This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : gender-studies

In Dreams: Being my own conjoined twin

According to several “reputable” websites (har), this is what it means if you dream you are your own twin:

A bond between two individuals (emotional bond, family bond, marital bond, etc.)—for better or for worse, taking the good (companionship, support, etc.) with the bad (disagreements, irritations, etc.). It can also indicate a major conflict in your life and that you do not know what direction to take. The dream may be telling you that your decision will directly affect another.

The other night I dreamed that I was a conjoined twin. I had two heads and I was singing “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu to myself. My twin and I were singing the harmony parts together but for some reason the sound was only in our heads. We were either mute or choosing to sing silently, but the music inside our heads was deafening.

My intuition tells me that this dream means I am getting more in tune with myself and less threatened by my dual nature. It could also mean I ate too many chips and salsa, or watched too much ST:TNG, or any number of things. But I choose to take it as a sign that my two sides are becoming more harmonious, and that I am on my way towards wonderful experiences and opportunities to make a difference.

It was also very cool to have two heads. I kind of miss it. When I was a little girl, I fantasized about having a conjoined twin of my own. I probably spent way more time thinking about Chang and Eng than anyone else on my block, that’s for sure. I had a dog-eared copy of their book that I finally threw out because the binding disintegrated.

Making this video felt a little silly, but I really wanted to share what the experience in my dream was like. I am going to be making a video a day in September and if I don’t get used to the camera now, I’ll just have to do it then. So the weirdness starts today… 😉

Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you

Vloggin’ it up!

I realized the only way I am going to be able to commit to blogging everyday is if I can mix it up with some video. I am excited about unleashing my weirdness and sharing it with my family and friends.

My new channel, therealdcap, is going to be an experiment in self-expression and community-building. And as I noted in my bio, it’s also just an excuse for me to bug out. For the last seven years I’ve been creating media as my profession, which has been very rewarding. But I’ve always enjoyed the online/video folk art of others, and I am ready to start doing my own experimenting again. I’m inspiring by video artists like Laurel Nakadate, vloggers like my IRL friend FilmFuturist, and crazy awesome parents like the SHAYTARDS.

The video below from 2009 is probably proof of why my videos should remain private. But you’re here! I’ve got you now! Bwahahaha.

I love to dance in my bedroom and pretend my spoon is a microphone. Why I keep a spoon in my room is fodder for a future blog post, perhaps.

I’ve been creating personal videos and putting them online since 1999, but rarely shared anything I made. The fact that no one was really watching video online at the time might have had something to do with it. Back then, I didn’t know about these guys, which is probably a good thing. I am pretty sure I would have joined their collective and turned into some sort of “Lawnmower Man“-esque crazy robot lady.

I’m kicking off this daily creative experiment with a look back at what used to make me smile, and will be posting new videos next week. Instead of tossing videos randomly all over the Internet, like the one below on Flickr, I’m going to start being organized with my weirdness and keeping it all in one place on therealdcap. We’ll see how that goes.

Enjoy your weekend! I’m not posting again until Monday — weekends shouldn’t count in this daily posting pact, I mean, come on.

Brain Leaks: Fear & Femininity

related post: Girl Antagonists In Cinema

I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite films, books, videos and works of art have to do with a fear of the mystical/”unknown” aspects of femininity.

Frequently, the content creator is preoccupied with his/her discomfort around femininity and is outright with it or tries to disguise it with symbolism.

One of my guilty-pleasure bands, The Horrors, have several (cool) videos that show women as objects of fear or loathing. (ex: Sheena Is A Parasite)

I recently stumbled onto this video on Vimeo called “КУБИКИ” that is visually striking. I can’t understand what is being said but it keeps cutting to a feminine face and a doll who is rapidly undressed in stop-motion, covered in in a tar-like substance and then burned.

“КУБИКИ” from cuccumberass on Vimeo.

The first time I thought about femininity in a “scary way” was when I saw the episode of “DuckTales” called “Home Sweet Homer” about a Siren-like creature. The gang is sailing and Scrooge McDuck becomes enchanted by three women in the distance who are singing “Pennies, nickles, quarters, dimes — Come to us, while there’s still time!” He almost ends up being killed. Seeing these feminine figures suddenly become a gross monster was something that really struck me. The realization that femininity could be constructed as a guise to distract for hidden purposes was both disturbing and kind of empowering.

That show was awesome, FTW.

What is it about representations of femininity contrasted with extreme violence that affect us in such a strong way?

Films like The Shining and most recently Shutter Island used images of femininity in the context of aging/death to induce a very uncomfortable or fearful audience reaction.

I could never quite put my finger on exactly why that hallway scene in The Shining was so disturbing to me. Now I think I know why — Aside from the implied fact that they were ghosts who (in their previous life) had been murdered by their father, it was their interaction with the little boy that bothered me so much.

“Hello, Danny. Come and play with us.” They stood side by side, immobile at the end of the hallway. Unlike him, they were not afraid. They didn’t seem to realize they were dead.

We then saw rapid cuts of what Danny sees – the girls lying in the hallway, covered in blood. The scene keep cutting back and forth between their butchered bodies to rapidly encroaching shots of the girls staring straight ahead, not moving a muscle.

“Come and play with us, Danny. Forever, and ever, and ever…”

Danny covered his face in horror. The contrast is too much.

In Shutter Island, there were similar shots — a blood-soaked little girl who can walk around and talk to the protagonist.

Mythical figures such as Sirens, Medusa and the Succubus are constantly reinterpreted in books and movies.

Throughout history, the ruling class in every nation created laws at some point that rid society of “abnormal” women (see Salem Witch Trials) and to justify injustices in the name of protecting femininity (see History of Lynching).

Conflicting ideas about mystical/”unknown” aspects of femininity and our desire to protect/preserve femininity are threads that will continue to be played out in the arts.

In related news, The New School is finally recognizing their Gender Studies Program.

Initially to be based at Lang College, the Gender Studies Program of The New School serves all undergraduate divisions. Lang students minoring in Gender Studies will take six courses, distributed as set forth in this requirement doc. Courses are chosen in consultation with the Director of the Program. Students must submit a plan to the program director for their course of study when they declare the minor.

To celebrate the return, there will be a a two day conference featuring various well known gender studies experts.

“No Longer in Exile: The Legacy and Future of Gender Studies at The New School”

DATE: Friday, March 26th 6 PM -9 PM and all day Saturday, March 27th
LOCATION: Theresa Lang Center – 55. W. 13th St. (NYC)

Just a few of the themes to be addressed include the task of historicizing feminism, including the particular history of Gender Studies at the New School; continuity and rupture across feminist generations; the impact of feminism on research methodologies in the social sciences; gender and design; the relationship between scholarship and activism; dilemmas in the project of institutionalizing Gender Studies; and gendered structural and institutional policies in the New School university.

I am looking forward to listening to information provided by the following panelists (there are more, but these are the ones I am psyched about):

* Susan Faludi, author of Backlash and The Terror Dream
* Bonnie Thornton Dill, Professor and Chair of the Women’s Studies Department and Program and Direction of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland
* Judith Halberstam, Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity and Gender Studies at USC and author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (2005)
* Valerie Smith, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, Department of English, Princeton Center for African American Studies

Fan Gender Studies at The New School on Facebook to stay updated on conference details and other news.