Concept of Gender
On week 11 we continued watching Summer Palace and discusses the film with the group
which presented it. I can't say that I enjoyed the film, but it does contain radical themes
that we have gone over in class. We also read and discussed Butler's "Imitation and
Gender Insubordination". Butler suggests in her piece that there is no original concept of
gender therefore, homosexuality cannot be considered a copy of heterosexuality (Butler
722). She also states based on the "origin" of gender that heterosexuality might very well
be a copy of homosexuality (723). Butler's Derridian concept of gender is an compelling
one. It makes sense to say that people imitate behavior and gender roles. Mimesis than is
what creates the idea of gender according to Butler.
The discussion about binaries got me thinking about how there is always
an opposite or alternate to everything. I had never really thought about
the binary between good and evil before, and it is true that neither can
exist if we don't have a notion about both of them. When we were
watching clips from the musical, I couldn't help but remember an Episode
of the Simpson's where a character similar to Harold Hill tries to
convince the people of Springfield that they need a monorail. Maybe this
episode is an allusion to the film. Both of the characters (Hill and the
monorail guy) try to take advantage of people in order to make money.
Just like you said, Hill scares the people into believing that the pool
hall is evil by exploiting the people's conservative values.
Another thing that we discussed in class was identity. We watched some
clips from American Psycho as examples for our discussion. Patrick is
also another example of how binaries work, there can be no Patrick
unless there is someone who is competing with him. If Patrick's
coworkers were not competing with him Patrick would be extremely
different because he judged himself based on others. There is also a
powerful contrast within Patrick's actions and daily activities. Patrick
is supposed to be a very masculine man, but in the scene where he is
showering, he comes off a little bit feminine. Based on social norms,
men are not really into all of the facial and skin products that Patrick
uses. It was also interesting when Patrick says "there is no real me
only an entity, I simply am not there,” because he also states that
every morning he goes trough his cleansing procedure in the shower. He
begins to have an identity in this instance because we know that he
cares enough about his appearance to go through this every morning.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The relationships between the characters of the book
became clearer once we read and watched the film. After seeing the clip of the movie
where Brick has a conversation with Big Daddy in the basement, it seems that Bricks
personality was constructed by the lack of love he received from his father. In the movie,
Brick confesses to Big Daddy that he never felt love and he did not care if he inherited Big
Daddy's fortune. Although Big Daddy loved his father he felt empty because his father
was poor and left him with no material belongings. To Big Daddy love was secondary to
money, whereas it was the exact opposite for Brick.
We also discussed romantic comedy this week. It is true that romantic comedies have a
formula that they follow. It was said in class that we only went over the white idea of
romantic comedies. It was interesting that we are so used to only one type of romantic
comedy and we seem to overlook the minorities' ideas of romantic comedies. I tried to
think examples of Latino romantic comedies, couldn't. The only thing that i could think of
was Spanish soap operas. Most if not all of these soaps also follow a formula. There are
always two people, a man a woman, looking for love. A villain, the person that gets in the
way of the romantic relationship is always present in soaps that are in Spanish. These
soaps are an examples of how some Latinos view the idea of love. There are also some
ideals of gender, and class that are prevalent in Spanish soaps. The male love interest is
always Macho while the female is needy.
On Wednesday, the group which discussed the Rules of Attraction said something about
desires which was somewhere along the lines of "we desire ideas, but not the desired".
When I heard the quote, it took me some time to figure out what it meant because it. It is interesting that when it comes to attraction, we desire the idea of what we think
somebody is without ever really wanting that person, the desired. We form concepts
about who and what we think is attractive based on our desires. Somebody in class also
said that the people we desire only disappoint us because we have an idea that they are
close to perfect, whereas people who we know have flaws impress us at times.
When the class was discussing the meaning of whore I thought of an experiment that I had
seen (can't remember where) about sex with strangers. The experiment took place on a
college campus and both male and female students were the experiment subjects. In one
part of the experiment, a female student went around asking random male students if they
wanted to have sex with her. It was no surprise to me that most of the guys agreed to
having sex with the stranger. For the second part of the experiment, the roles were switched
and the male student went around asking female students if they would have sex with him.
Though amusing, it was no surprise that the guy was rejected time after time. .... and we
call women sluts and whores?
I'd also like to add something, I was watching a
sports program earlier today and one of the highlights of the week came from a women's
league football game. I found it really odd that the women on the teams play in just their
underwear and bras. Maybe this class has influenced me to view women differently than
what society depicts as typical, but I feel like it is disrespectful to overlook the women's
ability to play football and instead place emphasis on their looks and their bodies. It is
somewhat paradoxical to have a women's football league yet have them play in bras and
underwear, at least the league has enough sense to give the women helmets and pads...