English 738T, Spring 2015
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Patchwork Girl Project: Post-Gender

Posted by Collin Lam on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 2:37 pm

As we know from reading Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, it involves a strong feminist reading and re-writing of Shelley’s Frankenstein; one that endeavors to animate the “marginalia” between Shelley’s words. This “marginalia” is the female monster, both the one not created by Shelley and the one written by Jackson. But, it is also the female monster that Jackson believed resided within Shelley herself. The young, marginalized female writer in a world of male writing. What if we were to try and construct this project around a non-gendered “subject” or monster. In our age of burgeoning transgender/pan-sexual/a-sexual/neutral-gender rights, the demarcation of male and female is becoming an antiquated and constricting identity distinction. Could we try to create our project out of a posthumanist, yes, but also post-gender position? Perhaps something akin to Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, but in hypertext form? Since many of the people who consider themselves outside the confines of the female/male distinction still don’t possess much, or sometimes any, political representation, I think we could consider them to be our contemporary “marginalia”; those that are marginalized outside the primary conversation of identity politics.

Reading Frankenstein, I was intrigued at Victor’s “choosing” of body parts and wondered if he chose particular pelvises or penises for the most “beautiful” male genitalia. We simply assume while reading that he has attached male genitalia (there is a tongue-cheek moment there of male bonding), since the creature is considered male. But, what if he chose neither male nor female genitalia? What if we ventured by the same choice, not to choose one over the other? I’m not exactly sure how this would play out by “pirating” Jackson’s/Shelley’s work into our own, but I do like the fact that “pirating” concerns itself with skirting just outside the periphery of the law; a place that those who do not fall within the male/female distinction exist as well (political law and social “law” or normativity). The formal structuring of the project could embody the same premise as Jackson’s. And as Kayla suggested in her earlier post, there would be a multitude of voices, and┬átheir identity would not be founded on the physical or material manifestation (or telling) of gendered parts but on the identification of their distinct voices in contrast to a representation of “law” (either political or even Eastgate).

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