Knowledge in waves: The theory and practice of women's self-knowledge and self-understanding of their bodies
Bachelor of Arts
Contemporary feminist theory has become so complex and academic that the connection to women’s lives is seemingly lost, raising the question of whether feminist theory has a substantive relationship to women’s daily lives and experiences. Through problematizing the spaces between theory and experience, drawing on four in-depth mutigenerational interviews and examining the apparent relations between theory and experience, the futures of feminist theory can be creatively reimagined. By broadly overviewing important themes in feminist theory from late second wave to present day and cross-examining these with interview data from four multigenerational interviews, I examine the aforementioned space. Women’s experiences of their sexualities and bodies relate to theory in unexpected and interesting ways, and theory reflects these experiences in both its inaccessible and accessible forms. Women experience the construction of womanhood, the shame surrounding sexuality, community building through confession, and seek out their ideal world. By examining these experiences in relation to feminist theory, I demonstrate the importance of further theoretical analyses of sexual and gendered difference, wherein the creation and dissemination of knowledge of women’s bodies and experiences affect the lives of the women that it studies.
The author retains copyright in this thesis. Any substantial copying or any other actions that exceed fair dealing or other exceptions in the Copyright Act require the permission of the author.