May 21, 2012

Announcement: To Be Published

The next session of the presentation series "To Be Published" (hosted by the Coordination Centre for Women's Studies, Gender Research and Affirmative Action for Women of the University of Graz, the research unit of Gender Studies at the Department of Sociology, and IFZ) is organized in collaboration with the Department of American Studies and the Department of Educational Sciences and will be held on
June 4, 2012
4 pm at SR 35.K4, Merangasse 18, 8010 Graz

I was invited to present my study on Stephenie Meyer's The Twilight Saga, in which I analyzed the representations of gender relations and sexuality with a special focus on the film adaptions.

Here an abstract of what the study is about:

The international success of “The Twilight Saga”, a series of novels by the American author Stephenie Meyer which were made into films, was the motive for taking a closer look at the franchise and its attraction for a mainly female target group. This thesis in particular is a discussion of the gender relations represented in the films. What do teenagers potentially learn about gender and sexuality? This research question is the starting point for the analysis of the social relationships among the characters and the social structure in regard to heteronormativity. The results are evaluated from a perspective of a pedagogy of diversity. The methodological setup of this interdisciplinary study consists of a mixture of approaches from cultural and social studies.
The story of a 17-year-old girl falling in love with a vampire boy reflects a heterosexual norm which structures binary and hierarchical gender relations. This norm is binding to almost all characters of the saga; non-heterosexual relationships are marginalized and associated with the antagonists to the lovers. Furthermore, the gender binary as well as heterosexuality are depicted as biologically determined. The results also show the construction of a biological association of masculinity with violence and that the saga seems to propagate voluntary subordination of women to men. In the face of the tremendous success of the franchise among teenagers, these results are to be seen as especially critical, for there is a high potential of fans to identify with the protagonists and thus with problematic role models.

Looking forward to seeing you at presentation!

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