Identifier

etd-08252011-120930

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Each body has certain cultural values attached to it regarding the way in which it should perform in public. The body is marked by dichotomous thinking (masculine/feminine, healthy/sick, sacred/degraded, artistic/pornographic, etc.) that dictates its presentation in visual culture. In Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism, Elizabeth Grosz states the importance of non-dichotomous thinking for feminist and gender studies scholars and gives guidelines to deconstruct these hegemonic dualities. The purpose of this thesis is to show how the eroticization of the body of Other, in accordance with Grosz’s guidelines, can be useful in upsetting taken-for-granted social roles thus leading to non-dichotomous thinking of the body. The non-ideal but erotic/eroticized body cannot faithfully or consistently adhere to either the positive or negative side of the dichotomy since the two sides are both explicitly presented and contested concurrently. A (strategic) sexualization of the body of Other troubles both cultural and ‘natural’ notions of what the body ‘should be’. The body of Other refers to any body that transgresses the contemporary views of a positive body image (healthy, whole, beautiful, youthful, etc.); and the sexualized Other refers to that transgressive body that takes on a contemporary meaning of what is thought to be erotic or sexual. This thesis explores 6 photographs from contemporary Argentine photographers, Gabriela Liffschitz and María Zorzon and attempts to reveal conflicts about the dominant class’ thinking of the body and the injurious consequences of its implementation into popular visual culture. In this case the sexualized Others are simultaneously sacred and degraded (for various social reasons): the mother’s body, the tattooed body, and the sick body. These bodies in some way all exhibit the qualities that Grosz enumerates and effectively defeat notions of nature/culture, active/passive, etc. to create distinct sexual bodies that do not depend on the pre-established norms of order and purity to be considered legitimate.  

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Martins, Laura

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