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nickclick
still not suggesting what you're suggesting i'm suggesting, ggg. certainly not suggesting enforcing a dress code. that would be conformity, which is exactly what i'm against.

and i don't think getting hu-gantic breast implants, cinching her waist and wearing fake hair means a woman's not shameful about her body. in fact, it might mean she's insecure about her looks and needs the constant affirmation that comes along with focusing so much on them. and to hopefully preempt criticism, i'm blaming patriarchy for making her think that's what she's got to do. not blaming the victim.

okay, i'm going home to paint my nails and fix my hair. i'm a wreck!
maddy29
i think that it can be useful to examine WHY we choose the things we do. If I'm doing something that the patriarchy approves of, I'm sure as hell going to check that out.

GGG-my ? to you would be-why do you wear mini skirts? tight shirts? etc. Not saying it's bad, but asking why? I think sometimes this stuff is sooo firmly entrenched in us that we can think we are "just doing it for ourselves" but in reality that's not totally true.

rudderless makes some great points-really nice. i don't think it's just the effort involved, although that's part of it. To me, when a feminist gets a boob job, she is capitulating to the pressures of society. Does that make her not a feminist? Of course not, as long as she believes in equality and all that good stuff. However, she should be aware that she is capitulating. She should NOT try to pass this off as a "feminist" act.

My main problem is when people try to defend their actions by calling them feminist. hey, we all choose our battles-just don't call it feminist...i mean, if you like watching mainstream porn, fine, but don't say it's a feminist act. Doesn't mean YOU aren't a feminist, but don't try to say oh it's feminist because it's ME doing what I want. That's what bugs me a lot.

Again, I really don't care what individuals do, for the most part, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else. ANd I do think we have to take responsibility for the part that we, as women, as feminists, play, when we strengthen gender roles, etc. It's not about feeling shamed of our bodies, or the feminist rules, or anything like that. It's being aware of how your personal choices can effect others.

Now, that being said, I DON'T think this is anywhere near the most important issue in feminism, far from it. There is clearly tons and tons of big stuff that is WAY more important. But I get frustrated when I see people saying "Oh this is feminist, because I'm a feminist, and I'm doing it." That doesn't make it feminist! A feminist posing for playboy is not a feminist act-it's just a woman posing for playboy. I get tired of the excuses....

QUOTE
'm blaming patriarchy for making her think that's what she's got to do


exactly. exactly! Not blaming us as individual women, trying to make choices in a world where we are constantly being pressured to be this or that....but blaming patriarchy for forcing us into these stupid choices.
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(nickclick @ Feb 2 2007, 09:28 PM) *

. and to hopefully preempt criticism, i'm blaming patriarchy for making her think that's what she's got to do. not blaming the victim.


A woman has a right to put on anythign, do what ever to her body, with out the Feminist factor, claiming she is doing it for the Patriarchy, or even theorizing on it. The patriarchy used to keep women in Western cluture and still in some Middle Eastern cultures down, by cloaking them and shaming them into being hidden. If a women wants big, ole titties and to put them in a tiny shirt, why should it even be uttered that she is doing it because she is insecure, or her look is "Anti-Feminist".
If she wants to do it, I think we should celebrate the fact that she can.

QUOTE
okay, i'm going home to paint my nails and fix my hair. i'm a wreck


I hope you are being funny. If so, LOL laugh.gif



QUOTE(maddy29 @ Feb 2 2007, 09:36 PM) *

GGG-my ? to you would be-why do you wear mini skirts? tight shirts? etc. Not saying it's bad, but asking why? I think sometimes this stuff is sooo firmly entrenched in us that we can think we are "just doing it for ourselves" but in reality that's not totally true.


I am doing it for myself. I love fashion. I love clothes. One day a miniskirt, one day a skirt to my ankles, depends on my mood.

I am 31. I have no interest in attracting men.
maddy29
gah, why do i even bother???
greenbean
What do mean "why do i even bother?"
I think you can only be happy Maddy when everyone agrees with you. Sorry, discussions dont work that way. You asked ggg questions, she answered them. What did you expect?

I love your post rudderless! Thats totally what I was thinking too, every girl is hot and sexy to someone. Where is the line drawn between "naturally" sexy or "alternative" sexy and "brainwashed by the patriarchy" sexy?
mornington
*delurks*

I have to agree with greenbean, there is no clear line between the different view of sexy. Some of the most beautiful - and yes, sexy - women I have known wore the hejab (veil) and even the jelabir. I think that Dolly Parton is gorgeous, but I wouldn't want to look like her. Everyone has different opinions.

It is possible, imo, to dress for yourself. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't - I won't deny that I dress up for a date or an interview like so many others. Just because GGG's chosen clothes happen to fall in with what is considered "sexy by the patriarchy" doesn't automatically disqualify her from dressing for herself - or from being a feminist. There shouldn't be a sense of shame in how anyone dresses, as long as they are happy with it and choose to dress that way.


faerietails
I was taking a body politics class last semester. The notion was brought up that nothing any of us does is truly "for ourselves," and I'd have to agree. Every single thing--whether it's wearing makeup or not, shaving or not, wearing long skirts or mini-skirts, even our personalities--is because of our interactions and influences from society.

So Maddy, in that sense, yes, perhaps ggg (and me too, on occasion!) is wearing minis and tight shirts because it's been so deeply entrenched in our psyches. But by that same token, so is every single thing you do. And think. And wear. It's really patronizing when you keep pushing everyone to get this epiphany that the patriarchy has molded us. We're all having an intelligent discussion here, so it's not like the makeup-wearing crowd is completely oblivious to The Man. I think we all acknowledge it, and when it comes down to it, we really do just like what we like.

Re: Dolly Parton
I remember seeing this interview where she said that she grew up really poor in the mountains, and everyone was just really plain and working-class. She was just a kid and would see these drag queens and think that they were the most beautiful, glamorous women she'd ever lay eyes on. So when she began getting famous, she just modeled herself on this perception of what glamour was.

EDIT: I found this interview of Dolly talking a little bit about her drag queen love.
nickclick
QUOTE(girlygirlgag @ Feb 2 2007, 04:44 PM) *

I hope you are being funny. If so, LOL laugh.gif


oh yes. trying to lighten the mood. of course we all pretty ourselves up for fun, and are conscious about how we look to other people. it just i know quite a few women who don't dress for themselves out of insecurity. i'm not convinced every woman is creative and forward-thinking about what she wears. but of course i also agree that i shouldn't be critical of other's choices.

how we look isn't the #1 feminist concern for sure. but since how women look is a big concern in our society, it is certainly worthy of our discussion, as feminists.

rudderless, i like your point about making your intentions clear for children over whom your image and actions has influence. but you're all right that we don't have to explain ourselves to the general public.
aviatrix
what if you don't have a child? are you then tethered to the idea of other children, or women? do you ever have a choice that is yours to make? i all for examining choices, but i think that is something internal. yes, the patriarchy has something to do with it, but when does that choice become mine and not some sort of hoo-doo trance put on me? when can it be just cos i want to? because it appeals to me? or is it always patriarchy if it happens to go with stereotypical ideas of femininty?
greenbean
Nickclick, I agree some girls/women get gussied up because they are insecure about their personality, but why should that be of our concern? Is it because they make the rest of us look bad? I think they make the rest of us look good! I love being the only tomboy in a room full of vapid Paris-ites,.. gets me attention from the right people, and no attention from the people I can't stand anyway!

I do appriciate your dialog, Nickclick, I do think its worth discussing, but I'm wondering this:
It seems that the feminist point of view regarding this issue is, "If you are naturally pretty you can still be a feminist as long as you dont flaunt your looks,..and if you do choose to look like a sex-bomb its ok as long as you are naturally not the female ideal"... is that how it goes? I know you yourself like Beth Ditto, and she wears gobs of eyeliner and shows lots of skin,..but perhaps because shes fat and lesbian she is excluded from feminist judgement?

When I want to look sexy I wear a tight t-shirt and no bra. Yet, I dont feel like I'm society's ideal of sexy, cuz I'm a AA cup, and I feel more sexy because of that. I'm sending the message of "yup, I'm flat, but that dont mean I'm asexual!"

To take a stab at nickclick's question "how are we going to help create a place where women aren't judged by that particular set of standards when women use those standards to allow an otherwise ignorant majority see those true talents?" Well, by talking about women positively more often. Like if a friend of mine makes a joke about Dolly Parton's boobs, I'd say "did you know she writes all her songs?" or something like that.

Rudderless, you brought up a good point about your daughters, and I think thats what it all boils down to, non? What are we respresenting to our children (and children at large) about what it means to be a woman?
I'd say it starts with how we raise children. For instance, my mother told me that when I was a baby she and my father decided that they would never compliment me on my looks, because they didnt want it to be a concern of mine. They told me I was smart, good, talented and funny, but never beautiful. They were also careful about how they talked about women in front of me. I remember once when my mom was drinking with some friends, I over heard her make a catty remark about another womans looks. When she noticed that I heard, she quickly said "but I do think shes very intellegent and thats more important" Save! If I were a mother I'd be the same way.

anyway, if we dont want to have children, then yeah, who cares?
aviatrix
my turn to ask the question: 'why do i even bother?"
roseviolet
Faerietails, I really appreciated your post. Humans are social creatures and it is perfectly natural for us to dress in ways that send a message to society. The message also reaffirms to us who we are and what we want. It's nearly impossible to avoid it. Even people who dress modestly are at least partly motivated to do so by how they think they might be percieved by others. The only time we can truly dress "for ourselves" is when we're sure we won't be seen by any other human beings. But even then, the clothes we wear can send a message to ourselves.

I think that we are not just wearing clothes, but costumes - costumes that suit the role that we play in society. And forgive me for paraphrasing Shakespeare here, but we each play many roles throughout our lives. In fact, you can play multiple roles during a single day. In the morning I may put on a nice suit for a job interview. To the interviewer's eyes, I will seem more appropriate for a professional job because I am wearing the costume of a person in that position; my chances for getting that job are better if I wear a suit than if I showed up in jeans and a t-shirt. But the costume works for me as well because I simply feel more professional in a suit. It boosts my confidence, which makes me perform better during the job interview which (again) increases my chances for getting the job. The costume has a psychological impact on me as well as the interviewer. Later that night, I may put on a sexy silk nightgown before crawling into bed with my husband. The sight of me in that costume may arouse my husband, but just wearing the gown - looking at myself in the mirror and seeing how the fabric drapes on me - makes me feel sexier. Makes me act sexier. And frankly, it can result in a more gratifying sexual experience for me.

So how do we know exactly where the external influence begins and when it becomes internal influence? By living in society, you cannot escape the impact of that society's roles and expectations. It's a vicious cycle.
raisingirl
I love this thread and am glad to see its revival (grazie, Tesao. Mwah!).

Will be back after I've done some reading...
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(maddy29 @ Feb 2 2007, 09:49 PM) *

gah, why do i even bother???



Grow up. Seriously.
maddy29
Fuck off. Seriously.
girlygirlgag
Edited and taken tot he argument thread, for good measure.
nickclick
is this a good place to discuss this article ?
Media gone wild, Girls are bombarded with sexual messages, study says
LoveMyPugs
nickclick -

I just posted something about the Bratz dolls in the WTF thread. Those dolls are gross. I posted some links to their pictures. You should check it out.

I just finished reading the article you posted and it makes me sad for young girls. If I have a daughter I'm going to try very hard to protect her from that kind of shit in the media.
rantrave88
hey everybody!

Hi GGG! you rule!

i remember this thread when people were getting mad at male posters for posting on bust!

anyways, in the spirit of all that, I deem the construct and word "patriarchy" to be deeply problematic and outdated! It is 2007, guys, (yeah, I said guys, and I'm okay with using gendered language in alternate gendered situations)!

My point is that I believe there to be too much focus on the male gaze, and not enough shift to the wonderful performative powers of femme "ie the pretty girl"

I think Femme, whether it be lesbian, or trans, or just a sorority girl at the bar is pretty complex and hard to discuss in terms of "feminist" or "not."

The "patriarchy" says a lot of things. The "patriarchy" says that I should call myself a woman and not anything else because i was born with a vagina. The "patriarchy" deems gender and sexuality material and not philosphical, and most importantly, doesn't allow for possibilities.

I am ALL about possibilities! And I believe that gender expression does not always have to be discussed in terms of pop culture iconography. I don' t think we are giving women and femmes enough credit for being media-savvy and understanding that we are constantly being manipulated. Regardless if you are in an ivory tower or not, just growing up with electronic and/or print media in your environment allows you to understand over time (even just subconsciously) that you are affected to some degree.

i lurve Dolly Parton. I don't believe that "patriarchy" is the only thing that told us to wear big tits and big makeup. Femme adornment has a history that has to do with lots of different gazes, not just horny hetero men. I think that needs to be taken into context when we look at women dressing up today.

And this "male gaze" outside of film theory is not one-dimentional! We have all kinds of males and men and masculinity. Pop culture just tends to be more binary-oriented because that's how spectacle works--with clear-cut, black and white constructs.

In conclusion, I would like to say: Roseviolet, I loved your post about costumes! I agree!




girltrouble

well, i'd like to agree with you, and i guess in someways that i do, but disgarding patriarchy because it's outdated?

the trendyness of a word is kind of irrelevant, if it accurately describes words in a consise way. i think of patriarchy as a shortcut. without it you end up using a feew sentances to get to the same meaning as one word. patriarchy hasn't outlived it's usefulness by a longshot.

that said, i think i know what you are getting at. it's been discussed a lot here lately. you want to move away from a constrictive definition of feminism. (although you phrased it in terms of the patriarchy). the problem with that is that it falls in to the right wing trap of absolving the patriarchy. it's a neat trick, and an easy one to fall into. but the problem isn't the word patriarchy, it's an old, antiquated, fixed idea of feminism.

i think that is one of the reasons that some younger women are afraid of calling themselves feminists-- they equate it not with what feminism has become-- an evolving idea of gender equality as a benefit to society-- both men and women. republicans tend to promote that old concept in language, using terms like "feminazi" to recall a man-hating feminism that hasn't existed for decades. it's to their advantage-- it's just another way that they use fear. they ignore the fact that feminism has been evolving from the start. it's incorperated different classes, cultures, racial and gender identities. but that 'focus on the male gaze' (a hilarously smart turn of phrase, btw) is still needed as long as it is men still in power.

femme identity, is, to my mind, the next thing that needs to be seriously incorperated into that gender equality ethos. i posted something in another thread talking about a cableshow here in seattle that was talking about femme identity, and femme resistance. it's a concept that comes from the dyke community, where there is often a butch/femme dichotomy in dating. as long as there has been a butch identity in the dyke community there has been one for femmes. for long stretches femmes were either, bimbos or traitors. but for some time there has been a new undertanding of femme strength, and the ways a femme identity uses and flexes it's power. sadly most times power is viewed only thru a prism of masculinity. but femme power is just as potent. it's just that most people are unaccustomed to viewing and calling that power.

one of the people on that cable show made this illustration:
"now, if i got a flat tire, which takes more intellegence? to change the tire myself, or to charm someone into doing it for me? the end result is the same. it's just a different kind of energy used to get the job done each way."

there was an illustration about femme resistance talking about when a butch would get in an alteration with a straight male. the femme would interceed using her femininity to defuse the anger in the situation. in that case the femme power is stronger than the masculine.

i agree that it is useful to have a view that is complex rather than one that is simple. bianaries are such a typically western way of thinking. and i think there is more than enough room in that evolving idea of feminism. it'd be another way that feminism is-- and has-- moved away from it being a movement of middle class white women to one that is inclusive of all types of women and men who believe in the equality of the sexes.

nohope
QUOTE(maddy29 @ Feb 2 2007, 09:36 PM) *

i think that it can be useful to examine WHY we choose the things we do. If I'm doing something that the patriarchy approves of, I'm sure as hell going to check that out.

GGG-my ? to you would be-why do you wear mini skirts? tight shirts? etc. Not saying it's bad, but asking why? I think sometimes this stuff is sooo firmly entrenched in us that we can think we are "just doing it for ourselves" but in reality that's not totally true.

rudderless makes some great points-really nice. i don't think it's just the effort involved, although that's part of it. To me, when a feminist gets a boob job, she is capitulating to the pressures of society. Does that make her not a feminist? Of course not, as long as she believes in equality and all that good stuff. However, she should be aware that she is capitulating. She should NOT try to pass this off as a "feminist" act.

My main problem is when people try to defend their actions by calling them feminist. hey, we all choose our battles-just don't call it feminist...i mean, if you like watching mainstream porn, fine, but don't say it's a feminist act. Doesn't mean YOU aren't a feminist, but don't try to say oh it's feminist because it's ME doing what I want. That's what bugs me a lot.

Again, I really don't care what individuals do, for the most part, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else. ANd I do think we have to take responsibility for the part that we, as women, as feminists, play, when we strengthen gender roles, etc. It's not about feeling shamed of our bodies, or the feminist rules, or anything like that. It's being aware of how your personal choices can effect others.

Now, that being said, I DON'T think this is anywhere near the most important issue in feminism, far from it. There is clearly tons and tons of big stuff that is WAY more important. But I get frustrated when I see people saying "Oh this is feminist, because I'm a feminist, and I'm doing it." That doesn't make it feminist! A feminist posing for playboy is not a feminist act-it's just a woman posing for playboy. I get tired of the excuses....
exactly. exactly! Not blaming us as individual women, trying to make choices in a world where we are constantly being pressured to be this or that....but blaming patriarchy for forcing us into these stupid choices.


maddy29- you are a lonely voice or reason in the wilderness
girltrouble

lol... is that your attempt at contributing to a conversation, no hope?
looktothehills
The excuse of the male dominated precedent only goes so far in today's society. Women in many ways voluntarily "subject" themselves to many of the expectations of beauty and behavior laid before them, not just to be appealing to the opposite sex, but also for the acceptance of other women and essentially for their own self confidence. It isn't because we "need" a man, or must "place" ourselves socially. It's self ritual, it's female bonding, AND it's sex-appeal hype. Patriarchy may have started a lot of it, but it has absolutely become a woman's prerogative.
nohope
QUOTE(looktothehills @ Mar 17 2007, 04:29 AM) *

The excuse of the male dominated precedent only goes so far in today's society. Women in many ways voluntarily "subject" themselves to many of the expectations of beauty and behavior laid before them, not just to be appealing to the opposite sex, but also for the acceptance of other women and essentially for their own self confidence. It isn't because we "need" a man, or must "place" ourselves socially. It's self ritual, it's female bonding, AND it's sex-appeal hype. Patriarchy may have started a lot of it, but it has absolutely become a woman's prerogative.


You seem to be saying that the two cannot coexist. However, I would say that Patriarchy is not an “excuse,” a very rightwing way of depicting feminist analysis, but a framework for understanding our actions and choices from a gendered perspective.

That is to say that regardless of whether we believe gender and sex ultimately exist, and I don’t think they do nor do I see a meaningful difference, the rest of the world believes they are very much real and they act accordingly.

Patriarchy is the context upon which the majority of human actions take place.

To say patriarchy no longer exist or that it is no longer relevant is to view the world through blinders.

And once we accept those blinders, certainly every action will look as if it is freely chosen.
lapis
Hi. I haven't posted here before but have wanted to--and it's daunting because there's a thick conversation going on here--so I apologize for not being complete in my analysis. My question lines up with some of the critiques of patriarchy here. Basically, I worry about patriarchy as this omnipotent and totalizing term--I wonder if society assigns patriarchy too much power as this force that defines beauty. I just wonder if before patriarchy (like in primitive matriarchal societies with fertility goddesses and such) if there were gendered definitions of beauty that have been absorbed into patriarchy. I guess I am just wondering if, like girltrouble has pointed out, there is a space for femininity to have power without seeming completely sanctioned and controlled by the big "P." This is a question for beauty and in bdsm--can the bottom (particularly a femme bottom or girly girl) have power? Is there really no place for conscientious self-definition as stereotypically feminine?

Is there any space for femme-ininity as resistance? I worry that sometimes subverting patriarchy necessarily means denying certain kinds of bodies and getting neutered...
nohope
As I mentioned to Girltrouble in a private discourse we had, I don’t think there is such a thing as "famine power" and "masculine power," there is just Power

Further more what I believe Girltrouble was describing is not power at all but rather coercion. She called it persuasion. But the truth is that those people who would be persuaded are not persuaded because of their inner strength, but rather because of their inner weakness. i.e. what we are talking about is suckers. Now the ability to sucker people is not power…. And to sucker someone is ultimately a form of coercion. And that coercion is made possible because of Patriarchy and the limitations it puts on men as well as women. A rational and stable person would not fall victim.

So is there a place where "feminine power" is considered libratory for women? Sure there is a place. But is being seductive that "feminine power?" I think not. But lets say it is. If so it only exists with in ht confines of patriarchy. With out patriarchy femininity would have no "power." Does that mean it never is libratory for women with in patriarchy? Probably not…. But it does mean that it usually isn’t, no matter how much thought we have put into it.

And the reason is that when we use patriarchal tools to gain feminist ends, we ultimately strengthen and reinforce the patriarchy.

And important distinction here is women and woman. Just because something empowers a female does not mean it empowers all females. The metric for women liberation is does a particular action empower the group. I mean to me that is what makes an action libratory verses repressive.

The means are the ends.

p.s. I find the question is something feminist, to be kind of pointless, be cause feminism has become to fluid an idea to have any meaning. Women’s liberation is at lest a little more precise.

p.p.s. on the subject of Matriarchal societies. There is no real evidence that matriarchal societies ever existed. What we generally call matriarchal is in actuality egalitarian with no one having unearned privilege as a consequence of “gender.”
lapis
Nohope, sounds like, according to your definitions, that power is indeed gendered as it falls under patriarchy, which, again according to you, seems inescapable. There have certainly been matrifocal societies and many people would argue that agriarian societies were egalitarian--maybe not matrifocal--but certainly put a different kind of premium on women's contributions. So, it sounds like, in your schema, women are basically fucked. guess your name is quite fitting. Thanks.
nohope
I guess that depends on ones definition of power. But for me power is the ability to determine ones own destiny. Not the destiny of others, but ones own.

There for from my perspective power is non-gendered. But who has power with in any particular context is a function of the social contract.

If there is such a thing as gender recognized by the social contract, and if that gendered social contract conceives of a male gender among others and if all other genders are subservient to that male gender then what we have is called patriarchy. And under a social contract, in which patriarchy operates, yes non-men exercise less power and there fore have limited ability to determine their own destinies outside of prescribed social norms.

girltrouble

oh, come on, nh. your contention that power is the ability to determine one's own destiny, not the destiny of others, is, honestly, absurd.

when your boss fires you, does he not exert power?

if power is a matter of social contract, then what does a gun do? rewrite the contract?

the social contract doesn't change, but the context does. the social contract doesn't change, but the context does if you know the gun isn't loaded.

i think what you describe in your last para below, is the way we assume that power works, it is the male=gun sort of view, but if someone doesn't abide by the social contract, refuses to play along, or knows that the "gun" isn't loaded/doesnt exist/apply to them, the context changes.

you switch between power and 'coersion' when it suits you. your labeling it as such is a means of changing it's context and meaning. in the story i gave about getting a tire changed, i doubt anyone who is in the slightest bit sane would call flirting with a man to get him to change a tire is coersion. holding a gun to his head, perhaps. using his "dick" to your own advantage? not even close.

as i said in the private email with you nh, i think like many, you confuse sex (what is actually between your legs, or more precisely the organs in your body cavity) and gender (which is more society's perception of your actions) they are not one and the same thing.

this is an important distinction. to make this more clear i think we should talk about this not as male-masculine/female-feminine power dialectic, but rather in terms of a butch/femme one.

because your sex is male does not mean that you are relegated to strictly butch power. you have an option of using any type of power you choose. but because of your socialization as a man, you would more than likely be prone to use butch power. in the same way that in certain situations, women would probably use a more femme power. there is certainly a difference between because when you say that there is not male or female power there is simply power, i think you are putting on those same blinders that you spoke about in one of your posts. my story is asking, is there a means of using femme power as a form of resistance to patriarchy? i say yes. now you may not be aware of the kinds/forms of femme power, other than the most blatant, because of the "sea" you swim in. it's similar to the way that white people aren't always aware of white culture because they don't know anything else. but the reason i talked about femme power in the context of dyke communities is because in that context male and female power-- as you put it-- is removed from a body attached view. that is not to say there is not sexism, misogeny, or any other hatred in that community, but rather simply it is a different M.O. for women to exert or exercize power absent of it being attached to maleness specifically.

despite your need to relabel it coersion, i think there is very much a case to be made for femme power as resistance.
mornington
*applaudes*

i've seen guys use thier looks/whatever to get girls to do thier cooking/work/sew on a button - is that coersion? there's no threat involved (which is how i'd define coersion). I'd also say it falls into being "femme" behaviour. Putting it into butch/femme classes actually makes a lot of sense; while they are echoes of what could be considered stereotypically male/female behaviours, they effectively remove sex from the equation.
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Mar 19 2007, 02:10 AM) *


oh, come on, nh. your contention that power is the ability to determine one's own destiny, not the destiny of others, is, honestly, absurd.

when your boss fires you, does he not exert power?

if power is a matter of social contract, then what does a gun do? rewrite the contract?

the social contract doesn't change, but the context does. the social contract doesn't change, but the context does if you know the gun isn't loaded.

i think what you describe in your last para below, is the way we assume that power works, it is the male=gun sort of view, but if someone doesn't abide by the social contract, refuses to play along, or knows that the "gun" isn't loaded/doesnt exist/apply to them, the context changes.

you switch between power and 'coersion' when it suits you. your labeling it as such is a means of changing it's context and meaning. in the story i gave about getting a tire changed, i doubt anyone who is in the slightest bit sane would call flirting with a man to get him to change a tire is coersion. holding a gun to his head, perhaps. using his "dick" to your own advantage? not even close.

as i said in the private email with you nh, i think like many, you confuse sex (what is actually between your legs, or more precisely the organs in your body cavity) and gender (which is more society's perception of your actions) they are not one and the same thing.

this is an important distinction. to make this more clear i think we should talk about this not as male-masculine/female-feminine power dialectic, but rather in terms of a butch/femme one.

because your sex is male does not mean that you are relegated to strictly butch power. you have an option of using any type of power you choose. but because of your socialization as a man, you would more than likely be prone to use butch power. in the same way that in certain situations, women would probably use a more femme power. there is certainly a difference between because when you say that there is not male or female power there is simply power, i think you are putting on those same blinders that you spoke about in one of your posts. my story is asking, is there a means of using femme power as a form of resistance to patriarchy? i say yes. now you may not be aware of the kinds/forms of femme power, other than the most blatant, because of the "sea" you swim in. it's similar to the way that white people aren't always aware of white culture because they don't know anything else. but the reason i talked about femme power in the context of dyke communities is because in that context male and female power-- as you put it-- is removed from a body attached view. that is not to say there is not sexism, misogeny, or any other hatred in that community, but rather simply it is a different M.O. for women to exert or exercize power absent of it being attached to maleness specifically.

despite your need to relabel it coersion, i think there is very much a case to be made for femme power as resistance.





Silly GT, nohope is here to guide us all to being "good feminists".
girltrouble
QUOTE
I'd also say it falls into being "femme" behaviour. Putting it into butch/femme classes actually makes a lot of sense; while they are echoes of what could be considered stereotypically male/female behaviours, they effectively remove sex from the equation.


i think the problem-- and it was some feminist high-femme dykes that pointed this out--- is that the wider culture AND feminist circles think of that femme power as weakness, or lack of power, but it is far from it. and i think that feminists need to take a look at that, examine it. the other way of thinking, that there is only male power and that it neutralizes all other power, is sexist. i think feminism will/has/should move in that direction.
mornington
i think we're getting at the same point; femme power, when practiced by a man, is considered "powerful", but when it's practiced by a woman, it becomes weakness. I don't think it should be; power in itself is gender-neutral - it's the way we look at it that imbues it with gender (and then relegates femme power to weakness). We need to rid ourselves of the idea of splitting power into male/female roles.
girltrouble

i understand what you're saying, mornington, but that is not what i'm getting at, but it illustrates what i am trying to say, if you follow me. but i am coming from this place of specifically gendered power. as i said, gender is different, distinct from sex. remember i am talking about different ways of operating even with people of the same gender: i.e. dykes. among dykes male/female isn't a real dynamic. a woman who is a butch is not male, but very much female, but the kind of power she uses is butch. the flip side of which is femme. so we are NOT talking about male/female but rather BUTCH/FEMME. it may seem a quibble, but the reason this is so important, is that even when we are talking about an all female population, the tendancy is to discount femme power in favor of butch power. and this is what i am getting at: feminism, much like the patriarchy is in the habit of erasing/discounting/erasing femme avenues of power.

does that make sense?

if you say sex neutral, i'd agree with you, but to posit that all forms of power are gender neutral is to erase the femme in the equation by virtue of how we usually frame/view power. femme power isn't considered "powerful" when practiced by men. it's simply not thought of as power. its that same over arching thing that gives women no alternative avenue of resistance/power under patriarchy. there is only one way of exerting power, and to use my terminology it is butch. there is no space for the femme. that is why this line of thought is emerging from the femme dyke community. it is one of specifically femme power where a new, younger population of femme dykes are asserting their power and strength.
nohope
Girltrouble- I don’t think we can ignore that sex is a gendered concept in it’s own right. That male and female are not objective, empirical absolutes, but rather are categories in which people who are born with an infinite range of genital variance and even chromosomal complexity are sorted.


That this sorting is culturally subjective. To substitute male and female or feminine and masculine with butch and femme dose not in my mind simplify the questions we are raising but actually complicate them even more.

Society dose not for instance ask is this new born femme or butch. But if they did, they would still assign sex according to those categories.

Butch itself raises even more problematic issues in that, from my experience at least, Butch is a tem which caries with it an intrinsic femme element. To call a man in other words a butch is to challenge his masculinity. It says even though you have many of the markers of masculinity, under it all you are surprising a femme proclivity.

So which means that in a range of power categorized form the most masculine to the most feminine, butch lays somewhere in the femme power field.

Off course mornington points out that this is very problematic.

A man can do what ever he use whatever form of coercion he wants to assert his authority and gain a power advantage. Whether that is brute force or seduction.

A woman on the other hand is limited by the very definition of women. Women and femininity as defined with in patriarchy are repressive. Which is the whole point of expanding what it means to be both femme and butch or whatever.

When we use words like Butch and femme to categorize human potential we limit the ability of men and women to fully express themselves. Because these categories reinforce hetero-normative power structures.

It’s hard enough to stop thinking of our selves in polarizing gendered terms. It’s hard enough to try to reconceptualize what it means to be human with out one more piece of baggage walling in our minds.

How does conserving of the world as Butch and femme help me be a whole person? How dose that lead me to a unified gender theory in which my genital variation no longer becomes a social expectation.

Butch and femme to me are just one more prisons of the mind.

And feminism vs. patriarchy? Feminism is a product, a reaction to patriarchy. They are inseparably liked.

To say that feminism is in the “habit of erasing/discounting/erasing femme avenues of power.” Doesn’t address why. The why is your own fault? You are erasing femme power but moving one type of power out of the femme ledger and into the butch ledger. That is a choice you are making.

Once we accept power as gender neutral we can simply talk about what works when how best. Men do not have power in patriarchy because we value “butch power” more than “femme power.” Men are in power because they use effective strategies to subjugate women. Women need to be able to use those same strategies with out having to have their gender challenged by being categorized as “butch.” Similarly men need to be able to relinquish domination strategies with out being label femme.

The line of reasoning you are taking us down will never get us there. In fact it will never value women’s contributions beyond some narrow archetypal norm. Femme is just another prison for every woman who want to free to not have her every action categorized and held against her by thought who believe a women can only be one thing.

My fear is that many third wave gender theories will be and are twisted by the out side world, turning feminist analyses against women.
girltrouble

*beats her head against a wall*
argh!

did you read ANYTHING THAT I WROTE?

back to the basics:
there are three componants of human sexuality: sex, sexuality and gender or SSG.
contrary to what most people think, these three componants are SEPARATE. they are non-interchangeable, as each deals with a different area.
sex is strictly biological, having to do with one's body. but even this is not as simple as most take for granted. even on an genetic level, there isn't just xx or xy but xxy as well. essentually, while sex may seem like it is either male or female, this is an illusion. human sex is more a matter of addition rather than either/or. professor of sociology ken plummer says "biologists can classify the hormonal, chromosomal and reproductive differences."

sexuality: this one is just as complex, but pop-culturally is much less simplistic. but it is more accurately called 'sexual orientation.' since this is the least germane to what we are talking about, i will leave it at that.

gender: contrary to what we have been told about this, gender is NOT THE SAME THING AS SEX. gender is very much a social construct and changes with time, culture and location. what may be very "masculine" may be considered very "feminine" in another culture, or even in the same culture. to prove my point, if you go back before the 1900s, the color blue, as an eg, was actually considered a color than indicated femininity. so. gender is a shifting social construct that while it insinuates sex, is much more slippery. a man may be quite "feminine" but his sex, all the same is male. think about it this way: gender is more like a frame. it is a border to tell you how to value what it holds. or think about gender in different languages. a ship is a she. it has no sex organs, but it is she because of a cultural perception. in the same way, i am to all appearances female gendered, but because i have not had "the big operation" my sex is male. that is the sex and the gender, sexual orentation is who i am attracted to, which in my case is females. so am i gay? am i straight? it depends on if you want to classify my orientation by my gender or sex. so can you see why there is the need for a difference, yet?

now, that said, your opening para is not quite correct. to be accurate, sex isn't gendered, gender is sexed. the difference is one of imposition. and while sex may be way more categories than we normally perceve, it is quite concrete and can be tested. gender changes. sex is objective. gender is all appearances and socital consensus.

QUOTE
That this sorting is culturally subjective. To substitute male and female or feminine and masculine with butch and femme dose not in my mind simplify the questions we are raising but actually complicate them even more.

the point, as i said before is to remove it from a context of patriarical system of man vs. woman which is more sex based rather than gender. if it complicates it or makes it more difficult, i suggest that you re-read my posts until it makes sense to you. but there is a method to the madness. it is crucial for the point i am trying to make.
QUOTE
Society dose not for instance ask is this new born femme or butch. But if they did, they would still assign sex according to those categories.

*sigh.*
exactly. this is NOT ABOUT SEX, IT IS ABOUT GENDER. your illustration above is you confusing the terms sex with gender. the societal perception of an action, or power is gender. for my point, there needs to be a disticntion between the two. we are talking not about what is between your legs, to be blunt, but rather cultural and sociatal perceptions of action, and their perceived gender that results in what we are labeling power.
QUOTE
Butch is a tem which caries with it an intrinsic femme element. To call a man in other words a butch is to challenge his masculinity.

butch carries no such intrinsic femme element. if any woman said a man is butch, i doubt the man would bat an eye, but would rather take it to mean he is very masculine. indeed, even in the gay community, a butch is not in any way femme, but rather an extreme of masculinity.

QUOTE
When we use words like Butch and femme to categorize human potential we limit the ability of men and women to fully express themselves. Because these categories reinforce hetero-normative power structures.

yes, i'd agree with you, IF, we were talking about sex, but as i said, GENDER IS NOT THE SAME THING AS SEX. a man can quite easily be a femme. and just as easily a female can be quite butch. it is only a limitation be cause your "hetero normative" culture puts those restrictions on it, and tells you that sex and gender are for some reason bound/the same thing. THEY ARE NOT. but the subject at hand is femme power as an alternate/means of resistance to the patriarchy. we can wish for a system that is non patriarical, but that isn't gonna happen tomorrow. but again, i think you are conflating sex with gender after all, the category of butch dyke is not a reinforcement of the hetero-normative, since that system says that only men can exercize a masculine power. a butch woman is a troubling of those waters. it is only seen as a limitation, if you bind butch with maleness, and femme with femaleness. neither is mutually exclusive.

as for the point that you make for mornington's post, you miss my point. i am talking about power in a subcultural context first (queer communities), before we talk about it in we wider (patriarical, american) culture.
QUOTE
To say that feminism is in the “habit of erasing/discounting/erasing femme avenues of power.” Doesn’t address why. The why is your own fault? You are erasing femme power but moving one type of power out of the femme ledger and into the butch ledger. That is a choice you are making.
how? how am i erasing femme power? again you conflate sex with gender.

QUOTE
Once we accept power as gender neutral we can simply talk about what works when how best.
power is not gender neutral. it is sex neutral. there is a difference.
QUOTE
Men do not have power in patriarchy because we value “butch power” more than “femme power.” Men are in power because they use effective strategies to subjugate women.
wrong. one of the strategies that men use is to minimize/erase/discount and dismiss the contributions of women. much as you are doing here. it is obvious that women are not paid the same, but their contribution is erased, as is a counter means of power or means of resistance. in many ways feminism played into this with many of the tactics of the 70's-- ie saying that the only way to be free of the patriarchy is to be without sex or to be blind to sex (sound familiar?) it's exactly what your are proposing now. it's nothing new. it's the thing that said that both butches and femmes in the dyke communities were traitors to the patriarchy, and women could not date men, or wear makeup, or skirts, and on and on and on. tried, failed, crash and burn.
QUOTE
Women need to be able to use those same strategies with out having to have their gender challenged by being categorized as “butch.” Similarly men need to be able to relinquish domination strategies with out being label femme.
lol. you're telling me what? is that supposed to be something i don't know? i want to agree, but i don't think the solution is to be without labels, but rather, without stigma. i think what you are proposing is similar to repulicans saying they "don't see race" when talking about affirmative action. it should be nice, but it ends up being something that benefits white people. in the same way what you propose benefits men/patriarchy, because it says that if you examine femininity, or see it then you are submitting to the patriarchy or hetero normative systems. as i said above. i reject that. i think any human being can use either butch or femme or other forms of power at any time, they are not bound by one or the other by their sex. gender power, again, is not bound by sex.

QUOTE
[your] line of reasoning ...will never value women’s contributions beyond some narrow archetypal norm. Femme is just another prison for every woman who want to free to not have her every action categorized and held against her by thought who believe a women can only be one thing.
*eye roll* no. to the contrary. i am not suggesting that because your sex is female you must/can only operate withing a femme power mode. it is simply an option. i think you are projecting here. trust me, i am more than comfortable with very butch women. i admire them just as much as femmes. my community is composed mainly of seattle's dykes and f2ms. i am familiar with more gender identities on the gender spectrum than you can shake a stick at. i could never, would never talk about this in some sort of restrictive manner. i want to talk about this, because this is something that is rarely discussed. there are umpteen books about female masculinity, and seeing as we live in a patriarchy we are all too familiar with male power. but looking at femme power, femme identities is something that is not often discussed/delved into. in many feminist circles there is still a bit of a taboo about it. older feminists have a hard time with "girl culture," to say that femme identities and femme power are erased/omitted/discounted/rejected is not an over statement. and i for one don't know why it's such a scary thing.
one more time everyone, SEX DOES NOT EQUAL GENDER.

i am interested in femme power. i feel it's been shunned/neglected/erased from feminist theory, and while we know all kinds of things about male power, feminists are just now starting to explore femme power, after having neglected and shuned it for decades and having been introduced to it, i want to poke and prod it. but please don't tell me that we need to go beyond gender. for all your rah-de-rah talk, i've got walk. i live this. this isn't some cute intellectual, hypothetical, academic exercize for me. i've lived years between genders. i've been a boy, and i live as a woman. if you choose to go that route you talk so much about, eshewing "the patriarchy, gender, and "hetro-normality," please do. i'd love to see people put their money where there mouth is when they talk about living outside the bounds of gender/sex. but, as one who doesn't exactly fit into sex or gender roles, and is hardly "hetero-normative", i think you will find it more difficult than you think.

mornington
gt, I think I'm just several steps behind you; I agree with what you're saying, but I'm still trying to fit it into my head and world-view (i'd define myself as a heteronormative straight girl, as are most of my friends; ergo my community doesn't have the wide range of genders yours does).

give me a few hours more. I think I did mean to say sex-neutral. I've got the two twisted round in my mind.
thereshegoes
i've been the "femme" in a relationship with a woman and i've been the "femme" in relationships (but not all) with men. i found it i had more power as a femme with a woman than i have as a femme with men. has anyone else had this experience?
girlygirlgag
QUOTE(thereshegoes @ Mar 20 2007, 01:31 PM) *

i've been the "femme" in a relationship with a woman and i've been the "femme" in relationships (but not all) with men. i found it i had more power as a femme with a woman than i have as a femme with men. has anyone else had this experience?



Hmm. I guess I have been in my relationship for such a long time, those areas are pretty grayed by now. I'm a "femme" woman, I like clothes, (all kinds) I have long hair and wear make up. But I am also pretty physical, I have been known to through a few punches (not at my honey, but I did knock a guy out for being a threatening, invasive, pervert a few months ago), I don't shrink at "creepy" things, (I kill spiders with my bare hands and catch snakes to chase the kids around with for fun), etc.

But, I feel the power struggle in my relationship has more to do with personality than with roles? He is a control freak with everything, I am not. That is our biggest problem. He can't do change, or I have to ease him inot it, so that is where he holds the power.... I am rambling.
girltrouble

s'ok. mornington, i read lots of books on SSG, and it wasn't until i read a book about crossdressing that described their activity as "male femaling", and insisted on a separation between sex and gender, and explained the difference clearly, that i started to really get it. (male/sex, femaling/gender)it doesn't really help that words like feminine, female/male masculine can be used for sex and gender.


as for shegoes' question, i'll pipe in on that a bit later. i gotta get going.


maddy29
QUOTE
I did knock a guy out for being a threatening, invasive, pervert a few months ago


Love this!!!! smile.gif Heh heh smile.gif



girlygirlgag
QUOTE(maddy29 @ Mar 20 2007, 02:41 PM) *

Love this!!!! smile.gif Heh heh smile.gif



hehehe

I saw him when I was leaving and yelled " Hey Asshole, you got beat up by a girl!"
maddy29
Even better! Hee hee smile.gif

I had a dream the other night, it was so vivid-and I was screaming at these guys who were harassing me on the street-so satisfying! In real life I'm usually like "huh? What?" and then 5 minutes later "fuck you!"

nohope
“did you read ANYTHING THAT I WROTE?”

girltrouble

I did read everything you wrote and I understand the theory your are articulating. You articulate it very well.

You also made me rethink my position of what I include under the label “power” I think I was way to limiting.

However, I beg to differ with you on the question of whether “flirting with a man to get him to change a tire is coercion.” I think it is and I hope I can do so without being labeled “insane.”

Regarding whether sex is gendered or gender is sexed. Even with your fervent articulation on how sex and gender are fundamentally different, I still have to beg that you allow me to disagree with you.

I believe that to conflate the two is warranted and backed up by Judith Butler, who challenged this idea in her book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity which she fallowed up with Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex."

Ultimate I think our disagreement is predicated on an even deeper level than what we have been discussing. Namely how we know the world. Does language simple describe the world we see? Or is it irreversibly interwoven to the point that it creates as much as describes reality.

I fall in to the school of thought that thinks language creates as much if not more than it describes. That the human brain is constructed to not just make sense of patterns that indeed exist but to actually perceive patterns when non exist.

That, if I am right, and then it is not just sex that is culturally constructed but all of perception. Which does not mean that everything is subjective and that we can’t know anything. But simply that what we do know has limits and that when we speak we speak and understand the world via ideas which have no basic foundation in reality and are not even necessary for reproduction.


lapis
I think language is crap, and that's the main flaw in all of Butler's work--that's what she gives primacy to language over bodies, desires, and really power. By aligning sex/gender along the whole linguistics framework, she takes the material and essential possibilities away from bodies. Regardless of what she does in bodies that matter (because it's a weak apology for her previous stuff) it's all play and performance. I prefer models like Volatile Bodies, Foucault, and feminine polymorphous perversity that look at the inside and outside and moving back and forth and models that emphasize desire, basically more psychoanalytic concepts than Butler. I think she does total injustice to real peoples' embodied experiences and to the experience of sex/gender/sexuality because it's more than language--it's embodied practices. And these things are an interplay of projection, imagination and lived experience. And sorry, but patriarchy's just a word among many words--and doesn't really help you to get into the systems of power operating around these things.

I think patriarchy's real strength has been to enslave aspects of nature (like reproduction) and to connect some social forces and make it look like it owns those things--healthy women were hot before the fabrication of patriarchy. and so now, to be a healthy hot women looks like some kind of coersion. To pretend that it dictates aesthetics or power is just falling into its trap. Beauty and power existed before patriarchy and I think it's our jobs to disentagle patriarchy's bullshit from individual desires and maybe even some symbolic meanings. But patriarchy's just a creation of the industrial revolution (in my opinion) to keep men working and women making babies.
greenbean
Ha! GGG, its fun to beat-up boys, huh? I once clobbered this kid that was acting fresh with me.... I did it in a girly way though! (I punched him in the neck instead of the face cuz I didn't want to hurt my hand!)

Femme power is something I am very curious about. As feminists I think we feel like we often feel like power only comes in Butch form, and that we should try and be Butch. But then sometimes being Butch means exploiting those who are Femme....so then does it become unfeminist?

I mean, I struggle with this question in my line of work. Working for a woman-owned company, with a mostly female administrative and production staff (that are all brilliant and driven) feels pretty feminist...but we are in the business of glorifing the kind of femininity that we (most of the staff) don't even exhibit ourselves! We laugh about it often, how we are tomboys creating girly-girl products....and I don't know if I should feel bad about it or not. Does that make any sense?

Maddy, since you've read Female Chauvinist Pigs, does it go into women that profit from the fashion and beauty industry,..or is primarily about women who profit off of other women in the sex industry? Just curious if I'd be considered a chauvinist or not tongue.gif
girltrouble


firstly, g3, you are sooooo my hero. that is so awesome! i wanna bust some guy in the snotbox! that sounds fun! (i think it's the domina in me! lol)

bean, i know what you mean, about femme power. that's why i am so interested in it, it seems like something so seldom talked about in feminist circles, and maybe it's me that seems fucked up. but i don't understand something you said. when does being butch mean exploiting femmes? were you refering to your work? and why do you frame that in a butch power pov?

thank you lapis, you said it before i got a chance. i am not a big fan of butler. i find her to be transphobic, albeit in a less shrill way than janice raymond. i am sure she has toned this down, but all the same, to me, she seems to have an ax to grind.

no hope i don't think you could ever convince me that the tire story is coersion. the person is never threatened, which to me is the start of coersion.
QUOTE
Even with your fervent articulation on how sex and gender are fundamentally different, I still have to beg that you allow me to disagree with you.
i find this a bit odd, considering that you just finished saying that my butch/femme as gender is limiting, when what you suggest, binding sex and gender, is infinately more confining. after all, if sex is the same thing as gender, then gender MUST correspond to sex. ie, only females can be feminine, and only males can be masculine. which, i think we can all agree, is absurd.

...which brings me to another quote of lapis'. i loved this:
QUOTE
I think patriarchy's real strength has been to enslave aspects of nature (like reproduction) and to connect some social forces and make it look like it owns those things--healthy women were hot before the fabrication of patriarchy. and so now, to be a healthy hot women looks like some kind of coersion. To pretend that it dictates aesthetics or power is just falling into its trap. Beauty and power existed before patriarchy and I think it's our jobs to disentagle patriarchy's bullshit from individual desires and maybe even some symbolic meanings.
which leads me to this:
your comment, lapis reminded me of what may seem like an odd leap, but i keep coming back to this article i found on line after watching a movie. the subject is postmodern evolutionary theory in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman.' it's helpful but not necc'ry to have seen the movie/read the book to know what they are talking about. what i like best is how it talks about post modern construction, as well as different darwinist narratives. which is what you were refering to. the perception of the un-natural being made to appear natural.

i feel like such a self-indulgent, pretentious ass, writing about theory, but i do love it. i love reading something and not getting it, and then working till i do. brain stretch!

anyways, it's a bit of a read-- 16 pages not all of it relevant. but here are a couple of snippets:
QUOTE
The elements of postmodern thinking that will be most relevant here revolve, as always, around the fundamental critique of metaphysical absolutes of all kinds, a metaphysical absolute being any representation that is taken consciously or unconsciously as entirely self-contained, self-identical, self-present, and therefore outside the realm of culture, history, desire, and ideology...

...In any case, whatever the particular realm in which the critique of metaphysical absolutes occurs, one common outcome is the discovery that absolutes of this kind always function as unconscious anchors for a certain kind of identity. So the critique typically involves two most general results: It reveals that a given absolute is in fact a construction of history, culture, and desire, and it reveals that the construction has been misrecognized as an absolute because a certain self or cultural or sexual identity depends on not seeing the construction as a construction.
the emphasis, underlined and italicized, is mine, but i think you can see how this is relevant to our little conversation, and what lapis was saying about the patriarchy. furthermore
QUOTE
In any case, whatever the particular realm in which the critique of metaphysical absolutes occurs, one common outcome is the discovery that absolutes of this kind always function as unconscious anchors for a certain kind of identity. So the critique typically involves two most general results: It reveals that a given absolute is in fact a construction of history, culture, and desire, and it reveals that the construction has been misrecognized as an absolute because a certain self or cultural or sexual identity depends on not seeing the construction as a construction.



nohope
“after all, if sex is the same thing as gender, then gender MUST correspond to sex. ie, only females can be feminine, and only males can be masculine. Which, I think we can all agree, is absurd.”

I don’t think we can agree that it is absurd. I think that it is true…. And that is precisely why gender/sex must be eliminated.

Only then will we be liberated to be full human beings not tied to any set of gendered expectations. Humans who don't have to look over their shoulder and wonder if they have been assigned the wrong gender, and don’t need to work so hard at changing to another. Because they will be free to do what they want, with whom they want, when they want, and how they want, if they want.

I don't see attempting to create a social contract in which no one bothers to live according to gender roles as anti-trans.

It would be nice to live in a world were the first thought isn't what sex is the baby.

"In any case, whatever the particular realm in which the critique of metaphysical absolutes occurs, one common outcome is the discovery that absolutes of this kind always function as unconscious anchors for a certain kind of identity. So the critique typically involves two most general results: It reveals that a given absolute is in fact a construction of history, culture, and desire, and it reveals that the construction has been misrecognized as an absolute because a certain self or cultural or sexual identity depends on not seeing the construction as a construction."

Your willing to understand this as aplying to patriarchy, but I think it even more so aplies to our conseption of "sex."
greenbean
GT, yeah, I was thinking in regards to business, particulary business that profits off women/girls. I think that when a woman is in a powerful position in the business world, she usually has to be a bit Butch to get there, since business is still a mostly male realm. My boss is a hardass, and exerts her power in a pretty Butch way, which at first glance seems feminist, like, shes just as good at running a business as a man. But, because she is in the business of selling fluff to women, its arguably anti-feminist...or exploitive..obviously I'm very confused!!

Anyway, bottom line, I think its considered a Butch quality to be a shrewd business man/woman...but maybe it shouldn't be, and if not, is there a way for a MAN to be a FEMME businessman? And what would that look like?

ETA: Actually, my sig line answered my own question...it'd look like John Waters! tongue.gif
lapis
I think it's totally sci-fi to think sex/gender have to be eliminated--and it erases people's very real identifications with categories. It doesn't give you anything to work with--I think there can be intentionality, strategic deployment, agency involved--it doesn't have to be taken for granted or set in stone. It can also be expanded--thinking of Sexing the Body by anne fausto sterling is one less theory-headed way of getting at this. And I know too many femme women who use that power (femme dominatrixes, as a cloudy example) and men who use their girlyness in really strong ways--to suggest that we need to throw that out. We need to make space for all kinds of models of identifications-and recognize patriarchy for the bunk that it is. When I get dressed up, put on make-up to accomplish something, to actually work it, it feels wonderful, not coerced, because it is intentional every step of the way. To suggest it's all coersion makes it feel like no one has consciousness--which is really elitist. I mean, do manly men (not just the one who go to men's weekends to jump over fires and roar) have consiousness? Of course, some do. And everybody else, too.

gt, so glad you could get the point and build on it, cause I wasn't sure it made sense--we can't just naturalize the social--and when you fix those categories, there's an implicit desire for something to get stabilized involved--the thing that's probably in danger. Whiteness is an example, perhaps. And I understand, nohope, how something 'natural' like sex seems to deserve that destabilization, too, but I'm not certain that it's as socially constructed and then it also gets kidnapped into the service of the social, and then you start debating things like whether or not global warming exists...

Thanks for this space to think in folks! Yay!
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