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thesis – core ideas and more question

stripping down the opera frame, what do i have left?

is it really necessary to be in the opera context? i think my kickstarter moment was in opera, with this passage of a lecture i attended last summer about Lucia Lammemmoor:

Some scholars and contemporary directors (Francesca Zambello, Met 1992, and Katie Mitchell, 2016 ROH) have toyed with and theorized the role of Lucia and so, we have a great range of viewpoints on her character and the portrayal of the role. Is she a victim of the patriarchal manipulation of the men in her life, led to madness by her brother’s controlling personality for the sake of his lacking business bravura? Or, is her madness a vehicle to freedom from it all? Would that make her a victim OR her own heroine?

this moment of reflection for the presenter made me think of how certain female characters can be framed as a mad or heroines depending on the vocabulary choice. on that perspective, i started analyzing how the male characters refer to the female characters (either describing or talking directly to them) and i noticed that there is normally a pejorative tone on the speech. and then i questioned myself: is there a way that i can flip this pejorative speech and turn it into something that empower female? and most importantly, is this a question exclusive from the opera context?

the answer i got for the latter question came right away. no. it is not exclusive from opera. being perceived different than yourself through speech is something that happens on a daily basis and, as a women, we are constantly being suppressed by negative vernacular habits. interventions that start with “well actually”, phrases such as “you’re being emotional” or “you wouldn’t understand” make part of our daily interaction with men (and sometimes even with women). they are cultural vices that goes by without we realize and it takes time after the conversation for us to reflect and conclude that actually that was not a nice way to talk to someone. and talking with friends, after we reflect we always think how we could have answered or intervened in some way but because of timing we end up not bringing that up later – specially when it’s some kind of vocabulary usage that is not directly offensive.

can we empower women by pointing out subtle moments of misogynist cultural vices? can we help our community in not breaking the cultural mannerisms that we don’t think that much? can we, as women who are frequently interrupted by sexist vocabulary in conversations, act faster and be able to talk with people that are using these terms without realizing how they can be harmful?

what social gender norms am i talking about? what within that i want to tackle?

with that being said, i’ll be focusing on conversation as an interaction we have as humans and how vocabulary usage can reflect misogynist ideas that are inherent in our culture. the gender norms i’ll be talking about is what are the language expressions usually used when talking to women – and form those, which can make females feel harmed / discomfort / self-doubt.

what are the core elements of my project?

female empowerment

wearable device that reacts through live semantical analysis of conversations

what are the goals of this project?

give the opportunity for females to act faster when people use sexist expressions – and also to make people (including women) reflect over their vocabulary usage.

is there any room for improvisation?

yes! i guess it would, because a lot depends on the connotation and how i decide to implement it – so i’d assume that if i decide to implement semantical analysis through machine learning, it would likely evolute and understand when it’s ok and when it’s not to use certain expressions.

what is the context of application?

i’m still open for this one but i think that now i’m thinking about a daily routine accessory – but maybe there could be specific interactions that will go beyond the daily basis usage, such as art installations, performances for the device – maybe as costume prop skeleton?

what the wild woman archetype has to do with this?

the fact that people are still using archaic verbal expressions just reinforces female stereotypes and make females drift away from our essence and instinct.

new references:

mansplaining –

microagressions database –

Published in spring 2017 thesis Uncategorized


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