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“Y’know what they call a unicorn without a horn? A friggin’ horse.” - Disability, Sexuality, and Passing in Glee

With an average seasonal viewership of between nine and ten million, the television show Glee holds a prominent place in the American prime-time lineup. Having recently resumed its weekly broadcast on the Fox network, the television show, now in its third season, centers around the trials and tribulations of the New Directions, a glee club at the fictional McKinley High School. Composed of social outcasts of varying race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, the group prides itself on allowing anyone who auditions to join; however, their theme of acceptance is not reflected by the school and the club, as such, faces numerous setbacks.

One of the recurring themes on Glee is that of gender/sexuality and disability. Of particular note are two characters: one is Kurt Hummel, a male student who identifies as gay, is regularly bullied and, though still facing personal doubts, has become more self-assured with the progression of the last two seasons. The other character is the newly introduced Sugar Motta, a female student who claims to have self-diagnosed Asperger’s Disorder, which she believes gives her the equivalence of diplomatic immunity and allows her to say anything she wishes. Within this paper, I’d like to specifically focus upon these two characters as they are portrayed in Season Three, Episode Two; a recap of this installment may be found here.

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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

At the suggestion of Kaye, here are links to the songs I've used as titles for my previous blog entries. I'll be including a link to the corresponding song in each of my upcoming posts, which can be listened to separately or while you read.

9/3/2011 - "Down By The Water" -The Decemberists

9/11/2011 - "Bitch" -Meredith Brooks

9/17/2011 - "Cape Cod Girls" -New England Sea Chantey (composor unknown)

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All The Different Names For The Same Thing

"Different Names for the Same Thing" - Death Cab for Cutie

Upon reading the Margaret Price selection from her text Mad At School, I was struck by the necessity we exhibit for a sense of identity. An identity is something that we take on ourselves, something that we can choose to abort or adopt on our own free will. While I may be influenced by those I associate with in my community, no one forces me to identify as one particular thing; it is my own free will that allows me to do so.

I am intrigued by the motifs of identity written about in Margaret Price’s Mad At School introduction. Like Price, I may appear “healthy as a horse yet walk with a mind that whispers in many voices.” Can’t those “voices” be viewed as my many identities? Can I not obtain something unique from each of them, something intriguing with which another individual may identify? Morever, who is to say if I am mad or sane? After all, it does take one to know one.

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Cape Cod Girls Ain't Got No Combs, They Brush Their Hair With Codfish Bones

I write this entry from the marine science laboratory at Williams-Mystic, a maritime studies program based in Mystic, CT. I spent last semester with the program, which provides an interdisciplinary academic experience for students interested in marine and maritime studies; I also remained here over the summer, where I worked with a professor from the program on an academic paper detailing Virginia Woolf and her first novel The Voyage Out. I'm back once again for Alumni Weekend, having conquered a very late SEPTA train and 4.5 hours on Amtrak with a screaming infant seated in front of me. During the block of time I spent riding up the coast, I thought a lot about what physical efforts I had to make for the weekend. Starting at my room on Merion 3rd, I walked down two flights of stairs and up to the R5. From there, I wove through 30th Street Station, stood in line for my Amtrak train for about 30 minutes, went down two escalators, and got onto my train. Once in Mystic, I had to walk approximately one mile from the train station to the Williams-Mystic campus, pitch my tent (being a poor college student, I'm not staying in a hotel), and finally met up with a friend to go sailing on the estuary.

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I Can Understand How You'd Be So Confused: I'm A Little Bit of Everything All Rolled Into One

As an English major, I keep thinking of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in which the main character Stephen Dedalus lists his mortal presence as the following:

Stephen Dedalus
Class of Elements
Clongowes Wood College
County Kildare
The World
The Universe

I am struck by the expansion of self to include countries, continents, and all that is known to exist (and even that which is not, as we do not know everything about The Universe). Eli Clare writes in Exile and Pride that “The body is home, but only if it is understood that place and community and culture burrow deep into our bones. (Clare 11). I am a product of my community, my roots stretch across the depths of the Atlantic to New England, the Garden State, and Philadelphia. Each of these places has contributed to my identity, with the people who have walked into my life each bringing something for and taking something from. I am more than my physical self, more than my physical womanhood and my decision to identify as a woman. It is just that: my decision. I choose how to present myself, but I cannot deny my roots and the places I have rested my head at night.

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"Queen of the Water, Queen of the Old Main Drag"

I’m Steph, a Senior English major concentrating in Creative Writing here at Bryn Mawr. While I’ve never taken a course exclusively on Gender and Sexuality, I’ve read a good deal of literature in this area and have incorporated it into my last three years of undergraduate study. I’m hoping to write my Senior Thesis on perceptions of mental illness in twentieth century women’s literature, and feel that this course will expand my previous knowledge and enrich my studies this semester. And if you’re wondering about my unusual username, it’s nothing more than the sound of my initials: SCT. I also like to use song lyrics in my statuses/post titles — this one is from The Decemberists' "Down By The Water."

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