Thursday, July 31, 2008

Streaking: Remembering Mimi Orner

I've been thinking a lot lately about something my undergrad adviser, feminist media scholar Mimi Orner, once told me. I was feeling very uncomfortable and confused after exposing a lot of personal information in a class presentation. Mimi was empathetic to my feelings and said, "It feels like streaking, doesn't it?"

Lately I've been feeling like that with my Facebook addiction, in addition to uneasiness with public presentations, and especially with this blog. I've been grappling with my conflicting desire to expel and to share freely, and then feeling like I've exposed too much, put too much out into the world without being able to control who can access the information. And, of course, that's part of the thrill. But it's kind of terrifying. I have been trying to put my finger on it. And then I remembered Mimi.

It seems appropriate that 15 years after Mimi gave me a word for the feeling, I would wake up thinking about streaking, and it is immediately applicable. After all, Mimi was on the cutting edge of media practices, and my recent streaking streak is so connected to blogging and online social networks, media practices that are new for me and integral to my media evolution. Mimi’s class- along with meeting Karin Wolf and my subsequent introduction to Women in the Director's Chair- was my entrée into the world of media literacy, to thinking about the relationship between gender and media, to understanding media as activism, and even to making video myself (my first video “Sibling Walls” was a collaborative project for Mimi's class).

Mimi passed away a few years ago after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was too young and too important to go, and it sucked. But it makes me smile to think that her relevance to core developments in my life is just as immediate now as it was in 1993 when she was opening my eyes in ways fundamental to my feminist, activist, and artistic awakening and development, and indeed to my career and passion. And she definitely made me feel like it's OK to streak. But it's still scary, Mimi!


Majnuneh said...

I remember streaking with an older neighbor friend when I was 5-ish and we ran down the street at night screaming "Streeeeeeeeak!!!" under a full moon. She learned it from her older sister. God bless all the 'older' sisters in this world who accelerate our evolution.

beautiful piece.

Minister of Booty said...

we should try that when you're here. I think my neighbors wouldn't mind, nor the Catholic bishops in their commune next door...