Today's women's studies' seminar - "Technology, Gender, Embodiment" - dealt with male fluids, the male abject, and the (white, able-bodied, heterosexual) male discomfort with their own leakiness. Of course we had to speak in generalizations for the sake of clarity; I know and have known men who are more or less comfortable with such things. But this is a topic that, in my opinion, is vastly under-theorized and extremely important - not only because it provides a more rich understanding of how female bodies are typically signified as "abject," but because it allows a certain queering of the "male." This is one reason I shirk away from programs entitled things like "women's studies" rather than "gender studies" - both binary stereotypes should be reassessed and re-theorized. Why not? The title "women's studies" also suggests that it is primarily the role/interest of women to redefine or challenge gender - and I don't think that this is the case anymore. Nor should it be supposed that only women or "othered" sexualities have a stake in these topics. Everybody does, or should.
In any case - one of the main topics brought up in the readings is the fear of contamination between men, of seminal fluids, and others - [heterosexual] men didn't want to talk about their semen or come into contact with other men's semen, and the possibility sparked tons of "humorous" comments not-so-subtly tinged with homophobia. When I refer to "the men" here, I'm specifically referring to the men who were interviewed for a series of case studies conducted by scholar Robyn Longhurst, particularly in her book "Fluid Bodies." In any case - men were only comfortable talking about solid excretions (shit, shaving), and not fluid excretions, unless of course the latter was either 1) sexualized, made to demonstrate virility in some way or 2) made into a joke. Heaven forbid the tightly sealed universal subject becomes obscured by its own (particular) decay, by its own proclivity to "leaking." Leaks, excretions, anything "abject" produces anxiety in [heterosexual] men because male bodies are produced as functional, social bodies, rather than as sites of pleasure. The desire to control these flows suggests a desire to maintain control over one's body, social position, as well as ones own desire - leaks are "feminized" - and therefore, must be suppressed.
One of the more interesting theories (Elizabeth Grosz's) is that straight men see themselves as active "givers" of fluid, rather than as passive "receptacles." Thus, flows between men are terrifying, not only because they threaten the self-contained "hardness" of the masculine, but because the vertical hierarchy of giver/receiver, passive/active is obstructed and replaced by circuitous flows (or what Deleuze and Guattari or Kristeva call heterogeneous flows). Desire is "queered" when it is transferred from a Deleuzian "striated space" to that of a "smooth space," or plateau.
In any case - interesting topic, and one that I will probably return to while researching for my thesis.
I've kind of abandoned this blog because it feels trivial, and I am busy. I've been in a good place. My brain feels full and I have come to terms with where I'm going - for my thesis I'm probably going to focus on virtual and material (sexual/gendered) prostheses, particularly in relation to queering desire and subjectivity. I have a shit-ton of Deleuze to read, basically.
Back to reading - Shopenhauer (sp?) and Schelling, McLuhan and Baudrillard.


by Rebecca Farivar

When a thing may
or may not be
real, you sense
it as a half-
presence, a source,
a back-story
you’ve hidden, thrown
into the trough
between two waves.
Now monsters crawl
to you, stalk you,
leave the bogs and
meres for you. A
whole line died to
kill you, but you’re
here still. And yet
you can’t break a-
way. You are full
of dark matter.
That comes from your
fathers, mothers,
your brothers, your
unnamed sister.
Think about what
haunts you, think of
the waves, the meres,
the monster-strewn
shores of somewhere
else, and then ask
again what haunts.

from here.


Capitalism has a very particular character: its lines of escape are not just difficulties that arise, they are the very conditions of its operation. Capitalism is founded on a generalized decoding of every flow: flows of wealth, flows of labor, flows of language, flows of art, etc. It did not create any code, it created a kind of accounting, an axiomatics of decoded flows, as the basis of its economy. It ligatures the points of escape and moves ahead. It is always expanding its own borders, and always finds itself in a situation where it must close off new escape routes at its borders, pushing them back once more...It is endlessly crossing its own limits which keep reappearing farther out. It puts itself in alarming situations with respect to its own production, its social life, its demographics, its periphery in the Third World, its interior regions, etc. The system is leaking all over the place. They spring from the constantly displaced limits of the system. And certainly, the revolutionary escape is not the same thing as other kinds of escape, the schizo-escape, the drug-escape. This is precisely the problem facing marginal groups: to make all the lines of escape connect up on a revolutionary plane. In capitalism, then, these lines of escape take on a new character, and a new kind of revolutionary potential. So, you see, there is hope.

Gilles Deleuze from Desert Islands and Other Texts: 1953-1974, pg. 270