Thursday, April 19, 2007


Cyborgs and "women of color," eh D. Haraway? What is the connection? Is there a link? This one forces me to think. Not identifying as a woman of color, I cannot make a personal connection to this idea. So, I shall do the best I can. A woman of color must preform many roles, contradictory roles. She is a different person depending on who she encounters. She represents so many different ideas: socioeconomic class, sexuality, etc. She is in some ways Haraway's monster. I do not mean monster in a negative sense but a monster in that the woman of color embodies so many different facets, so many different roles in life. She must be able to transfer from role to role seamlessly, automatically, machine like. To me, the cyborg reference for a woman of color focuses upon what a cyborg is. A cyborg is part human, part machine. A woman of color operating in a world that can be racist and sexist must also be part human and part machine. She must be able to deflect racist and sexist comments or be swallowed by them. There are times when she utilizes her human side: emotional, fragile, biological. But many times she must tap into her machine aspect for the strength to persevere. One of Haraway's qualifications for being a cyborg was the ability to transcend the division between animal and human. With a hierarchical society, people of color can be treated like animals. So a woman of color embodies this animal/human duality. She may not have chosen to take part of this dual nature, but society forces it upon her. The woman of color is akin to a cyborg because she plays so many roles in her life. But, ultimately, she remembers who she is despite her continual performance.

My tongue:
It tastes. It's pink but collects white plaque. It told the doctor that I was dehydrated. Swimming in my mouth, my tongue taps against my permanent metal retainer and is restrained in the cage of my teeth. It is rude or childish when I stick it out alone, but sensual when I stick it into my boyfriend's mouth. My tongue wet and covered with little bulbs that give it a textured surface. It allows me to speak the way I do. Sometimes it become tied and I lose the ability to speak altogether. My mother calls my tongue razor sharp. Tongues become so intricately linked to the term "language." A sign hangs on my mirror reading, "I speak patriarchy but it's not my mother tongue." I force it out in yoga to make my lion face. I can twist it into an "S" but not into a "U." Laura, my older sister, taught herself how to make it into a "U." I'm the only one in my family who can't do that trick. I have failed to use my tongue to tie a cherry stem into a knot, I guess that means I can't give a good blowjob. Have you even gotten your tongue stuck on a piece of ice? It feels so weird when you finally remove the ice. It's as if for a small instance your tongue is smooth. I've used my tongue to taste my way in Europe. Part of travel is the tastes. Eating different foods from different regions. At home, Louisiana, eating is practically a past time. I enjoy food so much, especially spicy food. It's not good food unless your tongue is on fire. Speaking of fire, I burn it so much on hot beverages. I hate when I burn my tongue because I lose the ability to taste for a day. It's really gross to be licked. I hate being licked. The feeling of someone's tongue across my skin is just . . . it makes me shiver. I also hate the taste in your mouth when you wake up in the morning and your tongue feels stiff from lack of motion. I have to warm up my tongue in the morning, move it around, let it be free and loose. I use my tongue quite a bit. I'm a wordy person. I give college tours. I like to talk, informally, shoot the breeze, shoot from the hip. Language is so impaired at times with our own reservations. Our tongues are powerful. One of the most powerful muscles we have. It's long too, going pretty fair down our throats. But the power, I'm referring to is the power to speak using our tongues. Language is pretty amazing, and our tongues learn the minute movements necessary to speak in our particular language. It's one of the reasons why speaking another language can be so difficult. Language is crucial to spreading ideas, and our tongues do quite a bit of wagging.

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