GSS 397: Feminist Media Studies presented a symposium entitled “#feminism”
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December 2, 2015

[THIS RELEASE IS BEING FORWARDED ON BEHALF OF THE SYMPOSIUM ORGANIZERS. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO ATTEND, PLEASE FOLLOW UP WITH THE MEDIA CONTACT LISTED BELOW.]

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 30, 2015

 

Media Contact: Melissa Deem, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Princeton University, mdeem@princeton.edu

 

**Symposium on gender and public discourse held at Princeton**

 

A symposium on gender and public discourse, “#feminism,” was held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, in McCormick Hall, Room 101, at Princeton University.

 

The symposium, sponsored by the University’s Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, was free and open to the public. A discussion and reception followed the event.

 

The symposium was presented as part of a gender and sexuality studies course, “Feminist Media Studies/Media Representations of Feminism,” taught by Melissa Deem, associate research scholar and lecturer in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Students in the course consider discourses of feminism that are not usually put in direct conversation. In a choice-driven world, the course asks how the media defines and enforces boundaries for what gendered people can say, do and be.

 

Students have explored the ways in which cultural conceptions of gender emerge and how they function to enable and restrain the public voices of those not necessarily positioned in traditionally privileged ways.

 

Along with participating in the symposium, students are contributing to the “feministvoices” blog. The course will be taught again next academic year and will continue with developing these and other venues for creating authoritative feminist discourse by students.  Each semester the students not only choose their own topic, but also collaboratively develop the theme of the symposium.

 

For the symposium, students chose topics that they feel passionately about and developed in-depth studies of the media discourses that circulate about that topic. In doing so, the students were able to make original and innovative interventions in a complex media environment that too often trivializes, silences or ridicules feminist and non-normative voices.

 

“Feminist studies of media are a rich and varied field of inquiry, while feminism itself is a recurring object of media fascination,” Deem said. “Feminist arguments often become public spectacles where the media simultaneously leers at and dismisses feminist speech. In the process, these spectacularly public representations of feminism reduce the multiplicity of feminist positions and voices.” 

 

She continued: “In order to critically engage the contemporary mediascape, students situate public feminisms through public sphere and feminist democratic scholarship. In this manner, we can learn how those traversed by gender, sexuality, race, class, ability and nationality, among others, can create positions from which to speak in manners that might authorize their speech and citizenship in a marginalizing public sphere.”

 

The symposium topics and speakers included: 

 

“Who Has to Carry That Weight? Social and Media Responses to Campus Rape”

Kelsey Blair, 2016, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

 

“From Coat Hangers to Baby-killers: Affect, Pathos and Abortion Politics”

Erin Valentine, 2016, Sociology

 

 “Faking It ’til She Makes It: Hillary Clinton’s Authenticity”

Andra Turner, 2019, Politics

 

“All the Lonely People: Singledom and Alternative Adulthoods”

Sarah Reeves, 2017, Gender and Sexuality Studies

 

“Breaking the #bornthisway Binary: ‘Acceptable’ Identities and the Othering of Non-Normative Queers”

Rebekah Shoemake, 2017, English

 

“This is My House: Jennicet Gutierrez and the Shaming of Undocumented Queers”

Yoselin Gramajo, 2016, Sociology