This week has been transformative to say the least. Naked week always reminds me about how close-minded and toxic our society is in regards to body image and expression. Not only do we value skinny over “fat,” but we also dissect the body into manageable commodities; so that you can literally pick and choose the pieces that make up your outward appearance. Jean Kilbourne talked about this as the ability to create illusion in our lives. Sometimes this creation comes from the advertisers and filmmakers who create the illusion of “ideal” beauty, but sometimes it comes from within our own self-conscious psyches. Think about it, if only 8% of an ad is processed by our conscious mind and the rest is penetrated into the recesses of our mind, then it makes perfect sense that our perceptions of the beauty around us and our self image would be processed mostly in our subconscious. That is the scary and invigorating aspect of the media: it has the ability to enact so much change, and yet, are we using it for the best?
In the Robyn Ochs workshop, we visually transcended the binary of sexuality (and sort of gender) by creating our own moving spectrum of sexuality. Juxtaposed to the very disheartening conclusion to Jean’s discussion that left us with the message that sex and sexuality is amplified in order make a larger profit; Robyn reminded us that passion is integral in our lives and that it comes in all shapes and sizes. No one, including the writers of ABC or HBO can tell you what attraction is for you. We put such a great emphasis on sex that it is beginning to lose its true meaning emotionally and psychologically, Robyn deemphasized physical sex so that we were better able to deconstruct the many facets that play into our sexuality and desires. Robyn did not directly discuss the media, but I think any discussion of sexuality and gender almost inherently discusses the media and its portrayal of sex, desire and our bodies.