The (Re)Performance of Gender

Title: The (Re)Performance of Gender. An Investigation into Walking, Urban Parkland and Spatial Politics

Author: Lucie Iredale

Year: 2020

Abstract: An investigation into how the patriarchal structuring and domination of public space can be subverted through the reactivation of the feminine walker, specifically in the context of urban parkland, focusing on Bushy Park as a case study (a Royal Park situated in London, United Kingdom). Utilising Donna Haraway’s feminist theory of Situated Knowledge, the practice of walking is explored from the author’s perspective, and researched through literary representation, transcripts and kinetic drawings. The literature analysed range from 1811-1928 as a point within western history where the exclusively masculine Flaneurs reshaped public thinking and space to the exclusion of women. This suppression of the feminine perspective within historical discourse is discussed as being subverted by female authors of the time through their portrayal of feminine characters as walkers. Transcripts of parkland walks parallel Virginia Woolf’s seminal work ‘A Room of One’s Own’ and emphasise how societal and spatial barriers attempt to limit feminine progression and thought. Kinetic drawings form a trace of the physical act of walking, documenting a personalised path and opposing the graphic generalisation of urban maps. Path-making is most evident within parkland, and as a collective act, forms a metaphor for feminine empowerment and visibility within the built environment.

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