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Ranging from contemporary performance art to the ritual of clitoridectomy to in vitro fertilisation
and its dramatic representation, the contributions to Anybody's Concerns
explore artistic, medical and cultural practices and discourses concerning gendered bodies.
Anna Furse's essay "Art of A.R.T." investigates the artistic and aesthetic potential of Assisted Reproduction Technology (A.R.T.) from a personal perspective. In so doing, she highlights the cultural tendency to marginalise sub-fertile women and describes the difficulties and prejudices women are confronted with when undergoing a fertilisation treatment. Furse complements her unusual theoretical and practical exploration of A.R.T. with a presentation of her current performance piece Yerma's Eggs and the impact it had on its audiences.
In her article, "'Know that I do not suffer, unlike you...': Visual and Verbal Codings of Pain in Body and Performance Art," Andrea Gutenberg explores the interface of body art and the cultural codes at work in discourses of religion, hysteria and (cosmetic) surgery, among others. Focussing on gender differences, she traces the scenarios of narcissism and voyeurism both implied in the artists' live performances and stated in the manifestoes released by them.
Samantha Hume's contribution, "The narrative of male violence on women's bodies," argues that past and present cultural practices such as clitoridectomy, foot binding or cosmetic surgery can be interpreted as acts in which male violence writes its narrative onto women's bodies. Hume interprets violent acts committed by women on their own bodies (or on those of other women) as a consequence of male-defined expectations of femininity that have become social imperatives. Focussing on cases of female genital mutilation, Hume highlights the urgency to take political as well as personal measures against acts of patriarchally motivated violence.
"One of my missions as a playwright is to let the magic back in," says Diane Samuels, British-Jewish playwright and novelist, in Andrea Birk and Tina Wald's interview. Samuels talks about her plays (among them her best-known work, Kindertransport) and her forthcoming novel Cinderella's Daughter. She also shares her experiences as a British-Jewish woman writer, reflecting, for example, on the patriarchal structure of the British theatre system.
The fiction section of Anybody's Concerns presents an excerpt from Diane Samuels' novel-in-progress Cinderella's Daughter, which juxtaposes Samuels' witty re-writing of the Cinderella tale with a family story in a contemporary setting.
Finally, reviews of recent publications within the field of gender studies by Gabriele Griffin, Karin Ikas and Christina Hughes complete this issue.
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