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FULL ISSUE of JOURNAL: British Mensa's ANDROGYNY - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - September 2017

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This is the FULL ISSUE of British Mensa's ANDROGYNY - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - September 2017 with contributions from various authors. The issue is being archived by myself as the Editor of this journal. Please see guidance notes, disclaimer and copyright information within, for the subsequent distribution of material contained within this journal.
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Volume 1 (Issue 2) September 2017
British Mensas:
ANDROGYNY
Editor:
SERGIO A. SILVERIO
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 1 -
Aims & Scope:
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY aims to provide a vibrant and engaging collection of works in
a publication dedicated to intellectual debate, empirical research, and artistic expression
centred on the topic of Androgyny. This hybrid ‘journal x magazine’ offers a quarterly
designated safe space to discuss current affairs and topical issues first and foremost on
Androgyny, but reaches out to related contemporary areas such as gender differences, identity
& society, and discussions of equalities & equity. By collating pan-disciplinary works from
contributors and distributing to an international audience, both within and outside of the
subscribed members to this Special Interest Group, this ‘journal-zine’ brings together work
from likeminded people to propagate teaching & learning, generate discussion, and provide a
supportive community of contributors and readers who are passionate about this field.
Authors should avoid using discriminatory language (e.g. sexist; ageist; racist, heterosexist, or
otherwise). References should be in APA 6th Style (2009), and be used sparingly. All
contributions will be reviewed by the Editor and guidance will be offered if revisions are
required. The aim is to publish works, not turn contributions away, but if in doubt about a
topic area or an article you wish to submit, please contact the Editor on:
Silveris@edgehill.ac.uk
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY publishes three sections per issue:
Editorial & Letters (Joint or Guest Editorials will be considered upon enquiry;
Letters welcomed throughout year, but should be <500 words).
Articles (Empirical Research; Structured Literature Reviews; Theoretical
Debates & Position Papers all should be 1,500-2,500 words. Shorter Essays
& Technical Reports should be 1,000-1,200 words. Articles exceeding these
limits will be considered on an individual basis. Welcomed throughout year.)
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section (“Special Androgyny News, Dates, Reviews, & Arts”
(not necessarily in that order!) this will be a round-up of recent news &
upcoming events, plus media reviews e.g. book/journal/event/theatre/film
etc., and interviews & monographs (both usually with interviewee’s/author’s
picture), poetry, art, & creative writing; limited to 800 words).
~
Copyright:
Copyright of each contribution to this newsletter remains with the acknowledged owner.
Permission to reproduce content in part or as a whole must be obtained from the acknowledged
owner. Contact the SIGSec/Editor in the first instance.
Disclaimer:
This publication acts as the newsletter of the Androgyny Special Interest Group (SIG) of British
Mensa, for controlled circulation within this SIG. Additional circulation is not authorised
unless sanctioned by the SIGSec/Editor. Published, printed and distributed by British Mensa
Ltd., St. John's House, St. John's Square, Wolverhampton WV2 4AH. Mensa as a whole has
no opinions. Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the SIGSec/Editor,
the officers or the directors of Mensa. Unattributed articles are written by the Editor, who may
edit, defer, or omit contributions for space, legal, or other reasons.
~
Editorial Notices:
The cover artwork was personally commissioned by Sergio A. Silverio from the
cut paper artist: Vanessa Stone (http://www.vanessastoneartist.com/). In his
capacity as Editor, and for the duration of his Editorship, S.A. Silverio has
permitted the use of this artwork for the cover of British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY. The image must not be reproduced, replicated, or circulated, in
part or as a whole, under any circumstance.
By submitting to British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY it is automatically assumed
contributors consent to their piece being published, disseminated, and
archived by the Editor (on-line as part of the whole issue of this publication,
here: https://www.researchgate.net/project/British-Mensas-ANDROGYNY).
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 1 -
Editorial:
British Mensas: ANDROGYNY Our body of
work.
Sergio A. Silverio
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
YOU as the readers of, and the contributors
to this publication are the figurative ‘cog’
which makes the whole process work, and my
job as an Editor, much easier. I have had
wonderful feedback about the first issue of
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY,
and you
should notice some changes to the format of
this issue, compared to the first. One factor,
which has become evident (hence the delay in
this publication date) is that the workload is
not sustainable for myself alone. I would
therefore like to announce that in the coming
issues I shall be advertising for two Associate
Editors & a bank of Peer Reviewers.
The first major change is to word
limits and types of article accepted. Feedback
suggested that for full, more formal and
structured articles the previous word limit
was restrictive, and so this has now been
extended to include articles up to 2,500
words. Furthermore, a new type of article will
be considered: A shorter Essay or Technical
Report with a maximum of 1,200 words we
are lucky to have had one submitted in this
issue by Gabriela D’Amico who talks through
her method for designing womenswear, which
embraces masculine styles and fabrics.
Other feedback has centred
on the
type of content accepted. By nature, this
publication is not strictly a feminist journal
it does however, publish feminist content
such as returning contributor Emily
Ashbrook’s headline article in this issue; a
theoretical debate on the ‘trapped in the
wrong body’ narrative in discussions about
people who identify as Trans.
My vision for this journal was that we
make it as far reaching as possible
incorporating as many voices as we can to
rigorously assess and question the status quo
around gender issues. In saying this, I wish
to reiterate that I by no means discourage the
submission of pieces, which are feminist or
political or indeed have a controversial
perspective. In this issue, my article on
breastfeeding in public is one of these such
articles; as is the artwork submitted by
budding artist and poet: Rachel Writer-
Davies; and indeed the monograph from
Shamini Sriskandarajah (readers please be
advised by the content warning proffered
before this article).
Also included for September is many
more news articles ranging on much wider
gender-related topics (as requested); plus
Alison Mackiewicz’s vivid write-up of The BPS
PoWS 30th Anniversary Conference; and the
brilliantly written, poignant, and sensitive
position paper tabled by Shereen Shaw
entitled: The Case of the Arab Woman. It is
my belief this issue pushes the boundaries of
our discussion further than the first issue,
and has resulted in another gripping read. I
hope you share that same opinion?
Sergio A. Silverio
Silveris@edgehill.ac.uk | Twitter: @Silverio_SA_
Editor & SIG Secretary
Please cite as:
Silverio, S.A. (2017). Editorial: British
Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY Our body of
work.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY,
1(2), 1.
of British Mensas: ANDROGYNY,
- 2 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
Article Theoretical Debate:
How useful, if at all, is the idea of being
trapped in the wrong body in thinking
about Trans issues?
Emily Ashbrook
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
To qualify this discussion, I am obliged to note that the preceding
papers subject is the deeply personal subject of the visceral feelings of
individuals. This said, I believe that such a project to investigate the
usefulness of a particular narrative to enhance our understanding of
Trans issues should have at the forefront a consideration of these.
Writing from a non-trans perspective, although I have made efforts to
research and personally speak to members of the Trans-community, I
make my claims on the matter tentatively.
Trapped in the wrong
body
was the phraseology first
used by sexologists to describe the
phenomenology of the transsexual.
Originally, transsexualism as a
cultural phenomenon was seen as a
form of exaggerated transvestism
(Prosser, 1998). The true
transsexual was demarcated by a
strong feeling of misalignment
between gendered identity and their
birth-assigned sex: A feeling of
entrapment. Since then, trans-
persons have employed the phrase
in personal and political accounts;
it has served to characterise
feelings of dissonance, as well as
serving to substantiate political and
legal discourse calling for legal and
medical assistance. The wrong
body model has received critical
reception, however, for its apparent
preservation of an appearance-
reality distinction which threatens
the transsexual community.
Furthermore, the normativity that
underpins it multiply construed
might reinforce ideas of what the
correct body identity body
alignment should be, whilst
potentially silencing a subset of
the trans-community who do not
identify with such a feeling. One
can consider how a move away
from language of reality, which
Bettcher (2012) calls for, might
further silence individuals who do
feel that their identified reality is
captured by the idea of a concealed
internal body image’ (Prosser,
1998).
This paper will explore this
idea as an alternative, useful way
of construing a representation
relation between a felt sexed reality
and the body, to engage one’s
psychosomatic identity.
Furthermore, this paper suggests
departing from attempts to
essentialise one ontological or
political way of being as a trans-
person to a focus instead on
respecting the feeling and
phenomenology within diverse
transsexual experiences.
As a preliminary, I will make
some points of clarification
concerning use of terminology. The
etymology of ‘trans’ is Latin,
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 3 -
meaning ‘across’ or ‘beyond’. In
transgender and transsexual
narratives, this can be construed as
defining oneself and being defined
by others as in some sense non-
conforming with either gendered
expectations or birth assigned
sex.
The narrative of being trapped in the
wrong body’ would seem most
obviously concerned with
transsexual issues, since the term
often categorises those individuals
who use hormonal and/or surgical
interventions to make some
transition across the sex binary.
This is where ‘the wrong body’ might
most seem an appropriate
characterisation.
One can be
transgender without being
transsexual and transsexual
without having full genital
reconstructive surgery. Importantly,
also, defining oneself as ‘trans’ does
not necessitate a clear transition
across a gender or sex dyad many
people choose to endorse instead a
‘beyond the binary’ approach,
whereby neither sex/gender or both
sex/gender dyad terms capture
their feeling of personal identity.
Bettcher specifically opposes
the ‘wrong body’ model to a ‘beyond
the binarymodel of analysis of what
transsexuality involves. She
presents the former as a theory
about what it is to be a transsexual
and how as a frame of analysis it
might serve to perpetuate politically
oppressive ends. Bettcher (2012) is
particularly concerned with reality
enforcement as a transphobic
device and form of oppression. This
is construed as being concerned
with the following: identity
invalidation, the appearance-reality
contrast, the deceiver-pretend double
bind & genital verification. (p.392).
Historically, she considers how
members of the trans community
have been viewed as deceivers, or
pretenders, apparently withholding
the locus of their reality from others.
Reality here is located with one’s
‘moral sex’ the average person’s
view about sex of ‘natural’
genitalia, of which they are in
legitimate possession. Now despite
the ‘wrong body’ model subverting
reality enforcement by locating
reality with the inner, felt identity
rather than the corporeal body,
Bettcher claims that it still
preserves a representative relation
of identity-body which leaves
resonant the reputation of
transsexuals as deceptive.
Furthermore, this serves to
perpetuate dominant ideals about
‘man’ and ‘woman.’ Now the locus of
deception and appearance is located
in the body, whilst the inner identity
is now equivalent to one’s ‘moral
sex.’
Such dominant ideals about
‘man’ and ‘woman’ are particularly
prescribed by the ‘wrong body’
model apparently due to its allusion
to a correct alignment (which should
be sought). Bettcher (2012) fairly
considers the idea that ‘woman’ can
take on different meanings in
“multiple worlds of sense”, not just
in terms of semantics, but in the
sense that a transwoman can live
as…be loved as…[and] inhabit a
social milieu where she is a woman”
(p.389). As I take it, the thought is
here that to be a woman may not
mean necessarily to have a felt
identity as a woman and a ‘correctly’
matching body the category of
‘woman’ is more open to
contestation than this. Bettcher
further substantiates a resistance
to the ‘wrong body’ model by noting
its allusion to the dictate that
becoming a woman (de Beauvoir,
1949/2011) requires a
- 4 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
“correction of wrongness” (Betcher,
2012, p.390)
in the form of genital
reconstructive surgery.
The ‘correction’ Bettcher has
in mind involves medical
interventions hormonal
treatments designed in accordance
to certain ends, often followed by
genital reconstruction surgery. So
in transitioning from one's’ ‘wrong’
body, we have the unanswered
question: what constitutes the
right body? By Bettcher’s
diagnosis, the ‘wrong body’
narrative is predicated on a
fixation with genital status. Such
status here conveys the truth of the
individual. This truth, newly
materialised post-transition, is
monopolised and dictated by
medical guidelines. We might read
this, in Foucauldian terms, to be
an example of the way in which an
institution here has a platform for
perpetuating certain ideals, thus
exercising of a form of disciplinary
power. We are given a choice of two
truths: of two sexed bodies.
Through which of the two do you
choose to be become intelligible,
palatable, to society? With this
notion of a ‘right’ body, a felt or
designated sex status, we might
worry about a conflation between
‘objective’ attractiveness or
functionality, and (heterosexual)
desirability. This may manifest
itself in dictates concerning how
the aesthetic has been prioritized
in the genital reconstruction,
furthermore, with a particular
paradigm guiding aesthetic aim
(see Horowicz, 2017 in an earlier
issue of this publication for a more
in depth study of this topic).
As aforementioned, Foucault
(1976/2012) sheds light on how we
can take institutions such as the
medical profession over the body.
His term of usage is biopower’
which denotes the convergence of
disciplinary power and ‘biopolitics.
The latter signifies a form of power
which at the biological level serves
to regulate the population of
society, focusing on both the body
as a machine: its disciplining’, and
‘the species body…imbued with the
mechanics of life”. (p.139). The
locus of this idea of ‘the right body’,
then, can be construed as part of a
discourse manifesting such power,
which is accurately described as a
complex strategical situation in a
particular society.” (p.93). Since
power, for Foucault, pervades
every level of society and social
relations, this analysis can discern
how such a narrative is propagated
both at the macro-level with public
health administration and
institutional standards, as well at
the micro-level of individual health
professionals with patients. The
ideal or norm of ‘man’ and ‘woman’
at the biological level can be
construed as interest-laden,
particularly conducive to the
preservation and
reproduction of
bodies suitable for being
productive in a capitalist society
and maintain regular population
statistics. Particularly, ‘man’ and
‘woman’ are heteronormative; the
‘homosexual’ is a category of
deviance created by their failure to
fit with powerful discourses.
The claim that the
representational relation of
‘correct’ alignment between
publicly presented gender and
genitalia should be resisted is
persuasive. Furthermore, that this
initiative does seem
accommodated by a ‘beyond the
binary’ model of analysis, meaning
that ‘woman’ and ‘man’ can be
multiply understood (see position
paper by Silverio, 2017). However,
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 5 -
perhaps there is a step prior to the
representational relation between
public gender presentation and felt
sexed identity: one’s personal
representation and exteriorisation
of one’s identity. This looks prior to
any conscious gendered
expression for example, the ways
in which gendered clothes come to
represent genitalia via
euphemistic means (Bettcher,
2012, p.329) so as to exhibit
womanhood to others (Adam &
Galinsky, 2012).
This idea of a concealed reality
and its exposure - the feeling of a
need to exteriorise it is something
also characterised by Jay Prosser.
Prosser (1998, p.43) notes how
transsexual narratives necessarily
require recognition of the
corporeal interiority of the
individual, who identifies their
feelings of
gendered identity as
dissonant with their somatic
exterior. This he characterises in
terms of internal (sexed) body
image’. Here a relation of
representation is appropriated to
describe the skin as the locale for
the physical experience of body
imagethe surface upon which is
projected the psychic
representation of the body.(p.70).
Here skin is presented as
psychosomatic the feeling of
alignment is visceral, concerning a
personal feeling of harmonious
existence. So in the clinicians
office, where Bettcher (2012,
p.403) considers the wrong body
model as enforcing an approach
analogous to the genital
verification procedure;
we might
instead find something less like
violation and more like a liberation.
The disjunct between sex and
gender has the potential to be a
subversive act, notably in the
Foucauldian picture, such that it
would be defiant of the
aforementioned regulatory and
disciplinary measures,
manifestations of biopower which
enforce the gender binary.
The modern individual, for
Foucault, has become self-
regulating and normalised
investing themselves in regulatory
and disciplinary discourse. The
transgendered individual is
transgressive of this; the truthof
their identity which they come to
express is dissonant with
institutionalised, normalising
discourse. The revelation of
identity truths in their creation of
new discourse can be a source of
empowerment. This can be
so, as
long as the reality we are
concerned with emancipating is
true to the subjects felt identity.
There might, then, be the hope of
disengaging a representational
relation from perception and
deception and reengaging it to self-
expression and harmonious lived
existence.
Bettcher (2014) briefly regards
Prossers conception of an inner
body image’, diagnosing it as in
fundamental tension with feminist
theories of social constructionism
about sex and gender. This is due
to its allusion to an innate,
authentic, sexed identity. To
illustrate how this might be so,
Bettcher uses the analogy of the
socially constructed phenomenon
of bingo.
The thought here is that
a conception of oneself as innately
a bingo player looks
straightforwardly mistaken, since
bingo is a contingent socially
created construct. Analogously, if
we think of woman as
demarcating of a social group or
- 6 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
role, a claim to identify as such
innately looks problematic.
This analysis renders the
transsexuals claims under threat
of illegitimacy. Firstly, when we are
talking about sex, we might find
disanalogy in that the marking of
sexual difference does not seem
entirely arbitrary. Though Fausto-
Sterling (2000) famously
illustrated the existence how in the
case of intersex new-borns
it can
look fairly arbitrary which criteria
are utilised to give the child a sex,
it does look like in general there is
a binary divide. It is surely at least
coherent that there could be a
feeling of sexed identity.
Social constructionism need
not undermine claims to realness
and an authenticity to such a
feeling. So the social
constructionist might press the
claim that a feeling of sexed
identity cannot be natural or innate
to an individual. But consider the
analogy of a brick wall this is
constructed, but still real.
Furthermore, it is not something
easily knocked down. We would do
well to remember that, as Heyes
(2007, p.60) puts it, that the
naturalbody is a fictive entity in
the technological world we live in
and perhaps the same can be said,
correspondingly, of ones natural
identity. We generally recognise
and respect extensive projects to
align ones felt and ones corporeal
identity something noted by
Heyes, who gives examples of
cosmetic surgery and dieting.
These examples do not aim to
trivialise the transsexuals project,
but merely purport to show how in
other areas a similar sense of
gendered identity can feel (to a
lesser extent) robust and legitimate
as to persuadeto alter his or her
body to conform to it.(Prosser, 1998,
p.69).
So how useful is the idea of
being trapped in the wrong body?
The aforementioned objections raised
about such a framework seem mainly
concerned with the locus of reality.
Particularly, the main source of
resistance looks to be against
construing issues of sex and gender
in normative terms any sort of
dictation of the conditions under
which a trans-person can claim
legitimacy. A final point of suggestion
is that the location of identity should
start with phenomenology a trans-
persons feeling. Arguably we should
not concern all our focus on what it
is to be ontologically or politically
manor woman’. These are arbitrary
terms of categorisation which may
eventually serve no help for
conceptual understanding of the
phenomenology of someone who is
transsexual. The fact stands that
there are many individuals who
report a certain phenomenology
that of severe disassociation with
their own bodies- in the transsexual
case, this is of a misalignment of the
body with a felt sexed identity. We
ought to strive to respect and lend
credence to such feelings - aid
individuals to exercise their rights to
experience themselves as themselves.
The wrong body model may not
accurately encompass all Trans
narratives, but, feasibly, nor would
any trans-person identifying with
such a feeling hope for such a
generalisation of experience.
Emily Ashbrook
emilyashbrook6@gmail.com
BA (Hons) Graduate of Philosophy,
Kings College, London.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 7 -
Please cite as:
Ashbrook, E. (2017). How useful, if at
all, is the idea of being ‘trapped in
the wrong body’ in thinking about
Trans issues? British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 2-7.
References:
Adam, H. & Galinsky, A. (2012).
Enclothed cognition. Journal of
Experimental Social Psychology,
48(4), 918-925.
Bettcher, T.M. (2012). Full-frontal
morality: The naked truth about
gender. Hypatia: A Journal of
Feminist Philosophy, 27(2), 319-
337.
Bettcher, T.M. (2014). Trapped in the
wrong theory: Rethinking Trans
oppression and resistance.
SIGNS, 39(2), 383-406.
de Beauvoir, S. (2011). The second
sex. (C. Borde & S. Malovany-
Chevallier, Trans.) London:
Vintage - The Random House
Company. (Original work
published 1949).
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the
body. New York: Basic Books.
Foucault, M. (2012). The history of
sexuality. Volume 1: The will to
knowledge. New York: The Knopf
Doubleday Publishing Group.
(Original work published 1976).
Heyes, C.J. (2007). Self-
transformations: Foucault, ethics,
and normalized bodies. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Horowicz, E. (2017). Sex & gender
challenges: Intersex and
transgender differentiation.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY,
1(1), 23-26.
Prosser, J. (1998). Second skins: The
body narratives of transsexuality.
New York: Columbia University
Press.
Silverio, S.A., (2017). Down the
rabbit-hole of modern-day
Androgyny studies: How far have
we come, and how far have we left
to go? British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(1), 17-22.
Wider Suggested Reading:
Benjamin, H. (1954). Transsexualism
& transvestism as psycho-
somatic and somato-psychic
syndromes. In S. Stryker & S.
Whittle (eds.), The Transgender
Studies Reader. (2006; pp.45-52).
London: Routledge.
Prosser, J. (2006). Judith Butler:
Queer feminism, transgender,
and the transubstantiation of sex.
In S. Stryker & S. Whittle (eds.),
The Transgender Studies Reader.
(pp.257-280). London: Routledge.
Shumway, D. (1992). Michel Foucault.
Virginia, United States of
America: University of Virginia
Press.
Stryker S. & Whittle, S. (2006, eds.).
The Transgender Studies Reader.
London: Routledge.
- 8 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
Article Technical Report:
Drawing Androgynously A feminine
masculinity or a masculine femininity?
Gabriela DAmico
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
As a person I've always been one to stare at people, art, architecture,
nature, food. It is plain nosiness and curiosity. In my work we are like
sponges, absorbing everything and filtering what we feel is right for that
moment. I love watching people, the way they dress, their attitude, their
walk and talk, how they come across and what they wear, but not in a
snobbish way, but in a curious way. I love photographing people and
looking at old family albums especially of my grandparents, the way they
wear their clothes how elegance and everyday comfort can come together.
You can say that you can find inspiration from anything, art exhibitions,
colour, music, icons, vintage, and workwear clothing, different cultures,
objects, and architecture... as a designer you try to breathe it all in.
I’ve
always loved men’s clothes and the idea of women wearing it. It’s nothing
new, but it’s something I've always liked the look of. They always gave me
a feeling of ease and comfort and I find women wearing a man’s jumper,
trousers, or shirt, really feminine. A femininity that is not so obvious, but
something that is just there! Also music music gets the pencil working!!
I’m quite sensitive and
intuitive...
You pick up on
things, design and what people
are looking for, the idea of things
being unique and the way they are
not perfect, but that stand alone
and have their own character. In
short, the acceptance of being the
way you are. Not being contrived,
or put into a box because that is
what society wants in order to feel
at ease! I’ve always had this
thinking and more so after
studying fashion then working in
the industry, but this way of
thinking is not so dissimilar to the
Japanese aesthetics Wabi-sabi
(the acceptance of transience &
imperfection). With all that in
mind as a designer and working
within a design team we pick out
mood, images, objects, garments,
and create our story for the
season. A mood board where we
bounce of each other’s ideas and
create colour pallets select fabrics
and design!
The Designer in the Design:
When designers design we
usually have a body template
sometimes it can weirdly reflect
you. My model is probably 6” very
slim… androgynous; and I'm 5”3
curvy and soft! But I’ve been told
the facial expressions of the figure
I draw are like mine...
Unknowingly, I'm drawing my
“ideal”, less boobs… thinner
arms… taller...
Men’s clothing on women
has always inspired me. The
proportions you get when a
woman put on a man’s coat or
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 9 -
jacket this is always where I start
and then it adapts to a design that
in my eyes is modern and feminine.
Mens clothes don't restrict them
as much as women, they are more
practical, more comfortable, and
that is attractive to me to make
women feel the same. Without
sounding old or not old enough to
reference the kid 90 as ancient, but
tops for girls were figure hugging,
capped sleeves, and in an array of
disgusting candy colours... I
cannot remember who's T-shirt I
borrowed but like Oasis wore the
Adidas T-shirts, I tried on a boys
tee and that was that: The comfort,
the right length sleeve, the nice
navy-khaki-grey-melange
colours... the ease of it, it did not
hug my body or put my breasts out
on show. That was that. I started to
shop size Sin mens to get that T-
shirt which felt great on. I didnt
look blokey”, but who cares if I
did. I was still a woman and I still
looked and felt feminine.
Where to Begin?:
Our customer starts off as
our ideal muse and inspiration.
Strong women... my grandmother,
and mum, my aunties: Proud
hardworking. Famous icons:
Katherine Hepburn, Annemarie
Schwarzenbach, Patti Smith, Frida
Kahlo all women with strong style
and work identity. On my mood
board I also use men as
inspiration. I look at old
fisherman, or vintage photos of
Japanese workman, David Bowie,
the list is endless... At work we
inspire each other: The clothes we
wear; what we see and where we
see it; what we listen to - music, a
pod cast; which gallery or country
we visit. Its important! And we are
lucky that we bounce off each
other.
When I start to design I look
at the mood board and try to
absorb it all in an attempt to get
into the story of the person who
will wear the clothes. I look at the
garments, taking in the details and
translating it into a new design.
You can look at the same garment
season after season and find
something new in it every single
time.
I play with proportions or
fabric making a classic mans shirt
in a lightweight silk chiffon, the
result: Instant femininity, with a
masculine reference. If what we
design is quite boy-ish we can
soften it by contrasting it with a
feminine fabric or accessory. The
model we shoot it on will have that
androgynous look, but you style
her, and dress her to look
contemporary feminine in our
way. I like the fact that men also
pick up our magazine and are
enthusiastic about the clothes and
imagery, and say how they wish we
had a mens collection This, to
me, is positive!
Designing for Cultures:
I have worked as a designer
for two different brands: In Italy
and in London. Both with a brand
identity being masculine and
feminine. Although very different to
one another, I was probably
chosen to work for both brands
because of my design atheistic.
Boy-girl, girl-boy... In Italy, there is
a need for the woman to feel like a
woman and even if the inspiration
is from a man’s wardrobe the fit
and silhouette was defiantly more
"femminile" [“feminine”] and fitted,
but it was my job to make her feel
this way. In London, the woman is
more open and you can be more
experimental just as long she
- 10 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
doesn't look frumpy! Im Italian but
raised in England, and I think I
understand both types one is
more Mediterranean, so curvier;
and the other straighter and taller
but both are women. For both
companies I have been told about
my feminine handwriting,
although I often reference mens
clothing and being androgynous. It
is having this mix and style that
gives me the chance to design for
these companies and luckily sell to
the end customer... In a sense, I
design women's clothes that men
like to wear!
Designing for Comfort:
Men look more comfortable
in their clothes, and I am lucky
that at work I can wear what I like,
so I wear my brogue shoes, my boy
jeans, etc., and go into the office.
But women in some places still
have to wear the high heels and the
figure hugging dresses to be taken
seriously by their boss. I love
elegance, but style is not about
gender, its about expressing
individuality and attitude. I hope
the clothes I design today show
this. Its a floral print dress worn
with chunky socks and brogue
shoes; ts the man-style overcoat
with boy jeans and a fluffy mohair
jumperIts about mixing style,
comfort, and elegance; and its this
that shows off ones femininity.
Interestingly the best seller this
August in store was the Boy T-
shirt”! Our women wear it with
high-waisted trousers or jeans;
tucked inside skirt; or under
sleeveless dresses.
One Rule of Fashion Designing:
There are so many things to
think about when we design: The
price. The fit. Is it going to be liked?
Will it sell? Before I design I try
to think of as little as possible in
order to be free and instinctive.
Listen to your gut!... and design,
design, design! Its a time you want
to be alone with your mood, your
inspiration, music, a cup of tea, and
my pencil! I try to design in the
comfort of my home, then we come
together as a team and build the
collection... Its an exciting, but
scary moment.
One Risk in Fashion Designing:
The risk is when you design a
new thing which has no selling
history for the companyThat is a
risk, but thats what is the new and
exciting thing! You listen to your
gut, and normally it will work out.
Business is always risky. Every
company wants a best seller, but
style is different, its sometimes not
the best seller, but what helps brand
building. Also trust the designers
Thats why we get employed to do
this job
I was employed because of my
feminine masculinity!
Gabriela DAmico
https://www.toa.st/uk/
Senior Womenswear Designer at
TOAST
Please cite as:
D’Amico, G. (2017). Technical
Report: Drawing Androgynously
A feminine masculinity or a
masculine femininity? British
Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 8-
10.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 11 -
Article Position Paper:
The Case of the Arab Woman.
Shereen Shaw
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Abundant research suggests that self-image is inextricably linked to the
convoluted issues that girls battle to conform with a media-driven ideal
of beauty. The search for self begins during adolescence and thereafter.
What research alone is unable to do when speaking of the Middle East is
shine a light on a culture little known beyond the Arab world -- even to
people who visit the region. In the case of the Arab woman, the battle is
never-ending. From early on, girls are shown how to dress, how to
behave in the company of others, how to speak and how to be
in the
public eye. Taught from a very young age what they are and are
not
expected to become
. Causes of negative body image begin at an early
age with the realization that expectations and behaviour are far more
important than anything else. Some common causes of negative body
image are a result of rape, sexual abuse, and media imagery. In this
article, I shall attempt to explore some of the profound internalized
causes of negative body image which lead to a decreased sense of self,
feelings of unworthiness which contribute to mental health issues
ingrained in culture, religion, and Arab traditions.
SIMONE
DE
BEAUVOIR
wrote in the fourth and final
volume of her pivotal
autobiography, All Said and Done
(1972/1993) that faith is often an
appurtenance that is given in
childhood as part of the middle-
class equipment, and that is
unquestionably retained together
with the rest of it. If a doubt arises,
it is often thrust aside for
emotional reasons a nostalgic
loyalty to the past, affection for
those around one, dread of the
loneliness and banishment that
threaten those who do not
conform Habits of mind, a
system of reference and of values
have been acquired, and one
becomes their prisoner. Rightly
so, dogmas of religion preclude
critical thinking and analytical
reasoning especially that which is
needed for philosophical inquiry
for one to evolve as a human being.
In a Beauvoirian sense, what hope
is there for an Arab woman to be
committed to looking reality in the
face and speaking about it without
pretence? Can the delusion of
religion continue to deprive the
Arab woman of the simplest of
rights; the right to celebrate “the
body”.
“To lose confidence in one’s body is
to lose confidence in oneself.”
~ Simone de Beauvoir (1952)
If we consider ourselves to be
existentialists, and follow it as a
philosophy of life, we may claim
that we are born free. We are, as de
Beauvoir (1949/2011) claims “not
born, but rather, become a woman”
because of our choices and what
we have carved for ourselves with
the resources available to us in
society make our values, beliefs,
limitations and ultimately our self-
concepts. This presents an
- 12 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
ambiguous picture of human
freedom. Unlike Jean Paul Sartre,
de Beauvoir posits an
understanding of freedom in
which women struggle against the
apparent disadvantages of the
female body. As if ones merciless
self-criticism is not enough, a
young Arab woman bears the
burden of the voices within her
head which through an internal
dialogue presents the barriers of
how she should and should not
live. The daily struggles can often
be manifested as conflicting
behaviour and/or actions between
what one wants and what one
should or should not do. The
struggles that young girls endure
growing up in a restraining
patriarchal environment, which
some succumb to over the course
of adolescence, shape the critical
transition from girls to women who
suffer from low self-esteem,
isolation, depression and often
entrapment in unhappy
relationships and marriages.
In The Second Sex, de
Beauvoir (1949/2011) postulates a
key question: that of the female
embodiment. The question at the
heart of her work is whether the
supposed disadvantages of the
female body exist objectively in all
societies or are they man- made;
namely judged to be
disadvantages of our societies?
Ingrained in Middle-Eastern
thought and
culture is this view of
the female body as a disadvantage
or a hindrance and yet it is a
powerful vessel for the continuity
of life. The two views are shown in
de Beauvoirs thought when
speaking of the female body as
positive and negative. The Arab
woman is both; oppressed and free.
The body can be used as a vehicle
for freedom regardless of how it is
the very reason for ones
oppression in a dominant
patriarchal society.
Defining Self-Mutilation in the
Arab World:
The way in
which a woman
sees herself is affected by early
traumatic experiences which
demarcates her from the opposite
sex. The internal struggle is often
with the idea whether she sees
herself as a free subject or as the
object of societys gaze as de
Beauvoir would say.
Unfortunately, due to the
development of a girls body and
how society reacts in a hostile
manner, the latter view is often the
one which moulds a girls self-
concept.
The culture and certain
societal attributes inhibits Arab
women from finding meaning in
uniquely female experiences such
as menstruation, understanding
the female sex organs, pregnancy
and menopause. Each experience
is tarnished by a hostile reaction
from a society which imposes a
meaning of burden, disadvantage
and even shame.
A young girl is
looked at very differently once she
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 13 -
experiences her first menstruation
cycle. Once this incident is known,
questions are raised and alarm
bells ring and the talks of honour,
shame, chastity and the loss of
innocence begin. This is one of the
main causes for negative body
image at an early age. A young girl,
from this discovery onwards, is not
only battling with her own
understanding of her body and its
functions which is entirely
dependent on the support provided
to her by significant others, but
also is vulnerable to any ridicule
from others about that very fact of
life which happens to every female,
every month until reaching
menopause.
In an Arab household, where
the woman is expected to look after
the children, carry out the daily
chores, provide a cooked meal and
have these discussions with young
daughters as early as 7 and 8 years
old, the chances of this
conversation being had in an
informative and straight forward
way is scarce. Often, the
conversation brings about deep
feelings of anxiety, shame and
embarrassment of ones body
(Reisel & Creighton, 2015). From
speaking to several Arab women
about their experiences, the
majority expressed that it was
altogether a taboo subject:
I was only 10 when it happened. I
did not know what was going on
with my body. I screamed for my
mother to come and help! She did
not anticipate it happening so
soon. I remember feeling utterly
overwhelmed and even
traumatized. I was unprepared,
out of my depth and it took me a
long time to get used to its dreaded
arrival every month.
~ Anonymous
A ritual which has survived
over decades from one civilization
to another is female genital
mutilation [FGM]. The belief that a
young girl must be stopped from
potentially bringing shame upon
her family by engaging in sexual
practices is at the heart of this
ritual. For many years, women
have advocated all around the
world against FGM and called for
women education to reflect an
understanding of the female body
or to raise awareness of negative
body image and low self-esteem.
This ritual has a huge impact on
women sexuality and sense of self.
To this day, in the Arab world, the
ritual of partial or total removal of
the female genital organs for non-
medical reasons continues as an
act of honourrooted in gender
inequality (Toubia & Sharief,
2003). It is difficult to believe that
FGM is conducted from days after
birth to puberty and in later years.
The foundation years of the female
body is tarnished in the Arab world
by misconceptions that are not
grounded by any medical research.
In fact, this practice causes
recurrent infections, inability to get
pregnant, complications during
childbirth, urine retention and
difficulty passing menstrual flow
which in most cases fatal bleeding
(Abdulcadira, 2011).
Unfortunately, it is difficult
to report how many girls and
women in the Arab world die
because of this practice. FGM is
either not reported or
complications such as the
transmission of diseases are not
viewed as linked to FGM with some
not even diagnosed.
It is fair to claim that there is
limited research which ties
together all three factors; how
- 14 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
negative body image, low
self-esteem, and Arab traditions
during these critical foundation
yearsimpact directly a womans
development in life and self-
concept. Equally, not enough is
said on how these cultural and
societal attributes continue to
inhibit Arab women mentally,
sexually, and emotionally: What
message is sent to daughters today
about their menstruation and
which messages they will carry
with them as they grow older to
understand the process of
becoming of a woman.
Shereen Shaw
shereen.shaw@edgehill.ac.uk
PhD in Philosophy
Lecturer in Education, Edge Hill
University & Lecturer in Philosophy,
University of Liverpool, School of
Lifelong Learning.
Please cite as:
Shaw, S. (2017). The case of the
Arab woman. British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 11-14.
Photography Credit:
Crina Prida.
References:
Abdulcadir, J., Margairaz, C.,
Boulvain, M., & Irion, O.
(2011). Care of women with
female genital mutilation &
cutting. Swiss Medical Weekly,
140, 1-8.
de Beauvoir, S. (1993). All said and
done. (C. Borde & S. Malovany-
Chevallier, Trans.) London:
Vintage - The Random House
Company. (Original work
published 1949).
de Beauvoir, S. (2011). The second
sex. (P. O’Brian, Trans.)
Trowbridge, United Kingdom:
Paragon House Publishers.
(Original work published
1972).
Reisel, D. & Creighton, S. M.
(2015). Long term health
consequences of Female
Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Maturitas, 80, 48-51.
Toubia, N. F. & Sharief, E. H.
(2003). Female genital
mutilation: Have we made
progress? International Journal
of Gynaecology & Obstetrics,
82(3), 251-261.
Wider Suggested Reading:
Bergoffen, D. B. (1996). The
Philosophy of Simone de
Beauvoir Gendered
Phenomenologies, Erotic
Generosities. New York: SUNY
Press.
Cataldi, S. L. (2001). The body as a
basis for being: Simone de
Beauvoir and Maurice
Merleau-Ponty. In W. OBrien
& L. Embree (eds.), The
Existential Phenomenology of
Simone de Beauvoir. (pp.85-
106). New York: Springer.
Power, C. (2017). If the body isn't
sacred, nothing is: Why
menstrual taboos matter. The
Guardian. Retrieved from
http://www.theguardian.com
/uk.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 15 -
Article Position Paper:
Why breast is best, but boobs are banned:
From sustenance to sexualisation and
shame.
Sergio A. Silverio
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Despite the prevalent message in the United Kingdom still being one
of breast is best”; less than 1% of newly-born infants are exclusively
breastfed to six months of age. Whilst the rest of the Western world
similarly lacks adherence to international guidelines set by the World
Health Organisation, the United Kingdom in particular seems to
struggle with any level of exclusive breastfeeding. As researchers it is
right to critically appraise the situation and draw conclusions as to
why this may well be the case.
THE present article discusses
the phenomenon in the United
Kingdom in relation to society,
taking a critical feminist
perspective to argue that this is not
just a flagrant disregard of
international health standards,
nor a stark neglect of our childrens
health and wellbeing, but rather is
in retaliation to the double
standards imposed by our culture
whereby we are found to reinforce
the breast is best message, but
the breast itself is a forbidden
object. Thus, revealing the breast
in public (in order to feed ones
infant) leaves a woman open to
being derided and sexually
degraded, resulting in a collective
feeling of shame about the female
body, and about using the breast
in its fundamental form to feed
and without which the human race
would not exist.
Sustenance and the Breast is
BestMessage:
Despite global efforts to
promote breastfeeding, less than
40% of infants are exclusively
breastfed to six months of age. The
United Kingdom, demonstrates
figures of only 1% of infants who
are exclusively breastfed to this
same point in time, well below
other European countries, and far
lower than figures reported from
developing countries (McAndrew et
al., 2012). The Baby Friendly
Hospital Initiativewas launched
by The World Health Organisation
[WHO] and UNICEF in 1991 which
provided a code by which health
professionals were discouraged to
share information pertaining to
formula feeding in the immediate
post-partum period, but the
initiative is often mismanaged
(Furber & Thomson, 2006).
Worryingly, this policy which was
quickly adapted into the Breast is
Best tag-line, has been
highlighted as a cause of mothers
not receiving the right care by
health professionals in the
immediate post-natal period if they
were to breastfeed, a sentiment
which has also been supported by
mother who had sought advice on
formula feeding (Lagan et al.,
2014). The Breast is Best
message has been dropped from
the initiative, but the mantra
prevails to this day and mothers,
especially in the UK setting, are
- 16 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
guided towards breastfeeding over
formula or combination feeding in
the immediate post-natal period
(which is usually the hospital
environment). But what happens
once outside of that environment is
interesting the pressure to
breastfeed has been calibrated in
the mind of the new mother, and is
constantly reinforced by those
around her (be it professionals,
friends, or family), but our society
remains one where nursing in
public poses somewhat of an issue,
leading to poor emotional and
practical experiences (Komninou,
et al., 2017). Perhaps the most
interesting, yet dissonant findings
in recent studies of infant feedings
have been reported in the Fallon et
al., (2016) and Komninou et al.,
(2017) papers. The first records
67% of mothers who formula feed
felt guilty, and 68% felt
stigmatized, with over three
quarters of respondents feeling the
need to defend their choice of
feeding method (Fallon, et al.,
2016, p.11); where in the
Komninou, et al., (2017, p.8)
findings breastfeeding mothers
report the same three negative
emotions with the main source of
these being from the family
environment. A supplementary
finding of the latter paper was that
societal discourse relating to
negative experiences of
breastfeeding in public were largely
driven by the way in which the
media reported these incidences,
thus leaving new mothers with the
expectation that they too, shall
encounter these similar negative
situations of stigmatization due to
the need to be at least partially
nude to feed one’s young infant.
Britain, the Breast, and
Sexualisation:
The United Kingdom has
always had an uneasy relationship
with nudity, usually exaggerated
when said nudity is in a public
setting. A recent poll (YouGov,
2014) found 50% of British people
to be uncomfortable with being
nude; 65% of British people
agreeing that as a nation, matters
concerning sex and/or nudity are
likely to easily offend; and that less
than 30% of British people opt to
sleep without clothing, or have ever
skinny dipped’. The idea of public
nudity often intersects with the
incessant and vicious subjugation
of women through history. To
quote Simone de Beauvoir
(1949/2011, p. 552) a womans
breast transforms after the birth of
a child from a previously erotic
object to a source of life”,
demonstrating the initial thoughts
of a breast in society is that of a
sexual object desired by man, and
from which man can derive
pleasure and arousal, rather than
its base biological function of
providing nourishment for our
human young. Earlier
commentators, have suggested
feeding ones new born from the
mothers breast can further
ostracise already marginalised
women (such as women of colour,
of a lower socio-economic class, or
those women who suffer from
decreased mental or physical
capacity etc.) through the
eroticisation of the act of nursing
the vulnerable infant (Walton,
1997), hypersexualising and
exposing women who are thus left
vulnerable and as victims of
societys gaze.
It is this societal gaze more
commonly known as The Male
Gaze(Mulvey, 1975) which
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 17 -
frames women within the confines
of being but an object, looked upon
rather than an agentic member of
the society. In this regard, should
the breastfeeding woman look at
herself (in a mirror, or in a
pictographic representation,
including viewing other
breastfeeding women in person, or
through a medium such as
television), it is here argued that
she will not actually be looking at
her own representation, but that of
what society views her as in
relation to the societal desire for
the perfect feminine’. For
example, the breastfeeding woman
looks for herself or a
representation, but the image of
herself is viewed by the
heterosexual male or our
heteronormative society. In turn,
the heterosexual male or
heteronormative society projects
an image of the desirable female
(which in this case is not the
breastfeeding woman, as the
breast is being used for function,
rather than for sexual pleasure);
and finally the (breastfeeding)
woman (and other women, and
society) views her image through
The Male Gazeand not as herself.
She is indeed the last to see the
image of herself which society has
created, and she does not meet the
image of the perfect feminine
which is both sexualised and
prescriptive.
The ‘Perfect Feminine’ and
Shame:
If we take Sandra Bem’s
(1974, p. 156) commentary on
femininity: The ideal, or ‘perfect
feminine’ in our Western world
would be exemplified by a person
who was “gentle”, “yielding”,
“loyal”, “shy”, and amongst other
terms: “childlike”.
This bluntly
contrasts with modern-day
appraisals of how women should
look if we accept the findings of
Epperlein and Anderson (2016),
whereby young men reported a
range of evaluations of the perfect
female genitalsincluding the fact
that, for some, a womans genitals
completely absent of pubic hair
could look childlike, and therefore
not appealing for adult sexual
relations. Even from these two
studies spanning forty years in
time, is that womens bodies are
subject to profound, and constant
scrutiny. And in response, women
are frequently endangering their
lives by seeking elective cosmetic
surgery (Gagné & Mcgaughey,
2002), thus allowing them to if
even temporarily conform to the
hegemonic, yet ever-changing;
heteronormative standards of the
feminine ideal’.
How this effects women with
new born infants is troublesome.
There are a number of potential
outcomes, however we shall speak
of two, which are by nature inter-
linked: the post-natal body and
breastfeeding. Women in the
immediate post-natal period are
often scrutinized for their bodies
not returning to the feminine ideal
perpetuated by celebrity mothers,
or for society believing the mother
has no volition to return to her
pre-baby-body(Hopper & Aubrey,
2016; Nash, 2015). For new
mothers this can be a particularly
turbulent time and on top of
perhaps not feeling like a good
mother (Staneva & Wittkowski,
2013) for a multitude of reasons
(including not being able to, or not
wishing to breastfeed), this
collective, and public shaming of
the post-natal womens body can
only add to further distress and
anguish.
In fact it has been recorded
such that post-natal women who
- 18 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
have particularly low body image
satisfaction (especially heightened
in obese new mothers), have
generally much lower initiation
and maintenance rates of
breastfeeding once discharged
from hospitals (Swanson, Keely, &
Denison, 2017), and likewise those
with higher levels of body image
concern usually report shortened
lactation periods (Hauff &
Demerath, 2012). Further still,
new mothers with extensive
negative body image perceptions of
themselves during and after
pregnancy are more likely to
discontinue breastfeeding and are
at risk of higher levels of
psychological distress than healthy
weight women during the same
post-natal periods (Zanardo, et al.,
2016).
Conclusions:
Womens bodies are
frequently subject to societal
contestations of what is said to be
the feminine idealand thus can be
described as walking a tightrope
when it comes to their bodies and
body image, whilst the ideal is
altered, re-issued, and dictated
unto them. To not conform is an
implicit failure to meet societys
standards. Equally, to breastfeed
ones new born is explicit dogma in
this country; from health
professionals, from advertising,
and even from the majority of
ordinary people we have in our
lives and this is not set to change
meaning that should a woman
not breastfeed, once again they
implicitly fail to be a perfect
woman or a good mother’. This
however, comes with a ubiquitous
double-standard set by society.
Whilst the nation state would
favour all mothers to breastfeed
their new infants, that same nation
state would also prefer if women
did not do so in public. This
societal paradox has meant it is not
an uncommon occurrence to see
headlines released stating yet
another mother was asked that she
should cover herself up in, or
excuse herself from a variety of
public places such as hotels (Moore-
Bridger, 2014), restaurants (Molloy,
2016), a Church (Packham, 2017)
or even a museum (Evans, 2017),
whilst undergoing a fair amount of
emotional discomfort, distress, and
humiliation at the time.
It is fair to conclude, we, as a
society, understand and therefore
impose onto mothers the benefits of
breastfeeding using the breast is
best adage almost unconsciously;
however, we just as freely use
terminology such as cover up or
do that somewhere private to
police womens bodies and
breastfeeding actions which
systematically (even if not
intentionally) shames, distresses,
and discourages mothers from
breastfeeding. Society has become
so fixated on the breast as a
sexual object it may have forgotten
the primary practical function to
provide sustenance to our human
offspring. That is not to say women
cannot, should not, or do not enjoy
their breasts as part of their sexual
life, but we require an appreciation
of a personalised dual purpose to
this part of the body. As a society,
we should attempt to move forward
and allow mothers to breastfeed free
of harassment for doing so at the
end of the day, feeding a baby,
whether by breast or by bottle is
imperative for infant health and
whilst not every baby will
breastfeed, every breast has the
evolutionary design to feed a baby,
so if we truely believe in the right to
breastfeed, and that the breast is
best, should we not be less worried
about seeing the boob with which
women feed?
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 19 -
Sergio A. Silverio
Silveris@edgehill.ac.uk
MPsycholSci (Hons) in
Psychological Sciences (Clinical &
Health Psychology), Research
Assistant at Edge Hill University’s
Evidence-based Practice Research
Centre.
Please cite as:
Silverio, S.A. (2017). Why breast is
best, but boobs are banned:
From sustenance to
sexualisation and shame.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY,
1(2), 15-20.
References:
Bem, S.L. (1974). The
measurement of psychological
androgyny. Journal of
Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 42(2), 155-162.
de Beauvoir, S. (2011). The second
sex. (C. Borde & S. Malovany-
Chevallier, Trans.) London,
United Kingdom: Vintage - The
Random House Company.
(Original work published
1949).
Epperlein, E. & Anderson, I.
(2016). Man vs. Vagina A
Foucauldian analysis of men's
discourses about the perfect
vagina and female genital
grooming. Psychology of
Women Section Review, 18(1),
5-12.
Fallon, V., Komninou, S., Bennett,
K.M., Halford, J.C.G., &
Harrold, J.A. (2016). The
emotional and practical
experiences of formula-feeding
mothers. Maternal and Child
Nutrition, 1-14.
Furber, C. M., & Thomson, A. M.
(2006). “Breaking the rulesin
baby
feeding practice in the
UK: Deviance and good
practice? Midwifery, 22(4),
365376.
Gagné, P., & McGaughey, D.
(2002). Designing women -
Cultural hegemony and the
exercise of power among
women who have undergone
elective mammoplasty. Gender
and Society, 16(6), 814-838.
Hauff, L., & Demerath, E. (2012).
Body image concerns and
reduced breastfeeding
duration in primiparous
overweight and obese women.
American Journal of Human
Biology, 24(3), 339-349.
Hopper, K. M., & Aubrey, J. S.
(2015). Bodies after babies:
The impact of depictions of
recently post-partum
celebrities on non-pregnant
womens body image. Sex
Roles, 1-11.
Komninou, S., Fallon, V., Halford,
J.C.G., & Harrold, J.A. (2017).
Differences in the emotional
and practical experiences of
exclusively breastfeeding and
combination feeding mothers.
Maternal and Child Nutrition,
1-11.
Lagan, B.M., Symon, A., Dalzell,
J., & Whitford, H. (2014). The
midwives arent allowed to tell
you’: Perceived infant feeding
policy restrictions in a formula
feeding culture the Feeding
Your Baby Study. Midwifery,
30(3), 49-55.
McAndrew, A.F., Thompson, J.,
Fellows, L., Large, A., Speed,
M., & Renfrew, M.J. (2012).
Infant feeding survey 2010.
The Information Centre for
Health and Social Care. 1-331.
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Molloy, A. (2016, November 11).
'Shes turning me off my dinner' -
Mum describes shock at verbal
abuse for breastfeeding in
restaurant. Irish Independent.
Retrieved from
http://www.independent.ie/new
s/.
Moore-Bridger, B. (2014, December
02). Mother told to cover up with
'ridiculous shroud' while
breastfeeding in Claridge's.
Evening Standard. Retrieved
from
https://www.standard.co.uk/.
Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual pleasure
and narrative cinema. Screen,
16(3), 6-18.
Nash, M. (2015). Shapes of
motherhood: Exploring postnatal
body image through
photographs. Journal of Gender
Studies, 24(1), 18-37.
Packham, A. (2017, April 28). Mum
shocked after being asked to
cover up and leave seat for
breastfeeding baby in Church.
The Huffington Post. Retrieved
from
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.u
k/.
Evans, G. (2017, August 13). A
London museum told a mother to
stop breastfeeding, immediately
regretted it. Indy 100. Retrieved
from
https://www.indy100.com/disc
over.
Staneva, A. & Wittkowski, A. (2013).
Exploring beliefs and
expectations about motherhood
in Bulgarian mothers: A
qualitative study. Midwifery,
29(3), 260-267.
Swanson, V., Keely, A., & Denison, F.
C. (2017). Does body image
influence the relationship
between body weight and
breastfeeding maintenance in
new mothers? British Journal of
Health Psychology, 22(3), 557-
576.
Walton, J. (1997). Re-placing race in
(white) psychoanalytic
discourse: Founding narratives
of feminism. In E. Abel, B.
Christian, & H. Moglen (Eds.),
Female subjects in black and
white: Race, psychoanalysis,
feminism (pp.223-251).
Berkeley, United States of
America: University of
California Press.
YouGov. (2014). Survey Results
Britain: Still a nation of nude
prudes. London, United
Kingdom: W. Dahlgreen.
Zanardo, V., Volpe, F., Giustardi,
A., Canella, A., Straface, G., &
Soldera, G. (2016). Body image
in breastfeeding women with
depressive symptoms: A
prospective study. Journal of
Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal
Medicine, 29(5), 836-840.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 21 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - Reviews:
Event Review: The British Psychological
Society Psychology of Women Section 30th
Annual Conference: Cumberland Lodge,
The Great Park, Windsor, United Kingdom
(12th-14th July 2017).
Alison Mackiewicz
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
ACCEPTED to present my
research at the Psychology of
Women Section [PoWS] event this
year meant returning to
Cumberland Lodge and this filled
me with a huge sense of pleasure
and anticipation. Not only would I
be able to bask in the delights this
wonderful historical building has
to offer, but also revel in listening
and talking to a global and diverse
gathering of feminist researchers,
teachers and practitioners. I was
also so excited to be attending with
a work colleague, a PoWS virgin’,
with whom I could share this
experience! Needless to say, we
were not disappointed!
We arrived early on
Wednesday morning, taking a
slow, meandering drive through
Windsor Great Park, and then a
relaxing stroll in the grounds of the
Lodge. This conference venue is
quite unique; unlike the
commercial, somewhat lonely
aspect of staying in a hotel or
university accommodation when
attending a conference,
Cumberland Lodge is specialit is
like a family retreat, and I highly
recommend the historical talk and
tour while you are there.
This year, the outgoing
chair, Professor Marcia Worrell
(University of West London) opened
the event and introduced the first
keynote, Professor Sue Wilkinson.
Who better placed to walk us
through her personal reflections on
being a founder of PoWS and
celebrating its 30th birthday! This
was followed by three parallel
streams: (1) Family Violence; (2)
Feminism and Neoliberalism; (3)
Pregnancy and Birth; and two
equally engaging workshops: (1)
Gemma Ellis discussing some of
the considerations for teachers
who work with children where
there has been domestic abuse; (2)
PoWS committee members
reflecting on Feminism &
Psychology [F&P] and PoWS future
involvement. The first stream
presentations were by: Mia Scally,
Dr. Miranda Horvath, and
Professor Joanna Adler (Middlesex
University London) who spoke of
womens experiences of child
custody in the context of intimate
partner violence and abuse; Tanya
Beetham (University of
Northampton), who reflected on
her PhD research with children
who have experienced domestic
violence; and Jo Neale (University
of Bedfordshire), who also talked
about her PhD work, exploring the
kinds of remote control
perpetrators of domestic abuse
exercise after separating from their
- 22 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
partners. This first day ended with
fascinating presentations from the
PoWS Undergraduate prize winner:
Jessica Rooney (Leeds Beckett
University), on discourses of choice
surrounding prophylactic
mastectomy; and PoWS and F&Ps
Postgraduate prize winner,
Shamini Sriskandarajah, a
recently qualified integrative
therapist, on her autoethnographic
research into eating disorders.
Both these talks opened my eyes,
and mind, and reminded me why I
enjoy attending the PoWS annual
conference. Listening to such
engaging research from a feminist
perspective is powerful and
empowering and always leaves me
eager for more.
Thursday morning saw four
streams of individual papers, (1)
Sexual Violence; (2) Parenthood;
(3) Feminism & Social Media; and
(4) Health Experiences, plus a
collective symposium discussing
topics on various feminist
interventions in neoliberal times. I
plumped for stream 1, where Dr.
Laura Kilby and Donald Swinney
(Sheffield Hallam University)
presented a thematic analysis of
female students’ constructions of
‘lad culture’, followed by Chelsea
Murphy and Hebe Phillips (LGBT
Activists in North West of England)
insight on lesbian and bisexual
women’s sexual violence, and Drs.
Kate Milnes and Tamara Turner-
Moore’s (Leeds Beckett University)
paper entitled ‘Boys will be boys’
which explored sexual bullying.
This second day of PoWS is also the
fullest, and the first round of
papers was followed by the second
keynote speaker, Professor Janet
Sayers (University of Kent), who
provided an engaging and
intriguing talk about feminism and
psychoanalysis in the modern day.
After the usual superb
Cumberland Lodge luncheon,
consumed in the balmy sunshine,
the streams continued with
sessions ranging from gender,
power and resistance’, including
Neus Seguís (Kingston University
London) paper on British Muslim
womens power; to methods’, and
Dr. Panteá Farvid and Mariam
Mousas (Auckland University of
Technology) introduction to visual
motif analysis using Tumblr data as
their example. Running parallel to
these streams was a symposium of
four papers, chaired by Professor
Erica Burman (University of
Manchester) in the Library, and a
much tweeted about and
thoroughly enjoyed Design-a-
Vaginacraftivism workshop led by
Associate Professor Virginia Clarke
(University of West England).
Streams continued
throughout the afternoon,
including Dr. Meg-John Barker’s
(The Open University) brilliant talk
on analysing current self-help
books on sex & gender, and doing
sex-self-help differently. This was
followed by three workshops, one of
which was an opportunity to ask
questions about publishing
feminist research of the editors
from F&P and PoWS Review. The
PoWS annual general meeting
convened early evening, instating
the new Chair: Professor Katherine
Johnson (University of Brighton).
And the evening featured a 1987-
ish themed disco to celebrate 30
years of PoWS; this was a huge
success and wasn’t over until the
last few boppers retired at some
3am I believe!
Expecting a rather subdued
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 23 -
start to Friday morning, I was
amazed at the number of people
who attended the sixth parallel
sessions of the conference at
9:30am. This was the time I was
presenting on a co-authored study
about female experiences of sex
with partners surviving uro-genital
cancers. As a result I missed all
the great presentations on gender,
health and embodiment; on sexual
practices; and the five paper
symposium on qualitative surveys
as a feminist method. The
conference closed following the
final keynote by Professor Paula
Nicolson (Royal Holloway,
University of London), herself a
PoWS foremother’, who explored
the lessons PoWSees have learnt
during its history.
PoWS is a must attend for
those of you interested in feminist
health and wellbeing research. I
find most of the conferences I sign
up for enlightening, but PoWS has
the edge and this is because
everyone involved in the event is so
encouraging; it does not matter
whether you are a well-established
keynote or a fledgling
undergraduate, the atmosphere at
the conference is one that is
supportive and nurturing. I left
feeling inspired and reinvigorated;
my somewhat waning need to write
up my research had become a
desire once more, not an
obligation, and I am already
looking forward to PoWS next year
which will focus on Equalities
[11th 13th July 2018].
Alison Mackiewicz
alm53@aber.ac.uk
PhD and Psychology Lecturer
& Researcher
Please cite as:
Mackiewicz, A. (2017). Event
Review: The British
Psychological Society
Psychology of Women
Section 30th Annual
Conference: Cumberland
Lodge, The Great Park,
Windsor, United Kingdom
(12th-14th July 2017).
British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 21-23.
- 24 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - Reviews:
Event Review Theatre: The first national
UK tour of: Bill Kenwrights: La Cage aux
Follesat the Liverpool Empire Theatre
(Tuesday 4th Saturday 8th July 2017).
Sergio A. Silverio
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
MAGNIFICENTLY FLAMBOYANT,
DANGEROUSLY FUNNYAND
SIMPLY OUTRAGEOUS!
La Cage aux Folles has, for
the past forty-four years, been a
steadfast pillar of both the liberal
arts, and the cultural fabric of the
theatrical identity. In its long
history, the show has pioneered in
efforts to document a story of the
gay, lesbian, bisexual, and Trans- (-
vestite, -sexual, & -gender)
communities lasting as an unfading
icon in every setting to which it has
been transliterated.
Bill Kenwrights powerful
reincarnation of the original Franco-
Italian play, has this year toured the
UK bringing cheers, laughter, some
tears and most importantly, love to
all corners of the country. In this
production, which is the first
iteration of this play to ever tour the
UK, we are told the story of Georges,
a fatigued, gay, nightclub owner
(played by Adrian Zmed), and his
struggle to hold his less than
conventional family together as his
son, Jean-Michel (Dougie Carter)
returns to announce his marriage to
the daughter of an ultra-
conservative, right-wing politician.
This would not have been so much
of a problem, if the family home had
not been situated above to the
eponymous club, in the heart of St.
Tropez and Jean-Michels father was
not in a longstanding relationship
with La Cage aux Follesleading
lady Za Za”, who is better known as
Albin (Jean-Michels mother-figure’)
when not on stage donning a
sequin-rich dress, satin gloves, and
a feather boa. John Partridge
expertly played both Albin, the
ageing, paranoid homosexual; and
his alter ego the flamboyant Drag
Queen who was portrayed as a slight
rough diamond (with a Northern
accent), sapping energy from the
audience of La Cagewhen on stage
(and also flirting with the new
Trumpet player of The Empire!), but
sapped of energy and full of anguish
when out of the costumes and
realising he is not welcome at the
meet the in-laws dinner Jean-
Michel and his fiancée, Anne
(Alexandra Robinson) have
organised.
Throughout, we the audience,
witnessed Georges wrestle with the
fine balance of both his fatherly love
for his son, and his true love for
Albin. In doing so, he feels the need
to present a normal life for his
soon-arriving dinner guests, and
honestly believes he is protecting
Albin by excluding him from the
dinner, extending the invitation
instead to the (unseen) birth-mother
of Jean-Michel. This agony was
skilfully portrayed by Zmed, whose
tones and intonation smacked of
Nathan Lanes who infamously
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 25 -
played Albert/Starina in the 1996
American film remake, starring
Robin Williams as The Birdcages
owner Armand), especially with his
exasperation with his not-so-trusty,
but always loyal butler/maid: Jacob
(Samson Ajewole).
Whilst the cast had the
audience gripped from the minute
the curtain went up, through each
musical number and costume
change one must reflect and report
that the only aspect which was
disappointing about the
performance was the less than half
full Liverpool Empire Theatre. It
was quite possibly due to poor
advertisement of the tour dates in
Liverpool, but for those of us who
did attend, we had a spectacular
time.
As we entered Act II, one
could not help but ponder that
Partridge’s “Maman” (Albin’s third
character in the play as he
pretends to be Jean-Michel’s birth
mother) was a wonderful tribute to
Christine Baranski’s “Katherine
Archer” (again from the 1996 film) in
both looks and demeanour, as
Partridge emerged in an electric
yellow skirt-suit. As in every true
love story, there is a grand
resolution. In this production,
Jacqueline (an overbearing old
friend of Georges & Albin, depicted
by Marti Webb) comes to the rescue
by hosting the two families at her
restaurant, leading to a musical
number with the whole cast and the
unique revelation of Albin as a man.
The show ended on a high, with
Partridge’s voice soaring above the
rest of the cast’s; alerting the
audience to what an exceptional
and versatile actor he is, but
perhaps one unexpected highlight
was bearing witness to Partridge’s
exuberant sashay through the
neighbouring carpark after the
show.
“La Cage aux Folles” is, and
always shall be a triumph for
theatre, and this spectacular
performance is one to watch if you
need reminding of how courageous
this plotline is; how sensitively it
depicts the fragility of humanity;
and the meaning of family
motherhood, all of which has aided
in the breaking down of
unnecessary, and often cruel
stereotypes about the world outside
our hegemonic, hetero-normative,
hyper-sexually-repressed society in
which we live. This re-boot of “La
Cage aux Folles” shows the story is
definitely as influential and as
pertinent as it was when first
written in 1973, and yet the take
home message for us all, continues
to be a simple one:
“So hold this moment fast,
And live and love
As hard as you know how.
And make this moment last,
Because the best of times is now,
Is now, is now
Is now, is NOW!”
Sergio A. Silverio
Silveris@edgehill.ac.uk
Editor & SIG Secretary
Photography Credit:
Liverpool
Empire Theatre.
Please cite as:
Silverio, S.A. (2017). Event Review
Theatre: The first national UK
tour of: Bill Kenwright’s: “La
Cage aux Folles” at the
Liverpool Empire Theatre
(Tuesday 4th Saturday 8th July
2017). British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 24-25.
- 26 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - Arts:
Monograph: The androgynous anorexic body.
Shamini Sriskandarajah
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Content warning:
There are no numbers or food lists in this article; however,
some people with an eating disorder or in recovery may find
some of the content triggering or difficult to read.
ANDROGYNY
and anorexia
seem to go hand in hand. I can
speak only from the perspective of
my experience as a woman who
developed anorexia as a young
teenager, but there was a discord
in my desire to retain an almost
boy-like body while feeling like and
dressing like a teenage girl. Susan
Bordo describes the conflict in an
anorexics behaviour, the physical
passivity and vulnerability
clashing against the mental desire
for power and control.
I recently attended a writing
workshop run by the photographer
Rachel Cherry. We considered our
own self-image and how it
developed, how we feel about being
photographed and photographing
others. We also discussed ideas
such as Susan Sontags notion
that portrait photography is an act
of violence that we are violated
when another person sees us in a
way that we never can, and has
knowledge of us that we can never
know.
When I thought about my
own self-image as a young child, I
realised that although I was aware
I was a girl, I was also aware that I
looked like a boy, according to the
cultural stereotypes of boys and
girls that I grew up with. In her
work on gender and identity,
Judith Butler discusses the
heterosexual need for clear
opposites, for femininity and
masculinity. However, as a child, I
did not choose to look more
masculine than feminine. As a
toddler and a young child, I had no
choice over my haircut or the
clothes I was bought or given. So I
got used to having a short haircut
that made me feel even more
different from the white girls in my
class and my street, girls who
nearly all had long hair. Unlike me,
they would not be called a clever
girlby adults, but they would be
called prettyor sweetor cute”.
When a primary school teacher
wanted both me and my friend to
play the boy in a school play of
The Snowman, my friend had to
borrow trousers from me as she did
not own any. What is curious is
that once we became teenagers
and started buying our own
clothes, she would stop wearing
dresses and skirts altogether for
several years, and I would stop
wearing jeans and trousers. We
wanted to escape the gender traps
we had grown up with, to be free to
experiment with our appearance.
As an anorexic, when asked
to consider my best feature, I
would often choose my breasts,
although verbally I would usually
give another answer hair or eyes
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 27 -
where people’s gaze upon hearing
the answer wouldn’t unnerve me
so much. We use the term “flat-
chested” and analogies such as
“flat as an ironing board” to
describe small-breasted girls and
women, but I, and other anorexic
girls and women I have met, were
not truly as ironing board flat-
chested as boys. I was aware there
was something there, and the
something was part of what made
me feel feminine and female. And it
was gentler and more pleasant
than the other reminders of my
femaleness. I hit puberty in the
decade that push-up bras became
popular in the UK, but it was also
the decade that Kate Moss would
spearhead a new skinny,
androgynous aesthetic for girls. I
liked the choices I had when I went
out I could wear a push-up bra if
I wanted cleavage and just a
fraction of the sexiness of women I
admired, but I could be content
with my barely-noticeable breasts
the rest of the time.
There were times when there
was too much dissonance between
the things I thought I wanted a
skinny, boy-like, straight up and
down body, and the feminine
features I knew heterosexual boys
liked, such as more noticeable
breasts. Two boys at school
showed me a picture of Madonna
during her conical bra phase and
told me, Thats what youll never
have. Whether these fourteen-
year-old boys were aware that
women did not have conical-
shaped breasts, I do not know. But
I knew they were right: I would not
have that body shape. So it made
sense to me to retain the body
shape I had, and to believe that
skinny androgyny was the ideal for
me.
I recall trying on a dress I
really liked and getting upset when
I saw the gaping folds of material
where my breasts and hips were
supposed to fill it out. I was glad I
was the smallest size in the shop,
but could not understand why
clothes for young women were not
cut the way I needed them to be. I
was often unaware as an anorexic
how I appeared to others, but this
was one of the few occasions when
I saw myself for what I was. In the
mirror, I could not see the
underweight twenty-year-old who
wanted to look pretty and sexy.
Instead I saw a sad, lanky girl
playing dress up.
Fraser and Greco use the
word glamour to describe a
certain way of dressing for some
woman, and although I disagree
with their notion that glamouris
particular to middle-class women,
I can see how it is helpful when
discussing the anorexic conflict
between wanting an androgynous
body and wanting to physically
express ones femaleness.
Glamour is a way of transcending
the banalities of femininity which
render women as passive objects,
as signs of appearance without
agency, as something which has to
be done(p.132). I think this is how
I often expressed my femininity
whilst maintaining an
androgynous body. As if to say: I
may want my body to gradually
disappear, but I am still here and I
am distinctly me.
I am unsure if there is a way
to alleviate this anorexic discord. I
think openness and tolerance go
some way towards helping people
to feel comfortable in themselves
and their own, sometimes muddled
sense of identity. Of course, some
- 28 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
girls will grow to have body shapes
which naturally appear more boy-
like or androgynous than other
womens bodies. The problem is
that as much as there is a focus on
body size and weight in the media
and health education, there also
needs to be a dialogue about body
shape. If we can talk about how we
feel within our own bodies, what it
is like to dress our bodies in the
clothes we choose, what we see
when we look in the mirror, and
what we see and feel when we look
at other people perhaps we can
feel more comfortable with this
part of our intricate sense of
identity.
Please cite as:
Sriskandarajah, S. (2017).
Monograph: The androgynous
anorexic body. British Mensa’s:
ANDROGYNY, 1(2), 26-28.
References:
Bordo, S. (1995). Unbearable
weight: Feminism, western
culture, and the body. London:
University of California.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble:
Feminism and the subversion
of identity. Abingdon, United
Kingdom: Routledge.
Fraser, M., & Greco, M. (2005,
eds.). The body: A reader.
Abingdon, United Kingdom:
Routledge.
Sontag, S. (1979). On photography.
London: Penguin.
Shamini Sriskandarajah
therapyshamini@gmail.com
MSc in Therapeutic Counselling,
Registered Member of the British
Association for Counselling and
Psychotherapy.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 29 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Calling Jeremy Corbyn the ‘absolute boy’ isn’t funny, it’s a
reminder of how little he understands women’s issues. The
meme is supposed to be ironic, but Corbyn has proven over and over again that he
might be more of a ‘lad’ than his supporters are willing to admit.
Sirena Bergman,
01/07/17 The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-absolute-boy-meme-sexism-
womens-rights-labour-party-a7818431.html?
Canadian baby registered 'gender unspecified' in possible
world first. It has been done at the request of parent Kori Doty, a non-binary
transgender parent who identifies as neither male nor female.
David Millward,
03/07/17 The Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/03/canadian-baby-registered-gender-
unspecified-possible-world-first/
London Tube scraps 'ladies and gentlemen' to make
announcements gender-neutral. London Underground staff have been
told to instead use greetings such as "good morning everyone" to ensure that all
passengers feel "welcome". Danny Boyle, 13/07/17 The Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/13/london-tube-scraps-ladies-
gentlemen-make-announcements-gender/
UK to ban sexist adverts. Watchdog’s new standards to scrutinise, and
challenge, male and female stereotyping.
Owen Walker, 18/07/17 The
Financial Times:
https://www.ft.com/content/729db638-6ae4-11e7-bfeb-33fe0c5b7eaa
Press Release: Older never married women rely on strong
friendships to combat loneliness. Older women who have never been
married struggle to find their place in society, especially if they remain childless.
Jasmin Sore, 18/07/17 The British Psychological Society:
https://beta.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/older-never-married-women-rely-strong-
friendships-combat-loneliness-0
No, Teen Vogue, the backlash to your anal sex article was
not rooted in homophobia. Many of you read (and were likely angered by)
an article published earlier this month at Teen Vogue called “Anal Sex: What You
Need to Know.” The piece is framed as a body positive sex ed lesson it claims to
explain anatomy, address sexual health, and challenge traditional “penis in vagina”
sex. Meghan Murphey, 20/07/17 Feminist Current:
http://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/07/20/no-teen-vogue-backlash-anal-sex-
article-not-rooted-homophobia/
- 30 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Toni Collette Won't Ever Settle For Playing The "Mom
Of" Or "Wife Of" On-Screen. Like many female actors, Toni Collette
has spent much of her career playing moms, wives, and girlfriends on-screen.
From The Sixth Sense to Little Miss Sunshine to The United States of Tara,
many of the acclaimed actor's films and TV shows have seen her starring as
a character in support of someone else. Rachel Simon, 24/07/17 Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/p/toni-collette-wont-ever-settle-for-playing-the-
mom-of-wife-of-on-screen-74302
Women Who Left Their Lives Behind to Raise Families
in Gaza. 'Everything here is fine. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s
impossible to leave,' says Elena, one of hundreds of women from the former
USSR who are married to Palestinians and are living in Gaza.
Liza
Rozovsky, 30/07/17 Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-
news/palestinians/1.803583?v=DCAB7A098D098232CCA8B6EA5EDB005
A
Jordan repeals law allowing rapists to avoid
punishment if they marry their victims. The Jordanian
parliament has voted to revoke an article of the country’s penal code which
allows a rapist to escape punishment for his crime so long as he marries the
victim. Bethan McKernan, 01/08/17 The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jordan-rape-law-
vote-repeal-rapists-punishment-marry-victims-womens-rights-sexual-
assault-violence-a7870551.html
Megan Fox Encourages Her Sons to Be Themselves
and Wear What They Want Even If It’s A 'Frozen'
Dress. Actress Megan Fox, who says she grew up in a Pentecostal
household that she has called an "oppressive environment," is not about to
let her three young sons be burdened by the same limitations she had as a
child. Samantha Leffler, 02/08/17 a plus:
http://aplus.com/a/megan-fox-son-noah-frozen-dress-picture
A new film-rating system considers depictions of
gender roles. Common Sense Media is hoping to “promote more
positive, accurate gender representations that give kids the freedom they
need to be themselves”. H. G., 02/08/17 The Economist:
https://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2017/08/goodbye-mars-and-
venus
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 31 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
These teen girls from Kenya invented an app to end
female genital mutilation. Five teenage girls from Kenya are
headed to California to make their dream of ending female genital mutilation
(FGM) in their country a reality.
April Hautea, 03/08/17 Mashable UK:
http://mashable.com/2017/08/03/kenya-teen-girls-app-fgm-i-
cut/#MS2t7UDW7kqZ
Age when men first see porn determines how they
relate to women, study finds. The average man first saw
pornographic videos or images at 13 years old. What age a man encountered
porn decides in what precise way they'll mistreat women, a new study has
found. Andrew Griffin, 03/08/17 The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/porn-
age-first-viewed-young-old-women-relate-to-playboy-promiscuous-power-
exert-a7875481.html
Roseanne Barr responds to criticism over ‘Gender-
Creative’ child character on “Roseanne” revival.
Roseanne Barr seems to be enjoying the fireworks over the recent
announcement that the revival of her classic ’80s sitcom, Roseanne, will
include a “gender-creative” nine-year-old character.
Victoria Miller,
03/08/17 Inquisitr:
https://www.inquisitr.com/4407247/roseanne-barr-responds-to-criticism-
over-gender-creative-child-character-on-roseanne-revival/
A new men’s talk show in the works will challenge
gender norms. Justin Baldoni, of The CW's 'Jane the Virgin,' is on a
mission to change masculinity. Robbie Couch, 03/08/17 Upworthy:
http://www.upworthy.com/a-new-mens-talk-show-in-the-works-will-
challenge-gender-norms-hell-yes?g=2
The first U.S. boxer to fight as a woman, and then as
a man. “I still have split seconds of not recognizing myself. But for the
most part, I feel more comfortable than I ever have in my body,” says Manuel,
who underwent gender-reassignment surgery, becoming the first boxer in
U.S. history to fight first as a woman and later as a man.
Kevin Baxter,
04/08/17 The Los Angeles Times:
http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-pat-manuel-20170804-
htmlstory.html
- 32 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Top journalist sues Time magazine for ‘sex and age
discrimination’. The co-founder of the Women’s Equality party, Catherine
Mayer, is suing her former employer, Time magazine, for gender and age
discrimination, making the weekly favoured by President Donald Trump the
latest major media company to be embroiled in accusations of institutional
sexism. Emma Graham-Harrison, 05/08/17 The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/aug/05/catherine-mayer-time-
magazine-sex-discrimination-lawsuit
Boyfriend, 22… is one of the first to be convicted for
‘coercive control’. A man who restricted his girlfriend's access to her
bank account, broke her phone and insisted on her accompanying her to a job
interview is one of the first to be jailed for 'coercive control'.
Keiligh Baker,
07/08/17 The Daily Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4768400/Boyfriend-one-convicted-
coercive-control.html
In a Heartbeat: How an animated short by two students
became an overnight YouTube sensation. The film about a gay
middle-school crush has attracted over 15 millions of views on YouTube, just
days after it was posted, as well as praise from 'A Monster Calls' director J.A.
Bayona not bad for a first project.
Christina Caron, 07/08/17 The
Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/in-a-
heartbeat-youtube-beth-david-esteban-bravo-a-monster-calls-ja-bayona-
a7881126.html
Woman to undergo third gender reassignment in five
years after being bullied. The process and decision behind
transitioning into the opposite sex can often be a testing time in a person’s life.
But what if you were not happy with how you felt in your new body?
Jo Gamp,
07/08/17 The Metro:
http://metro.co.uk/2017/08/07/woman-to-undergo-third-gender-
reassignment-in-five-years-after-being-bullied-6834200/
'We hate the headscarf': can women find freedom in
Tehran's female-only parks? Parks exclusively for women are
popping up in Iranian cities, but critics are divided over whether this is just
another ploy to keep them hidden in public.
Renate van der Zee, 09/08/17
The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/aug/09/women-only-parks-
tehran-iran-segregated-outside-spaces
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 33 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Amazon sued by transgender woman and husband for
workplace harassment. A transgender woman and her husband
sued Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday, accusing the company of subjecting
them to severe harassment and physical threats when they both worked at
the retailer’s warehouse in Kentucky.
Daniel Wiessner, 09/08/17
Reuters:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-lawsuit/amazon-sued-by-
transgender-woman-husband-for-workplace-harassment-idUSKBN1AP2FI
Nepal passes law to end practice of exiling women for
menstruating. Bill aims to grant greater protections to women, who are
often forced to leave their homes and take shelter in cow sheds while having
their periods as part of Chhaupadi custom.
Roshan Sedhai, 10/08/17
The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/nepal-womens-rights-
menstruation-exile-law-bill-chhaupadi-acid-attacks-hindu-customs-dowry-
a7885861.html
Italy teenager's harassment account goes viral. An Italian
teenager's account of being sexually harassed has gone viral after she
described feeling "lucky for not being raped".
originally printed on
14/08/17 in Italy’s La Repubblica by V. Strambi, 16/08/17 BBC News:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40947660
Hindu and Jewish women wed in 'UK's first interfaith
lesbian marriage'. Kalavati Mistry and Miriam Jefferson met more
than 20 years ago on a training course in America, and tied the knot on
Saturday in a Hindu ceremony, wearing traditional red-and-white bridal
colours. Joe Sharman, 16/08/17 The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hindu-jewish-
lesbian-interfaith-marriage-first-lgbt-women-kalavati-mistry-miriam-
jefferson-leicester-a7896321.html
Lebanon Repeals its ‘Marry-Your-Rapist’ Law. Lebanon on
Wednesday repealed a law that allowed rapists to evade punishment by
marrying their accusers, the latest in a string of countries in the region to
reverse such provisions under pressure from Arab women’s groups.
Somini
Sengupta, 16/08/17 The New York Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/world/middleeast/lebanon-
rapists-marriage-law-repeal.html?mcubz=0
- 34 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rape victim, 10, delivers baby after India court bars
abortion. Local media reports said the girl had been raped by an uncle
and that he was now under arrest.
Rina Chandran, 17/08/17 Thomson
Reuters Foundation:
https://news.trust.org/item/20170817133850-cxr1s/
The Clever Way High School Boys Protested Their
School’s Sexist Dress Code.
When administrators banned off-the-
shoulder tops for female students, their male peers responded.
Alanna
Vaglanos, 18/08/17 Huffpost:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-clever-way-high-school-boys-
protested-their-schools-sexist-dress-
code_us_5997164be4b0a2608a6c0892?section=us_women
Health warning: why the sexy nurse stereotype is no
laughing matter. The refusal of an NHS trust to accept charity money
because it was raised by men dressed as nurses has highlighted the sexual
stereotyping of the profession. How serious a problem is it and does it
encourage harassment in the workplace?
Paula Cocozza, 23/08/17 The
Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/23/health-warning-
why-the-sexy-nurse-stereotype-is-no-laughing-matter
Andrew Neil steps down from Sunday Politics as Sarah
Smith takes the helm.
A
ndrew Neil is stepping down as host of the BBC’s
Sunday Politics programme, to be replaced by BBC Scotland editor Sarah Smith. He is the
first high profile presenter to take a salary cut in the wake of the BBC’s gender pay row.
Anita Singh, 23/08/17 The Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/23/andrew-neil-does-bit-
gender-pay-gap-stepping-sunday-politics/
Who Is President Michelle Bachelet? Chile Lifted Its
Total Abortion Ban & You Can Thank Her For That.
After months of effort on President Michelle Bachelet's part, Chile's total
abortion ban was lifted on Monday after its highest court voted 6-4 to allow
the procedure under some circumstances.
Tara Wanda Merrigan,
24/08/17 Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/p/who-is-president-michelle-bachelet-chile-lifted-
its-total-abortion-ban-you-can-thank-her-for-that-78220
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 35 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Canadians will soon be able to ID gender as 'X' on their
passports. Transgender travellers and those who do not identify as male
or female can check off an 'X' box.
Peter Zimonjic & Bonnie Allen,
25/08/17 CBC News:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/transgender-passport-x-identify-
1.4261667
Why Men Don’t Believe the Data on Gender Bias in
Science. Earlier this summer Google engineer James Damore posted a
treatise about gender differences on an internal company message board and
was subsequently fired. Alison Coil, 25/08/17 Wired:
https://www.wired.com/story/why-men-dont-believe-the-data-on-gender-
bias-in-science
France's Gender Equality Minister Wants On-The-Spot
Fines For Sexual Harassers. Marlene Schiappa was barely into
her teens when she realized that Paris, the City of Light, could be a dark place
for women. Jake Cigainero, 26/08/17 NPR:
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/08/26/545297078/frances-
gender-equality-minister-wants-on-the-spot-fines-for-sexual-harassers
Indian judge jails 'god man' for 20 years for rape of two
women. Self-styled “god man” Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh has been
sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape of two women.
Amrit Dhillon
28/08/17 The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/28/indian-court-
sentences-god-man-to-10-years-in-prison-gurmeet-ram-rahim-singh
Pink's VMAs Speech About Her Daughter & Androgyny
Is So Incredibly Moving. If you weren't already obsessed with Pink,
her performance and speech at the 2017 VMAs most certainly got you to that
point. Not only did the singer perform a medley of her biggest hits like "So
What" and "What About Us," but her acceptance speech for the Video
Vanguard Award was an emotional, eloquent take on issues like body image,
sexism, and empowerment. Rachel Simon 28/08/17 Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/p/pinks-vmas-speech-about-her-daughter-
androgyny-is-so-incredibly-moving-79388
- 36 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Paris's New Rideshare Service Is Just for Women.
Women Drive, which officially launched this week in Paris, was founded by
Boubchir, and, according to its website, runs a fleet of all-women drivers who
exclusively roll in Mercedes C-Class coupes. Each car is stocked with water
bottles, makeup kits, and computer tablets, and the "hostesses" are
multilingual and will refrain from bothering you with "prying eyes or
indelicate questions." Andrea Park, 29/08/17 Condé Nast Traveler:
https://www.cntraveler.com/story/women-only-rideshare-service-paris
Sofía Vergara scores big victory in frozen embryo
battle. Sofía Vergara scored a major victory in her contentious court battle
with ex-fiancé Nick Loeb over their frozen embryos.
Emily Smith & Ian
Mohr, 29/08/17 Page Six New York Post:
http://pagesix.com/2017/08/29/sofia-vergara-scores-big-victory-in-
frozen-embryo-battle/
Entrepreneurs invented a male co-founder to solve
sexism problem they faced. The tech industry is largely
predicated on an ambition to solve problems, and two women behind a recent
tech startup have distinguished themselves as remarkable problem solvers.
Keith Mann, 30/08/17 New York Times:
https://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/08/30/after-dealing-
with-sexism-entrepreneurs-invented-a-male-co-founder-to-solve-sexism-
problem/
Programs meant to encourage women in STEM may be
backfiring because it’s not women who need to change
New study finds that women in STEM tend to stick it out, but the field still
suffers from pervasive sexism. Amanda Marcotte, 30/08/17 Salon:
http://www.salon.com/2017/08/30/programs-meant-to-encourage-
women-in-stem-may-be-backfiring-because-its-not-women-who-need-to-
change/#.WawJOL0KBtg.facebook
Deliver us from Venus and Mars. I was at a dinner party recently
when that hoary old topic of loquacious women and laconic men popped up.
‘It’s a known fact: ladies are chattier,’ insisted a businessman who fancied
himself as one of nature’s realists. ‘There’s actually a major international
study which found that women use three times as many words as men.’
Gavin Evans, 01/09/17 New Internationalist:
https://newint.org/features/2017/09/01/gender-stereotypes
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 37 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
John Lewis gets rid of ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ labels in children’s
clothing.
The move to avoid ‘gender stereotypes’ has divided customers.
Rachel
Hosie, 02/09/17 The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/john-lewis-boys-girls-clothing-labels-
gender-neutral-unisex-children-a7925336.html
'American Space Ninja' Back On Earth After Record-
Breaking Flight. On Saturday, Astronaut Peggy Whitson touched down in
Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT alongside a fellow American and a Russian in their
Soyuz capsule, wrapping up a record-breaking mission.
Amy Held, 03/09/17
NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/03/548295156/-
american-space-ninja-peggy-whitson-back-on-earth-after-record-breaking-flight
Prince William & Kate Middleton's Third Child Could Make
History For Gender Equality. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge,
is pregnant with her third child. Because this is no run-of-the-mill family, that has
big implications for succession to the British Crown and this time there's the
potential for a hue first for gender equality in the system of succession.
Joseph D.
Lyons, 03/09/17 Bustle: https://www.bustle.com/p/prince-william-kate-
middletons-third-child-could-make-history-for-gender-equality-80778?
How China’s Male Sex Workers Mix Business with Pleasure.
Among the country’s ‘money boys,’ the boundary between paid hookups and genuine
attraction is increasingly blurred. Cai Yifeng, 04/09/17 Sixth Tone:
http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1000797/how-chinas-male-sex-workers-mix-
business-with-pleasure
'We are an example to the Arab world': Tunisia's radical
marriage proposals. Against strong opposition, Tunisia is pushing ahead
with laws that will allow women to marry outside the Muslim faith and grant them
equal inheritance rights.
Simon Speakman Cordall & Mona Mahmood, 04/09/17
The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/sep/04/we-are-an-
example-to-the-arab-world-tunisias-radical-marriage-proposals
Joy of unisex: the rise of gender-neutral clothing. John Lewis’s
decision to stop dividing children’s clothes by gender has sparked anger and delight.
But it’s not just childrenswear that is increasingly non-binary there’s a sartorial
revolution for adults, too. Emine Saner, 04/09/17 The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/04/joy-unisex-gender-
neutral-clothing-john-lewis?CMP=twt_gu
- 38 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - News:
Androgyny & Gender in The News.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Press Release: Schools around the country to stamp out
LGBT bullying. More than 1,000 schools will launch projects as part of £3
million initiative led by the Government Equalities Office.
The Rt Hon Nick Gibb
MP, 08/09/17 Government Equalities Office:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-around-the-country-to-stamp-
out-lgbt-bullying
Eddie Izzard could ‘give up comedy’ to become first
transgender MP. Eddie Izzard has said that he will give up comedy to run
for Parliament hoping to become the country’s first transgender MP.
Nick Duffy,
11/09/17 Pink News: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/09/11/eddie-izzard-
could-give-up-comedy-to-become-first-transgender-mp
Stunning Portrait Series Disrupts Society’s Notions Of
Feminine Sexuality. The installation will be unveiled at the Amber Rose
SlutWalk. Jenavieve Hatch, 11/09/17 Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stunning-portrait-series-disrupts-our-
notions-of-feminine-sexuality_us_59b68aaee4b0dfaafcf94165?utm
Incredible Stories Of Notable Transgender Figures From
Before 'Transgender' Was Even A Term. Psychiatrist John F. Oliven
of Columbian University coined the term transgender in his 1965 research work,
yet transgender men and women have lived in society, unnamed and
misunderstood, for years before that. Even now to some extent.
Aditya G,
13/09/17 Knowable: http://www.knowable.com/a/incredible-stories-of-
notable-transgender-figures-from-before-transgender-was
8 Women In STEM Who Are Changing The Game. Despite the
fact that women-led tech companies reportedly perform three times better than
companies with male CEOs, the gender gap in STEM science, technology,
engineering, & mathematics persists.
Elizabeth Enochs, 14/09/17 Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/p/8-women-in-stem-who-are-changing-the-game-63661
Bronze Age Women Travelled The World While Men Stayed
At Home, & We Only Just Found Out Because Of Sexism.
According to a new study, led by Professor Philipp Stockhammer of Ludwig-
Maximilians-Universität in Munich, European women of the early Bronze Age
travelled the world, while European men stayed close to home.
Elizabeth
Enochs, 19/09/17 Bustle:
https://www.bustle.com/p/bronze-age-women-traveled-the-world-while-men-
stayed-at-home-we-only-just-found-out-because-of-sexism-2367891
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Volume 1 (Issue 2) - 39 -
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - Dates:
Dates for Upcoming Events.
Autumn 2017
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
University of Sussex centre for Gender Studies
Current Events.
University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/gender/news-and-events/events
Gender Equality Awards Showcase. Tuesday 3rd October 2017,
Ashurst LLP, London, UK.
https://gender.bitc.org.uk/events/gender-equality-awards-showcase
SOAS Centre for Gender Studies Seminar Series.
Thursdays 5-7pm, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London, United Kingdom.
https://www.soas.ac.uk/genderstudies/seminar-series/
Gender Pay Gap Reporting Annual Conference. Thursday
12th October 2017, Scarsdale Place, Kensington, London, UK.
https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/Event/gender-pay-gap-conference-2017
University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies
Multi-disciplinary Gender Research Seminars
Michaelmas Term 2017. Monday 16th & 30th October and 13th &
27th November, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, United Kingdom.
https://www.gender.cam.ac.uk/Events/genderseminars
The British Psychological Society Stories of
Psychology Women in Psychology: From Invisibility
to Influence. Thursday 19th October 2017, Chancellor’s Hall, Senate
House, London, United Kingdom.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stories-of-psychology-women-in-
psychology-from-invisibility-to-influence-tickets-28496793677
The Gender Assembly. Wednesday 8th November 2017, 10th Floor,
Pearson, London, United Kingdom.
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-gender-assembly-tickets-
29691447920
The British Psychological Society Psychology of
Sexualities Annual Conference. Friday 8th December 2017, The
BPS London Office, 30 Tabernacle Street, London, United Kingdom.
https://beta.bps.org.uk/events/psychology-sexualities-section-annual-
conference-2017
- 40 - British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY, Autumn Edition September 2017
The S.A.N.D.R.A. Section - Arts:
Artwork: Untitled Oil Paint on Paper.
Rachael Writer-Davies
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
THE main idea around the
majority of my artwork is to explore
all kinds of feminine bodies, and
not just the vast majority of
women's bodies we see so much in
media.
It feels incredibly
empowering to be able to express
myself artistically in this way. The
first time I started to draw and
paint women's bodies, I genuinely
felt so much freedom that I had
never felt before. I think it was
because it felt so detached from
our society's constant judgements
for once! This picture (majority
blue and white oil painting) had
more of a plan to it than others did,
I'd say.
This painting depicts a
woman's body as it is often
appreciated by Western society.
The use of bright yellows, oranges,
and pinks are meant to draw the
eye to these areas of a woman's
body that Western society values,
often those body parts associated
with sexuality, such as breasts and
vagina, in contrast to the areas I
darkened in the painting that are
less important or often ignored by
our society… such as the brain.
Rachael Writer-Davies
Instagram: @rachaelwriterart
Undergraduate Student at The
University of Edinburgh, Artist, and
Poet.
Please cite as:
Writer-Davies, R. (2017). Artwork:
‘Untitled’ Oil Paint on Paper.
British Mensa’s: ANDROGYNY,
1(2), 40-41.
Editorial Notice:
This artwork has been first
published in this issue of <