Saturday, December 17, 2005

Back to School

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These are my back to school splurge shoes. Obviously, they're not everyday shoes, nor are they shoes I can wear from the car, across icy sidewalks into the building, but baby, once I'm in my building and don't have/get to go outside again for another ten hours, I'm strutting the halls in these puppies. (You can't tell from the picture, but they're remarkably sturdy--no rock, no wobble, just strut.) It's my Toril Moi look, I guess, though I won't be wearing them with a leather mini--I'm thinking a straight skirt that hits just at the knees. Mostly it's me pushing back against people who may or may not be in my program who are suspicious of theory, queerness, and flamboyant femininity. These shoes say, "Yes, I'm wearing 3 1/2 inch heels, and yes, you might think that makes me suspect as a feminist and a scholar, but I'm marching in to my queer theory class tonight and I'm going to teach Foucault, and my students are going to get it. Can you do that? Then back off, you in the sensible shoes!"

14 Comments:

Blogger What Now? said...

If I may speak for all of us who definitely do not strut in our sensible shoes: These will look fabulous and intimidating as hell, and we will most certainly back off!

11:12 AM  
Blogger La Lecturess said...

Hot damn! I've got a coupla pairs of 3-inch heel knee boots, which I love, but I think they communicate "vaguely sexy grad student" rather than, "I will whip you with the leather riding crop of theory and you will LIKE IT, worm!"

2:12 PM  
Blogger Writermama said...

Toril Moi! She's hot! (Author of Narratology, right?

This is one regret I have about not going into academia: the outfits, i.e. the composition of all of those resistant signifiers.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Writermama said...

No. Mieke Bal wrote Narratology. (Is she hot?) Moi wrote something on Freud's Dora I read once. I'll shut up now.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Writermama said...

Great boots, by the way.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Adriana Velez said...

But more than I love 7th Heaven I love your boots... and the attitude that goes with them. It's your party, after all.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Margo, darling said...

I don't know if Meike Bal's hot or even if Moi is, just heresay, but when I was first in grad school and learning feminist theory 101, we read her Sexual/Textual Politics--an introduction to, and a kind of greatest hits of French Feminism. What I remember more than the book was the Moi of rumor and legend who lurked at every meeting. We titilated ourselves with rumors that she taught in tight, short leather minis and high boots, which we thought decadent and daring and ever-so-slightly politically naughty, and *maybe* feminist and/or postmodern. Even better, rumor had it that she was in a relationship with her male, marxist pomo counterpoint, Terry Eagleton, who we were reading in Literary Theory 101. I know Eagleton is married to someone who is decidedly NOT Toril Moi (a Willa Cather scholar). But the intrigue made the reading go by faster, and easier. (Remember, I started grad school at BYU, so this was a feminist theory class that wasn't allowed on campus--sometimes we had to meet once a week at a profs house for no credit. So though we read and discussed and tried to teach ourselves, there was a good amount of academic gossiping going around, as well.)

Even in the classes we could take on campus, we always seemed to go a little crazy and a little literal with the french feminism. I remember doing a grad presentation dressed in khaki shorts and a black t-back leotard, with a hunting knife stuck in my belt, snapping pictures of my classmates. I wanna say it had something to do with Alice Jardine. Something about violence and representation maybe?

Which is all to say, my highly performative approach to teaching queer theory runs deep, hence the boots.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Adriana Velez said...

I'm afriad I still remember passing the sacrament of menstrual blood (red jello) and deconstructing a burrito by unrolling it. What did fingerpainting with pistachio pudding have to do with Plato's cave? The rigors of BYU.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Margo, darling said...

You did the deconstructing the phallus/burrito in Phil and Ceil's class--something to do with James Joyce, maybe? It might have been the same day you walked by the library and screamed at the top of your lungs: "James Joyce, I wash you with my menstrual blood!" I wish I had been there for that presentation, though. (or for the library shout-out) I love plain Taco Bell burritos. Damn, that's an expensive undergrad presentation.

The menstrual blood/jello sacrament was when we presented on Irigaray. I think that's the only time I ever used my wedding silver. We told the story of Plato's allegory of the cave while we drew it with our fingers, using pistachio pudding, as part of the same presentation--it was our new reading of Irigaray's new reading of the Plato. We turned off the lights in that basement classroom, too, and lit candles. How was that allowed? We were all freaky and repressed and doing crazy sublimating shit with finger foods. Oh yeah, and we didn't know what the hell we were talking about either, and hoped that if we used lots of props we'd get good grades. How is possible that that worked?

12:13 AM  
Anonymous diva said...

dang! are these for real? can you wear them during the x-mas party. please!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Margo, darling said...

Only if you've been a very bad girl.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Jaime said...

No, I have the dirt on Terry Eagleton. He is married to Willa Murphy, daughter of John Murphy, the Catholic no Ph.D. Cather scholar at Brigham Young. Willa and I took an undergraduate theory class at BYU, and read Terry Eagleton's _Literary Theory_ together. Then she went to study in England and married the much older Eagleton. They have two kids. I just saw them at the Cather conference this summer, and he is craggy and crotchety, as befits an old English academic.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Runtu said...

I was in that same class with you and Willa.

A couple of days after the semester ended, I attended a seminar given by Terry Eagleton at BYU. He ended up inviting me to lunch, which pissed off the BYU professors. He wasn't craggy or crotchety then, but was just a nice chain-smoking man.

9:34 AM  
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5:50 AM  

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