2 thoughts on “Notes on Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

  1. Essay 1: “The I of the Internet”


    • Tolentino references Irving Goffman’s 1959 The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The basic point from the book is that people are always performing, even when they’re alone–performing a role or persona to an audience, including when performing for one’s self. Tolentino says that this phenomenon, online, “metastasizes into a wreck.” Goffman’s claim sounds right, but I haven’t thought about it deeply. If he is, Tolentino’s claim also sounds right, although ditto.
    • Tolentino: Women are always required to have an external awareness of their own identity.
    • Goffman: the difference between expressing something and doing something. If one spends a lot of time online, I think understanding this is critical–especially (and maybe exclusively?) when it comes to politics.
    • JT suggest liberal political correctness is not as pervasive as those on the right believe. How does one verify this–either way? It seem easy to emphasize or downplay something like this depending on one’s political agenda.
  2. Essay 3: “Pure Heroines”

    In this essay, JT surveys literary female heroines from children’s lit, YA, and grown-up novels. I’m curious to hear if Mitchell agrees with her characterizations and opinions.

    For me, I found some of her characterizations of the female perspective to be quite grim and pessimistic. Specifically, JT, and the Simone de Beauvoir quotes she references, create the impression that female heroines view female adulthood as something to dread, primarily because they view marriage and motherhood as a kind of death sentence, and two of the few viable options they have. Does the accurately characterize most of the female literary heroines, particularly from great literature? Does this represent the view of many or most women?

    In thinking about liberalism and liberals recently, I can understand how liberals feel this way–especially female liberals–as well as how and why the may view both marriage and motherhood as prisons, if not death sentences. Both can constrain one’s freedom to a significant degree (and I think this applies to males as well, although not as much–e.g., males don’t go through pregnancy).

    At the same time, I would be surprised if a majority of women today, including liberal women, view marriage and motherhood in such starkly negative ways. I can certainly understand this position, if one lives in and develops conceptions of both from a conservative upbringing and milieu. But mainstream society, especially via the mass media, seems more liberal, with regard to marriage, motherhood, and families….

    …I wanted to go into the importance of marriage and motherhood–or more specifically, parenting–as well as the social attitudes towards sex, but that’s probably beyond the scope of this post.

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