Blog post 9: Visual documentation

Unfortunately I was absent for the class brainstorming session, however through the information my group members gave me and further discussions that I had with some of my peers, I was able to hone in on some initial problem statements that I identified within gender equality and feminism, and develop these problem statements through my own in-depth brainstorming.

I wanted to delve deeper into feminist theory and the history of the gender equality struggle before I settled on any particular problem statement. As a result I continued on with deeper research, looking into theorists such as Michel Foucault and Teresa de Lauretis, as a way of deepening my understanding and really allowing myself to hone in on some of the extensive issues within feminism and gender equality. I initially began at Foucault’s theory of biopower in the terms of the control of the female body, and De Lauretis’ writings on Feminism and its Differences.

By deepening my understanding of existing problems and discussions within feminist discourse, my own problem statements and the details of possible solutions were easier to identify and explore. This research really framed my problem statements and subsequent brainstorming, and possible design responses arose from these brainstorms with relative ease (a nice feeling to finally feel like I’m making headway in this subject). I actually completed brainstorms for a handful of problem statements, before deciding to focus in on one in particular, that being the social, cultural and historical construct of “femininity” and how this influences the way we view and respond to women’s bodies in our society.

I definitely feel it would have been beneficial to complete the brainstorming exercises alongside my peers, having had positive experiences with doing so previously, however circumstance meant I wasn’t able to. I struggled to decide on just one problem statement, which I’m sure would not have been so much of a problem if I’d had class mates to help push me in a certain direction. In saying that, having only myself to rely on in my brainstorming meant that I was able to go deeper into my background research and able to incorporate this research into my mapping, resulting in a perhaps deeper and more thorough analysis of my problem statement.

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An intial quick sketch out of possible problem statements. From this, I chose a few statements to elaborate on further.
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The first problems statement that I did a quick brain storm on was the unwillingness to identify as “feminist” which exists in our society.
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Following on from this, I looked further into the idea of “mainstream” feminism and its implications.
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From my readings of Catharine Mackinnon (activist, lawyer, writer) I came across the idea of the “male point of view” and how this plays into bodily objectification and control.
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My final problem statement brainstorm was looking further into these ideas of the sexualised objectification of the female body and “femininity” as a cultural construct. I decided to focus on this particular problem statement in blog post eight.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

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