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Kinsey Grant Draft 10-29-07 Word 97

Kinsey Grant Draft 10-29-07 Word 97

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Cierra Olivia Thomas-Williams on May 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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1. Cover Pagea. Student’s name, mailing address, E-mail, and phone:
Cierra Olivia Thomas-WilliamsMemorial Hall West, M061021 East Third StreetBloomington, Indiana 47405cthomasw@indiana.edu812-679-9385
b. Faculty member’s name, mailing address, E-mail and phone:
Lessie Jo Frazier,Assistant Professor of Gender StudiesMemorial Hall East 1301021 East Third StreetBloomington, Indiana 47405frazierl@indiana.edu812-856-0402
c. Student’s academic department, degree program, and major:
Gender Studies DepartmentDoctoral ProgramGender Studies(African American and African Diaspora Studies PhD minor)
d. Proposal title:
 The
Cosmopolitan
Effect:Constructing Transnational Sexual Citizenship through theGlobalization of American Womanhood
e. Funds requested (not to exceed $500.00):
$500
f. A signed statement by the faculty member acknowledging their agreementto oversee the distribution of funds awarded.
I, Dr. Lessie Jo Frazier, agree to oversee the distribution of funds awarded. Dr. Lessie Jo Frazier (DATE)
 
2.
 
Proposal Narrativea. Background and study rationale
 The generous funding from the Friends of the Kinsey Institute CollaborativeResearch Grant Program will allow for further exploration of inquiries initially made ina Spring 2007 “Transnational Feminisms and the Politics of Globalization” seminarpaper for Dr. Lessie Jo Frazier. Funding from the Friends of the Kinsey Institute willserve two purposes. The immediate objective is to expand the findings of the seminarpaper with the goal of presenting a paper at the March 2008 National Women’sStudies Association conference “Resisting Hegemonies: Race and Sexual Politics inNation, Region, Empire” in Ohio where we will solicit feedback in anticipation of thedevelopment of a collaborative article for
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 
. This explorative research is also at the core of Ms. Thomas-Williams’emergent dissertation project, which examines the production and consumption of sexualities, desires, race and racisms through the genre of women’s magazines;therefore, munificent funding from the Friends of the Kinsey Institute will usher bothimmediate results based upon findings, and will also allow for a sustained analysis of primary resources that are key to this emergent dissertation project. The larger research project is a survey of the kinds of cultural production thatoccur through one of the largest transnational diversified media outlets,
Cosmopolitan
Magazine, which is the world’s largest globalized women’s magazine.
TheCosmopolitan
began in 1905 as a fiction magazine and was the first publication of Hearst Corporation founded in 1886 by U.S. Senator George Hearst (Hearst Corp.website, 2007). By the mid twentieth century it was a failing endeavor, but in 1965Helen Gurley Brown (author of 
Sex and the Single Girl
) became the editor and turned
Cosmo
into a sexy “lifestyle” magazine for young women, which to some extent nowrivals
Playboy 
for men. Through acquisitions and mergers—characteristic of thegrowth of Hearst Corporation since its beginnings—the magazine joined theinternational market in the UK in 1971; today the “Fun Fearless Female,” the
Cosmo
woman, is a transnationally recognized brand and a lifestyle in more than “34languages and distributed in more than 100 countries” (Hearst Corp. Website, 2007). The research on the globalization of sexuality and femininity carried out duringDr. Frazier’s seminar was an important development in the research agenda of Ms. Thomas-Williams who had only investigated “local” representations of race in
Cosmopolitan
. The seminar paper explored the fact that the globalization of mediacollapses local cultures into one recognizable image of womanhood by examining theproduction of gendered subjectivities through the world’s largest women’s magazine. Today, the United States is the leading spender of advertising dollars with an annualexpenditure in the multibillions representing more money spent on the industry of advertising than every other country in the world combined (Berger, 2000: 81).Magazines are a primary means of creating and targeting consumer groups whose“lifestyles” are “routinized” through the dissemination of ideas and advertising intothe mass market. Because America is at the forefront of the ad industry spending themost money on it globally the simulation of reality into advertising via magazinesmust be investigated. The “logical” next step, therefore, was for Ms. Thomas-Williamsto broaden her examinations of 
Cosmo
beyond the U.S. borders to include the politicsand production of transnational womanhood.In the spring 2007 seminar Ms. Thomas-Williams examined four singletransnational editions of 
Cosmo
: French, British, American, and Russian (internationalissues acquired through ebay.com). While Ms. Thomas-Williams’ prior research hasindicated that “whiteness” is constructed against the “racialized” bodies of African2
|
Friends of the Kinsey Institute Collaborative Research GrantApplication
 
American women in
Cosmo
U.S., transnational issues of 
Cosmo
construct womanhoodbased upon hyper sexuality rather than race. The bodies represented in each of thefour editions of 
Cosmo
are sexualized through imagery and text that depicts men andwomen in romantic or sexualized poses and includes articles and quizzes on how tomaintain (hetero)sexual relationships. Heterosexuality, then, is naturalized andreinforced through what prominent gender theorist Judith Butler calls the“heterosexual matrix”: this regulatory scheme, or matrix, instantiates a “compulsoryand naturalized heterosexuality [that] requires and regulates gender as a binaryrelation” differentiating masculinity from femininity, where ideas about theappropriateness of gendered behavior are, then, reified “through the practices of heterosexual desire” (1990, 23). Each of the magazines regulates gendered behaviorin expected ways, but surprisingly international issues of 
Cosmo
politicize queer desirein interesting and disjunctive ways.Michele Foucault argues that there is a specific way in which we talk about andmanage sex through science, policy, clinical medicine, and photos; these managementsystems can be considered disciplinary mechanisms, which operate in transnationalwomen’s magazines through the production of gendered bodies “as a mode of specification of individuals” (1978: 47). Thus, while
Cosmo
encourages heterosexualsex—“How Long Should You Wait to Sleep With a Guy? Finally, a Straight Answer”(
Cosmo
U.S. March 2007)—it subjugates hyper sexuality by using “real” stories aboutwomen who have fallen in love with homosexual men: creating the “perfect”unrequited (safe) desire. For example,
Cosmo
France September 2000 issuecontained a four page article entitled “Elles aiment les homes qui aiment les homes,”or “women who love men who love men,” which claims that American films introducedfemale desire for “feminine” or “sensitive” man into French popular culture; the articlethen discusses French parity—bureaucratically enforced gender equity in the Frenchgovernment—and moves into the deeply felt frustration of French women who fall inlove with gay men. The curious connection of the origins of male homosexual behavior in Francethrough American cinema is an interesting tactic that creates a comfortable distancefrom the implication that homosexuality existed in France before the infiltration of American cinema. This phenomenon also occurs in the October 2007
Cosmo
enEspanol (distributed to all Spanish speaking countries), which clearly outlines a crisisin masculinity—“Sera gay tu hombre?” discusses how to tell if “your man is gay” andwhat to do if he is. Thus, we can argue that
Cosmo
is authorizing hyper sexuality onone hand, while working to undermining that same message by reporting that the“real” women who read
Cosmo
desire gay men (and thus are really non sexual). Thisphenomenon (the production of heterosexual bodies and desire) is evident in theperformance of “acceptable” hyper sexual identity for
Cosmo
women, which is thenquelled through Lacanian desire: a desire which always remains “other.” Access to asubscription to international issues of 
Cosmo
will allow us to determine whether thesetensions are sustained between feminine hyper sexuality on the one hand and the“perfect” Lacanian desire for homosexual men on the other.Based upon Ms. Thomas-Williams’ content and discourse analysis of fourinternational editions of 
Cosmo
in spring 2007, it is evident that there is an interestingdisarticulation between what is actually going on in the U.S. versus its globalreputation as “the leader” in all things.
Cosmopolitan
U.S. is behind the timessexually speaking in that it avoids discussing homosexuality, abortion, and sexuallytransmitted diseases, while its international counterparts engage openly with theseissues. All international issues of 
Cosmo
are produced by the same American3
|
Friends of the Kinsey Institute Collaborative Research GrantApplication

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