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Cyborg Feminism: Ambiguity and Hybridity of the Female Cyborg

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A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among

A posthuman figure like the female cyborg challenges traditional humanist feminism in ways that make room for theorizing new subjectivities and feminist epistemologies. Rather than support a traditional feminism that assumes common experiences within patriarchal society and erases differences among women, cyborg feminism moves beyond naturalism and essentialism to acknowledge complex, individual, and ever-changing identity. Three films, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015), all offer such a vision of the female cyborg. In these films, the cyborg subject is a composite of machine and human—sometimes physical, dependent on the corporal mixing of flesh and machine, but just as often mental. Human sentiment, human memories, and human emotion merge with mechanical frames and electronic codes/coding to produce cyborgs. Importantly, every main cyborg in these films is coded as female. For each cyborg, a female body hosts preprogrammed sexuality and the emotions each creator thinks a woman should have, whether those are empathy, compassion, or submissiveness.

The cyborgs in these films, however, refuse to let categorizations like female, or even their status as human, alive, or real, restrict them so easily. As human-robot hybrids, cyborgs bridge identities that are assumed to be separate and often oppositional or mutually exclusive. Cyborgs reveal the structures and expectations reified in gender to suggest that something constructed can as easily be deconstructed. In doing so, they create loose ends that leave space for new understandings of both gender and technology. By viewing these films alongside critical theory, we can understand their cyborgs as subversive, hybrid characters. Accordingly, the cyborg as a figure subverts and fragments the coherency of narratives that present gender, technology, and identity in monolithic terms, not only helping us envision new possibilities but giving us the faculties to imagine them at all.

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2019-05

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The Emerging Art Worlds of the South Asian Diaspora

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In the late 2000s and 2010s, digital art and the use of the internet as a new platform for art to be displayed became increasingly common. A new art scene began developing among South Asian diasporic artists, driven primarily by

In the late 2000s and 2010s, digital art and the use of the internet as a new platform for art to be displayed became increasingly common. A new art scene began developing among South Asian diasporic artists, driven primarily by adolescents and young adult women who have never attended art school. Their primary medium is digital tools, their primary display platform is the internet, and they adhere to a DIY ("do-it-yourself") ethic rather than traditional art techniques and norms. As these internet artists have forgone the traditional gallery art scene in favor of more accessible internet platforms, these artists have not received attention from the mainstream art world. However, the popularity of these internet artists is undeniable as many of them have tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of followers on their social media accounts. This new art scene has gained notice with the advent of social media platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram and websites focused on youth culture and counterculture, such as Vice, Buzzfeed, Dazed, and independent digital zine publications. The content of the work of these artists is often political, promoting feminist ideals, challenging South Asian and European beauty standards and limiting stereotypes of South Asian women, and creating groundbreaking new representations of South Asian women. Influences from both South Asian and Western pop culture and counterculture are prominent in their as well. This thesis explores the origins of this art scene and its roots in South Asian modernism and conventional South Asian diasporic artists.

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2018-05

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Legally Male: The Role of Legal Language in Maintaining Sexism

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Psychological studies and feminist theories have determined the existence of many forms of
male bias in the English language. Male bias can be traced through American history in the form of laws of coverture and the categorization of women in

Psychological studies and feminist theories have determined the existence of many forms of
male bias in the English language. Male bias can be traced through American history in the form of laws of coverture and the categorization of women in law. Taking into account the connections between sexist language, history, and law, this paper investigates 1) how and why legal language is biased, 2) why male bias has persisted in law over time, and 3) what impact male-biased law has on women. The works of ancient philosophers, feminist historians, psycholinguistic scientists, and modern philosophers of law are used to explain the patriarchal gender hierarchy’s influence on law. Case law and legal policies demonstrate that sexism has been maintained through history due to the preservation of male-biased language and the exclusion of women from the public sphere. Today, the use of masculine generics continues to taint the legal profession by reflecting, rather than denouncing, its patriarchal roots.

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2020-05

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Cinderella and Her ""Faux Feminist"" Contemporary Retellings

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Fairy tale retellings have permeated literature, film, and media ever since the original stories emerged. New adaptations are constantly being released, and therefore new research must constantly be published. In this study, I analyze "Aschenputtel" by the Brothers Grimm, as

Fairy tale retellings have permeated literature, film, and media ever since the original stories emerged. New adaptations are constantly being released, and therefore new research must constantly be published. In this study, I analyze "Aschenputtel" by the Brothers Grimm, as well as various retellings of "Cinderella," including Andy Tennant's Ever After (1998), Mark Rosman's A Cinderella Story (2004), and Marissa Meyer's Cinder (2012). This selection includes a live-action historical film, a live-action contemporary film, and a science fiction novel, all with an intended audience of young adults. While the Brothers Grimm story and Ever After have already been analyzed in the context of gender representation (Zipes, Bottigheimer, Williams), prior academic research fails to adequately address the gender issues in A Cinderella Story and Cinder. Because Ever After, A Cinderella Story, and Cinder are more contemporary than the Grimms' "Aschenputtel," they are often thought to be more progressive (Gruner, Vera, Travers). However, I propose that they still have problematic implications, despite their publication in contemporary society. Jack Zipes, an acclaimed fairy tale scholar, argues that, "For the most part, the transformations [of contemporary Cinderella retellings] tend to be modern remakes with a faux feminist touch" ("The Triumph" 361). Similar to Zipes, I argue that, although the texts initially appear progressive and "feminist," they ultimately support problematic ideals related to gender. All three contemporary texts seem to ally themselves with an ethos of female empowerment through their protagonists' rejection of traditional femininity, but the inclusion of gender policing and the characters' eventual acceptance of hyperfemininity undermine this characterization, as does the ultimate heteronormative "happily ever after." Additionally, the use of competition (between Cinderella and her stepfamily, as well as new female characters) pits women against each other, often because of a man, which generally prevents the development of female camaraderie, other than with the fairy godmother. Further, rather than allying herself with female power (i.e. the mother), the protagonists in both Ever After and A Cinderella Story are defined by their relationship with the father, which minimizes their agency as it suggests a transfer of ownership from the father to the husband/prince. This framing of the protagonist by the father and prince (specifically as she works to "perfect" the prince) seems to relegate the female characters to a supplementary role, simply acting as a tool for the male characters' development.

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2018-05

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Feminist Royalty: Assessing the Disney Princess and her Sociocultural Effects

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With each new Disney princess being hailed as finally representing a strong, positive female role model, the images presented by older princesses come into question. This investigation delves into the messages put forth by the Disney princess films and the

With each new Disney princess being hailed as finally representing a strong, positive female role model, the images presented by older princesses come into question. This investigation delves into the messages put forth by the Disney princess films and the way in which these ideas are developed within each of their movies. By defining the core of feminism to revolve around agency and the freedom of choice available to the women in the films, each princess' adherence to feminist values was analyzed. All current and expected Disney princesses were evaluated (Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Anna, and Elsa). The princesses were split into five categories to offer comparison and conclusions between women with similar characteristics: the Traditionals, the Dreamers, the Adventurers, the Rebels, and the Non-Conformists. Major findings include the evolution of the marriage ideal presented by Disney, the issue between race and labor within the princess franchise, and the amount of agency each princess is allowed in her movie. Disney presents many stories where the individual wishes of a princess class with her society or community, but not all princesses are successful in going against their cultural values. A majority of the princesses do exercise their agency in their films, but this is done with varying degrees of freedom and choices available to them. Disney's representation of traditional love stories has slowly evolved, now allowing women to pursue other dreams concurrently with romance, or even dreams entirely devoid of love. Disney has also made an effort to branch out with princesses of color and from other cultures, yet these films often end up presenting a cultural critique as opposed to a feminist critique of gender roles. The franchise also seems to present labor as a form of oppression which white princesses must escape while princesses of color do not receive the same respite or salvation at the end of their films. White princesses end with a life of luxury and relaxation that isn't afforded to Disney's princesses of color. Though there is much room for improvement with future Disney princess films, the past princesses are not necessarily as "anti-feminist" as they have been portrayed. Each princess exhibits more autonomy and agency than the last, providing more paths and options for young girls to consider as they grow up watching these films.

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2016-05

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Making It Look Like a University Was Here: Arizona State University Architecture and Planning in the G. Homer Durham Decade, 1960-69

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Arizona State University experienced some of its most explosive growth in the 1960s—doubling its enrollment in just seven years, expanding many programs and adding a college of law, and significantly augmenting its physical plant. This work examines the architectural and

Arizona State University experienced some of its most explosive growth in the 1960s—doubling its enrollment in just seven years, expanding many programs and adding a college of law, and significantly augmenting its physical plant. This work examines the architectural and planning development of ASU in this decade and the surrounding years, coinciding with the presidency of Dr. G. Homer Durham, in various facets. Topics covered include the pedestrianization of the university campus, land acquisition and street realignment; the construction of newer and taller buildings to accommodate and expanded student population and educational program; and efforts to improve the university’s prestige through the use of modern architecture. ASU’s physical and human growth is compared to selected peer institutions. The legacy of the 1960s at ASU is also discussed within a historic preservation context.

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2016-05

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Problematizing Popular American Feminism

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This thesis looks at how feminist biography is used as a part of mainstream feminism in the United States. In particular, I look at how Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter share their experiences in the workplace in an effort to

This thesis looks at how feminist biography is used as a part of mainstream feminism in the United States. In particular, I look at how Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter share their experiences in the workplace in an effort to illuminate the struggles they have faced as women and to justify the changes they see necessary for the success of women. They base their argument for these changes on their own social assumptions about women in the private sphere and women at work. Their feminist biography may serve to help a small set of individuals, but overall the solutions they provide are applicable to only a limited demographic of women. The ultimate goal for both Sandberg and Slaughter is to achieve equality, although they base their call for change on a normative understanding of the world. In the end, I look at how a broader view of feminism that takes into account the intersection of race, class, gender, and politics can enrich popular forms of feminism in the U.S.

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2015-05

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Hashtag Feminism: An Analysis of Social Media as a Feminist Platform

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This paper examines the relationship between feminism and social media and evaluates the ability of social media to function as an effective platform for the advancement of feminism's objectives. In the decades before social media became an integral part of

This paper examines the relationship between feminism and social media and evaluates the ability of social media to function as an effective platform for the advancement of feminism's objectives. In the decades before social media became an integral part of culture, the popularity of feminism deteriorated and feminist voices were unsure that it could be revived or popularized again. However, in recent years, women have used social media as a mechanism to communicate and disseminate feminist ideas. The birth of what is called "hashtag feminism" has been a fundamental shift in the way feminism is done and advocated for in modern culture. In light of this dramatic shift in venue for feminist conversations, academic feminists are asking a series of pertinent questions: Is social media good for feminism and the achievement of feminist objectives? What, if anything, has feminism compromised in order to fit into 140 characters or fewer? This paper argues that social media has provided a platform for feminists to share their stories, which has aided in the building of feminist constituencies. This is the most important work of feminism, because it is making society more receptive to feminist principles and ideas, transforming our culture into one that can accept and fight for feminism's objectives. This paper will examine a series of case studies in which social media has hosted feminist conversations. It will analyze the impact of this social media as a venue for feminist narratives and evaluate the use of social media as a feminist platform in the movement to achieve feminism's objectives.

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2015-12

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Wolf Girls and Witches: Women and Feminism in the Films of Hayao Miyazaki

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Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is famous for his numerous film featuring female protagonists. These protagonists have been examined for their conformance and deviance with regard to widespread stereotypes of masculine and feminine traits. Miyazaki's female characters tend to

Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is famous for his numerous film featuring female protagonists. These protagonists have been examined for their conformance and deviance with regard to widespread stereotypes of masculine and feminine traits. Miyazaki's female characters tend to exhibit nuanced and varied traits, with a balance of traditionally masculine and feminine characteristics. They also tend to demonstrate and moralize on larger social issues such as environmentalism and gender equality, advancing ideals for both Japanese and Western feminism. The status of these female protagonists as cultural icons is contrary to wider film trends that exclude women from the spotlight except when they conform to rigid gender roles.

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2013-05

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The Influence of Feminism on the Development of Toxic Masculinity

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The popularity of feminism is growing. Every day more people claim to be feminist and work is done to end the control of patriarchy. Feminism though, because of its different waves and isolated recognition in the media, the actual

The popularity of feminism is growing. Every day more people claim to be feminist and work is done to end the control of patriarchy. Feminism though, because of its different waves and isolated recognition in the media, the actual goals seem unclear to males in particular; it is predicted that this increase in popularity in conjunction with the lack of clarity contributes to the development of toxic masculinity. “Feminism” is defined by bell hooks as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression and “toxic masculinity” is a specific model of manhood, geared toward dominance and control and fear of the opposite. To understand the relationship between the two, the documentaries The Mask You Live In and Miss Representation were reviewed as well as books by bell hooks and C.J. Pascoe. Popular culture articles contributed to contemporary views at the public level. Using the knowledge gained from the literature, further research was done through one-on-one interviews with males age 18 to 32. Much of the literature does support toxic masculinity being encouraged and reinforced in varying ways including through the lack of acceptance of femininity and society’s strict gender roles. The interviews were inconclusive in defining a direct relationship between feminism promoting the development of toxic masculinity.

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2021-05