Quotation No…

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
― Neil Gaiman

Quotation No…

On Circus

I have always had this weird fascination with circus. Once I even went to explore the backside of the Riga Circus to see how the elephants are brought through the small streets of the city center. I even took my friend with me. Finally, it seemed reasonable enough and I dismissed the idea out of my head.

Today I watched the new film made by the Cirque du Soleil. Instantly my fascination came back. The performances by the acrobats, the development of technologies, and the various, colourful costumes together looked breathtaking.

At first, I thought that the circus was from Monaco, since I had already heard something about it, but this circus is actually from Canada (I presume the French-speaking part). It was created in 1984 and till today it incorporates many performers all around the world, as well as, athletes who have ended their carriers in sports.

The best thing that I liked in this film was the fact that the artists were so amazing that there was no need for acting animals. The show had its main story line which was about falling in love. A kind of cliché, but it was logically developed throughout each of the following acts.

Another thing that caught my attention was a huge pool in the middle of the stage. Various creatures, with shiny costumes came out of it and jumped in it. It is possible that its creatures, depths and dangers, and unpredictability made the waters so ambiguous.

It would be impolite to compare this circus with the Riga Circus because the circus in Riga does not have that much space for so many performers to act at a time, the ticket prices are much more reasonable for those who still feel the economic crisis, yet the shows in Riga are more intimate since everything is much closer to you not only literally, but also figuratively.

To conclude, at some point I would agree with those people who assert that animals are treated badly in such places like circus, but on the other hand, do not we all have some rules that we have or we think we have to obey, some imaginary ‘boxes’ we live in to be better or simply to meet the society’s expectations? Moreover, there is no clear knowledge about the particular circumstances in which the animals live; therefore, let’s just not paint everything black or white.

Nina

On Circus

Feminism: The Context of Transvestism

For some time now, I have been researching Feminism and its basics. While writing my Term Paper on ‘Representation of Men and Women’, I came across such names like Julia Kritseva, Sandra Gilber & Susan Gubar, Elaine Showalter, Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Jacobus, Judith Butler, Joan Scott and also Margaret Atwood.

In the Term Paper I discussed: the Production of Knowledge, Women’s Writings, and feminist Critiques. The first dealt with the realisation of women that they had no actual power, they were  not allowed to attend any schools, universities or clubs, do sports or business or join army, all the things men could do. Since they were forbidden to have public life, “women were forced to cultivate their feelings and to over-value romance”. (Showalter; 1977:79) Therefore, women began to write about their fantasies and produce a great deal of novels.

Later, in the late 20th century, women decided to analyze those novels written by and for women, in order to understand what it means to be a ‘woman’. Further, woman novelists suffered from not being taken seriously because of their femininity. Lest they used male pseudonyms for their writings, the focal point for critics was writer’s gender which was then discussed according with or in comparison to other women writers of that time, regardless of the topic. (Showalter; 1977:73) For that reason, women’s writings had to be identified and separated from men’s.

To achieve equality and therefore separation, sexual stereotyping of women in both literature and literary criticism has to be exposed. Moreover, women and men perceive “reality” differently; accordingly, reality depicted in literature must also differ, for that reason, it is necessary to look closer at the gender as a category of analysis.

To understand gender as an analytic category, “women and men were defined in terms of one another”, since individual analysis of each could not be accomplished. (Scott; 1986:1054) Even though sexes are interrelated, they should still be analyzed distinctively. Judith Butler argues that this categorization is unacceptable because:

If on “is” a woman, that is surely not all one is; the term fails to be exhaustive, not because a pregendered “person” transcends the specific paraphernalia of its gender, but because gender is not always constituted coherently or consistently in different historical contexts, and because gender intersects with racial, class, ethnic, sexual, and regional modalities of discursively constituted identities. (Butler; 1999:6)

There is also a considerable discussion that concerns with a clear distinction between gender and sex. Basically there is the argument that biology defines one’s identity; however the theoretical difference between the terms “gender” and “sex” is that one is born with sex, but “gender is culturally constructed”. (Butler; 1999:9) If gender is established through culture, then there is no way that the gender develops from the sex. Meaning that, if there are two sexes, that does not necessarily imply that the construction of male gender will derive only to the male sex or female gender to female sex. Accordingly, there being two sexes, are no reason to believe that there should be only two genders.

Further, I would like to turn to the point of introducing two quotes by Fiona Tolan that should make you re-think or possibly change you minds about such controversial topic as transvestism.

“If female impersonator are conscious constructors of artificial and artifactual femininity, how does a ‘female impersonator’ differ from a ‘woman’?” (Tolan; 2007:186)

“Is drag the imitation of gender, or does it dramatize the signifying gestures through which gender itself is established? Does being female constitute a “natural fact” or a cultural performance, or is “naturalness” constituted through discursively constrained performative acts that produce the body through and within the categories of sex.” (Tolan; 2007:187)

Behind these and many other feminist theories, there is a greater political purpose that serves as protector of the interests of women (and other minorities) in their fight for their rights in society based on patriarchy.

Nina

Feminism: The Context of Transvestism