Friday, September 08, 2006

Resistance vs conformity

Photo: Miranda and Me celebrating the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement (March 2006).

We live in a world of Either/Or. You're either with us or against us.... thanks Mr. Bush! Your either conforming to mass consumerism or your resisting the machine!! Either a trendy trendster or an alternative anarchist.

Anyway, in my research, I'm following the lead of many feminist scholars who argue that we are all both conforming and resisting. Check out Atkinson's "Pretty in Ink" about female tatooing for a cool look at this idea. We are often conforming to things we are unaware of... which explains pervasive sexism, homophobia, racism and other crap. So I'm writing about how a group of women in an Indian village that I interviewed are not simply 'poor, ignorant, needy, passive', nor are they 'active, all knowing, rational, heroines'. Instead, while they conform to many things that constrain them, they also actively subvert these oppressive processes, structures, norms and so on.

So I got to thinking:

IS RESISTING GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN? Or is it going with the grain, while conforming is going against the grain? If gender is so absurdly false-- or unnaturally imposed upon people in harmful ways-- —then resistance of gender is finding your more comfortable grain, while conformity requires pushing in a direction that may not suit you entirely.

Just another way of thinking about it all I guess!!

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