Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Trans Characters In The Media Questionnaire

88% of the participants felt that Hayley Cropper’s casting in 1998 had a beneficial impact on the transgender society because

  • People aware of issue
  • Normalises
  • Brought to public eye
  • Discussion
  • Relate to
  • Helped people feel identifiable
  • Acceptance
  • Role model

Remaining 12% weren’t sure

Only 47% of participants had actually watched the soap when Hayley Cropper was introduced. 29% of those didn’t feel this affected their opinion at all. 11% said it made them interested to learn more. 17% said it made them want to learn more about the transgender society. there was no  negativity evident in any of the answers.

35% of the participants were not sure whether Hayley Cropper was portrayed well and honestly by an actress who is not a transgender. 47% of the remaining partipants felt the role was played well. The remaining 18% said a mix of yes and no. there was not one answer of no.

47% feel transgender characters portrayed by non-transgender actors have a beneficial impact on the transgender society. 11% think not. The remaining 42% were either not worried or were a mixture of both

The next British soap opera to cast a transgender character was Eastenders in 2015. Do you think there was too much time inbetween this casting and the character of Hayley Cropper? Why? 70% yes should reflect real life and increase in trans , people forget, 30% no or mix would be too samey, people would ignore it, better to be surprised, soaps don’t make much difference

“EastEnders’ shift in its approach to casting was hailed as a landmark moment by transgender actors and activists.” Do you agree? Why? 59% yes move in right direction, gave other trans people confidence to speak out about talents, gave activists more, 24% were not sure, 17% no Eddie Izzard, David Walliams and Matt Lucas destroyed much of the stigma from transgender people. They made trans people relatable and likeable for everyone. good but no landmark, not just soaps, films like Danish girl, wider audience

Finally, do you think that casting transgender actors to portray transgender characters has a more beneficial impact on the transgender community? Why? 71% yes  because

  • role models
  • acceptance
  • appreciation
  • feel they matter
  • better representation
  • relatable

18% yes and no because

  • trans should play non trans too to be normal
  • as long as believable and well researched
  • sometimes too shy to accept realities

11% no based purely on acting of individual and story being used in

Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2



Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Exhibition – Primary Research

While in London, I visited the Photographers Gallery where they were exhibiting a large catalogue named Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. The exhibition held over two hundred works from forty eight international artists. The exhibition was split into four main categories to piece the work together. The work focused on practices that contributed to the feminist art movement of the 1970s. The women artists focus on challenging assumptions about gender and art.

During the 1960s-70s, artists began focusing on the construction of identity and gender roles in the media and in the male-dominated traditions in art history. They experimented with many things like dressing up in costume to explore how people perform gender in a way that meets social expectations.

Domestic Agenda – this set of work was about addressing the stereotype of the woman’s place being in the home. In this section was use of photography, video and performance. These two images were very outstanding to me. They show the series by Karin Mack – Zerstorung einer Illusion (Destruction of an Illusion) 1977, where the image of a stereotypical homemaker and housewife is pierced and eventually destroyed with needles, showing the destruction of the stereotype.img_4732img_4733

In My Skin: Normative Beauty & the Limits of The Body – feminist art challenged attitudes towards the female body and beauty. The work was about measuring, fragmenting and reconstructing their own bodies to create a new image of female identity.

Alter Ego: Masquerade, Parody & Self-representation – the feminist movement argued that identity is not something we are born with but is formed through social conventions and taboos. Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman” (The Second Sex, 1949). Many artists of the 1970s used performance to deconstruct representations that form stereotypes. Martha Wilson’s series Portfolio of Models, 1974, showed female stereotypes that have been created by society such as the housewife, the Goddess, and the Lesbian. Eleanor Antin produced a self-portrait called Portrait of the King, 1972, which saw herself dressed up as a King from history, discovering the nature of cross dressing. Cindy Sherman used role-play and masquerade in her series Untitled (Bus Riders I), 1976, to engage with and question gender identity. She dresses up as a series of male and female characters observed from everyday life, whose identities are determined by their visual characteristics, clothing and poise.


The Seductive Body: Sexuality and Objectification – one of the main goals of the feminist movement was the sexual liberation of women. They tried to highlight the continuing oppression of female sexuality and the sexual objectification of women. Valie Exports image from Aktionshose Genitalpanik (Action Pants – Genital Panic), 1969, challenged the dominance of the male by dressing a female in the same way, using props like a gun to pass the power to females. With her crotch less trousers, she defends her female body with the gun, demonstrating the symbol of power to be a prosthetic and its possession to be a product of role play.


  • The Photographers Gallery. 2016. Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. Catalogue of an exhibition at The Photographers Gallery. 7th Oct 2016 – 29th Jan 2017. London: The Photographers Gallery
Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2


  • Mainstream television does not reflect the civil rights gain progress, and still lacks the portrayal of diverse sexual forms and still focuses on reproducing hetero-normativity

Gurr, B.A. (2015) Race, gender, and sexuality in post-apocalyptic TV and film. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Adverts always use women as objects to be surveyed – passive and sexual desire – fashion photography also adds to this voyeuristic approach
  • Body language used to perpetuate gender roles

Wells, L. (2004) Photography: A critical introduction. 3rd edn. London, NY: Routledge.

  • Film, video and photography allow an arena in which to explore gender identity
  • Photography’s aura of realism promotes a fantasy of gender transformations
  • The equality between men and women during the period between the two world wars created fear that women were becoming men
  • Masculinity and femininity are masquerades created by performance and dress
  • Judith Butler – gender is an impersonation – becoming gendered involves impersonating an ideal
  • Cross dressing is seen as performance
  • Throughout history there have been attempts at creating a third sex – the androgyne
  • Hannah Hoch’s montages mixing boyd parts and clothing – fantastical creatures – titles of montages (eg. Vagabonds, clowns, dancers) refer to performers who are often ostracised for their lack of conformity with society’s norm – the freak

Blessing, J. (1997) Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography. New York: Guggenheim Foundation.

Posted in Contextual Studies Year 2

Interview with Transgender


From my interview I wanted to find out the story of a transgender first hand. The questions I asked were to try and build a story of the individual, to try and empathise and gain some education on what life is like for a transgender. My main focus from the interview is with questions 7 and 8, as I feel these questions and answers give me some research that would be beneficial to answering my essay question. It’s given me some primary information on the abuse that trans people receive as well as how common it is for trans people to abuse themselves, to help back some of the points I hope to make within my essay.

  • Hand, D. (2016) ‘Ollie – a Transgender Teen’. Interview taken place 29 November 2016.