Masks

Sarah's picture

Last night I was writing my journal reflection before I did the Rigney reading.  I was struggling with the journal question about wearing a mask because I feel like I have negative connotations with the word "mask", you like are intentionally performing something you are not.  I had read Goffman in my Performance and Self Esem freshmen year, and remembered liking him, so I was surprised when I realized the word "mask" brought about such negative feelings when I was writing my journal.  I think the word "mask" feels accusatory.  In Anne's class, however, when we discussed having "walls", this word did not seem as harsh.  I personally felt walls can be necessary to protect yourself and get through everyday life, and I can see why masks serve the exact same purpose.  

In thinking about our class the two parts of the reading that stuck out the most to me were the parts about being "miscast" or "typecast" (pg 147, bottom paragraph).  As the writing states, we have all probably had the experience of being type cast.  For example, something I'm sure we've all heard is: "You go to an all GIRLS school? Are you a lesbian?”   Although some of us may be lesbians, or bisexual, or unsure, this for others this is miscasting us.  However, in my opinion this miscasting isn't something to get very upset about because being a lesbian isn't something offensive.  But after I was thinking about the ways I am sometimes miscast, they all seemed pretty trivial when I thought of how incarcerated people must be miscast or type cast, maybe as "dangerous" or "violent".  

The other part that stood out to me was the part in the section "frontstage and backstage" about how women are more authentic in the presence of other women (page 154).  It includes a Simone de Beauvoir quote that says "...when with her husband, or with her lover, every woman is more or less conscious of the thought: 'I am not being myself.'"  I don't know how accurate this quote is or isn't, but the reason it stuck out to me is because it's been mentioned a few times that women's incarceration is often linked to a man in some way.  I also remember a lot of talk during our class last week about men whether it was about a broken heart, or not needing a man, or knowing a man will only get you into trouble (I'm trying not to be too specific, because I don't know how much I should or shouldn't put on serendip about our class).  Basically, the relationship between men and women is already complicated and interesting, but to parse that out a little, I think there is a lot of depth in examining the relationship between incarcerated women and men in their lives (but also know this might not be appropriate to bring up directly in class because it makes it seem like I am trying to do something ethnographic study, which is not the purpose of the class).

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