Author: frederiquerajotte

10th Anniversary of Pamela George’s Passing: An Homage

According to the RCMP, 1 200 Canadian Aboriginal women have gone missing and have been murdered between 1980 and 2012. Emmanuelle Walter describes it in her book Soeurs Volées as “a true feminicide, behind the spotless and peaceful image of these large territories is hidden an astonishing reality” This book by Emmanuelle Walter deepened my knowledge on this ongoing reality and helped me create this picture montage to further the discussion on this feminicide. The missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, a theme that we have looked at in class, has resonated with me since the reading of Sherene Razack’s chapter on the murder of Pamela George. I believe that this project holds a strong purpose as it tries to pay homage to Pamela George and all the 1 200 missing and murdered Indigenous women. I have blended the theories from Sherene Razack, Gira Grant and Sara Ahmed to give a deeper meaning to my project. This project is politically charged as it tries to recreate a specific type of body, the one of Pamela George on a side street, which is trying to re-create the lived space. The picture montage tries to expose the ways in which Indigenous women are represented in the media, as socially fragile and vulnerable. I believe that through this representation one will be able to feel the danger that aboriginal women face in such spaces.IMG_0905

According to Razack, Pamela George was considered to belong to a space of prostitution and Aboriginality, in which violence routinely occurs. (Razack,126) Gira Grant’s work on The Prostitute, Playing the Whore explains “the prostitute is imagined as an invisible woman, a voiceless woman, a woman concealed even in public, in her nudity- in all her presumed availability” (Grant, 62). Indigenous women who do engage in sex work, encounter a dual discrimination because of the intersecting prejudices of racism associated with being Indigenous, and the societal stigma associated with sex work. The concept of Whiteness, studied by Sara Ahmed, holds a strong position in this project. Ahmed states, “Whiteness would be what lags behind…when bodies ‘lag behind’, then they extend their reach. (Ahmed,156) The two white male athletes are representing this “lagging behind” and purposely extending their reach on the object in front of them.

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Blog Post 3

Catfishing and online love 61CX7Y3CSVL

Many people have heard of the term “Catfish” when referring to an individual who pretends to be someone else on social networking sites to create a false identity. This practice is popular when seeking online romantic relationships. The documentary film “Catfish” by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman is about a young man who uses Facebook as a tool to engage in a romantic relationship with a woman. Plot twist… This woman is using Facebook as a tool to create a false identity. Claiming that she is a young woman pursuing a career as a singer while actually being an older mother living a completely different life style. It is interesting to look at this unique case because it provides us with an inside look on how bodies of all types can occupy and manipulate an online space. Building false identities via online websites has been given a negative connotation because of the direct link to online predators. However, disregarding the fact that there are people who use it for law infringement reasons, others use this tool as a way to reconstruct their identities in a different types of spaces. It is interesting to look at platforms such as second life, which provide a virtual gaming mode reality in comparison to the practice of “catfishing”. Of course there are many judgments that come with this practice from outsiders, however having watched this film, I felt as though this lady, who was leading a difficult life, simply wanted to re-create herself through the use of people’s online images. In the end I felt bad and a sense of compassion towards this lady. But why feel bad? Angela was engaging in this “counter-culture” practice that benefited her mentally and emotionally. Angela even went about in creating her entire “fake” family and friends. Is there a limit to this? When does it become too much? Are there consequences when engaging in this practice? Are there laws governing this practice? Should Catfishing be banned from the Internet? Is Catfishing a freedom of expression issue?

The practice of catfishing has also been linked to scammers and can have very serious emotional impacts on the victims.

Catfishing does not disregard a specific body. It is quite an inclusive practice that provides anyone with a mode of inventing a new and improved identity for themselves. These users are creating online “heterotopias” in which they are virtually representing themselves to make a utopian space possible. Copyright issues can also apply when using other online user’s pictures, which would be considered invading someone’s privacy. I personally believe that this online practice can be both catfish-s03rewarding and dangerous depending on the intent of it’s use. Of course there will be limitations as to how far you can “push it” since I believe that the truth will always prevail at some point. The case of Angela in the film “Catfish” was a deliberate mode of action to try and escape her lived and embodied space. Nonetheless this a morally and politically charged practice and can be interpreted differently by many.

Stolen: A Short Film by Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs

Hey class! Something I thought I’d share with you all. I came across this project on kickstarter while doing some research for my proposal. It deals with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada, our topic that we covered in class about 2 weeks ago. I will be backing up this project since I strongly believe in the cause and I encourage you guys to do so as well! Have a look at the link below for more information on the film.

Consent by Emma Holten

AN OBJECTION BY EMMA HOLTEN

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On a regular October morning in 2011 I couldn’t access my email or Facebook. I didn’t think anything of it – I forget passwords all the time – and just tried again. Waiting for me upon entry were hundreds of messages and emails.

Messages and emails with pictures of me in them.

One: me, naked, in my ex-boyfriend’s darkened room. Seventeen, a little awkward, slightly hunched forward: a harmless attempt at sexiness.

Another: two years later, in my room in Uppsala, Sweden. Older, a little more confident, but not a whole lot.

What had happened was apparent: the pictures were now online. I had become one of the thousands, hundreds of thousands, of girls thrown into the porn industry against their will. I thought “how bad can this really be?” The guys at school would find it hilarious, probably; talk about it for ten minutes: “Holy shit, have you seen Emma?” It was humiliating, of course, but I’ve never been ashamed of my body or my sexuality. No doubt, I wished it had never happened, but I couldn’t have imagined the next two years.

The weeks passed and more messages trickled in. I was on sites filled with pictures of my fellow victims, women who’d never intended their pictures to be public, who’d never wanted attention from more than one person.

“Men love naked women,” I thought “I knew as much.” But their questions in my inbox made it clear that the appeal did not rest solely upon my apparent nudity.

DO YOUR PARENTS KNOW THAT UR A SLUT?

DID U GET FIRED?

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THIS?

WHO DID THIS TO YOU?

SEND ME MORE NUDES OR ILL SEND THE ONES I HAVE TO YOUR BOSS. 

These messages were from men all over the world. Teen boys, university students, nuclear-family dads. The only thing they had in common was that they were all men. They knew it was against my will, that I didn’t want to be on those sites. The realisation that my humiliation turned them on felt like a noose around my neck. The absence of consent was erotic, they relished my suffering.

It’s one thing to be sexualised by people who are attracted to you, but it’s quite another thing when the lack of a ‘you’, when dehumanization, is the main factor. I realised that if I had been a model sexualising herself I would have been of little interest. My body was not the appealing factor. Furthermore, I saw that my loss of control legitimised the harrasment. I was a fallen woman, anyone’s game. What was I aside from a whore who had got what she deserved?

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Then, suddenly, I noticed that this dynamic – sexualisation against her will – was everywhere. Take ‘creepshots’, a global phenomenon which entails photographing women without their knowledge or consent, in order to share them in a sexual context online. On similar sites, people link to Facebook pages asking if anyone can hack or find more pictures of the girl. Here, again, women are used as objects whose lack of consent, of participation, provides the reason and allure of their sexualisation.

This dynamic is a commonplace online and is a concrete manifestation of a larger discourse around the female body, the notion that it is erotic to sexualise someone who is unaware. We all know the tropes: the sexy teacher/student/nurse/waiter/bartender/doctor. All jobs, if staffed by women, can be sexualised. What is sexy is not the job, not even the woman, but the fact that while the woman is just doing her job you are secretly sexualising her. She has become public property by simply being?

The danger is not in arousal or finding another person arousing, but in the idea that a sexually arousing situation in which two people take part, can exist without one of the party’s consent. Feminists are often singled out and ridiculed for our critique of catcalling, the suggestion is that we cannot handle it. Of course we can. Rather, our critique is directed at how it positions the female body in public spaces. It is an object, to be sexualised, even if the woman to whom the body belongs is working/shopping/picking up her kids/waiting for the bus. It is a notification that, whatever she is up to, a person is passing and sexualising her. Catcalling forcefully moves the female body from a non-sexual to a sexual situation.

If the men who contacted me thought about my humiliation, about my humanity, would they still write me? If you viewed women as beings with their own autonomy and sexuality, would you feel you had the right to photograph them without their knowledge? If catcallers saw women as complex individual people would they forcefully enter their private sphere?  No. No, because such actions can only be justified if the female body is fetischized as an object. Not an object like a dice or a winter coat, but an object for your utilization. Forcing a person to play a part that you need them to play.

Because such actions only take place when you forget, or do not know that a situation in which one participant has not consented is not a sexual situation. It’s just a situation with you and someone you find sexy. Nothing more.

*** *** ***

Seeking out my pictures, and the pictures of my fellow victims, is to actively participate in the dehumanization of the female body. To do so is to forget that these women are people who, by sexualizing themselves for one person, have not become sexualized objects. To do so forgets that no person deserves to be reduced to an object.

But, it is also dangerous. For, if one is exposed to the objectification of women for long enough, one will internalize it. Worse, those who are objectified will internalize it too. When you are told enough times that you do not deserve to be treated as someone of worth, you lie in bed at night and  begin to agree. It has been a huge task for me to muster any kind of self-worth after being told every day for three years that I don’t deserve it.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I could possibly stop hating my body. I blamed it for my humiliation. Why did it make people treat me that way? Would I ever be able to look at myself and see a human being?

There is no easy solution to such thoughts. You are caught between a wish to never be seen again and a determination not to live a life ruled by shame.

I thought about this a long while.

*** *** ***

I would have to write a new story about my body in order to make it possible to see myself naked and still see myself as human. I decided that a sort of re-humanisation had to happen.

I talked to the photographer Cecilie Bødker. She told me that photographing unclothed women without catering to the male gaze and sexualising them was almost impossible. Would it be possible for her to take pictures of me without my clothes on, where it was obvious that I was, in fact, a human being deserving of respect? We gave it a try. This isn’t just about me getting better. It’s also about problematising and experimenting with the roles we most see naked women portraying. We seldom smile, are in control, live. We never look, we’re always looked at.

The pictures are an attempt at making me a sexual subject instead of an object. I am not ashamed of my body, but it is mine. Consent is key. Just as rape and sex have nothing to do with each other, pictures shared with and without consent are completely different things.

This article is featured in HYSTERIA #5 ‘Nonsense’. Support us producing this issue and receive a copy! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/829143091/hysteria-5-nonsense

Come to our London launch – a night of performance, music, live art and poetry on26the FEB 

Artwork © Cecilie Bødker and Emma Holten (http://friktionmagasin.dk/?p=1568)

http://www.hystericalfeminisms.com/consent/

Blog Post 2: Re-orientation Exercise

Re-Orientation Exercise by Frederique Rajotte

In my introductory blog post I chose to describe a specific room at my cottage. Since I am not able to visit the space regularly I have chosen a  series of pictures that date back to 10 years ago. In these pictures you will be able to see the re-construction process of the establishment. This house belonged to my grandfather, after his passing my family decided to turn it into a family cottage. An extension was built and became the wide-open room that I described to be my “favorite space”. My grandfather had produced the space on the outskirts of Val-David. My mother and her two brothers who inherited the space wanted to create a type of safe haven where family gatherings could take place. The cottage is fully equipped and winterized so it is accessible all year round.

The following definition of space, that was provided on the class slides, helps me put into perspective this specific space and to understand it’s history better “(space) is not static or universal but socially produced and subject to manipulation and change.” This is evident with my cottage because it has been through a series of manipulation and changes over a long period of time.

Accessing my cottage can be difficult. Many friends/family have gotten lost along the way since it is in a remote location outside of the village. Recently, we have put up a sign with our address that lights up because on many occasions people would miss the entrance and drive by it. Since it is located on private land there have been many issues of trespassing with strangers using our trails for snowmobiling or other activities. Therefore it is not accessible to everyone. As some of us have the power to use tactics through routes, others do not.

Here is a link to google maps below

https://www.google.ca/maps/@46.067518,-74.187068,3a,75y,283.35h,84.95t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1so-QGgc5UmgSXiKVbOzXR6Q!2e0!6m1!1e1

Original picture of my Grandfather’s house

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Blog Post 1: About Me

My name is Frédérique Rajotte, I was born in Quebec but moved to Markham, Ontario when I was younger. I am part of the Stingers Women’s Rugby Team here at Concordia. I took two years off of University to play with the Senior Women’s National 7’s Rugby Team in Victoria BC.

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My parents and I after winning against the US in the Nations Cup Finals in England

I spend most of my time at rugby practice, in the gym or catching up on my precious sleep. I am currently training for a 15’s Rugby Canada camp so my schedule consists of training 6 times a week. However I’m not just a typical “jock”, when I do have leisure time I spend it reading, cooking or hanging out with my friends/family.

My goal for this class is to be fully engaged and participate in the lectures. I want to keep an open mind to this new and exciting material and be immersed in the types of spaces we will be discussing.

My favorite space is (the room below) at my cottage in Val-David. The room is made up of high vaulted ceilings and large windows that overlook the forest and our lake. This room has a special aura and whenever I enter the space I feel at ease. This room is where many family gatherings have taken place and I believe that it is for that reason that the space brings me such comfort and reassurance. All my senses are activated when I am in this room, the smell of fresh pine, the taste of home cooked meals, the wind blowing through the trees and the beautiful light reflecting through the windows. I am usually sitting on the couch overlooking the gorgeous scenery and reading a book with a cup of tea.

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The five things that faculty do that make learning hard are the following

  1. Lack of accessibility from faculty members
  2. Not explaining in full detail the assignments/projects
  3. Not enough constructive feedback when giving back assignments
  4. Barely any support for student athletes
  5. Not being “creative” when giving lectures ex: just reading from slides

The five things that faculty do that make for a better learning environment:

  1. Projects/assignments are interactive and unique
  2. All lectures compliment each other in a chronological way
  3. Giving effective feedback on drafts/proposals
  4. Engaging with students during lectures
  5. Using different methods of teaching, i.e. bringing a guest speaker