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AMST 198: Triechler-Beyond Cosmo 15/02/2010

← 1988 Gould article in Cosmo:
• cannot contract AIDS/HIV through normal unprotected sex
• healthy vagina protection enough, if not, why not more heteros?
• occurs in Africa b/c of homosexuality and rough hetero sex
o “rape by our standards”not only gendered but racialized
← Response to article:
• ACT UP—protest and boycott of Cosmo, documentary and book
← Problems of Identity:
• philosophical questions of difference, which features of the worl
account for its sameness and which for its diversity?
o who is infected? how is it transmitted? shape the way we
identify and classify women who have the disease
o history as a gay disease distorted gender, thus women felt
• personal identity –features that link each of us to other groups of
people but also distinguish us
o medical field limited in its scope of features
• psychological sense—process where we identify with some aspect or
attribute of another
← women as vessels or carriers of the infection—it was believed that they
could not infect men, only an infected man’s semen that remained in a
woman’s vagina would infect another man or the projectile penis theory
• implications: AIDs is uniquely homosexual, violates natural
• body’s vulnerability to disease is gendered: vagina amor vs.
delicate penis
o “she menstruates,” “use of IUDs and birth control pills,” “she
ages” !!!!!!!
o equating vagina to rectum
• limits and problems w/ stats
• lesbian sex not a way to transmit disease
← biological identity and stat identity—shape a commentary that makes
it hard for women to tell if they are similar or different to “women with
← -heterosexual: does it always include women?
• does it imply class differences? myth of heterosexual AIDS
← -women diagnosed later than men, limit on experimental treatments,
← -identities/roles: page 42
← -AIDS’ identity as a gay/man disease leaves the burden on them to
prove their significance

Class Notes 15/02/2010 20:51:00
← Feb. 16, 2010---Feminism
← Points about paper #1:
• analysis vs. description
• theses: make large claims but need to support them more
specifically-what is the article doing?
• “synthetic organization”---analysis of text and visuals separately
doesn’t always work. focus on themes and talk about text and
image together
• Proofread: citations, grammar, basic stuff
← Free Write:
← A. Feminism is the belief that women and men should be treated
with equal respect, rights, and protection under the law. Feminists act
to support the goals of equality between the sexes, both on the small
scale of everyday interactions and on the larger scale of legislation, for
example. There are different branches of feminism but to me, it is
mainly the idea that women should be treated as human beings, in the
same way that men are treated. Both women and men can be
feminists; yet, many people would argue that it benefits women more
to be invested in feminism.

← B. Voting rights, the Equal Pay Act, as well as the sexual
liberation movement, have all been catalyzed by feminism. Title IX has
also been an important change affecting education and athletics.
However much progress has occurred, there seems to be a cycle of
gains and losses, and justifications for inequality seem to repeat for
different aspects of society. The idea that women would become
infertile if they rode a bicycle was commonplace a century ago, yet
now this idea seems ridiculous, in the same way that people in the
1980s claimed that a career can make a woman barren—it now seems
ridiculous (or at least to most people it should), but recent articles
have been published which reiterate the idea that women’s
unhappiness is rooted in their liberation, and that the true reason for
women’s unhappiness is trying to do it all. (see

← C. Most of what I know about feminism I learned through school,
sports, and my family. Most recently, I took Athletics and Gender and
Sociology of Gender last semester, both of which touched upon
feminism and differences between men and women in various aspects
of society. Sports have been very central to my understanding of
feminism because I’ve always seen them as an equalizer. Our
generation has been lucky enough to grow up in a time where we had
female athletes as role models and could participate in sports without
many of the terrible consequences that past generations faced. While
inequalities in athletics remains a problem, and many girls do face
criticism for playing more typically male dominated sports (e.g.
baseball), sports are a way that women can show that they have the
skills, independence, and strength to be considered equal to men. My
mother and grandmother have always been working and independent,
and instilled those values in me. My great grandmother on my mom’s
side went to college and worked before she was married, and my
grandmother has always encouraged me to pursue any interests

← What is feminism?
• body of theory and social movement
← Judith Butler and Gender
• Sex-physical differences and Gender-meaning attached to sex
• Butler says no—the distinctions between people does not originate
with sex differences
• no such thing as a sexed body that is not gendered
o cannot understand penis or vagina without an order already
in place
o biological body does not make sense out of its discourse
o bio diff. wrapped up in meaning we desire things that allow
for a livable life
o consequences for not desiring the norm
← Waves of Feminsim:
← First Wave: rise of abolitionism and gaining the vote (19th cent.)
• b/c of Civil War abolition takes precedent over suffrage
• gain vote and then a lull
← 1930s: male dominated things collapse so women take over
WW2 women take over, but afterwards women have to go back to home
(GI Bill) political and economic policy of the time don’t allow for feminism
Second Wave: 1962, Feminine Mystique
• Friedan: the problem with no name—women are unhappy
• Three Pillars:
o social constructions of femininity: mass market media, society
o Millet: Western Civ built on patriarchy—insitutionalization of
patriarchy—so every desire, only way to come into sexual
consciousness by sex w/ a man
o Heterosexuality itself a construct—told what to desire
• Possible b/c of Kinsey’s study of sexuality of women
o women more sexually active
o women had same sex encounters more than people thought
o women desired sex way more than people thought
• Walter and Johnsons studies
• Liberal feminism=legal struggles: ERA, labor struggles, etc.
• Radical feminism=sexual revolution: women are like men in terms
of sexual desire-no biological difference to equalize relationships
btw men and women
o pursuit of pleasure was a radical idea
• Critique from Cultural feminism:
o what about race?
o we have a sexual revolution, but now men assume they can
get sex whenever they want
o There are experiences about being a woman that are unique
and we should celebrate these things
o Radical Lesbian Separatism: differences btw men and women
are irreconcilable
← Third Wave: late 80s-early 90s
• celebrate gender differences and critique restrictive radical
feminism—any type of sex is okay.
• rise of queer theory
• attempt to deconstruct gender as a category completely
← Feminism in the 1990s
• feminism w/o feminism
• feminism and technology
• feminism being blamed as the problem for women today
← Thelma & Louise
• gun and empowerment

← Feb. 23, 2010—Queer Theory
• Scene from the film that stood out & why:
o The scene where James leaves the bar to go kill himself was
particularly hard to watch. We see the methodical way in
which he calmly turns the camera on, takes the pills, and
then puts a plastic bag over his head before jumping into the
Jacuzzi. The way in which the scene is shot, so that the
camera takes his point of view with the bag over his head,
intensifies the viewer’s experience and makes this scene even
more powerful. The fact that the scene leaves nothing to the
imagination, the way a more traditional Hollywood film might,
serves two purposes: to heighten the emotional response of
the viewer and to speak to the realities of the high rates of
depression and suicide amongst gay men and women. The
camera work in the scene, the underwater work, is also
particularly artful and well done.
• Free Write-Week 7:
A: I think the goals of the LGBT movement are equality, not
tolerance but acceptance of all types of lifestyles. Another major
goals include stopping violence, raising awareness about
AIDS/HIV, allowing people to be who they are w/o judgment,
and gaining legal rights for LGBT individuals and couples.
B: I’m not sure if there are specific oppressions associated with
sexuality. Sexual shame might be considered an oppression only
associated with queer identity. It is there for women to a certain
extent with the whole idea of a promiscuous man as a player and
a promiscuous woman as a slut, as well as with the issue of
abortion. I don’t know what to call it but the sexual shame (I
guess) of AIDS or people assuming you have or know someone
who has AIDS if you’re LGBT is pretty exclusive to queer
C: Culturally queer means that you identify with LGBT people
while maybe not fitting into the LGBT category. Though, people
who may be LGBT may not be culturally queer. It’s more like
engaging with queer people and the things that make up LGBT
culture as opposed to mainstream culture.
• Queer Nation: everyone can be queer and anything is possible for
any person, not a separate nation but changing the current one
o queer=lives of lgbt ppl but also a world view of working
against the mainstream society
o culturally queer, see straight people in Short Bus
• why gay mov’t and not feminism mov’t?
• 60 Minutes piece:
o love the reporter’s body language
o McCarthy’s aids during ’54 army hearings—used homophobia
o a “wrap session”
o so because people don’t know things they “need” to, they
shouldn’t be able to learn about things that are different/new
o Battle btw dignity and indignity
• Short Bus:
o voyeurism
o a world of sexual autonomy
← Free Write, March 2, 2010
← a) School—we learned about AIDS in sex education, as early as
elementary school with the AIDS quilt too. I don’t remember this as much
but I’m sure I learned about AIDS from TV and film, although I may have
been too young to pick up on all of it.
← b) There was a backlash against queer/homosexual culture as a result
of infecting the “general population.” There was also a big movement toward
awareness about the disease in more recent years. E.g: ProdcutRED,
Starbucks, etc. More for AIDS in Africa, not in US.
← c) the 1970s?

Warner-Ethics of Sexual Shame 15/02/2010

← sexual shamecan’t get rid of it, so get rid of sex. then put shame
onto others
• moralism-when sexual practices are mandated for everyone
• morality and universally accepted sexual revelations
o anything that goes against them we automatically think it’s
o but explaining away someone else’s sexual behavior may
mean the morality is flawed
• more than overt and deliberate shaming
o silent inequalities, isolation, and lack of public access
• sexual autonomy requires access to pleasures and possibilities
• moralism and hegemony of dom. sexuality only results in
satisfaction in others’ shame
• ppl come to believe legitimate sex must be unlearned, pre-
reflective, present before history, isolated from the public circ. of
• if gay=chosen not genetic, it could be reasonably forbidden (both
sides say)
• it isn’t just biology—culture influences sexuality
o it can also change, individually and on a broader level
• sex doesn’t have to be primordial to be legit
o new sexualities can be just as legit as ancient ones
• roth v. us=obscene as prurient interest and com. standards
• sex in public is scandal or nothing, no other context exists
• it might have been realism about sex, but isn’t it important that it
was Bill Clinton?
• paradox: puritanical notions of sex=bad and ppl w/whom we ID
• erotophobia during Monicathon
• recreational drug use as only a way to shut down sexual variance is
not necessarily true…
• Does marriage change the ppl who have it or do gay ppl change
• these questions still haven’t been answered…
• 1970—so early for the question of marriage, didn’t know that
• the list is all well and good, but when ppl are talking about real life,
real legal consequences, the resistance to hetero culture seems less
• commitment=civilized behavior according to Eskridge
• this “will to ignorance” may exist in queer literature in support of
gay marriage, but isn’t it better to have some rights, even if that
means compromising some of the integrity of the movt? of course it
would be much better to have everyone accept that marriage isn’t
necessary for legal rights, but that is close to impossible and would
take decades for it permeate mainstream America.
• I agree with Stoddard, it’s about the right to marry, not marriage
o everything about it is performance! the proposal, the
ceremony, the party, etc.—the couple doesn’t have to do all
those things in order to show each other that they are
committed, they do it to show everyone else they are
o the state mandate of marriage criminalization of consensual
• warner seems to argue that homophobia caused the backlash to the
70s disco free sex era, not AIDS, but then later argues that HIV
produced catastrophe rather than the promiscuity
• marriage as a way to alter behavior, to create “good gays”
the right to marry does not mean that gays will actually get married
—what are the consequences of same-sex marriage to single
Treichler-An Epidemic of Signification 15/02/2010
← the very nature of AIDS is constructed through language and in
particular through the discourses of medicine and science
• AIDS constructs the disease and makes it intelligible
• must look at language to determine what AIDS “really” is
• we have to make sense of AIDS because people do not understand
“the facts” about the disease
• our social constructions of AIDS based upon what we are told about
scientific reality prior social constructions routinely produced
within the discourses of biomedical science
• but both science and commonplace thought create misconceptions
• but sci disguises contradiction and irrationality
• Gay community constantly challenged terminology, meaning, and
interpretations produced by sci com
• ft note 21
• AIDS origin in who one is or in something external
• “vulnerable anus” hypothesis keeps AIDS a gay disease
o allows ppl to think about only millions of possible victims, not
o heterosexual practices still OK
o heterosexual ideologically superior
• ft note 63
• disease is language, body is a representation, medicine is political
• science operates in culture so it cannot be objective
• language produces material world to explain
o change material world to fit our descriptions
← Public Culture Scientific Discourse [Continuum]
← Discourses of Militarism and Global Violence
• constructed around metaphors of Cold War Poltiics
o body becomes nation and its susceptibility to pathogens or
← How do we account for actual existence of material things?
← materiality and discourse are not separate
Haraway-Manifesto for Cyborgs15/02/2010 20:51:00
← Radical Feminist statement; attempt to imagine a way of doing identity
politics without the problems of identity politics—claiming identities in a way
that is overlapping/intersectional to eliminate the divisiveness of ID politics
← ---Read twice, Answer Questions, and see Interview---
← Terms:
← -Epistemology: study of how people know something, study of
knowledge; something that describes or explains how people know what
they know
• Enlightenment and Greeks
• Decart: How do I know I am what I am?
• ways of knowing can be gendered, or raced—identity
← -Telos: direction or movement of thought; the direction of humanity or
• America’s telos: more freedom and more equality
← -Modernity: (1) period of time after the Enlightenment, (2) notion of
reason, ability to separate nature from culture; fantasy about human’s
ability to study the world objectively
• Assoc: democracy, secularization, objectivity
• relies on human as free-willed being
• some argue Modernity is a fallacy
• Telos of Modernity=greater reason, greater objectivity
← -Postmodernism: (1) late 1970s. (2) movement that abandons forms
of progress narratives, no longer assumes history is moving towards
progress; cannot talk about humans holistically, people are fractured.
Cannot be a narrative of the world.
• Assoc. Foucault, late capitalism (1970s)—industrialization to global
money and technology
← -Socialist Feminism: Marxism plus feminism: how do we think of
women/gender as a category always related to labor? Rethinking women and
women’s bodies through labor/capitalism
← -Marx: world org around conditions of production and labor, and they
define the cultural apparatus
• economy is the base power structure
• everything else (super structure) is based on the power structure
and reinforces it
← -Freud: society structured by the way that individuals internalize
• repression in order to function, but this mechanism causes you to
be insane
• everyone is neurotic, some are just more so than others
• why does modern Western civ need all these restrictions of the self
in order to function?
← (Also see handout)

• border war=relation btw organism and machine over production,
repro, and imagination
• pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and responsibility in their
• how does she make all of these claims about what cyborgs are? like
where is she getting her information from?
• cyborg=illegitimate offspring
creationism as child abuse??
Clueless/No Logo 15/02/2010 20:51:00
← 4/6/2010
← Free Write:
← 1. Retail therapy, I always feel better after buying something—stress
relief, excitement. There’s also a component of bonding that happens with
friends/family when you go out shopping. It’s something to do, whether its
to procrastinate or escape but also relieves boredom.
← 2. I associate mass consumption with department stores like Macy’s
and the post WWII economic boom that allowed people to buy things that
they didn’t need.
3. It seems like any alternatives to consumer society, ie under developed
countries, are trying to get to the consumer society. Communist societies,
though, are an alternative to consumer societies in that they do not have
distinctions based on the amount of purchasing power of one group.

• Capitalism changes the world
o Alienation: the worker is no longer attached to their skills;
they just sell their labor
o Class Struggle
o Commodity Fetish-object given value that people desire but
do not need, and the origins of the object are obscured
 use value=ability to use it to do something vs.
exchange value= the thing that makes that object
equivalent in relation to another object (how much of
something else is worth an object—2 chairs=1 table)
o The Dialectic-way of understanding history; when you think of
contradictions all at once, and history moves when one
contradiction is absorbed and another contradiction is
produced (mass culture/countercultureidentity marketing)
• alienation of consumer=when ppl consume what is produced, they
become a commodity (buyer thinks they’re buying for use value—
believed it will fulfill/seller just wants profit)
o Wii story
• Reification= labor abstracted and all labor is the same, human
qualities are detached from ppl and activities and they become
commodities in their own right—Queer Eye
o distinctions of labor

• Negative Dialectics=all human labor is reduced to exchange
principle, some labor is more exchangeable than others, which is
the major paradox of capitalism—the remainder
• Identity= identifying with certain objects/people

• Mechanical Reproduction—meanings of things are open to so many
different types of people
• Destroys “Aura” of art
• to politicize art, is a radical move, but to aesthetize politics is

• construction of value under capitalism is homologous to the system
of signification, meaning is rel’t of signifier to signified
• logic of capitalism=logic of meaning
• use value implicit—it ensures exchange value and underwrites its
• use value doesn’t exist, it is created only as a way to justify
capitalism—“capitalism’s alibi”
• redistribution
• theory of language: rose

← mass consumerism vs. trading
← 19th century-consumer=way of buying or purchasing
• mass consumer society
o factories and number things that are produced
o mass distribution
o buying for the sake of buying instead of buying for necessity
o buying to create an identity
o after WW2, you’re a good citizen if you buy goods
o after industrial rev, notion of leisure outside of work—day
split btw work/leisure
o mass migration to cities $$
← The economic world reversed.
← NationCapitalCultural Production (niche with it’s own rules)

Pleasantville-4/13/2010 15/02/2010 20:51:00
← Final Paper Notes:
• Sci-Fi: ID4, Minority Report, Fifth Element,
o How do these films use fantasies about technologies to make
political critique?
← Free Write:
← Pleasantville
← The film deals with a lot of different issues of the 1990s, from media to
historical memory to the typical race, gender, class, and sexuality issues. I
love the scene when the soda shop is destroyed and all the kids congregate
there. The intercutting of the new rules is great, but the reaction to them is
also interesting. One of the boys turns on the music and a girl yells for him
to turn it off as it is now against the rules, but Bud interjects and tells her
that they can listen to it. This act of rebellion shows the importance of music
as a form of social activism. After a few seconds, their fears about getting
caught subside and everyone begins tapping to the music. I also love the
scene when the dad goes home and the mom isn’t there. William H. Macy’s
great acting makes this scene believable for a generation of people who
easily could have written it off as a male chauvinist reaction. I also just love
how smart the film is: the use of color and black and white, the strange yet
amazing plot line, and the fantastic social commentary.

← What would you write and what would you say?

← Notes
← Popular Culture
• form of collective experience
• feeling of connection to the present
• pride in knowing the past
• pleasure/entertainment
• model to aspire to
• space of creative production
• popular allegory
• pronounces “Universalized” norms
• identificationarticulating previously unarticulated identities
• construct a usable past
• comfort/security
• direction/telos
• sentimentalityaffect
• outlet for expression
• narcissism—re-identification
• collective judgment
• *construction of desire*
o commodity
o love objects
o self

← Desire makes the world change how one produces desire and if we
change the exterior world, we can change how desire is produced

← Bud takes pleasure in knowing things about this new world but Mary
Sue desires Skip Martin

← comfort vs. uncomfort
← we can see the world through her eyes—we feel the pleasure of
expanding the visual field after her desire is reached in the bathroom
← fire becomes cat—signified
• shift in logic: color=transformation of social life
← desire for attention and desire for girl
← through his sister, david sees that you can shape your own destiny—
he realizes that in changing the logic of the world, he can interact with it
instead of sitting by and watching it or instead of only acting within it, he
can produce the world as well
Fight Club and On Suicide Bombing 15/02/2010
← 4/20/2010
← Free Write:
← The passage where the PTSD veteran tells his story about Vietnam I
found particularly striking. Not only were the details gory and his stories
shocking, but where he ends up becomes the notable part of the story for
me. Like the Narrator (or any member in FC), eventually, they become so
wrapped up in this “high” that they can no longer return to normal life.
Anything but FC—or anything but Vietnma—doesn’t ring true and doesn’t
feel real. The soldier says he was “so alive” while in Vietnam, in the same
way that the men in Fight Club feel alive. The Narrator says that after being
in FC, nothing matters anymore, you can’t even hear people talk to you. This
complete high from two extreme conditions is both euphoric and surreal.
Both instances can also be described as unimaginable. While the Narrator
tries to impart the seriousness of Project Mayhem to the police, he tells them
he knows it’s hard to believe. When the soldier says that he eventually
begins kill the mothers and children instead of picking them up, we see how
his perceptions of other people have changed because of the horrible things
he sees in war. The Narrator’s interactions with people also change after he
has seen and experienced the extreme violence of Fight Club; at first he
would never talk back to his boss, but by the end, he gives him a lecture and
threatens him. Additionally, like the Narrator, the soldier is conflicted about
this high. He says he hates what the high was about, but he loved the high,
in the same way that the Narrator loves how FC gives him power and a
feeling of truly being a live, but hates that he has hurt other people and
many of the things Tyler has done.

← Violence: Watching/Experiencing
← -desensitized?

← Liberalism
← -individual member w/ voice in collective
← -inalienable rights
← -secular
← -level of license
← -distinguishes btw just and unjust violence
← -assumes that all ppl are free willed agents

• If L says we all have rights and that everyone wants to be free,

then people who do not want freedom or to have these rights, are
not people.
• Liberalism universalizes all people while also placing those who
thought of it (Westerners) above everyone else b/c they are the
ones who thought of it first and everyone else does not abide by it.
• Gives you the tools with which to critique it
• Suspension of laws to protect itself
• narcissism
• suicide liberalism embodies liberalism (ultimate freedom; uses
violence to protect against violence), but also contradicts the
• p. 41: liberalism convinces you that your individual actions do not
impact the collective—“It’s just my choice”
Desire—for father’s acceptance
Twilight of Equality/Syriana 15/02/2010 20:51:00
← Free Write:
• When I think of the 1990s, I still think of my childhood. But now I
also think of identity politics, consumerism, global capitalism,
branding, backlash against feminism, AIDS/HIV and the LGBT
movement, and technology.
← Class Overview

← On the first day of class, I remember leaving feeling like there was a
lot of work and wondering why I was taking a WID as a senior. Looking back
now, I can’t imagine a more useful class with which to end my
undergraduate career. This class has not only been beneficial for analysis of
film and theory, but also in taking a critical eye to many aspects of our lives,
from media to politics. My understanding of identity politics has become
much deeper and I feel much more comfortable in my own positions because
of that.

← We have looked at SO MUCH in a comparatively shot time and while it
is impossible to retain everything from this class, I intend on trying to keep
as much of what I’ve learned with me as long as possible. We have had
great discussions, due in part to my fellow classmates and in part to the
skills of our instructor. Mapping films might now be one of my most favorite