D.E. April 20


As I was reading the pieces for this week, I first started by reading Family, Unvalued, after I got through a couple pages I turned to Border (In)Securities where I became aware of the ulterior motive behind Family, Unvalued. Chavez explains that Family, Unvalued uses a strategic homonormative discourse of middle class family values to accomplish a number of objectives that foremost include: introducing the reader to the serious harm that bi national same-sex families endure as a result of current immigration laws; and making recommendations for different bodies of the US gov't on how to remedy the aforementioned problems.(140) More specifically, it's main goal was to pass the Uniting American Families Act, which would change the word "spouse" to "permanent partner." This is problematic because it only allows those reading this piece to view LGBT people through a homonormative lens. As Jackson brought up in class today, I also find the line on pg. 141 interesting..."Although this story involves some queer slippage, as the two scribbled numbers with a drag queen's eyeliner, the transition to their lives in the US quickly reiterates normative narrative as they struggle to provide for their child and do whatever they can to keep their family together." It implies that the slippage was somewhat of an accident. That it would need to be an accident for a man to disclose how him and his partner met if it includes any LGBT reference. Even the mention of the word drag queen, and one might scare off the heteronormative legislatures. Chavez goes onto explain that each bi national LGBT story used in Family, Unvalued is described along traditional notions of the American family. The same questions keep passing through my head, what is normal? Who defines it? Why is it defined? Why are certain people excluded? Chavez goes on to explain how Family, Unvalued fails to address certain groups, those that are underprivileged or not in position to have their voices heard. Unfortunately, Family, Unvalued, had a calculated motive so the issues it presented were exclusionary. Although it touches upon a variety of abstruse issues, it doesn't fully disclose the range of issues at hand.


Alex, I really like your DE. You get right at the heart of the issue in these articles but in particular your questions at the bottom are particularly good:

What is normal/who defines it/why is it defined/why are certain people excluded?

While these are really big questions one of the best answer to them is liberal capitalism. Under the system of liberal capitalism in which we all operate in there are certain prerequisites for citizenship determined by the State (government) that organizes under what is needed for the betterment of society. For instance, the promotion of the heterosexual white middle-class nuclear family. Why are these families in particular valued? They are understood as "ideal" since they can a)reproduce b)afford a house c)are most likely educated d)have a job...etc etc. This being the normalized status quo then issues like immigration, minorities, homosexuals, prostitution, etc all challenge this norm. Difference from this status quo is a state of fact but that doesn't necessarily mean that the people in power are "okay" with it. The first article is a good example of this system since homosexual couples are being packaged for the state as being "normal" or rather as being "good productive citizens." There is a system in place that determines these things whether most people are cognizant of it or not.

I also enjoyed the way this DE laid out questions, and a foundation for those questions. It's interesting to see what others have been curious about in their readings, in contrast to myself. I think the way Annslie responded to those questions is incredibly true and valid, and leads into a more politicized question bringing in issues inherent in a capitalist society.

I recently read a book in which the author stated that, "feminists have gotten everything they wanted, why do they keep bugging us [the general public]?" In many ways, he's right. Women can get an education easier today than in the past, abortion is legalized, women can hold office and cast votes for that office; but as we've discussed there is a deeper reason for the continuation of women's studies and feminism--to be curious. In terms of feminism and capitalism, I keep wondering the basic question; are the two compatible? I can't seem to stick to an answer on that one, but it all comes down to issues of worth. Who is worth it? Who is worthy? Who is wealthy? Since our system is rooted so strongly in money, it seems to me that the more "in the system" individuals get (like we talked about in class, people with bad credit are better than people with no credit, at least they play the game), the more they are appreciated as being worthy (because they are paying, much like undocumented workers loosing some of their 'face value' worth when society believes them to be cheating the system and not paying taxes).

In many ways, the definition of "worthy ones" seems to be rooted in ideals of cookie cutter conformity. An age old saying goes, "everything looks better when it matches." These psychological ideologies are maybe just as rooted in social practices, as capitalist issues of worth rooted in materialism. It's interesting to see that social practices can come from social structures (like democracy and capitalism), but also that social structures can come from social practices. It seems time is not actually linear, but a circle with cycles repeating themselves. And with that linear cycle, family values and families values seem to have been forgotten in the updating due to less value now being put on the family. In my mind, feminists still have a long way to go...if we are to be "good productive" citizens.

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