. There were four speakers two male and two female. Unfortunately the Times Higher Education, in reporting on the event, only mentioned the men. In response, we’re publishing summaries of what Heather and Miriam David had to say about the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the existing Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Posts Tagged ‘feminism’
Academics are increasingly judged by metrics from the amount of external money they bring in to the scores they get from students. Critical among these are journal articles: how many articles, the rankings of the journals in which they are published, the number of times they are cited, and so on. So there is a lot at stake in assigning authorship of articles from collaborative research projects like this one. In this post, Heather and Kim share CelebYouth’s approach to authorship.
I’ve been vegan for around 9 years and have been really excited in that time as more people understand what this means and more restaurants add vegan options to their menus. Part of this mainstreaming of veganism is that celebrities are increasingly associating with it. As the Guardian asked earlier this year:
Is this the week that veganism finally came of age? At the Baftas, stars will have the choice of opting for a special vegan menu that includes quinoa salad and roasted butternut squash; rapper Lil B has partnered with a vegan food company to launch an emoji app that delivers vegan versions of his lyrics to fans’ phones; and pop royalty Beyoncé has launched a vegan meal delivery service, called 22 Days Nutrition, with her trainer Marco Borges.
At first I loved reeling of a list of my favourite vegan celebs (Woody Harrelson, Lea Michele, Carl Lewis…) but recently I’ve become angry at how the celebrifrication of veganism is turning a political act into a lifestyle choice…
What is feminism? Does feminism have an image problem? How can we work across differences of race, class and sexuality? What are the biggest contemporary feminist issues? What role is there for men within feminism? How do we deal with conflict among feminists? These were just some of the questions that were addressed the panel discussion on intergenerational feminisms and media cultures which took place last week in a a packed room at the Marx Memorial Library in London. Forming part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science, the event was hosted by Jessalynn Keller and Alison Winch from Middlesex University. Heather went along and found it inspiring to have feminists aged from 16 years to 60 on the panel and an atmosphere based on unity rather than tension. In this post, she shares some brief insights from the event.
One of the lovely things about working on this project with Heather is that we both love cinema. Frequently we will send text messages to each other about a recent release. We both love film for what pleasures it offers as well as how it stimulates ideas about sociological issues that we are engaged with. Very frequently these texts articulate things that our academic language cannot – similar to the ways in which Heather has written about fiction. Recently we both watched a film that generated very different reactions, as discussed by Heather in her recent blog on Gone Girl‘s Amy. In this post, Kim responds by exploring her anger at the film’s misogyny. (Please note there are spoilers so don’t read this if you are yet to see the film.)
Emma Watson and Beyoncé, two of our six female case-study celebrities have recently publicly identified as feminists and issued calls for action to redress gender inequalities. This has provoked a deluge of opinion pieces and blogs, especially this week when it seems like everyone from Owen Jones in the Guardian to Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in the New Statesman has jumped online to support Watson in the face of threats online to release nude photos of her following her speech at the UN. There’s also been a widespread celebration of her as making feminist an easier identity for men to admit in public. Given the ongoing discussion about this within mainstream media and the blogosphere, we’ve been left wondering if there’s anything left to say. But having closely followed the media representation of these two celebrities over the last two years, we’ve been struck by some contrasts between the responses to their two very similar articulations of feminism. While Emma’s speech generated the kinds of misogynistic e-bile increasingly levelled at women in the public sphere, she has been widely celebrated for her feminism. Far more criticism has been levelled at Beyoncé with commentators, many of them feminist, declaring her hypocritical for speaking about empowerment while posing scantily clad in her music videos and photoshoots and proudly naming herself ‘Mrs Carter’.
Aisha is an avid footballer and has been capped three times for the British Muslim women’s football team. Aisha is CEO and founder of an inter-faith sports charity All Sports Women. The charity was established to encourage cross-cultural dialogue through sports participation, with the hope of using sport as a means to bridge the gap between different faith groups and cultures. Aisha continues to challenge stereotypical notions of the ‘Asian woman’ through her academic research and community involvement. In this post Aisha tells us a little bit more about her research.
One is not born, but rather one becomes a woman – Simone de Beauvoir, 1953
This well-known assertion of Simone de Beauvoir, pointing toward the social and cultural mores that form and regulate an individual as a ‘woman’, is especially apt in light of the controversy surrounding the finalists of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off. The three female finalists have been variously castigated for being too miserable, too opinionated, too confident and too feminine. The repeated characterisations of the women in terms of inflexible, binary gender roles, alongside the criticisms of them for either failing to live up to these or – bizarrely – for adhering to them too closely, invites further analysis of the presentation of womanliness and femininity in the media. Moreover, the presence in the criticism of underlying suspicions regarding the race and class status of the women finalists demonstrates the increasing need for more fine-grained examinations of how we approach the still-troubling and troublesome category of ‘woman’. In this co-authored blog post, CelebYouth’s Kim and guest blogger Sarah Burton discuss the relationship between the structural context of GBBO and the individual presentations of gender therein, with a particular focus on the interactions between media, Britishness and public space.
Last week Laura and Heather went to see performance artist Bryony Kimmings‘ latest show Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model (CLSRM), a collaboration with her amazing 9 year-old niece Taylor Houchen, in which she explores the growing tween industry and how ‘children are manipulated into becoming prematurely sexualised consumers’. We went with a few anxieties: we’d enjoyed talking with Bryony as our and her projects developed, including as part of a panel she organised on ‘The Age of Celebrity‘, but worried that our research had made us hypercritical of any and all representations of young people’s relationships to popular culture and celebrity. Our anxieties were misplaced, as Bryony’s found a way to capture the complexity of tweenage girlhood including showing how media savvy young people are and what adult desires are mixed up in our construction of children as innocent and in need of our protection. The show is moving, entertaining and thought-provoking and the best thing we can recommend is that you find a way to go and see it yourself. But in this post we’ll talk about a few of our impressions of the show (warning- including some spoilers).
The last section of the Gender, Media and Generation conference was directed towards the discussion of methodologies. The workshop reflected longstanding feminist concerns to enable discussions of the personal dimensions of research, with senior academics offering mentoring and advice for the ‘next generation’ of scholars. There is much cause for concern within higher education: the increasing managerialisation and audit culture, the impact of the changes to university funding and tuition fees, rising unemployment and casualisation of contracts, and the threat of yet further hurdles and requirements for academics to ‘prove themselves’ (such as the proposal to shift to a ‘pay to say’ model of academic publishing).