Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog 5, Prompt 1

Kira Scammell

Narrative & Technology

February 23, 2012

Blog #5

There is no doubt that Molly Millions is a complex character, deviating from stereotypical depictions of women. I can’t quite place her as a feminist, post-feminist, or even an anti-feminist. She seems to embody characteristics that define all three of these classifications. I found that Haraway’s essay, especially in the way she describes a cyborg, can help us understand Molly’s character a little bit more in depth.

Haraway’s talks about the boundary between the physical and the nonphysical. I particularly enjoyed this example,

Pop physics books on the consequences of quantum theory and the indeterminacy principal are a kind of popular scientific equivalent to Harlequin romances as a marker of radical change in American white heterosexuality: they get it wrong, but they are on the right subject. (Haraway, 154)

Talking about Molly’s character in the way that I personally interpret her, I feel that Haraway’s theory is applicable in the sense that once I feel that I had gotten a hold on Molly’s character, she would throw me a curve ball either by exposing a slice of her past, or with the plans she had for the immediate future. She’s incredibly dynamic, and it is very difficult to put her into pre-existing classifications.

We can also use Haraway’s excerpt to think about how gender is perceived in general using Molly as an example. Thinking in terms of a post-gender society, Molly is very independent, and it could be argued that she almost takes on a “male” role throughout the novel. For the purposes of this essay, I am going to ignore how male characters are typically treated, and for simplicity sake consider Molly’s independence to be a product of her strong character rather than treat it as an abnormality in how gender is usually used in personification.

There are times when Molly does takes part in some anti-feminist activity. For a time, she sells her body in as a “meat puppet.” She willingly takes the job to be able to afford modifications and become a razorgirl, a very feminist job. This situation is incredibly ironic, but after getting to know Molly’s character for the first 150 pages, wasn’t completely shocking. “You know how I go the money when I when I was starting out? Here. Not here, but a place like it, in the Sprawl. Joke, to start with, ‘cause once they plant the cut-out chip, it seems like free money. Wake up sore, sometimes, but that’s it” (Gibson, 146). Molly treats prostitution like it’s no big deal. Molly does go on to explain how her incompatible software allowed her to remember some of the “bad dreams” but I find the fact that she is still able to have sex, that working as a meat puppet didn’t scare her nearly as much as it would scare a typical female character.

It should also be noted that several times throughout the novel, it has seemed normal to ask about sexual preference. For example when Case enters to hotel with the meat puppets, he is asked for a gender preference, which indicates that male puppets work their as well. Also when Case is asked about Molly’s sexual preference he doesn’t have an answer. These examples indicated to me that sexual preference did not hold to one particular norm as heterosexuality does in our own society.

If anything, Molly seems to identify as a sociopath more so than a feminist or an antifeminist. She uses her resources and does so shamelessly. I don’t think that she necessarily aims to be either antifeminist or feminist, but instead she uses her resources to propel herself in the direction she wants to go. She is not an ethical character, and I am not claiming that she is one. However she is ambitious, and even if she were a male character, I think she would be just as dominant and would find other ways to manipulate women. When we talk about Molly and her character, I feel that we hit some interesting points, however I think we are going to be wrong no matter how we classify her.


Adam said...

Your first paragraph is vague enough that it doesn't really do anything. The Haraway quote seems like a more promising start, though. I like the argument that what Molly is for you is dynamism; I'd like it more with more concrete examples (I think the obvious counterargument is that she is consistently and clearly playing a tough guy role - it just continually shocks us because she's a woman, or "woman")

One other thing on the subject of "bad dreams"; it seems that Molly, at least later on, was used to basically be a performer in live-action snuff events (the senator being the ultimate example) - that is, even as a prostitute she hurts and even kills. I'd like to see you do something with that - her bad dreams involve the fusion of sex and violence (Riviera, of course, does blend sex and violence as well - and she HATES him).

While you say individually interesting things about Molly, nothing really seemed like the start of a coherent argument until your very promising last paragraph. Labelling her as a sociopath may have been a passing thought, but I think it's a serious way to analyze her - and that a related question might be to ask whether Haraway's genderless society would necessarily be one of sociopaths, precisely because of the abolition of all existing boundaries and norms.

If you revise, you need much more focus. Personally, I find the most potential in the last paragraph, but there is potential here throughout.

Patrick Kilduff said...

I really liked how you used Haraway in your paper. With the topic of your paper and how you presented your information, the Haraway quotes that you used really supported your argument. Your analysis of Molly is very sound as well, drawing great examples from the book as well as the relation to Haraway’s piece. You also picked out great quotes from Neuromancer, especially the one from page 146 when you discussed Molly and her anti-feminist activity. If you were planning to revise this, a suggestion that I have is even though this paper is about Haraway, maybe you could bring in some more philosophy from different sources, such as Marcuse or Heidigger, just for some more reinforcement. Otherwise I really liked your post, the detail was very good and your support was sound.

Brandon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.