Margaret Atwood is credited with observing that men fear that women will laugh at them, while women fear that men will kill them. Despite noteworthy advances for women across societies and cultures, the power dynamics Atwood so eloquently describes continue to inform the construction of barriers that prevent women from exercising the same autonomy and freedom generally afforded to men. Indeed, women who transgress the limitations placed upon them can face sanctions ranging from being labelled unfeminine or evil, to social exclusion, violence or even death. Yet, still, women around the world and throughout history have rejected and transgressed against their bounds – often for good, as in the cases of inspirational figures such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Noor Inayat Khan or Malala Yousafzai, and sometimes for ill, like Countess Bathory, Aileen Wuornos and Irma Grese. Even those who seemingly conform to social conventions can be framed as inherently evil, if they deviate from expectations, mores, and social scripts concerning the appropriate appearance, purpose and activity of the female body. Such women are ridiculed for having monstrous, abject bodies; for rejecting unwanted sexual attention; for resisting the role of mother/care-giver and seeking fulfilment in other types of work.
In exploring the multi-faceted conjunction between women/the feminine and evil, the third meeting of the global Evil Women project will explore the act and consequences of women who challenge or seize power. What happens when women speak out, act up and reject the beliefs, institutions and cultural practices that have traditionally defined and confined them? What are the deeper meanings behind social, cultural and political responses to women who refuse to follow ‘the rules’ for their gender. Our wide-ranging inquiry will include women who’s quest to assert their autonomy and leads them to be deemed as evil, women who engage with evil around them, and on women who commit evil deeds – those who rob, murder, and manipulate; groom, abuse, beguile, embezzle.
Against this backdrop, we will reflect on the structural and systemic reasons for the heightened interest, repulsion, condemnation – and even hatred – that the feminine generates. We will also examine strategies for responding to those social forces, with a particular emphasis on how the conversations and learnings of the event can be translated into action in our homes and communities.
The event organisers invite participants to explore the relationship between women and evil from the full range of disciplinary, professional and social perspectives. The aim is to generate an inclusive dialogue involving researchers, practitioners, artists, activists, legal professionals, clinicians, social workers, representatives from the voluntary sector, individuals whose lives have been impacted by feminine ‘evil’ and others with an interest in the field. Key topics, themes and issues for discussion may include, but are definitely not limited to:
~ Women and politics
~ Responses by female leaders to terrorism, health emergencies, and other disasters
~ Religious iconoclasm
~ Women and crime
~ Women and justice
~ Women and madness
~ Mothers and motherhood
~ Intersectional feminism, radical and otherwise
~ Civil Rights
~ Campaigners: Black Lives Matter, #timesup, #metoo, Mothers Against Murder, climate defenders, etc.
~ Women in literature, film, television, music
~ Social media: rape threats, death threats, pro-ana
~ Rape culture
~ True crime – the celebrification of misogynistic murderers, hybristophilia
~ Transnational/international attitudes to women and power
~ Victims and abusers
~ LBGTQI iconoclasms
~ Women in business: the glass ceiling / leaky pipeline
~ Knowledge as power
~ Mythical iconoclasts
~ Cultural sexism in the police, healthcare, academia, etc.
~ Bodies – FGM, cosmetic surgery, fat/skinny shaming, eating disorders
~ Sex and sexuality
~ Women’s suffrage
~ Grooming – sex rings, terrorism, male/female agency
~ Case studies
We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate
What To Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc.
300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 25th September 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.
All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 9th October 2020.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 12th February 2021
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Evil Women Submission.
Where To Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
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Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
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