Sex and gender
1. Fun Home depicts some of the ways that sexuality as we understand it today is often seen as central to a person’s identity. Discuss how sexuality is presented as an important part of the story or narrative of identity for one or more characters in Bechdel’s book. How does Bechdel use intertextuality to tell this story or narrative? Focus on at least one prominent intertextual reference in your discussion. Make sure that you discuss the images as well as the words.
Set text to discuss: Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. New York: Mariner Books, 2007.
2. Histories of feminism encourage us to see that the current refugee crisis is one of the most pressing issues confronting feminism in Australia today. Discuss with reference to the three ‘waves’ (first, second and third) of feminism.
Set text to discuss: Whatever Happened To… Women’s Lib? (2015) (ON CLOUD)
3. Some people argue that feminism today focuses too heavily on the individual, as opposed to the collective struggle characterising Women’s Liberation of the 1970s. This is despite a growing awareness of the need to focus on difference and to enact an intersectional feminism. What are some examples of how feminism is different today when compared to Women’s Liberation of the 1970s? Discuss the ideas of individualism, collectivity and intersectionality in your response.
Set text to discuss: Beyoncé. Lemonade. Parkwood Entertainment LLC.2016. (ON CLOUD) AND/OR Dunham, Lena. Girls. HBO, Series 4, Ep 10 Of 10.(ON CLOUD)
4. How are gender and sexuality represented in Carol? How do these representations link to representations of class and power in the novel?
Set text to discuss: Highsmith, Patricia. Carol [the Price of Salt]. 1952. Bloomsbury Classics. London: Bloomsbury Pub., 1993.
5. How has growing up changed since Gay Liberation? Discuss the ideas of masculinity, discourse, essentialism and social constructionism in your response.
Set text to discuss: Conigrave, Timothy. Holding the Man Melbourne: McPhee Gribble, 1995. AND/OR Law, Benjamin. The Family Law. SBS.2016. [episode one, Season One] (ON CLOUD) AND/OR Thomas, Josh. Please Like Me. ABC.2016. [episode one, Season Four] (ON CLOUD)
6. The body is a focal point for political struggles and cultural representations in relation to gender and sexuality. Similarly, the body plays a central role in political struggles and cultural representations in relation to labour and workers’ rights. Therefore, there are connections between the politics of gender and sexuality and the politics of work and class. Discuss through reference to the set text and at least one other prominent example. Discuss the ideas of power, solidarity and coalition politics in your response.
Set text to discuss: Pride (2014) (director Matthew Warchus). Film.(ON CLOUD)
7. Trans politics challenges people to rethink ideas about gender and feminism. Popular culture (e.g. cinema, celebrity culture, YouTube, television, popular music etc.) has played an important role in promoting trans politics and its impact on changing ideas about gender and feminism. Discuss. Discuss the ideas of discourse, essentialism and social constructionism in your response.
Set text to discuss: Transamerica (2005) (director Duncan Tucker). Film.(ON CLOUD)
8. Australian feminism and LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer) politics and culture have often neglected or ignored indigenous people, knowledges, and histories. Discuss some explanations for why this has occurred and how this neglect and ignorance can be addressed.
Set text to discuss: Hodge, Dino, ed. Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives: Life Stories and Essays by First Nations People of Australia. Mile End, South Australia: Wakefield Press, 2015.
9. Despite the emphasis on difference in contemporary politics and culture concerned with gender and sexuality, people with so-called disabilities – that is, people who deviate from some kind of expectation about what bodies or minds should do – are still often ignored and made invisible in debates over and representations of gender and sexuality. Discuss via at least one set text: