22 February 2007

An obscenely large pool of drool.

I'm beginning to find my English classes to be a bore. I feel as if nothing is actually accomplished. Nothing. As the professor tries to direct the conversation, the majority of the class is sleeping in an obscenely large pool of drool. They don't get it.

It seems to me that people don't think anymore and will do anything to avoid even the thought of meaningful thought. I am awe-struck by my fellow students' ability to read something and have absolutely no reaction, flat line, dead in the water. Or, as it have been pointed out to me, they could simply not be "engaged" by the class discussion. However, it seems to me that the themes present in these novels (race, class, sexuality, gender, sociology, etc.) are pretty universal and should evoke some form of reaction, no matter how minuscule.

This inability to think clearing for one's self, the inability to put all the pieces together comes from our fat-assed society. Our minds are constantly assaulted with this barrage of images (news, media, entertainment, etc.) that really doesn't matter. As a result, we are so accustomed to having all things spoon-fed to us that it is impossible for us, as a society, to do anything of meaning for ourselves. We are simply too lazy. Any form of mental work, any actual, meaningful, and engaging thought is scoffed at. We'd rather sit on our fat asses and stuff out ever-growing holes with potato-chips, wiping our greasy fingers on the seat beneath us.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of being one of the few in class with anything even close to a critical question. What has happened to thought, and, by extension, to our society? It truly bothers me that some people are unable/unwilling to address certain critical issues of our times, even while in the safe and controlled environment of a classroom. And is there and answer to this? Not one that I can clearly see. Perhaps you have one... oh... wait. That would require thought.


15 February 2007

Wo(men)? Looking at the "Undefined"

Imagine you're walking down a busy street. Amongst the traffic and noise, people quickly pass you left and right. On your way to your destination, you look askance at these people - that boy has short, brown hair and that girl has long, blond hair and sports a fashionable mini-skirt. You think nothing of it: This is normal. This is what you're supposed to see. Yet what if the table was turned? What if that boy wearing baggy jeans and sporting a short crew cut had a high-pitched voice and small breasts? And what if that girl you saw wearing the skirt had a pronounced jaw line and high cheek bones? You'd think you had stepped into the twilight zone!

Now more than ever gender roles are being blurred. And many researchers and theorists are claiming that gender is performative, that one simply performs the gender role that society has set out for male or female. And, if gender is truly a performance, then it is implied that one can choose at will what gender role to play. This creates a new fluidity in society that is shocking to most of it's "normal" members and creates a space for "in-betweens" in a society that prides itself on a strict dichotomy system: black/white, male/female, etc.

But is gender really performative? And for that matter how does one define gender? It is simply what ever sex one is at birth - you have a penis, therefore you are male; and you have a vagina, therefore you are female? Or is there more to it than simple biology? Society obviously impacts the definition and execution of gender roles. From time immemorial men have been the hunter/gather of society and have carried the burden of providing for the family. Women, on the other hand, generally reared children and were subordinate to their male counterparts. It's here that the gender precedent was set. Society has imposed certain actions as acceptable for members of one "physical" sex and not acceptable for the other. In short, societal premise has attached abstract meaning to the physical body.

So how have we gone from a society that sets a very fixed definition of gender to one that moving more and more to ambiguity? In a culture that seeks a nicely packaged definition of identity, younger sub-cultures are seeking to live outside of the rigid lines of society, favouring an "undefined" existence and - taken to the extreme - an undefined identity. These "undefined" choose to live outside social premise, rejecting the boundaries imposed by molding one's self to fit a pre-packaged definition. Instead they claim the liberty to move in and out of social spaces at will and thereby giving themselves a carte blanche to all sides of gendered society.

So what? How do these multi-gendered people affect society? As they carve out their own space of non-conformity, they challenge the rest of society to redefine how they conceive gender and its function in society. So the next time you see that boy walking down the street, don't assume it's a boy. Rather challenge yourself to look beyond societal premise and allow that person to be "undefined."

09 February 2007

Comment est-ce qu'on peut se définir? Cela c'est une question qui n'a aucune réponse claire. La définition est différente de l'un à l'autre. Comment est-ce que je peux me définir? Je suis un homme, un jeune, un homosexuel, un frère, etc... Mais comment est-ce que cela me définissent? À mon avis, c'est une question de sociologie - comment les autres personnes me regardent. Et, enfin, ce que je pense de leurs avis. Pourquoi est-ce que je fais ceci ou cela? Pourquoi est-ce que je parle tantôt comme un homme, et tantôt comme une femme? Qu'est-ce qui change? Et comment est-ce que tout le monde me voit dans chaque situation?