Panel 1

Erin Hynes
Categorizing Contemporary Female Representation: The Rise of ProtoFeministCinema in the Mainstream

“Protofeminist cinema” relies on internet-based discourse to dissect debates surrounding films which market a “strong” female protagonist. This internet-based public discourse is found through public internet mediums such as Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and blogs. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and Frozen (2013) fit into the protofeminist category because they were all commercially made, highly profitable, and sparked internet debates about whether they were “feminist.” My paper explores how spectators respond to the marketing of female protagonists and how marketing might impact a respondent’s assessment of a particular film’s “feminism.” In textually analyzing the opinions of internet users, my paper constructs a picture of what spectators consider qualifiers for a “feminist” film. Respondents address issues of race, ableism, sexuality, class, stereotypes, and more within their analysis of films. This offers insight into the complexity of contemporary intersectional feminism and how it affects issues of cinematic representation. The proposal of a protofeminist category suggests that some contemporary films display noticeable gender progressivity. Though such films appear progressive, internet-based discourse debates whether or not this qualifies them as “feminist,” complicating the question; what is a feminist film, and what might egalitarian representations of gender in cinema look like?

Erin Elizabeth Hynes is in her second year of candidacy at York University for a masters in Cinema and Media Studies. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Film Studies from Concordia University in 2014. Her research interests revolve around issues of cinematic representation, intersectional feminism, and reception studies. Erin is specifically fascinated by internet debate trends, seeing them as an object of study capable of reflecting how the public consumes and contextualizes media. Erin enjoys volunteering her time to film festivals such as Toronto’s Female Eye, and she regularly contributes content to independent Toronto-based magazines.

 

Janice Feng
The Phenomenological Body and Gender Constitution: Feminist Reevaluations of Merleau-Ponty’s Notion of Anonymity

In this paper, I explore the ways in which normative violence inherited in the process of the materialization of the body, especially in terms of gender constitution, can be exposed and resisted. In order to resist the oppressive reality of exclusion, pathologization, and systematic harm, all of which justified by normative violence, the important critical task is to reveal the ways in which normative violence operates in justifying such practices, and to make life possible. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological account of the body, I argue, offers rich resources in uncovering normative violence, as he shows that the body is not a passive object but has an intentionality that enable it to actualize potentialities delimited by existing social norms and cultural practices. I will engage with the feminist debate around interpretation of the notion of anonymity that is central to Merleau-Ponty’s account of the lived body to show that the notion of anonymity offers rich insight in terms of gender constitution and resistance of gender normativity if we understand it as a form of temporality and spatiality. At last I argue that because such anonymity is intersubjectivity constituted, normative violence underlies anonymity have to be resignified and resisted through collective action and meaning creation.

I am a second year MA student in Cultural, Social Political Thought and Political Science at University of Victoria. My research interests are feminist and queer theory, phenomenology of gender and sexuality, and poststructuralism. I am interested in the question of power and violence in relation to gender and sexuality, and in my works I seek to locate and expose the ways in which such violence render itself invisible and normalize bodies. I have been tremendously influenced by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler.

 

Kaziwa Salih
ISIS and Systematic Rape of Kurdish-Ezidi Women

The gendered lens of genocide is inaugurated when genocides and mass killings occur and one sex typically fares worse than the other; when a female’s fate is worse than death, since rape is an endless death that has lent permanency to genocide throughout history in a postgenocide phase. The identity of women represents the identity of the entire nation, and thus, for the entire nation to suffer perpetually, rape has been an ever-present attribute of war and genocide. I am planning to present a comparative analysis of the identities of perpetrators and victims of genocide. Primary attention is paid to the identity and landscape of women’s body in genocide. Firstly, it presents the interviews of Ezidi raped women who are the survivors of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These dialogues have been conducted for the purpose of this study. Second, it investigates the representation of woman in wartime mainly as a passive body, a vulnerable victim of rape who care quires brave men to defend and protect her; examples are Ezidi women during ISIS genocides. Third, It argues that the rape is not only the tool of genocide but is the long-term sustainability of genocide and that the consequences of genocidal rape as a tool and the distortion of a woman’s identity that signify her national, ethnic, or religious group are subgoals of perpetrators. Finally, it outlines the reasons lay behind the 73 times genocide(s) of Kurdish-Ezidis and rape of their women in every genocide.

Kaziwa Salih: PhD Candidate at Queen University, MA in Culture and Genocide from York University, founder and president of the Anti-Genocide International. Salih is the author of 12 books; the publisher and editor of two Kurdish magazines and has received several international awards. She worked in many human rights organizations including United Nation Association in Canada, Amnesty International, Human right organizations in Kurdistan, Egypt, Syria, and she is an active member of International Association of Genocide Scholars.