It has become quite common to use the term gender
for sex, albeit this is incorrect. The infants are assigned male or female sex,
while gender is more complicated because it encompasses not just biological sex
but also personal sense of being male, female, both or neither actually.
Self-perception of gender then affects gender representation, or how one
presents themselves (e.g. the way they behave, dress, talk, etc.).
The incorrect use of gender is particularly
prominent in Western societies where it became some sort of PC talk, and not
many question this incorrect use of the term gender. Nevertheless, all recent
research on gender and women studies demonstrates that patriarchy is alive and
well, and that both men and women suffer from patriarchal perceptions of
expected roles. For example, women still face difficulties in equality of
opportunities for all jobs, and when equality is achieved and they enter a
certain industry; they face difficulties in being promoted to managerial
positions (glass ceiling). On the other hand, men face difficulties in
embracing roles traditionally seen as feminine such as staying at home with
children or applying for paternal leaves, which are still approved more to
women than men.
When it comes to gender perceptions the situation
becomes even more complicated because if one refuses to identify with sex
assigned at birth and chooses to express gender differently, patriarchy kicks
in even stronger and these individuals face not just discrimination in access
to employment but also public mocking and in some countries even assaults. It
is stating the obvious to say that many countries in the world still ban
homosexuality and that LGBT individuals and couples are not just discriminated
but also targets of public campaigns to ban them ever having the same rights as
heterosexual couples such as marriage and adopting children (before they even
asked for these rights), assaults, threats and intimidation, etc.
The question we can ask is how far have we got in achieving not just gender equality (for vast amount of research testifies we have indeed not got far albeit lots of progress has been made), but how far have we got in achieving understanding of gender? What kind of culture needs to be created to embrace diversity beyond positive laws (that exist only in some countries), but a true diversity where nobody will think they should have the right to question someone’s self-perception and self-expression, and a culture where all sexes and genders will be equal?
These and other topics were debated at the conference. The selection of photos is available at our social media profiles.
Feminists started to advocate equality and fight
for women rights decades ago, and so far we have experienced several waves of
feminism. While at the beginning of activism, the issue was in women’s equality
in general for women were banned from exercising even basic rights such as the
right to vote or work, current feminism is standing up against issues such as
glass ceiling (where women can only progress in their careers up to a certain
point, but fail to obtain managerial positions), wage gap (where women are paid
less for same positions as men), as well as traditional battle against
patriarchy that is clearly still alive and well. For example, even though it is
legally possible for men to take paternal leaves and stay at home to take care
of children and household, it is still women who have these requests approved
more often than men, which testifies that patriarchal views of expected roles
are still present. In addition, in some countries women are still banned from
exercising basic rights such as the right to vote, work in all positions and
even the right to drive. While there is a number of men that experience family
violence, it is still women who mostly suffer from this type of abuse, while
those men who do suffer from it fear reporting it due to expectation that the
men is the boss in the house. Nevertheless, with the rise of Far Right
political candidates and public speakers started to question Feminism and argue
that it fulfilled its purpose, while at the same time re-introducing old
prejudices and practices against women where an emphasis is based on their
The questions the conference addressed were how far have we got, and what needs to be done to achieve true equality of both men and women, and a society where there are no expected roles?
A selection of photos is available on our social media profiles.
It is an unobjectionable fact that media participate in formation of our daily lives by creating identities, images, and by generally influencing our views. This applies not only to politics (i.e. political campaigns), but also to the formation on how we see ourselves and others. Popular culture, on the other hand, also affects our daily lives by fostering images and ideologies, and by selling a way of life that is presented as acceptable or non-acceptable. Sociological theories presented five models of audiences (hypodermic needle model, normative model, model of satisfying needs, interpretative model, structural interpretative model), and scholars still debate usability of each model due to the influence of media and popular culture over current issues. In addition, the agenda setting theory of mass media influence postulates that media affect our views and influence what we think about even if media cannot influence how we think about issues. These and other issues were discussed at our conference.
A selection of photos is available on our social media profiles.
Conference venue: Queens hotel, City Square, Leeds, LS1 1PJ
It is an unobjectionable fact that media participate in formation of our daily lives by creating identities, images, and by generally influencing our views. This applies not only to politics (i.e. political campaigns), but also to the formation on how we see ourselves and others, e.g. women, ethnic groups, religious groups, etc. Agenda setting research has established decades ago that media set public agendas, and tell us both what to think about (agenda setting) and how to think about a certain issue (media framing). Popular culture, on the other hand, also affects our daily lives by fostering images and ideologies, and by selling a way of life that is presented as acceptable or non-acceptable. All these influences form our daily lives and views of others, and while the media and popular culture do not influence all people, on all issues and at all times, they do have a significant influence on our views and actions.
Participants debates issues in media and popular culture in panels on media and identity, women in the media, film studies, media and history, audience studies, and agenda setting and media framing theories.
The conference had live coverage on Centre’s social media accounts, and a selection of a few photos is also available in the gallery below.
Conference venue: ***** Hotel De France, Schotenring 2, 1010, Vienna, Austria
Identities are various: personal, national, religious, regional, racial, gender etc., and it is very difficult to determine which identity is affecting us most. Sometimes it can be one, and sometimes the other. For example, during the presidential race in the United States between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, black women wondered which of the two identities represented them most: their racial or their gender identity.
National identity bears huge relevance and people are willing to die for their nations. Religious is as important as ever, and people are willing to sacrifice their own comforts and sometimes even to discriminate others because of their religious identities. European identity had been an issue of debate since the foundation of the EU when founders envisaged European unification based on a particular set of values shared among founders and prospective future members.
The notion of identity is often ending up in stereotyping and othering of those who have different identities, and irrespective of the approach we take in identity studies we always end up with the same dilemma: why are identities and identifications so important? These and other issues will be a subject of our conference.
In a lively and interesting debate, participants debated identity issues from variety of perspectives, i.e. women and identity, critical theory, war and media representation of identity, and sexuality.
Selection of photos is available in the gallery below.