I actually began my initial research for my Masters degree in the summer 2015. I’m glad I did decide to start so early, as it gave me time to explore new research avenues I might not have, and to improve my reading and knowledge in different areas.
Initially I wanted to look at horror, focusing on zombies and ‘bodies of death’ in modern media, and what the influx of zombies to popular culture means. Unfortunately after reading around it (including reading the excellent ‘Zombies and Sexuality’ by Steve Jones and Shaka McGlotten), I didn’t feel like I could add anything new to the field. I enjoyed researching it, but it didn’t inspire me to any new ideas I could contribute, and my vague ideas weren’t finding any solid ground from which to grow.
After zombies I moved on to prosthetics and affect, wanting to look at Viktoria Modesta, a self styled bionic pop artist, and the Channel 4 campaign ‘Meet the Superhumans’ from the 2012 Paralympics. But again, the same problem as before emerged. I didn’t find any gaps I felt I could fill, and my ideas weren’t taking shape around anything concrete I could continue to research on.
I decided to take a step back, and switched to reading just theory papers or things that grabbed my interest, rather than being related to any specific research topic. I also spent a lot of time sketching out my research interests, what I’ve done so far, what I want to learn more about, and speaking to my tutors for advice. The issue of the ‘norm’ was raised during a meeting with a lecturer and this set the research spark – at last!
Currently, my research is looking at ‘normal’ and everyday femininity practices and how it is lived and embodied by Western women. Particularly I want to look at Basic Bitches and the femininity associated with this on Instagram and social media platforms. I’ve found that this is both something under researched and of real interest to me. It combines my previous research but takes it in a new direction which will help me grow as a researcher. As someone who also enjoys/performs certain femininity practices it will be very interesting to me as a researcher to explore this and develop a nuanced understanding of ‘everyday’ femininity. It is likely to cover the ideas of affect, postfeminism and third wave feminism, embodiment and identity, and notions of hegemonic power as related to women and femininity.