July 2012 Archives

A model academic

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I'm proud and I'm ashamed. Once, this past fall, I was a model. And I enjoyed it. Enjoyed being fussed over and ignored. Enjoyed spending five hours getting my hair dyed. Enjoyed getting made up like a porcelain doll, bowing my shoulders, caving my chest in, making faces for the photographer. I enjoyed being, for a time, a completely different person. And I'm some kind of proud that I did it, pleased that I could. Proud that I was chosen, that I was right for it, that my face is now representing something that is completely and utterly not me. Who doesn't want to be told they look good? There's a little ego trip, a little bragging point, in feeling objectively pretty.

But I don't talk about it at school. In that context, I'm just a little ashamed. Or at least a little secretive. It feels strange, in the academic context, to have been a face without a voice, to be employed for how I look instead of what I think. In my academic life, the focus is on what I can produce, not what can be produced using me. And for goodness sake, I do gender. I do body. I do beauty. I do the way we make cultural and functional assumptions about what normal or good should be. I feel a disjoint between what I think, what I write, what I read and what I did that day. I know that there's no such thing as objectively pretty. I know that being a model once isn't a judgement about my value in the world, that my value shouldn't be based on my appearance anyway. Rationally, I know all of this, and I feel strange.

I feel strange because it was great. I did something cool. And I'd do it again. The challenge of embodiment that modelling presented was just plain fun. It reminded me of how I feel when I skate. The concentration on body, on what external effects my smallest actions have, it's always a little bit meditative. Like those maligned and torn-down fourth wave feminists, I wonder if a focus on normative appearance is at odds with my values. I wonder if I'm over-cautious in not talking about the experience. I wonder if that moment actually diminishes me. On the whole, I don't believe it does. Instead of diminishment, I believe it can be viewed as some kind of enrichment. Though I've been treating it as at odds with my academic work, it doesn't need to be. There's no reason that I can't be both object and subject.

PS: To anyone from the "pics or it didn't happen" school of thought, please think before you demand. 

Books on my desk right now - 24 July, 2012

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In no particular order, here's what I'm reading (or at least have sitting on my desk) right now:

Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Margolis, J., & Fisher, A. (2002). Unlocking the clubhouse: Women in computing. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Jepsen, T. C. (2000). My sisters telegraphic: Women in the telegraph office, 1846-1950. Athens: Ohio University Press.

Burger, C. J., Creamer, E. G., & Meszaros, P. S. (2007). Reconfiguring the firewall: Recruiting women to information technology across cultures and continents. Wellesley, Mass: AK Peters.

Foucault, M. (1974). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Tavistock.

Veblen, T., & Chase, S. (1934). The theory of the leisure class: An economic study of institutions. New York: Modern library.

Spradley, J. P., & Mann, B. J. (1974). The cocktail waitress: Woman's work in a man's world. New York: Wiley.

Poggenpohl, S. H., & Satō, K. (2009). Design integrations: Research and collaboration. Chicago: Intellect, the University of Chicago Press.

Boydston, J. (1990). Home and work: Housework, wages, and the ideology of labor in the early republic. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, F. (1991). Sweaters: Gender, class, and workshop-based industry in Mexico. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Stephen, J. A. (2007). Pick one intelligent girl: Employability, domesticity, and the gendering of Canada's welfare state, 1939-1947. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Barthes, R. (1983). The fashion system. New York: Hill and Wang.

Brumberg, J. J. (1988). Fasting girls: The emergence of anorexia nervosa as a modern disease. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Gould, S. J. (1996). The mismeasure of man. London: Norton.

Barnes, R., & Eicher, J. B. (1992). Dress and gender: Making and meaning in cultural contexts. New York: Berg.

Thesander, M. (1997). The feminine ideal. London: Reaktion Books.

Wolf, N. (1991). The beauty myth: How images of beauty are used against women. New York: W. Morrow.

Riley, S. (2008). Critical bodies: Representations, identities, and practices of weight and body management. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Welton, D. (1998). Body and flesh: A philosophical reader. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers.

Latzke, A., & Hostetter, H. P. (1968). The wide world of clothing: Economics, social significance, selection. New York: Ronald Press Co.

Krislov, S., & Musolf, L. D. (1964). The politics of regulation: A reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Doukas, D. (2003). Worked over: The corporate sabotage of an American community. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Maines, D. R. (1991). Social organization and social process: Essays in honor of Anselm Strauss. New York: A. de Gruyter.

Christian-Smith, L. K. (1990). Becoming a woman through romance. New York: Routledge.

White, E., Leeds Symposium on Food History, & Leeds Symposium on Food History. (2000). Feeding a city: York : the provision of food from Roman times to the beginning of the twentieth century. Totnes: Prospect Books.

Freidberg, S. E. (2004). French beans and food scares. New York: Oxford University Press.

Anderson, C. (2006). The long tail: Why the future of business is selling less of more. New York: Hyperion.

Braun, R. (1990). Industrialisation and everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Borges, J. L., & Hurley, A. (1998). Collected fictions. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Viking.

Bender, D. E. (2004). Sweated work, weak bodies: Anti-sweatshop campaigns and languages of labor. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.

Gamber, W. (1997). The female economy: The millinery and dressmaking trades, 1860-1930. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Cochrane, R. C. (1966). Measures for progress. Wash: National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

Joint Measurement Conference, Boulder Laboratories (U.S.), & American Society for Quality Control. (1972). Proceedings of the 1972 Joint Measurement Conference: June 21-23, 1972. Pittsburgh: Instrument Society of America.

Gandy, O. H. (1993). The panoptic sort: A political economy of personal information. Boulder, Colo: Westview.

Legget, R. F., Economic Council of Canada., & Science Council of Canada. (1971). Standards in Canada. Ottawa: Information Canada.

Dworkin, S. (1987). Miss America, 1945: Bess Myerson's own story. New York, N.Y: Newmarket Press.

DeLuzio, C. (2007). Female adolescence in American scientific thought, 1830-1930. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cowan, R. S. (1983). More work for mother: The ironies of household technology from the open hearth to the microwave. New York: Basic Books.

Brooks, E. C. (2007). Unraveling the garment industry: Transnational organizing and women's work. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lampland, M., & Star, S. L. (2009). Standards and their stories: How quantifying, classifying, and formalizing practices shape everyday life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Faludi, S. (1991). Backlash: The undeclared war against American women. New York: Crown.

Chapkis, W. (1986). Beauty secrets: Women and the politics of appearance. Boston, MA: South End Press.

Cohen, C. B., Wilk, R. R., & Stoeltje, B. (1996). Beauty queens on the global stage: Gender, contests, and power. New York: Routledge.

Brand, P. Z. (2000). Beauty matters. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Lowe, M. A. (2003). Looking good: College women and body image, 1875-1930. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Bermúdez, J. L., Marcel, A. J., & Eilan, N. (1995). The body and the self. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Brumberg, J. J. (1997). The body project: An intimate history of American girls. New York: Random House.

Bordo, S. (1993). Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Butler, J. (1999). Gender trouble: Femminism and the subversion of identity. London ; New York, N.Y: Routledge.

Finkelstein, J. (2007). The art of self invention: Image and identity in popular visual culture. London: I. B. Tauris.

Blackman, C. (2009). 100 years of menswear. London: Laurence King.

Goffman, E. (1979). Gender advertisements. New York: Harper & Row.

Kidwell, C. B., Christman, M. C. S., National Museum of History and Technology., & Daniel J. Boorstin Collection (Library of Congress). (1974). Suiting everyone: the democratization of clothing in America. Washington: Published for the National Museum of History and Technology by the Smithsonian Institution Press; [for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off..

Heywood, L. (1996). Dedication to hunger: The anorexic aesthetic in modern culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.