Self/other; subject/object; desire/desired?

11 Jan

Modigliani, Nude Sitting on a Divan (1917)

I firmly believe that I work at one of the most incredible institutions in the world – and I don’t even care that such hyperbolic use is oh-so tacky! MIT, you are my professional love, and I have been honey-mooning with you since 11/08/11, and bragging to everyone who will listen regarding your vast resources and markedly inclusive community ever since…. May the joy live on.

January 2012 marks my first IAP, independent activities period, and I am stoked! Check out this huge variety of offerings for MIT-affiliated folk (including friends!), conveniently organized by date!

Wo/man, I wish I had been a student here, despite my very real lack of technical ability regarding the sciences and engineering…. I would spend every IAP trotting from one engaging activity to the next, delighting in the creativity and braininess – not that I’d get burnt out or anything! But alas, as a very busy and important (hee) staff member, I can only afford to visit one per work-day, if even, though I can spend all of my night hours traipsing around – here’s what I did last night.

Still getting to know the panoply of groups here at the institute, I’ve only ever brushed shoulders with End Violence Against Women, specifically when I attended their screening of the highly-recommended Miss Representation, which I generally loved. I dig this idea of the non-book-club-book-club, too, and am curious to see what else these ladies (and gentlemen) have up their sleeves. Check out the articles which inspired our two-hour discussion last night!

There’s more to blog about here than capacity to handle the blogging, both for reader and writer, so I’ll simply comment on a quote from a single highly-effective article:

It boils down to this: the freedom to learn how to be sexual requires the freedom from sexualization.

Of course, one can never escape sexualization, but I do enjoy the rhetorical strategies employed herein – this is a bold statement, and one that I’ve been chewing on since I’d laid eyes on the article. In part because: I know that my own sexuality has very much to do with performance, surveillance, and the desire for a certain objectification; it is not, and cannot be self-contained, in and of a vacuum – but to what extent does my own sexual satisfaction depend on others’ perception of my objectification? I suspect that this a question most wo/men struggle with, in part because it is simply a part of the daily human grind.

Yet – when I think through my personal history, I can recall a physical knowledge of times I have given much less a damn about the way others perceive me, and perhaps dressed in an even more flattering way, due in part to this elusive liberation. Yet, the more I try to understand this complicated, multi-dimensional self/other dialectic, the more I am overcome with its overwhelmingly enigmatic nature, and forced to look within, rather than at my logical go-to’s: binaries.

What do you think, reader? Self/other; subject/object; desire/desired? All I know is: you can’t have one without the other.


One Response to “Self/other; subject/object; desire/desired?”

  1. thoroughly modern milli vanilli January 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    wow, your non-book club book club sounds incredible! glad you reminded me to look into mit’s free online course offerings…

    personally, i think binaries never fit into sexuality. desire can exist without the state of being desired, yet self-sexualization can heighten those senses. But (hopefully?) there is no such thing as sexualization of the self, if we are using the term (as it is used in the quote you’ve shared here) in a derogatory sense.

    good food for thought as we head into the sexualized weekend!


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