Wonderwomen: Embodied Confidence in Popular Media

Alexander, Alethea. "Wonderwomen: Embodied Confidence in Popular Media." Research presented at the Annual Arts and Society Conference. Vancouver, B.C.. June 2018.
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Abstract:

What if human movement could more efficiently catalyze women’s empowerment than engaging in social and policy battles? Through a series of oral and movement interviews with twelve nationally diverse dancers now studying at the University of Washington, my research has begun to uncover a vocabulary of movement qualities intrinsic to physical expressions of confidence and empowerment in women. Supported by Robin Konie’s socioemotional application of Laban Movement Analysis, I suggest that circular movement in free flow with a centrally organized kinesphere might elicit feelings of safety and self-assuredness in practitioners, and that directional, bound flow movement with a distally organized kinesphere might evoke a sensation of empowerment. Functional psychologist William James and bio-feminist Elizabeth Wilson agree that physical experiences of the body directly influence emotional states. Furthermore, the psychological research community recognizes a need for continued and theoretical and practical research on the topic of empowerment. What if movement could clarify and catalyze empowerment? As a dancer and researcher, I agree with Elizabeth Wilson that (after a necessary period of relying on critique of sociocultural systems) it is time to reintroduce biology, neurology and physicality into discussions of women’s empowerment.