My gender is
|ALWAYS!, active, activist, ally, anarchist, artsy, beautiful, bi-romantic, bitch, bottom, boy, boy in a skirt, brother, bubbly, caring, child, complex, counselor, creative, cuddly, curious, dog, dork, dude, dunno yet, etc., extrovert, eyeliner fag, fairy, feline, feminist, free, friend, friendly, gay, gay-friendly, gender bender, gender blender, gender fluid, glittery, human, indecisive, intelligent, LGBTQ, LGBTQA, LGBTQIOPPS, leftist, lover, loving, male-bodied, male-born, man, me, metrosexual, multifacetted, odd, open, passionate, philosopher, pomosexual, prettyboy, privileged, pro-sex feminist, queer, queer liberationist, quirky, right-brained, romantic, sassy, sensitive, sex positive, sexy, sissy, slut, snuggly, spiritual, student, sweet, trustworthy, understanding, whore, wife, XY|
(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
I've always been reticent when it comes to LGB fiction, as if there's something about it that drives me away. I've read my fair share and almost always come away from it with a question: Where are the voices that speak for me?
If you look at most pop-fiction for gay male youth, it's either the tortured angst of coming out or some slightly less tortured, teen romance. Looking at a lot of the literature for the older set, we come across pages written by the justifiably angry gays who spent the 70s and 80s fighting for visibility and the right to march in something as outrageous as a Pride Parade, now a little bit older, a little bit settled in.
A long standing in joke amongst my friends says I never came out as gay so much as I came out as Danny. That kind of intense romance was okay when my body was swimming in enough of its hormones that I even had crushes on a few girls. Having grown up in a culture where Pride Parades have reached enough mainstream appeal that they can be sponsored by Budweiser, I think I'm what's called the epitome of Millenial apathy, at least when it comes to a homogenized subculture that while I respect it's history, is the stuff of history books (or as is more likely the case, Wikipedia searches).
I'm among the first in a generation of fairies standing on the shoulders of giants, bears, self-styled trannies and assorted other woodland creatures to see at least hints of equality in America. Yes, the racial, class and gender divides meanwhile are even farther from equality, but from certain perspectives we're closer than we've ever been.
We're here, we're queer and we're not something you've seen before. We're the generation saturated in postmodernism from birth onward. I was part of a panel discussion my junior year of college on what it means to be queer in community and one of the panelists could barely answer our questions because of the contextual differences created by the age gap. The very fact that we could ask about a “queer community” at all was astounding.
It's not apathy that we face; it's a paradigm shift. There is an intimate connection between generation theory, activism and sexuality that I don't think current discourse has completely taken into account yet.
So again I ask, where are the voices that speak for me and those like me?
They don't exist. Or rather, they're out on the streets protesting the color/gender/class-blind ideology and practices of reactionary mainstream movements. They're in classrooms laughing at all the silly little boys and girls who still have this image of feminism as bra-burning and man-bashing, writing papers and quoting names like Judith Butler and Michel Foucault. They're homeless on the streets. They're on social networking sites like tumblr, aggregating information and resources and the occasional funny image so that others can stumble upon their tumblogs and make better sense of the world.
And really, when it comes down to it, do I want any other voices other than my own representing me? No, but I would like just once to find a story about a queer that I can relate to without being sickened by the cliches and stereotypes and heteronormative tropes and the bad writing. It's a wonder people even know what queer is since the literature is hidden away in academia rather than mingling with the masses and making itself known.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I felt worried and sad and hurt.
But then as I got up and walked to campus I looked around at the trees and the clouds and I decided that I'm not going to let my stress hold me back and keep me from being happy, beautiful, lovable me.
Since I have short break in the middle of my finals week, I'm getting STI testing done today. I'm not concerned that I have anything, but I've been sexually active for almost a year and a half and this is long overdue. Getting tested isn't just about me, it's also about the health and safety of my current partner, and that's something I'm trying to be responsible about.
Forgive this long-(short-)winded ramble, my mind is in eight and a half different places right now. Perhaps I should find somewhere quiet on campus since I'm up and about and meditate. Or exercise, that always helps.
I'm stressed, but I also feel calm, serene even.
It's still there, this stress, walking beside me, but I'm holding its hand, telling it thank you for reminding me I'm human. Thank you stress for reminding me that life is a challenge and I'm winning.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
There were like ten of us in a barracks together and it was very clear either myself or one other guy would be the leader within our group, so to test us, they sent a sorority to kidnap us. Took us out on a lake where apparently the western men and women's rowing teams were having some kind of skirmish regatta.
I ended up on one of the coach barges but we hadn't been out on the water more than five minutes when it was needed for the regatta so myself and the boat driver got shoved into the back of a women's eight. Somehow they rowed with us sitting between them. We passed two men's eights warming up and two singles that looked mostly capsized racing. I remember seeing my friend Thomas in one of the eights. At first I thought he was coxing, but when I looked again, he was stroke seat. One of the singles had a blonde guy with long hair in it and he must have been defying the laws of physics to still be rowing at that point, the boat was so far under water.
We went past the finish line and exit launch and turned around. Somehow on the way back we took a wrong turn and ended up in a narrow canal with barely enough room for the boat, it conveyor belted us past the start launch and out of the water. We had to carry it back and it was mostly my friend Alix and I with it on our heads at opposite ends.If it hadn't been for Alix and I it would have been dropped multiple times, no one knew how to carry a boat.
It was a funky black shell that had fold away handles. Someone behind me mentioned Cy being short. Got it back to the water and the women took over.
Back in the barracks somehow it was very clear i'd won the leadership challenge but was still under scrutiny. I was showering when everyone walked in. Approached my counterpart since he looked really disappointed. He essentially hadn't made the frat-thing. I asked him how he felt about watching the rowers since he and most of the guys seemed fascinated. I told him that if he doesn't make it he should consider joining the team as an alternative.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Can you imagine if it were the other way around? You're a bad apple, I'm going to have to take a bite out of you and swallow you whole.
Yeah... this is still a developing series of thoughts.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I would forgive you your bilabial trills
if you would do the math
and make them quadrilabial.
Would you, for me,
cut down that Indo-European tree
so we can keep warm in its ashes?
save some sibilants
for my ears in the dark
and maybe I'll teach you
the anatomy I've been learning.
See, that fricative is begging me to stop,
but you left it unvoiced
and it got swallowed in the laryngal folds.
I want to explore that interdental space
and touch your alveolar ridge with my tongue.
The topography of your body
is a morphology I want to learn to read
but the phonetics contains sounds
I've never heard before.
Here's a clause, let's draw a tree:
"Linguist boy," that's a noun phrase
with embedded adjective phrase. Linguist describing boy.
"warm up my bed."
I admit the verb phrase suffers some
Do I mean warm as in heat
or warm as in ffffffuriction
between all those parts you linguists ignore?
We can blend our bodies like
two free morphemes to make something new.
do you consider "boyfriend" to be monomorphemic,
or are we two free morphemes
unbound by labels and only loosely
connected by word order?
These looks and smiles we share
have a semantics of attraction,
but the meaning gets lost in
a convoluted syntax of time and distance:
wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.
have I said too much?
I don't want this to be the
false etymology of a relationship,
but maybe you can pause
and analyze my language variation.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
So let's start with yesterday's Volume 156 Issue13, November 1, 2011.
I'm tempted to play a game of count the inaccuracies, but that's just mean and detracts from the content. So I'll focus on two stories that caught my eye.
The first, an unobstrusive seeming piece that starts hidden in the bottom right corner of the front page, has a headline that seems rather dry: “Resolution would ask publications to censor content in online archives” but blossoms into what must easily be a 1200 word piece when it continues on page four that is further continued in an editorial on page 12. This was my first clue that this was a story stirring up trouble in the WF offices. Journalists report the news, they don't make the news, why would they be writing so much about something they're directly involved in?
It's a bane of the journalist's existence, more so of student journalist who have to deal not only with media law and ethics, but campus ethics and codes and policies. So what is this resolution that has our friends at the Western Front scared? Apparently there's a little something-something dancing around on the Student Senate floor saying that online content could be subject for removal or alteration.
In short, because of the ease with which it's possible to make changes to digital media, someone says it might be worthwhile to erase some of those ill-conceived comments made by students that could otherwise be construed as indiscretions.
I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for that line of thinking. Assuming this isn't some kind of undercover operation that would never happen with a campus publication, if you're being spoken to by a journalist (and if they're interviewing you in such a way that you could be quoted, you'll know they're a reporter, they'll have said so), you should always triple think what you say before you say it.
If we were all minors, it would be one thing. The vetting and verification process for content would likely be a little more rigorous and permissions might be a sticking point, but this is college. We're supposed to be adults. In fact, any of us could be interviewed by national news organizations and all our stupid little “um”s and “like”s could be broadcast to the world. A college paper, not so tough cookies. If we need to limit what gets posted by our campus publications, what's the point in having them?
And that is what's scary about censorship.
The other story that caught my eye was a guest column about university spending during budget cuts that made me want to cry a little. Why don't people research how the system works? Buchannan Towers are not being remodeled, those things under construction were additions so we could fit more students (i.e. more freshmen crowding classrooms and helping split the cost of our ever growing tuition).
The money for that was likely budgeted and allocated to that project at least a full year before it began. I'm assuming a good chunk of the funding came from some kind of donations or government grants having to do with building maintenance and updates that while significant in amount tend to be fairly regulated and specific in what they're used for. If the state gives me ten thousand dollars but with the stipulation that I have to use it for shoes, if I try to buy socks, they're going to take it away, so I'm going to buy as many shoes as I can. That's a reality of the way these kinds of institutions work.
It's a similar story with the rebranding brought up in this guest column. The money was spent a while ago, we're just now seeing the results. And for a corporation like a university, because yes, the two are increasingly similar in how they're run (how long until I can call up CEO Bruce Shepard?), branding is important. It's how you get more of those out of state students (holla to my OSSA peeps) who you can charge higher fees to help offset the money you're losing from in-state students losing higher education funding from the state.
Rather than piss and moan about how Western is spending it's money, why not yell and shout (or send a polite but strongly worded email to) your state representatives who are allowing all these cuts to higher education? The AS Board, and especially our Vice President of Legislative Affairs (there's something so satisfying about typing out the entire title instead of VP of LegAff) Iris are working their asses off to get people riled up enough to show the state that Western has had enough.
When people say vote with your wallet, they usually mean give money where it's worth giving, but I also think it should mean vote with your wallet in mind and choose people who are going to represent you and spend your tax dollars the way you want it to be spent.
Anyways, that's my two cents on the news. Someone give me a dollar and maybe I'll write about the whole issue next time.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Come out when you're ready to. Don't let some nationalized agenda tell you that you have to come out today. Come out however works best for your situation be that to select people that matter or to the whole rainbows and glitter, campy universe.
The closet is full of more than just rainbows or childhood monsters and the door isn't always easy to open so once you're there, celebrate being out every day of your life by living out, not just today.
Think OUTside the box and challenge the normative institutions and thought systems that oppress you. OUTreach to the populations that will help you as well as those that need your help. The OUTcry of your actions will OUTdo any opposition.
This OUTburst is an exercise. Queer as in fuck you, shit gets complicated. I've been OUTraged and OUTfitted with the tools of expression to make it known:
Out requires an in.
But what about beside? What about around, encompassing? Even if I'd been in the closet, it couldn't hold me because this little nightlight is too damn bright.
Dammit if that in isn't going to be the best place to standOUT in a crowd. Twist and shOUT no need to pOUT, this is what I'm all abOUT.
Be daring and bold. Be warm and cold. Be so far OUT that the world is your closet and identity your clothes.
Am I making sense? Do these synapse connections collect inf(l)ections I don't mean?
I didn't think so.
There's a plurality OUT there. Thought you should be aware.
And if I'm flaunting a privilege, so be it. Humble me. Pride comes before a fall.
Coming out from sea to shining fucking sea.
I don't believe in out.
Only a socially constructed ideal of what it means to be gay.
Have it your way.
Monday, August 22, 2011
So over the last month or two I've been putting together a playlist I'm calling "Anthems from the Collective." But being that I'm only one young man, I'm kind of limited on the number of contributions I can make and be able to call this a collective endeavor. This, dear reader, is where you can be of service to me.
Do you have any songs that speak to you no matter your mood, no matter where you are or who you're with? Songs that scream and dance and hit you over the head saying, "Hey, you with the ears, we should do this together"? Send them to me so I can add your anthem to the collective.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
There is a path that leads nowhere,
leads to nothing.
It is not a path you follow
and it is not a path you take.
It is a path of Enlightenment.
Many will dismiss it,
ignoring the call of future-past.
Many walk it unknowing.
At times it is wide as the deepest river.
At times it disappears amongst the undergrowth.
As you walk with it,
You will come to know its many moods.
Some days it will caress you with falling leaves.
Others it will batter you with branches hurled by gales.
But keep walking. Always continue walking.
There is a lesson to be learned.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
1) The racial outrage that Marvel would dare to create a non-white hero.
C'mon America, your demographics are changing. There are more people of color in your borders than you're willing to recognize so shut up and let them do some talking instead of subscribing to the same kind of Western imperial ideologies that have silenced them and plagued us for generations. Miles Morales is half-black, half-Hispanic, this totally fits with the subversive history Marvel is known for (anyone care to remember how the X-men were/are originally a poorly done metaphor for racial tensions in the 60s?).
2) The ignorance of the fact that this is happening in the Marvel Ultimates universe, a separate continuity to reflect a more contemporary readership.
According to the Wikipedia page (a source I trust in this instance because no self-respecting comic book geek would let there be inaccuracies), Ultimate Marvel was meant as a new continuity for a new generation of comic readers, so the argument that having a non-white Spiderman flies in the face of the history of the character is invalid. This is not for the people who grew up with Spiderman, it's for the people growing up with Spiderman.
Peter Parker is alive and kicking in the standard Marvel universe.
This actually bugs me a little for other reasons as well. The fact that Marvel has to utilize an entirely separate universe to allow for something like the death of Peter Park and birth of Miles Morales shows institutionalized racism of the industry. This is a step in the right direction, yes, but the fact that it would be impossible to pull off in the "regular" or "original" Marvel universe brings to light some of the inherent problems with comic books when it comes to race.
As long as Miles doesn't end up being some kind of tokenized "ethno-diversity man" character, I'm happy for him. Though the way the "could be gay" comments by writers have been misinterpreted by the media and taken by the hoardes of internets, let's just say I don't have very high hopes. You go, web-slinger!
Monday, July 18, 2011
There are some who would say I'm oversimplifying, that this critique misses the nuances of the movement and that none of these things are the same and that using postmodernism as this kind of umbrella term to attack is wrong. I see it as this kind of amorphous octopoidal construction that serves its own purpose as a reaction to its own socio-cultural and historical influences
Paradox: If I challenge authority, I must challenge the original directive (to challenge authority), but in doing so I would be obeying and failing to challenge, risking complacency and blind following.
We then cannot rephrase the directive with the potential implied meaning: Challenge all authority but mine. To take this Directive into the appropriate context, challenge authority is not so much a preconventional notion of "fuck the man, you can't tell me what to do" so much as a postconventional challenge to think critically and reason why something might not be worth doing. Ideally, it has moved beyond that kind of narcissism, that I, me, self that is incapable of thinking about the communal we or even further about the global we.
I'm in part being influenced by my reading of Ken Wilbur's A Theory of Everything, a thoughtful gift from my friend Emerson, and I think it would be irresponsible of me to ignore this contribution to my thoughts. I'm attempting to approach this reading critically, not blindly accepting everything Wilbur says, but I think it's important for my development of these thoughts to use the tools made available to me to critically analyze what I already know and see how it interacts and reacts with these new thoughts.
My biggest understanding so far is the integration of hierarchies. In order to understand how systems work, to understand how to affect them, you cannot ignore hierarchies and hierarchal thinking. Hierarchies may be false, they may be constructs of society that malign and marginalize identities and groups, but on some level they have to exist. They serve a necessary function in the social and psychological evolution of an individual and culture.
In my English class today, someone brought up the socio-evolutionary argument for why binary thinking exists, which is to say that from an evolutionary standpoint, which translates to mean from a biological sense, we are built to think in binary ways. The sooner you can make a snap judgement of friend or foe, the more likely you are to survive. The argument then was made that the power of literature and therefore education is to defamiliarize us to this instinct. Our current cultural climate and industrialized society allows us to train ourselves to overcome this instinctual process. Away from the false core of a self to a we and as we progress further from a humanist (which is egoist on a species level) to a global or what Wilbur would call a holistic level.
So on the holistic level, a hierarchy is part of a greater system of society and culture. A lot of styles of thought focus on this, but I think the difference is in the approach. The holistic approach is about integration, the nested realities that coexist.
New directive: Question authority critically.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
To everyone saying that we need to honor and remember our service members, I challenge that this does not mean we have to simultaneously honor and respect blatantly wrong wars and acts perpetuated by our government. Respect those who have fought for our freedom by using that freedom to tell your government to be a source of justice in the world.
As a starting point, here are some of our basic freedoms as outlined by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"No law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," means not favoring one over another, means we cannot be a Christian nation any more than we can be a Muslim nation or a Buddhist nation or a Pastafarian nation. Separation of church and state is as much protection FOR the church as it is FROM the church.
"Freedom of speech, or of the press" means we can express ourselves. Not with full impunity because historically there have been court rulings limiting what kind of speech is okay. Things like the fuzzily defined obscenity, and libel, slander, etc are generally not okay.
The freedom to "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" to me is not just a right, it is a call to hold our government responsible. This does not mean immediately go out and protest, but also protest with your vote. Protest with your wallet. Tell the people you voted for that they owe a responsibility to you to work for peace, justice and equality; they need to protect your rights and your interests over some private entity. And if it comes to it, protest. Gather in numbers and let the government know that it has done wrong by its people.
For more information:
Sunday, July 3, 2011
a leaf trapped in the wayward breeze of impartiality
you fleeting flutter to and fro
caught not by the red rose of lovers' trysts
nor the painted daisies of the well-tended garden.
No, the butterfly dips and dodges clasping hands and gilded nets alike.
Do you taste the nectar of every conversation
or merely touch the surface before you're gone again?
Social butterfly, your wandering ways bewilder,
where do you belong?
rally the cries of the extrovert elegant.
Then carry on, untouched by the dervishes of many faiths surrounding you.
It must be lonely being a butterfly, sometimes,
always surrounded but never quite there.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
So let's start from the beginning. I'm going to copy and paste directly from SlutWalk Seattle since they have more experience telling the history of the event than I do.
On January 24th, 2011, a Toronto police officer gave some advice that is all too common: “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” From an 11-year-old in Texas being blamed for being gang-raped to a teenager in Seattle not being able to file rape charges because witnesses “portrayed the act as consensual,” this line of thought pervades our culture. As long as it seems like the woman might like sex, they’re made to take the blame.
Women of Toronto got angry and showed the establishment that this kind of language and treatment is not okay. And thus was born SlutWalk.
The SlutWalk Seattle FAQ page goes on to explain that SlutWalk as they interpret it is reframing the discourse on rape culture, specifically with regards to victim blaming and slut shaming. Again, I'll quote the page since they did a good job defining those terms.
Victim blaming is when the victims of sexual assault are explicitly or implicitly blamed for their own assault (for example, saying that a woman should have expected to be raped if she wore a short skirt). This wrongfully shifts the burden of prevention from the perpetrator onto the victim.
Slut shaming is when people, especially women, are made to feel shamed and guilty because of their actual or imagined sexual proclivities. Labels like “slut” stigmatize and dehumanize women, making it easier for society and the legal system to turn a blind eye to victims, make excuses for violence, and deny them justice.
Now I'm fairly frustrated with the discourse surrounding SlutWalk. Up until I started doing research into the critiques of the movement, all I (thought I) knew about the event was that it was held to reclaim "slut." Which I'm uncomfortable with, but I also recognize that as with any reclaimed (or as some would argue in this instance claimed) terminology it's a matter of personal choice. The event is not meant to promote a "slutty" lifestyle. It's a position that states that within a sex-positive culture, slut should not be assumed as a pejorative.
Reclaiming "slut" should be secondary to addressing the deep-seated institutional bias that exists when it comes to rape culture. But slut gets all the press and attention in the media. And from what I can tell, it's pissing everyone off. This is unavoidable and was unavoidable from the moment the first SlutWalk organizers named it SlutWalk.
So naturally I started digging. I've found multiple posts by radical feminists addressing the racial polarization around SlutWalk. And it would be a lie for me to deny the historical and cultural differences between many of the supporters of SlutWalk and women of color. In America the sexualization and objectification of women's bodies, especially along racial divides, has created a space where "slut" and the outrage around it is very much a matter of privilege. White women can be outraged because they aren't inculcated to a culture that devalues and sexualizes their bodies from birth. As one blogger put it:
It goes without saying that Black women have always been understood to be lascivious, hypersexed, and always ready and willing. When I think of the daily assaults I hear in the form of copious incantations of “bitch” and “ho” in Hip Hop music directed at Black women, it’s hard to not feel a bit incensed at the “how-dare-you-quality” of the SlutWalk protests, which feel very much like the protests of privileged white girls who still have an expectation that the world will treat them with dignity and respect.In these instances, SlutWalk is not an appropriate venue through which to stage this conversation. The rhetoric and conversation around "slut" cannot and should not be used as a universal for women. It is culturally specific and should be treated as such. However, that doesn't mean SlutWalk should discontinue its efforts at inclusivity. If people of color want to participate, either in solidarity with a white movement, or because they want to reclaim "slut," that's their choice.
To ignore any of this would be racist and show the kind of privileged feminist views that erase or marginalize people of color. Further, a universalizing treatment of "slut" as a descriptor for women is colonialist based on Western ideas of sexuality that silence the experiences of people of color in countries and locales from a different social background. However, given the grassfire expansion of the SlutWalk movement, I think this assumes a unified agreement on what SlutWalk is. That is to say, it assumes there is a central SlutWalk organization coordinating the plethora of walks across the globe. To my knowledge, while the original SlutWalk Toronto initially sought to advise satellite walks, that line of treatment has all but gone out the door.
SlutWalks as they exist currently are the indicative only of the backgrounds and discourses engaged in by the individual organizers of each event.
Which is not to say that the people most likely to want to organize such an event aren't entrenched in hegemonic, white backgrounds, but ultimately the shape each individual walk takes will be determined by the people walking.
As Meghan Murphy writes, "‘slut’, is gendered." It is a term implicitly feminized by the patriarchy and used as a pejorative against men to imply femininity and thus weakness. I stopped referring to women pretty early on in this writing, because it is a matter of fact that more than just women-identified folk are involved in SlutWalk. As a queer male and self-identified feminist, I see value in the SlutWalk movement. In its potential to disrupt the dominant patriarchal discourse through a subversive reclamation of terms, SlutWalk can benefit anyone marginalized by patriarchal society. Does this mean it will do this? No, but it can if we as activists use it so.
Before I go further, I feel I must address the fact that I am male. Regardless of my sexual orientation or political affiliations, I stand to benefit from the kind of institutionalized patriarchy that privileges males. But I'm carefully straddling a line between accepting and celebrating the movement and between rejecting it for the kinds of issues inherent in a field ripe with potential for classist and racist discourse that further excludes and erases the experiences of people affected by this in ways not accounted for by the dominant language. I recognize the danger in my involvement and I care deeply about how my presence impacts the conversation.
I'm leery of "slut" but as I see it, the potential within SlutWalk lies in addressing those first tenets, that it bring attention to the culture that allows victim blaming and slut-shaming. To teach society not to blame the victim helps redefine our culture. It changes the attitudes around rape and hopefully will help spread the idea that we should be teaching people not to rape rather than "don't get raped."
SlutWalk hasn't even been around for half a year, as a cohesive movement, it's in its infancy, and I for one want to be part of its formation. I want to see SlutWalk (or whatever SlutWalk becomes) move past the valid criticisms leveled at it and I think more than criticizing SlutWalk, this means engaging in and participating in the organization of such events. There's a lot of contradictions and disagreements on both sides of the SlutWalk debate and no one will have a perfect answer, so I take these criticisms with me as I look forward to the fight yet to come.
As a last side note, I would like to thank friends and activists Ben C and Samuel S for involving me in this dialog. I would like to thank Laura G for giving me opportunities to speak out in solidarity with marginalized groups (though I'm still learning to find strength in that voice) and all the women in my life for whom this affects. You are my sisters, my mothers, my aunts and cousins. I hope this inspires and educates you as to why SlutWalk is important and how it can make a difference.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
But prof started this discussion with the distinction that:
- Modernism = ~1914-1960
- Postmodernism = 1945 or 1960 - Present
- But the present isn't quite postmodernism. Postmodernism has been around for a while and with advances in culture/society and technology our current situation could better be better described as digital culture, media & technology, atemporality or even post-postmodernism
To be honest, pomo is kind of a downer a lot of the time. I respect it, but I think part of the reaction has been a yearning for praxis, how do you live or performatively enact this discourse? Yes, there's a lot of writing but when does this become practice?
I know this is happening, with Queer Theory when I go to events by the LGBT/Queer groups on campus we inevitably introduce ourselves and our preferred gender pronouns. This conception of gender as being separate from sex, attempting to subvert assigned, socialized assumptions of gender prescribed onto living bodies by performatively announcing our preferred gender, finds its origins in a Butlerian model of gender that questions the construction of a binary gender systems and "compulsory heterosexuality."
Sunday, May 1, 2011
That said, let's start at the beginning. There's the obvious origins of the word queer as a synonym for weird, strange, peculiar that because they were seen as such, was then applied to gays, lesbians, ad nauseum. In a lot of areas it has as much vehemence as the word "faggot."
Then around I want to say primarily the late-1980s with some of the bigger pro-gay movements, people started to reclaim it.
Nowadays it's used by more radically liberal activist and academic types as this really weird construction where it is used as a umbrella term. By that, I mean that queer is used to denote the entire LGBTQetc community. But these very same liberal activist/academics also often have a LOT of problems with that use since it kind of homogenizes the community. By having one word mean everything you erase the connotations and diversity inherent to such a community. There's more than one type of queer person. Queer used in that way tends to favor images of your standard college-educated, white, middle-class, gay male. Leaving out all those other types of queers.
An even more contemporary usage of the weird queer comes from the more radical academic-types as meaning something closer to "a non-normative political identity."
Basically what this means is that by this definition being queer isn't so much a sexual identity as a political affiliation. It's an outcrop of the postmodern rejection of binaries, be they gender, racial, sexual, etc. Queer in that sense tries to look at the intersectionality of those identity politics to kind of go "hey, that way of thinking is stupid and marginalizes a lot of people and doesn't really benefit everyone long run."
Which is why you find queer as a far more accepted term by younger, West coast (for lack of a better term) queers. Because we didn't grow up with queer as such a strongly derogatory term. We grew up in a world of Queer as Folk and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Here at Western, the LGBTA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance) Office recently changed its name to the Queer Resource Center. And there was the same kind of split on this decision as you see among most of the LGBTQ population. There are those (myself among them) who were for the decision. Queer Resource Center more accurately reflects what the office is and does. I still have issues with queer used as an umbrella term here, but I think the strength of the Bellingham queer community in particular is that enough of the people who claim the term as an identity come from a diverse range of backgrounds that disavow a lot of the marginalizing effect of that queer homogenization.
We queers are feminists, male and female, people of color, people with disabilities, of a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. For the most part we recognize where queer comes from (both good and bad) and often claim it as something beyond just the LGBT.
What do you think about reclaiming words? What do you think we can reclaim or can't reclaim?
Friday, April 22, 2011
I have Charlie to thank for it. She's kind of my sister, and the most central part of my BellingFam. It's because she dragged me to Ritmo Latino Salsa Club the very first time that I started dancing.
My moves aren't the cleanest, and I tend to add a flair that's somewhere between hip-hop influences and swing, further muddling the lines between salsa and Danny, but I have fun with it. I own the dance floor no matter who else is out there, no matter who my partner is, and no matter what song is playing. Ritmo Latino is one of the places where I've always felt unconditionally safe and loved, where I've seen growth much in the same ways I see myself growing with the Power of Hope and Acts of Kindness Club.
Salsa to me isn't just something I do. It's something that resonates to my core. The rhythm rocks me, moves me, centers me in a kinesthetic euphoria. It's contagious and I've never heard anybody tell me that they didn't have fun dancing with me, usually quite the opposite. Even some of the other leads that I've danced with, while slightly chagrined in their masculinity to be pulled out onto the dance floor with such an outspokenly queer boy, always laugh and continue to dance.
So this is also love to everyone out there willing to dance with me. This is love for everyone who has danced with me and everyone who has yet to dance with me. This is love for the music, love for the people teaching me, and love for the people I'm getting to teach right now as one of the student instructors.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Today we ran approximately the same route as we did on Tuesday. Down to Fairhaven, we made a pit stop in Village Books to purchase tickets for April Brews Day. We both wore spandex shorts because, well, if you got it, flaunt it, right? Plus Bellingham is starting to show signs of summery weather. It's a relief after the snow we woke up to on Thursday for it to be nice enough to go running in shorts and a tank top.
I'm really enjoying running with Lucy just because it's a fun time for us to bond and be around each other rather than exist as strangers sharing the same apartment.
My body is still adjusting to this whole running thing. I may be more physically strong than Lucy is currently, but I'm also readjusting to a semi-regular workout schedule when the extent of my time working out during winter quarter was dancing salsa once a week and getting sick and being stressed and on campus all the time (those of you who know me have heard all about this, so I apologize). After the last two runs I've done with Lucy, my energy has tanked in the hour after we finish. Today, once the endorphin high from running wore off, I actually fell asleep for a few hours. I attribute this to an erratic eating schedule that's resulted in me losing a few pounds since moving into an off-campus living space at the beginning of this school year.
Hopefully this is only temporary and the exercise will induce enough appetite in me that I will start consuming large enough quantities of food-mass to keep me up and going after we finish.
For all you Widdershin Readers, I apologize for not posting, I've kind of half-switched to tumblr at acelessthan3.tumblr.com. Find me if you have an account!