I don’t know Jay IRL, but he’s a she.
(Having read her blog/research for a bit, she will find this exchange amusing.)
Anyway, good posts, both of you! :D
*moonwalks out of room*
In which I’m mortified at an incorrect default gender choice. Sorry, Jay!
No problem! I fully recognise that I don’t exactly make it easy to tell, what with a name like Jay & not having a personal photo as my usericon.
And I love it that Andrea (bluechoochoo) recognised that I would be amused by this - I am!
A little discussion, because I probably do owe Tumblr an explanation:
Backstory would be that when I was first participating in communities online as a 12- or 13-year-old girl, I didn’t especially want anyone to know I was a 13-year-old girl as I would probably not be taken seriously. Habits of usernames & usericons have persisted nearly 15 years, it’d seem - and I remain camera-shy.
But I also think that point of uncertainty - the “Errr, hang on, am I reading a guy or a girl here?” - is potentially interesting and useful. It’s a very small point of rupture that exposes some of the assumptions we hold about gendered behaviour - and hopefully helps disprove some of the more obnoxiously polarised ones.
This both is and is not a “post-gender” argument, as this blog post - and its Donna Harraway quotation, reproduced below - addresses:
Gender is a verb, not a noun. Gender is always about the production of subjects in relation to other subjects, […] Gender is a specific production of subjects in sexualized forms where some have rights in others to reproductivity, and sexuality, and other modes of being in the world. So, gender is specifically a system of that kind, but not continuous across history. Things need not be this way, and in this particular sense that puts focus on a critical relationship to gender along the lines of critical theory’s “things need not be this way” - in this sense of blasting gender I approve of the term “post-gender.” But this is not “post-gender” in a utopian, beyond-masculine-and-feminine sense, which it is often taken to mean. It is the blasting of necessity, the non-necessity of this way of doing the world
As examination of the term ‘post-racial’ quickly reveals, there is no social space wholly outside race (or in this case gender). It does matter that I am a woman on social media, and a woman writing and doing research, and a woman writing and doing research about social media and technology specifically. As such, pronouns are valuable to get right - the visibility does matter - because this is a world that’s not quite there yet on believing women can do these things, as the contributors list to any magazine (bar TNI!) or conference reveals.
So thank you Andrea for your comment, and Hayes for the blog edits - good to have.
‘Queer’ — as a movement, a politics, an aesthetic — incorporates all those who are thinking critically and intentionally about their desires in order to challenge systems of heteronormativity, white supremacy, (neo)colonialism, patriarchy, etc. Queerness requires us to recognize that there is not one path, not one mode of politics, not one type of liberation: rather we need multiple, diffuse strategies to contest dominant power. A white straight couple isn’t necessarily “part of the system,” if they are perpetually finding ways to complicate society’s assumption of their relationship, finding ways to organize around the social and economic privileges they have been afforded for radical transformation.
From another Queer Libido post, For Lack of a Better Word: Queering Our Libidos
by Alok, 4 Sept 2012
Putting my last post together - and, more generally in the last couple of years - I’ve been wondering what exactly my relationship to this term is. It’s one I feel fairly certain I do claim, for reasons I might not entirely discuss here (buy me a drink or three #IRL) - but, y’know, I am a woman whose relationships are consistently with men, and so it’s something that I can see might be up for debate. Am I actually an ally co-opting others’ marginality? Fucking hope not, but it’s not an entirely unreasonable question.
But then Alok explains it better than I probably had figured out myself. Still work to do, mileage to go, of course. But - thanks.
Something else queer: straight teenagers on Tumblr are identifying themselves as “straight” in their profile bios. Hetero-not-so-normative if you’ve gotta spell it out, perhaps.
Excerpts from two very worthwhile longer blog posts:
1. Questioning what we desire
Throughout this piece I have gestured to a critique, more broadly, of wanting: of how particular bodies become wanted, and other bodies undesireable, about how we are told to exercise and realize our wants, without contesting where they wants originate from, etc. I’d like to end with a call for us to re-imagine the character of ‘wanting’ in the way we articulate our desires and politics.
What I mean to say is: What does it mean to ‘want’ in a capitalist society that has made every transaction about obtaining profit? What does it mean to ‘want’ when the only way we have learned to want is for our own self-gain?
How can we re-orient ourselves to think about collective based pleasures? How can we think about creating sites of pleasure that are not dominated by individual hedonism? Who has access to the types of pleasure we normalize as transcendent? How do we experience pleasure responsibly in a world of extreme poverty? How do we realize our wants without contributing to the despair of others?
Protect Me From What I Want: Radical Sex For The Revolution
From the Queer Libido tumblr, 13 July 2012
2. What about Ugly?
As the (generational) effects of global capitalism, genocide, violence, oppression and trauma settle into our bodies, we must build new understandings of bodies and gender that can reflect our histories and our resiliency, not our oppressor or our self-shame and loathing. We must shift from a politic of desirability and beauty to a politic of ugly and magnificence. That moves us closer to bodies and movements that disrupt, dismantle, disturb. Bodies and movements ready to throw down and create a different way for all of us, not just some of us.
The magnificence of a body that shakes, spills out, takes up space, needs help, moseys, slinks, limps, drools, rocks, curls over on itself. The magnificence of a body that doesn’t get to choose when to go to the bathroom, let alone which bathroom to use. A body that doesn’t get to choose what to wear in the morning, what hairstyle to sport, how they’re going to move or stand, or what time they’re going to bed. The magnificence of bodies that have been coded, not just undesirable and ugly, but un-human. The magnificence of bodies that are understanding gender in far more complex ways than I could explain in an hour. Moving beyond a politic of desirability to loving the ugly. Respecting Ugly for how it has shaped us and been exiled. Seeing its power and magic, seeing the reasons it has been feared. Seeing it for what it is: some of our greatest strength.
Because we all do it. We all run from the ugly. And the farther we run from it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty. Our communities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot. What would it mean if we were ugly? What would it mean if we didn’t run from our own ugliness or each other’s? How do we take the sting out of “ugly?” What would it mean to acknowledge our ugliness for all it has given us, how it has shaped our brilliance and taught us about how we never want to make anyone else feel? What would it take for us to be able to risk being ugly, in whatever that means for us. What would happen if we stopped apologizing for our ugly, stopped being ashamed of it? What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent?
Where is the Ugly in you? What is it trying to teach you?
Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability
by Mia Mingus, Leaving Evidence blog, 22 August 2011
American media hasn’t quite known how to cover the uprisings in the Middle East — not the what-happened bit, but the why-it-happened stuff. The average person would probably say that protesters want change, want freedom. Which is true, of course, but the things we use as shorthand for freedom in the region — rights for women and gays — aren’t what they’re rioting in the streets about.
The Arab Spring is about specific economic inequalities and massively needed governmental reforms. Not everyone fighting against the regimes necessarily wants social norms on sex and gender to shift, which is a complicated thing to understand and explain. We’re eager for angles that link up the revolutions there to the freedoms that were fought for in OUR most recent revolution, the sixties, maybe — but if you impose narratives on a story, you’ll get, well, fiction.
In a phone interview over three years ago I was asked, “What do you think of Asian women who bleach or dye their hair; do you think they’re trying to be white?”
That day my hair was chin-length, a faded green. I said, “No.”
Read the whole article for a really great personal-is-political take on gender, race and sexuality as seen through the medium of buzz cuts and blue hairdye.