Written on the Body Difference and Transgression @ Suicidegirls.com Cultural Production and Negotiation of Borders Kirkeness, 11-13 September, 2008
”Skin is the border between the self and the world.” Claudia Benthien, Skin 1
”Skin mediates the world by mingling with it.” Steven Connor, The Book of Skin 29
Skin should not be imagined as “possessing an outside which is on the other side of its outside” Steven Connor, The Book of Skin 37
But rather as a “complex manifold” impoverished by “simple alternatives of inside and outside” Steven Connor, The Book of Skin 37
Skin is a site of encounter.
A place where touches, traces and markings are negotiated in a productive struggle for meaning.
Interruptions of the skin are filled with meaning and signification.
Only by metaphorically possessing the female object is the male subject completed.
“The pinup’s singular preoccupation with the female body is tied in with the project of defining the ‘true’ nature of female sexuality.” Anette Kuhn, The Power of the Image 43
“Femaleness and femininity are constructed to a set of bodily attributes reducible to a sexuality which puts itself on display for a masculine spectator.” Anette Kuhn, The Power of the Image 43
By problematizing their nude skin, Suicide Girls produce a new territory for themselves
Injecting their nude skin with new meaning.
The ink of the tattoo needle become part of my skin and a part of me
The tattoo is both a sign and a denial of the sign.
“Tattoos generate and participate in discourse.” Mindy Fenske , Tattoos in American Visual Culture 5
Tattoo is close to taboo.
“the very contours of ‘the body’ are established through markings that seek to establish specific codes of cultural coherence.” Judith Butler, Gender Trouble 178
The boundaries of the body become the boundaries of the social.
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The Suicide Girls repeat the pinups but with a difference; they perform a different subjectivity.
The Suicide Girls disrupt mainstream society’s erotic spectacle by displaying an interjected body.
Their marked bodies become material sites for the disruption of mainstream nudity.
The Suicide Girls insist on being subjects who offer themselves up as erotic spectacles, in ways they themselves control.
“There is a reckless kind of freedom of freedom in horrifying others, in making one’s body into the seductive and scary and strange combination that is monster beauty.” Christine Braunberger, “Revolting Bodies: The Monster Beauty of Tattooed Women” 12
The creasing and folding of the skin that tattoos represent, contaminate the gender discourse otherwise established and serve as a disruption of the conventionalized image of the female body.