When I first started reading TRANSforming Spaces, I was surprised because I had never thought about the library and archives as being a space that caused for an underrepresentation of transgender-based material. The statements that Hatfield makes in TRANSforming Spaces such as “libraries and archives need to proactively include community voices and challenge normative practices that have disenfranchised transgender users.” make me wonder about our own library and archives. I have never searched the archives or the library to even see if they have content that represents transgender users but if they do not have any source material that is representative of transgender people, I feel like they are doing a disservice to not only Whitman but Walla Walla as the entire community that have access to the library and the archives.
Another fascinating statement that Hatfield makes is “the transgender community has yet to achieve the visibility that gay and lesbian communities have, and has been said to be twenty years behind gays and lesbians in terms of rights.” This statement really struck me because I feel as if I have been blind in attempting to incorporate the transgender community as well as the gay and lesbian communities. I noticed that at moments such as the pride parade, my mind is focused on the acceptance of gay and lesbian communities but for some reason when I am there celebrating acceptance, the thought of incorporating transgender communities separate from the other LGBTQ communities did not cross my mind for some reason. However, reading this article has made me realize that I need to think more about how transgender people are being represented in our community, whether that is through the library and the archives or just through daily life in general.
This article also reminded me of the comic book presentation that Megan, Shana, and Katherine did on The Prince And The Dressmaker because it parallels to the comic the Hatfield refers to, Mahou Shonen FIGHT! Because both of the main characters in the comic are very gender fluid and even though they cross dress in order to transform into someone else, their gender is never defined, leaving it open to the reader to interpret it as they wish. I believe that these sorts of comics that purposefully make a point to incorporate all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities, etc. are very scarce in Whitman’s library and archives. However, I did not really look at this as such a pressing issue until I read Hatfields argument. But now, after reading TRANSforming Spaces, I am going to be aware of how libraries, archives, and community spaces incorporate the transgender community.
When Hatfield discussed how the internet opened up a whole new world to consumers through participatory culture, it reminded me of the web comics that we have read and also of some of the fanfiction that I have read online. I really enjoy reading these works because the consumers are able to comment on the post and therefore the author is able to take the consumers feedback and possibly add that into their next work that they publish.
Here is the comic from Alyssa that I liked the best: https://www.autostraddle.com/oh-hey-its-alyssa-49-pride-423221/
When I first started reading Lordes article, I was instantly able to relate to her writing not only because I also believe that in society, women’s sexual desires are suppressed and rubbed off as not “womanly” or “ladylike” or any other demeaning term that people choose to use, but because before I came to college I was ashamed of having any sort of sexual feeling or of exploring my sexuality in any way. But coming to college and getting out of my tiny town where everybody knows everybody opened up a new world for me even though Whitman sometimes does seem like a tiny town where everybody knows everybody. Coming to Whitman showed me that because so many people are comfortable talking about sex and because it is not a topic of conversation that should be avoided or is made to feel people uncomfortable, I was slowly able to break out of my shell and start to realize that it is ok and normal for women to have sexual tendencies because it is not and should not be portrayed as just a man’s world.
I agree with Lorde that “the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the woman who does not fear its revelation, not succumb to the belief that sensation is enough.” because coming to terms that it is normal and encouraged to develop sexual feelings made me confident in myself in ways that I can not describe. It made me confident in my body because I fully embraced myself for everything that I am, disregarding the stereotypical body image that would just sit in my mind and would be there whenever I ate anything, went to the gym, wore a swimsuit, etc. Welcoming eroticism into my life allowed me to accept who I am on the inside and the outside.
I really enjoyed Lordes expression of the ways that erotic functions for her. I had never thought of the word “erotic” in the way that she is expressing in this article. For example, when she says, “The erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy.” I was able to relate to her reasoning but it was amazing because I had never thought of joy as being erotic. But now that I am reading this article, I can see that I have a sense of self-connection when I do certain activities such as using watercolors or reading as a way to de-stress it is in a sort of funny way, a measure of my capacity for feeling and a reminder of this capacity. Doing these activities that allow me to de-stress allow for me to say yes to myself and to allow myself to do what I want at that moment instead of listening to the busy life of society around me. Then, when I do go back to my busy life, I am able to feel empowered and I know that I have a place that I can go if I am feeling powerless at all.
I thought that these articles were very thought provoking in the way that I have never thought about comics in the way that Lamb refers to the social and racial constructs that superheroes and comics in general ensue. While reading these two articles, I feel as if it started off with thoughts that we have either talked about in class or that I have been thinking about since we have not only started reading superhero comics in this class but ever since I have been watching superhero movies such as avengers, captain America, iron man, the list goes on and on. These thoughts include “Token women and people of color bestow selfless assistance, and our protagonists foil their deranged nemeses’ dastardly plans” and “The superhero concept is a racial construct, used primarily to derive profit from printing White male power fantasies ad nauseam for a core audience of ostracized children. Nostalgia generates revenue.” We have analyzed these thoughts many times in class but I feel as if the white male superhero, which there seem to be so many of, is always the topic of the conversation. However while reading these two articles that were centered around the racial constructs of comics, I couldn’t stop thinking about the role that white women play in comics. I wonder if Lamb would have the same outlook on the racial constructs seen through comics if these articles were focused not on white male superheroes like Superman but instead analyzed the role that white female superheroes like wonder women play Lambs outlook on comics. When Lamb started comparing comics to early paintings, I had never thought they these two forms of art could be compared in such a way that Lamb did, but I think that he did it in such a way that not only gave background on the paintings of Charles Stanhope, Bartholomew Dandridge, and Arthur Devi but also was able to compare it to the much more modern form of art, comics. It was really interesting reading Lambs take on how these paintings and comics compared regarding the white Anglo-Saxon man which is the main topic of both art forms and which the art during this time revolves around.
In Cohens, “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)”, his vision of the meaning behind monsters and the place that they hold in our society today reflects well with the texts that we have been reading in class such as “Saga”, “Monstress”, and “Deer Woman”. The first comparison that I found in Cohen’s article is regarding his “Thesis I: The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body”. While reading, I was comparing this section to “Deer Woman” in the fact that the monster in the story, which is the Deer Woman is born and comes to life because of certain moments, which in this case is when women are being sexually assaulted or threatened. The Deer Woman’s purpose in the story is to rid of the fear that Native American women live with and constantly face of being sexually assaulted. Because, whenever they are in that situation, the Deer Woman appears and tramples the person that is threatening them to death in order to rid of the fear and anxiety that they live with. I feel as if when Cohen states that “the monstrous body is pure culture”, this also resonates with Deer Woman because Native American women have passed on this tale of this protector from generation to generation in order to protect and support Native American women.
In Cohens “Thesis II: The Monster Always Escapes”, I was reminded first of Frankenstein because at the end of the book, after the monster has caused so much damage and tragedy, it vanishes into the distance, never to be seen again. This relates to when Cohen states, “And so the monster’s body is both corporeal and incorporeal; its threat is its propensity to shift.” This section also reminds me of Izabel, the teenage ghost girl in Saga because even though she was killed in the war, she is able to come back as a helpful and friendly ghost that guides people to safety. This example can also contradict what Cohen is portraying because the way that I look at it, he is somewhat portraying all monsters in this aspect as bad, even though Izabel who is a monster that disappears and reappears, just as Cohen illustrates, I do not see her as a bad monster in any sort of way. I actually see her in a contrasting light of being like a guardian angel that leads them to safety and also watches over the child at night.
In “Thesis III: The Monster Is the Harbinger of Category Crisis”, Cohen states that monsters are “disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in a systematic structuration. And so the monster is dangerous, a form suspended between forms that threaten to smash distinctions.” I agree that the stereotypical monsters seen in many movies and books may have incoherent bodies but regarding the books that we have read such as “Saga” and “Monstress”, I do not think that this statement rings true. In “Saga” and “Monstress”, most of the monsters seen in this book have very humanlike features that do not remind me of a dangerous life forms and although they may be suspended between two different life forms, I do not think that the end result is something horrifying or grotesque like Cohen describes but is instead just a different being with special body features such as wings or horns.
The statement, the visions that Western societies hold is fundamental to the cultural construction of social life, is at first a very confusing statement but after I thought about it for a little bit and I began to decompress it down to simplify the meaning, I found that I agreed with Rose’s reasoning even though I had never thought of Western social construction in this particular way. Images surround us constantly, whether it be through social media, television, textbooks, pictures, art, etc., and these images allow us to look at the world in a graphic sense instead of our brains just processing gobs and gobs of words. I thought that Rose’s interpretation of the statement, “images are never transparent windows on to the world” was cliché but as I kept reading and as it reached the picture of the man and the woman looking through the window into what seems to be a store of some sort, it all began to make sense. The notion of ‘truthful’ photographs relates to this statement because even though the picture of the man and the woman seems to be natural and looks like a picture that I could possibly dissect to look at some instance of reality, the photograph very well could have been entirely staged and nothing about the subject’s expressions, body posture, etc., is natural.
Comparing the photograph of the man and the woman to the Conservative Party election poster, I saw that even though both of these visual images are photographs of humans, the message that they bring across right away is completely different. On the poster, even though the man is the subject of the poster and the poster is about him, my eyes were instantly drawn not to him, but to the large bold letters at the bottom that exclaim “LABOUR SAYS HE’S BLACK. TORIES SAY HE’S BRITISH.” Because the viewer’s eyes are instantly drawn to those two statements, then immediately the man on the poster is put into a category without any precaution.
I thought that it was interesting when Fyfe and Law stated, “It is to note its principles of inclusion and exclusion, to detect the roles that it makes available” and the way that this statement related to Berger’s thoughts on female nude paintings. I did not agree with Berger on the fact that nude art is made for the male spectator. Even though this may be true for some forms of nude art, I do not believe that all artists paint nude women solely for the eyes of men but instead they paint nude bodies because bodies are an amazing work of art all by themselves and they may be attempting to capture that beauty and grace. I also do not agree with him on the fact of “men act and women appear”. I think instead that many women choose to embrace their femininity and do not see themselves as any sort of object.