I appreciated the comprehensiveness of Susan Heckman’s piece on feminism as it illuminated several new concepts for me. One of these that I absolutely agree with is Hartsock’s point on how, “women’s oppression gives them a unique and truer view of the realities of society.” I, as a white man, struggle with the existential concept of general patriarchal complacency. Because of my privileged upbringing and my birth status as part of this patriarchal society, I feel as if I don’t have a clear picture of the realities of the world. My life has been dictated down a smooth path in which I cannot see the forest for the trees. I don’t like this even remotely because I don’t believe in the causal misogyny of which I’m frequently surrounded in and supported by, but also in terms of my art, I’ve nothing to overcome and nothing to struggle against. I just float about, blissfully ignorant to true horror’s of life unable to comprehend, not just the struggles of woman, but of minorities, homosexuals, and people desperately fighting for the freedom that they rightly deserve elsewhere in the world. I would love to make a video piece on this subject because it something that really saddens me intrinsically, but I find it to be a hard subject to gasp artistically.
I appreciated Catharine MacKinnon’s notes on pornography as I actually wrote as an undergraduate on the masturbatory, lazy nature of the modern man and how pornography supports this kind of lifestyle. It also informs the psychology of men toward women as men engaged in this porno filled lifestyles are likely to see most women as objects of selfish joy rather than as human beings. I also liked the fundamental notion of radical feminism as emphasizing the differences between the sexes (not necessarily as Freud sees it) rather than having to bring woman up to male standards of living.
I have to admit to the title Femmes Fatales grabbing my attention as I always been a huge fan of that character archetype. Growing up on film noir, I always found the notion of a deadly, scheming woman really hot in an adolescent sort of way (which probably still holds true today if I’m being honest). I guess after reading this article, I find this deception and implied mysteriousness in a film fantasy context hot, but not necessarily in real life. I also found Doane’s analysis of the close-up fascinating in how it conflates a movies deception with the extremely visible, implying an intimacy with an articulate face that is revealing something or, especially when in conjunction with a veil as she describes, is concealing something. I think I will check out this full book now after reading this chapter.
I agree with Laura Mulvey when she talks about the film satisfies the viewer/spectator to able to enjoy pleasurable looking and mentions that similarity between the screen and the mirror. I feel like the writing is objectively analyzing and denounce the phenomenon of film, which woman in the film became an erotic object, and it is for giving the pleasure of looking to the viewer and also to the main male character in the film. It was questionable for me in this reading when Laura differentiate between male and female she mostly focused on physical differences between man and woman.(Maybe this is how Freudian analysis goes?) Also when she mentioned about male is ‘active’ and female is ‘passive’ it reminds me the Greek and Roman paintings/stele… which female used to be described like always inside of the house, and many times their face is not directly to the viewer (used to show just the side portrait), and male figure most of the time looks adventurous, and most of the time their eyes or face is directly to the viewer.
Lana’s reading about Feminism was good to understand briefly about the concept of Feminism, and how it approaches to other fields.
I really enjoyed reading Marta analyzing Cindy Sherman’s photography. Before I read is writing for me Cindy Sherman’s works are just talking about reconstructing or reproducing identity, and I didn’t really focused on thinking about the Gender. As reading all related to Feminism, I realized Psychoanalysis leads to the concept of Feminism, and for now Feminism argues with the current issues like consumerism or popular culture.. I feel like Feminism analysis is necessary because we are experiencing every day there are male and female who are so different.
I enjoyed the Zarzycka article, partly because I am already reasonably familiar with the work of Cindy Sherman. I was particularly pleased with the thought on page 153, “Art always converges with other art.” I have struggled in my own work when I suddenly discovered that another artist, unbeknownst to me, was making work that was similar to, or paralleled my work. At the time I simply stopped making the things I feared were too similar because originality seemed paramount. I like the idea that originality was not at stake but that our work had simply converged.
I was a little worried about Cindy Sherman saying that she sees her work as an “empty vessel” and offers no explanations. I think this could be perceived as lazy, although, for her work, I don’t think it is lazy. Part of the reason that her work remains interesting is that it offers the viewer no answers. But I’m afraid that this sort of thing can be pointed to as an example by lazy artists who don’t want do the labor of thinking through the content and potential interpretations of their work.
Also, I reflected when reading Hekman that I feel so much more comfortable with the readings out of the Routledge Companion to Critical Theory than with most of the other readings. Why? Because it is a simplified overview of the more complicated ideas that specific readings explore. This got me thinking about teaching (glass specifically) and how desperately I want to give students all the information, complex and confusing as it may be. But I think it is better to start out with broad, simple ideas so as to build a frame work into which more complex and detailed information may be placed later.
Reading 5- Feminism
I support the feminism movement and understand the theory, but after reading the articles, I still have an issue with the people who call themselves feminists. I read Susan Hekman’s, Fenimis chapter, and learning the history about feminism was interesting, but it upsets me when feminism only talk about the women’s movement from a white female point of view. When we talk about the history of feminism, why do we not discuss black women? Sojourner Truth was a feminist! As a slave she ran away for her freedom and later gave her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” in 1851. Frederick Douglass was a feminist! He advised the presidents and lectured to thousands not only about ending slavery, but women’s rights, too. If feminists are for women’s rights and gender equality, then why is it that majority of white feminist only think about their own struggles? It Is difficult to demand women’s rights when you’re not including all women.
I did enjoy reading Lana F. Rakow’s, Feminist Approaches to Popular Culture: Giving Patriarchy Its Due. I appreciated Rakow’s discussion of feminism as a group. I really valued bell hooks statement about “television lowers the self-confidence and self-esteem of black girls” and how “the black female child is rarely visible” in media. This is a fine example to my point in the first paragraph about how most white women feminist do not consider black women in the struggle of gender equality- because the media that shapes our society does not acknowledge black females.
Mary Ann Doane- Veiling Over Desire: Close-ups of the Woman
The Chapter focuses on the male gaze in relation to the closeup and the significance of the veiled woman in film noir. Doane argues that the close-up of the female star is used specifically for the spectator. The face invites, more than any other body part, for the spectator’s reading. The female’s face becomes a possession of the spectator. The veiled woman becomes mysterious. The veil acts as a sort of protection from the gaze. The veil creates a distance for the woman, but also establishes a closeness, since the camera is always attempting to shoot her in closeups. The veil then becomes a symbol of desire, and a form of protection, separating the man from the source of his castration fears.
1.) Does the veil construct different meanings in different genres? For example what does a woman wearing a wedding veil symbolize in romantic comedies?
2.) According to Doane’s argument that the veil acts to protect the perpetrators of the male gaze from the castration fear, how would she react to artist like Cindy Sherman who use masks, such as clown makeup?
Laura Mulvey- Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema
Mulvey’s argument focuses on two pleasures attached to cinema, the pleasure of looking and the pleasure of being looked at. Mulvey argues cinema has constructed an imbalance of power between the male and female genders. One that associates the man with the active role and the woman with the passive. The man drives the plot forward, where the female is simply there to provoke the man to act. Mulvey argues the woman’s presence is threatening to the male because she is the image of castration, and therefore reminds him of his fear of his own castration. The onscreen woman must be punished, often through fetishization, and/or breaking down her mystery and devaluing her. My art has a strong focus on feminism. I’m interested in body politics, and have been trying to actively break the binary my work focused on. Mulvey’s argument, although a good starting point, is constructed around binaries of gender and sexual orientation.
1.) Mulvey’s argument is structured around a gender and sex oriented binary. What if the female audience identifies with the onscreen male and vise versa?
2.) In horror films there is often a final girl that out lives the other characters. The final girl often takes on the active role at the end of the film? Does this matter though since she has been punished throughout the rest of the film?
Feminism is an interesting point when I think back to the heavy industry work I’ve done. I believe I got to discuss this to some extent in class, though, I will reiterate. When working at an Olympic Steel factory, I started at the same time as this lady, who worked the same hours and job I did for the same wage. Though, I know it is an isolated case, I feel glad to have experienced this sort equality in work. Especially in a field that is so heavily masculine. Though, maybe the inequality of such a place is actually an economic factor that isn’t concerned with gender.
And while being a manager who had hiring duties, I looked at the skills of the person, rather than who they were. Which I felt was appropriate for the workplace, in the search for someone to do a specific task. However, I felt poorly about essentially ignoring those aspects of their identity. Last year I was working with trans-humanist theory in my work coming from interest in the humanist movements. And if the basic* purpose of feminism is true equality, then my interpretation of humanism is feminism. My work isn’t interested in the gender of myself or the listener, though it has autobiographic elements that can be informed by my gender. I’m interested in us as humans, as a collective.
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