Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies
School of Sociology and Social Policy
Social Sciences Building
Leeds, LS2 9JT

Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 3770
Fax: +44 (0) 113 343 4415

CIGS Reverse Advent

This year, SSP’s Emma Nelson (Student Experience Manager) is organising a Reverse Advent – so rather than opening a window each day in the run-up to Christmas and getting treat, you use the opportunity to set aside an item that could be donated to a food bank. CIGS would like to make a contribution to this fantastic project and we are inviting everyone to join in.

Having recently seen the film, “I, Daniel Blake”, I have become aware recently of the lack of sanitary towels and tampons available to women who are experiencing poverty and using food banks. There’s a very disturbing article about it here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/women-are-using-newspapers-because-they-cannot-afford-tampons-warns-salvation-army-food-bank-a6932111.html

So this year, we are asking CIGS members to contribute packets of sanitary towels or boxes of tampons, which will be donated to women experiencing poverty and using food banks. If you would like to make a donation (and you feel that you can afford to do so), please send your donations to me – you can bring them to my office (Social Sciences Building, 11.25), or to the CIGS Christmas Celebration on 13th December, send them via internal mail, or drop them off at the SSP reception, either for me or directly to Emma. Alternatively, if you are on campus, if you email Karen Throsby (k.throsby@leeds.ac.uk) I can come and collect donations.

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

This entry was posted in News.

New CIGS blog post – gender and sport reporting

Visit here to read a report by CIGS MA student, Olivia Morris, about the problems of gender balance in sport reporting.

This entry was posted in News.

CIGS Christmas Celebration (Tuesday 13th Dec)

Tuesday 13th December, 4-6pm, Social Sciences Building 12.21 / 25

Come along to the CIGS Christmas Celebration – a chance to hear about exciting publications, research projects and other 2016 successes, and to celebrate the achievements of last year’s MA students who will be graduating the following day.

Speakers will include:

  • Rosey Hill talking about her new book, Gender, Metal and the Media: Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music (Palgrave, 2016)
  • Karen Throsby discussing her book, Immersion: Marathon Swimming, Embodiment and Identity (Manchester University Press, 2016)
  • Sally Hines introducing her new, ESRC-funded project on pregnant men.
  • The event is free – all you have to do is register at the address below so that we can make sure we have enough mince pies. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

There will be lots of time to chat and catch up with staff and present and former students over drinks and nibbles, and all are welcome.

it’s free to attend and all are welcome – please register at the address below so that we have an idea of numbers.


This entry was posted in News.

CIGS seminar: Dr Karen Throsby

Wednesday 7th December 2016
Social Sciences Building 12.21/25

All welcome

Real meals: radical diets, science and the masculinisation of weight loss

In recent year, anxieties around obesity have shifted away from the familiar bête noir of fat towards sugar. Sugar – or what paediatric endocrinologist and anti-sugar popular science writer, Robert Lustig, calls the “Voldemort of the diet hit list” – is now widely treated as a primary cause of obesity, and it has also been closely linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tooth decay, prompting the declaration at the level of international health policy of a ‘war on sugar’. The rush to denounce sugar has facilitated a flourishing array of radical exclusionary diets to which the elimination of sugar (variously conceived) is central. This includes both a variety of low-carbohydrate diets, which are heavily reliant on animal protein and fat, and plant-based diets that shun animal products. However, in spite of their divergent philosophies and practices, these plans share considerable common ground, particularly in their antipathy to mainstream dietary advice and in relation to the ways in which they mobilise nutritional science to support their positions. Furthermore, both dietary approaches make strategic use of similarly normative models of athletic masculinity as a primary means of recruitment and justification, to the exclusion (and sometimes derision) of the women who are the primary targets and users of the weight loss industry. Using the low-carbohydrate plan, The Real Meal Revolution, and the vegan weight loss plan, Forks Over Knives, as examples, this paper explores the ways in which the rush to sugar as the primary enemy in the ‘war on obesity’ impacts upon our understandings of the fat body, and investigates the ways in which these apparently irreconcilable dietary prescriptions find common ground in their appeals to ‘heretic’ science and to athletic masculinity. I argue that this analysis positions the rise of anti-sugar policy and practice not simply as a new departure, but also as a retrenchment of highly individualised gendered (and racialised) understandings about what constitutes the good body in contemporary society.

This entry was posted in News.

CIGS student rewrites the balance on sport reporting

by Olivia Morris (MA Gender Studies)englandnewzealandscrum2016-copy_0

Women’s sport is massively underreported in national print press, and the percentage of female writers publishing articles on sport is even lower. I wrote a match report on the England V New Zealand rugby game played on Saturday 19th November at Harlequins Stoop for Kettle. The aim of the article is to provide a detailed report of the game as well as an insight into my experience of attending it.

As a rugby player myself, I find it frustrating that men’s rugby is defined as just ‘rugby’ whereas female teams are always ‘women’s rugby’ e.g. England Rugby and England Women’s Rugby (as is with most sports). Instead, I have titled the two teams either by their country or how they are better known in the rugby world as the “Red Roses” (England) and the “Black Ferns” (New Zealand).

You can read the full match report here:


This entry was posted in Blog.

CIGS gets a new blog page

CIGS now has a blog page! We will be adding new posts about the research being undertaken by CIGS staff and PhD students.

This entry was posted in Blog.

Dr John Mercer: Seeing is believing: ‘Saturated’ Masculinity and Gay Pornography

Date: 28 January 2015, 5.00pm
Location: Room 12.21 and 12.25 Social Sciences Building

Gay pornography, either in print or onscreen, remains a controversial as well as a significantly under-researched area of cultural production. It is a complicated and often contradictory genre that exploits, subverts, celebrates, plays with and calls into question the ways in which masculinity is constructed and what contemporary masculinity might mean. Given that the internet has resulted in an exponential growth in the sheer volume as well as the range of gay porn available to audiences and greatly enhanced access to this material, the need for a sustained exploration of gay pornography and its modes of representation becomes ever more pressing. With this in mind I am now writing a book that explores and situates the rhetorical strategies and iconography of contemporary gay pornography and discusses the paradigm of masculinities that it presents. This presentation will discuss the challenges that studying gay pornography presents for researchers in British universities and will identify some of the issues that all researchers in the field have to consider.

My work in the field over the last 15 years has aimed to illustrate that gay pornography offers plural models of masculinity that are more various and nuanced than they might seem. I argue that gay porn illustrates a contemporary ‘saturated’ masculinity. Ranging from an analysis of ‘mainstream’ gay pornography to the marginal, from glossy professionalism to the artisanal and amateur, the paradox that lies at the heart of gay porn is that it is at points both subversive and normative; undermining orthodoxies of masculine representation at the same time as producing new norms of gay sexual conduct and sexual performance.

John Mercer is Reader in Gender and Sexuality at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. He is the leader of the Screen Cultures research cluster and runs the MA in Screen Studies.

His research interests include film and television genres, celebrity and stardom, the pornography debate, the sexualisation of contemporary media culture and contemporary cultural theory. He is the author (with Martin Shingler) of Melodrama: Genre Style Sensibility and a monograph on Rock Hudson due to be published by the BFI in 2015. John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies, one of the editorial founders of Porn Studies and reviews editor for this new journal. He is also a member of the editorial board of Cine-Excess (and the guest editor of the inaugural issue), editorial board member of Sexualities and is a peer reviewer and guest editor for Celebrity Studies.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

Prof. Yvette Taylor: Creating Citizens, Constructing Religion, Configuring Gender

citizens-religion-genderDate: 03 December 2014, 5.00pm
Location: Room 12.21 and 12.25 Social Sciences Building

This paper presents a case-study exploration of Christianity and sexuality in the lives of young lesbians in the UK, drawing upon a larger ESRC funded grant ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’. Religion matters as a personal and political force, but secularizing trends arguably obscure its influence on the complex convergence and intersection of personal, political, familial, and institutional realms (Brierley, 2006; Heelas and Woodhead, 2005).

While the question of homosexuality has been a central focus in much discussion, highlighting around the presumed discontinuity between sexual identity and Christian identity (O’Brien, 2004), there is still a gap in terms of locating first-hand narratives of self-identified young queer Christians. Rather than assuming that these are separate and divergent paths (Wilcox, 2000), this paper explores intersectional convergences and divergences, illustrating how religious participation can convey (de)legitimation within family, community and society. Such (de)legitimation is revealed in unpacking scripts of inclusion and exclusion (Taylor and Snowdon, 2014), which are (re)circulated via hetero-homo normative ideals, and perpetuated and contested in the context of intersectional Equalities legislation.

Here, I examine the highly gendered and heteronormative ‘role models’, ‘mentors’ and (familial) mediations experienced by young lesbian Christians, as intersecting public–private domains in the production of queer religious subjectivity and dis-identification.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

sexgen Seminar 6: Body Image and Gender in Neoliberal Times


Thursday October 30th 2014, 4.00-6.00pm

Bowland North, Seminar Room 10, Lancaster University

Public Lecture by Prof. Rosalind Gill: ‘Love Your Body and Hate It’

Roundtable discussion with Prof. Gill, Dr Celia Roberts, Dr Debra Ferreday and Dr Imogen Tyler: ‘Young Women and Body Image in Neoliberal Times’

For more details, see the event page on the sexgen website

This entry was posted in Events, sexgen Seminar Series.

Dr Jacqui Gabb from the Open University: Enduring Love? Relationship work and practices of intimacy in long-term couple relationships

Date: 15 October 2014, 4.00pm
Location: Room 12.25, Social Sciences Building

Using a rich palette of qualitative methods and a large scale online survey, the Enduring Love? project has been studying how couples experience, understand and sustain long-term relationships in contemporary Britain, paying particular attention to the ways in which gender, parenthood and generation shape experience.

In this presentation, I will explore the relationship work that couples do and how this serves to sustain their long-term relationships. Relationship work here is more than the drudgeries of domesticity. It offers couples the opportunity to embrace their relationship – through the pleasures of physical closeness; and to nurture their relationship – emotionally, practically, and symbolically through practices of togetherness which carve out shared time and create couple memories.

Focusing attention on the everyday practices that couples do and the material conditions which shape these personal lives, our conceptualisation of relationship work thus inculcates ideas of work and capital whilst keeping a keen eye on the intensity of emotions. Across the dataset, it was the personal meanings of relationship work that were valued more than their cultural reference points. Commercialised celebrations like Valentine’s Day or grandiose romantic displays from Interflora and/or the ‘guilty’ petrol station bunch of flowers were less fondly received than small acts of kindness. Knowing gestures and familiar relationship practices demonstrated intimate depth of understanding and investment in the long-term couple relationship.

This entry was posted in CIGS Seminar Series 2014-15, Events.

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