Hi I had attached the pdf and video lecture captions … I just want you to write on this question …. And pls cite The page number as well In this chapter, Alison Kafer writes, “I want to imagine a
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I had attached the pdf and video lecture captions … I just want you to write on this question …. And pls cite The page number as well
In this chapter, Alison Kafer writes, “I want to imagine a sexuality that is rich and robust not in spite of impairment, and not fetishistically because of impairment, but in relationship to it” (346).
Thinking about the various individuals whose thoughts and lives we have encountered in our written/audio/video sources in the course so far, identify two people who you believe express views that fit well with Kafer’s vision of sexuality, as presented in her chapter. Relying on course sources, explain in your response how each person’s writing, interview, performance, and/or other work offers such a perspective.
(Please cite course sources parenthetically in your response; full bibliographic citations are not required, however).
(Response of 450-500 words, due by Thursday at 11:59pm.)
Hi I had attached the pdf and video lecture captions … I just want you to write on this question …. And pls cite The page number as well In this chapter, Alison Kafer writes, “I want to imagine a
Welcome back. I’m here on treaty one territory and the homeland. 0:02 And today we’ll be looking at the phenomenon of fetishization in relation to disability, specifically in the form of devoteeism. 0:07 As much as the section’s lecture video is focused on the week’s content, 0:17 And as Alison Kafer does in her chapter, reflecting on the whys behind our feelings and responses. 0:25 The image that I’ve chosen to start us off with on our content slide is a photo of a multimedia installation by artist Mari Katayama. 0:32 Katayama is a Japanese artist and photographer who was born with a condition called tibial hemimelia, 0:41 which causes foreshortening and distortion of the lower limbs and a pronounced limb difference affecting her left hand. 0:47 As a young person, 0:54 she made the difficult decision to opt for amputation of portions of her legs to allow her to walk more freely with prosthetic legs. 0:55 She frequently appears in her own works, where her unusual body challenges the viewer to think about body, representations and expectations. 1:03 In this photo titled Shell, Katayama is seated with her amputations very visible and is surrounded by a variety of objects, 1:13 textiles and backgrounds in a dreamy and surreal, washed out tone. 1:22 Also within the photo are prosthetic legs and feet and other objects that suggest forms of body parts. 1:27 In order to think in a nuanced and critical way about fetishization, we need to start with what the term fetish means. 1:38 Well, what it means depends on whom you ask. In anthropology, a fetish is an object that’s considered to be imbued with supernatural power, 1:45 such as the object pictured on the upper right from Togo, made of dried gourds, fibers and other natural materials. 1:54 It might be owned or tended to by a shaman or priest or healer, and is generally considered powerful, 2:01 holy and even dangerous. In the realms of psychology and psychiatry, 2:08 the term fetish has traditionally been applied to sexual attraction or arousal 2:13 Well, that’s kind of a problem because who decides what is or is not sexual? 2:22 The Cambridge English Dictionary presents one definition: an object or a body part other than the sexual organs. 2:27 They’re not sexual organs as such. And what about legs, body shape, eyes? 2:38 Smile? It’s not usually considered a fetish to be aroused by these things. 2:45 But what about, if not legs, but feet? Well, that one usually gets the fetish label. 2:50 And what about arousal by legs, but only by legs that don’t fit cultural ideals? 2:56 What about legs that are fat or especially hairy or otherwise different in form or function than most people’s, 3:01 or partially or fully amputated or prosthetic? 3:08 In thinking about fetishization, it’s useful to think critically about what parts of the body and what varieties of those parts are widely 3:12 considered appropriate to regard as objects of attraction and how these norms are culturally influenced. 3:20 Among those who study fetishes, there’s no universally accepted explanation as to why people develop them. 3:28 Probably the most common explanation draws on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic foundation, 3:34 asserting that early life conditioning from specific experiences, 3:40 especially at key moments of psychosexual development, manifest as fetishes during sexual maturity. 3:44 Others have argued that fetishes stem from inborn neurological factors, that those with a fetish are, as it were, 3:51 born this way. Today in mental health disciplines, fetishes may be referred to as paraphilias, 3:58 which is a little more scientific sounding than its predecessor term sexual perversions. 4:06 Over the course of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, there’s been an increasing move to pathologize fetishes. 4:11 That is, to shift away from viewing them through the lens of abnormalities that need treatment and towards viewing them as more benign variations. 4:19 Kinks, if you like, 4:27 provided that they don’t cause harm to those who have them or to others. When they are linked to risk of physical or psychological harm, 4:29 the psychiatric system labels them paraphilia disorders. As the very notion of 4:37 disability assumes a normate body and mind against which people are evaluated, 4:43 the designation of attraction to disabled bodies as a fetish also assumes that there are types of 4:49 bodies that a quote-unquote normal person would be attracted to — bodies that are acceptable to desire. 4:55 We’ve already encountered this idea in some of our earlier materials, especially the Sins Invalid documentary. Within an ableist society, 5:03 some bodies are generally not seen as appropriate to desire or as capable of being legitimately desired. 5:11 To have such a body or to desire such a body is to mark one as deviant, as a freak, 5:18 to use the language of one to Mat Fraser’s performances. 5:25 In the context of our course and our reading this week, it’s desire for physically disabled bodies and especially amputee bodies, 5:28 that’s of interest to us, especially in the form of so-called devoteeism and selective attraction towards such bodies. 5:36 Abasiophilia refers to attraction specifically towards those with mobility related disabilities, 5:50 especially wheelchair users and those with leg braces, canes or other assistive devices. 5:56 Remember ET Russian expressing concern over whether they were fetishizing the cane of a person to whom they were attracted? 6:02 This is the phenomenon that they were referencing. 6:09 Acrotomophilia refers to those with amputations or otherwise partially or fully missing limbs, 6:12 acroto- means cut off, 6:18 though this label also encompasses those who are aroused by congenital limb differences as well. 6:20 Is it harmful to disabled people and amputees when others’ selective arousal or attraction to their physical differences is given a pathological label? 6:26 Or is this pathologization merited in certain cases? 6:35 These can be difficult questions. The boundaries of what constitutes fetishization of disability are anything but clear. 6:40 Putting aside for now the debate over what, if any, line exists between erotica and pornography, 6:50 these categories of creative work contain bodies of writings, photography and films that specifically and explicitly involve disabled people. 6:56 The two almost-randomly selected books from an Amazon search whose covers I’ve highlighted on 7:06 the right are examples of this — probably not future winners of the Booker Prize for literature, 7:10 but erotica rarely aspires to be such. 7:16 The first from a book titled Disabled Erotica Volume Three 7:19 pictures a young female figure standing with crutches and leg braces, features blurred to obscure her identity. 7:23 The second, called Disabled Desires Wicked Wheels, shows a male figure seated in a wheelchair turned away from the viewer with a downcast expression. 7:31 Given the focus of our reading this week, it might be a little surprising to encounter a story in the second book here about a 7:41 disabled man who is desired by an able bodied woman and which is written by a woman, 7:47 too. Most self-identified devotees are men, but not all. 7:52 But also, are written or visual sexual narratives that center disabled people and their disabilities inevitably fetishizing? 7:58 Where is the line, if there is one, 8:07 between what we might call a disability inclusive — or keeping with the language of many of our readings — a crip erotica or porn and a fetishizing one? 8:09 another step yet, is fetishization itself, even always a negative or harmful thing? 8:21 These are legitimately challenging questions which defy easy answers. 8:28 Please take a moment and look at each of these photos. 8:35 Each represents an image of a person who uses a wheelchair dressed or posed in a way that suggests a sexual context of some sort. 8:38 Do you think that any or all of these photos are fetishizing? 8:46 How would you explain to someone else what makes each of these photos fetishizing or not? 8:50 There’s no right or wrong answers here. 8:57 But there is, I think, usefulness in reflecting on what determines fetishization versus crip desire or the like in these images. 9:00 Does the pose matter? The perspective, the clothing, the facial expression, the body type, the gender, 9:09 or whether or not we’re familiar with the individual beyond the context of a single photo, 9:18 being able to relate to them as multifaceted people? Some interesting points to reflect upon, 9:23 and we’ll return to them in Zoom meeting this week. The film work of Loree Erickson is an interesting example to consider. 9:29 Erickson teaches at the University of Toronto’s Sexual Diversity Studies Centre. 9:39 She’s the director and star of several porn films and a past winner at the Feminist Porn Awards based in Toronto. 9:43 She’s a disabled white woman originally from the U.S., but now living in Canada, 9:50 pictured here in a bright pink and leopard print mini dress and seated in a wheelchair. She identifies herself as a femmegimp, 9:55 another reclamation, like crip, of a disability oriented slur with a touch of queering, too. 10:02 She’s one of the key figures in establishing what she calls queercrip as a distinct genre of pornography. 10:09 And she’s also an acquaintance of mine. I know her from grad school. 10:16 I’d love to show you her very short film, Sexxxy, but it’s only available on DVD in our campus library, not online. 10:20 So I’ll describe it to you. In the film, which is only about 3 minutes long, 10:27 which is being tuned up or fixed in a repair shop, interspersed with close ups of her face, 10:36 especially her hot pink lipstick as she makes what I would term lustful expressions. 10:42 The audio is a famous and controversial Cyndi Lauper song She Bop, which is supposedly about masturbation, 10:47 along with some bits of half muffled audio of Erickson and the repairman speaking about repairing the chair. 10:55 Does such a film, which depicts images of a wheelchair being — and forgive me — oiled and screwed, 11:02 combined with glimpses of sexualized facial expressions and a sexy soundtrack constitute the fetishization of disability, 11:09 specifically in the form of fetishizing a mobility device? 11:16 Does it matter in this case that the disabled star of the film is also the filmmaker? 11:20 Does it depend on who the viewer is or what their motivations are for viewing the film? 11:25 Would it be different if the mechanic here were touching Erickson’s flesh body rather than what is effectively her mechanical body? 11:31 These categorizations can be hard to make. 11:39 In the reading this week, the focus is placed in not only on disability in general, but primarily on amputees, 11:43 specifically female amputees and the straight men who express desire for them. As a culture, 11:50 do we think differently about amputation from other forms of disability in terms of the acceptability of sexual desirability? 11:56 I’ve included two screenshots here of dating websites oriented towards dating people with disabilities and people with amputations respectively. 12:04 When you look at them, do you have different responses to each? They’re pretty similar in design and text. 12:12 A light skinned woman and a light skinned man in each, language of finding love or finding your perfect match. 12:18 And ambiguity over whether the intent is for disabled people and amputees to find other disabled and amputee folks. 12:25 If you had a different first reaction to each — or if you didn’t, 12:37 but you think others might — give some thought to what might be behind these responses. 12:41 The chapter we’re reading this week is by Alison Kafer, 12:49 who’s an associate professor in feminist studies at the University of Texas, and she works primarily in disability studies. 12:52 She’s a queer white woman and is also an amputee herself. 12:59 And her lived experience is at the heart of this chapter, which comes from her acclaimed 2013 book, Feminist Queer Crip. 13:02 Including her affective or felt responses to attention from men who identify with this community, 13:16 specifically seeking amputee women for sex or relationships. 13:23 the logic of devoteeism, or the underlying way of conceiving of desire towards and desirability of amputees. 13:32 Specifically, she argues, devotee men insist that they’re the only ones who are genuinely attracted to women with amputations without any reservations, 13:41 while insisting that all non-devotees feel disgusted by amputations. 13:51 Kafer speaks of amputation sites as never neutral in devotees discourse. 14:00 They’re framed as always attractive to devotees and repulsive to others, and as the, quote, 14:06 defining aesthetic factor in devotees’ attraction, the place where the value of a potential partner lies. 14:12 In this sense, Kafer argues, there is, quote, no position outside of the desire-disgust binary. 14:20 These are the only two conceivable possibilities in relation to amputation sites in the mind of devotees, 14:27 either their own desire towards amputation sites or everyone else’s disgust. 14:34 While this is a problematic perspective, it also has a certain power or pull that comes from its apparent plausibility. 14:40 Society at large really does tend to treat amputations as something that disqualifies or at least detracts from potential romantic or sexual partners. 14:48 And most amputee women have likely experienced something of this attitude expressed towards them. 14:57 Beyond the underlying problem with this way of thinking about amputees, 15:04 another set of less-abstract problems are presented by some of the attitudes and 15:07 behaviors that devotee men have exhibited to Kafer and other amputee women. 15:11 She encounters these men attributing self-hatred to women who reject them, claiming that they don’t fully accept their own amputations. 15:17 woman in an ableist world. 15:30 And often identify women’s insecurity with their own sexual attractiveness 15:33 as amputee women’s true problem, to which these men’s love and devotion act as a solution, 15:37 as the way for amputee women to achieve the greatest happiness and potential. 15:43 Consistently, they represent amputee women’s problems as individual level, largely attitudinal ones, and not as systemic structural ones. 15:48 Some of the problematic behaviours Kafer identifies include secretly following amputee women and 16:00 photographing them without their knowledge, and occasionally outright harassing them. 16:05 Online communities allow devotees to share their photos and sightings or accounts of spotting amputees in public, 16:11 sometimes with identifying details of time and place. 16:18 Kafer even refers to one man who proposed setting up an online register of attractive amputees, including names and addresses without their consent. 16:24 In some ways, the problems that such behavior presents for amputee women are ones that are familiar 16:33 even to many non-disabled and non amputee women and femme presenting people. 16:38 But the intensity of the targeting here, at least, seems distinctive. 16:43 In an attempt to defend themselves, 16:48 devotee men often frame their attention as harmless and flattering and believe themselves to be misunderstood by society, 16:50 insisting that greater acceptance of devoteeism will lead to greater happiness for amputees. 16:57 Who should, they maintain, be pleased to be the target of their desire. 17:03 It’s really not surprising that with this kind of sexist and heterocentric rhetoric and behavior, 17:07 many amputee women find devotees to be at least an annoyance and at worst, a threat to their physical safety and psychological well-being. 17:13 But this also leaves Kafer with questions about why, then, quite a few female amputees choose to participate in devotee communities. 17:23 and exchanging or selling photos and videos of themselves, among other activities. 17:37 Reflecting on this in light of her own experiences, challenges and observations, 17:42 Kafer suggests that many amputee women find it meaningful to see images of others with similar bodies being presented as positive and desirable, 17:47 something which, as we know, is rare in the culture at large. 17:55 Many women seem to find support and community, especially connections with other amputee women, through these online sites, 18:00 as well as information and resources about practical matters ranging from health care to shoe exchanges 18:07 (where people with only one foot exchange footwear with others who have only the opposite foot). 18:14 Kafer speculates on how amputee women in these communities may act as something of sexual role models, 18:19 offering a rare opportunity for other female amputees to see and hear about engagement in sexual activities, 18:26 the use of medical or mobility equipment as part of sex play, 18:32 and examples of sexual self-acceptance. Partway through her chapter, Kafer also speaks directly to her non amputee readers. 18:36 If you happen to be a non amputee, non-disabled and a non devotee, 18:45 then she calls you to contemplate the reasons that these discussions may hold interest for you, 18:50 and to think about how people with bodies and desires that are closer to the norm may derive pleasure and affirmation out of comparing themselves 18:55 to amputees and devotees and experiencing their own body and their own desires as normative in contrast to the non-normative bodies and desires, 19:04 respectively, of amputees and devotees. 19:14 Now this experience will depend on what other identities a person has. 19:19 Many other people who are not disabled, not amputees and not devotees, also have other types of socially stigmatized bodies or desires. 19:24 But there’s still a reaffirmation of ableist privilege and being reminded of one’s 19:33 status as outside of this particular dynamic and logic of disabled person and devotee. 19:37 But what then is the way out of this pattern of thinking that underlies devotee logic, 19:44 out of the belief that finding disability desirable in a partner is always pathological or abnormal in some way? 19:49 Kafer looks for inspiration to the example of one fairly high profile relationship 19:56 within the world of disability justice, that between Eli Clare and his partner, 20:01 Samuel Lurie. The photo at right shows Clare and Lurie standing together in a partial embrace. 20:05 Eli Clare, a white trans man with cerebral palsy, is a very well known disability 20:12 writer, and activist Sam Lurie is also a white trans man who founded and runs an organization 20:17 that trains clinicians and other service providers regarding trans people’s needs. 20:23 And Clare, for his part, has written about how the acceptance from Lurie of this distinct, 20:34 usually stigmatized aspect of his physical and sexual interactions has profoundly 20:39 impacted the ways that he understands and accepts his own body and sexuality, 20:45 helping him to overcome a sense of shame about these tremors. 20:50 prompts Kafer, for her part, to reflect on what this relationship has to teach us. 21:00 to a relationship without reducing the desirability of a person to that particular quality. 21:11 But also the ways their relationship is based on an understanding of how broader social, 21:18 cultural, economic and political systems, 21:22 structured as they are by ableism, impact sexuality, including desire, desirability and shame. 21:25 Devotee 21:34 logic, by contrast, relies on the belief that disability and bodily difference are inherently and inevitably repulsive to all but a select few. 21:35 But disability justice points to the ways that ableist bias, including disgust towards amputations or other forms of disability, 21:45 are constructed, and with collective effort can be dismantled to facilitate greater acceptance of 21:54 disabilities and physical differences as gifts that can add value and enjoyment to a relationship, 22:00 not as fetishized qualities to which desirability can be reduced. 22:06 It’s this idea of sexual possibilities that I’d like us to look at through this week’s response. 22:13 Here’s the prompt to which I’d like you to respond in your writing. 22:19 In this chapter, Alison Kafer writes: I want to imagine a sexuality that is rich and robust, 22:22 not in spite of impairment and not fetishistically because of impairment, but in relationship to it. 22:29 Thinking about the various individuals whose thoughts and lives we’ve encountered in our written audio and video sources in the course so far, 22:36 identify two people whom you believe express views that fit well with Kafer’s vision of sexuality, 22:45 as presented here in her chapter. Relying on course sources, 22:51 explain in your response how each person’s writing, interview, performance and or other work offers such a perspective. 22:56 Again, the rest of our week follows our usual pattern of a Zoom meeting and response submission, assessments, and feedback. 23:11 We’re going to be looking at a theoretical approach known as Crip Theory, which has become very important in disability studies in recent years, 23:26 drawing on both queer theory and disability studies to offer a new analytical lens. 23:33 The scholar who first named and wrote at length about Crip theory, 23:40 American researcher Robert McRuer, has written quite a bit, 23:43 rather than read a selection from one of his books or articles, 23:51 we’re going to watch a very short video on his work, 23:55 and read an interview/discussion among McRuer and two Canadian scholars about Crip Theory and McRuer’s work and Crip Theory perspectives. 23:58 so please give yourself time to read it. The second reading that’s part of the same section, by Swedish scholar Lotta Lofgren 24:10 Martenson, 24:17 performs a sort of bridging between Crip theory and the topic of intellectual disability, 24:18 which we’ll then continue with for the remainder of the course. 24:23 If you’re new to discussions around sexuality in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, this should be a particularly helpful reading. 24:26 The argument that the author makes is a fairly nuanced one, however. 24:35 So please do read it with care. I look forward to seeing you later in the week. 24:38 And bye for now.
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