GSWS 102 Feminist Action Student Projects -
Spring 2017

Some examples of creative student projects from Dr. Jen Marchbank's GSWS 102 Feminist Action course in the Spring 2017 semester.

Aerial Silks


    I think the Slutwalk – and sex positive feminism in general – is extremely important. The Slutwalk empowers women by exposing victim blaming, and ending misconceptions about rape and sexual violence. The Slutwalk’s website states: “We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”
I think this statement empowers sex workers and women who choose to work in the porn industry. Trafficking and assault are real issues that occur in the industry, which is important to remember, but by empowering sex workers, the Slutwalk emphasises how important choice is. This ties in with consent. Protesting victim blaming and judgement against women while calling for an end to rape culture, the Slutwalk reclaims the very word “slut,” turning it from an insult into a term of empowerment. The Slutwalk challenges the very term “slut,” and society’s negative idea of women who take charge of their sex life, or work in the sex industry.

    I included the video of aerial silks because I have heard the joke “so you’re basically like a pole dancer,” many times when certain people find out I do aerial silks. Aerial silks is extremely challenging and can be quite painful due to drops and tight wraps, and rope burns are quite common. I can only imagine how difficult pole dancing is in comparison – at least the aerial silk is somewhat malleable (you can wrap it around your body instead of having to wrap your body around it). I am sure that many pole dancers suffer from calluses, pulled muscles, and friction burns. Joking about pole dancers – and sex workers in general – is inherently harmful because it devalues the hard work dancers put in, their strength, and talent.

Miriam Baumann (GSWS 102 Spring 2017)

Link to video

Feminist Action Artefact

Toria Kindersley (GSWS 102 Spring 2017)

Link to video

a gendered beginning


Summer Konechny & Ryan Leckie (GSWS 102 Spring 2017)

“Boy” > Jon Cestnick
“Girl” > Hannah Toews

Production Roles:
Director > Summer & Ryan
Set Production > Summer & Ryan
Script > Ryan
Audio Editing > Summer
Video Editing > Summer
Composition > Ryan

Artist’s Statement

When conceptualizing and creating the project, Summer and I wanted to develop a piece of art
that conveyed the divide between the idea of genders in Western society. With the concept of
‘boy’ and ‘girl’ being opposite genders in our culture, we had two dancers perform in their own
styles with each other. We wanted to convey this sense of disconnect and division between the
two dancers as a metaphor for our society’s gender divide. The two dancers perform beautifully,
interacting with each other minimally throughout the video, except for one lift between the two
of them. This was deliberately choreographed into the performance as a symbol of the need for
men and women to come together and lift each other up before we can move forward.

The choreography of the dance we’re used to create a visual story of the divide between ‘boys’
and ‘girls’ while the audio aspect conveys a message about gender divide, employing the voices
of the gender debate across the world. We cut parts of speeches from many feminist speeches
including Maya Angleou’s “Still I Rise” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be
Feminists”. We included these sound clips to give a varying perspective into the divide of girls
and boys in society. With all these sounds yelling at the audience at the same time, reiterating
famous points of feminist speakers and other mantras of feminist empowerment, the video
becomes a cohesive piece of art in which the division of gender is the main focus and narrative
of the piece.

Link to Artefact Response


Adichie, C. N. (2013, April 12). We Should All Be Feminists.
Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Angelou, M. (2007, April 05). And Still I Rise. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from https://

Baird, B. (2014, August 28). Girl Code 101. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from https://

Bitch. (2013, August 16). Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Bowman, P., Tejan-Thomas, S., Braunstein, J., & Johnson, R. (2014, March 21). Bois Will Be
Boys. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Clinton, H. (2015, April 16). Women's Rights Are Human Rights. Retrieved March 13, 2017,

Fromm, L. (2015, October 28). It’s Reigning Men: Gender Roles and How They Hurt You.
Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Gender Roles. (2011, January 20). Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Gillard, J. (2012, October 10). The Misogyny Speech. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from https://

Of Monsters And Men. (2015). I Of The Storm [MP3]. Of Monsters and Men, Rich Costey.

Watson, E. (2014, September 21). Feminist UN Speech. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from https://

Woodard, A., & Truth, S. (2014, October 23). Ain't I A Woman. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from

Wylde, A. (2016, March 14). The Gender Tag: Authentic Gender Expression. Retrieved March
13, 2017, from

Yousafzai, M. (2015, September 06). Jon Stewart Interview (2013). Retrieved March 13, 2017,

Jane Komori

Reflections on Attending Thompson Rivers University’s 10th Annual Philosophy, History,
and Politics Undergraduate Conference

Thompson Rivers University lies above the valley that holds the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers. From the windows of many of the classrooms in which the 10th Annual Philosophy, History, and Politics Undergraduate Conference was held, attendees could view the rolling, snowy mountains over the arms of the forked river.

Papers on topics as wide-ranging as local history, international politics, literature, and art
theory were presented with the sagebrush and ponderosa pines as a backdrop. I was
honoured to present alongside more than fifty other undergraduate students with
promising work in many disciplines across the arts and social sciences. As a joint gender,
sexuality, and women’s studies and humanities major, it was inspiring to share my
perspectives and to listen to the thoughts and research of other undergraduate students.
I was excited to present my paper in the “Race and Identity in the Eyes of the Law”
panel. My paper, “The X Factor: Creative Possibilities Between Lines” explores issues of
mixed race identity at the conjunctions of storytelling and theoretical approaches to
embodied experience. I was nervous to present (it didn’t help that my grandparents were
watching from the first row), but I was quickly encouraged by the thoughtful questions
from the audience. I was also inspired by the brilliance of the two other presenters in my
panel, Brett Hill and Braden Mackenzie, both TRU students discussing issues of Indigeneity
and Canadian law. In a panel that aimed to tackle such a broad and difficult topic, I felt
fortunate to have my perspectives and knowledge rooted in the queer, feminist, and critical
theories which I have worked with in both SFU departments I belong to. “The X Factor” is a
paper I have worked on with several SFU GSWS profs, particularly Dr. Coleman Nye. The
guidance and critique I have received throughout my degree has been integral to shaping
and strengthening my work.

The conference was well attended by faculty and both local and visiting students,
engendering lively discussion even as the weekend closed. Making connections with
students from TRU and as far as the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University
was one of the highlights of the weekend, and a part of the conference which I had not
anticipated. The energy and inspiration I am left with is carrying me through my final
semester, and inspires me to continue to develop and share my research.

Thank you to the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department, Gender, Sexuality,
and Women’s Studies Student Union, the Simon Fraser Student Union, and the Humanities
Department for their generous support in making my presentation at this conference

Jane Komori is a joint gender, sexuality, and women’s studies and humanities major in her
final semester at Simon Fraser University. She pursues creative writing, activism, and
academic work in Vancouver, BC.

Department of GSWS
Undergraduate Award Recipients, 2016

The recipient of this year’s Rosemary Brown Undergraduate Award in Social Justice (2016) is Caroline Doerksen. The Rosemary Brown Award honours the life of Rosemary Brown, whose life’s work was dedicated to equity and social justice. The first Black woman to be elected to a provincial legislature in 1972, she served as MLA in B.C. from 1972-1986. She also served as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights commission and was awarded the Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996. Caroline is an undergraduate student majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Caroline has a long and impressive record of social justice advocacy and activism for LGBTQ equality, women, and youth. Her work with Boldfest, Youth for A Change, New Westminster Pride Society, SheTalks, and Out on Campus has demonstrated her profound commitment to social justice. Caroline is also dedicated to her studies at Simon Fraser University, where she has been a Peer Mentor, Chair of the SFU GSWS Student Union, and a member of the Women’s Collective for campus radio (CJSF 90.1). Caroline exemplifies the very best qualities of dedicated student leadership, and we congratulate her on this honour.

The recipient of this year’s Carla Poppen Undergraduate Award (2016) is Shilpa Narayan. Shilpa is an undergraduate student majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Shilpa’s involvement with Youth for a Change (Surrey), Lookout Emergency Aid Society, and the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre at the BC Children’s Hospital demonstrates her strong social justice values and her commitment to social activism and advocacy. Shilpa has worked on programming for refugee youth, mental health and queer youth, and elder abuse; has given keynote speeches on mental wellness; and run a drop in centre for people diagnosed with HIV/HEP C. Her dedication to her studies at Simon Fraser University and her social justice work exemplify the highest standards of community engagement and academic achievement. Congratulations to Shilpa on being honoured with the Poppen Undergraduate Award.

Laura Scheck was awarded the prestigious Robert C. Brown Convocation Award in Spring 2016. The Brown Award is given yearly to graduating undergraduate students who have demonstrated academic achievement and outstanding leadership in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Laura Scheck graduated in 2016 with an outstanding record of academic achievement and a major in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. In addition to maintaining high academic standards, Laura has an extrasordinary track record of leadership and service to the SFU community. As Co-Chair of the GSWS Student Union, Laura has nurtured one of the most active and engaged student unions on campus, with weekly meetings and numerous public panels and events on gender equality for the university community. As a radio host at CJSF, SFU’s campus radio station, she created a new one hour music program called FemConquest, which addresses themes on women in popular music programming. She produced and hosted an additional radio program (IntraVenus) and chaired the CJSF Women’s Collective. Laura was a co-founder of the SFU Sexual Assault Prevention and Support Centre Working Committee that began to meet in August 2015. This student-led university working group has consulted extensively with numerous campus units, including Health and Counseling, Security, Human Rights and Equity, Student Services, SFPRIG, the Women’s Centre, Out on Campus, and SFSS. Laura’s hard work has contributed important leadership on this timely and important issue at SFU, and will contribute to making campus a healthier, more inclusive, and safer space for everyone in the university community. The Department of GSWS congratulates Laura on receiving the Robert C. Brown Award and we wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavours!

GSWS 320-4 Feminist Television Criticism Final Concept Ideas for a Feminist TV Show

Dr. Natasha Patterson

This summer semester, I was thrilled to teach a Special Topics course on Feminist Television Criticism. Throughout the semester, we explored a range of feminist themes and concerns related to the study of television. One of the key course requirements, asked students to work in groups to develop a feminist themed TV show concept. The concept had to be course-relevant of course, and students were required to justify their concept using relevant course materials explored throughout the semester. A final component of this group assignment, had students “pitch” their ideas to the class on the last day. This was a jam-packed and exciting class, and I had the privilege of hearing how the concepts came together. I was so impressed with the amount of creativity and originality of thought displayed in the students’ hard work. One group even created their own show trailer! At the end of the class, students voted on their top 3 favourite concepts, which I am happy to share below.


First Place: “Devi” by Kajal Jindal and Pooja Patal

(Devi is Sanskrit/Hindi for Divine/Goddess)

Transcending back and forth between time periods ranging from the British reign of India to modern day India, four women of different ages, social class and gender expressions, reincarnated as mythological Hindu goddesses face struggles related to their gender and identity. They use their goddess strength to confront deeply rooted issues facing a society that reveres female deities, the Devi, but shackles and oppresses their daughters, a society founded in colonial ideals, misogyny and heteropatriarchy.

Second Place (Tie): “xhpey’ulhp” [Western Red Cedar] by Cheyenne Cunningham and Aubrey Nash


xhpey’ulhp [Western Red Cedar]: title introduces the audience to Halkomelem sound system, symbolizes the Coast Salish region, and reclaims the derogatory word red.

After being adopted, Rebecca, a young First Nations girl, self-discriminates and does not acknowledge her Indigenous heritage. It isn't until she completes a course in First Nation studies while in college that she begins to learn about and appreciate her culture. With a newfound longing for her stolen culture, Rebecca ventures out to find the only living relative she knows, her grandmother. In a desperate attempt to realize her identity as a First Nations woman, she embarks on a journey through unfamiliar lands across British Columbia, where she makes friends and is greeted by great adventures. Although xhpey’ulhp engages with numerous themes, it focuses primarily on self-discovery. Not only does Rebecca set out to find her Grandmother, she's also on a journey to discover her Peoples’ ancestry and culture; in doing so, she also finds herself. Diane, Rebecca’s grandmother, is a leading character in xhpey’ulhp. Diane was born and raised on the Goldstream reserve located near the Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She has lived in the same house for all of her life, except when she was a young girl between the ages of 4 and 14. During this time, the Canadian government forcibly removed Diane from her parents’ care and placed her in what they called Residential Schools. This tv show will create a space to discuss issues that would otherwise be largely ignored, i.e., residential school, missing and murdered Indigenous women. We want to create a fan base where all Canadians have a chance to interact and learn about First Nations culture.

GSWS 320-4 Feminist Television Criticism Final Concept Ideas for a Feminist TV Show (Summer 2016)

Cheyenne and Aubrey, creators of xhpey’ulhp

Third Place: “Sisterhood: The Road to Recovery” by Toyin Olatunde, Yemidale Ajayi, and Maranantha Dolder 

“Sisterhood: The Road to Recovery” is a drama series that explores the aftermath of a shocking death in a community like college. This story is set in a fictional American college called Eclipse Community College. Three very different, self-identified, Black women are introduced to each other when a mutual friend is killed under strange circumstances during frosh week. These women, by coming together, are forced to confront their differences and have tough conversations regarding issues of religion and sexuality. Despite their cultural differences and many misconceptions about each other, they are compelled to team up and figure out this bizarre crime. While officials rule their friend’s death an accident, our three protagonists suspect a hate crime took place and team up to carry out a secret investigation of their own. The show follows these women as they navigate this mystery, their college life, grief and each other. The themes of our show include racism, activism, friendship and emotional healing.


GSWS 204-3 Sex and the City Final Projects

Below are some of the links to a selection of some amazing
GSWS 204-3 Sex and the City final projects from the Spring 2016 semester:

#sexworkiswork, #stopthestigma

Examining the Inquiry

The Red Umbrella - GSWS 204

Sex Work and Gentrification

Nest Egg Resources for Students

It's Just Work

SWIFT Reviews

Nathan Lyndsay - TEDx talk on the need for Gender Inclusive Washrooms

GSWS major Nathan Lyndsay discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the trans community and what we can do to help these individuals feels safe in public space at the TEDxGastownWomen talk on May 29th, 2015.  He was one of the organizers of the "Shit-in" event earlier this year where on-campus washrooms were occupied in an effort to confront students and university officials about the detrimental problem that is the lack gender inclusive washrooms.

Watch on YouTube

GSWS Major Caroline Doerksen Receives Pride Legacy Award


From the Georgia Straight...

Congratulations to award winner Caroline Doerksen, recipient of the purple award for youth from the Vancouver Pride Society.

Doerksen majors in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and is the FASS representative on SFU’s student council. She brought SFU’s Out On Campus Collective to the Surrey campus and is active in the Surrey-based LGBTQ2+ youth advocacy and activist group Youth For A Change, the New West Pride Society, and the SheTalks YVR advisory committee.