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feminist theory, the body, and the disabled figure

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jessie jenkins

on 20 October 2015

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Transcript of feminist theory, the body, and the disabled figure

Background on Rosemary Garland-Thomson
Female body and disabled body
how the female body and the disabled body are similar...
labeled socially inferior and unusual
cannot fully participate in social and economic life
bodies go against the "norms"
this relates to Aristotle's label of women as "deviant" and belief women are congenitally deformed
"semantics emerging from feminist theory can be enlisted to dislodge the persistant assumption that disability is a self-evident condition of bodily inadequacy and private misfortune whose politics concern only a limited minority-just as femaleness so easily seemed before feminism"
some feminist assumptions don't take into consideration disabled womens' situations
feminism stresses the sexual objectification of women, but disabled women are asexually objectified
our culture takes away disabled women's femininity and attempts to deny reproductive rights - they have to fight for their right to be mothers
Femininity and Disability
Historically, femininity has ruined bodies for the sake of "beauty" that correspond to disablity
Chinese foot binding, African scarification
socially acceptable to disable female bodies
surgical procedures to fix "abnormalities"
feminist theory, the body, and the disabled figure
rosemary Garland-thomson

Jessica Jenkins
an author and a women's studies professor for the feminist theory, disability theory, and American literature
goal is to bring together feminist theory and the disability theory in women's studies
anything about the body that goes against the norm is considered disabled and inferior
Feminist Disability
Femininity and Disability
scientific studies showed people's beliefs that
European woman is considered beautiful and African woman is considered grotesque
dark skin and disability considered far from beautiful -> "all women deviant but some double deviant"
the disabled woman is a product of "conceptual triangulation"
"intragender position; that is, she is not only defined against the masculine figure, but she is imagined as the antithesis of the normative woman as well"
Connection to TU Community and Current Events
Towson Community
Disability Awareness Workshop took place this year on October 14 to "raise student awareness and understanding of individuals with disabilities and to eliminate negative stigmas and stereotypes associated with disabilities."
Handicapped models were used on the runway to help bring attention that diversity is a good thing and being disabled doesnt mean you cant be beautiful
Tokyo Fashion Week on October 13, 2015 featured designer, Takafumi Tsuruta's clothing label made in mind of disabled people
Current Events
Connection to
Sources Cited
we learned in class about the American Disabilities Act (1992)
this insured civil rights to all and equal public access to any institution; if they didnt comply, the institution would get in legal trouble
the disabled had to work together to get this act and it helped them with life in public
we also learned about ableists, which shows more of the difficulties the disabled face
ableists hold prejuduce and discriminate against the disabled
London, Bianca. "Disabled Models Take to the Catwalk."
Daily Mail.
October 13, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3270482/Disabled-models-catwalk-wheelchairs-Tokyo-latest-fashion-capital-promote-diversity-runway.html
Scherloum, Brynna. "2015 Disability Awareness Workshop."
Involved at TU.
September 22, 2015. https://involved.towson.edu/organization/childlifeclub/news/details/74357
Garland-Thomson, Rosemary. 1997. Feminist Theory, the Body, and the Disabled Figure.
In Women's Lives Multicultural Perspectives 2013
, ed. Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazawa-Rey, 232-238. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Full transcript