In ‘A Boy’s Honor’ by Foucault, As the reading talks about the young boy from the Greek/Roman period, I was keep thinking about this one Greek tomb painting showing symposium scene, which male’s drinking feast and the very right table there are two male reclining on the one table (reclining chair?) and one of them is older than the other (I assume because one have beard and the other have not.) and looking each other. There is a link of the image: http://www.paestum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Museum-diners-183.jpg
And also in this painting the young boy is wearing a lipstick (reddish lipcolor), which it shows that Greek and Roman some male (young boy) wear make up (feminized male). And also reminds me the Greek myth about Zeus and Ganymede, which Ganymede is young boy in Troy and also ‘desirable’ boy to Zeus and Zeus kidnap him to Olympus. This story reflects the culture in Greek and Roman about the young boy as pleasure relation or desirable subject was common.
It is interesting that Foucault is describing that Plato ‘got wise’ to change his opinion of the relation male and young boy, as a pleasure object is the contrary to nature, which feels like he is not fully comfortable about the idea of relationship between same gender.
His analysis of young boys in Greek period is interesting because Foucault is analyzing them as an object of pleasure, which is the subject to ‘look at’….which connects to the idea from feminism.
And this love between adult men and boys also mentioned in Donald Hall’s reading. His reading was helpful about understanding how gender theory get developed, by analyzing it from the classical era through 19th century, which have psychology analysis and feminism.
Alexander Doty’s reading was difficult to read because it specified all the words related to gender theory (queer, bisexual, transsexual, straight queer…and so many words). I think it’s because gender study was not my interest before, it was hard to understand all or the words because some of them it seems like similar to me..
Doty’s meticulous picking apart of the semantics of various queer related terms was nice refresher course for me in not only the proper context for these terms, but also why suddenly the use of the term “queer” became ok for analytical study. I was always under the impression that is was a derogatory moniker, but I can understand the convenience of it for Doty and this field of study’s purposes now. There were a lot of interesting tid bits in here in relation to queer responses vs. straight responses. He listed a lot of films with predominantly straight characters that queer audiences can get a different sort of emotional fulfillment out of. I actually really enjoy films of this nature as I find there is sweetness in place between these supposed straight people that sort of transcends the cliches of classic Hollywood. My go to example for a film like this would be Superbad. That movie explores the awkwardness of hooking up with a lady as an awkward teenage guy with booze tinted glasses, but there is a sweetness underling it all with the two man characters really loving each other. I’m always surprised watching that movie to the end passed the bawdy bits to see two guys finding out much they care about one another and their friendship. I would love to incorporate this kind of relationship in a film of my own as I think it goes beyond the dominant straight culture to appeal to every type of person’s emotions, regardless of sexual orientation (maybe not exactly like Superbad, I don’t want to oversell that movie). I also like Doty’s deconstruction of Gene Kelly and specifically the Make ‘Em Laugh moment from Singin’ in the Rain. This reading will make me view that scene with a whole new mentality now.
I found Foucault’s piece rather disturbing in its frankness and also surprising in how it read like a historical narrative. A lot of the other works these week quoted Foucault using these very general, clinical sentences so I was flummoxed by the inclusion of character names and the Geek setting. It is a very interesting read though I feel Foucault repeats himself a lot in terms of questioning the nature of loving boys, why that came to pass, and the varying response it incurred. I realize perhaps this sort of subject matter wasn’t analyzed so methodically before so perhaps it is just me being impatient. One point that I found thought provoking was the Erotic Essays notion of “care of the self” and superiority over others. Is the context for this a boy trying to prove himself worthy to his would be suitors? If that is the case, hasn’t his notion of having superiority over himself being warped as his validation of self is now in the possession of the response from this men? Or is that the point Foucault trying to make? I got a little confused
I was most interested in the Holliday reading about video confessionals. I use video occasionally in my own work but I almost always (with one exception) keep representations of myself out of the frame. Coincidentally, this week I was working on a video project in which I tentatively added my own voice to the video piece. This reading got me thinking about using conventions of the form of video diary in my own work. I made a video piece last year which I suddenly, after this reading, recognized as a video diary. (The piece was a series of still photos which documented six months of chemotherapy. I started with the outline of my head and shoulders traced onto a wall. Every couple of days I would make tiny, colorful glass flowers and add them to the silhouette, building outwards in layers. I took a picture of myself in the silhouette every time I added to it and then put all the still frames together to make a short stop motion video of the silhouette growing around me. Here’s a link to it http://www.kitpaulsonglass.com/current-work.html it’s at the bottom of the page.)
On page 269, Holliday writes, “Video diaries capture the performance of identities and the ways in which they are mapped onto the surface of bodies.” I found the idea about mapping onto the surface of bodies incredibly compelling and I started sketching out ideas for how to use that idea in a piece which I hope to make this week.
I was interested in Holliday’s observations about video diaries and how they allow the subject to act unselfconsciously. I thought it was interesting that subjects were able to be unselfconscious, despite knowing that they would be seen by other people, because they were not in front of known people. I liked the idea that confession becomes possible in the absence of potential contradiction.
The two articles that I will discuss this week are Donald E. Hall’s, Gender and Queer Theory, and Ruth Holliday’s, Performances, Confessions, and Identities.
Personally, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to read Hall’s article. At first, I was a little anxious to read about gender and queer theory, because I was under the impression that queer theory was about gay and lesbian rights- rights that should be given to all people. The right to love whom ever you want and express yourself the way that fits your identity. Also, I assumed that queer theory was somewhat like feminist theory; meaning just like feminists, gay’s and lesbians wanted to be accepted in society without any discrimination. Although, this is one façade of queer theory, there are so many more variables that define queer theory.
Hall mentioned that gender theory should also be considered ‘sexuality theory’ and gender theory is the identity politics of sexuality. Hall stated, “explor[ing] the variety of ways that ‘gender’, our assignment to social roles in ways related to our biological sex, is connected intimately and variously to our experience of sexuality, and how that experience bears on our own and other’s identity,” (p. 102). I interpreted that people are molded and shaped by their culture, social class, and media; which perpetuates what some might call “normality” of sex (sex being gender, sexual preference…). Gender theory is not only for gay’s and lesbians, but for all people who are oppressed sexually. I believe African and African American women to be part of the gender theory conversation as well. Black women are constantly being looked at through a magnified glass regarding sexuality: if we enjoy sex, then we are considered hyper sexual and labeled as Jezebels and whores. But, when black women reserved their sexuality then it is looked upon as ugly and snobby- as if black women think too highly of themselves. I realize that me personal take on these issues is from my on experience, what do you think?
Donald E. Hall’s Gender and Queer Theory highlights under-theorized elements of gender and queer identities. He points out binaries attached to societies understanding of these identities, such as male/female and heterosexual/homosexual. Hall points out, “gender theory in its titular nod towards naturalized roles of femininity and masculinity, but underlying focus on sexuality, has a complicated but potentially synergistic relationship to theories of transgenderism, transsexuality, and inter-sexuality” (110). This reading broadened my terminology of sexuality. I researched more on inter sexuality and found that he was referring to when a person’s internal reproductive system or genitalia are not distinctly male or female.
Michel Foucault’s A Boy’s Honor focuses on the shame and dishonor that molds the behavior of young men. He argues the honor of the Greek boy revolves around his political status. The boy is measured by how he holds his body, his gaze, the way he speaks, and how he is received by others. The reading describes the roles of sexual relationships between greek men. One man would be perceived as active and therefore thought of as positive, where the other man would be seen as passive and therefore thought of as inferior. In relationships between boys and men, the younger male would take on the passive identity, knowing it was temporary until he earned the title of man. The boy would often become “an admissible object of pleasure” (220).
This semester I’ve tried to expand my understanding of sexuality, focusing specifically on how gender and sexual orientation have been stereotyped in horror. In Blacula the first blaxploitation horror film portrays two homosexual males as “sissys”, who scream and almost faint at the sight of blood. Vampirism is considered to be homoerotic, but I see the presence of the two stereotypic homosexual characters as the film’s way of pointing attention to another minority in society. Blaxploitation was fighting to promote black identity, and our society becomes more accepting of identity when another identity can take its place on the totem pole.
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