My Tracking Term for the semester was Bodies and Material Experiences. Now that I have completed my three annotated bibliographies, I look back on my topic and see how it has evolved in a direction that I did not anticipate when choosing this topic. When I started with this topic I began by looking at how marginalized bodies move through various spaces to find/encounter empowerment/struggle/fear/strength. In this first bibliography, the sources followed story lines in which women specifically moved about spaces in academia and how this was [un] done according to their various identities through race, class, age, history, and sexuality. The accessing or lack of accessing various spaces brings up the histories of power/struggle/fear/togetherness/identity and how they play out on a person's body. Also in this first bibliography, I used Navigating Public Spaces: Gender, Race, and Body Privilege in Everyday Life , which, through the use of Peggy McIntosh's theory of white privilege, the article discussed the interviewing process of 42 women who were deemed "overweight". Through the interviewing process the author explained how fat intersects with other signifiers of class/race/gender/age/sexuality/ethnicity/etc. to complicate people's identities. This discussion of fat identity is what would spark the research for the rest of my tracking term. In my second bibliography is when I began examining fat identities. I used Kathleen Le Besco's Revolting Bodies? The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity (Chapter 7 The Queerness of Fat) to look specifically at the intersections of fat and queer identity. In this chapter, Le Besco explains the pathologizing of these identities and the need in our culture to explain away modes of being through finding problems/issues/concerns/lack of normalcy/etc. in queer and fat communities. With this discussion of fat identities came the inevitable discussion of their representations through various social media outlets. Fat identity and its representations in pop culture is discussed in Kathleen Rowe's The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter Chapter 1: Pig Ladies, Big Ladies, and Ladies with Big Mouths. Feminism and the Carnivalesque.. In this first chapter of her book Rowe discusses the representations of fat women with the use of icons like Miss Piggy and Roseanne. Through this examination Rowe provides a mold in which fat women in pop culture reside or portrayed within: huge, excessive, eats and drinks a lot, sexually voracious, and an obscene joke maker. This mold can easily be seen in both Miss Piggy and Roseanne. Through this process, which led me to fat identities, I want to continue to examine this presence of the fat woman in pop culture, but also look for spaces like The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Life blog which portrays fat women in a positive light.
Queering or queer to me means many things. All of which are hard to verbally explain at any given time. I think to queer something is to look at something, anything, with a specific lens that allows you to disrupt all understandings/beliefs/comfort of a given topic. I think that when people here the word queer they automatically think about gays and lesbians. Although this is one aspect of queer, it is only one. This is why queer is so great to me because it means so many things to so many people. This is why queer is always evolving in new ways to disrupt various spaces and understandings in order for people to understand and see what makes something the very something that it is. Although I have addressed queer and queering before, I never feel as though I "get it" which, I think, is also another important aspect of queer/queering. This lack of knowing or "getting" is sometimes overwhelming because you cannot just pin down the term and define queer. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but that again is why queer is so ambiguous because it is constantly shifting/[re] examining/asking/telling/questioning again, again, and again.
In this course on queering theory I continued to struggle when understanding what queer/queering/queerness all meant. This lack of knowing made me uncomfortable; in turn, I was uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. However, this space of uncomfortability has been a great learning space for me and maybe not no much in regards to learning in an academic space. In most of my courses and most of my life I have been quite comfortable. I have not been asked to push boundaries, unless I felt comfortable; I have not really felt that I could not understand course content; I have not felt out of place in a classroom setting; and, I could go on, but those are a few examples I could think of to establish my point. My point is, that queering is uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable by not knowing/understanding. This is turn, for me, made the classroom uncomfortable because I would ask myself, "did these classmates of mine know"? This process of not understanding or knowing has been very humbling for me. As a person who is quite rigid in the classroom, it allowed me to loosen up. Possibly too much since I fell behind in the readings and assignments. Strangely it felt good not being my rigid,student self. I was able to put my guard down and not allow a class to have such a reign over me. Although I did not participate fully in the readings and activity on the blog, I still took away from this class. I learned to not be so rigid as a student and that it is okay to feel/be uncomfortable in spaces of learning because it pushed me outside of my box to examine in a whole new way. I like the blog because you can see other people's work and you can go back to your own work and see it all in one space. In this particular class, I felt overwhelmed by others posts because it made me question my own work. Again, this goes back to knowing/understanding and who knows/understands. I also really like using twitter because it forces you to explain your entire thought process in 140 characters or less. This is a challenge, but its nice to pick a part what a person could mean by their tweet. Because I have blogged before I have heard time and time again to not fall behind. This is so very, very true. The blog takes a lot of work, sometimes more than a traditional academic paper, if you want to make it interesting. I think that use of the blog and twitter are both queering academic spaces. I do not use a blog or twitter in any of my other classes. The blog allowed for us to see others' work and thoughts on a variety of topics that we would have normally not have access to. The blog also allows for us to go back at any point to review/examine our own thoughts and others and bring them back easily into current discussions. The blog is a fun way to bring the entire class together in a very intimate setting, where people's thoughts/feelings/emotions/[un] comfortability/knowledge/etc. are shared amongst one another and the world.