I'm just having so much trouble with this. I don't have a intro or a conclusion. Am I being too vague? Is my vocab TOO layman? I also need to delete about 50% of this. What is important? What could I cut down on? What can I expand on?
I'm applying to 4 programs that are various combinations of communication, culture, media, and digital humanities. There is no specific question for any of them. I just have to lay out my plan of work (which is not included here). Thanks so so much. I'm really struggling. (oh-I think my essay was deleted for obscenity so I used characters instead of letters in a few words to avoid that happening again)
The majority of my research has focused on gender and sexual representation, and this has been so since I was an undergraduate in the communication program at XX University (XXU). A series of lectures in an introductory level media class captivated me with a series of lectures on p0rn0graphy and self-perceptions of sexual functioning. Lucky to have such an influential experience at such an early point in my education, these lectures initiated questions that I would explore for years to come: What are the dominant sexual taste cultures in a society in which pornographic media is the primary source of information about sexual practice? How is this information interpreted by individuals? How do these interpretations influence individuals' experience of sexual pleasure? In what specific ways do interpretations of this knowledge influence the lived experience of sexual pleasure?
After completing my Bachelor's degree, I continued in the XXU Department of Communication and developed my skills as a cultural critic. My worldview, inquisitive style, and my relationship to knowledge developed remarkably. Each semester I filled my schedule with theoretically-dense courses in rhetoric, film, and feminism. I was part of a strong community of knowledgeable, creative faculty and more experienced peers who challenged and supported me. The interest in p0rn0graphy that was sparked when I was an undergraduate was intensified by the theories and analytical tools I was becoming familiar with. Many of the independent projects I pursued were spent researching mediated representations of female sexual pleasure. During these initial experiences of graduate school I was in a productive, engaged, passionate academic environment that cultivated my most ambitious and whole-hearted self. I excelled as a MA student and felt leveled with students in the final years of their PhD coursework and various stages of their dissertation.
It was down this road that I discovered female ej@cu1@ti0n.
It was almost unheard of for students to meet the MA degree requirements by writing a research paper (as opposed to completing the program through additional coursework), and when I announced my plans to do so I was met with bewilderment. However, I was resolute in learning the process of long-form essays, as I thought it important to prepare myself for the dissertation that I faced in the coming years. While researching my initial thesis topic--sexual pleasure and representation--I came across an article on "female ej@cu1@ti0n." Assuming the article was--like the rest of the essays I was reading at the time--referring to the female 0rg@sm, I thought nothing of it and moved on.
A little over a month later I had an epiphany: The essay I had recently read about "female ej@cu1@ti0n" was not about female 0rg@sm, as I had thought. It was about female ej@cu1@ti0n! My mind was so ideologically constrained that I could not imagine an ejaculating female body, even as I was reading about it in detail! The realization that my mind actively blocked information I was seeking opened up worlds of epistemological possibilities for me. I immediately contacted the author of the essay and the next week I drove from XXUCity to NewCity to attend a female ej@cu1@ti0n work shop she was hosting at a local sex shop. When I returned home the following day, I dove headfirst into what would become a five-year multi-disciplined introspective of female ej@cu1@ti0n.
When examined chronologically, the work I have done on female ej@cu1@ti0n is a great tool to measure my development as a scholar--as I grow into my own voice as a writer and a thinker, my work becomes less formuleic. My initial point of entry was a rhetorical criticism of one woman's series of feminist video performances, scholarly publications and workshops. Using these texts, I explored female ej@cu1@ti0n as a performance of gender. when my earlier, formulaic scholarship is contrasted with the distinction and vitality of Master's thesis, which explored what was at stake in the absence of female ej@cu1@ti0n in mainstream sexual culture. In subsequent years, I again worked with Dr. Trapani to further advance my questions: How is order maintained when it is threatened by the presence of female ej@cu1@ti0n?
For the rest of my Master's program, I studied female ej@cu1@ti0n. This resulted in conference papers and my Master's Thesis, "p0rn0graphy and the Non-Ejaculating Female Body." I also created a documentary short entitled "Female ej@cu1@ti0n: Perceptions," which has been internationally screened, solicited and awarded. While I am undoubtedly an advocate of spreading knowledge of female ej@cu1@ti0n, female ej@cu1@ti0n itself is not what has been special about my graduate experience-it is a token that I have fetishized to represent something far greater: the position its discovery made available to me, from which I stand to all of my questions. It stands as a reminder of the existence of the unthinkable, the unintelligible-which is not to say the unknowable.