‘Third wave feminism has led us to want to be EVERYTHING, amazing mothers, incredible professionals, perfect partners’: British Female Academics and the Politics of Reproduction


Rebecca Buchanan


This exploratory ethnography investigates the everyday lives of British female academics at home and at work to ascertain to what extent they resonate with the feminist critique of the politics of reproduction. Purposeful sampling identified three respondents with a range of experiences and data including auto-ethography was gathered via a short questionnaire. With deductive analysis this was compared with historical and contemporary feminist analysis. The main topics covered include: (1) Reproductive Choices, (2) Marxism and the Second Shift, (3) Biomedical Bias, (4) Binaries in Relationships and the Male Role, (5) Individualism and the Child's Point of View. The data indicates variability in progress on these issues after more than a century of feminist campaigning. Indeed, increased oppurtunities have materialised as increased pressure as the women aspire to achieve in every area of their lives within an unsupportive culture and an austerity focussed economic policy. The examination leads to a celebration of the individual creative responses to patriarchal restrictions and a recommendation for men to voluntarily make greater efforts towards equality.


Author Biography

Rebecca Buchanan, School of Oriental and African Studies

MA Anthropology of Travel and Tourism 2017, anticipated.  Becky is in her second year of the MA (part-time). Before she came to SOAS she used her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Glasgow for a successful career in international development, specialising in education and women's rights, both in the UK and on projects in India and Cambodia. Her main academic interests are solidarity holidays, wellness tourism, and travel writing. In 2016 Becky held an internship at the charity Tourism Concern where she researched and wrote for their Ethical Travel Guide. She also presented her research on "Wellness Retreats: Marketing Counter-Culture" at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association of Social Anthropologists.  The summer of 2017 will find her in Athens researching anarchism in action through international solidarity for her dissertation.


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