Category Archives: Third Panel Session: Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality

The Moral Status of Feminist Advocacy: The Dilemma of Imperfect Foresight

This paper will look at the ways in which feminist thought and advocacy, by virtue of its heterodox status, often fails to foresee how feminist achievements will play out in the long-term. Building on the work of Nancy Fraser and others, it will argue that feminist achievements often end up displacing one type of oppression with another, albeit less salient, form of oppression.

Imperfect foresight results in emancipatory strategies from a given paradigm becoming oppressive, or at least restrictive, in the subsequent paradigm. This violates the foundational normative premise of the feminist movement in almost all forms. Consequently, there is a moral need for feminist advocacy to not only look to horizon points in establishing change, but to theorise about plausible and tangible ways in which the dialectic of feminism and malestream may interact. It is through this method that particular emancipatory strategies can gain greater credence within the discipline and, consequently, within wider political movements.

Bryn Gough

2nd Year Political Science BA




The Mechanisms of Global Spreading of Gender Mainstreaming Policies

Although the international system in which states operate is an arguably anarchical space, over 100 countries, and thus the majority of nation-states, introduced policies in favour of and aiming at the advancement of women. The implementation of gender-sensitive legislation has spread globally since the 1970s, throughout very dissimilar states and passed by governments with varying orientations, priorities and outlooks. Therefore the question arises, how the diffusion of gender related policies works. Neither is a global government acting and setting an agenda, nor can a shared cultural background be pointed at to explain the mechanisms of this policy diffusion.

This paper will briefly outline the historical background and beginnings of a feminist movement in favour of legislation empowering women and then examine the role of NGOs in influencing and pressuring states to adopt policies. Then it will move on to identify factors that forwards the adaptation and talk about the English School as a driving school of thought behind the logics of these processes. In two short case studies, I will point out the shortcomings of this model.

The global spreading of gender mainstreaming policies is a sublime example of how the global system has become and still is becoming a global society in which actors, such as individuals and collectives, NGOs and pressure groups, shape and form the world we live in today.

Natalie Werner

 1st Year International Relations, BA




Representations of rape victims in the media

The issue of rape is still largely ignored in society. There has been little coverage of rape in the media and victims often remain unwilling to report or openly discuss their experiences. In this presentation I assess theories of social attitudes towards and media representations of rape victims. I shall focus on the concerns of the anti-rape and women’s liberation movements. The anti-rape movement which first appeared in the early twentieth century had little success before the development of second-wave feminism of the early 1960s. During this time, the anti-rape movement was met with support from the women’s liberation movement.

I am concerned with the question of whether the aforementioned social forces have contributed to a change in representations of rape victims in the media. Discourse and textual analysis of two Hollywood films released in the late 1980s and early 1990s revealed that rape victims have been given a space in the media. This was a key factor which the abovementioned social forces had campaigned to achieve. Referring to film reviewers and theorists, I argue that they were successful. Whether these changes have prevailed is more difficult to establish. However, I propose that the media has taken into account the seriousness of rape in the context of the anti-rape and women’s liberation movements.

Elena Lynch

4th Year Sociology (with International Study Year) BA