Author: joellecytrynbaum

Blog Post 3

As an online space, social media sites have contributed to behavioral changes, creating a web-based community that follows its own rules and regulations. It is intriguing to examine how these delimitations have affected our sense of identity and our interactions with each other in order to conform to the restrictions of these spaces. I believe that Facebook is an online space that allows and incites people to communicate through a representation of themselves that is regulated and limited. The web, and particularly social media, is a space that is representational of a liberty of expression that could not be found in many other spaces. However, the previous anonymity that was once highly present has dissipated through images, profiles and avatars, and the identities of web users are highlighted.

The individual, represented visually through social platforms, embodies the space that acts as a template on which we can project and publicise our identities. Rupi Kaur has challenged this normative organisation of social platforms by publicising an image of herself menstruating, confirming the restrictions imposed by these spaces for certain bodies in certain situations. Specifically, this is an example of a woman refusing to perform the normative gender roles that prevent her from expressing aspects of her femininity that tend to make men uncomfortable.

This phenomenological examination of our experience of these online spaces leads me to examine the “generation of new relations” creating new boundaries and accentuated differences (Lefebvre). The limitations that these spaces put in place by banning images of breastfeeding or menstruating women are affecting the regulatory practice of online representation through images on the grounds that they are too sexually explicit. Kaur here questions the normality of these restrictions in a space originally meant for a freedom of expression in which people must now agree to specific terms order to participate.


Representation of the Twitter bird in Stromae’s Carmen

I would like to further these gender-specific limitations to consider the other constraints that are not necessarily present in the policies of these privately owned sites. It is clear that bodies will act differently according to the constraints of each social network; we have all been told repeatedly that we should always be careful with the information published on our Facebook profiles. How do those boundaries affect the embodied individual represented through a profile, and how do these fragmented online selves affect identity? Would it be possible that the bodies represented through these preformatted templates become reliant on social networks to form themselves, and identity performances (such as gender performance) will exist online in accordance to social media profiles and their regulations? I believe these questions to be relevant because the newfound importance of self-representations in social media with cultural, professional and academic objectives (such as LinkedIn) is influenced by regulatory practices that exclude certain bodies.

Lefebrve, Henri. “The Production of Space.” In Gieseking, Jen J. And William Mangold, (Eds.), The People, Place, and Space Reader. (289-293). London: Routledge.

Zamon, Rebecca. “Rupi Kaur’s Period Photo On Instagram Sparks Change.” Huffington Post 27 03 2015. Web.


Blog post 2: re-orientation excercise

I have previously described my parents’ space as being private because it has created a sense of intimacy that I cannot find elsewhere. However, this is entirely circumstantial; this space, in comparison with all of the other rooms in the house, is very public. This is why there are moments where I love spending time in this space and there are times when I do not. Instead of reorienting myself in the space geographically, I now attempt to resituate myself in time, and I notice many differences in mIMG_20150304_112609y lived experience of the space.

The main component of this space is the baby grand piano. The function of this piano in this room is of a very large ornament, as it is a space that is mostly shown off by my parents. My own function in this space when I am alone is solely an interaction with the piano. However when I am not alone, my body adopts functions similar to those of the piano; it becomes an ornament that my parents can flaunt to their family and friends and its purpose is to entertain. The space becomes a stage and I am no longer comfortable, I am no longer spending an intimate moment with myself and with the space. Essentially, not only is this space constructed in accordance to its social purpose, the embodied experience entirely depends on the other bodies interacting within it. I wish that I could go back and live within this space in the same way that I used to without having the awareness of exterior judgment on my body; I am however not permitted to do so because as soon as I sit down and feel around the instrument someone comes to watch. I have never noticed this circumstantial shift in the way I experience the same environment that has simply happened over time, and it is quite depressing. I must soon try and go there alone, to see if I can engage with the space the way I used to before I moved.

This is directly relatable to Lefebvre’s triad as it allows for the possibility to re-evaluate the nature of this space in different social contexts. It is ultimately part of a home, however I find Lefebvre’s notion of perceived space most intriguing when applied in this context because it is suggesting that these social constructions allow me to have a multifaceted sense of embodiment towards this simple living room. The space in this context symbolises the cultural obligation of self-disclosure that I am aware of whenever the situation arises, however it is also symbolic of practically therapeutic moments that I have had with it in the past alone with my own thoughts.

As I no longer live in this house, I believe that the relationship I once had with this space is now rejected. I cannot be alone in this space anymore as my parents are always there when I visit; I would not authorize myself to put up the tail of the piano as it is no longer my place to do so. Subconsciously, my body has been in a sense rejected, I am no longer fully allowed to act and be the way I used to, my lived experience has changed in this space. I must behave like a visitor, and by doing so perhaps I now experience this newly positioned living room as a public space.


Lefebvre, Henri. “The Production of Space.” The People, Place, and Space Reader. Ed. Jen Gieseking and William Mangold. London: Routledge, 2014. 289-293.

Hansen, Malene Vest (2002). “Public Places – Private Spaces Conceptualism, Feminism and Public Art: Notes on Sophie Calle’s The Detachment.” Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 71(4): 194-203.

Blog post 1: About me

Hello everyone! My name is Joelle Cytrynbaum and I am currently a third year Communications student. I am very interested in gender studies and its implication within television, however I have recently discovered a passion of mine to travel and observe different cultures myself, understand their differences in contrast with how they are perceived through media. I would like to work in television, but I would eventually do my graduate studies in criminology and behavioral sciences.


I spend most of my time at work juggling two jobs, giving piano lessons and going to school full time. Whenever I have time off, I use it to travel, visit family in Europe or go someplace warm when it gets too awfully cold up here. I also love to read and I enjoy playing piano, something I have been doing for a number of years.

My goal for this class is to develop a better understanding of how space affects and influences us, and how bodies interact within that space. Specifically, I would like to have a better understanding of how cyberspace is relatable to actual physical spaces, if our interaction with technology could be considered its own form of space and how this affects us as human beings.

I would say that my favorite space is, as I explained in class, in my parents’ living room, particularly during the day when my parents are not there. This space is very familiar to me as I have grown up in this house that I no longer live in, and I have access to the grand piano that I have worked with all my life. It is a big and open room with great acoustics and a few comfortable couches. I can raise the tail of the piano (which I am not usually allowed to do) and play anything I want in the world. I assume that I love this space particularly for the nostalgic feeling that it brings me as I no longer live there. It reminds me of times when I would come home every day and use this space as an escape to any good or bad situation; piano is the only activity in which I was capable of concentrating almost entirely and playing or practicing something new would allow me to break from everything else.

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Five things that make learning hard:

  1. The registration process is difficult and classes are always full
  2. The My Concordia website is slow and outdated
  3. The grades for final papers or projects are never accessible
  4. Creative limitations for uncomfortable topics of discussion
  5. Teachers each have different expectations and teaching methods

Five things that make it easy to learn:

  1. Teachers are enthusiastic and passionate about their subjects
  2. Students are encouraged to participate
  3. We are provided with a lot of academic resources
  4. We can freely write about what we care about (in relation to Communication Studies)
  5. Teachers are (mostly) approachable