Carbon Fibre is Misogynist!

Just when you thought Goldsmith’s College couldn’t get any weirder, here’s an academic paper claiming carbon fibre is misogynist. The link surfaced on Twitter after its author got into an online fight with Richard Dawkins, which sounds like the sort of fight you want both sides to lose.

It’s been suggested the whole thing is a Sokal-style hoax, but I’m not sure. Poes Law and all that.

In this paper I am concerned with instances in which carbon fiber extends performances of masculinity that are attached to particular kinds of hegemonic male bodies. In examining carbon fiber as a prosthetic form of masculinity, I advance three main arguments. Firstly, carbon fiber can be a site of the supersession of disability that is affected through masculinized technology. Disability can be ‘overcome’ through carbon fiber. Disability is often culturally coded as feminine (Pedersen, 2001; Meeuf, 2009; Garland-Thompson 1997). Building on this cultural construction of disability as feminine, in and as a technology of masculine homosociality (Sedgwick, 1985), carbon fiber reproduced disability as feminine when carbon fiber prosthetic lower legs allowed Oscar Pistorius to compete in the non-disabled Olympic games. Secondly, I argue that carbon fiber can be a homosocial surface; that is, carbon fiber becomes both a surface extension of the self and a third party mediator in homosocial relationships, a surface that facilitates intimacy between men in ways that devalue femininity in both male and female bodies. I examine surfaces as material extensions of subjectivity, and carbon fiber surfaces as vectors of the cultural economies of masculine competition to which I refer. Thirdly, the case of Oscar Pistorius is exemplary of the masculinization of carbon fire, and the associated binding of a psychic attitude of misogyny and power to a form of violent and competitive masculine subjectivity. In this article I explore the affects, economies and surfaces of what I call ‘carbon fiber masculinity’ and discusses Pistorius’ use of carbon fiber, homosociality and misogyny as forms of protest masculinity through which he unconsciously attempted to recuperate his gendered identity from emasculating discourses of disability. Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Ok, so I added the last line :)

But surely if H.P.Lovecraft was writing today, his equivalent of The Esoteric Order of Dagon wouldn’t be a Presbyterian sect that had gone off the rails, but would be located deep within the humanities department of a second-rate university.

Has the author wandered so far down the postmodernist rabbit-hole that many, many, SAN rolls have been lost?

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7 Responses to Carbon Fibre is Misogynist!

  1. Chris Hall says:

    I thought surely that can’t be real but I’ve got access to the journal and it’s peer reviewed so it must be!

  2. Tim Hall says:

    I’m trying to get past the academicese word-salad and unpack the actual argument from that extract. It does sound like it’s full of non-sequiturs, bizarre leaps of logic and ridicukous sweeping generalisations.

  3. Tim Hall says:

    There was some discussion on Twitter over whether this was a Sokal-style hoax. The problem is not that it’s inpenetrable gibberish, but its basic premise, that the behaviour of Oscar Pistorius proves carbon fibre is sexist, is ridiculous. It does sound as though the author has some quite warped and unhealthy ideas about both masculinity and disability.

  4. John P. says:

    Could it be someone has used a generator to produce something because they needed to meet a deadline for delivering a paper? It really doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s worse than a management textbook!

    What’s next? Paper & pencils are racist because they are black and white?

  5. Tim Hall says:

    If you look at the link Chris posted, these machine-generated gibberish papers were meant to catch out journals and conferences that didn’t review properly and would publish any old rubbish. It’s quite an honourable goal, a bit like the famous Atlanta Nights sting on a notorious vanity publisher.

    This “Carbon fible is misogynist” thing reads more like the sort of ridiculous clickbait thinkpieces you see on bottom-feeding websites which even the writer knows is complete cobblers but goes ahead and publishes anyway. Except it’s written in the arcane jargon-riddled style of an academic paper.

    Is the author taking the piss? Poe’s Law states that it’s impossible to tell.

  6. Michael says:

    I think someone is out of marbles. Advancing the premise that an inanimate object can hold a belief of any sort is absurd. Publishing such a paper just devalues the publisher.