this week’s gender discussion: roundup

August 17, 2007  |  essays

What’s been going on with this huge ol’ gender conversation, you ask? Well, here’s the roundup.This particular conversation this week was sparked by an anonymous comment on Bottoming is topping and vice versa, where the commentor asked, “why do lesbians hold true the male ideal of duality?” (and etc.)

I then wrote a post on the outdate questions on binaries where I wanted to address precisely why butch and femme are not inherently reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm (seems like folks kinda liked that phrase, it got picked up a lot).

Around the same time, Miss Lina posted A Gay Shame, a reproduction of an article in her local gay rag about the butch/femme dynamic and how outdated/heteronormative/etc that it is, and I nearly fell outta my chair with frustration.

I realized that it was actually incredibly difficult to explain precisely why I thought that butch and femme weren’t simply imitations of the straight world, even though I believed firmly that that was true. So I quoted from the GLBTQ dictionary and listed some further resources, brought it up to some of my butch & femme buddies, and cracked open my ol’ gender theory books to see what I could find.

I got a lot of comments, some of them extremely wonderful and helpful as I was attempting to sort out my own ideas on the subjects. And other writers began posting their own thoughts on these complex subjects.

Dylan wrote about checks and balances: “For me, a constant system of checks and balances keeps everything aligned and when it is not I am the first to make myself accountable. Examining where stray thoughts, decisions or actions might have originated from, I am able to not only challenge if my own beliefs are ones I want to continue to uphold, but more so, why I hold them to begin with.”

Bird on the Wire wrote on queer politics, and the places that she overlaps with the queer community, and places where they have been exclusionary and offensive “i identify as queer or gay, but in reality i am bisexual. granted, all but one of my relationships was with a woman. i find both men and women interesting and attractive and would hate to close myself off to any potential amazing experiences just because society prefers me to date men exclusively and the gay community prefers me to date women exclusively. i find it offensive to suggest that i am “straddling a fence” as if this is a choice i consciously make any more than anyone else. i find it offensive to suggest that i am any less gay than a lesbian who would never consider the possibility of sleeping with a man. i came out at 15, i suffered the same hardships, the same ostracizing, the same heartbreak, the same political battles.”

Miss Avarice, in continuing to work through her femme identity, wrote about femme-ism: “Here’s the riddle: I embrace my femininity when it attracts women, and I reject my femininity when it attracts men.”

I started compiling my ideas and posted further points on gender, then on the places where butch & femme are incredibly subversive, and why.

Just for fun, I published something I’d written weeks ago, but that seemed relevant, which was a little list on the care and feeding of a butch (ahem, that would be me), and a little gender play on the ever-so-popular lolcats format.

I still have a lot to say about gender, resistance, social change, the heteronormative paradigm, subversion, butch/femme identities and (so-called) “role playing” … and I’ll do my best to type up more of that today.

It’s been a hellova week here in sexblog world … I am really loving being part of this. I’ve spent more time on Sugarbutch, writing things for Sugarbutch (you should see how many draft posts I have right now), writing in the margins of my books and printouts of various articles on gender, and journalling about my own personal beliefs. It’s one of the reasons I put up those ads in the sidebar – I’m torn about it, but as I’m spending more & more time keeping up with this website, I want to encourage, and even request, some compensation for my time. If only I could just sit around and have these discussions on sex, gender, sexuality, and relationships all day every day. I’d have revolutionary theories in no time. Hmmm, I should find out who would pay me to do that kind of thing.

(If I missed your post on gender, sorry about that – let me know & I’ll gladly add it.)

 

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