Waist Trainers

This research paper is a study of the waist trainer as a point of intersection along two intertwining histories: white women’s corsetry and black women’s hyper-sexualization. Investigating the return of the corset into contemporary mainstream, the writer looks at the pressure on women to alter their bodies in order to appear at once respectable and…

Ruby Slippers

Dorothy’s ruby slippers can be established as a queer object through a queer reading of the Wizard of Oz. The shoes posses magically queer functions: they reclaim what once was an object of the powerful, they repel the touch of the wicked cis-heteronormative, and they can transport any queer “home.” Thus, they allow queerness to…

Interactions with AI

This essay is an analysis into the different materialites of AI and how they script their interactions with humans through gender and sex stereotypes.  Through the examination of the BMW GPS in Germany, the ELIZA Chatbot, Blabdroid, hitchBOT, and the “Amber Doll Project,” connections can start to be drawn about how the appearances and behaviors…

Condom

Variations on traditional condoms include extended options for male condoms, female condoms, and ornamental condoms designed to increase pleasure during sex. Colored condoms, especially in brown and black shades, allow for diverse representation through condom color choice. This empowers brown and black-skinned people who seek condoms that match their skin color and do not drastically…

Thong

The three remixes and music videos of Sisqo’s “Thong Song” have reinforced the controversy and assumptions surrounding the thong as a sexual object. What the thong makes visible – the butt – is intertwined with the historic hypersexualizing of black female bodies, and how it is framed as oppositional to the purity of white female…

Wallpaper

Drawing upon the long histories of perfuming spaces and decorating the home through wallpapers meant to evoke the natural state of the outside, “Cherry Forever and Ever” reflects on the traditional methods of how nature has been brought into the home through the use of aesthetics. Through associations of both literary characters and health concerns…

Hitachi Magic Wand

Hitachi Magic Wand (1968) Plastic and rubber 12”, 1.2 lbs The vibrator was first invented as an instrument to cure hysteria, a “disease paradigm” fabricated by physicians as early as the fifth century B.C. that pathologized women’s sexuality.  The Hitachi Magic Wand was first released in 1968, and was marketed exclusively as a muscle massager,…

Fitbit

The Fitbit is a piece of wearable technology that retails for $150. It is typically worn as a wristband and functions as a calorie tracker and odometer. These data points that it collects—those of movement and caloric burn, contribute to an American fitness culture centered on weight loss and thinness. With recent technological strides, bodyhacking,…

Code Quilts

Stories of enslaved people using traditional quilt designs as codes or signals on the Underground Railroad have long been circulated in families, quilting circles and children’s books. The association of quilts with matriarchy and African-American heritage have helped them function as an unspoken lineage in the face of opposition. However, Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard’s…

Dr. Martens

The usage of Dr. Martens by queer people highlights the duality of identity signaling and identity construction. Gender is made visible through repeated actions within a matrix of social meaning. Through Dr. Martens, queer masculinity is shown to not be innate but to be continually realized and affirmed. The brand’s advertising focuses on their history…