By Joanne Finkelstein
Creation : Hollywood tales ; The paintings of self-invention ; The visible international ; pretend identification ; Self-fashioning ; the recognition of cover ; Love on the market ; lifestyles imitates paintings ; the subsequent chapters --
pt. 1. Self-invention. --
The impostor, trickster and secret agent : Martin Guerre ; Agnes ; Anthony Blunt as Victor Maskell ; Appearances subject ; every person lies --
Manners : The welcome visitor ; ideas of the sport ; heritage of manners ; old cool ; Deception and invention ; the trendy topic ; On being calculating ; The technological know-how of the self ; Society as floor ; enjoying the sport --
pt. 2. having a look solid. --
Identity : prestige symbols ; taking a look stable ; Coded id ; discovering the topic ; Self as surplus ; The impossible to resist attract of id --
Advertising : The ads ; The unnatural global ; The afterglow of advertisements ; Subjectivity on sale ; trying to find the self ; Lives long gone flawed ; having a look --
Fashion : the attention of the beholder ; The shaped self ; The imagination ; Being conspicuous ; The depths of style ; The ethics of appearances --
Afterword : visible tradition ; Self-invention.
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Additional info for The art of self invention : image and identity in popular visual culture
She was able to convince the professionals that she shared their values and understandings about biological sex; she tacitly understood that she had to be what they wanted her to be, namely a quirk of nature and an instance of rare endocrine abnormality. Only with a medical problem such as a severe hormone imbalance could she gain sex reassignment surgery. This determined performance by Agnes to invent herself impressed Garfinkel. To him, Agnes had performed as she should have done, as if she was a true female; Agnes was the coy, sexually innocent, funloving, passive, receptive ‘young thing’ that every girl should be (Garfinkel, 1967: 129–30).
Does the unsaid seep beneath the surface? Is there always another layer to the appearance of things, even in the privacy of the bedroom? Is the surface always at odds with the back story? Is Proust right to say (in the epigraph opening this chapter) that unless the surface is rippled, the new and unknown will remain closed to us? Agnes The case of the transsexual Agnes, from the archives of twentiethcentury American medicine and ethnomethodology, provides another example of the ambiguity of appearances and the difficulties of separating the various layers of social reality.
He reported that Agnes had told him ‘it is necessary for me to tell little white lies a lot of the time’ but neither Garfinkel nor Stoller became suspicious enough to think that Agnes could have been systematically lying to them (Garfinkel, 1967: 169). When they asked if she was taking hormones and Agnes denied it, they believed her. She lied well enough to convince them to give her corrective surgery: ‘I deserve the status that unfortunately I find myself in the position of having to ask for’ (Garfinkel, 1967: 176– 7, emphasis in original).