The Curse of Nakedness: African Women's Use of the Naked Body in Resistance Movements

Stephanie Mithika Taylor University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Nicholas Kerton-Johnson Taylor University
This work explores the legacy of African women using their naked bodies in acts of resistance. Historically, women's bodies have been relegated to private and domestic spheres and have had gendered limitations placed on them. The female body has many gendered, cultural and political inscriptions that have been ascribed to it, leading society to perceive women as lacking in agency and not fit for public or political affairs. This work explores how African women have used their bodies to resist patriarchal, classist, capitalist and oppressive systems through the act of disrobing. This research attempts to answer questions surrounding the historical, cultural and political significance of the naked body. Essentially, what makes the sight of an African woman's naked, protesting body a powerful tool for social and political change? Understanding the significance of the naked body as an effective tool for resistance expands the peripheries of how women's political participation is understood and legitimizes the use of spectacle. It informs a feminist praxis of women's grassroots resistance, by suggesting embodiment as a form of resistance and theorizes placing the personal within the political. This work may inform future study on the use of embodiment in resistance movements, and how other non-rational ways of knowing can contribute to key practices in decolonization. Essentially, this piece of work explores a larger theme of how women rewrite the script of vulnerability written on their lives, embody resistance, and reclaim their bodies as political sites of agency and power.
Competitive Paper--All Disciplines (includes an Oral Presentation)
Competitive Paper (includes an Oral Presentation)

When & Where

01:45 PM
Pharmacy & Health Sciences 150