Evil Women: Women and Evil
The second meeting of the global inclusive interdisciplinary Evil Women: Women and Evil project will explore and examine all aspects of the conjunctions between women, the feminine and evil with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further collaboration, research and discussion.
On the one hand we will scrutinise what happens when women themselves behave in ways that are considered evil – when they rob, murder, manipulate, groom, abuse, beguile, embezzle. Women are not expected to behave in aberrant or illegal ways and we will consider the structural and systemic reasons for the heightened interest, repulsion, condemnation – and even hatred – that feminine transgression generates. Women are condemned not only for what they do but also for what they fail to do; those who harbour, lie for and couple with nefarious men are seen to have failed in their duty as gatekeepers of male morality. Where women themselves are accused of evil they are typically judged more harshly than their male counterparts.
On the other hand we will also consider what happens when women speak out, act up and reject the beliefs, institutions and cultural practices that have traditionally defined and confined them, and explore the deeper meanings behind social, cultural and political responses to women who seize or challenge power. Women are perpetually circumscribed – defined, limited and controlled. Women who transgress the limitations placed upon them have faced discrimination or abuse, with sanctions ranging from minor disagreements to social isolation, physical violence and death. A recent campaign to feature Jane Austin on a UK bank note lead to its organiser receiving rape and death threats in such quantities that, in just one weekend, police collected enough individual threats to fill 300 A4 pages.
What does all of this mean for women, the world they live in and the ways in which ‘evil’ can be understood and applied? We invite participants to explore evil women, women and evil from the full range of disciplinary, professional, practitioner, vocational, voluntary sector, NGO and other contexts and perspectives. The aim is to generate an inclusive dialogue which begin to illuminate the cases of individuals whose lives have been impacted by feminine ‘evil’.
Topics for discussion include, but are not restricted to:
• Evil, Femininity, Women
• When women do wrong; when women go wrong
• Women, crime and punishment
• Women, justice and the law
• Women and madness
• Women, art, music and creativity
• Mothers, motherhood, matricide, infanticide
• Wicked stepmothers, evil queens
• Female myths and icons: Delilah, Lilith, Medea, Medusa, the Muse(s), Clytemnestra, Sirens, the Harpies, the Femme Fatale, the Bitch, the Temptress, the Seductress
• Female iconoclasms; mythical iconoclasts; LBGTQI iconoclasms
• Intersectional feminism, radical and otherwise
• Civil Rights and social justice
• Campaigners: Black Lives Matter, #timesup, #metoo, Mothers Against Murder, climate defenders, etc.
• Women in literature, film, television, music
• Social media: trolling, rape threats, death threats, pro-ana
• Rape culture
• True crime – the celebrification of misogynistic murderers, hybristophilia
• Transnational/international attitudes to women and power
• Victims and abusers
• LBGTQI iconoclasms
• Women in business: the glass ceiling / leaky pipeline
• Cultural and structural sexism in the police, healthcare, academia, politics, etc.
• Bodies – FGM, cosmetic surgery, fat/skinny shaming, eating disorders
• Sex and sexuality
• Women’s suffrage
• Grooming – sex rings, terrorism, male/female agency
• Case studies
We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate.