Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog 5 Prompt 1

Margaret Julian- Prompt 1

In a traditional sense I would say it would be easy to argue that Molly is a highly feministic character. She subverts gender roles in some very interesting ways; by asserting territorial dominance over Case, by being the provider for the relationship, even by her choice of profession. She is in many cases taking on what we would consider the dominant male role. I believe that Haraway would find some serious flaws in our traditional “feminist” theory.

First of all Haraway points to the nature of “feminism” and the simple classification of humans into strictly male and female categories as a major problem. She says, “Consciousness of exclusion through naming is acute.” And that there is “nothing about being female that naturally binds women.” She points to her fictional cyborg world and sees that cyborgs could naturally transcend this kind of scrutiny because they have no genetic impediments to restrict them to a particular “sex.” Therefore somehow making them above gender roles.

She goes on to say, “sexual objectification not alienation is the consequence of the structure of sex/gender.” When we turn back and look at Molly we see that Haraway is correct. In the Neuromancer construct there is a very interesting objectification of Molly. During Riviera’s “performance” he objectifies Molly even with her domineering characteristics. He sexualizes everything about her and puts her literally into a spotlight to highlight this. That’s not to say that Molly herself approves of this kind of objectification, just that it is possible. Interestingly enough after this scene the next time we see her is in a brothel of sorts, trying to calm down after the blatant display of disrespect. She also uses her feminine charm to gain control of people, like she did with Case.

It is also interesting that in order to gain the upper hand in her profession, i.e. her body modifications, she had to sell her body to men. She could only gain this kind of tactical advantage by being used as a puppet for paying customers. This presents a problem in which she is perpetuating the existing gender stereotypes in order to somehow fight against them. It seems very counterintuitive to me and exceptionally anti-feminist.

I do think however that Molly is one step closer to the cyborgs that Haraway talks about. Just like most of the other characters, Molly is a mix of mechanical engineering, and biological engineering. This creates a human “breed” separate from that of the humans in the “real world.” It is precisely the steps Haraway describes that would move us into the cyborg era.

Therefore I think that Molly is one step closer than women today to a feminist ideal, but she is certainly not, in Haraway’s definition a true transcendental feminist ideal.


Ben Fellows said...


Your references to the novel highlight many important aspects relative to Molly as a feminist. The passage of Molly as being objectified is directly related to what Haraway has to say about the consequences of gender, and you make good comparisons throughout relating Molly to certain aspects of different kinds of feminism.

I feel that there is a lot to work with here, but it doesn't all come together in the end. There appear to be some loose ends that relate Haraway to Molly's character, but don't necessarily support your final argument. Perhaps I'm not reading into it correctly, but I think you could improve your conclusion paragraph to bring everything together and explicitly state "why does this matter?"


Adam said...

Your discussion of Riviera, Molly, and obectification is extremely promising. I'd like to see it more organized around a more clear argument (from the beginning, that is), but this section is arguably your best work so far this semester - compact, observant and focused on the text (although not so much on precise details, which could be very helpful when developing things further).

Following this excellent section, you have some vaguer, less developed material, then end on this note: "Therefore I think that Molly is one step closer than women today to a feminist ideal, but she is certainly not, in Haraway’s definition a true transcendental feminist ideal."

This is an argument, and it could definitely work well with much more attention to the text (especially Gibson's, but maybe Haraway's as well). I also think you could easily take the point of view that Molly's ongoing objectification (including by herself!) makes the text more anti- or un- Harawayian than it might appear to some of us.

So I think your apparent argument, at the end, could work well with lots more evidence - or that a reading more focused on her objectification could develop out of the stronger section. A lot of the vaguer material should just be cut, and should be replaced with a stronger, more developed *reading*