I’ve been submitting applications for things.
I sent in an abstract (with a good friend and her PhD supervisor) to the Digital Humanities 2013 conference. This is the short version:
In this paper, we argue that the digital humanities community, which has an ongoing interest in studying the literary dimensions of gender, is at an opportune moment to join the conversation on gender theories from other disciplines. Moreover, we suggest that DH can take a leadership role in moving beyond the assumptions of binary gender, and instead engage with non-binary gender in meaningful and tangible ways through DH teaching and research.
It’s a pretty big deal! For one thing, it’s an international conference and it would result in a publication. For another, the fact that my friend and her supervisor had enough faith in my academic abilities to go out on a limb and invite me to write with them is a huge compliment. And for a third, writing about non-binary gender in a totally new field is ridiculously exciting. AIYEE!!!
I also submitted an application to the SU Undergraduate Research Symposium. This is also a big deal, because I am really excited about my topic and my supervisor said that it is “very good,” which is awesome. (She also said it needed to be tightened up and this is the post-tightening version… though it’s still not as great as I wish it was.) This is my slightly edited application (after the jump, because it’s longer than the short version of our DH 2013 submission – I’ll post the long version of that once we’re approved. Which we obviously will be! I hope. I hope I hope I hope):
Research title: Hot, Sweaty Feminism: How “Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous” Performs Feminism
Research question and hypothesis:
My question is what makes feminist pornography feminist? I hypothesize that the feminism in feminist pornography is heavily influenced by queer and third wave feminist theory and that feminist pornography subverts tropes of mainstream pornography, including the stereotypical male gaze, through camera work, aesthetics, and representations of consent and agency. I am also interested in whether feminist pornography can create a stable instance of feminism, or whether the feminism it represents is dependent on the context within which it is received. I hypothesize that anti-porn feminists will never read feminism in pornography regardless of the feminist identification of the producer or director, or the feminist marketing and production of the text. Is feminist pornography still feminist when the viewer is not, or when the viewer does not believe pornography can be feminist? While there are elements of feminist pornography that may be feminist regardless of the viewers’ self-identification (as feminist, anti-feminist or anti-porn feminist), I hypothesize that the larger project of feminist pornography requires a sex-positive and porn-friendly feminist or proto-feminist audience. My research draws source material from The Feminist Porn Awards, an annual film awards ceremony begun by adult store Good For Her in 2006. I hypothesize that “Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous,” 2012 winner for “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” targets its ideal audience and alienates mainstream porn viewers by using unexpected (and sometimes unflattering by conventional standards, such as the green lighting in the first scene) lighting choices and camera angles that highlight the voyeuristic and intrusive role that the audience plays.
Feminist pornography comprises a growing, diverse body of work. Yet defining what is feminist about this pornography is tricky. There is no single cohesive definition for feminism itself, and therefore no single cohesive definition of feminist pornography. Some feminists argue that pornography can never be feminist. Others assert that feminist pornography can and does play a role in sex-positive feminist activism. I propose that it is possible to analyze the feminism in feminist pornography by articulating a specific feminist viewpoint and analyzing the text through that lens. The Feminist Porn Awards provide an ideal body of source material. These awards require that a woman be involved in a significant creative role, that the film depict genuine female pleasure, and that it challenge mainstream porn stereotypes and expand the boundaries of sexual representation on film. While these may be necessary prerequisites for feminist pornography, their presence does not guarantee a feminist production. This research project involves a close reading of “Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous,” examining what is (or isn’t) feminist about the production. Examined elements include; aesthetic choices and how they either subvert or support the traditional “male gaze” of mainstream pornography; representations of gender, orientation, pleasure, consent, negotiation and safer sex; how “Fuckstyles of the Queer and Famous” uses tropes of stardom both within its marketing and its production; and whether these tropes of stardom contribute to or detract from the feminist content.
This is an on-going research project that will be part of my English Honours thesis. I am the primary researcher, with significant assistance from my supervisor, Dr. Rebecca Sullivan.
Cross your fingers for me! (That’s not in the application. Just the blog.)