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Feminist Performance Practice and The Feminist Perspective

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Hannah Butterfield

on 27 February 2018

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Transcript of Feminist Performance Practice and The Feminist Perspective

English Poet/ Spoken Word artist
Work focuses on social and gender politics
All of her work is available, for free, on Youtube

'One is not born a woman, but rather, becomes one' (Beauvoir, 1949: 2).
Beauvoir argues that gender is 'constructed'.

'Within a language that rests on univocal signification, the female sex constitutes the unconstrainable and undesignatable. In this sense, women are the sex which is not "one", but multiple' (Butler, 2011: 19).

Judith Butler's position is that 'female' is complex and multiple.
Male Gaze
Cultural Identity
Feminist Practice/
Feminist Perspective
Key Terms
Feminist Performance Practices and The Feminist Perspective
Key Themes and Ideas
Performing Identity
The Male Gaze
Feminist Theory
Reading Performance from a Feminist Perspective

The Male Gaze - Laura Mulvey
The theory suggests that the male gaze denies women human identity, relegating them to the status of objects to be admired for physical appearance.
Mulvey states that the role of a female character in a narrative has two functions 1.As an erotic object for the characters within the narrative to view 2.As an erotic object for the spectators within the cinema to view.
Sleepwalk Collective
An award winning live art and experimental theatre group creating intimate performance experiences between the UK and Spain.

Notable works:

2014 - Karaoke
2012 - Amusements
2010 - As the flames rose we danced to the sirens, the sirens

Hollie McNish
An umbrella term for a number of movements as opposed to a singular concept.

First Wave - Early 1900's. Suffrage movement and right to vote.

Second Wave - 1960's onwards. Concerned with obtaining equality and ending discrimination. Simone De Beauvoir a leading French philosopher attributed to the movement. 'The Personal is Political'.

Third Wave - 1990's onwards. Concerned with celebrating sexuality and female empowerment, contradicting societal gender norms. Development and consideration of race-related feminist ideologies. Established gender roles are due to social conditioning.
Historical Feminist Theorists and Figures
Simone De Beauvoir (1908 - 1986) French

Michel Foucault (1926 -1984) French

Julia Kristeva (1941 -) Bulgarian/French

Laura Mulvey (1941-) British

Judith Butler (1956 -) American
Male Perspective
Olivier Dubois -
Pour tout l'or du Monde
(For All The World's Gold) - 2006.
Pieter Ampe - Still Standing You - 2014
Notable poems:

'Women are depicted in a quite different way from men - not because the feminine is different from the masculine - but because the "ideal" spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of woman is designed to flatter him' (Berger, 1972: 64).
'In much western theatre dance, male dancing bodies are supposed to be seen and read in a particular way. This is because of dominant ideas about gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, religion, and other components of identity. It is also because of the predominantly hierarchical and male dominated structures of the western dance world' (Burt, 2007: 31).
DV8 - Enter Achilles - 1995.

British/Spanish performance artist/cabaret artist.
She is an original cast member of the contemporary circus/cabaret phenomena La Clique / La Soirée..
Hallmarks of her work include concerns of the body.
Originally, an opening section of her performance 'Show Off' (2006), 'Hanky Panky' became her most recognisable and discussed performance in which she strips naked.
After some unwarranted attention and responses from that show she then made 'My stories, your emails' (2010)
Yoko Ono
Cut Piece - 1965
Carolee Schneeman
Marina Abramovic
'If you see a renaissance body, this is completely ugly in this time. Everybody has to be skinny. But the renaissance body with incredible flow of the meat everywhere, it was beauty'. (Abramovic)
Abramovic on Beauty:
The Three Graces. Peter Paul Rubens - 1639.
Ursula Martinez's performance, 'My Body, Your Emails' traversed the line of body being both the subject and the object.

Ursula Martinez
Renowned for her visceral, performance art and musical ventures in a similar vein to Laurie Anderson
Made famous by being one of four artists to be refused funding by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 - as a result of her work being too "obscene".
Karen Finley
From Object To Subject
'A corpse is an object but a live body must be both subject and object' (Sharp, 1970: 16).
Serbian performance artist based in New York City who came to prominence in the mid 70's with her works exploring the physical limits of the human body and the relationship between performer and audience.
Japanese Performance Artist associated with the fluxus movement of the 1960's
Worked spanned genres of installation, performance art, exhibitions amongst other forms.
American performance and visual artist, prolific in the 1960's and 70's making work concerning the body, gender and sexuality.

Regarded as a feminist icon in performance art for her work focuses on sexual expression and liberation as opposed to female victimisation or oppression.
Notable Works

1964 - Meat Joy
1975 - Interior Scroll


Two Man Show
Liz Aggiss
Artist, Dance Performer, Choreographer, Film Maker and Professor of Dance
Survival Tactics 2010
Project 0

A collaboration between
Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small

Intersectional Theory and Feminism
The term 'intersectionality' refers to a feminist sociological theory that centers around analyzing and discussing how oppression often intersects, creating unique and varied experiences of discrimination.

- proposes that we think of each 'trait' of a person as inextricably linked with all of the other elements in order to fully understand one's identity.

Bell Hooks '
Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
', 1984
Kimberlé Crenshaw '
On Intersectionality: Essential Writings of Kimberlé Crenshaw', 2012
Gender: A Social Construct

We are born male or female, but not masculine or feminine. Femininity is an artifice, an achievement, "a mode of enacting and reenacting received gender norms which surface as so many styles of the flesh." Bartky, S.L
Foucault, Femininity and The Modernization Of Patriarchal Power
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