Sunday, February 07, 2010

things fall apart... mere anarchy is loosed

**spoiler warning** if you've not read V for Vendetta and don't want a _major_ spoiler, look away now and don't read the rest of this post... 

so. i got the green light of encouragement to pursue my key area of interest at school this semester and over the summer. a meeting with my supervisor the other day went brilliantly and i came home armed with a big pile of books to get started on shaping my bibliography. for the next six or seven months across a series of papers, including my thesis, much of my time is going to be spent exploring some of the following themes and/or others:

psychoanalytic feminism -- feminist literary and art criticisms -- the gendered identity of political ideology -- queer voices as agents of change -- gender masks -- theatricality and camp -- anarchy vs fascism -- sadomasochism -- gender as performance -- violence as gendered performance -- love -- torture -- redemption -- gender transformation -- the rejection of the gendered self -- feminist ethics about violence -- etc.

right now that's a vast mixed bag, which will progressively get narrower and more particular. but the thrilling bit for me is this: as a site for looking at these issues, i'm going to be immersed in the world of comics and very specifically writing about what we might be experiencing as a young woman called Evey Hammond,

is transformed into this:


Joel is (not surprisingly, for those who know him) rather thrilled that his gal is reading comics for school. He found this 1983 article by Alan Moore for me: Invisible Girls and Phantom Ladies: Sexism in Comics. (click on the pics at that link to open up readable pdf versions of each page) Makes for fascinating reading. And by fascinating I mean as outspoken and ambivalent and problematic as V.

rubs her geeky hands gleefully...
bring it.


  1. A woman in my classes at school is writing her dissertation on Manga, and she showed us some amazing aspects of anti-feminism in the darkness of the comics which were Startling and Violent!

  2. That sounds just awesome Cary! V for Vendetta is one of my favourites. Problematic indeed, but boy do those problems reach deep into society. Alan Moore is a genius IMO. I would love to hear your take on it.

  3. hello grrls, :)

    yep - the medium as a whole has a range of troubling aspects. manga, in my understanding, tends to be treated as its own style/genre, is arguably gaining popularity among young female readers and yet is no less immune to violent and problematic sexualised imagery.
    but i agree with shirley. V for vendetta holds up a fascinating mirror - it stands out as being openly, intentionally and overtly morally ambiguous.
    i think i'll be exploring feminist interpretations of the Foucauldian paradigm. V offers an incredibly compelling liberation narrative and yet provokes some really intruiging gender and sexuality questions. which is why i love it.

    does it matter what gender is hidden behind the painted smile? how does one reconcile liberation by violent coercion? what does gender control, chaos and anarchy look like?

    much of the medium is very easily critiqued in gender terms. the goal of the study is not to make a judgment on V but to explore the kind of questions it offers up to the feminist reader. i'll be happy to send copies of completed pieces, shirley.

    right now it's like i have a huge pile of jigsaw pieces of narrative and theory and i need to put them into a coherent picture. i have 3 weeks to get them into a structured proposal with it all whittled down to the limited scope one can achieve in length allowed. which right now is frustratingly short. there are so many freaking layers in V and i can't cover all of them. but yeah, i hope to set up a conversation between theory and the story.