On the women in charge of Global Frequency

Before I introduce my moment of Global Frequency, I want to begin with Donna Haraway’s take on what technology means for feminism. She states,

“the cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, post-modern collective and personal self,” that “communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafting our bodies,” and most importantly, that “this is the self feminists must code.” (Haraway 23).

The episode in Global Frequency that was most appealing to me in a way that connected significantly to Haraway is the one in which Aleph’s past and involvement with Global Frequency is revealed, the episode named “Aleph”.

It is important and interesting to notice that this episode is not only about the central woman who makes much of Global Frequency happen smoothly, but also that it is a series of communications between two important figures of the organization, both of whom are women, Miranda Zero and Aleph. It is thus a narrative in which Aleph is the agent of focus in Global Frequency and no other agent is involved because as she says, “Global Frequency central operations is now offline. For the first time ever.”

The particular moment in the episode that caught me most off guard is when the comic flashes forward to “today” and shows Aleph sleeping.

Aleph

She is wearing a crop top and underwear and though it seems simple, it serves a purpose to show how feminine Aleph really is. The extent to which Aleph has been presented in the images preceding this episode is generic and not as much of a portrayal of her “female” qualities as it is in next series of images, and even the illustrations of this entire episode. I would also like to point out the particular artist for the episode on Aleph illustrates the young protagonist in a feminine, yet headstrong and “reassembled” way.

The fact that the episode is a set of exchanges through technology between Miranda and Aleph reminded me a lot of the above quotation from Haraway’s Manifesto. The very idea of Miranda Zero being the founder of Global Frequency and recruiting Aleph on a college campus to be her right-hand woman, “a superprocessor” in an organization that unites a collection of very different individuals through technology is the idea that Haraway seems to be speaking about when she says these technologies are the crucial tools to recrafting our bodies, our cyborg bodies. It is a special narrative of Aleph in that there are two beginnings in this episode: 1. Aleph’s beginnings with Miranda Zero and Global Frequency, and 2. the other a beginning of Aleph’s journey in finding the individuals who compromised the organization’s central system. Furthermore, it is special all the more because it does not necessarily have an end! Aleph kills two of the three persons and is face-to-face with the third on the last page of the comic to this episode, and yet, the reader is surprisingly left with a cliffhanger. We never really achieve the catharsis of having a complete narrative with this episode, or so it was in my experience. I appreciated the “ending” to this episode anyway, however, because it only reaffirmed Haraway’s concept of the cyborg and how its image can pave the path to a type of community that allows for her vision of feminism to be brought to posthuman life.

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5 Responses to On the women in charge of Global Frequency

  1. KAK249 says:

    Awesome! Your post is incredibly eye opening! I had never thought about the fact that this specific issue has potentially two beginnings. However, as I was reading, I unconsciously began to read the scene where it flashed forward to Aleph sleeping, as a new Chapter. I was not aware of this until you pointed it out directly. Ellis does a wonderful job of explaining how Aleph came to her position of center command. I enjoyed discovering that at one point in her life she was a brilliant underachiever in college and five years later she is now the center point of a global rescue operation. If only that could happen to me…

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  2. riderphilze says:

    I never really noticed that panel of Aleph sleeping as much of a contrast to how she’s usually portrayed, maybe because she is shown wearing more form-fitting and “feminine” attire previously. This isn’t to say I disagree with your assessment, because I do think there’s something to that reading of contrast. There’s a certain opposition in how she looks there and how she’s portrayed elsewhere. Plus, let’s not forget that this is evidence that Aleph DOES need sleep.
    Something else that might lead from your feminist reading is that Aleph, a woman, is the only one who can stop the attack. She’s the only one around and perhaps even the only member of GF aside from Miranda Zero who knows Central well enough to navigate it successfully.
    And as far as closure goes: aren’t we thrown “into the middest” at the beginning, too? Miranda Zero already has the resources to start Global Frequency, and though we ostensibly see Aleph’s beginning as Aleph, when did she really begin? When she met Ms. Zero? When she took those mysterious “tests?” Further, this is supposedly the beginning of Global Frequency, but it isn’t, really, if you think about it. We still don’t know where Miranda Zero came from. So it makes me wonder if this episode is open at both sides.

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  3. yuc46 says:

    Great response! Your opinions about Alpha really left a great impression on me. I completely agree with your opinion”not only about the central woman who makes much of Global Frequency happen smoothly, but also that it is a series of communications between two important figures of the organization”. Personally, I like the leader of the organization Miss. Zero, but I did not pay much attention to another important character-Alpha. Your response really broaden my mind. Thank you!

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  4. Within different blogs, I found your perspective is very distinctive and interesting. I think in Global Frequency, Ellis’ magnifies the power that women have in this comic strip. I agree that the portrait of Aleph’s sleeping is an indication of feminism in this story, however, I was interested in you using this image to illustrate the importance of feminist in this story. On top of this, I think there is a subtle paradox of this moment to a later story that Aleph was geared up and fighting for the safety of the central.

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  5. danwillisdan says:

    Great use of visual examples!

    Also, is the ending really a cliffhanger? Aleph says in the last panel, “Central is secure. And I’ve got one who can talk. We are going to find out exactly who they were and make sure they don’t hurt anyone else, ever.” To me, this seemed like a re-assertion of Aleph’s protectiveness over Central, and a nice neat ending, where all the invaders have been (in one way or another) neutralized. Otherwise, great post!

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