Ashley Nisenson ‘14

The Invisible Trap: Patriarchy and Thatcherism in Top Girls

Published in 1982, Caryl Churchill’s play “Top Girls” deals with a woman’s shifting role in an increasingly capitalist, Thatcherian society in Great Britain. The central protagonist in the play is Marlene, whose adoption of Thatcherian feminism roots in her adherence to a patriarchal societal ladder is fueled by the male-dominated corporate culture capitalism promotes. Through a dissection of Marlene’s relationships with her family and coworkers, as well as her internalized trauma of growing up with a neglectful father, we will see how her ruthless, often sociopathic brand of feminism does nothing to empower and unite women, but rather perpetuates the preexisting gender inequalities present throughout history.

Haley Thomas ’14

Gender Roles and Gendered Bodies in Breast Cancer Awareness Advertising

Breast cancer campaigns are some of the most visible health awareness campaigns, especially as the sale of pink-ified products allow consumers to demonstrate symbolic and economic support for the cause. Both non-profit and for-profit organizations manufacture breast cancer awareness media; and their differing strategic aims govern the messages they disseminate. Most breast cancer awareness media situates women as wives and mothers and as survivors and fighters -- both as dependent community members and independent individuals. Exploration of the portrayal of women within breast cancer advertising exposes prevailing notions gender and disease.

Bryell Turner ‘14

“She’s Come Undone” Constructing and Contesting Identity through Feminist Slam Poetry

What forces have impacted how you see yourself? For me, things situated both internally and eternally have converged to shape my identity. As Simone deBeauvoir famously said, I was not born a woman, but am in the process of becoming one. Images and memories are indelibly inked on my womanself, and expressing these through poetry is one step I have taken in understanding and defining my identity. In fact, the use of the term “womanself” is my reclamation of woman as self and not other; this concept is central to deBeauvoir’s feminist philosophy, and while the definition of woman is not universal, I reserve the right to define my womanself however I choose. A postmodern feminist lens allows me the greatest individual freedom to analyze my past and present experiences, and it is because of that freedom that I am able to use a nontraditional medium to academically analyze my selfhood.

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