Mimi Jimmy HUM 160 Final Exam Questions June 15, 2006/Hoene 1) The “erotic;” How has this

word changed and challenged the dynamics of the power struggle between men and women, and how does/can the erotic play a role in our daily lives? Uses of Erotic: The Erotic as Power-Audre Lorde Erotic  eros (greek)  the personification of love in all its aspects – born or Chaos and personifying creative power and harmony. Erotic  the popular definition is seen as a taboo; something only sexually appealing and people are drawn to it because it is supposedly out of the norm. Encarta: erotic 1. arousing sexual feelings: arousing, or designed to arouse, feelings of sexual desire 2. marked by sexual desire: characterized by or arising out of sexual desire Audre Lorde said that the erotic is an inborn sense of deeply imbedded power an energy including not only sensation but the feelings of physical, emotional and psychic expressions. She also says that this awareness of self-erotica opens the self-capacity of joy which further leads to wanting the same fulfillment in other areas of life. The self-connection to the erotic would bring women out of the box men have built for them, come into our own power not defined or controlled by men and this would challenge the male power of the which helps create the definition of woman’s identity. I think her definition focuses on not only the physical feeling also its connection tied to all other feelings that all together can bring a sense of self awareness and a charismatic appeal to others. Lorde said “The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, they psychotic, the plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have often turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with its opposite, the pornographic.

But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling” (p. 537). I think that men had long ago recognized the power of the erotic and have created what Kimmel had said, a playing field of men who are of equal status. Changing the meaning to relation of pornography and applying it to women has created an imbalance of power. Women have turned into sexual objects and this is constantly displayed and reinforced by the media. bell hooks (1994) said different forms of media display the American values that are established and maintained by our “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” ( para. 3). hooks reported that gansta rap and the young black men are often criticized regarding their obscene words and objectification of women. Gansta rap is a manifestation of the mainstream values in American culture in which other forms of media also portray but go unnoticed. Micheal A. Messner (2002) said, “a common theme in commercials aimed at boys and men is to depict women as capable either of humiliating men or of affirming men’s masculine desirability” (p. 480). Through his research of sports media and commercials, Messner also found that women are shown as either the Madonna or the whore. Emotional commitment to women is to be avoided and the “sexy dancers or models” are preferred and seen a “sexy props or prizes” (p. 479-481). Jean Kilbourne (2004) said that the popular magazines have ads that influence violence and the objectification of women. These ads and popular culture reinforce the notion of the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” society that hooks said we live in. Kilbourne said that these ads are dangerous for women because it endorses male violence against women. She also said women become very judgmental of other women and because we so want to be in control of our own lives and bodies that if a violent sexual act against a woman happens that we can say she was asking for it and had put herself in that position. With reinforcement in all media and the desensitization of

dominance and violence, as women we have internalized our own oppression from the male dominated world that we in turn become another piece of the puzzle that reinforces the popular definition of erotic. Women are put into sexual categories of being the virgin, the whore or the mother. I think that there are still residuals left over from the True Love from what it meant to be a True Women who were defined by their distance from lust. With the introduction of the word heterosexuality and the acceptance of pleasurable sexual acts the notion of women’s sexuality had changed. “Doctors, who had earlier named and judged the sex-enjoying women a ‘nymphomaniac’, now began to label women’s lack of sexual pleasure a mental disturbance, speaking critically, for example of female ‘frigidity’ and ‘anesthesia.”. Women are either the virgin, the whore, the mother and either frigid or easy.

2) Which authors provided the best example of being a non-subject? What are some of the ideas that these authors suggest we need to do to be a non-subject. I think that Gramsci’s notion of cultural negotiation included the best ideas to be a non-subject. He said “ the dominant class holds power not simply by giving the lower classes a set of ideological values they are suppose to follow (as with Althusser), but by actively negotiating with lower classes-giving in a little so as to maintain their overall power” (p. 70). The dominant class keeps their power over the lower classes by allowing a bit of freedom by encompassing situations and behaviors they had deemed as threats to their control of power. A good subject is one who follows the set of ideological values set by the dominant class. Good subjects may do this because it is the only way they know, they want to be accepted as “normal” and receive the “rewards” that come along with living within the standards or just have no reason to deviate from the norm. Bad subjects are people who resist the set of ideological values that they are “suppose” to follow. Bad subjects can rebel by being part of some kind of activism group that wants to bring attention to some kind of needed social change. A non-subject is a greater threat to the dominant society. A non-subject is operating independent from and doesn’t acknowledge the values of the dominant class. In Speechless Shame and Shameless Speech, Lewis Hyde talked about the “trickster.” Hyde said that the trickster is a culture hero who is “at one and the same time creator and destroyer, giver and negator…[who] knows neither good nor evil yet…is responsible for both….Trickster is among other things the gatekeeper who opens the door into the next world: those who mistake him for a psychopath never even know such a door exists” (p. 158-159). Trickster who knows no good or evil does not go by the same rules as everyone else with a mind of his own and his decisions, choices and actions are based primarily in his own rules. I think that because the trickster doesn’t conform to the norm of society and runs a different path; he is considered a threat. Because he is considered a threat he is categorized to be

a psychopath as a means of a safe-guard to the trickster’s non-compliance ways. Hyde said, “I have often wondered, then whether the associative leap that links these two characters [the trickster & the psychopath] isn’t really a defense against the anxiety that trickster’s methods can produce” (p. 159). I think that categorizing the trickster as a psychopath is containing the deviance from the norm that all the power theories uphold. Regarding the non-subjectiveness, Hyde suggests, “Better to let trickster steal the shame covers now and then. Better to let Coyote have a ride in the Sun-god’s lodge. Better to let Monkey come on your journey to the West” (p. 172). I think Hyde is saying to be a change in society is to consciously leave shame behind and allow ourselves to be different from what is expected.

3) Why is socially acceptable for women to dress or act like men but it is not socially acceptable for men to dress or act like women? Michael S. Kimmel (2004) reported that “within the dominant culture, the masculinity that defines white, middle class, early middle-aged, heterosexual men is the masculinity that sets the standards for other men against which other men are measure and, more often than not, found wanting….The hegemonic definition of manhood is a man in power, a man with power, and a man of power” (p. 85). Kimmel’s rules of masculinity included: No sissy stuff; Be a Big Wheel; Be a Sturdy Oak and Give ‘em Hell (p. 86). He said the first rule is the most valid rule in masculinity and teaches boys at a young age to distance themselves from their mother, inhibit any traces his mother may have taught him and then finally to devalue all women. Masculinity is not purely what it means to be a man but the fear of being perceived as having traits of homosexuality or feminine qualities. Women also accept this definition of masculinity and what it means to be a man. Women look for suitable partners who is not considered sissy but a “man,” who is able to stand up and protect them, who can take care of them and not have to in turn “mother” them into adulthood. Messner said that women are capable of either humiliating men or capable of affirming their masculinity and in this way women are reinforcing the notion of masculinity as a way of homophobia. I don’t think that women have the same fear of being perceived as being a homosexual as much as men do. While there are some women that would be offended to be perceived as a lesbian, a deviance from the norm of heterosexuality, but this is not seen as so much of a threat because women do not have so much to lose that men do. Maybe someday it will be accepted for men to dress as women or maybe we will all have one style of dress for both sexes. Brent Malin discussed the power theories of Foucault, Gramsci and

Althusser. Malin talked about the way we dress in the classroom and how each of the power theories could be applied to how we all dress similar and how change happens in society. He begins the discussion of how his Grandma Malin never wore pants in her life because of her thought that the man wears the pants in the family, literally. Even through the fashion style changes she refused to wear pants when women today are wearing pant suits specifically tailored for their bodies. Maybe through the goal of equality of the sexes, well will all be wearing the same thing or maybe individuality will be accepted and we will be allowed to wear anything without any form of discrimination. Maybe someday…if it’s something that is what’s wanted.

4) What is the difference between autobiographies and memoirs? And do you believe that there are “true” autobiographies; provide examples from the text to support your answers. Msn Encarta defines a biography, as, “the written account of an individual life. (An autobiography is a biography written by the subject.) The term biography connotes an artful, conscious literary genre that employs a wide range of sources, strategies, and insights; that deals with the intimate, inconsistent textures of personality and experience; and that attempts to render the whole sense of its subject, not the life only but what it was like to have lived it at its several stages. Ideally, the writer molds complex biographical facts—birth and death, education, ambition, conflict, milieu, work, relationship, accident—into a book that has the independent vitality of any creative work but is, at the same time, “true to life.” In class we had talked about how it is a historical recovery of one’s life events. It is a truth that encompasses a time span of that individual person, and that time span includes other people experiencing the same events and so the autobiography of a true story must be closest to the everyone’s truth and therefore must be proven through convincing other people that the true story is true. Wikipedia said that, “As a literary genre, a memoir (from the Latin memoria, meaning "memory") forms a subclass of autobiography, although it is an older form of writing. Memoirs may appear less structured and less encompassing than formal autobiographical works as they are usually about part of a life, often a public part, rather than the chronological telling of a life from childhood to adulthood/old age. A memoir also tends to lack the more intimate focus on the author's own memories, feelings and emotions that an autobiography tends to have. Gore Vidal, in his memoir "Palimpsest", adds another clarifying point for separating memoir from autobiography. He writes that "a memoir is how one remembers one's own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked." In our class discussion

we said that a memoir was a more personal story, a personal truth with subjectivity of a personal voice and a sense of self. Our perception of a memoir did differ from Wikipedia because we did say that a memoir is a more intimate portrait of the author’s “own memories, feelings, thoughts and emotions. I do believe that there are “true” autobiographies. Autobiographies strive to reach the objectivity of an individual life story by stepping into the outsider view of what happened and trying to encompass the broader “truth” that includes everyone’s truth. I don’t think there are actual examples of either autobiographies or memoirs in our texts. I do think that the closest examples of memoirs are from the women authors writing to and for other women. I think that Minh-ha tries to bring acknowledgment that the insider/outsider objectives are equally valid truths and Anzldua’s letter to third world women writers brings in the subjectivity of writing from an insiders perception that paints a picture of personal investment. Nancy Mairs in Reading Houses, Writing Lives: The French Connection explained the differences between an autobiography and a memoir. And I think she successfully accomplished writing and publishing her memoir for everyone to read.

5) What are some labels/categories that are introduced in the texts? Do you hear these labels/categories used in everyday life and before you read about them, did you notice them? Why and how do labels/categories make us more comfortable?

6) How does the images and the ways men and women are portrayed in the media affect society? How is it connected to Kimmel’s definition of masculinity? bell hooks (1994) said different forms of media display the American values that are established and maintained by our “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” ( para. 3). hooks reported that gansta rap and the young black men are often criticized regarding their obscene words and objectification of women. Gansta rap is a manifestation of the mainstream values in American culture in which other forms of media also portray but go unnoticed. Micheal A. Messner (2002) said, “a common theme in commercials aimed at boys and men is to depict women as capable either of humiliating men or of affirming men’s masculine desirability” (p. 480). Through his research of sports media and commercials, Messner also found that women are shown as either the Madonna or the whore. Emotional commitment to women is to be avoided and the “sexy dancers or models” are preferred and seen a “sexy props or prizes” (p. 479-481). Jean Kilbourne (2004) said that the popular magazines have ads that influence violence and the objectification of women. These ads and popular culture reinforce the notion of the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” society that hooks said we live in. Kilbourne said that these ads are dangerous for women because it endorses male violence against women. She also said women become very judgmental of other women and because we so want to be in control of our own lives and bodies that if a violent sexual act against a woman happens that we can say she was asking for it and had put herself in that position. With reinforcement in all media and the desensitization of dominance and violence, as women we have internalized our own oppression from the male dominated world that we in turn become another piece of the puzzle that reinforces the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” system we live in.

Michael S. Kimmel (2004) reported that “within the dominant culture, the masculinity that defines white, middle class, early middle-aged, heterosexual men is the masculinity that sets the standards for other men against which other men are measure and, more often than not, found wanting….The hegemonic definition of manhood is a man in power, a man with power, and a man of power” (p. 85). Kimmel’s definition of masculinity coincides with hooks notion of our “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy system. Kimmel’s rules of masculinity included: No sissy stuff; Be a Big Wheel; Be a Sturdy Oak and Give ‘em Hell (p. 86). He said the first rule is the most valid rule in masculinity and teaches boys at a young age to distance themselves from their mother, inhibit any traces his mother may have taught him and then finally to devalue all women. Masculinity is not purely what it means to be a man but the fear of being perceived as having traits of homosexuality or feminine qualities. Because of this, in male socialization, women are devalued and carry a lesser status then men. The American man does not value equality, otherwise he would not look at the feminine traits and characteristics with such disdain that his mother, sister, and daughter have and have to suppress anything even near similar to their qualities.

7) How does man’s homophobia manifest itself in women? Do women also fear their similar sex and for what reasons? Michael S. Kimmel (2004) reported that “within the dominant culture, the masculinity that defines white, middle class, early middle-aged, heterosexual men is the masculinity that sets the standards for other men against which other men are measure and, more often than not, found wanting….The hegemonic definition of manhood is a man in power, a man with power, and a man of power” (p. 85). Kimmel’s rules of masculinity included: No sissy stuff; Be a Big Wheel; Be a Sturdy Oak and Give ‘em Hell (p. 86). He said the first rule is the most valid rule in masculinity and teaches boys at a young age to distance themselves from their mother, inhibit any traces his mother may have taught him and then finally to devalue all women. Masculinity is not purely what it means to be a man but the fear of being perceived as having traits of homosexuality or feminine qualities. Women also accept this definition of masculinity and what it means to be a man. Women look for suitable partners who is not considered sissy but a “man,” who is able to stand up and protect them, who can take care of them and not have to in turn “mother” them into adulthood. Messner said that women are capable of either humiliating men or capable of affirming their masculinity and in this way women are reinforcing the notion of masculinity as a way of homophobia. I don’t think that women have the same fear of being perceived as being a homosexual as much as men do. While there are some women that would be offended to be perceived as a lesbian, a deviance from the norm, but this is not seen as so much of a threat because women do not have so much to lose than men do. I do think that what Cixous said is important to take into consideration. With homophobia as a result of sexism, heterosexism and racism, Kimmel said that the notion of masculinity is to keep the playing field limited to men and oppress any one who is different. Cixous said, “Men have

committed the greatest crime against women. Insidiously, violently, they have led them to hate women, to be their own enemies, to mobilize their immense strength against themselves, to be the executants of their virile needs.” And most important, through creating and maintaining the masculine playing field, men have led women to internalize the external oppression from the male dominated world that women become another piece of the puzzle that reinforces the notion of masculinity.

8) Pull a recent history of how women’s sexuality has been viewed throughout history from the texts. How has that (the history) affect women today? How is women’s sexuality viewed today? The Invention of Heterosexuality- Jonathan Ned Katz Early Victorian True Love 1820-1860 “Middle Class white Americans idealized a True Womanhood, True Manhood, and True Love, all characterized by ‘purity’ –the freedom from sensuality.” “Early Victorian True Love was only realized within the mode of proper procreation, marriage, the legal organization for producing a new set of correctly gendered women and men.” “True Women were defined by their distance from lust. True men, though thought to live closer to carnality, and in less control of it, aspired to the same freedom from concupiscence.” Late Victorian Sex-Love: 1860-1892 “The transformation of the family from producer to consumer unit resulted in a change in family members’ relation to their own bodies; fro being an instrument primarily of work, the human body was integrated into a new economy, and began more commonly to be perceived as a means of consumption and pleasure.” During this time, “Doctors, who had earlier named and judged the sex-enjoying women a ‘nymphomaniac’, now began to label women’s lack of sexual pleasure a mental disturbance, speaking critically, for example of female ‘frigidity’ and ‘anesthesia.’” Heterosexuality: The first years, 1892-1900 “Krafft-Ebing’s heterosexual offered the modern world a new norm that came to dominate our idea of the sexual universe, helping to change it from a mode of human reproduction and engendering to a mode of pleasure” This new categorization led to a new heterosexual separatism that segregated the sex normals from the sex perverts with strict boundaries.

I think that the current idea of women’s sexuality still includes somewhat of the values of True Womanhood.

9) What are the characters of masculinity? What are the characteristics of a man? Do manhood and masculinity go hand in hand? Michael S. Kimmel (2004) reported that “within the dominant culture, the masculinity that defines white, middle class, early middle-aged, heterosexual men is the masculinity that sets the standards for other men against which other men are measure and, more often than not, found wanting….The hegemonic definition of manhood is a man in power, a man with power, and a man of power” (p. 85). Kimmel’s rules of masculinity included: No sissy stuff; Be a Big Wheel; Be a Sturdy Oak and Give ‘em Hell (p. 86). He said the first rule is the most valid rule in masculinity and teaches boys at a young age to distance themselves from their mother, inhibit any traces his mother may have taught him and then finally to devalue all women. Masculinity is not purely what it means to be a man but the fear of being perceived as having traits of homosexuality or feminine qualities. Masculinity does go hand in hand with manhood. To be a real man you must have the masculine traits that include domination over others which creates power. In a New Vision of Masculinity, Cooper said “Traditional definitions of masculinity include attributes such as independence, pride, resiliency, self-control, and physical strength and Kimmel said “we are under the constant careful scrutiny of other men. Other men watch us, rank us, grant our acceptance into the realm of manhood” (p. 87). Manhood is constantly challenged by other men, and men have to prove that they are a man through every action. Kimmel said “our efforts to maintain a manly front cover everything we do. What we wear. How we talk. How we walk. What we eat. Every mannerism, every movement contains a coded gender language” (p. 89). I don’t think that there really is a list of what it means to be a man. The requirements of masculinity and proven manhood is comprised of what not to do.

10) Cixous believed women need to write as women and for women, if this is the case then why is it that shame is always attached to women’s writing? Men have created a patriarchal system to repress women’s sexuality. It is a “…self-admiring, self-stimulating, self-congratulatory phallocentrism” (p. 394 par. 3). To keep this self-portrait image of importance and dominance of masculinity, one must keep the mysterious femininity in control. Cixous states, “As a woman, I’ve been clouded over by the great shadow of the scepter and been told: idolize it, that which you cannot brandish” (p. 398 par 4) It seems that woman fall in the “great” shadow of men and their phallus and once again told that we should envy what we don’t have. Woman fall in the great shadow and according to Cixous could be the dark that envelops women: the Dark Continent where we live and dark is dangerous. What woman should strive for is the White Continent where men live. Men have placed the “dark” setting upon women which sets out to scare woman of exploring the place in which we live. We live in our bodies and are told not to explore, learn and share our environment: our sexuality. I don’t think that shame is only connected to women’s writings but to all aspects of life in society. With Kimmel’s argument of masculinity, men are shamed into manhood. In Language and Woman’s place, little girls are shamed into feminine speech. We live in a shame society that controls our actions and in agreement with Foucault’s theory or power, in Speechless Shame and Shameless Speech, Hyde said “In a shame society, no matter where you are, no matter the time of day or night, no matter how many people are sleeping, at least two eyes are always watching you-or at least that’s the feeling you have if you’ve been properly raised” (p. 166).