Monday, October 5, 2015

Cynthia Cruz

Below is a response I just posted regarding a poignant sentence in Cynthia Cruz's essay "On 'Amy' and 'Ex Machina' up at Hyperallergic:

adam strauss
This registers to me as terribly accurate: "At this point in our culture, in order to simply enter the conversation, a woman must pass certain basic aesthetic standards." For me, the crucial term here is "basic"; it's great to read someone who recognizes that aesthetic enfranchisement more overwhelmingly exists at this basic requirement level rather than the rarefied hyper conventionally attractive strata. My question is--can this reality be other than dead-end? If there are basic aesthetic requirements to enter public discourse (hello to the fact that so many public feminists are totes normatively attractive), then women have to be complicit--and so this theoretically means that resistance--refusing to do the unmarked and assumed labor of intensely grooming ones' self and in the process reproducing the notion that a natural woman is hairless in all the "right" places, etc--is rendered ineffective. My unrealistic answer is this: the more humans embrace the human part of the identity human--and not the infinitely more powerful male/female pinch-hits--then the more likely it is that world-views produce more parity in terms of minimal aesthetic requirements. If there is no freakishly sedimented notion of men to embody contrast to via the hellaciously sedimented notion of women, then hopefully the humans formerly bonded by being women (I am working via the warrant that women and men are linguistic realities that should not be seen as identical to human organisms and their chromosomal characteristics) could relax the physical self-disciplining. Or of course everyone could just end-up having to meet new crazy high aesthetic standards for what it takes to be a public human.

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