Constellation/ dissertation

In my formative submission for my essay titled “How does visualmaterial culture investigate concepts relating to glamour and the grotesque within its representations of female monsters?” my feedback suggested that I have created a coherent argument that is illustrated by my chosen examples of female monsters who incorporate both elements of the grotesque and glamour, creating an attractive monster. This is encouraging moving forward as it i important to make a clear and confident argument in the dissertation.

To further strengthen my arguments, or to make sure my arguments are strong in my dissertation I have to ensure I have evidence or work from academics to back up my statements.  This willmake sure I avoid sweeping statements that I am unable to back up. This will encourage me to not make a point unless there is academic theory or ideas behind it, in turn this will make me more proactive in seeking out such evidence from academics to enable me to say what I want to. The idea of erotic desire combined with darker desire is a theme that I will be exploring in my dissertation so it would be helpful to go back over the work from “goddesses and monsters” in order to find such information or pointers to who has written about it.

I have applied the theorethical concepts and debates to my examples in my previous essay, this is something I will continue to do with the use of the columns analysis method which enables an in depth and extensive analysis of images however I will have to work harder at finding more sources of my own, finding relevant material to use to analyse images as this is something that I can struggle with which explains why it was an action point or criticism of my formative assessment. I think using images and analysing, comparing and contrasting them in my dissertation will play to my strengths. Using the columns analysis template makes my work more organised which makes writing the essay much easier.

Another thing I need to work on is summarising findings and improving my introduction and conclusion. This comes as a part of making sure the ideas in my essay are organised and structured. A comment in my feedback was that the introduction sounded more like a conclusion, working on these skills will mean I will have an overall more coherent and sophisticated dissertation/ discussion. Being abe to summarise what I find will allow me to draw on my own critical position on my dissertation subject and will make sure I can make conclusions and be sure of what things suggest.  Whilst writing the dissertation I will have to try and refrain from using the first person and ‘I’ as it will be a piece of academic writing not opinion. Writing in an academic way is particularly hard for me, reading as well takes a lot of time and focus so this is something I will have to consider when I am undertaking the dissertation, as it will mean I have to set aside more time for the reading and understanding what I am reading. I will have to find a way to make sure I summarise the material I read so I can easily access it when I need it to prove a point I want to make. To try and make this a lesser issue I will analyse images as this is something that comes more naturally to me, making sure my dyslexia doesn’t hinder my ability to express the ideas I have is really important as I don’t want it to hold me back, or prevent me in doing my best. Another thing I can do to make thinfs easier for myself is to make sure I book an appointment with the academic librarian as I have been struggling using met search, however I left it too late to access this resource when it came to writing the proposal. I think in order to complete the dissertation I need to make a timetable or something to make sure I am doing it, without this I think I would put it off as its not something i enjoy and I would end up rushing it and being dissapointed.

Whilst writing my dissertation I need to revisit referencing guides and help as it was picked up in my feedback that some of the references were incomplete or incorrect, to try and help myself with this I have been trying to keep a record of the sources that I have used in the correct referencing format so when it comes to inputting them into the bibliography and the in text citations I will find it easier.

Over the time I have been writing my dissertation proposal I have found that the main focus or ‘point’ of the essay has been difficult to pin point. The subject is vast and finding something quite exact to write about has proven difficult. Still, as I am nearing the end of the proposal and reviewing all of the reading I have done so far I am waiting for an exact point to argue or debate or discuss.

The idea of the female killer being darkly/disturbingly attractive is the most poignant and resenates the most as something I could write about, attractive in terms of the female murderer being the subject of the male gaze and exploring how the darker aspects of desire and attraction.

Constellation PDP

Using the columns for the first time made it so much easier to write up the essay in comparison to last year’s writing tasks I completed. My ideas and the theory were much more organised than last year and I found the whole process much more enjoyable than last year. The whole process was considerably less stressful and terrifying. I also found that taking my laptop to every study group helped a lot as it meant I could write everything that the tutor said which was tiring but actually cemented the knowledge in my mind as opposed to taking notes on paper last year when I couldn’t keep up with the speed of the tutor talking so my notes were sporadic and didn’t make any sense at all.

Some difficulties I encountered whilst doing the second and third columns were using met search and identifying the correct quotes. In terms if met search I found it hard to phrase the search words in a way that would bring up results that I wanted. I have difficulties phrasing things in a more sophisticated and academic way due to my dyslexia. To combat this, I sought help from my housemates who were also in the study group so I would tell them what I wanted and needed to find and they would help me word it in a way that brought up much more relevant sources than I was finding on my own. I now know I could have done this with the library staff but because of issues surrounding anxiety I found it hard to build up the courage to do so. The other main difficulty I was having was deciding whether or not the quotes I had eventually found actually supported the idea I was explaining. This I think got better as I went along in the essay and gained a bit more momentum and confidence within the essay. Finding the confidence to do this was difficult again due to my dyslexia I struggle to feel confident in pieces of writing but with the help of the columns I felt much more comfortable in producing a piece of writing as appose to last year.

Whilst exploring the images and concepts present in my chosen images as well as the concepts we discussed in the study groups I found that the idea of attractive monsters really interested me. The juxtaposition of the opposing ideas creates conflict within the audience but also the monster. But I found it especially interesting how the female monsters I studied used their sexual identity as a tool to further their monstrosity.  I found it gave the monsters power that is different from the stereotypical weak, passive and pathetic horror film female victim.

This project has lead me into thinking about the topic of my dissertation, I am currently thinking about exploring physical appearance and monstrous acts but focusing more on real life not just in films and literature. I have always had an interest in psychology and pour behaviour as humans, I was considering looking into real life monsters; criminals, murders etc. And how their appearance has effected the way people react to them. For example, if a murderer is conventionally attractive would people be more empathetic towards them where as they may show more hatred towards someone who has an appearance that differs from what society views as ‘normal’– tattoos, shaved hair etc. I think I could then look into the way these monsters are represented in film and tv in dramatizations of true stories and look at the way they are characterised and if there are certain things that are emphasised more than others in these dramatizations of the acts. An example of this would be the retelling of the Shannon Mathews abduction called “The Moorside”.

Constellation has affected my studio practice I have found I look more closely at how things can evoke feelings without overtly expressing them, meaning people must look into the work I create and consider it more. For example, when we see marble we think of its cold smooth but hard surface. Using the columns has urged me to realise how important it is to consider parts of my work. Looking at the different meanings things can convey, this could mean extra research into the meaning and context of the work but I think it will make my work much more successful.

I now feel more considerate in my design decisions in terms of composition and remembering fundamental blocks of graphic design such as hierarchy, colour, tone etc. Working on and in until work is as good as I can produce but remembering how valuable taking breaks is to progress is another thing I have gained from constellation. I see it as something I like to do now with both academic and creative work, taking the time to make sure everything is in place and not only looks good but functions to the best of its ability.

After finishing the essay I feel quite proud and satisfied with the result as I struggled a lot last year and was beginning to dread writing an even larger piece of academic type writing. I think I have really engaged with the material we have covered in the study groups as well as the research I have found for myself. Moving forward into planning the dissertation and the dissertation proposal I think I need to make sure I have the right systems in place to keep my ideas organised as this is what has made the process of this year formative assessment much easier and more enjoyable to complete.

Goddesses and Monsters – Glamour and desirability


The qualities that signify glamour according to the writings of Dyhouse and Brown are a body adorned with rich luxurious materials like silk, satin and fur embellished with glitter, diamonds and jewels to make the body shine as well as their tactility and attractive nature. Pygmalions woman’s silky smooth skin links with this idea of white porcelain and ivory smoothness that contains a purity. A red lip and heavy makeup to eventuate the beauty and detract from the not so glamorous parts. Traditional images of glamour are black and white to emphasise the light and shade and the glowing nature of a glamourous woman.  The idea of glamour is not natural it is rooted in artifice and takes a lot of effort and creates a sense of the glamourous to be unattainable to the average person. Sexual sophistication and using passive sexuality not attract attention also plays a part in an image of glamour, this comes with a feeling of confidence and opulence a ‘devil may care’ attitude. Furthering this idea of the unattainable it is said that the glamourous woman holds a supernatural power, she is is extraordinary and out of this world.

The textures and forms that characterise traditional femininity are the fair and unblemished surfaces, like Pygmalion’s woman, smoothness and softness plays a huge role. Fragile materials like ivory and porcelain are mentioned frequently and these materials have connotations of purity and ‘snowy white’ innocence, the untouched. This contrasts with the derogatory roughness of the granite prostitutes in Pygmalion’s myth.

Desirability is constructed in concealing and revealing concept, the erotic desire comes from the tease of the undress. Pygmalion dresses his statue just to undress it as that is where the desire lies, revealing  some and not all allows the mind to imagine what lies beneath. In most cases we have looked at the woman is a passive sexual object with the male being the active participant. Laced up corsets and the addition of extra layers just to spend more time taking the layers off.