So I felt like I should say a little bit more about myself, and the effect that this blog has had on my self image. As I mentioned in my little bio blurb, I'm really into introspection as an agent of change. I think we should really encourage people to take a look at who they are, and what makes them happy and what informs their decisions. So I felt like this blog is a good forum to share my own reflection, and maybe encourage other's (?). Anyway, I had started seriously considering about the deconstruction of gender in general earlier this semester after seeing a performance by the fantastic Kate Bornstein. As I mentioned during the conversation with Lana that's posted, I've never actually made any serious changes to my behavior, so I can't really say that I know what gender performance I'm most comfortable with. However, I've been moving toward making those changes - cutting all my hair off, not wearing makeup, not apologizing for talking too loud or my bodily functions.
Focusing more on the title of the blog, I've been really considering what performances I partake in. More significantly, which of those performances are influenced by my happiness. I know the following things:
-I like wearing makeup. As much as it's also a reaction to my perceived flaws, I love playing with my face. I'm sort of an artist (insomuch as I like to make 'art') and I like to use my face that way.
-I like the way my partner looks at me when I dress like a 'woman'. I love them, so it makes me happy to make them happy, and thus being feminine is in my best interests.
-I don't always like my body. Usually I'm madly, deeply in love with it, but some days, I just can't stand it. -When I hate my body, I want it to more feminine. Whether that's because I've been socialized to idealize that body type or because, as I said, it's certainly in the interest of my happiness to continue to perform that role.
-I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I love how it makes my body look, but sometimes I feel like I'm just trying to attain the ideals that society wants me to strive for. Also, sometimes it hurts and I don't feel like doing it, and the feeling of guilt I get when I don't is ugly.
That's all the introspection I have in me for now, more later. Perhaps a beautiful, angsty Monday series about my self reflection.
Have a fantastic week!
If clothes make The Man, what am I making
with pink and purple?
with too tight "girl jeans"?
Am I making this for me,
or for what you perceive?
"I will understand constituting acts not only as constituting the identity of the actor, but as constituting that identity as a compelling illusion, an object of belief."-Judith Butler
Whiteness is- the center, the norm, the dominant cultural narrative. It presents itself through consensual hegemony (Gramsci). Through certain performances in the professional class one identifies with their subject position to hegemonic authority. Forces that are implemented by the ruling class by ways of systems, most notably white supremacy.
The businesswoman is classy. She is simultaneously feminine and masculine, blurring gender boundaries while also following a strict code of dress unique to her position. Faultlessly polished, she operates in a world outside convenience and comfort - a world where she is powerful, but often only a vassal in a world of predominantly male feudal lords. Perhaps Ann Marie Sabath puts it best in her article in the Summer 2000 edition of BusinessWoman:
"Those who seem to be hand picked for promotions long ago figured out that their professional lives consist of one big job interview! And that includes when you begin a new position....One of the things that most of our Mothers never told us was to save those flowery prints and gingham checks for aprons rather than wearing them to work. Instead, prints that say, â€śI mean businessâ€? are better suited for the workplace. A safe rule of thumb for women to follow is to ask determine if the print would make a good tie for a man? If so, it probably would be equally as appropriate for business casual attire."
The article discusses the idea of â€śfree willâ€? around shaping and sculpting the body and how power is responsible for the choices women and plastic surgeons make and how. Plastic surgeons are told that they should do research in classical art before they begin shaping faces and bodies. Bodies are described in this article and I would add quite accurately, as texts that show cultural values. Who is subscribing to them and why? Bodies in this article are metaphors of inscription that are taken to be real again, creating a disturbing socially constructed image that most believe to be true. The inscription part happens when the body is manipulated to adhere to hegemonic cultural norms about white heterosexual beauty images of women. There are three main ideas that help to explain this process and why it is so powerful:
The business world is a serious place with an even more serious dress code. Behind the cut you'll find the Top 10 Helpful Hints to Aid Your Climb Up the Corporate Ladder.
-Dr. Power Tie
Betsy is a second year student intending to graduate in 2011 with a major in Conservation Biology with a minor in Gender Women and Sexuality Studies. With her diverse interests, she intends to pursue a career in Natural Resources, while simultaneously exploring and deconstructing the status quo. Interested in introspection and awareness as agents of change, she is constantly reevaluating her personal identity as well as the image she projects to the world. Betsy is passionate about environmental justice, Kurt Vonnegut, her family (biological and otherwise) and self expression.
"Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.â€?
-A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick)
Lana identifies as a white, middle-class, queer, disabled woman student at the University of Minnesota. A member of the Women Student Activist Collective, Lana intends on graduating in 2010 with a BA in Gender Women and Sexuality Studies. Recognizing her imposed subject position she remains critically aware and hopeful of change to this day. People describe her as honest. She describes herself as a queen.