- Jul 2020
(commenting the end of McCaffrey's because we can't highlight the text):
I'm debating Helva’s access to independence--her life also prescribed and assigned like Delphi's, even to the practice of metaphorical marriage with the scout. But she could still choose Jennan, she could mourn his loss, and she was well aware of what she was programmed not to overthink.
Perhaps McCaffrey celebrates the ambiguity of fate alongside programming, and the humanity of hybridity--embodied in Helva’s own voice, both beyond human capability and deeply moving to the ear. Perhaps not?
I love when mechanized parts can invoke the indescribable, like the feeling of a song.
She’s always known Delphi has almost no sense of taste or smell. They explainedabout that: only so much bandwidth. You don’t have to taste a suncar, do you? Andthe slight overall dimness of Delphi’s sense of touch—she’s familiar with that, too.
P Burke does not feel like an active player within her own story. Neither of her two-bodied existences nor technological enhancements enable her true freedom. Her perceived perfect Delphi isn't granted basic human experience--the senses--while the other P Burke remains put away in the clam shell.
Given plugged-in potential, she is still barred from human sensation and experiences not prescribed by corporate superiors--though she yielded to these terms on last resort. Her own given parts, seemingly evolutionary, ultimately destroy her. However, can Delphi's temporary happiness beforehand be regarded as freedom?
(And somebody will be very, very carefully monitoring Delphi’s speech circuits.)
Continuing with male gaze, I see Delphi's performance of doll-like femininity closely monitored by her audience and technophysicians. I'm also reminded of Helva's exemplary talents and procedural obedience--her Last Supper on a Screw (McCaffrey 109) and ultimately rejecting suicide to continue her tasks after Jennan's death. These instances of performance parallel the spectacle of Saartjie Baartman.
”Blasphemy” and “irony” are mentioned--and continued through Kafer--to connote less math and masculinity and more--frankly--code, spoken from reclaimed empowerment. I couldn’t digest Haraway’s prose--within the coming Information Age she concentrates a lot of terms like machine parts herself--”Star Wars,” “Magic Mountain,” even “goddess” (Haraway 57). I wished for her own Dictionary.com to identify what these references meant to her.
Did she mean to confound us for shock-factor’s sake? Because within her text that I could decipher I felt a postgendered, post-species, colorblind coalition that I couldn’t fully find affinity within, as much as the vague image of the Cyborg tantalizes me. For unity did she mean to catalyze divisiveness through language?
It is oppositional, Utopian, and completely withoutinnocence.
Close ended question: I'm confused how the Cyborg has no history, whilst "completely without innocence." Like Kafer, is Haraway not attempting to cover up power-playing technoscience and the Cyborg "non-innocence," but rather explicitly identifying them? I feel they are, in order to continue the development of these parts as granting autonomy instead--though this contradicts an ahistorical Cyborg.
Hierarchies of domination have not disappeared as female reproduction is replaced bya masculine technophilic reproduction because stereotypical racial typologies remainin place
The coded, post-racial face--beautiful, placid, pasted on Time--hopes to cover up the history of race science through whitewashed POC traits. This doesn't feel like a celebration of diversity through technoscience as much as an objectified person of color, made more digestible with Eurocentric appeal.
I also want to recall Cyd's introductory lecture on Haraway's Manifesto--the Cyborg without history, abandoning origin. I understand Haraway's response to pre-naturalization civil rights, but I agree with the "crayola issue" and the post-gender, post-racial dream--disregarding history to move forward--never truly addresses reparations ("reparations" being heavily debated today since George Floyd protests).
In attempting to dissolve boundaries--as the Times faces and Haraway hopes--requires reparations, in my opinion, else sparking more discursive divisions and identifying further distinctions through tokenization.
Should interracial people and diversity be seen as evolutionary, utopian, and a level-up? Expressed earlier, I feel it abandons oppressed voices and specific narratives by declaring a colorblind unity. But is there a lens I'm missing?
By honoring the mammae as sign and symbol of the highest class ofanimals, Linnaeus assigned a new value to the female, especially women’s unique rolein reproduction
Throughout the multiple texts, utilized human-parts place specified bodies within social constructions, given limits of autonomy dependent on close monitoring by superiors. Kirkup and Schiebinger reflect on the Womxn’s breasts dictating the taxonomy of humans as mammalia--”a study of breasts." We see this era uplifted the sacredness of milk and the role of women’s reproduction, whilst stationing them closer to “beasts” than men, and assigning women to domesticity.
Breasts as parts, natural tools embedded in the female body, parallels the seemingly hopeful outlook on this developing Cyborg body’s own parts, but these parts remain observed and reduced to science--a socially constructed pyramid falsely dubbed as standardized and empirical--determining the value and humanity of minorities. The parts of the female and POC body do not grant the bearer their autonomy, but rather outside scrutiny and oversight.
We established mid 20th-century authors dubbed living beings as very complex machines, and question "are humans machines?"--can we break down the human/machine boundary by referring the symbol of breasts as also a mechanized part? I feel through Haraway's Cyborg we can, as rough as it feels to conceptualize breasts as another gear/customization.
on a stage two feet high, along which she was led by her keeper, and exhibited like awild beast; being obliged to walk, stand, or sit as he ordered her.”6
African women’s breasts are dubbed “beastly,” “pendulous” (Schiebinger 26)--using breasts and vaginal physical traits as a determinism to rank women by race. As Saartjie Bartman’s naked body is exhibited an object--reminding of a modern tech convention putting foreign car parts on a pedestal--the male scientific gaze is further scrutinizing and classifying womxn by parts.
Thus the eyes of the male gaze are the male scientists, carried down to the audience’s white curiosity--the circus scene is disquieting. Further investigation of her body only continues to stretch the spectacle of Saartjie Baartman, exhibited like colonized art within museum, even as a corpse.
reast shapes amonghumans
The mathematical, geometric breakdown of the breast's shape feels uncomfortable like an engineer's diagram--dictating its value by diameter. This continues my thought that body parts are observed as machine parts under the male and scientific gaze.