AuthorSt. Germaine-Small, Melissa.
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AbstractIn this thesis I outline a critical approach to interpreting the considerable academic literature on Aboriginal women in North America. I locate the scholarship concerning Native women within an understanding of three developments related to a philosophy of science: (I) paradigmatic shifts concerning the philosophy of science, (2) materialist-idealist debates and (3) transitions in feminist theory characterized by what is tenned the shift from second to third wave feminism. My exploration of emergent themes suggests that the elements indicated above provide overlapping frameworks within which most scholarship about Indigenous women is positioned. I illustrate my finding that employing critical discourse analysis and postcolonial feminism as both method and theory provides a useful approach in attending to intersecting experiences of 'race, class, and gender.' I view these intersecting experiences as central to the socio-political positioning of Indigenous women within contemporary feminist theorizing. I conclude my thesis by reflecting on the conceptual struggles I experienced in fonnulating and organizing the thesis and the significance of my underlying epistemological position and value-orientation as both a feminist and Native woman.
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Understanding the relationship between body image and menopause in South Asian Canadian womenDhillon, Taranjot Kaur; Applied Health Sciences ProgramResearch regarding women’s body image during menopause is limited; few studies reflect the experiences of ethnic women, especially South Asian women living in Canada. Cultural differences play an important role in both body image and menopause experiences and may be particularly important to South Asian women, who often fear stigmatization and struggle with openly discussing health concerns. This study used interpretive phenomenological analysis, which focuses on understanding and interpreting the experiences of the participants, to explore the relationship between body image and the transition of menopause in South Asian Canadian women. Nine first generation South Asian immigrant Canadian women (aged 49-59 years), in perimenopause or postmenopause were recruited for semi-structured individual interviews. Overall, three themes were constructed: 1) Complexity and intertwining of body image and menopause experiences, which showed that although women understood body image as a multidimensional construct, their own body image focused on weight and appearance that was impacted by menopause and aging; 2) “It's just something we go through silently”: The challenges of body image and menopause experiences, which highlighted the lack personal support from family and South Asian community and the disconnected feeling from their bodies through the menopause transition; and 3) The push and pull of South Asian and Western cultures, which focused on conflicts between the two cultures and influence of the South Asian culture on beauty, body image, and aging. Results showed that participants often upheld Western body image ideals by equating positive body image practices and attitudes with these ideals, and this was often worsened by South Asian cultural norms. Additionally, women’s understanding of body image and menopause showed a gap between their personal understanding and research. Participants emphasized a lack of ethnically appropriate education for body image and menopause, suggesting there is a need for the implementation of culturally-appropriate and community-based interventions, and resources (e.g., workshops, seminars, support groups). Moreover, an underlying narrative of cultural conflict (Western vs South Asian cultures) and impact of the South Asian culture was evident. Therefore, further examination of the complexity and influence of the South Asian culture on body image and menopause experiences is required.
Women over thirty choosing education as a solution to a problemMacLean, Marilyn T.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 1998-07-09)This study explored motivations of mid-life women over 30 years old who had returned to school. It sought to fmd whether these women returned to solve a problem arising from life events, whether viewing a problem was related to internal or external motivation, whether this perception was related to having greater coping skills, and whether having greater coping was related to seeking support from internal or external sources. This study examined which emotions were most related to viewing a life event as a problem. Finally, it explored the results of previous research of mid-life women in their role as a student. Women (N==83) from three types of institutions volunteered for this study: a university (N==34), a college (N==28), and an adult education centre (N==21). Participants took home a questionnaire package - a I3-page questionnaire and consent form - that were completed and mailed back to the researcher in pre-paid envelopes. Results showed that women over 30 seek education as a solution to a life event problem. External motivation was related to a life event being a problem (p<.005). There was a significant difference in coping scores between institutions. Moods that were related to viewing a life event as problematic were: anger and depressive moods (p<. 001), fatigue and vigor (p<.O 1), and tension/anxiety (p<.05). Mid-life women students' satisfaction in this role was related to being externally motivated. These women sought support from both internal and external sources, rarely had social interactions with peers, and viewed this role as important, yet, temporary in that it will help them change their lives. Implications ofthe results suggest further exploration ofthe roles of anger and depression in motivating women over 30 to learn and finding ways of directing women to use their emotional intelligence to seek out learning.
Detached from Our Bodies: Representing women's mental health and well-being with graphic memoirsPierce, Katelyn; Department of GeographyGeography has recently undergone a creative return whereby influences from the humanities inspire the production, analysis, and incorporation of creative works in geographical research (de Leeuw & Hawkins, 2017). With their ever-growing popularity in the humanities, graphic novels are one example of a creative work gaining epistemological momentum in geography. Graphic novels have proven attractive to geographers for their ability to represent knowledges that challenge dominant social structures and discourses. In this thesis, I conduct visual, textual, and discourse analyses of three graphic memoirs by women that challenge pathological mental health discourses: Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green, Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder by Nadia Shivack, and My Depression by Elizabeth Swados. Using an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research approach, I build on the literatures from the geohumanities, feminist geographies, graphic medicine, and health geographies to argue that subjective and embodied representations of women in graphic novels subvert dominant mental health narratives promoting pathology, ableism, and invisibilization. I analyze the graphic novels to support three key claims: 1) graphic novels can contribute to, and contest dominant mental health discourses, 2) graphic novels can operate as a means to contest universalized pathographies by representing marginalized experiences, and 3) graphic novels can challenge the limits of Cartesian dualism in mental health practice that exclude women’s experiences. With these ideas at the fore, the implication of this research is to offer healthcare providers, patients, and the general public alternative ways of understanding mental health. This research also serves to advocate for the merits of using graphic novels to provide options for access to health care and health equity.