My name is Marjorie Gaber, I’m an art student, I’m nervous, I’m sleepy. Let’s do this. When I was a youngin’ and before I realized you could make art and write stuff as a career, I was always trying to make my own books. Me and my sister would crowd around the family computer, open up Microsoft Word, and collaborate on stories about sleepovers, monsters, whatever we could think of. Then we would print out the pages, add illustrations, punch holes in the pages, and stick them in a binder on our bookshelves at home to read, proudly, to my parents when they got home from work.
Looking back that hasn’t really changed, I’m still full of stories, I still make my own books (this time with a trusty extended Swingline stapler and a LOT of patience via the Stamps printers) but I think I have a harder time getting those stories out than I did when I was a kid. Maybe I’m just more scared of telling those stories, maybe I’m just scared I’m not good enough to tell them, or maybe I just need a kick in the pants to actually TELL THOSE STORIES ALREADY!!! I’m not sure what I’m looking for re: kick in the pants, but I am excited to try my hand at exploring different modes of writing!
The origin piece I’m choosing for this class is a paper I wrote for my art history class called, “Sexual Objects”. In that class, we talk about different philosophies of sexuality, and the different ways sexuality is portrayed in art and society. It was a really fascinating class, and it let me write about art and art criticism, which is another favorite subject for me personally! The paper I wrote compares three different documentaries we watched in class, “Passion and Power”, about the history of the vibrator, “Guys and Dolls”, a documentary about men who buy and make Real Doll sex dolls, and “Sleeping With the Devil”, a documentary/art movie comprised of found footage and a Skype call between artist Alisa Yang and an evangelical exorcist her mother hired for her.
Throughout these documentaries I found a disturbing theme of the commodification and control of women’s sexualities, through the legal restrictions on the sale of vibrators in Texas (restrictions that, tellingly, don’t apply to the sale of Viagra), the way that most of the sex doll owners interviewed in “Guys and Dolls” treat their dolls better than they treat the human women in their lives, and through the barrage of shaming tactics and patronizing actions Yang endures from the little man on her screen. I want to use this origin piece to explore this idea of control, the ideas of sexuality divorced from the body, and how to find sanity (or productive insanity) for myself in a world that still hasn’t figured out how to treat women like people.
Or I don’t know, write a zine about sexy robots? Who knows! I want to see where this piece takes me first.