Monday, March 9, 2009

The Face A Signifier

Tekoa Smith

The face is the most powerful form of communication. Facial expressions can communicate across cultures, countries and languages. But even an expressionless face can tell an entire history. I believe that I know my history, as well as my families, just because of my face. My face signifies me as an Other. Helping me to understand that I am different than all other people. That the emotions and things behind my face actual help to make my face what it is.

I often recollect being a child and having those "Is that me?" moments while starring in the mirror. I would get lost in the reflection of my face. Studying the outline and memorizing the structure. Picking out the parts that were significantly my mother or significantly my grandparents and which parts were all me. Lacan states the meaning of something is in its relation to another thing, but contrary the face is meaning all by itself. You are you (86). "Who am I?", "Is all there is to me is this face?"

After getting hired on the spot for my first after school job my mother told me I would never have a problem getting a job or being accepted because of the way I looked. At the age of 14 I took that as a great compliment but now at 23 I wonder how true that really was. And even if it is true, how relevant is it to anything that I've encountered in my life. Do looks rule the world? Looks undoubtedly fade so what is the use in giving them so much power. And placing power just because of one's face is unethical.

The interpersonal relation I establish with the Other, I must also establish with other men; (90). During and even now in my transition into adult I begin to wonder how much of my success is from my knowledge and experience or the things I'm not saying with my face. My friends find me crazy because I dread when people point out my looks. I don't want to be told I'm pretty. That statement holds nothing for me but that my face is symmetrical. Without consciences I reject all artificial power given to my face. Developing harsh biting language to outwardly express what my face contradicts.

I notice other people's faces. How their's differ from mine and with person's elder I realiz the difference is the expressions. People's face tell their history before a person opens their mouth. With the creation of history looks don't fade but are turned into experience. And often in the troubling time of life not all experiences are pretty. So in some ways I feel inadequate to the rest of the world because my face doesn't show those experiences. My face is green. It communicates nothing but that I have a long way to go.

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