Re: [-empyre-] "feminine" identity
Hi Stacia and thanks for bringing this part of the topic into play.
When I was putting together the topic, I was partly thinking about
some of the things I have explored in my own practice in the past. In
particular, there is a performance I did in 1995/1996 titled Scalpland
- where I clippered my hair and used that act as a metaphor for the
colonisation of land and the construction of 'feminine' identity.In
this work, I also referred to the pseudo science of phrenology as a
signifier of the connections of colonial mapping between land and body.
The idealising of the feminine and your comment about the Sims being
like a 'virtual' dollhouse is sort of depressing - as these types of
criticisms reinforce that certain behaviours and 'toys' are gendered.
I am not really a gamer perse, but when we first got a PS2, the males
in my household would get quite upset and competitive when I would
beat them at Tekken or Need for Speed - as if I was emasculating them!
Anyway - who is to say that many of these girls playing sims are
actually boys :-)
Quoting Stacia Yeapanis <email@example.com>:
So, it seems we haven't much touched on the
particulars of "feminine" identity. This is an
interesting issue for me in my work, because I don't
focus on it specifically and would never say that it's
something I set out to make work about. But, I cannot
deny that there are many traditionally "feminine"
signifiers in my work.
For one, I can't ignore that in my Sims videos and
photographs, I am presenting an idealized female body
as my avatar and that that virtual body is often
warped and broken apart and penetrated my itself and
other objects (as in "Glitches are Signs"). I once got
an interesting read of these photographs as a critique
of the female body as represented in video games. I
like that that read is there, but it wasn't something
I set out to do.
Also, in the gaming world, I get the impression that
The Sims is often criticized as nothing more than a
virtual dollhouse. And that there is a large
concentration of female players, as opposed to other
games. This is not a fact I can back up. Just an
impression from perusing the web.
"Everybody Hurts" focuses on mediated tears and
imagery of sadness. Does this play into the simplified
idea of the feminine as hyper-emotional? And the
embroideries of said images refers to a traditionally
feminine pasttime, which was historically a tool for
training young girls how to be proper women, but has
recently been appropriated as a political action in a
lot of recent art. Many ethnographic studies have
historically focused of fandom and active viewership
as a feminist action.
With all this said, I don't set out to construct or
perform a "feminine" identity. These are natural
outshoots of who I am. I just wanted to bring this up
for discussion and ask Jill and Barbara to talk about
how they respond to that part of this month's topic.
Do y'all think of your performance work as "feminine"
in any way? How do notions of the "feminine" drive
your work or bring it to a screeching halt?
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