So let's begin with the hate.
From the paper, there: "This paper is fascinated by the play with the caught body."
Let's talk about fascination, shall we?
I'm a freshman in college. A boy is visiting me for the first time, really. I've discovered in a short time that I actually really don't like him at all. I don't want to send him away because it's the first time I've really gotten any sexualized attention and I know I'll miss it if he's gone. I don't know what I want to actually do with him (we end up doing nothing, after I freeze up when he kisses me and he realizes something's wrong and stops. Thank the Goddess for small mercies many other women, sadly, don't get.)
I show him my scarred legs. His eyes widen.
"You're not a woman, you're a fucking cyborg."
"You could be one of the Borg. All you need is the little eye *puts hand to face, makes noise*."
"What? It's true."
Every time I read a theory-laden essay, more full of analysis than respect, I'm transported back to that moment. Only this time "cyborg" is supposed to be positive: we're supposed to be the vanguard. The new human.
Supposed to be.
For everyone else, not ourselves.
To me, that's the medical gaze all over again. I'm not your cyborg to analyze.
Not doing it, not being it, don't want to hear it.
THIS BODY IS NOT YOURS. STEP OFF.
But here's the love:
I live in this body. It is, currently, implanted with metal. Even if some of it is removed, I will still have metal embedded in my bones from some stupid doctor making a mistake.
I am part metal, even if that metal is, well, useless.
I've always since had an affinity for the meeting of skin and steel. Those of you who read any at all of my writing already know this.
Because that is my body. That is me.
Running idea of mine: when I find an online enclave suitable for the persona, where it's not taken, I'm going to go by "stainless."
For ten years, this has been my body.
But there's a difference, when it comes from me.
There's a difference when I am not some nebulous we, something to be analyzed and studied and held up, the object of an experiment.
I am not a semiotic anything. Here I fly in the face of academia but it needs to be said: Speak plainly or shut up.
Talk about the people. Talk about their lives. Not just about composition, message, image-making. Talk about what they've said about the image they want to present. How has the media done? Do they like their own pictures? Do they think they're presented well, as they would wish to be?
Talk about that, if you want to talk about this.
And take your fascination and cram it.
If this body IS a revolution: it is my revolution.
(To those who will surely think I sound hypocritical: Sexual fetishism doesn't bother me personally nearly as much as impersonal-sounding analysis. Sexual desire is an animating drive, and one we don't have much control over. Intellectual fascination is much more impersonal. And while we can't control how desire seizes up, we can control whether we present our papers as "fascination" with PWD bodies and the meaning they carry, or whether we present them as examinations respectful of the people living IN those bodies.)
(Edit the second: The person who wrote the cyborg paper is a WWD. That makes it substantially less creepy than if it's some outsider analyzing, to me.. still, though, I get worried by some of the breathless cyborg excitement. Having your body called "cyborg" is, in some ways, having it called inhuman, rather than simply having it called "augmented.")