Expressive Empiricism And An Ethics Of Representation

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Authors: Nicole Emerson, NSW

Year: 2005

Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference

Subject: media representations of women, stigma, sex, feminism

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 0975765310

Abstract: This paper discusses certain media representations of women described as hysterical, dangerous and disordered. The role of psychiatry in enforcing and reproducing these representations is seen in the light of the so called borderline personality disorder. In particular, issues of sex, feminism and power are shown to converge and thereby render certain women monstrous and thus constitutive of what can be ‘seen’ as normatively human. It also raises some questions about an ethics of representation that can resist these essentialisms.

‘…you should be defamed because you are monsters…’
John Laws, Radio 2UE (in Mead, 1997:51)

‘…nowhere in the world is the law of speech systematically sensitive to the damage done to social equality by expressive means or to the fact that some people get a lot more speech than others.’
Catherine Mackinnon ‘Only Words’ (1994: 52)

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