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why do we have to be in control?

skindeep's picture


She sat absolutely still.

Poised but with tense feet. Aware.

Artistic but with controlled muscles. She's being watched.

Graceful but with her hands supporting her head. Support.

Graceful nonetheless. Aware, always.



1. An Outline

Originally, the theme of my final project was going to be abuse, and how that affects your identity formation and your view of your own gender and sexuality. However, after the writing workshop we had, I couldn't help but build on that.

The central question that my project revolves around is – 'why do we always have to be in control?' And the theme of the project is mind – body relationships. How does the work of our mind manifest in our body? And how do our actions affect the way we think?

I realize completely that this a very wide topic and that it branches out to encompass everything we've learned in class, but that's why it fascinates me. It seems to be the basis of everything we've learned and a strong ground for further exploration into issues regarding identity, gender and sexuality.


The main subtopics I will be dealing with however are:

  1. Our Subconscious – why do we need to have control? Do we try so hard to be in control of our minds that we loose association with our subconscious? Can we gain control over our subconscious? What would that entail? What if we let go of ourselves instead? Would we ever allow our minds to fuse with our bodies?

  2. Abuse – do we use our subconscious as a place to hide away from both our mind and body? Do we hide/embed memories and experiences into it so that they're separated from us and we barely have any recollection of them whatsoever. Can experiences that stain our body alter drastically the way we treat ourselves? Can you mentally train yourself to not physically react? Do your experiences help determine your chosen sex/gender?

  3. Sex work – can a prostitute clearly create the divide between her mind and body, so that the working of one doesn't affect the other? Does the disgust/sense of being used come if she cannot?

  4. How do people's words and thoughts stain our body? How do they stain our mind? Does a stained mind reflect on a body? Will a stained body ever be accepted? Why do we spend so much time perfecting or worrying about perfecting our body whilst we allow our minds to die?

  5. Gendered bodies – does a transgender man/women live in the realm of their mind? Do they become transsexual in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two? Or how about a dyke, masculine, or feminine body? Do they pick a realm to live in? Do we all? How then do we associate with the other realm? Do we try to build connections or further divide them?

  6. Identity – Felice Picano said he didn't need an identity for himself and that identities were created for the rest of the world to see. But we do need an identity. Because our mind needs to look at our bodies and be okay with it. So yes, we dress the way we dress and speak the way we do so that world gets the right image of us. But we have that 'right' notion so that we're able to be comfortable when we look at the mirror.

  7. Disability – the disconnect that's created between the mind and body when one is not as able as the other. And the disconnect that's created between you and the rest of the 'normal' world. How that affects your need for control and how that plays with your identity.



  1. Carrying it out

I want to make my project a project and not an essay. As of now, I'm thinking of making it on 2ft cardboard slabs. There will be seven slabs, each one representing a category mentioned above. And they will all be connected to each other. I'm going to make it along the lines of an art project, so I'll be having a lot of images and sketches along with the writing.

This is just a potential idea though, it's open to change.


  1. Sources

The below listed sources are things that inspired me and that I will be referring to directly or indirectly while carrying out the project.

  1. Lynda Barry – What It Is

  2. Neil Gaiman - The Sandman – The Doll's House

  3. Nawal El Saadawi – Women at Point Zero

  4. Alice Walker – The Color Purple




LizJ's picture

a great idea to branch out

Abuse is a really great idea to go with as a way to branch out from what we've learned already. I think that abuse is a topic that is widely unspoken of (we haven't even really touched upon it in class) and clearly has a lot of relevance to the topics we have discussed in class. I like how you have a bunch of sub-topics, but is it necessary to have them all? Maybe you can combine some? Or just focus on them through the idea of abuse? I'm not sure what your 7th sub-topic is trying to say. Are you going with the mental illness route or is it a mainstream body image problem you're getting at? I also like how you've decided you're not going to write an essay. I think that this final project is a way for us to create something outside the realm of the basic academic essay and Lynda Barry is definitely a good source to help you with that. Overall, I think you have a really good idea on your hands and I can't wait to see the finished product!

CCM's picture


I really like the medium that you will be using to convey your ideas.  At this point in this semester I am pretty bored with writing traditional academic essays, and like you, I am looking for alternative ways to express myself.  So kudos to you for coming up with a very creative idea!  I would love to see pictures of your completed project if you could post them on the forum at a later date!  On another note, I think that the diversity in perspectives that you are offering will add a very unique dimension to your overall project.  Have you considered discussing eating disorders or other body image issues?  These disorders definitely speak to your whole notion of "control" and mind/body relations.

Good luck w/ your project =)