Racialization of the Cyborg Body in “Marissa Meyer’s”Cinder (Mirlande D. and Karen P.)

 

In Cinder, Marissa Meyer wrote Cinder’s character to inhabit a cyborg body. We argue that this has only resulted in her racialization. Coming away from the understanding of race as colour, we are analyzing racialization under a different lens. A lens that sees the outcomes of racialization constructing bodies as expendable and less than. Because of Cinder’s cyborg body, she is racialized and therefore, inhabits these two outcomes.

We began by looking at Cinder’s cyborg body like a soldier’s body. Foucault had described a soldier as an “inapt body, the machine required can be constructed… calculated constraint runs slowly through each part of the body, mastering it, making it pliable, [and] ready at all times…” (135). In this sense, Cinder’s cyborg body is very similar to a soldiers’. She was created by scientists who constructed her into a machine that literally has calculated constraints running through her; “…inner workings — from the metal vertebrae to her bunched wires to her perfectly intact ovaries” (123). Due to the cyborg draft and her legal guardian, she has no option but to be taken against her will in order to be made pliable and ready at all times, because she “owes [her] existence to those who created [her]” (27). A cyborg’s body and a soldier’s body are “…subjected [and] used” (Foucault, 136). Cinder is involuntarily subjected into the cyborg draft. She is used “…like a guinea pig for antidote testing” for the disease letumosis, “…the blue fever. Worldwide pandemic. Hundreds of thousands dead. Unknown cause, unknown cure” (26, 48). The cyborg draft, just as Cinder claims, was made as a “reminder [that] cyborgs were not like everyone else” (27).

The outcome of racialization that construct Cinder’s cyborg body as expendable can also be justified in Foucault’s concepts of “principle of enclosure” and the “… technique of [subjecting] a new object [to be] formed” (143,155). When those infected are discovered they are taken away to a place of enclosure. While Cinder is taken away against her will to this place of enclosure, she becomes a new object to be formed. Dr. Erland and Fateen are analyzing and taking multiple blood samples from Cinder, and this is done in a room where her hands and legs are “locked in place” (75). Cinder, as well as many other cyborg bodies are locked in this room of enclosure and “attached to one of the machines by wired sensors on [their] chests and forehead” (76). Foucault described the place of enclosure as a “[d]isciplinary space divided into as many sections as there are bodies (143). We imagine that unto each cyborg Dr. Erland and Fateen conduct experiments, there is a place for this analytical testing. For each cyborg body there is a divided space for them to become a subject. Regarding Foucault’s technique of subjecting a new object to be formed (155), Dr. Erland has made an even greater discovery using Cinder’s cyborg body. Foucault described how the technique of subjecting creates “new mechanism of power and [is] offered up to new forms of knowledge … a body manipulated by authority” (155). Cinder is well aware that Dr Erland “[h]ad not intention of letting her walk out forever” (121). Cinder and Dr. Erland had come into agreement that her new found volunteer position “would only last if she did return” (125). Since Cinder is a “cyborg and she is immune to the plaque, she has become [Dr. Erland’s] new favorite guinea pig” (121). Dr Erland is in a place of authority to manipulate Cinder because she is now valuable in helping him find what he needs. With that being said he promised Cinder that she will receive payment in a separate account from her legal guardian and that her sister will be the second to be given the antidote (101). With all of this, we find racialization under a different lens, coming away from the understanding of race as colour, we see the discrimination of Cinder’s cyborg body constructing outcomes in a number of ways where her identity is considered expendable.

It could be argued that Cinder’s character is considered “less than” by those around her, such as her stepmother Adri who refers to her as a “mutant” (64) or Dr. Erland who doesn’t hesitate to conduct supposedly fatal tests on her, despite her blatant protests. Her “less than” status is evident even to Cinder herself, who constantly monitors her own body and actions to resemble a “human”. Hale notes, “She uses clothing … in order to conceal the fact that she is a cyborg, and she often pulls at her gloves when she becomes nervous that someone might discover her true identity” (10). Cinder recognizes the inconvenience and irregularity of her own body, and accepts the identity of being “lesser” when she aspires to the dystopia’s idea of normality.

Although she is discriminated against, she is still able to exist and participate in society under the guise of a human because she is servicing others. Her identity as an active individual relies heavily on her role as a mechanic. This is because she is validated – as a person – through her civic duty to those superior to her. She is set back in ways that her sisters aren’t; she must constantly prove her “humanness” and usefulness to others, while this is assumed for anybody else by default. Nonetheless, her cyborg body still obstructs her from experiencing the full benefits of the society she lives in. Her “less than” status is still intact, especially when it becomes clear that despite Adri’s promise, she will not attend the ball. While characters in the novel (Iko, Cinder) experience prejudice and discrimination in a very real way, the dystopian society itself falsely presents that it is above any type of “racism”. Iko even claims about the ball, “It’s prejudice not to let androids attend” (40). This statement could suggest that androids and cyborgs would be welcome, but that is not the case because there are still active, oppressive forces working to prevent them from participating. In Cinder’s case, her position as a lower class citizen prevents her from buying a dress to attend an event clearly designed for those above her social and economic standing.

When we examine the cyborg body as one that is racialized, its expendability and less than status in the world of Meyer’s dystopian New Beijing is quite clear. There is a disturbing lack of concern for the lives of cyborgs. As shown through the political agenda that uses these bodies as tools to be poked and prodded in order to cure those “purer” in human genetic makeup. Coming away from the understanding of race as colour, it is clear that racialization under a new lens has aided in constructing Cinder’s cyborg body as expendable and less than.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Foucault, Michel. “Docile Bodies”

Hale, Sierra. “Post-Racial Futures and Colorblind Ideology: The Cyborg as           Racialized  Metaphor in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chornicles.” Raced Bodies, Erased Lives: Race in Young Adult Dystopian and Speculative Fiction. Eds. Miranda A. Green-Barteet and Meghan Gilbert-Hickey. Anthology Under Review.

Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. Ch. 1-11. Rampion Books. 2012

 

Discussion Questions:

We argue that Cinder herself is convinced that she is “less than” and subhuman. In what ways does she show awareness of how she is disadvantaged by others? Does she generally fight back against it or submit to it?

Do you think that we should use another word than racialization when presenting this concept? Or does the fact that we say we are looking at racialization under a different lens make this concept easier to understand? Do you see expendability as what the physical cyborg body represents and less than as more abstract and fluid to examples of what comes out of this representation?

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16 thoughts on “Racialization of the Cyborg Body in “Marissa Meyer’s”Cinder (Mirlande D. and Karen P.)

  1. You stated in your argument that “Cinder recognizes the inconvenience and irregularity of her own body, and accepts the identity of being “lesser” when she aspires to the dystopia’s idea of normality.” While Cinder is always aware of her difference from those around her, because of the way that she has been treated, I would argue that she does not see herself as “less than.” Cinder understands that she is judged on the way her body is compromised but she always remembers that she did not have the choice to be a cyborg, and she is always human too. She does show that she is aware of the disadvantages that she faces when she interacts with non-cyborgs, or even goes out in public. For instance Cinder tries to cover her cyborg parts when she sees Prince Kai because she does not want him to judge her based on what she is. In this way Cinder fights back against the restraints placed on her by trying to conform to the norms of the non-cyborg people. However this could also be seen as a form of passive resistance because instead of embracing and showing off her cyborg side she tries to hide it in order to be respected by others.
    While I understand that the term racialization can be difficult to convert to aspects other than ethnicity I do believe that racialization is the right word to use when discussing Cinder. This is because both in the racialization that we recognize in our world, and in Cinder’s, the racialization occurs based on the physical body that others can see. In both instances it is something that those whom are subjected to it cannot control. Although Cinder was not born a cyborg she had no choice in becoming one, and yet faces the effects of being a cyborg.
    When Cinder is placed in the lab she is given a percentage of which she is not human. However with her high percentage compared to the low percentage of the man in the lab before her they are both still seen as cyborgs. This can translate to views of race: many people are of mixed ethnicities, yet while skin colour is recognizable they are placed within a group of people based on conceivable appearances. This historic view of race works hand in hand with Cinder and the treatment of cyborgs and so racialization is a larger factor throughout Cinder.

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    1. You know what, I think your right. I asked the question in class and I had to ask it on my plog post! I had to make my whole blog post about this ‘racalization’ and convince myself that it is in fact the right word, and teach my self how to come away from the understand of race as colour. But even as i’m reading your jusifications as well as my own, there is still something telling me that it’s not right! I can’t figure out why! And it is driving me crazy! I absolutely understand when you explain “racalization occurs based on the physical body that others can see and that those subjected to it cannot control it”. And I also understand how Cinder being part cybrog/human/lunar makes her a body of mixed ethnicities. When you wrote “skin colour is recognizable they are placed within a group of people based on conceivable appearances” I think maybe I understand a little more why I am having so much trouble with this. I think maybe I have internalized way too much the conceivable appearances. Maybe I have internalized way too much all of the stereotypes that have been put unto my own body. Maybe I have not internalized nearly enough that the physical body includes a lot more than skin colour. Maybe I have internalized way too much the idea of race as colour and have been so unwilling to acknowledge other bodies that deal with discrimination based on physical features of themselves that they cannot change, or did not choose to inhabit. Maybe i’m prejudice or maybe I need to analyze my own internalizations and understand the harms they are causing other people. This actually makes me so emotional, and I don’t want to feel like there is something wrong with me. I just know I need to open my mind to other possibilities that do not revolve around the one I have my whole life been exposed too. Ugh this is frustrating!!

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  2. The way Cinder’s cyborg body is described as racialized is a very interesting outlook, as it provides a different perspective to the way the book is perceived by different readers. Besides cyborg, Cinder is also a Lunar, which can also be described as something racialized. Lunars are literally portrayed as a different species, thus providing a separation between the Commonwealth and Lunars. Maybe something interesting to look into would be the difference between the discrimination of cyborgs versus the discrimination of Lunars? And regarding the fact that Cinder turns out to be both, would it relate to able-bodiedness as well?

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  3. – To begin, I really enjoy the way you began your post by saying that you would be “analyzing race from a different lens”. In Cinder, her entire world was changed without her wanting it to. Becoming a cyborg, even if it was only “36.28 percent”, immediately dehumanized Cinder due to a physicality. Despite the fact that she was not born like that, it still automatically “racialized” her because she was now different. This is similar to what we discussed in class about disabilities. Whether mental or physical, as soon as there is something different about you, people notice, and more often than we would like, it can affect the way people are treated. This is why I think it is important to analyze racialization from a different lens, because it happens in many different forms. This brings me to your discussion question, and I do think that ‘racialization’ is the correct word to use when presenting this concept. I understand the frustration and confusion, but if we think of racialization in terms of being prejudice, or oppressing others due to any sort of difference, that in turn “racializes” that person, or group of people. Going back to the conversation we had in class about people with disabilities being racialized, I think, is important to understand. To me, the cyborgs in the novel are deemed to be disabled, in turn causing the racialization because they are seen as the “other”. They are separated from the “norm” of society, because of a physical trait that the eye can see. I enjoyed your post because it questioned this concept, to answer your other question, I do think looking at it under the different lens you present makes it easier to understand. The physicality of the cyborg represents the racialized other in a way that we often do not think of in our world, and I think it is important to understand that there are many different groups of people that can be seen as the “other” or “lesser than”, under the scope of “normality”. This is something that our world needs to take into consideration, that there are different types of racialization, none of which should be occurring, but unfortunately they do. On a different note, I do have to agree with Angie on your point that Cinder recognizes herself as “lesser”, because I don’t think she does. I think Cinder understands that she is viewed that way, yet it doesn’t seem to matter to her. Her interactions with Adri show the reader that she is strong, and is not willing to accept Adri’s treatment of her with open arms. She tells her the hard truth of the matter because she is tired of being treated like she is less than human.
    All in all, I really enjoyed the different analysis you gave to racialization, as this novel is different in that sense than the other novels we looked at, so thank you for bringing this to light, and I hope you are a little less frustrated now.

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      1. This is where I begin to get confused. In class today, I realized that Aesha like myself, both have a hard time with understand how Cinders body can be racalized. Aesha suggested we use the word marginalized, or simply state that Cinder’s body is being treated in similar ways that a racalized body would. When we say under a different lens, I am trying to convince myself that racaliztion does not always have to pertain to colour. This different lens is critiquing and challenging that understanding of race as colour, and just how Angie suggested, looking at racalization as occurring through parts of the physical body that others can see and those subjected to it cannot change. These parts of our physical body that we are unable to change just so happen to not be the ideal representation, or normal, or proper, and ultimately subject us to become racalized, other, and marginalized. But personally, I would agree with Aesha in that a white body cannot be racalized, but because Cinder is a cyborg she is treated in the same ways racalized bodies would be treated in real society. But I also think we can’t come away completely from using the word race and replace it with marginalization. As Angie also suggested Cinder being part cyborg/human/lunar can also make her a body of mixed ethnicities and this idea also can be considered race. So even though I have been trying to convince myself of Cinders racalization, I say that I am looking at race under a different lens to hopefully allow myself to incorporate other forms of the physical body that are not just colour. I hope this helps!

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  4. I appreciate how in-depth an approach you took to the racial aspects of Cinder. Your point that she is only allowed to exist with any freedom at all is because she is in “service”- perhaps a metaphor for how oppressed individuals are often designated to labour at the bottom of the economic totem pole- is poignant considering the state of many societies today.

    In regard to your usage of the word “racialized”, I believe it is the right word to use. But that being said, I also don’t feel that, by definition, it necessarily carries a negative connotation. To be “racialized” simply means that you are perceived to be of a different race; you look different. If I were to get on a boat and travel across the ocean and came across two groups: one that was caucasian 500 meteres to my left, and one of a different race 500 metres to my right, I’m likely going to go over to the caucasian group. This is not because I’m being “racist” in the discriminatory sense, but because people who look like me may be more likely to speak the same language and have had similar lived experiences, therefore giving me a better chance of finding food and being accepted.

    The above post-racial perspective of race is highly progressive and nearly deconstructs race altogether. Even in Cinder, a futuristic dystopia where the advanced Lunar Queen dismisses Cinder’s monogamous admiration for Kai as “archaic sentimentality”, Cinder is still openly discriminated against. It’s interesting to consider that in Meyer’s depiction of an advanced society, the Lunars have moved away from partnered relationships but still hold racial bias. The way she is “racialized” is still very much of the discriminatory variety, even if other aspects of New Beijing- such as technology- and the Lunar society are greatly advanced. Much like Lauren heading north in ‘Parable of the Sower’- a racist dystopian story in itself- Cinder wants nothing more than to get up and leave; just the thought of it is described by her as “pure bliss”.

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    1. Hi Michael,
      This is really interesting in the way you bring this up. But I am not so sure that I understand. In my opinion, to be racialized always comes with negative connotations. I see this not only through my own experiences as a black person in a white supremacist society, but also maybe in the example you have given. What is stopping you from going to the group that is a “different race”? You feel like you will be able to connect more with the group of Caucasians, but by choosing them, you will never be able to give the racialized group the opportunity to give you the same things you think the white group can. You are unsure about a language barrier and similar lived experiences, and it is it possible that the group that “looks different” may not be able to navigate themselves within the world the same as the white group. But, they still are people who have families like you, or possibly siblings like you, they eat, drink, sleep, and enjoy having fun like you might. You say that the white group will give you a “better chance”, but how do you know the other group will fail if you never give them a chance at all. In that sense, I think choosing one race over the other simply because you’re comfortable and feel as if the one will adhere to your expectations more so than the other, is a little bit negative. And even so, (since you say you’re travelling across the ocean) what if your understanding of white and non-white bodies no longer apply? What if the raced group speaks English and is more welcoming, and the white group doesn’t understand a word you’re saying? On your note of “looking different”, I am just wondering what that means. Look different than what? Is there a default way to look? And who is part of this default? Yes, I do not look the same as a white a person, and a white person also does not look the same as me. But my “looking different” always seems to disenfranchise me more than it does the white person. I don’t think I have come across anyone in my life or my knowledge of colonial history, who “looks different” or is “racialized” and has not experienced some sort of marginalization or oppression because they do not match the default.

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      1. Thank you for your response Mirlande. I understand how my comment could be interpreted and admittedly it is an incredibly crude example of racial differences. My point is if I get off the boat and I’m hungry, thirsty, tired, confused and scared, I imagine that I like other people would gravitate toward those who have the same colour skin as I do. You are absolutely right in saying all of my preconceived notions of what white people may do and think may be valueless upon reaching this foreign country, but I feel my survival instinct would lead me to check in with them first. This is not to say the other race that “looks different”- by which I mean does not share the same colour skin that I do- cannot and does not hold more value to me than the white group, or is somehow inferior to the white group. It simply seems that this would be a natural reaction to anyone put in such a situation. I also recognize that I have the privilege of theorizing about such things from the safety of my whiteness and that such an idea may be far from the reality you have faced in your own life.

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  5. Mirlande and Karen,
    Within your post, you reappropriate the meaning of racialization and thereby provide a strong argument as to why Cinder’s cyborg body positions her as a racialized individual. That said, I agree that the way in which Cinder is treated in and by society is, in some ways, similar to the way in which a racialized individual is, but I do not find the use of this term appropriate here; rather, perhaps a word such as marginalization is more fitting. There are two reasons why I say this: first, the process of racialization is specific to race (I assert), and two, a racialized individual does not have the privilege of concealing his or her identity in the way that Cinder is able to conceal her cyborg parts. According to the first reason, there are various systems of oppression that exist within society, including racism, but also sexism, classism and ableism. While these systems of oppression often intersect, the way in which they manifest in society varies. That is, these oppressions do not all have the same effect and they are not all treated the same in and by society. They are, however, all forms of marginalization. Racialization, and the treatment that stems from this process, is specific to race. Therefore, I argue that Cinder’s race is not made unequivocally clear in the text, so it is possible (although unlikely) that she is a racialized individual, but her cyborg parts alone do not make her racialized.
    Furthermore, according to the second reason, a racialized individual is not able to conceal the physical attributes that make his or her race visible (i.e. his or her skin colour). Cinder, on the other hand, is able to go almost the entire novel concealing her cyborg body parts around individuals who are unaware that she is part cyborg, which means that unbeknownst to the characters in the novel, Cinder is not a ‘normal’ girl. The other characters, with the exception of her family and fellow shopkeepers, do not immediately recognize Cinder’s identity. Because racialized bodies are (almost) always visible, I further assert that Cinder’s cyborg body parts cannot be read as a racialized body in and of itself.
    Cinder’s treatment, though, mimics that of a racialized individual, and I think Meyer does this deliberately. In addition to the points you raise in your post, the way in which cyborgs are treated by the draft parallels with how Black bodies were treated by White scientists throughout history. Specifically, Saartjie Baartman (“Hottentot Venus”), who was a Black woman born in South Africa and brought to Europe so that scientists could examine her large buttocks, comes to mind. Similarly, Cinder’s use of the word “noose” on page 368 is, I argue, racially charged in that Black individuals were often noosed throughout history. I posit that Meyer chooses to mimic the treatment of racialized individuals in regards to how Cinder is treated because race, especially the Black race, is (arguably) the most visible and severe form of oppression, and Meyer wants Cinder to appear “different” from the people around her. Doing so allows Cinder to emerge as an even more powerful female protagonist within the novel in that she has a number of systems of oppression working against her yet still chooses to resist them in all the ways that she can.
    To answer your second question, I agree with Angie and Christina in that Cinder does not necessarily see herself as “less than,” but she recognizes that because she is different, she is treated as such, which is, of course, unfair. Cinder demonstrates an awareness of her disadvantaged position within society early in the text through the way in which she handles Sacha’s reaction to her. In saying “[i]t’s not like wires are contagious” (5), Cinder knows that her cyborg parts, although harmless, mark her as different. Nonetheless, Cinder actively rebels against her mistreatment. For one, she talks back to Adri who treats her horribly, and most notably, she devises a plan to escape the confines of New Beijing, which is perhaps her boldest act of resistance in an of itself.
    Overall, while I take issue with reading Cinder as a racialized character because of her cyborg parts, I find your post insightful. Perhaps the reason you are having a hard time removing skin colour from the idea of racialization, Mirlande, is because the two are inextricably linked. The body does in fact include physical attributes other than race, but the process of racialization itself is, I argue, specific to race (i.e. the colour of an individual’s skin). I think as racialized individuals ourselves, this term has come to have a different meaning for us, as the process of racialization is our lived experience. For this reason, I am unable to make the connection, nor do I believe such a connection should be made.

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    1. I definitely do not disagree with your points. For the longest time I was under the impression that racialization is almost always about the colour of the bodies skin. Until the point was brought up by Angie about it also representing parts of the physical body that others can see and those subjected to it cannot change. With that said, racalization can represent to much more than just skin colour. In this sense, it makes me think, for example, we can now call all bodies that experience something in their lives that renders them no longer temporarily able bodied, as racalized victims. I think this would make sense if we talk about parts of the physical body others can see and those subjected to it cannot change. But I also think, that this understanding of racalization takes away from colonial histories and the culturally constructed and socalized oppressive understandings of these histories, that none the less are present in today’s contemporary society. I think that this understanding of racalization takes away from ethnicity and geographical location, as well as, all of the people who fit into the category of non-white and are unable to “conceal their non-whiteness” as you would say. I think that it is possible to have both of these understandings within the definition of racalization, so that way, it does not limit all kinds of bodies that are disenfranchised. But, I think I will always be on the fence about this. I know very well that my personal lived experiences influence my feelings about this immensely, but I also know that there are other bodies with lived experiences that apply to Angie’s approach to racalization. But, like you had said, Aesha, I am having a hard time removing skin colour from racalization because they are linked. And it is part of my identity, it is something that I am unable to change, it is something that marginalizes me as a woman and as a black body in a white supremacist society, and it is something I accept for as long as it continues to disenfranchise my experience. Maybe, I will suggest, as you had, that we say Cinder’s cyborg body as one that is marginalized, but we also can say that she is racalized under these circumstances. Since, I have internalized that race is linked to racalization, there may by other people who are also under this impression. Therefore, if we explain the alternate circumstances within the general understanding of racalization, than maybe it will become more accessible to those people who have not understood racalization in this way.

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  6. Hi Mirlande and Karen,

    The concept of Cinder as metaphor for a racialized individual was a difficult concept for me to grasp as well! However, I worked through some ideas myself that I found to be helpful in connecting the ways Cinder’s cyborg body is oppressed to the way racialized individuals are oppressed in contemporary society. One really key insight for me was how the cyborg draft mirrors unethical medical experimentation that was performed on racialized individuals. While there are a number of different minority groups that were subjected to harmful and unethical medical experimentation, I’ll use the example of the nutrition experiment performed on First Nations people in the 1940s and 1950s. Doctors and scientists recognized the increasing problem of hunger and malnutrition that impacted communities across Canada. In order to find a cure to these hunger problems, Aboriginal bodies were used as “experimental materials” and residential schools become akin to laboratories to test if nutrition supplements would act as a successful replacement for food and would satisfy the starving body. In order to hold a baseline of malnutrition, many children were revoked rations of food and milk. We see similar maltreatment inflicted in cyborg bodies in Cinder in the cyborg draft. Cinder is appalled when she hears Adri has volunteered her for plague research because “nobody survives the testing” (Meyer 66). The ways in which Cinder’s body was disregarded and devalued, and how she was dehumanized to represent a “tool” in New-Beijing’s government testing is similar in some ways to how Aboriginal people were used as medical material in order to “learn” about an epidemic that was impacting all groups of people. The cyborg body and the Aboriginal body in this respect function as “sacrifices” to the greater community, in order to achieve a larger social project that was organized and maintained by majority groups.

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  7. I found your point regarding the economic barriers that prevent Cinder from attending the ball especially interesting. Cinder’s cyborg identity and the fact it plays into her stepmother’s ownership of her, play into her financial inability to go to the ball. Adri’s ownership of Cinder as a cyborg and her financial earnings resembles the Western world’s history of slavery in a few minimal ways. Cinder, though initially adopted by Adri’s husband is immediately transferred like property to Adri after her death in a similar way to how slaves were considered familial property. Cinder hopes to secretly earn enough money to escape Adri, since she understands that “Adri would not sign the release documents”, drawing on the importance of slaves freedom papers and also the low possibility of receiving them (31). Cinder’s greatest preoccupation throughout the text arguably is her plan to escape from her position as a servant in Adri’s home and head West to Europe to avoid the severe oppression within her home context, mirroring hopes to move north and escape slavery. While these allusions are high problematic due to Cinder’s arguably white ethnic background and her much less oppressive circumstances, they extend Meyer’s racialization of cyborgs as a metaphorical oppression.

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  8. In response to your first question, Cinder recognizes that cyborgs are seen as being less worthy than humans. She discusses the cyborg draft which very clearly and literally values cyborg lives as expendable. When Ardi basically sells Cinder (by volunteering her for the draft), Cinder recognizes that Ardi has exchanged her life for money. That marks Cinder, and cyborgs in general, as less than. Cinder also notes that she is discriminated against by people in the public, especially when she is working at her booth in the market. Those who know she is a cyborg avoid contact with her, and this leads her to want to disguise her cyborg identity. She fears that if Prince Kai finds out she is a cyborg he will be disgusted by her. This clearly reflects societal attitudes towards cyborgs.

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  9. The racialization of Cinder is a topic that we struggled immensely with in class due to conflicts of interpretations of the word racialization, and concerns with the implications of utilizing this word in a non-race-specific argument. However, I assert that the word racialization can adequately capture and describe an essence of Cinder’s marginalization. I argue this because, while racism is a very legitimate structural reality used to negatively shape, disadvantage, limit, silence, segregate, other, subordinate, and wholly oppresses people of colour and maintain white privilege, race is a human-made construction. Historically, and contemporarily, people of colour have faced and continue to face the brunt of racialization, and it can be argued that racialization is in fact symptomatic of racism. However, racialization, I would assert, is the creation of bodies as second class, incapable, foreign to what we know, sub-human even. We, as humans actively create them as an ‘other’ in a way that constantly brings their humanity, and thus, worthiness, into question. This is a thing that we have created, this is not inherent to anything or anyone. So while yes, typically it is people of colour who suffer at the effects of racialization, the same formulaic oppression can be found being applied to other marginalized groups.
    Cinder’s humanity and girlhood constantly comes into question throughout the book. She experiences significant marginalization and is evidently treated as a second class citizen because people often find discomfort in her physical attributes. Because of these reasons, and my understanding of racialization, I argue that racialization is an accurate word to use in the context of Cinder.

    In response to some previous comments, as well as concepts form class:
    1. I caution away from engaging in an “oppression Olympics.” Comparing and hierarchizing oppression is dangerous and unproductive, and only works in favour of those already in power. By attacking one another, we are ultimately relieving pressure on those who are to blame for actively disadvantaging others to remain in power. I argue that finding commonalities in oppressions and forming solidarities, so long as disengaging in any forms of erasure or expectations of assimilation, can be therapeutic, productive and beneficial.
    I find discomfort in conversations that involve making general assumptions surrounding physical appearances of people of colour and racialized bodies. Not all people of colour are obviously so, and not all people of colour possess the common characteristics of the people of their race and ethnicity. Ignoring this does is own kind of violence to these bodies that are always in the precarious position of being a person of colour the does not necessarily exhibit the ‘typical’ physical characteristics. It is harmful to create a standard to which people must live up to in order for their identity to be considered, and in order for the value of their lived experiences to measure up. This is especially true of children of interracial couples

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