First of all, apologies for being antisocial and doing my teach-in so individually. I really liked the group participation that so many of the other ones provided and I'm sorry mine kind of lacked that dimension!
For my presentation, I wanted to showcase some of the instances in which the assumptions about gender that we've been questioning all semester get questioned variously embodied ways in four distinct dance worlds, suggesting that in its inherent playfulness and performativity, dance is an important outlet for the creative expression of gender, both normative and nonnormative.
(Before I go through them, here's a great TED talk, Dance vs powerpoint, that inspired me to think about how one might do a "teach-in" that incorporates dance. If I had more than 7 minutes, I would have been doing some movement myself -- and getting you all to move, too!)
So, some of these questions are answerable (and some aren't) -- I will seek the answers to the answerable ones, but given that this post is late + I have a lot of things to do before Thanksgiving, I'm just going to pose them for now and work on answering them more soon (and also working on continuing to read the report, I haven't finished)... If you guys have thoughts/info on this, please comment! I bet there are a lot of people who know more about these issues than I do (poli sci majors perhaps...?).
1. WHY did it take until 2011 for the United Nations to create an agency to promote women's empowerment and gender equality internationally (UNWomen)? It seems ridiculous that this is the first report of a nascent agency - women's issues didn't just start needing addressing this past year.
As I sit and reflect on Judith Butler's opening lecture tonight, I find myself getting caught up in some tangential questions about the experience of seeing her speak. What does it mean to rally around a public intellectual with the fervor many in the audience(s) showed tonight? How did she convey authority through body language and actual language, and how did she try to connect with the audience on a less intellectual level occasionally (the Biblical joke in particular, coming early on, seemed to catch everyone off guard a bit). It has been/is/will be really interesting to see how people talk about and think about the person Judith Butler and the ideas of Judith Butler, and then transfer that into the experience of actually interacting with Judith Butler. I must admit that I ended up musing on these issues more than on the content of her lecture -- and while I was frustrated with myself for this partial inability to "rise to the occasion" and focus on the material, I think it has to do with the fact that I really have a hard time processing a lecture, especially one of that density, with no ability to take notes or even doodle while I listen.
The button for inserting links deems to not be working at the moment (I can see it but I can't click on it...). I think I'm serendip-challenged. But anyway -- all these readings about testosterone reminded me of an episode of This American Life that deals with this topic.
Act 1 is about a guy who stops producing testosterone and explains how his life changed, Act 2 is about a transgender individual who is taking testosterone, Act 3 involves the staff of TAL all getting their personal testosterone levels checked and discussing what those numbers mean to them, and the final act is from a mother, talking about her son (reminded me of Kaye's assertion that raising 3 sons gives her some insights into this stuff!).
My pre-class song suggestion is Lady Gaga's "Yoü And I" because Gaga plays both the lead male and female romantic interest in the song, playing with gender identity. In addition, the male persona, named "Jo Calderone" is how she chose to attend/perform at the VMAs. Does this example of "gender play" speak to you? Do you feel like Gaga is doing something useful and thought-provoking here, or just attention-mongering? Does her performance lend support to or mock the many people for whom gender performance is a very real aspect of daily life?
Here's the music video.
Here's an article about her decision to "be" Jo Calderone at the VMAs.
And here's a link to the lyrics, which offer some interesting moments for gendered analysis as well, including: "There’s only three men that Imma serve my whole life/It’s my daddy and Nebraska and Jesus Christ"
Finally, here's the wikipedia entry about the song, which explains more about the background (Gaga has said that it refers to her former relationship with Lüc Carl).
I want to do more commenting on other people's posts soon (I am reading them all!), but since we are figuring out paper topics this week I wanted to start thinking through ideas I want to focus on for that.