The Paradox of Normal
This week I wrote a major paper for Feminist Studies in Sexuality, WGS374, a women’s studies course at UofT. I figured, considering the title of the course and its contents, that I should go balls out. It’s about Chester Brown’s new graphic novel, Paying For It. Check it out.
“Nearly everybody who has put any thought into it agrees that the dominant construction of sexuality is problematic: we don’t all agree about what it should be like, but nobody wants it to go on like this. Those who see the extent and systematic nature of violence, dominance and degradation may be wise in taking the most radical position conceivable to them at each moment; if a situation is bad enough, anything you can do to destabilise it could allow the emergence of something better. The tools for this include reflexivity and deconstruction, subversive irony, heterodoxy, drag: anything that will confuse, shock and challenge. Actively resist categorisation, and you cause the categories to shift. This is, however, not Brown’s objective, and these are not his tools. His presentation is minimally challenging and minimally heterodox: his lovers hide all their thousand faces. His politics are simple and straightforward, his representation of sexuality as uncomplicated as his goal: to insert a slight alteration. To revise, not to reject. He wants not to smash an irredeemable patriarchy, but only to shift it in the direction of wisdom, to make it see that prohibition makes things worse for everybody. For prostitution to actually be accepted as completely “normal” seems implausible, but its abnormality hinges on a stigma he has endeavoured to Imagine away, and he has already had some small scale success.”
… seriously, just view the pdf.
I feel like it’s in need of an appendix or two and some revisions, but those will have to wait a week or two. Maybe I’ll do a Normal: Redux in a couple weeks (whoa, one appeared. How about that?).
More psychedelia next week. My brain was too broken after this endeavour to put effort into a new article this week. Next will be about the concept of Insight — people claim to be receiving insight from using drugs, but what does that even mean? Is it possible?