The body writes a story

Discussant Comments by Hillary Locke, Psy.D.

In Response to:  Larger than Life: The Gendered Art of Disruptive Bodies by Paula Cameron and Ask Me about My Tubal Ligation by Sarah Lawrance

The body writes a story

Says things about us that may or may not be true

The body contradicts who we are, like in the case of disability and fertility

Disability- unable to perform a necessary function- restricted, limited, different

Fertility- able to perform a ‘necessary’ function- capable, normal, privileged

Restrictions and assumptions are placed on the body regardless of its owner

A monstrous woman though powerful and seductive was trapped inside a narrow and limited era of social norms, and rigid gendered thinking

And a fertile woman who decided not to have children was chastised for taking control of her body and her life and for living responsibly

The monstrous woman spent her life helping others and herself to fit into society while ironically not able to literally ‘fit’ into most everything else

The fertile woman spent her life trying to be free in much the same way but she too was oppressed; forced to fit into, not a monstrous body, but a role that she despised

One woman wanted desperately to fit in but literally could not

The other wanted desperately to not fit in but figuratively could not

Both women wanted the same simple liberties such as to be accepted for who she was on the inside and not what was assumed that she was based on her outside appearance and gender

Both woman are brought together by their passion to be accepted

Both woman were tormented and limited by their bodies

Women connected by their longings and repulsions

By their bodies and their sex

Each woman found success however

The monstrous woman becomes re-sized by her desire to fit in and belong to the tribe of polite and poised Victorian woman

Even now she teaches us that the body only limits us if we let it. She transformed herself from freak to role-model and was able to find a place in a poised and lady-like Victorian era; no small feet!

The fertile woman succeeds in that she showed us how absurd the collective attitudes and assumptions are regarding motherhood

She too transformed herself from fertile to sterile and became the great matriarch watching over the rights of motherless children and noisy families

Each woman found meaning through oppression

Each woman ultimately found herself though struggle encountered through the body.

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~ by artpoped on July 6, 2010.

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