08 10 / 2014
Ordinary stories are more powerful because they are our stories. They are relatable and we feel a deeper sense of connection to the people about whom they are written. A celebrity on the screen can say till he or she is blue in the face that the life he or she lives is “normal” but it just isn’t. There’s a before and after in the life of celebrities; it’s a distinct difference between being famous and not.
Stories like these are generally neglected by mainstream filmmakers and other storytellers because they don’t sell. Despite the fact that these stories are more powerful, they are not what people want to hear about. They don’t want to hear about the injustices in our world because they experience them everyday. Poverty makes people uncomfortable and makes them feel guilty for what they have. People don’t have to watch a video about a girls’ basketball team that’s struggling to stay afloat; they know it happens because their daughter is on a basketball team just like it. The stories are ones that they live.
We do have some power, though. We decide what gets attention. Companies and outlets see what media we choose to consume and produce more media like that. Celebrities have a bigger voice and can reach more people partially because we perpetuate the power of their microphone.
I absolutely love the “One in Eight Million” Project! I listened to so many of them and I know I’m going to continue. It reminds me of our talk about identities and self because these people are choosing one facet of their life to share with the world. I’m sure there are many different hats that each person wears, but it’s so interesting to see how they choose to represent themselves and what story they choose to tell. The story I selected is Candice Angelet: The Mambo Dancer. I admire that she is a strong woman. Her attitude toward dancing (and, I think I can make this leap, toward life) is great. Very rarely does she say no to another dancer and I think that means she just loves people. She feels empowered by dancing and the fears of being a woman off the dance floor (“no one’s gonna hurt me”) are assuaged because she is the one in control. That, to me, is a metaphor for life as well because men see themselves as the leaders of this world but they frequently don’t recognize the power of women and the contributions they make. I think these stories are a great way to open up the dialogue about different identities women have. They (We!) are not “just” mothers or daughters or sisters; we are women, and so much more!
08 10 / 2014
Longing for happiness and love, yet feeling that you don’t deserve either and more than anything else, shouldn’t get close to others because you are convinced that you are only going to drag them down with you.
17 9 / 2014
First of all, the way that this novel is written is intriguing and helpful to the reader. Because she has lost her memory, we are learning about Shori as she is learning about herself. She doesn’t know or understand her identities but before she can even begin to discover these, she has to start with her most basic need of hunger.
Once she is strong enough, she is able to explore who she is and what it means.
Butler starts off by introducing us to Wright, a male symbiont, who is Shori’s first partner. Again, she starts by fulfilling her most basic need of hunger, but their relationship quickly turns sexual (despite Wright’s hesistance due to his perception of her age, but that’s a different story). Shori knows that Wright enjoys when she bites him and she knows she enjoys fulfilling his desires as well. I wonder, though, how the story would have played out if a female had picked up Shori on the side of the road.
Next, Shori realizes she must feed from others. She goes to Wright’s neighbors and finds an older woman, Theodora, whose “aloneness is good, somehow.” She has no problem with being comfortable feeding from a female. The first time she feeds, it is solely a transactional process; Shori does not even allow her to turn to face her. However, she does hold her after in order to make sure she’s okay and Theodora makes “a satisfied little sound.” The event is more tender than she was with Wright, perhaps because Theodora is a woman.
When Shori returns, she has a conversation with Theodora about her job and what’s happening, and then Theodora kisses her. Theodora has no reservations in kissing Shori, and though Shori experiences “a moment of surprise”, she kisses Theodora back. I was amazed that Shori so easily accepted this as part of her identity. We find out later that Theodora’s husband has died and she is lonely. Is it only Shori’s venom that makes Theodora okay with kissing her or is there something more? On Shori’s part, this action must have caused something to click in her memory that told her it is okay to have sexual relationships with both genders, and with more than one person at once (though she knows Wright will be jealous).
Shori and Wright discuss these encounters later on, when Wright asks if she has developed any other symbionts. Wright asks if Shori has slept with any of the others. She replies no, but explains that she spent more time with Theodora (and not with the other four- two men and two women) because “something in her comforts and pleases me.” Wright then makes a snide comment of, “Swing both ways, do you?” Shori is hurt and confused by his tone and then has to let him know that, yes, she will have sex with both male and female symbionts “if both they and I want it.”
It seems to me that any symbiont- male or female- would want to after the venom is injected into them, due to how it makes them feel, but perhaps there was something special about Theodora which made her more susceptible to kissing Shori. Theodora is also pleased and eager to go with Shori when she asks her to become a symbiont. It will be interesting to see how or if their relationship develops because this is the first time Shori has bonded with a woman.
There is also the issue of Shori needing to feed from Celia and Brook in order to save them, but that has not happened yet. I think Shori’s aversion to doing so is entirely because of their “smell”- their connection to Stefan and Iosif, rather than a hesitance because of their gender.
I appreciate that Butler adds in this dynamic to the novel and I am curious to see how she continues to explore it in later chapters.
By: Allison Hyman
12 8 / 2014
Also just a friendly reminder that “virginity” is a patriarchal heterosexist social construct, that having sex (what kind of sex? how do you even define sex?) doesn’t change who you are, and that if and how much sex you have doesn’t say anything about your worth as a human being!