D.E #3 Chavez

| 4 Comments


Living beside one self is a fascinating concept. Chavez writes of this, as a state of ecstasy, one enters this state after an event or a trauma. As a result one realizes "he or she is not autonomous and does not posses control over his/her existence" (Chavez, 2). It seems to me that bodies of those on the margins are always beside one self. People in this position are the "unreal" never fitting in constantly in danger. Those who are in an ambiguous or in an in between state are in constant question, in need of finding a way to adjust to others, others are never expected to do the adjusting. In that attempt to adjust, that fact that one is even in a normative space challenges the assumption of sameness in and of itself. In that I can fully see how agency is enacted. The power to subvert is in existing, it many not be an intentional act on the part of the individual.

The space of prison reduces a person down to their most basic state, stripped of all materials used to express one self. Victoria refused to be so stripped, singing and dancing. What is really interesting his how the role of the others changed into more caring roles, in the face of a hyper masculine setting. Even though this was a goal of the penal system, it became a space of reclaiming and redefinition. Victoria's presence in the prison challenged the very system that sought to strip her of her identity; in this way there was a positive effect from her tragic death.

4 Comments

I too think that living beside one self is a fascinating concept. You bring up a great point Gina in saying that "bodies of those on the margins are always beside one self." They may literally have no where to go. These people are ambiguous, they are not seen, as you also mentioned they are constantly in danger.
The "normative" space you are talking about doesn't seem to exist, does it? What is the normative this specific person has to adjust to? I also agree that the power to subvert is in existing. By intentional do you mean that it may not be a conscious act?
I also, understand and agree with your comment on the space within prison and how just being in that very space can change the way a person thinks, feels, and/or acts. The stripping of all materials especially the stripping of masculinity or in this case the stripping of ones rights in retrospect to Victoria. The concept of how the space within the prison changed is an interesting one. As you mentioned, the caring roles and the face of a hyper masculine setting creates a space of difference, a way of reclaiming as you suggest. I too see a positive effect from her death.

I agree that this normative space does not exist. However this idea of normativity does work with in space. I believe most visibly with in the prison system. I think that we all have adjusting to do, some more than others. A distinction my be that for some (e.x white and male) this seems like less of an adaptation, while for others this seems the farthest from possible.
I think Chavez was trying to push at the notion of space as both physical and linguistic. For example the discourse of classification also orders how we move through physical space. And Yes I think that we can resist unintentionally because some where never supposed to fit but still exist within. Now I think I have gone off the deep end, I hope this makes some sense!! Let's continue the conversation!

I think you do a good job of engaging with the concepts of being "beside onself," and how certain "spaces" such as the prison restrict people's movement and can cause an "ecstatic" state.

However, I think what could be discussed further is the critique of appropriating trans experiences as a point of theorizing. It has been critiqued in other contexts: the way some western theorists appropriate cultural "third genders" for theorizing, or how some appropriate the experience of mixed-race peoples for theorizing. While I think the article makes a good point, and the example seems to make sense, there is something that just troubles me and makes me uneasy about the article using such a sad/tragic story for the purpose of publishing an article (most likely to make money off of it) and as a launchpad for theorizing. I'm not sure how we should do it otherwise to avoid this problem, and I'm not sure I can even articulate why exactly it makes me uncomfortable. But, I think this is a point that should be discussed while engaging with this article.

Another good observation, Gina, about marginalized bodies being always beside. And does that not mean that such bodies are full of possibility? I'll be honest though, I almost feel like this theory could be reduced to the phrase "crazy things happen when people are pushed to the edge"...I don't think there is anything wrong with asserting that in a theoretical argument, but I do think it's a shame to look at this situation from such a theoretical/clinical distance when we can clearly see what happened, the kinds of material traumas experienced by these people.

@Nyssa, I thought a lot about this problem of appropriation when reading Remy's blog post along with this text, and I'm not sure this is avoidable. I think of all of the theorizing that has come out of trans-Atlantic slavery in Afro Studies or Holocaust/Shoah work in Jewish Studies. If we could never write about tragedy, how would we educate about and bring to light the injustices in the world. I understand this case was very specific and highly focused on one individual, but it is a very specific theory after all.

Leave a comment

Recent Entries

Although the end has come and passed, here is my Final Wrap-Up
My Tracking Term for the semester was Bodies and Material Experiences. Now that I have completed my three annotated bibliographies,…
Queer this 2
Here's a quick clip from the show toddlers and tiaras I just found it interesting how as she was also…
DE engagement queer are of failing
I decided to take up the Judith halberstam's book the Queer art of Failure as my direct engagement. In the…