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Sight UnseenGender and Race Through Blind Eyes$
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Ellyn Kaschak

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172905

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172905.001.0001

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Looks Are Everything

Looks Are Everything

Chapter:
(p.68) 5 Looks Are Everything
Source:
Sight Unseen
Author(s):

Ellyn Kaschak

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231172905.003.0005

This chapter explores the dimensions of sexuality and, in particular, femininity in the ongoing discourse between the blinded and the “sighted.” The case study of another woman who has been blind since birth—Samantha—is the focus of this chapter, as Samantha interacts with the sighted world by continually placing herself within view of others, by flaunting her mastery of the art of femininity and sexuality. In doing so, she reveals a powerful insight into how reality is constructed by sight, and how sight is equated with knowledge, as in, “seeing is believing,” and so on. And what can be seen in Samantha's story is that the body itself becomes as much a consequence of learned meanings and expectations as of biology or neurology. Indeed, biology and neurology are developed within an ongoing cultural conversation. It is the decoding of this conversation to which these nonsighted persons devote themselves.

Keywords:   Samantha, sexuality, femininity, body, biology, neurology, cultural conversation

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