October 2010 Archives

the intricacies of intimacies--annotated bib no. 2


Stadler, Gustavus. "Queer Guy for the Straight 'I'". GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Vol 11.11, 2005. 109-111.

"And as marriage has come to define the public shape of gay rights discourse, there has been a growing tendency among well-off, well-educated straight liberals to attribute therapeutic value to gay intimacy--especially, of course, to "committed," monogamous relationships. A certain number of lefty straights assume that male queers are not only funnier, smarter, and more stylish than heterosexuals (of both sexes) but, like lesbians, more adept at handling emotions, interpersonal intimacy, and relationship issues--that they are not weighted with all the accrued burdens of heterosexuality...Phantasmatically liberated from legal interference, outdated moralism, parents, and children, they know how to find the success in passionate failures" (110).
Stadler calls into question the portrayal of on-screen gays in the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and its emphasis on their supposed aesthetic prowess (their power to makeover ANYTHING!) and its consequences. He argues that this positioning limits them to the periphery, and puts them in the role of confidant (to straight women) and best friend/listener. Their value is contingent upon their acknowledgment by and usefulness to other (straight) people/characters.

Speaking of Queer Eye he writes, "I also pick up a hint of an all-too-available assumption that...to be queer means not only to be good at making straight people's lives happier but to have the time to do so" (111). Stadler argues that media portrayals of queerness perpetuates the "fantasy" that intimacy connected to gay males is consumer- and beauty-driven, enabled by their disposable incomes (because they don't have the heteronormative family to care and pay for) . This depiction of well-off, well-educated, white or light-skinned gay New Yorkers is one that, in some form or another, is the mainstream construction of gayness. It erases race and class (because the power of consumerism and new clothes can whiten away any visible markers) and equates "gay" with "queer."

What gets highlighted in this critique is the peripheral nature of the gay characters, even within their own show. Their value is in the beautifying powers they possess that will inevitably touch the lives and hearts of the straight men they makeover. Their abilities within the show are best put to use when they're serving straight people. Therefore, this knowledge of 'intimacy' and relationships that Stadler defines, is only in relation to straight people.

As a final semantic note, Stadler questions why the show is titled "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," and challenges us to imagine what "Gay Eye for the Straight Guy" would signify to a mainstream audience.

Hurtado, Aída. Voicing Chicana Feminisms: Young Women Speak Out On Sexuality and Identity.. New York: New York University Press, 2003. Print.

voicing jpg
Hurtado's book synthesizes the research of and interviews with various young Chicana women. She relates their stories in a very informal, anecdotal fashion that makes the experiences they relate even more personal and immediate-feeling. In discussing family and the changing relationships the young women had with their fathers, Hurtado writes, "Although, with two exceptions, none of the fathers spoke to their daughters about about menstruation or about sex they still were aware of their daughters' physical changes...In a few instances the relationship between father and daughter changed irrevocably. [The interviewee, Victoria, writes,] 'When I was little, I was really close to my dad...I was always getting in his way, but he didn't mind. As soon as we [Victoria and her sisters] hit puberty, everything changed. He wouldn't talk to us'" (54).

She describes the feeling that Victoria experienced as "abandonment" (54). I think abandonment is a partner sensation to intimacy. Within intimacy, and the greater the sense of closeness, there is the potential for abandonment. What if we were to queer this except--how would a queer abandonment within familial/parental relationships look like? Why and how would it come to be? How can this be tied to Queer Eye? What do the bodily changes that the girls experience throughout puberty (e.g. menstruation) have in common with the coming out experiences or narratives and their effect on intimacy within family structures?

Kincaid, James. "Producing Erotic Children."


After last week's diablog about the erotic child, particularly in reference to Kincaid's article, I felt like some connections could certainly be made between the erotic child and intimacy. Because what is the unease we feel about broaching the subject of child sexuality, but an unease with a different kind of intimacy? What is child molestation but an unacceptable form of intimacy? What are the consequences and implications of viewing sexual molestation (within Kincaid's article) using the term 'intimacy'--to use the same term for something that implies "good" closeness? And what are the implications of wanting to be a part of the intimacy (if it can be called that) of a community of victimization, like in the documentary about the Friedmans? How are interpersonal relationships tied into each other, and how do they change as we change the way we think about them?

Queerin the Media

I started to think about television as an aspect of space and more specifically how it can be used as a queer space. I decided to examine advertisements in particular: examining queer ads targeted to a queer audience vs. queer ads that are made public to the heterosexual sphere. I wanted to know the differences, if any, between the two and how it can both affect and create an image of the queer community. The three sources I chose were a graduate thesis written by Benjamin S. Aslinger of Miami University entitled "National Advertisers, The Advocate, and Queer Sexual Performance", two youtube videos of MTV commercials, and the website www.media-awareness.com a website of education resources for teachers and parents to learn about various discriminatory depictions in the media.

National Advertisers, The Advocate, and Queer Sexual Performance states:
Pro vs Con? What can advertising contribute? In what ways does advertising harm? In Aslinger's thesis, within the search for a positive gay image, one that is palatable to both the homo/heterosexual community, a fake image is created. The gay man is portrayed as a chic trend setter, the lesbian: a butch woman, and bisexual or transgendered figures are not portrayed at all. Exclusions in representations are common and identities are instead de-emphasized. He states while alchohol and cigarette companies are the largest national advertisers to market to the gay community, over half of the ads found in print media are personal ads, telephone sex services, or organizations promoting gay events. Within the advertising realm, advertisers worry that a brand marketed to gays will be interpreted as a just a "gay brand" and lose heterosexual support. Therefore, advertisements are indirectly targeted to the gay audience( i.e: HRC symbols on a t-shirt, rainbow flags, a metrosexual man, etc). So, is this a good or a bad thing? Can the queer community settle for a image even if it is incorrect? Is a stereotypical presence better than no presence at all? The media space which provides visibility to the greater community, has control over image and the formulation of desire

MTV gay/straight test


'You Never Know' Ad

Both ads are from MTV. The first is simple animation and shows the same action done twice to show the difference between gay and straight. The two men that are dressed in plain clothes are labeled gay and the two men in baseball uniforms, straight. Heteronormative actions such as baseball are depicted as being not only a very straight thing to do but something inherently masculine. So masculine in fact that overtly gay actions such as one man grabbing another man's ass is not perceived as gay. However, if two men were dressed in day to day attire, as in the first illustration, that same action is re-classified as gay. From the advertisement the viewer does not know if the two men are the same in both illustrations, however they look very similar. Is this saying that if in a 'seemingly straight uniform' that one's actions can also be interpreted as straight? The part that I found most disturbing was the tagline at the end, "watch and learn" by MTV. This goes along the lines of 'watch MTV and gay actions such as these can be interpreted in different situations' or 'how to tell your gay men from your straight men.'
The second advertisement was also run by MTV and has MTV in the ending credit. This shows two men building a skateboard ramp. Upon its completion the two men go in for a handshake but end up kissing. Tagline-you never know, take a stand against discrimination. 'You Never Know'-it is true for both ads. You never know if a man is gay or straight but what is MTV really trying to say? Which ad to do teenagers (MTV's principle audience) identify with more? National Advertisers and media outlets such as MTV have such an influence on today's youth that these two videos provide conflicting information. Is this responsible advertising?

absolute pride.jpg
A Canadian non-profit organization whose focus on media literacy, MNet aims to equip people with the tools to decipher how the media works and how they, as consumers, are effected by it. With issues such as violence, stereotyping, online hate and information privacy, I found that the website was very helpful in outlining representations of gays and lesbians in television, film, news, and as consumers. They provide in-depth historical examinations in a succinct fashion. However, the only issue I had with the website was again, its lack of bisexual or transgendered representations.

What is the issue with media as a tool in which to incorporate the queer community? While visibility may be a political accomplishment, it also marks the disintegration and augmentation of queer culture. That is to say that while media depictions of the queer community are a step forward to larger visibility and acceptance it is also marked as a decline in the marginalization that makes the culture defined around a minority identification.

Existing in bodies existing in time.

"We are born in a physiological time, after a certain number of mitoses and at the closure of a genetic figure; but we are born, after 270 days, into an astronomical time of days and years. Thus begin our astronomical birthdays; but these again are not the time in which we mature and die. They would seem to be irrelevant, 'a man is as old as he feels.' 'But how old do you feel then?' 'Ach! 43 years!' The conditions of society go by astronomical time and they have done me in." --Paul Goodman, 'Five Years'

Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press, 2009. Print. Cruising_Utopia.jpg

"I contend that if queerness is to have any value whatsoever, it must be viewed as being visible only in the horizon." (11)

"Utopia can never be prescriptive and is always destined to fail." (173)

José Esteban Muñoz opens his book with the postulation that "queerness is not yet here," and thus, "we are not yet queer." The purpose of such an outré assertion being to skirt pragmatic gay and lesbian political devotions to the immediate present -- as "heterosexual time" has been conceived and propagated as prioritizing reproduction and capitalist conceptions of work time -- and instead to cruise ahead, as it were, towards a queerness that is "not-yet-here," but on the horizon. The idea of queer failure becomes somewhat central to Muñoz's argument -- for any outlook in which utopia is anticipated as a conceivable end is, simply speaking, naïve. This failure is not embarked upon as a goal, however, but is rather an inevitability of queer futurity. Muñoz conceives of this far off queerness by relying on images from the past -- specifically those of the Stonewall period -- in order to track not the possibilities of a queer utopian future, but the potentialities for one: "We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future. The future is queerness's domain" (1).


It always was a shock entering the straight world of a car full of grim people sitting dumbly with suffering on their faces and in their bodies, and their minds in their prisons.

-- You Got to Burn to Shine; John Giorno (qtd. in Muñoz, 14)

The logic of my opening a series of sources concerned with bodies in time with Cruising Utopia may not be readily apparent. However, Muñoz's interest in and investigation of performance art, performativity and performed radical sex acts of the past, present, and towards the future support my decision to include the book under this heading. Further engagement with the text and the implications of these embodied acts and experiences of temporality and futurity may further inform the decision. The key point of conflict with this book, for me, was my limited knowledge of the social theory of Ernst Bloch -- although my scattered familiarity with the Frankfort school was vaguely helpful, familiarizing myself more thoroughly with Bloch's work, especially that concerning utopia, may provide me with a more satisfactory understanding of Muñoz's intentions. Lee Edelman's No Future would be another good text to become more familiar with for further engagement with Cruising Utopia.

This is a relatively new book from Muñoz, whose previous book, Disidentifications, I was only first introduced to last year in Queering Theory. I've been slowly reading through this book since September, developing mixed and alternating thoughts and relations to it. There were a couple of chapters that grabbed my attention immediately, namely "Ghosts of Public Sex," and "After Jack," the latter of which probably being my favorite chapter in the book, but there were a few chapters that left me a bit underwhelmed. I hope to continue spending time with the book as I have not completed it yet, and would probably better serve myself (and Muñoz) if I read it straight through, from cover to cover, rather than skipping around it as suits my own time and will.

Childs, Lucinda. Dance.1979. Music by Phillip Glass, lighting by Beverly Emmons, and a film by Sol LeWitt of portions of three of the five sections ("Dance #1," "Dance #3," and "Dance #4").

Dance demands a degree of service greater than any other permorming art, or sport. while the daily life of every dancer is a full-time struggle against fatigue, strain, lucindachilds-01.jpgnatural physical limitations and those due to injuries (which are inevitable), dance itself is the enactment of an energy which must seem, in all respects, untrammeled, effortless, at every moment fully mastered. The dancer's performance smile is not so much a smile as a categorical denial of what he or she is actually experiencing -- for there is some discomfort, and often pain, in every major stint of performing.

-- Susan Sontag, "Dancer and the Dance"

I do not intend to apply critical or social theory to a work as pure as Dance, but merely to comment on its magnificence in rendering and defying conventions of time. Classical dance is controlled and propelled by precision -- the dancer's body is bound by time, every movement, every pain. Lucinda Childs' Dance, in its hypnotizing transposition of bodies from the past to the present, demonstrates a profoundly righteous use of the film medium. Master conceptual artist, Sol LeWitt, filmed Childs' dance in 1979, the film was then used as a projection onto a transparent scrim at the front of the stage during performances -- providing not merely a setting, but a literal transfiguration of the dance -- to create an alternate reality, a double-space, which, juxtaposed with live performance, establishes an intimate ambiance. Appearing as a shadow mimicking and following its three-dimensional counterpart, the projection over and above the performers makes the live dance alternately appear as a disembodied effect of the image: an illusion that there are no bodies, only ghosts. Ballet so often creates an illusive spiritual fluidity of movement seemingly incorporeal, but here the film projection amplifies the bodies' ethereal phantasm by posing the live dancer against a discarnate mirage of a past self reborn on film -- a temporally defiant spectacle.
(Sontag regards the film as "finally subordinate to the dance," a notion reinforced by Childs' recent re-production of Dance with a new company of dancers to perform beneath the 1979 film recording.)

I am anything but an authority on ballet or any other form of dance. A more thorough knowledge not only of Lucinda Childs and balletic minimalism, but of minimal art of the 70s in general may prove essential for further investigation into the temporal significance of the above discussed piece. I know Sol LeWitt primarily as a minimalist sculptor, and was, until quite recently, unaware of his other cinematic endeavors. Familiarity with LeWitt's other film projects would be beneficial as well. However, much further investigation in and/or engagement with the piece may risk vulgarity without my experiencing the performance first hand. Someday, I can only hope.

I first saw LeWitt's film of Dance about five years ago in art school when a friend who was studying dance and performance art showed it to me. I had not seen it projected above a live performance until just last week when I was looking for the LeWitt film on the web, and this discovery -- as well as that of the recent performances accompanied by the film -- led me to begin thinking of it in relation to Muñoz. This piece compliments his book quite well, I think, despite its distance from anything decidedly queer. The dance and its players may not hold any relation to the term or its ideas and movements, but in placing it adjacent to Muñoz in this way, I think that we can momentarily look at each in more nuanced ways. Besides, minimalism plainly effuses certain utopian rays, does it not?

Greenaway, Peter, dir. A Zed & Two Noughts. Fox Lorber World Classic Cinema Collection, 1985. Film.

Oswald Deuce: How fast does a woman decompose?
Oliver Deuce: Six months, maybe a year? Depends on the conditions.
Oswald Deuce: Does being pregnant make any difference?
Oliver Deuce: No.
Oswald Deuce: And the baby?
Oliver Deuce: How far gone was she?
Oswald Deuce: Perhaps ten weeks.
Oliver Deuce: Then you'd never know.
Oswald Deuce: [long pause] I cannot stand the idea of her rotting away.
[short pause]
Oswald Deuce: What is the first thing that happens?
Oliver Deuce: The first thing that happens is bacteria set to work in the intestine.
Oswald Deuce: What sort of bacteria?
Oliver Deuce: [matter-of-factly] Bicosis populi. There are supposed to be 130,000 bicoses in each lick of a human tongue; 250,000 in a french kiss. First exchanged at the very beginning of creation when Adam kissed Eve.
Oswald Deuce: Suppose Eve kissed Adam.
Oliver Deuce: Unlikely. She used her first 100,000 on the apple.

-- from A Zed & Two Noughts

The wives of two zoologists die in a car driven by a woman called Bewick who's attacked by a swan on Swan's Way. This is the event upon which A Zed & Two Noughts (Z.O.O.) builds its drama. In preparation for making the film, Peter Greenaway (the writer and director) visited zoos throughout Europe, America and Australia -- in an interview conducted just after the film's production, Greenaway remarks of the zoo in Berlin, unique in that it exists within the city, "You could see a hippopotamus standing in front of a tramway. It was this relationship between man, animal and object that appealed to me. In this respect, Berlin is an especially powerful symbol, because one might consider the city itself a zoo." The movie revolves around the tortured grief of the two zoologists, twin brothers, whose wives were suddenly killed at the zoo -- Oliver and Oswald begin to embark on a research project with an impossible goal: to uncover and demystify the truth of death and mortality. Their research, experiments and affairs only serve to further upset and disparage physical, scientific truths as their obsession with decay and the indistinguishable facts coalescing human and animal corporealities leads to their final experiment: the death and decay of their own bodies.

The work of Darwin casts an overwhelmingly present shadow over the film, and it is for this reason that Darwin's theories may be interesting to revisit for further discussion of bodies and temporality. Greenaway is a marvelously intriguing figure, and his work consistently makes itself relevant as I think through questions of queer theory and queer materiality. A Greenaway film is never free from the aesthetic and spoken references to Vermeer, a painter who I've come to slowly find more interesting and vanguard than he at first appears -- Vermeer somehow could make for an interesting subject through which to link Images of time, the subject of my last annotated bibliography, to Bodies of time.

The first Greenaway movie I ever saw was The Pillow Book when I was in high school. I first saw A Zed & Two Noughts with a friend in New York a few years ago, and like I already mentioned, Greenaway and his various artistic endeavors have since been an ever present source of interest and inspiration. Unlike the first two sources in this series, which show bodies moving through time, this showcases the inescapability of bodily existence. In this way, as Paul Goodman suggests above, I have begun this project in contemplation of how astronomical, as well as physiological, time has done us in.

Additional sources pertaining to Bodies of Time not included in this entry:

Diabloging Sedgwick

After reading Sedgwick's "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys", I have scribbled a few questions on my paper and most of them begins with "Why?". I am really interested in thinking of why does all these happen.

Page 140, the third paragraph was mentioning about 2 monographic literature on subject which exclusively about boys. I personally have problem with the way they titled their book or literature. "The Sissy Boy Syndrome", this title is conveying the idea that effeminate is a syndrome. Why? It sounds very effeminophobia to me.

Besides on the same page, in Friedman's book during his depatholizing movement, the way that he portrayed, in his definition of "healthy gay man" are very masculine and there are also characteristic which he used which I personally have no idea why it was there, like
"Bob, another "well-integrated individual", had regular sexual activity with a few different partner but never cruised or visited gay bars or baths. He did not belong to a gay organization... He had loyal, caring, durable friendship with both men and women. WHY? This is confusing... It's like saying a gay man can have multiple sexual partner, but you should not cruised or visit gay bars or bath, don't get involve in gay organization. And hey FYI, he is loyal, caring and can have a durable friendship with both men and women.

Nosecage and Chester_Selfish have mentioned about the dropping of the pathologizing diagnosis of homosexuality from the DSM-III (hurray!! ღ(。◕‿◕。)ღ). But there was a new diagnosis for "gender identity disorder of childhood" (Boo~), the naming of the diagnosis have make it sounds as if the child is traumatized with their childhood or they are "handicapped".

In page 141, it is mentioned that the diagnosis is highly differential between boys and girls (→ double standard), that girl will only be diagnosed to have "disorder" if only she thinks that she identified herself as male or will eventually grow a penis. Whereas a boy will be diagnosed with the "disorder" even if he display stereotypical female activities. So why does this happens? Is it because of the social expectations that are exerted on male? Is the society too masculine driven?

So the homosexual is not a sickness but being effeminate is. In this case are we going anyway or are we still on still in square 1?

In page 141, Sedgwick brought our attention to the theoretical movement of distinguishing gender from sexuality. That is to my understanding, the professionals are depatholizing sexuality but patholizing gender identity. But still link it to the development of sexuality which indirectly still patholizing sexuality.

Sedgwick also bring our attention to John Money and Robert Stoller's research that the development of "gay-ness" is related to a boy growing up being effeminate. It is indicated in "Under the pressure, ironically, of having to show how gay adults whom he considers well-integrated personalities do sometimes evolve from children seen as they very definition of psychopathology (effeminate)." And also several paragraph followed.


In page 144, she also bring our attention to the exclusiveness of the issue, saying that "But given that ego-syntonic conlidation for a boy can come only in the form of masculinity, given that the masculinity can be conferred only by men, and given that femininity in a person with a penis can represent nothing but deficit and disorder." Hmm, penis as a reference point of masculinity?

I personally have been teased and bullied for being a effeminate boy when I was growing up. Even now back in my home university I was being joke around, not in an offensive way, about my some effeminate characteristic.

There is a guy who is female identified in my campus, who was constantly being make fun of in my home university. And recently I have found out that people were commenting on her picture offensively on facebook. Words like "disgusted, monster..." were used.

Diablog: Sedgwick

In this essay, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick discusses psychoanalysis and psychiatry, specifically revisionist psychoanalysis as it was functioning in 1989 when the essay was first written. The author does this by examining the work of two authors that published books right around that time period, Richard C. Friedman and Richard Green. Throughout the essay Sedgwick critiques several passages from each book examining closely the popular theories surrounding the cause and "cure" of homosexuality specifically among boys.
One interesting belief among revisionist analysts is the idea that there are good gays; these are the men that present as masculine, do not belong to any gay organizations, and do not frequent gay bars. Then there are the other gays. According to Friedman, "the healthy homosexual is one that is (a) already grown up and (b) acts masculine."
It seems that there is one group of individuals that were a bit of an enigma to revisionist psychoanalysis. "Extremely and chronically effeminate boys", this however, was easily remedied with the DSM III that was published in 1980. In this issue of the DSM homosexuality had been removed as a mental disorder but a new disorder had been added, "Gender identity disorder in childhood." The criteria needed to be labeled with this disorder was much different for girls than boys. For a girl to get this label she actually had to be anatomically male. For boys on the other hand, they needed only to express themselves as feminine or express that they felt it would be better to not have a penis. There are so many problems with these diagnostic criteria that I honestly don't even know where to begin. Most importantly, I think, is the idea that gender and gender expression are either fully masculine or fully feminine, that there can be no overlap. The underlying idea of developing gender identity disorder of childhood involves the failure to develop a core gender identity, "one's basal sense of being male or female."
According to revisionist analysts the main reason effeminate boys end up gay is because they are never validated as masculine by other men. In addition, the mothers of these boys can offer no help in the validation process. "Any involvement by a woman is overinvolvement, and any protectiveness is overprotectiveness." It is however, the responsibility of the parents or caretakers of these male children get a "properly male core gender identity in place." If this occurs then there will be more of a chance for the boys to grow into healthy adult heterosexuals.
I think it is important to reiterate the fact that this was first published in 1989 and that many of the ideas about sexuality have changed. I do not however they have changed drastically enough. This line of thinking presented by Friedman and Green is so oppressive and stigmatizing. There is so much left to discuss on the topic but I want to stop here and get the thoughts from my group up to this point.

Boyhood Effeminacy: It's Diablogical!

Diablog(ical) Engagement with Sedgwick

In "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys," Eve Sedgwick critically examines the state of psychoanalysis concerning 'proto-gay' youth. She begins the chapter by looking at why this is so important: the high rate of suicide attempts among gay and lesbian youth. Especially problematic is the political and cultural climate in which this fact is being silenced. Sedgwick spends the bulk of her chapter looking at the 'revisionist psychoanalytical' approach to effeminate boys, gay adults, and proto-gay kids. After homosexuality was removed from the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statical Manual (DSM-III) in 1973, the field of therapeutic psychology has been shifting its treatment of gay individuals and gender-nonconforming kids.

The DSM-III also included a new diagnosis (perhaps in place of homosexuality): gender identity disorder of childhood. This is loosely classified by the "failure to develop a [core gender identity] CGI consistent with one's own biological sex" (142). More specifically, however, the manual lists more and broader symptoms for male children than it does for female children; implying that boys be diagnosed with the disorder at almost any display of effeminacy and that girls only be diagnosed if the actually think they should have a penis. Sedgwick notes that this diagnosis has been hardly contested at all and suggests that it is because of the 'gay movement's' need to "interrupt a long tradition of viewing gender and sexuality as continuous and collapsible categories" (141). So, if LGBT folks won't rebuke the publication of this new disorder, who will?

Sedgwick goes on to critique Richard Friedman's Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psycholoanalytic Perspective written in 1988 for signs of homophobia and effeminophobia in his explanation of therapeutic psychology with gay men. Let's just say that there is no shortage of unprogressive, oppressive views of gay men in Friedman's book. Friedman is perplexed by the sheer number of gay men who survive gender-nonconformity as children (read: don't commit suicide) and suggests that it might be a result of increasing societal flexibility concerning gender roles. Sedgwick proposes that it be attributed to a profoundly empathetic and encouraging mother love, which is condemned by contemporary psychoanalysis as being pathological.

Sedgwick also seeks to challenge us (the reader) to see the underlining problem as a societal "wish that gay people not exist... [and the] asymmetry of value assignment to between hetero and homo" (145). Society is coming to terms with being tolerant of gays who already exist (read: failed to be assimilated as children), but even the field of psychoanalysis (who have previously been protectors and supporters) have a "disavowed desire for a nongay outcome" (145). Richard Green, a co-conspirer of Friedman's, claims that parents put their gender-nonconforming kids in therapy because of their "desire to protect them from peer-group cruelty" (146). This, Sedgwick argues, is a fallacy; that no one wants their kid to be gay and they will do everything in their power to overtly persuade them into heterosexuality.

Just for starters:
Curiouser was published in 2004, this chapter was originally published in 1991. How do we see Sedgwick's view of gay acceptance changing (if at all)? What are our experiences with therapy, especially in relation to gender-(non)conformity, if any? Where do we see the recent highly publicized gay teen suicides in Sedgwick's chapter? I am so interested in the idea of 'mother love,' can we say more about this (please)?

Respond/comment on this open thread.

Sedgwick Diablog Open Thread


A discussion on Sedgwick's "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys."

Please feel free to join in.

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography 2
Megan Bohnen
Introduction: My first source relates to the Mormon Church's suppression of intimacy between homosexuals. My second source is a study on levels of intimacy and sexuality in homosexual couples. I think that it is good to distinguish intimacy from sexuality. These researchers were able to separate the two to test for, which shows a level of understanding. So this first source views homosexuality as mostly if not purely psychical and the second views intimacy as anything but. The last source directly relates to source one since it demonstrates the desire for intimacy with the sex found attractive by the beholder. Something that the man featured in source one found paramount in his life. Faking attraction to and a spiritual connect with the opposite sex can not fulfill a homosexual person's need for intimacy.
Source 1: No Author, but Title: LDS Homosexuality 022: Frustration with the LDS Church's Options for Homosexuals, found on youtube.com
This video clip is of a man discussing the limitations of the LDS church's views on homosexuality. LDS refers to the Latter Day Saint movement which is a group of religious denominations and adherents who follow at least some of the teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr., who published the Book of Mormon in 1830. The video clip basically states that he thinks that it is wrong that he is denied a partner in his life as a result of his belonging to this church. He has become uninvolved with the church because he did not agree that he should deny to himself that he was gay. He has been told that he should remain active in the church and not pursue a relationship with a same sex partner. He could not comply with doing that since he has full attraction to other men and no attraction to women. He thought that it was ridiculous to ask someone to give up their loved one to remain active in his or her church. There are many elements of a homosexual intimate relationship other than just sexual, he explains in the clip. He said that orientation is so much deeper than physical. For example, if he were to marry a woman for reproductive purposes, he would be a poor partner to her spiritually, emotionally, and would not be able to provide that kind of partnership to her because she was a member of the opposite sex. This interview basically suggests that intimacy between same sex individuals includes being physically and emotionally close, which cannot be denied when belonging to a church if you desire to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Additional sources: http://ldshomosexuality.com/ on this website there are more personal stories relating to experiences with the LDS church.
I found this clip by typing in homosexuality & intimacy into the YouTube search box. Then I found the LDS homosexuality website by going to google and typing in lds and homosexuality.
LDS Homosexuality 022: Frustration with the LDS Church's Options for Homosexuals (2008). Retrieved October 29 2010 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO7KPW3MAyw
Source 2: Intimacy and Sexuality in Gay Male Couples
Author: A. A. Deenen, L. Gijs and A. X. van Naerssen
Summary: This paper was in APA style so it is summed up best by its abstract:
In a study of 320 men (20 to 77 years) in gay relationships, data were gathered on verbal, physical, and emotional intimacy and on sexual aspects of relationship functioning. Independent of relationship duration and partners' age, emotional intimacy predicts relationship satisfaction the best. Sexual satisfaction is best predicted by low sexual distance. Sexual frequency is best predicted by sexual satisfaction. Data analysis indicates that young gay men value emotional aspects of their relationship more than older gay men do. The attitude towards sexual encounters one partner has is related to his actual number of sexual partners and to his partner's attitude.
This paper relates to the term intimacy because it demonstrates how researchers and the scientific community view homosexual intimacy and it reveals correlation of levels of intimacy.
Additional Resources: To read the full report visit http://www.springerlink.com/content/u874512606877623/fulltext.pdf
I found this source by typing intimacy and homosexuality into Google, like my first source.
Deenen, A., Gijs, L. & van Naerssen, A. (1994). Intimacy and Sexuality in Gay Male Couples.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23(4). 421-431. doi: 10.1007/BF01541407
Source 3: San Francisco Gay Film Fest Commercial Promo found on youtube after typing in "homosexual commercials" at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwHQrqB0CUg (no author)
This video is a promotional trailer for the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. I found it interesting how the people in the video held hands with each other, laced fingers, and lightly touched each other. It is representative of the longing for same sex intimacy homosexual people experience. They are at a movie with their opposite sex significant other but the physical closeness they share with that person does not satisfy them. The ad campaign's slogan is "it will change your life". This implies that by seeing the revealing films presented at the film festival maybe you will have the courage to come out of the closet. Well, that is what I got from it.
San Francisco Gay Film Fest Commercial Promo (2006). Retrieved October 29 2010 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwHQrqB0CUg

"That's so gay" commercial

| 1 Comment

This commercial I thought was really creative and well-done. It is a good and yet simple example of how discrimination of homosexual people and teenagers can come from something not meant to be hurtful.

JHalb is back in!

Partly inspired by Mary's comment, I have decided to move J. Halberstam's essay "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" back into the required reading section. I think it is helpful in relation to the other readings and that we should have some time to discuss Halberstam. We will discuss Halberstam (along with most of the other readings) on Tuesday and the Sedgwick on Thursday (as lead by the diablog group).

Have a great weekend.

Reflections on my "live-tweet"


I just posted an entry on my trouble blog about my "live-tweet" yesterday. Check it out and let me know what you think (this post includes a transcript of my entire live-tweet...all 52 tweets!). Here's an excerpt:

As I have mentioned before, I am experimenting with twitter this semester. In both of my classes (qued2010femped2010), students are required to use it for various assignments and I am using it to communicate with class. Over the past month, several of my students in feminist pedagogies have live-tweeted class as a way to take notes for our discussion (I suggested it as an option for their note-taking assignment). Because I always like to try the experimental assignments that I suggest to my students (for lots of reasons, such as: I need to be willing to take the same risks that I expect my students to take and I want to make sure that the experiments that I come up with our actually doable), I decided to live-tweet my queering desire class yesterday. I'm really glad that I did. Here are some reflections on the process:

Background: The class usually has 25+ students in attendance. It is an upper Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies course that is cross-listed as a mid-level GLBT Studies course. Blogging and tweeting are central to the class. Yesterday's class was devoted to a discussion lead by a student group (part of their diablog assignment). We were talking about James Kincaid's essay "Producing Erotic Children" in Curiouser. Because I was not responsible for leading class, I thought it was a good opportunity to try out live-tweeting. Instead of tweeting as the class administrator (qued2010), I tweeted as myself (undiscplined).

Readings for next week and due date reminder


There is a slight change in the readings for next week:

2/4       QUEER/ING CHILDREN, Part Two 


Halberstam, Judith. "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy" 

As you can see, we will be giving some serious attention to the issue of bullying and suicide. Anyone have other blog posts/websites/news articles/projects that are in response to this issue that you want us to check out? Post them as comments to this entry.

One more announcement:

Your second annotated bibliographies are due November 1. If you are still confused about the assignment and/or you want more personal feedback on your first AB, please email me. You can also post more general questions about the assignment on this entry or tweet them to the class. 

Happy Halloween Weekend!

thinking for tomorrow...

Concerning Kincaid:
-What is the role of the molested (child) (p. 4)?
-How are simplicity and complexity complicit, necessary, or unwanted in constructing the child (p. 5)?
...connected to that, let's discuss the vague, the blank, the (un)knowing, the empty-waiting-to-be-"loaded"/filled, and Macaulay Culkin!

From Producing Erotic Children, Kincaid writes, "Even better, these open-ended, unanswerable questions generate variations on themselves, and allow us to keep them going, circulating them among ourselves without ever experiencing fatigue, never getting enough of what they are offering. And what they are offering is a nicely produced way of talking about the subject of child sexuality" (9).

"The major point and dilemma is that we are instructed to crave that which is forbidden, a crisis we face by not facing it, by becoming hysterical, and by writing a kind of pious pornography, a self-righteous doublespeak that demands both lavish public spectacle and constant guilt-denying projections onto scapegoats. Child molesting becomes the virus that nourishes us, that empty point of ignorance about which we are most knowing" (11).

"Childhood in our culture has come to be largely a coordinate set of have nots: the child is that which does not have" (10).

And what about scandal?
And that our compulsion to say that molestation happens is a must is an insistence that it must (12)?

Some thoughts on Stockton

Stockton names:
-the gay child
-the queer child
-fat (the fat child?), as a visible marker of difference
-the streetwise child (as not really a child?)
-the ghostly gay child
-the Black/Jewish child (A blurb on p.49 that touches on "minorities," Stockton's quotes, but seems to equate Jewish w/ Black as a visible marker of difference, and an analogy for gay self-identification.)

What I got from these different namings (and there are more than just these, I'm pretty sure) was (like @momentaryisle tweeted) a sense of (dis)connect.
Where do they connect and disconnect?
It seemed to me that Stockton was disconnecting the possibility of continuous self-identification. Instead, she focused on hyphenated identities (pre-gay, postgay, gayish, etc.) and temporalities. In her analysis of the gay child she segmented it into different periods, speaking of different stages of the gay child. It was difficult to follow, for sure.

On knowingness/unknowingness:
Stockton discusses William Blake's "The Little Black Boy":
whiteness = weakness, innocence, unknowingness
blackness = strength, experience, knowingness

And then to add in economic agency/money...the child then becomes constructed as white, unknowing, needing of money and protection. This child can only be white. Because to have experience, to be able to earn money, to not need help/protection, means to not be a child. Is this child is then queer, or queered by blackness?

And finally, Stockton talks about death in the identification of the gay child (page 18):
" There is a loss (a metaphorical death) and a "sinister" replacement: the specter of a "stranger in the family," who was often already haunting the family in a shadowy form." I think this has connections to the same sorts of processes that occur within a family dealing with undiagnosed special-needs kids (like kids with autism), who have dreams and preconceived notions about the future of their child/their future child, and how that is changed by a diagnosis.

(Really) finally, I want to ask, what are the implications of her "ghostly gay child" concept? What does it mean in terms of temporality, of relationships to self? And what are your reactions to her discussion of nostalgia?

G.A.S.P. Exhibition Looking for Participants


Friends! My roommate is participating in this exhibition and asked that I post it on our blog to attract more participants. It's being organized by Heidi Barton, who Ava posted as part of her first Queer This! so long ago. Anyway, here is the email:

2011 Minneapolis G.A.S.P. Gender Anarchy Sex Positivity Art Exhibition

We are almost done with the paperwork but we are seeking more visual artists, educators or speakers, performers (cabaret, drag, dance, puppet shows!), poets and musicians who have or can produce work of their interpretation of Gender Anarchy and/or Sex Positivity (Who can submit a bio and//or artist statement!)
Please respond ASAP post haste!

G.A.S.P. (Gender Anarchy Sex Positivity) is a multi-dislinary event exploring gender, gender roles and sex positive education through art and community organizing. Examining all the ways these subjects intersect through the mediums of visual art, performance and educational workshops. The object of the event would be to create a dialogue about demystifying healthy sex and dismantling gender oppression in ALL forms.

The workshops will be put on by various local organizations. There will be demonstrations on proper use of safer sex materials, speakers who will engage in dialogue with the attendees about sexual health (we are looking into free rapid HIV tests for attendees) and the fluidity of gender. The visual art will be paintings, screen prints, mixed medium and we would be open to sculpture and photography. The theme of GASP art will be up to the artists interpretation of gender and healthy sexuality.


Respond to bartsontink@gmail.com

DE 2: Queering the Non/Human

I chose this reading for my second Direct Engagement because it focuses more closely on what it means to "queer" something, whether that something is human or other. The term other in itself is mentioned in this reading which I find very interesting. What does other mean in terms of queering theory? My understanding of what the authors are examining is anything other than human. This to me is a bit troublesome in itself. But first, I think it is important to look at what the author's mean when they are speaking of queering. One question they pose is what queer theory has to do with the terms human and non/human? To which they answer "It is in this moment of wondering-of wondering about wondering-that queering the non/human begins." If I understand correctly anytime we, and by we I mean the readers of this introduction, ponder or consider an idea or view that deviates from the "norm" we have queered that idea. It goes far beyond just an idea however, it extends to include words, actions, behaviors, sexuality, human bodies, and even reaches to include the non/human. While this type of thinking is refreshing according to the authors, it can also be frustrating when trying to tease apart the meaning of many of the theorists because of their refusal to conform to the rules of vocabulary itself. Especially to an outsider coming in to the realm of queer theory, it certainly can seem like a foreign language. I wonder if this could be considered to be detrimental to the discipline as a whole. If a majority of the population cannot understand what the author's are arguing, can a message ever be delivered? It seems troublesome but at the same time perhaps that is exactly the point if we are talking about queering theory...It makes my brain hurt a little, so let us get back to the issue at hand.
It is said that throughout this book the reader's will see binaries being challenged, binaries such as, "nature/culture, living/dead, beautiful/grotesque, desire/disgust, subject/object, presence/absence, and human/nonhuman." I think that it is difficult to classify human/nonhuman as a binary. If it is classified in this way, it insinuates that there are humans and then there is everything else in the world from vampires to dogs to bacteria. I find this to be a bit implausible. Especially given that there is then another theory presented where a corpse is considered the in-between of the human and inhuman. It is both and neither. While this is an interesting theory I have trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that a dead human being is considered more important than a living breathing "other" whatever that other might be.
I believe that the author's main goals are to expose and introduce the various ways of, and theories behind queering. Throughout the introduction there are several authors and their corresponding theories discussed all of them different. The one thing that they all have in common however, is the idea of moving out of the heteronormative line of thinking and into a more inquisitive realm. I really enjoyed reading this introduction although it took me several times to understand what they were saying and I am sure I missed several points the author's were making. I think overall though I understood the general idea and that is a step in the right direction for me.

Queer This! Example #2: No homo


I found this video on District 202's blog and felt a connection to it. I have heard many people use the term "No homo", I always thought that it was odd that it needs to be pointed out that they were not gay. Thoughts?

Capturing the Friedmans


I had mentioned the documentary, Capturing the Friedmans, on Twitter and in class today, so for those of you who have never heard of/never seen the movie, I've posted some clips links to some relevant clips -- in a dream world everyone would have time to watch it before our class on Thursday when we discuss Kincaid, but I realize that you all have lives and may not have time to watch the whole movie, but it is available to watch on Netflix Instant, or on YouTube in parts. Here's the Netflix description of the movie:

A family in crisis is "captured" through home video in this searing documentary about the Friedmans, an upper-middle-class family who found their world turned upside down when father and son were charged with child molestation in 1987. The media inundated the airwaves with coverage of the alleged crime, but some of the best footage -- seen here publicly for the first time -- was shot by the Friedman family members themselves.

I'm really annoyed with YouTube right now because it won't let me embed the section of this movie that I think may be the most pertinent to our discussion, but they would let me embed the first part. This clip familiarizes us with the Friedman family and provides some background information on Arnold Friedman before the scandal -- a back-story that is probably necessary to have in mind before viewing the subsequent clips anyway. The parts of the film that seem the most relevant to the Kincaid piece are when they talk about the game, "Leap Frog" -- which you can access here -- and when Jesse (one of the alleged criminals) describes the hyperbolic nature of the charges -- which you can access here. (The viewer comments on all of these are kind of interesting, too.)

from Kincaid:

"That we are compelled to say that molestation happens is an insistence that it must. Where would we be without it? Its material presence is guaranteed by our usual stories, stories of displacement and denial, stories that at to keep alive the images that guarantee the molesting itself or at least our belief in it." (12)

"... the molesting and the stories protesting the molesting walk the same line." (12)

"We are drawn to scandal by a hope to trip up the cultural censors, by a dream of escaping culture or transforming it. Compliance, we sense, will get us nowhere, great as the rewards for compliance may be." (13)

"...what draws us to scandal is the energy and promise of scandal itself, not the particulars of any one scandal. It is the offense that matter, that holds out promise, that gives hope." (14)

What does Kincaid mean by compliance (on page 13), and what might those rewards be exactly?

from Capturing the Friedmans (part 4 on YouTube, the "leap frog" clip linked above):

"But as far as the families were concerned, I don't want to use the word... like they were competitive with each other, I don't know if it's to that extent..."

"There is definitely an element when a community defines itself as a victimized community that if you're not victimized, you don't fit in to that community." -- Debbie Nathan.

Kincaid doesn't quite go here, but what can be made of victimization generating competition and fears of not "fitting in"?


| 1 Comment

Hey class I hope you guys see this during the class period. I woke up this morning and my eyes are swollen shut. I dont know if its the way I slept or the weather. I would upload a picture but I'm a little computer illiterate. lol. see you guys the day of my pres. on thursday.

Day Fourteen: October 26


Today we begin our discussion of queer/ing children. There's so much that we could talk about in relation to the topic, readings and current ideas/discourses/events in the news. For class today, I want to focus our attention on the introductions to Curiouser and The Queer Child. We will take up Kincaid's (productively?) troubling essay on Thursday with the diablog group's presentation.


  • Still making my way through the blog folders. I've decided to print out the log with my comments and distribute them in class. It seems to be an easier way to grade and keep track of your assignments. I will pass them out in class as I complete them. 
  • Check out my entry on annotated bibliography advice. 
  • Any questions? Concerns?
  • Events? Anyone attend the Obama event?
  • This weekend I presented on Butler, Foucault and the virute of troublemaking at a philosophy conference in Madison, WI. Check it out here.
Introduction to Readings: Today we start discussing queer/ing children by looking at the ideas raised in Steven Bruhm's/Natasha Hurley's introduction to Curiouser: on the queerness of children and Kathryn Bond Stockton's Introduction to The Queer Child: Or Growing Up Sideways in the 20th Century
"It is effort to examine the complex stories that arise from the field of child sexuality, and in particular their relation to queer, that unites the essays in this volume" (ix). 

What stories do we tell/absorb about children and sexuality? According to Bruhm and Hurley, what is the dominant narrative about children and sexuality? How is it connected to heteronormativity? Where do these stories come from? Here


ANOTHER QUEER DEFINITION: deviation from normal/association with sexual alterity (x)

the queer child: that which doesn't quite conform to the wished-for way that children are supposed to be in terms of gender and sexual roles (x). 

How are children supposed to be in terms of gender and sexual roles? What is normal? Where/who/what does normal come from? Who gets to decide what is normal? Who doesn't?

the child queered by innocence (stockton, 30-31):
  • normative child...child on path to normativity
  • seems safe/needs to be protected
  • made strange through innocence
  • normative, but not like us
  • privilege to be protected and sheltered
  • weakness
Are these children in this video about purity rituals queered by innocence? Are they understand (by mainstream media/"common sense") as normative? What about these children in this news clip about "grade school lolitas?" 

Think about the above video in relation to this passage from Foucault:

"As historian Michel Foucault cautions us, reveling in this proliferation of stories about the sexual child does not guarantee a new, free world. This proliferation may herald new ways of expressing sexuality, especially for children, but according to Foucault it also invents new regimes for controlling and regulating the sexuality we think we are affirming..."(x). What new regimes? How does it regulate/control?

And...even more: What about the glee kids? Jaropenerkate wrote about them for a queer this! post. They are all over the news again for their photo spread in GQ--which one parent organization is describing as "bordering on pedophilia". Remember when I brought up Katy Perry and her banned appearance with Elmo on Sesame Street because of parent outrage? I mention it in this entry. Jaropenerkate also talks about Perry's response here. Here's the "banned" video:

Finally, what about queering children/the queer child in the FCKH8 campaign

For more on The Queer Child, see a book review that two of my students wrote for my grad class on troublemaking last spring. For more on Curiouser read what Julia Shaw has to say about it in Rhizomes. And also check out Mary's fabulous notes about these essays!

On Queering the Queerness of Children


So, I got really excited about the readings for this week and wanted to post my notes (behind the cut) as an invitation for conversation and to encourage anyone else who has feelings about the readings for this week (love, hate, rage, distress, concern) to comment on this thread. Feel free to openly disagree with my arrangements here (I'm not particularly confident with my Stockton arrangement):

Thoughts on Annotated Bibliographies

Happy Monday everyone. As I continue to read through blog folders/entries/tweets, I wanted to post some thoughts about your annotated bibliographies. Again, I think that most of you are off to a great start. I hope that you are finding the tracking topic/term/author/organization to be helpful for you and your critical reflections on queering desire. Here are a few thoughts/reminders as you work on your second entry (which is due on November 1st!):

1. Make sure that you include all of the required information for each source. Here's a recap: 

a. Title of article: turn into link, if possible. If you are using a book (or even an article from a book), you can link to the book in google books or amazon. You can also find an image of the book (on google images) and make it part of the post (review Step 3: #12).

b. Author: it's not required, but you could also include a link to an author's webpage/blog or an image of them. 

c. Summary: This is intended to be brief, but should include an overview of the article + how it relates to your topic/other sources. You could include a passage or two from the source.

d. Additional Sources/Questions: Remember to include questions/directions for future research/other sources that you want to explore. 

e. Where/how you found the source: I encourage you to be creative in your detail with this part. Here are some questions you should consider answering: 1. Where were you when you found this--at home on the computer? At the library? With a friend? Surfing the internet? 2. How did you find it--on a database? Talking with a friend? Reviewing another source? On twitter? From a book that I passed around? Or from a discussion in another class? I'm really curious about how/where you found your sources. 

f. Full citation. Here's a link with all of the advice you should ever need: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/11/

2. Push yourself to be creative in:

a. Visually presenting your ideas. Review my suggestions for your direct engagements for advice. In putting it together, ask yourself: How can I present/organize this in a way that is helpful for me? How will it help me easily see/identify the key points? How can it help others to engage--how can my presentation encourage others to comment on my post with questions/advice, etc?

b. How you put the sources together and what sources you use. Find creative ways to tie the ideas together and then discuss how your sources fit together and how they connect with your larger topic. Also, mix up your types of sources. Instead of using only academic sources, include a youtube video (maybe a commercial?) and a blog site along with your one required academic source. Consider using a non-traditional source--a class discussion or a conversation overhead on campus? Just make sure that you critically reflect on it and connect it with your topic in thoughtful and serious ways. 

3. Tag your tracking topics entries with your term/author/organization

4. Use these entries as an opportunity to engage deeply with a topic. Spend time on your reading and critical engagement with the sources. Use this time to help clarify what the topic means. Use your posts as a way to articulate your preliminary thoughts. 

5. Don't forget to provide an introduction with a explanation of how your sources fit together. 

6. While you aren't required to engage with these topics in any particular way, make sure to familiarize yourself with how they are frequently used within queer discourse. If you need some guidance, email me with questions or stop by my office. You can also tweet to the class for help. Take for example the term "queer affect." While this can mean lots of things, it has been taken up in particular ways by some queer theorists (see this recent conference, as one example).

Here are some past entries in which I have offered advice on the assignment: 

Diablog: Kincaid Too


After reading the Kincaid article, I was taken aback at my own reaction. I'm the kind of person who likes to keep an open mind but I was having a really hard time reading it. While I agree that our society sexualizes youth, especially with the ideas of hairless female bodies, smooth "baby soft" skin, wrinkle free faces, and all in all appearing to be young, I don't agree with the hypothesis that he poses that these kinds of societal obsessions create potential sex offenders. I do not see how our society could possibly be to blame for a documented mental disorder which requires therapy and in some cases incarceration. I do, however, empathize with the dissolution of the child as a direct result, as with the Willy Nester example. The child was silenced and forgotten on the stand in the court where he was supposed to be able to tell his story. The images posted in cartoons and jokes after the Michael Jackson scandal also serve to ertoticze those images of children. Our society as a whole is obsessed with the image of children and youth. For me, this still doesn't justify child molestation. But I suppose on further examination of this article and further discussion I could really learn more.

diablogging 'bout kincaid


I'll admit that I had a hard time "rejiggling the terms" of child molestation. But the more I read and reread Kincaid's "Producing Erotic Children," I started to dig in to what he was saying.

My first reaction is to the language he uses to construct his critique: he uses imagery of vacancy and simplicity as indicators of the eroticized purity, innocence, and liberty. He argues that this lack of complexity in our construction of children opens up the possibility for writing our own fantasies onto that blankness. The 'vacancy' is thus filled by our constructions of eroticized, sexualized children. While I'm not positive that I fully grasp or agree with Kincaid's argument, his discussion of blankness, smoothness, blandness, blondness, bleached-ness (or whitening), youthfulness and vacancy as connected and the sites and sources of obsession and eroticization seemed to have some merit. If the equation of youthfulness = beauty = sexual desire makes sense when applied to socially appropriate sexual subjects, who's to say that there is some invisible line that protects that same logic from being applied to children?

I think what's on the flip-side of this vacancy/blankness/silence language is what's at stake. Kincaid talks about purity, innocence and liberty as qualities that are attributed to children, things to be protected and preserved. He also draws our attention to the connections that purity, innocence and liberty have to sexualized adults (particularly women)--the desire for purity, innocence and virginity is so overplayed it's ridiculous. But Kincaid talks about why these qualities are eroticized, arguing that they demand protection while simultaneously eliciting the desire to despoil.

I think what this leads to is to agree with what Kincaid argues, that the current terms of the conversation (the scandal-free kind) perpetuate all the wrong things. They allow us to know and yet not know about a 'taboo' topic--the possibility of sexuality in children. The current terms actually shut down different conversations, and instead, like Kincaid argues, the same answer-less questions get asked, leaving us feeling politically and socially conscious, but ultimately unmoved and inactive.

Diablog: Kincaid


After reading this article by Kincaid about producing erotic cildren. I have a total new perception about children being molested and how that whole situation can produce a erotic type of child. Not only do I get this from the reading it's self, but I can relate on a more personal level because I was molested at a young age. I do to an extent feel that I was produced into this erotic child after that point. Not by my family but by society. I received conseling fron a psychologist and while being in sessions with her, looking back I feel that those sessions was the starting point of producing me into an erotic child ( I wont go into details, but I hope yall et the point). Anyway with Kincaid reading and the examples he points out like about Michael Jackson, Culkin and the story about Willy Nesler one could get the feelig that society turns sexual abuse into an erotic situation without even knowing it. Expecially with the whole Michael Jackson trial. Society wanted him to be guilty so that they could live and keep talking abou the sexual acts, because again they thrive on making sexual abuse into erotic acts. Which is actually really sick.

Now Please forgive me for my statements I am only speaking from a view of a molested child and how the reading of Kincaid pulled that view out for me. Beacause before this reading I did not see this viewpoint and I'am glad that I did because it explains a lot about the way I was feeling as a child at that time.

The image below is a graphic representation of the physical space the indigenous tribes of Alaska occupy.


I ran across this article in the NY Times back from 2006 while researching biocolonialism for another class. It is called DNA Gatherers Hit Snag: Tribes Don't Trust Them. I have listed some interesting quotes summarizing the article below, followed by my thoughts for engagement with the article:

"The National Geographic Society's multimillion-dollar research project to collect DNA from indigenous groups around the world in the hopes of reconstructing humanity's ancient migrations has come to a standstill on its home turf in North America."

"At issue is whether scientists who need DNA from aboriginal populations to fashion a window on the past are underselling the risks to present-day donors. Geographic origin stories told by DNA can clash with long-held beliefs, threatening a world view some indigenous leaders see as vital to preserving their culture."

"They argue that genetic ancestry information could also jeopardize land rights and other benefits that are based on the notion that their people have lived in a place since the beginning of time. "

"Spencer Wells, the population geneticist who directs the project, says it is paternalistic to imply that indigenous groups need to be kept from the knowledge that genetics might offer."

"Others said the test would finally force an acknowledgment that they were here first, undermining those who see the government as having "given" them their land. "

"As indigenous groups intermarry and disperse at an ever-accelerating pace, many scientists believe the chance to capture human history is fast disappearing."

"Unlike the earlier Human Genome Diversity Project, condemned by some groups as "biocolonialism" because scientists may have profited from genetic data that could have been used to develop drugs, the Genographic Project promises to patent nothing and to avoid collecting medical information."

"Scientific evidence that American Indians or other aboriginal groups came from elsewhere, they say, could undermine their moral basis for sovereignty and chip away at their collective legal claims. "

"To make scientific progress, the project's geneticists are finding they must first navigate an unfamiliar tangle of political, religious and personal misgivings."

"Knowing the routes and timing of migrations within the Americas would provide a foundation for studying how people came to be so different so quickly."

"'What the scientists are trying to prove is that we're the same as the Pilgrims except we came over several thousand years before,' said Maurice Foxx, chairman of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag. 'Why should we give them that openly?'"


Biolcolonialism, like colonialism, is the enterprise of domination (rape) of indigenous and "natural" (virgin) non/humans and resources.

This article made me think of the following quote from Isabelle Stengers used in Deboleena Roy's essay "Should Feminists Clone? And if So, How?":

"The difference between technology and the power of Truth is an ethical one, whereby technology is accompanied by a 'sense of responsibility that Truth permits us to escape'"

What responsibility accompanies technology, science, and the pursuit of "Truth"? What does she mean by saying that Truth permits us to escape this responsibility? How does one find Truth? These are all questions that relate to the study, pursuit, and act of science and genetics. The Truths that we have found in biology have lead to the mapping of the world's denizen's genomes, pinpointing identifiers and signifies on the chromosomes and the universality of DNA. These Truths manifest a cultivated distance between subject and object, human and nonhuman, and natural and unnatural. In dwelling on these dualisms and in the name of scientific progress, we as a society allow ourselves to escape/subvert/ignore our responsibility to and affect on non/human beings.

What are your thoughts on article? In particular, the quotations that I specifically listed and possibly in relation to Roy's quote.

For further interest, visit the website for Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism.

Still A Virgin?

I'm sure many of you have seen this billboard on campus. At first, I didn't know it was for the movie "The Virginity Hit," and it made me rather uncomfortable. It reminded me of the movie "American Pie," in which the plot revolves around a young high school male attempting to lose his virginity before he graduates. It revolves around the American social stigma of keeping your (typically male) virginity intact throughout your teenage years. This billboard plays off of those insecurities. The fact that there's a toll-free number one can call "for help" just perpetuates the notion that an unscathed virginity is something to be ashamed of. In this case, sex shouldn't be about love, compassion or security, but rather, it's a competition. It has been fashioned into a race that one must run in order to increase their social position. I know social pressure can be hard enough for young people (again, especially men) to deal with regarding sex, but do we really need this added media pressure? I just hope those who witness propaganda such as this are intelligent enough to rise above it, and explore their sexualities in a safe, comfortable, and respectable pace.

Direct Engagement: The Deuce

Tavia Nyong'o's essay on the use of the word "punk" really got me thinking about language. It's quite interesting to me the implications of certain words. Regarding sexuality, certain words can be extremely misleading. Why does our culture place such insistent emphasis on labeling and the use of words? I feel that fear is born of a lack of understanding, and assigning something a label is a way for people to feel more comfortable about it. For example, I identify as straight, though over the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent to me that I am bi-curious. These feelings are only knowable to me, but I feel that if I were to attempt to express them to many of my straight friends, they would automatically label me bisexual or homosexual. I think some of them would have a hard time comprehending the internal balancing act that I am currently undergoing. As the definition of punk differs between different cultures, the definition of my personal brand of bi-curiosity may have completely alternative connotations to the people I associate with. To convey these feelings to my friends would take a great deal of time and patience, and for fear that they may discredit me, I prefer the label of straight. There is nothing controversial about that and for simplicity's sake, that's all they need to know.

My First Annotated Bibliography


For my tracking topic(s), I have chosen masculinity and femininity. I'm hoping it won't be out of the question to inspect how the two terms play off of each other, especially in the context of gender roles and masculine/feminine norms of appearance. These have always intrigued me, so I'd like to take a closer look by using trends in the media, academic sources, and satire. My interest in these was sparked by the media; more specifically, by body wash commercials (you may recall my first Queer This!). I find it intriguing how these advertisements essential "proper" masculine and feminine traits in a thirty second window. This in turn has propelled me to examine gender specific norms of appearance and their connotations. With that, here are my sources:

Source The First

"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan
I used this source in writing a paper for one of my other classes in which I deconstructed and analyzed body wash commercials for sexist themes. I just found it at the Ridgedale library under their section on feminism. Friedan makes some pretty compelling points about advertising strategies and the effect is has on the public, especially concerning women. To quote: "[Women] are sorely in need of a new image to help them find their identity. As the motivational researchers keep telling the advertisers, American women are so unsure of who they should be that they look to this glossy public image to decide every detail of their lives." She also explains how advertisements convey the promise of life-changing positive effects through the consumption of their products. This book was right up my alley.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1997. Print.

Secondary Source

"Full Frontal Feminism" by Jessica Valenti
This book is a fun, quick and easy read. I also found it at the Ridgedale library. It outlines the use of sexual oppression in arenas such as the workplace, marriage, and (you guessed it) advertising. The sections about beauty products and plastic surgery are especially captivating. Valenti is genuinely pissed off - it shows in her writing - and by interjecting humor throughout the text, she makes for an incredibly compelling read. She offers strategies on how one can overcome - or at the very least combat - these oppressions and resist societal pressures regarding beauty norms.
Valenti, Jessica. Full Frontal Feminism. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2001. Print.

Tertiary Source

"Jackass For Girls" a Collegehumor.com Original Video
I don't expect everyone to find this video funny. In fact, many of you may find it offensive. However, I think that the video's use of satire illustrates some good points concerning feminine norms of beauty and appearance. Whereas M TV's Jackass series depicts a motley crew of white male twenty-somethings committing despicable deeds for the sake of cheap laughs, this video can be seen as a social commentary for the things women are expected to put up with in order to maintain an "acceptable" level of femininity. By likening everyday grooming habits to the insane stunts committed on the original Jackass, the video exposes the unfair complexities of the beauty norms that women are expected to uphold.
"Jackass For Girls." Collegehumor.com Web. 21 Oct 2010. http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1941986.

Engaging Directly deux

| 1 Comment

Judith "Jack" Halberstam: Animating Revolt/ Revolting Animation: Penguin Love, Doll Sex and the Spectacle of the Nonhuman.

Context: In a modern world in which artificial insemination and cloning are possible, how might modes of reproduction be considered queer?
With this in mind, Halberstam aims to redefine terms such as hetero and homosexuality through the examination of representations of queer lives in popular culture that go beyond our preconceived notions of queer as being referred to as something inherently human. Her argument is broken into two sections: Penguin Love and Doll Sex.
Penguin Love:
In Penguin Love there exists Penguin Porn. Penguin porn is the international response to penguin movies such as The March of the Penguins (2005) and shortly thereafter, Happy Feet (2006). The "Christian Right", as Halberstam calls the conservative audience, elevates both films and their heteronormative portrayals of the natural world to that of a god-like status- ascribing it an equal, if not laudable, example of humanity. While there are plenty of queer illustrations found in the natural world she states, these examples are either not given any credence or are manifested in a different light (i.e-Nemo's dad in Finding Nemo(2003)). Now Halberstam introduces a new term: Pixavolt. Pixavolt films are animated features directed towards youth that "proceed by way of fairly conventional narratives about individual struggle...collective action, anti-capitalist critique, group bonding and alternative imaginings of community, space, embodiment and responsibility"(pg 271). Halberstam gives other examples of films such as Babe(1995), Monsters Inc (2001) and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) each of which feature animated creatures that take on a society with "animal values". These films, as her final point, show ambiguous genders and variant sexualities.
Doll Sex:
Has nothing to do with blow up dolls you can find at Spencers (as I was surprised to find out). In her section entitled Doll Sex, Halberstam evaluates Seed Of ChuckyChild's Play series inhabits this through the representation of no gender in the offspring(Glen/da) that is manifested by Chucky and Tiffany, the nonhuman element of the movie and the both transbiological and queer example Tiffany impregnating a human.
Halberstam concludes that the world of animation is best suited to explore and push the boundaries of what a body is, what heterosexual love and commitment are and ways in which genetics and gender can be explored.

Overall, I thought the article was hilarious and raised good points. I enjoyed the poignant narrative about the male clownfish and how he will transsex in order to complete the kinship circuit and maintain a community. If anything in the natural world should be labeled as anthropomorphic, it should be that. After learning about the clownfish and relating it back to Finding Nemo, it made me smile and enjoy the movie that much more. However, the media representation of the natural world as primarily 'straight' leads the larger picture, a picture in which queer is made apparent, is left out. This is true of both the natural and human realms. Homosexuality, when portrayed, is presented through a narrow lens and stereotypes are formed: the natural world mirrors a heterosexual reality, homosexuals are promiscuous and morally ambiguous.
The Seed of Chucky part just freaked me out, I had never seen any of the Child's Play series and simply reading about it made me uncomfortable. But, I guess, that is the point. Movies like those make us uncomfortable and may lead us to question the natural order of things. Just as they should be questioned.

The questions I found myself asking were: what about the nonhuman is "spectacular" as it states in her title? How is the word Queer used? Is it simply something that is outside of the norm or does it take on different connotations? Why "penguin porn"? In what way does porn make itself queer and in the context in which it is being used, how does calling it porn make the animals queer? the movie? the audience?

Ill leave you with this: The Sex Lives of Animals Also check out Sex Lives of Robots...How is this queer?sex lives of animals.jpg

Direct Engagement: Science of Queering the Non-Human

| 1 Comment

Tuesday discussion have inspired me and make me really think about the article that we are reading this week.

When we are talking about properness between the human and the non/human, I have come to think about it in terms of the study of taxonomy. It is very clear from that we are trying to differentiate what is human and what is non/human, or scientifically speaking, what is homo sapiens and what is non homo sapiens.

When we talk about taxonomy, I have also related it to Darwin's theory and according to the theory, all organism are all connected and it seems like we are all from the same ancestor.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution - The Premise

Darwin's Theory of Evolution is the widely held notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor: the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers -- all related. Darwin's general theory presumes the development of life from non-life and stresses a purely naturalistic (undirected) "descent with modification". That is, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival -- a process known as "natural selection." These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature).

We have also known that the propose of this theory have cause quite a controversial, even nowadays we still have dichotomy of Darwinism and anti-Darwinism. Why are people against it? Why is it such a controversial when it was first proposed, I believe that it is because it challenge the hierarchy between human and non/human. People refuse to be group under the same category with the non/human.

This is how I see taxonomy as,

In some way we are trying to humanize, non-human as well. We are teaching tricks to our pet dog, teaching parrots to talk, teaching elephant to paint.

Besides I also think that science is queer in a way that before the discovery of genetic engineering, people who suffered from type one diabetes, patients who are not able to produce their own insulin, are being treated with bovine (cow) insulin. So does that means genetically cows are human or partial human? Hey, genetic is queer! Talking about genetics, scientists have successfully produced lesbian mice.

Talking about non/human have also makes me thinks about aliens or extra-terrestrial. In movies and books we are creating a living being and most of the time the story of these beings are being classified or portrayed under the horror section. So what does this means? That homo sapiens are afraid of the invasion of the non homo sapiens. The category of human is a comfort zone for us.

On the other hand, when we are creating this creatures or beings, we are constantly adding humanly features on them. This has been happening for ages even for mythological creatures. I think the reason why this happens is that we cannot create things that we do not understand or cannot relate to.

The movie ET, predator, aliens and so on, they have human characteristic feelings for their own kind, loyalty and etcetera. Besides we are constantly defining and redefining these beings. Sometimes and most of the time they will have lots of humanly features, 2 eyes, a nose, eyes but with big brains.

Scientist are still on the search for extra terrestrial being outside of our universe and have also theorized on how they are going to be. Another human and non-human interaction.

Direct Engagement #2: Halberstam's F(l)ailing Humanity

Having decided not to share any further "direct" and scattered work with Puar's texts until Annotated Bibliography #2, I'd like instead to do a close reading of a bit of J. Jack Halberstam's chapter "Animating Revolt/Revolting Animation: Penguin Love, Doll Sex and the Spectacle of the Queer Nonhuman"-- especially as there was no group to do diablog work on it (and it does put forth some lovely openings for exploration)! To top it off, JHalb (new nickname?) is somewhat of an idol of mine, as well as one of the top reasons I'm looking into graduate school at USC.


For me there's so much feeling built up in even the digital encounter with an image of Halberstam's face (especially eyes), and this is not simply to counter images of the disembodied theorist. I wonder what it would (will?) be like to engage face to face and tell this person about my passions and why they merit support. I've developed complicated relations to Halberstam's theories which mean, as well as I can describe, that at times I feel both intimately connected to and distinctly distanced from work such as that in Female Masculinity or In a Queer Time and Place.

"Animating Revolt"-- which, aside from blogs, must be some of the most recent Halberstam theory I've read-- struck me in the ways that it intertwines with assemblage theory. As Puar tends to but with a different flair, this text looks to queer(ing) practices askew from a basis in any stagnant queer conceptions of sexuality and/or gender. It's not the Halberstam I'm used to, and I like that. The focus in this chapter is on queer(ing) in/of "kinship, relationality and love" (266). As in the book In a Queer Time and Place, Halberstam turns to artifacts of pop culture in order to explore questions such as:

  • What's queer about animals/ non/humans?

  • What's human about animals/ non/humans?

  • How can we understand love in relation to non/humans?

  • And what's with humans using non/humans in the service of heteronormativity?

A passage that keeps me returning is this wonderfully charged moment, when Halberstam describes how

The porous boundary between the biological and the cultural is quickly traversed without any sense of rupture whatsoever, and the biological, the animal and the nonhuman are simply recruited for the continuing reinforcement of the human, the heteronormative and the familial. In other words, while it is true that reproduction and kinship relations become more and more obviously artificial, the concept of the 'human' tends to absorb the critique that inevitably follows from the natural and it does so because we reinvest so vigorously and so frequently in the scaffolding that props up our flailing humanity. (266)

This helps me to summarize at least some of the thoughts key to our work in queer/ing the non/human (oh slashes):

  • As nature does for culture, animal or non/human figures are often working to reify conceptions of human, heteronormative, monogamous union.
  • This, as Halberstam notes, is aimed to calm the threats of "our flailing humanity." Meaning: confusion as to what human is or does or "why we're here" is easily evaded by gestures to the non/human which shapes and defines the human as that which it is not.
  • What counts as human is often connected/confused/conflated with what counts as natural.

Do I invest energy in myself as human? Am I attached to the idea of my humanity? What is my relation to non/humans? To nature?

I'm reminded of the line that came up in class questioning whether any human behavior could ever be unnatural. I'd like to close by relating to this direction of thinking. I tend to think, according to Buddhist teachings, that I was not born into this world but rather out of it. So while we may draw lines that say trees, clouds, or bodies are natural while sky scrapers, computers, or pollution are not-- I do believe that all existence is intricately connected and comes from the one energy of this world. I am deeply connected to all other forms of life because we all interare (see: interbeing), we do not existence individually but rather our lives (not just human) literally depend on one another. It is in thinking through these relations that I can see how the divide of human / non/human is dangerously troubling.

Then, how might Halberstam's flailing humanity be connected to failing humanity?

And why does Halberstam do this theoretical work through such strange texts?

...[after talking about South Park with Lauren Berlant] I realized that those kinds of references actually really work for me. Partly because it is so much pleasure involved engaging in texts that you think are fun and funny, and partly because they are just unexpected. Therefore in my formulation they are open texts*, in the sense that they do not come with a readymade theory already embedded within them.

*What's the difference between (or balance within) honoring authorial intent and metaphorical creation (ahem, Dracula), and free range fun time with an open text?

"The dog shitting a hot turd is mildly interesting to me, but the cold turd on the street is disgusting to me. Yet on a rural road the turd is not offensive because it will decompose into living soil." (Paul Goodman;Five Years, p.1) (Natural vs. Unnatural?)

non:human notes.png(Last week, Sara asked us to share how we read -- the above image is a virtual representation of how I took notes and began to organize my thoughts around these texts.)

DE #2 - Kincaid

direct engagment.pdf

I chose this article because it dealt with children. Children, as I always say, are my passion and my love. This article made my stomach almost turn at times. It reminded me of Freud's Theory of the Psychosexual Child. He said that all children are sexual in nature and the way they develop is related sexually, needing to balance pleasure with conscience.

To me, Kincaid's thesis states that we, society, have created or "produce", erotic children. And that 'the erotic' and 'the child' have been dangerously overlapping for too long. Kincaid also uses many examples, like Macauly Culkin's famous copertone ad. And how could he title his article "Producing Erotic Children" without referencing Michael Jackson?

Why would society want to even start eradicating children in the first place? Do we all see it as eradicating? Are children sexual beings? Even at the young age of one or two years old? How do we draw the line between what should and shouldn't be punished when children are eradicated? How are children pictured and thought of as sexually arousing? If a woman prefers to sexually molest little girls, does that mean she prefers females as sexual parteners?

I'm an Early Childhood Education major. This article makes me sad; sad thinking about child molestation. I truly believe children are purely innocent. It makes me sad to think that others can look at children through a different lens than me. I hadn't really thought about this topic. I liked the way it was presented, it was very thought provoking.

Direct Engagement 2-- Kincaid Reading

Appreciation: This article is all about the sexualization and eroticism of children. As a society we repeatedly sexualize and eroticize the image of the gender neutral child, while we punish those who act on the fantasies that we create as a society. Kincaid uses many examples, like Macaulay Culkin in his coppertone advertisement where pictures of an androgynous Culkin playing while a cute dog pulls down his swim trunks eroticize the image of the androgynous child, but when Culkin gets older he loses his appeal. He discusses how the Michael Jackson scandal and all the jokes that followed were a necessary construction of society, and had these events not occurred society would have created an instance where it was equally constructed through a different entity.
His thesis states that "erotic children are manufactured -- in the sense that we produce them in our cultural factories, the ones that make meanings for us. They tell us what 'the child' is and also what 'the erotic' is. I argue that for the past two hundred years they have confused us, have failed to distinguish the two categories, have allowed them to dangerously overlap."

Critique: This article raised many questions for me. While I was reading the beginning, I was getting mental images of Willy Nesler sitting on trial, ready to tell his story and his mom going crazy and shooting his molester. I was getting images of the Michael Jackson trial, and how the press went crazy over his alleged offenses and even though he was found innocent, how society had already found him guilty. The Macaulay Culkin reference also hit close to home, I was raised on Home Alone movies, and when Kincaid pointed out that after Culkin grew into a more sexualized body, that is, less androgynous, he became much less popular. These examples raised some questions for me:

  • Why is our society so obsessed with child molestation?

  • Why are small children exploited in the media for entertainment, and why are certain images of children so much more desirable than others?

  • Could the mediated representations of children really be somewhat responsible for creating them in an erotic paradigm?

  • Are child molesters really confused about the erotic nature of children?
  • Once I read his thesis I got a strong feeling in the pit of my stomach. I understand Kincaid's point of view, that mediated images of children as erotic beings and also as pure and innocent beings are contradictory at best. However, it seems almost as if he is justifying the molestation of children based on the idea that mediated images confuse normal people into thinking that it is ok. For me that is extremely problematic, child molesters are not to be given a reason to excuse their behavior. Children may be sexual beings by nature but they are not able to consent to sexual acts, and certainly should not but put into those kinds of situations.
    His argument that therapists and other adults can help in creating false memories of molestation is very interesting to me. It has been documented that some therapists are responsible for helping to create false memories, but it is problematic to suggest this as a basis of dismissal of a child's claim of molestation,
    The bottom line for me is that it is important that our children as a society are protected from unwanted advances from both trusted and unknown adults. It is normal for children to experiment sexually, but adults do not need to take part in that experimentation.

    Construction: There are two ways that I would like to think about what I can do with this article. It is important for me as an advertising and media student to realize the complications that the media might be making on its projected images of children. I certainly do not want to prolong or contribute to this problem.
    Also, I think this article has an interesting parallel to the concept of heteronormativity in children. Children are taught that opposite sex relationships are standard. I think that scandals like the Michael Jackson example are so much more outrageous than most because he was a Man preying on little boys. Same sex molestation tends to get a bigger buzz than opposite sex molestation, simply because it is more societally problematic. My feeling on the issue is that child molestation is not ok regardless of its orientation.

Direct Engagement #2: From Web-sites to Wal-Mart

| 1 Comment

I wanted to write about this article, because it was the one that really stood out most in our readings in latter September. I wanted to engage in the difference about being gay in a rural vs. a urban setting, or even if there was such a significant difference. I always had thought that if you knew you were gay in a very conservative area with traditional upbringings that your life would be extremely different than if you grew up in a big liberal city.I suppose this is what internally appears in someone's mind before they realize that once they choose to finally disclose of their sexuality--the fact of the matter is...if you're gay, you're gay, in spite of the location. And to just assume that online social networks are affiliated with those surrounded by millions of people in such populated areas is simply close-minded and stereotyping another stereotype. There are a plethora of resources, like these online networks and organizations that have attributed to these individuals to aid with their adversities in their coming out process. Nonetheless, gay individuals take a risk when they post private information in a public setting, some of which have lead to disparaging actions taken into account by family members and friends. It is sad that even today people try to make other people's business their own, when they should worry about their own lives instead of trying to ruin the lives of others.

DE #2 Richard Thompson Ford

| 1 Comment

Richard Thompson Ford's article, "What's Queer about Race?" starts off with him announcing his marriage engagement to his partner. He then discusses about queer theory and how he prefers to be transgressive and outside of what is "normal" or not a part of mainstream society. His article is focused upon his personal meaning of queer theory and how it applied to his life. The focus of his article was about, the critique of identity, critique as a style, and the liberation from professional orthodoxies. He praises the significance of being queer and how it can also relate to race, because he is also in a interracial relationship with this partner. Being queer is not about one's identity but rather how one chooses to live their lives by challenging mainstream society's social and ideological construction of race and gender. He discusses about the Left and Right wings and how they have impacted the social construction of grouping individuals into certain categories.

I thought it was interesting how he said, "I wanted to ignore orthodoxies--not self-consciously challenge them but just write as if they weren't relevant" (Ford, 484). His article dealt with a lot of analyzing into race and social identity construction and how queer theory to him played an important role in challenging these views. It's almost as if he refers to himself as queer theory itself, and yet by him choosing to marry his partner, he is also choosing to obtain a part of what heterosexuals views as sacred and "normal".

What I found most interesting in this article was about how minority groups often referred outsiders from their race to a type of fruit or food item. For example, "Asian 'bananas', Latino 'coconuts', Native American 'apples' (Ford, 482). I have to admit, I have used these terms because I had a cousin who was Hmong (Asian) and he obviously did not grow up with a lot of other Asians, therefore he presented himself as more Caucasian, with his gestures, his physical appearance, as well his his speech. "These figures of scorn imply that there is a particular type of behavior that is appropriate to a given race, and thereby censure deviation from it" (Ford, 482). After I read this part in the article, Ford truly made me think twice about how we as a society construct these racial stereotypes but how we perpetuate it without even realizing it.

When I reflect upon being a minority myself, I feel that I should not have the right to say who is not "Asian" enough or even try to categorize them into a racial food group such as what I discussed earlier. How do we change the ways in which we see race and incorporate Ford's definition of queer theory to our lives?

To Clarrify

To clarify What I mean by queer in my comments, I take it to mean the non heterosexual group of people and the group of people who are always excluded from daily representations. I dont know if thats right, thats just my own understanding. I hope that cleared things up

queer this! go to the cloud

Mom says, "Windows give me the family nature never could."

How does this connect to our conversations/readings about queering the non/human and nature/naturalization? And what does it mean that this mom wants a family photo that she can finally share without ridicule? What are the implications of technology and its role in mediating relationship, perceptions of family, and literal, photographic representations of family? It seems like a heteronormative conception of perfection is being upheld, and what are the stakes of perfection? What does this do to our ideas of reality and intimacy? What is the role of consumption in the pursuit of this "perfect" heteronormative family?

DE: Cohen

I think the discussion in class for this reading really helped me understand the reading a little bit better.
Broadly, I think Cohen's piece was just about how we, meaning the population of queers and their allies, need to think more about how we are addressing the issue of oppression and why we are addressing it using the means we are using, and how that effects how power within the movement is dispersed. She brings up the fact that black Americans, especially women, are consistently pushed aside and not really a part of the "queer movement" and how it's almost exclusive at some times... which is not only completely counter productive, but also hypocritical. Because this exclusivity is taking place, Cohen, I think, wants us to take a deeper look at the means we utilize to get the point across.

The idea of power is really interesting to me because, especially in America, there's a general belief that everyone has power and that anyone has the ability to change their circumstances if they just try.
I think that this definitely isn't entirely true. Yes, anyone can change their situation, but this doesn't necessarily mean they can remedy it. To work your way up in our capitalistic society you need some kind of starting point (read also as: you need power).
Cohen kind of focused how, in the gay rights and queer movements, not everyone has the same amount of power to change the beliefs of the greater population of America who don't seem to understand the intrinsic value of "equality."
It's also worth pointing out that Judith Butler also touches on this topic a little bit in an interview from about a decade ago. She was being questioned about the gay rights movement, and specifically the women's movement and how they relate, and she eventually made her way to talking about how the women's movement has almost become this "club" for white, middle class women.
I think the entire concept of "power" is intriguing, but especially when you apply it to certain social movements because I really think that any movement could be analyzed and you can determine who has the most power or who has the most influence and see if those people are the same or different and why.

Queer This! #3 Too fat?



The model in this add was reportedly fired from Ralph Lauren for being too fat. This add was obviously photoshopped. I think it's interesting that if this add was blown up into the size of a actual human, her head was be far, far too big for her body to even hold up while her waist would be so small that it would probably be the same size as a 5-9 year old child.

Day Thirteen: October 21

Today we will continue our discussion of queering the non/human by revisiting the questions from Tuesday's class and adding in a few more:

Goal of queering? Here's one suggestion by Azzarello. To develop an:

increasingly rich and operative appreciation of our irreducibly multiple and variable, complexly valenced, infinitely reconfigurable relations with other animals, including each other (137). 

Think about this goal in relation to Haraway's passage about "turtles all the way down" and the "discursive tie between the colonized, the enslaved, the non-citizen and the animal" (xxiv). And Cathy Cohen's passage about the radical potential of queer politics:

...the process of movement building be rooted not in our shared history or identity but in our shared marginal relationship to dominant power that normalizes, legitimizes, and privileges (43). 

How does power work through the production and perpetuation of certain binaries? 

Queer theorists and environmentalists are interested in the natural. How? Why? What does "natural" mean? What does "natural" do (to our understandings of gender, desire, sexuality; our connections with others; our own lived experiences)?

How is nature/natural positioned against culture/cultural? What are the implications of this division, particularly within queer/ing theory/queer studies?

How are "the questions and politics of human sexuality always entwined with the questions and politics of the other-than-human world" (139)? 

Break up into small groups. Look over and discuss the list of words/actions associated with queer/ing. Come up with your own set of words/tentative definition or explanation/reaction to queer/ing. Pick one group member to post your statements on our blog. 

Track Term Comment # 1


I really like the topic that I picked about "affect". Since this class is based around queering desire I thought it would be a good idea to focus on how queer spaces "affect" younger youths, sense when I was in school, talking about queer ideas was not something that was heard of. For this purpose I went to websites that talked about how queer ideas affected younger children. Wheather they were in spaces that accepted queerness or were against it. I wanted to further examen how children react to the idea of adding new ways of thinking about the space that they are in. How students who identify with queerness feel when queer ideas are never introduced to their spaces and how they then react when they are introduced. Most importantly I would like to examen both sides of how queerness "affects" youths positvely and negatively.

The Rules are What..?


I happened to randomly stumbble upon Arielle. A YouTube video blogger and "mentor for the LGBT community".
Her first video I watched made me wonder if she was homosexual or just poking fun at lesbians. How did it come accross to you? I suppose others might view it as funny, and something that relates to their life, but I wasn't so sure how to feel about it. Others out there seem to love her and posted comments on her episode one.
I went to her YouTube site, hoping to learn more about her "mentor"ing.. I don't know if her site is wack or if my computer it acting really slow due to all the #qu2010 tabs I have open. My computer was finally able to load her "Happiness" video. I liked it. It reminded me of my tracking topic/person: Cherrie Moraga - because "happiness" is a video of her performing what I assume to be a lesbian love poem.
Then I watched her "Lesbain Speed Dating" - and wasn't as impressed. I watched about half of it, and gave up, due to my computer and lack of interest. It didn't seem very funny, informational, or entertaining to me.
Am I just in a bad mood tonight? Possibly, because her fellow followers call her a "blessing" and say how she's "helped me so much through your videos". What do you think of her videos? Are they stereotypical or just telling it how it is?
Through this course and the recent news, I've become more interested in the blog community that supports GLBT - and this was my first taste. Hoping to find something a little more serious on my next shot!

She Did Another "Queer This!"? Serrrsly?

So I'm walking down Nicollet Mall today to go to the Target(I know, I know, what was I thinking?).
Anyway, on my way to indulge in Corporate America at it's finest, I had the pleasure of getting in some great people-watching. Cardboard sign here, preaching on a stool there, vagina shirt ther...


Double take.

A guy walking down the sidewalk had on a shirt that say "I enjoy Vagina" but it LOOKED like one of those shirts for Coca-Cola... so at first glance, not a big deal, "Oh that guy likes coke," but then something about it is wrong so you look back and you're like "Oh, well, never mind, guess he likes... not... Coca-Cola."
It made me think a little about how popular brand names and things that people recognize in pop culture, the pop icons I guess, can be manipulated or distorted, OR queered...and why?
Is it because people just don't like popular stuff so they're trying to mock it by taking a well-known image or slogan and twisting it into something else?
Or is it a humor thing? Like... the irony of it is just hilarious?


Queer This! (3)


I was at Hard Times today, as usual, and for those of you who have been there and kind of know the atmosphere or aura that it imposes, I wanted to ask your opinions on it as far as "queering" goes.
My first couple times going there I thought it was just this crazy plethora of eclectic characters. The facade of the building itself just screams "nutso" to me; plus it's vegan/vegetarian (and everyone knows "those people" are just psycho).

---Disclaimer: Not ragging on veggies (I am one) but, especially in the midwest, there's just kind of a umbrella view that people who don't eat meat are "weird."---

Hard Times.jpg

But then as I started to go there more often rituals started to emerge that I guess have always been but I never really saw. Plus, you see the same people over and over, the "regulars." Basically, the place drips with tradition.
That realization made me kind of wonder why Hard Times seems like the kind of place that will welcome, literally, anyone, as long as you appreciate coffee, veg food, cigarettes, and/or conversation. But there are so many things that are always the same there and that you can't disrupt without consequence. I just think it's funny because generally "traditions" are things that have always been/will always be and queering is really a new thing but it's definitely welcome at Hard Times.

I guess what I'm getting at is where do you think tradition and rituals fit in with queering and society kind of adopting a new view of "include everyone because everyone is equal"?

Day Twelve: October 19

Today I want to do a very close reading of the introduction to Queering the Non/Human. This intro is a great place to dig into a in-depth discussion of how queerness/queering/queer theory/queer studies (5) functions in this reading and other readings we have done thus far. Before we get into that, some announcements:

  • Advice on DEs. Filed under category: How to Blog/Tweet
  • Further reflections on diabloging assignment: Any thoughts? Questions?
  • Anyone attend the Social Justice film festival?
  • Lots of great "queer this!" examples to choose from. Remember that the goal of comments is to open up discussion and to help us all think through what is meant by queer/ing practices. Keep  your comments thoughtful and respectful. 
  • Any other questions? Events?
  • DE #2 is due this Friday. Tweet Source + comment on someone else's annotated bibliography also due this Friday.
Discussion: "Introduction: Queering the Non/Human"

First, check out this Animal Planet commercial: Surprisingly Human?

store.jpg Now, reread the following passage from the text. Write down (comment on) some of your reactions to the questions:
What is non/human? What does it mean to "be, live, act, or occupy the category of the Human (Butler)? Who/what gets to occupy that category? Who/what doesn't? How are they excluded?

Why think about non/human in relation to queer?

The discursive tie between the colonized, the enslaved, the non-citizen and the animal--all reduced to type, all others to rational man, and all essential to his bright constitution--is at the heart of racism and, lethally, flourishes in the entrails of humanism (Haraway xxiv). 

Queering has the job of undoing 'normal' categories, and none is more critical than the human/nonhuman sorting operation (Haraway xxiv). 


What other binaries can we think of?
How are the created? Where do they come from?

There is no ontological starting or stopping point, neither order nor disorder, boundaries nor boundary violations. That is not a recipe for free-fall in abstract space, but for coming to know our obligations to each other in all their impossibility and necessity, across species and in communion. Companion species are about patterning, consequences, and the possibility of response. Living and dying on earth is tangled turtles all the way down (Haraway xxv). 

What does Vicky Kirby mean when she writes:

Binary logic undoes its truths even as it affirms them, so that an effective way to displace and intervene into what appears to be a repressive mono-logic is to consider its essential perversity" (3). 

Can we make strict (and fixed/sealed) divisions between binaries: non/human...what about other binaries? Do we need binaries? What should we do with them?

What is queerness/queering/queer theory/queer studies?
noun, adjective, verb, adverb (4). Examples of each? How do our authors use the term? How do you think about it?

What is the proper object of queering desire? See J Butler's essay, "Against Proper Objects" for more in-depth discussion.

  • Who gets to decide what is proper?
  • How does that decision create new boundaries and generate monolithic understandings?
queer: "ambivalence marks attachments to it as an identity category, political positionality, methodological framework, or system of knowledge production" (4). 

...not so much what queer "is," but what it "does":

resist, reclaim, invent, oppose, defy, make trouble for, open up, enrich, facilitate, disturb, produce, undermine, expose, make visible, critique, reveal, move beyond, transgress, subvert, unsettle, challenge, celebrate, interrogate, counter, provoke and rebel (5). 

...and what it causes/produces/generates:
uncertainty   openness   uneasiness  fluidity  inclusivity   indeterminancy  indefinability   unknowability   the preposterous  impossibility  unthinkability  unintelligibility  meaninglessness  (add failure too?) (4).

Queer: = "critical theory 'to challenge and break apart conventional categories'...collection of methodologies to unpick binaries and reread gaps, silences and in-between spaces" (5). 

How do you understand queer/ing?

Queer This! 2

| 1 Comment

I was wandering St Paul the other day and came across Porn for Women. Created by the Cambridge Women's Pornography Cooperative to "recover the term 'pornography' from the gold-chained, hairy-chested, leisure-suit-wearing, mouth-breathing knuckleheads, and reclaim it for the rest of us" It then goes on to encourage the reader to "share [the] book with a friend, a sister, or a guy who's ready for enlightenment. The images are mainly of well built men doing housework and offering to do sweet, romantic things However, compare it to an image I found at www.homo-neurotic.com that gives the same image for women as it does for gay men, and the nytimesgaynups1.jpg080725-porn-for-women.jpg

I was struck by the gender roles presented in both images. The first in porn for women, breaking 'traditional roles' by having men committing to housework and the second, presenting a gay couple in the traditional roles. Applying gender roles to same sex couples assumes assimilation. It tries to paint the picture that gay marriage or gay relationships for that matter are just as "normal" as hetero relationships. What do you think of these images? Is the image of the gay couple affirming gay stereotypes? Aiming for assimilation? or making fun of traditional gendered roles? What do you think of the porn for women in breaking the norm? How does that play into "queering" heterosexuals?

Gender Bending Fashion Queer This! 2

| 1 Comment

SB_ferragamo1a_fw2010 TWO.jpgI have been seeing this particular image and many other similar Salvatore Ferragamo ads in many magazines (Vogue, Marie Claire, W, Glamour) this fall. And every time I see this spread I can't help but notice the androgyny that is present. I also think that there is a role reversal in appearances. The only way to really differentiate between the two is by the clothes they are wearing, which even that is very gender neutral for the most part. The male figure actually appears more feminized with a soft, glowing appearance, while the woman is wearing less makeup and is more harsh in appearance. So many things here are challenging dominant norms (the designer, the photographer, the models, the clothing, etc.). Stereotypical gender norms are pushed and are delivered en masse. It also helped me make a connection from class on Thursday where we discussed gender as "...the ways in which people express their bodies and communicate with the world" via hair, clothing, space within a room, and more.

Queer This: 'It Gets Better'


In response to the recent rash of suicides being attributed in part to homophobia, the 'It Gets Better' campaign was launched by Dan Savage. The first video posted is of him and his partner, who are cis-gender white rich gay men, offering hope that things will change for the better. Without denying the good intentions of those involved in the project to spread words of optimism to those facing similar circumstances, there are many ways in which to offer up a queer critique of the message.

Here's a link to a popular blog engaging in analysis and critique of the project.


And one discussing the absence of trans folks despite suicide statistics.

And finally an alternative approach...


With or without help from the additional links, what can be queered about Dan and Terry's video? How is the phrase 'it gets better' in and of itself problematic (or if you don't find it so please explain)? Comparing and contrasting the 'it gets better' project with the 'make it better' project, in what ways can we queer how we engage and confront homophobia? In what ways can we queer how we address mental health and wellbeing in the queer community and beyond?

Queer This! #2


Mom Sues Tyra Banks After Teen Appears on Show

I have always been a big fan talk shows and what sorts of things that they bring to the table and decide to discuss. I was on USA Today, and I discovered this article that mentioned Tyra Banks and her show, which featured a 2009 episode on teen sex addicts. Long story short, the 15 year-old who appeared on this episode somehow got on the show without parental consent, which she obviously would need, given that she is under 18. The mother of this girl is suing Tyra and Warner Brothers for $3 million, claiming that, "her daughter suffered damages" and the 2009 show "was undoubtedly watched by sexual deviants, perverts and pedophiles."

What do you think? I believe that some teens need to publicize problems in their lives to ultimately vent and cope with their stresses, like this girl did by appearing on Tyra's show. Why do you think that certain teens feel the need to be rebellious or acts in ways in which they have to go behind their parents' backs to get a message out? Why shouldn't parents trust their kids more, in spite of their age and lack of personal experience in the real world?

"Television personality Tyra Banks is facing a $3 million lawsuit from a woman who claims
that her 15-year-old daughter appeared on Banks' talk show without parental permission."
-The Associated Press


DE #2: engaging with Luhmann

I really enjoyed the readings about queering pedagogy. I feel like this class has taught us a lot about what a queer pedagogy would look like. The fact that we can sit on our computers and blog and tweet during class, go sit outside and play games, or engage so directly and constantly with our classmates via online media really does demonstrate a form of queer pedagogy in the classroom. It is "troubling" and unconventional, but I believe that's the point of the class anyways. And it seems to be working for me. I'm engaging with the material way more than I would otherwise, and following my classmates and thinking critically about their responses and work. Because of the class, I felt this article was particularly interesting.

Luhmann states, "pedagogy is critical of mainstream education as a site for the reproduction of unequal power relations" but she says it also runs the risk of become normalized. She looks at assimilationist politics as a way to try and include gay and lesbians within a normal realm so that they are no longer located outside the confines of what "normal" is. The Queer insistence to unstablize normal is perhaps a good place to start a queer pedagogy. She asks, "what if a Queer pedagogy puts into crisis what is known and how we come to know"? Luhmann's main focus is to show that pedagogy may start with how one comes to know knowledge, through what means, and how knowledge is formed based on the interaction between teacher/text/student.

The way she analyzes ignorance in the classroom is interesting. The teacher can do whatever they want to try and teach, but the important part of teaching is how the individual student relates that knowledge to their life and what they decide to do with it, if anything. She does not see ignorance as not knowing, but instead sees ignorance as a resistance to knowledge, a desire not to know. I have always seen this desire not to know as a form of resistance in terms of not having to respond to whatever it is we do not wish to know. In not knowing we do not feel the desire to change things or act differently towards them. We can just claim ignorance, when really it is our desire to not be informed. We don't want to know that bad things are happening or acknowledge the realities of the world because then we would feel obligated to do something. She proposes that teachers must engage with this resistance to knowledge rather than trying to correct the fact that individuals just "don't know". As I stated earlier, it is important for a teacher to find a way to relate everything to each individuals life so that people can actually "know" personally. She also discusses how the binaries are necessary because we can only come to understand or know something when it is placed in opposition to something else.

When talking about "making or teaching gay" we must acknowledge the multiple intersectionalities and positionalities that people possess and make sure to not homogenize gay or lesbians to a token gay or lesbian identity. Thus, teachers must engage with ignorance to make uncomfortable the binaries of straight/gay. Troubling the classroom is necessary to create individual understanding so students can actually see how these things affect their lives on a day to day basis.

What other things could we do to create more understanding in classrooms? Is creating dialogue, even if uncomfortable the only way to foster understanding among people? Why are asking the "uncomfortable" questions so hard for us to do? If we don't know and don't understand and don't ask because we don't want to sound politically incorrect, then we are being ignorant because we are choosing not to know. Yet, if we allow room for errors and ask questions anyways, then we are actively trying to understand and therefore be less ignorant. So why is it so hard for us to ask these questions? What can teachers to do open up this dialogue and make it less uncomfortable? What are things that we can do individually to make it more comfortable for us when we don't understand something?

Queer this #2: Maine's Anti Gay Marriage Ad

| 1 Comment

McCabeHaleFlier copy.jpg

Since it's almost election time, I've been following the campaigns and took particular attention to this Maine ad that was paid for by the National Organization for Marriage discriminating against a democratic candidate who backed a state bill to expand marriage to civil unions and same sex couples. I found the ad to be shockingly outdated and DEPRESSING in it's entirety!

Maine passed a state bill allowing homosexual marriage in May and now there are massive ads out to abolish the law. How is it that we continue to make steps forward in equality, and then take them back again? Why would the voters in Maine veto the bill? Where is PROGRESS? F you NOM, maybe we don't want to join your institution of marriage. Maybe we can just come up with another word for a civil union because "marriage" doesn't really sound that great anyways? Although it is incredibly unfair that our relationships are not validated like yours are, or taken as seriously because we can't have the title of "married". It doesn't mean that we don't all love in the same way. Rarrrr, now I'm just rambling because I get pissed off @ ignorance!

A few things to notice... why is 'marriage' in quotes at the top of the flyer? Because it wouldn't be marriage if it wasn't a heteronormative marriage? Good one NOM! Thank you for trying so hard to "protect" marriage from equality! Wow. Then there is a bold statement about how Hale is "protecting" marriage between a man and a woman because children do better in a nuclear family. Where are those "facts"? If we taught kids from a young age that there are all different types of families, some have 2 moms, some have 1 parent, some have a mom and a dad... children wouldn't even question it because it would be just another way to have a relationship, among many. Instead, children are still taught the importance of gender roles and that healthy relationships only exist between a male and a female. Now, more than ever before, children are aware of what gay or lesbian means, so why are we still teaching them that heteronormative relationships are really the only "acceptable" ones? And WHY are we still trying to argue that "GLBT couples are not fit to raise children"? Ignorance is bliss? Egh.

Queer This # 2

| 1 Comment

This is an article about social media and its effects on national coming out month. I think it deserves some queering, or at least a look. Its really interesting.

Queer This: Real Housewives with Balls

| 1 Comment


Recently I have come across a new reality show, "The A-List New York". According to a lot of comments, it is basically a gay version of the straight reality show "The Real Housewives".

But after watching the show, it makes me wonder if this show takes the LGBT community step(s) forward or step(s) backward. Does it do much in queering the society? Does it bring insight to the non-queer the life of the queer? (Even though this show does not cover the wide spectrum of the LGBT community. Or is it stereotyping the people? And most importantly, would you watch it?

Owh, maybe we can try to queer the advertisement of the show which I show above. :)

Queer This: Father of The Bride II

| 1 Comment

Okay a lot of people have seen this movie, its kinda of funny but can also be a loving movie. A little backgroung is that The dad is getting over his little girl getting married (Father of the Bride I) So in the Part II the daughter is pregnant and a few days later the mom finds out she is pregnant during that time the dad is running around crazy to please the ladies. Well to fastforward a lot they end up having their babies on the same dad. He becomes a newly father and a grandfather all in the same day. His daughter has a boy and his wife has a girl. When they bring the babies out they bring his daughter out in a pink blanket and his grandson in a blue blanket. I Know this a stupid queer this, so simple, but, I just wanted to figure out why, since even before I can remember, have hospitals always done that. Put color with a gender. Do you think that helps to start the molding process of the childs expected to do list based on their gender?

Queer This! Revisited: Surprisingly Human, part 2


A few weeks ago, I posted a queer this example about the Animal Planet and their current slogan: Animal Planet, Surprisingly Human. Since we are talking about queering the non/human this week, I wanted to bring up this issue again. Here's a brief commercial for you to consider:

In "Queering the non/human," Noreen Giffney and Myra J. Hird write:

Recognizing the trace of the nonhuman in every figuration of the Human also means being cognizant of the exclusive and excluding economy of discourses relating to what it means to be, live, act or occupy the category of the Human. This has real material effects. For every 'livable life' and 'grievable death,' there are a litany of unmentionable, unassimilable Others melting into the pace of the nonhuman" (3).

What are your reactions to this commercial in light of the above passage? (How) can you connect this to the readings? To practices of queering the non/human?

Queer This!

I wanted to get some feedback/comments on the University's Candlelight Vigil that was held last week on Tuesday.
I went and it was just a really cool experience, to hear people talk about how affected they were by coming out or by staying in the closet.
AND, one of the impromptu speakers was from a fraternity and he told everyone in the group his coming out story and then let everyone know that his fraternity is completely open to GLBT and their allies and if anyone ever needed anything, or help with anything, or wanted to talk to him about being GLBT or about struggles they're having, he wanted them to come to him and his fraternity. I just found that to be really interesting because, at least in my mind, fraternities have always had this kind of conservative culture and have been really imbedded in tradition, and I thought it was really cool that at least one of them is making an effort to include more than just the typical "Frat Boy."

engaging directly with cohen, #2

For this DE I thought I'd just pick a few sections of the article that really stuck out to me. Here goes nothin':

"Assimilation is killing us. We are falling into a trap. Some of us adopt an apologetic stance, stating "that's just the way I am" (read: "I'd be straight if I could."). Others pattern their behavior in such a way as to mimic heterosexual society so as to minimize the glaring differences between us and them. No matter how much [money] you make, fucking your lover is still illegal in half of the states."
(QUASH 29)

This excerpt from the activist group QUASH's manifesto gives a powerful, first-person (as it were) account of the pressures of heteronormativity and assimilation to it. It expresses the anger, resentment, and injustice of the legal system and the costs of attempting (and failing?) to assimilate as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning person. Cohen then takes this manifesto and the emotions/ideas its expressing and voices her own concern with its relatively simplistic adherence to the oppositional binary of hetero/queer, and questions the label queer (in the following quote) as well as poses questions meant to destabilize and mobilize the non-normative formations of heterosexuality (the last quote).

"But like other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists of color, I find the label "queer" fraught with unspoken assumptions that inhibit the radical political potential of this category."
(Cohen 35)

"Despite its liberatory claim to stand in opposition to static categories of oppression, queer politics and much of queer theory seem in fact to be static in the understanding of race, class, and gender and their roles in how heteronormativity regulates behavior and identities. Distinctions between the status and the acceptance of different individuals categorized under the label "heterosexual" thus go unexplored." (Cohen 36)

Mostly, I just appreciated a further fleshing out of the terms 'queer,' 'queer theory,' 'heterosexuality,' 'heteronormativity,' and 'gay politics.' Her discussion of the term 'queer' as a potentially radical political category is informed by her experience as a woman activist of color. She recognizes that the danger in assuming the identity queer too readily and too easily could very quickly result in the erasure of particular lived experiences and points of view that come from differences in race, class, gender, etc. 'Queer' as a category, then, has both the danger of becoming a monolithic, stable label, slapped on any non-heterosexual person and potential to be effectively political if questioned and talked about.

I also really connected to the questioning and problematizing of the category of heteronormativity. Before, I'd felt that within discussions of gender and sexuality, and the politics that come with them, the category/identity of heterosexual was simply used as the identity to define oneself in opposition to, even to the point that heterosexuality and heteronormativity were almost conflated in my mind. But Cohen argues that using the terms in such a way, in not questioning them, 'heterosexual' becomes as lacking in radical political possibilities as does an unquestioned use of the term 'queer.' She opens up the supposedly and typically 'normative' category of heterosexuality to non-conformativity, and to the possibility for non-normative, transgressive, and allied actions. I felt like she was opening up discursive space for me, a white-heterosexual-middle class woman, to enter into the conversation and potential radical political action/thought, by this questioning and destabilizing of heterosexuality/heteronormativity.

queer this! #2--gleeful whiteness

gleeful .png

In light of this past week's readings on black queer theory, gay politics, and queer theory, I thought I'd throw Glee out there for queering. This cover for Rolling Stone doesn't show the whole glee club, only the lightest, straightest ones. (I'm telling you this because I wouldn't want to assume you all are Gleeks (make sure to pay attention to/question what def. #3. is saying)) What does this mean? Why are they dressed the way they are, and what does that imply/recall? Is this whiteness visible?

DE #2

I read the article "What's that Smell: Queer Temporalities and Subculture Lives" by Judith Halberstam

This article examines how the word "queer" is no longer just describing sexual minorities, but it is taking on a whole new life. This life is not connected with sexual identity, but with a way of life. The article also the subculture and community that is based solely on being "different". The word "punk" is also related to the queer community. "Queer subcultures are related to old school subcultures like punk but they also carve out new territory for a consideration of the overlap of gender, generation, class, race, community, and sexuality in relation to minority cultural production" page 2 of text. This quote describes how queer populations are morphing into not only a group of individuals that are defying rules of society, meaning heterosexual, but are creating new ways for "queer" people to relate to one another and the world around them.
Another term that is defined in this text is postmodernism. Here it is said that this word means that subcultures are both acknowledged and absorbed. Popular media recognizing subcultures such as drag kings should be cause for "celebration and concern". By bringing to light this subculture, ultimately dominant cultures will be influenced or altered. Also, subcultures can provide a way to stay hip and edgy when represented in media thus being very profitable. Positively, "the more intellectual records we have of queer culture, the more we contribute to the project of claiming for the subculture the radical cultural work that either gets absorbed into or claimed by mainstream media." This is basically stating that as the more queer subcultures are admitted into common culture the more the work of the advocates of this subculture is acknowledged for better or for worse.

Example 2 Queer This!

I read this article on "Court Upholds Firefighters Gay Pride Verdict"

What should be done in cases such as this? Should firefighters and policemen not have to contribute to protection and security in gay pride events if they are offended and disturbed by such activities? How should cases like this be handled in court?

Queer This! #2: Bare.


This picture was taken in a the Case College Center at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was (am) there this weekend visiting my sister. She is a co-president of the Bare student club. This club is the first of its kind on campus and has been meeting since fall of '09. Bare, as advertised, is the college's "Sex and Sexuality Forum." They meet once a week and have a list of sexuality-related topics that they chat about. Every student who attends is welcome to talk as much as they like and the basic point of the forum to de-stigmatize sexual taboos and to find connections with other students. The club doesn't participate in activism in any organized forms, other than releasing their 'zine. However, it took part in organizing a rally last year in response to a highly publicized sexual assault on campus, working to re-work the campus's policy on assault/harassment. The photo on the poster was taken by a member of the club and was included in last year's publication.

Can we provide a queer analysis of the image on the poster? Do you think it is useful to have a club like Bare? Would you attend it if we had one at the U? How does the idea of Bare queer (or not queer) sexuality and desire? Could it be part of a queer political movement?

Queer This! Banned Gay Commercial

Now, I found this commercial randomly on youtube and thought it was interesting to share with the class. It not only deals with the religious aspect of heterosexuality but because it is an advertisement created by a European insurance company, whose slogan is "Just Call Us" meaning that if anything ever goes wrong, they can fix anything. As if they can fix Adam who appears to be gay in the commercial. Although Central Baheer is an insurance company that has been known for making humorous commercials with very little dialogue, this one by far was one of the most offensive commercials towards the gay community. However, I do admit I am curious about the idea of Adam being gay. If he was gay in the religious context, I wonder if the world today would have been any different than it is now.

Queer This: Ax Wound

| 1 Comment

coverhkj.jpgHannah Neurotica, creator of the 'zine, Ax Wound, looks at the horror genre from feminist (and queer) perspectives:

"Ax Wound" is a derogatory term for a menstruating vagina. How perfect for a feminist horror zine title! It is my hope that "Ax Wound" will create a dialogue about gender in the horror/slasher/gore genre -- a genre typically thought to reinforce patriarchal values. I want both the 'zine and the website to provide a safe, stimulating environment for feminist horror fans of all backgrounds to discuss the themes of gender, sexuality, and culture in the genre both past and present. Ax Wound will also serve as a platform to help promote and bring together women in the horror industry.

In the spirit of the Halloween season, I thought we could look at the horror genre through the (alternative) feminist lens of Ax Wound (more or less contra- Carol Clover/Laura Mulvey). This 'zine is not a critique of the horror genre, but a celebration of it, striking the fancy of such horror aficionados as gore master Herschell Gordon Lewis, and self-proclaimed horror nerd Eli Roth. As a wannabe (especially B-movie) horror buff myself, I'm incredibly excited about this publication and its promotion of a genre that has been so viciously censured (namely by feminists) for its heavy immersion in misogyny. Hannah Neurotica's feminist love for horror is refreshing, and, as far as I know and from what I can gather from the anecdotal reviews of the 'zine on her website, her's is one of the best horror publications around.

For more on queering gore, check out Neurotica's radio interview with Israel Luna, writer and director of the new horror film, Ticked-off Trannies with Knives, or at least watch this teaser trailer (full trailer available on the film's website):

Thoughts on Direct Engagements/Blog Folders

| 1 Comment

After reading through your blog entries, I wanted to provide you all with some general thoughts and advice on blog entries/comments. Before getting into specifics, I wanted to say that I think you are all off to a great start on the blog! I hope that it is beginning to make sense and that you feel the blog and twitter are helping you to engage. Remember that the blog is only as good/helpful/productive as we all make it. If you have any other suggestions to offer to each other, please post them as comments to this entry. 

Logistical Advice:

  • In addition to putting your name on your twitter log, make sure to put your alias. 
  • When sending me .docs, save it with your name in the title. Do not send .docs that are generically titled, "blog and twitter log." Instead, title it with your name+ log. So, for example, Lauryntwitterlog.doc.
  • Always file your entries under the right category. 
  • Tag your entries with your alias. 
  • Regularly check your entries. When someone comments on your blog entry, make sure to go back into your entry and tag their alias.

DE Advice:

First, experiment with how you present your engagement. 

  • Try providing visual cues for your reader by using bullet points 
  • or putting particularly important ideas in bold or italics. 
  • You can even make some text bigger by clicking on the second A button (with the arrow pointing up)
  • Use different tones (formal/informal, etc) as long as they are respectful and in the spirit of critical engagement.
  • Make it interesting. 
  • Add in an image or two--maybe an image of the book cover/author or a photo of you looking totally confused
  • Embed a video: eg. of you talking about the reading and your engagement
  • Make your questions highly visible to others: put them in bold, all caps, or bullet points, etc. 
Second, include all three parts of the engagement: Appreciation, Critique, Construction

  • Appreciation: This doesn't require that you like the reading. Instead, appreciation = summary. What is the main thesis of this reading? Offer a few examples/passages from the text that support your explanation. In any serious engagement, you need to demonstrate that you can clearly and succinctly describe article. Imagine that your readers have not read the article: how can you explain it to me them in a simple and compact way?
  • Critique: DIscuss critical questions (negative and positive ones) that this article raised for you. What was particularly inspiring? Helpful? What made you confused or angry? How/why does/doesn't this argument work?
  • Construction = application to concrete experiences/communities/practices, including your own. What can you do with this article? One way to approach this is to think about it in relation to the term you are tracking. How does this reading enhance/complicate/trouble your understanding of your term?
Key point: Don't assume that we (any of your readers) know what you are talking about. Work to explain your points and to flesh out your argument. Push yourself to explain, defend, support any of your claims. 

Final thoughts:

  • Have fun
  • Be respectful
  • Visit the blog/twitter regularly. Get in the habit of checking and responding. 
  • Actively engage
  • Take responsibility for your role in the class: Ask questions when you don't understand, hold other students accountable, give feedback, do the assignments
Okay, that's all for now. Advice on annotated bibliographies coming soon. 

REMINDER: Queer This example 2 + tweet is due on Monday, 10.18. I have extended the deadline for DE #2 until Friday, October 22. 

Queer This! #2


So have y'all seen this?

This is obviously an example of a non-subtle queer this. What I am interested in mostly is how our discussions of getting in trouble relate to this video. We discussed the idea that maybe searching for "traditional" rights isn't what we should be fighting for, but rather focusing on why we want to fit into those ideas of traditional rights in the first place. Same-sex marriage is very much a "traditional rights" issue, and a lot of time and effort is going into the fight for this right. I find this video be somewhat of a deviance from the regular discourse around same-sex marriage, in that it's very much about making trouble, and not about convincing those against same-sex marriage that "we're normal just like you, give us the same rights". The speakers are unafraid to use the worst swear word in the English language to make their statement. It's funny and shocking to hear younger people use that word. The people are bold and sassy, and they say things a lot of us think, but don't say.

What do you think about this video? Do you think that purposely making this type of trouble may cause a backlash? Are those of you who consider yourselves part of the LGBTQ community tired of playing nice? How are these people queering up the discourse around same-sex marriage?

Queer This! #2: FAIL (the imperative) + ink

| 1 Comment

As you may have noticed, I'm slightly obsessed with the tattooing of words. In fact, all of my 25 or so hours of tattooing have resulted in words, and although they are all linked to my identity as a writer and my desire to make important pieces of what I've read and heard a part of my body, I've... well, I've just never really brought them into play in the classroom or in a context of queering theory. Because of this, I suppose, I was destined to find this tattoo and its accompanying article (click pic/text for link).

"15 Amazing Literary Tattoos From Diehard Bookworms"

Lines from Samuel Beckett

So, what's queer about failure? Or, what's queer about tattoos? I've got plenty of ideas (just look at all I tagged!), and if folks are interested enough in starting a dialogue I'll also gladly share text/info/inspiration/images of my own ink and talk about some of its personal meanings.

Next Week's Readings

I am looking forward to our first diablog presentation today! I wanted to alert you to some changes in the reading schedule for next week. Here's the new schedule:  


Readings: Optional: Halberstam, Judith. "Animating Revolt/Revolting Animation: Penguin Love, Doll Sex and the Spectacle of Queer Nonhuman"

READING NOTE: As you are reading the essays, particularly the "Introduction" by Giffney and Hird, pay careful attention to their definition of queer (4-6). Reactions? Questions? Think about it in relation to some of the other definitions of queer that have come out in all of our readings. Next Tuesday, we will spend a lot of time thinking through the various definitions of queer that we have encountered so far. 

(Reflect)ing on Cohen...th(O)ughts

Over the past several days I have tried to articulate to myself some definition or understanding of the term power as it is used in Cohen's article. As others have commented in discussion, power can begin to be described in terms of bodies existing in a space-time dynamic. Engaging with this idea I tried to formulate a connection to my tracking term the non/human. I wondered if there was something essentially problematic about reworking ideas around power and its usage by using homocentric (human centered) qualities (categories) as a reference. I sort of got lost in trying to create a cohesion that might add a comprehensiveness to my thoughts. Coming to a personal conclusion on the very necessity of homocentric discourse in these things I wonder of the importance of my jumbled thought fragments. I have been at a loss of words in this final examination and so there it is; in a blog post of reflection I cannot, even in the last available moments, reflect on my long stewing thoughts and must instead present my failure to articulate my failure. Power is messy and I've heard some good things and I would be very interested in hearing people's thoughts about power.

Day Eleven: October 14

| 1 Comment

Here's a digital copy of the notes you'll be receiving and working with in class today. Hopefully this guide will help to keep us focused and lead to a productive and in-depth discussion. We'll be addressing some themes as a large group and likely also rearranging a bit in order to further push at our ideas of power as well as how classrooms should work.

Queering Desire Notes for 10.14.10

Power: How do you relate to power? How does it work?

To what extent do regulatory practices of gender formation and division constitute identity, the eternal coherence of the subject, indeed, the self-identical status of the person? To what extent is "identity" a normative ideal rather than a descriptive feature of experience? And how do the regulatory practices that govern gender also govern culturally intelligible notions of identity? (Butler, Gender Trouble, 23)

[M]y concern is centered on those individuals who consistently activate only one characteristic of their identity, or a single perspective of consciousness, to organize their politics, rejecting any recognition of the multiple and intersecting systems of power that largely dictate our life chances. (Cohen, 25)

And: we can begin to think critically about the components of a radical politics built not exclusively on identities but rather on identities as they are invested with varying degrees of normative power. (Cohen, 37)

How might we represent power visually?

Gender can be described as a system of meanings and symbols and the rules, privileges and punishments for their use. All the ways in which people express their bodies and communicate with the world can be gendered and encoded with meaning-- for example: vocal inflection, body hair, clothing, laughter, sexuality, and the very space one takes up in a room.

Gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being. (Butler, Gender Trouble, 45)

The injunction to be a given gender produces necessary failures, a variety of incoherent configurations that in their multiplicity exceed and defy the injunction by which they are generated. (Butler, Gender Trouble, 199)

How does gender make sense to you? How do we all do gender? How do we all fail gender?


unknowingness, opposition, liminality, questioning, problematizing, interrogating, troubling, deconstructing, failing

Utopia can never be prescriptive and is always destined to fail. Despite this seeming negativity, a generative politics can be potentially distilled from the aesthetics of queer failure ... Queer failure ... is more nearly about escape and a certain kind of virtuosity. (Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, 173)

I envision a politics where one's relation to power, and not some homogenized identity, is privileged in determining one's political comrades... if any radical potential is to be found in the idea of queerness and the practice of queer politics, it would seem to be located in its ability to create a space in opposition to dominant norms, a space where transformational political work can begin. (Cohen 22)

[Queer] as an outcome of temporality, life scheduling, and eccentric economic practices (Halberstam)

It is not enough, in other words, to take up the simultaneity of race, class, gender, and sexuality, which it is my argument that the vernacular does constantly in keywords like punk and punked. Rather, we must investigate the subject transformed by law that nevertheless exists nowhere within it, the figure of absolute abjection that is, paradoxically, part of our everyday experience. (Nyong'o, 30)

I take it as almost axiomatic that queer theory embraces, even celebrates transgression; it seeks the sublime not in resistance - that's too damn bristly and self-serious - but in the blithe and gleeful disregard for social convention. (Ford, 478)

Heteronormativity encompasses many neoliberal systems of (invisible) privilege which favor specific white, upper and middle class heterosexual bodies, lives, experiences, values, and ways of knowing, for example.

Precisely because many queers refuse and resist the heteronormative imperative of home and family, they also prolong the periods of their life devoted to subcultural participation. This challenge to the notion of the subculture as a youth formation could on the one hand expand the definition of subculture beyond its most banal significations of youth in crisis and on the other hand challenge our notion of adulthood as reproductive maturity. (Halberstam)

Homonormativity reiterates heteronormative ideals (ie. gender), mapping them onto homosexual bodies, etc.

Cohen and identity politics

| 1 Comment

I am interested in examining how Cohen's use of identity politics as a positive outlet for personal usage may complicate her resolution of queer politics. Though not shy to speak of the shortcomings of identity politics, Cohen uses it to describe herself (lesbian). She also eludes to the potential of personal gain in communities constructed by labeled individuals. Does this in itself reinforce not only hetero vs. homo but also other identity conflicts? How does misidentification increase every persons inclusions in identity labeled communities? Regardless of my identification, especially if I do not identify, the presumptions of others label me and thus allow me to draw power from specific community networks. If I am labeled as a white heterosexual male then I become a conduit or embodiment of that community to the identifier in that moment and potentially in future reflection. Even if I have placed a boundary, such as identifying in a certain way, I cannot help but to be labeled in some or all instances as something uniquely different. If I am willing to cooperate on the basis of marginalized relation to power then I should not try to reinforce boundaries that are constantly permeated. Arguably, by resisting personal identification I can gain from every community I am misidentified as belonging with. I think of humbling individuality and exploring interconnectedness.

Annotated Bib 1: masculinities


I am doing my tracking topic on masculinities. I find this a very interesting topic because I have had moments in the midst of a football game in a sports bar where I felt there was "too much testosterone" in the building, or had my claiming-to-not-be-homophobic straight male friends say things like, "I don't care if he's gay, as long as he doesn't hit on me", and I've thought to myself, "why is it that men are taught not to cry and to be excessively hypermasculine almost? While women are taught to be polite ladies? Why do we seem to think that being a man means being masculine, and being a female means being feminine? Don't you need one to have the other? Some masculine qualities and some feminine qualities? Why is it more acceptable for women to be bisexual than for men to be? For some reason, it seems to me that masculinity is in crisis. We have created a society that surrounds hypermasculinity and threatens to teach men how to be "real men" in all the wrong ways. Although I do admit it's getting better, I still see this crisis on a daily basis.

Source #1
Jill. "Masculinity in Crisis". Feministe. 28 Feb. 2008. Web. 20 Sept. 2010. .

This article struck me as really interesting originally because I looked at masculinity as currently being in crisis because men are still more likely to be homophobic and taught to be outraged if treated like a woman. To me this kind of masculinity is misogynist and homphobic and therefore in crisis. Yet this article discusses a pastor who tells his congregation that masculinity is in crisis because men are becoming to "soft" and "unmasculine" and it's becoming acceptable for men to act more effeminent. He goes on to talk about gender roles as strictly hypermasculine or hyperfeminine and says he disapproves of GLBT because there is too much fluidity within gender roles. I found Jill's argument against the pastor very agreeable to my own yet it was problematic to hear that these things are still commonplace held morals.

Source #2
Courtenay, W.H. "Constructions of masculinity and their influence of men's well-being: A theory of gender and health". (2000) Social Sciences and Health. 50 (10), pp. 1385-1401.

This article goes to discuss health risks in relation to masculinity and how masculinity is still re-enforced in power structures through institutions such as hospitals and health care. It shows how dominant structures still reinforce masculinity and how men are socially taught these markers of excessive masculinity in gender roles. I find this article interesting because it discusses how masculinity is still played out and there is less fluidity within masculine roles than in feminine roles. I plan to read this article again and think about how social institutions further enforce homophobia or excessive masculinity in power relations.

Source #3
"Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and Crisis in Masculinity" video. YouTube. ChallengingMedia, 4 Oct. 2006. Web. 5 Oct. 2010. .

This movie is really interesting to watch because it discusses how popular culture re-enforces and encourages this new "hypermasculinity" I have been discussing. It also discusses the variations in masculinity between cultures and ethnic groups. One of my favorite parts of the movie, and the most interesting part, discusses how all negative terms used to insult men are either women's body parts (cunt, pussy, bitch) or homophobic terms such as fag.

Social Justice Film Festival 10/16


Social Justice Film Festival

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Showings at 1 PM & 3 PM

Tate Physics Building - School of Physics & Astronomy
116 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN, 55455

Free snacks will be provided.

The first 150 people will get a free t-shirt! (Click here to view t-shirt design)

1:00 PM

"Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible" Tate 150

Mirrors of Privilege is a brilliant documentary and a must-see for all people who are interested in justice, spiritual growth and community making. It features the experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States.

Sponsored by the Social Justice Minor

"I was a Teenage Feminist" (CC) Tate 131

In this enlightening documentary, screened worldwide, filmmaker Therese Shechter hunts down the answers to questions many women are grappling with about their roles and identities in today's society: Is feminism dead, hibernating, or trapped below the radar? With home movies clips of Shechter as a budding feminist, archival materials from old health classes, and music by Ani DiFranco, Lavababy, Gina Young, Moxie Starpark and the legendary Helen Reddy, I WAS A TEENAGE FEMINIST redefines the F-Word for a new generation.

Sponsored by the Women's Center

"People Like Us: Social Class in America" Tate 133

It's the 800-pound gorilla in American life that most don't think about: how do income, family background, education, attitudes, aspirations, and even appearance mark someone as a member of a particular social class? People Like Us shows how social class plays a role in the lives of all Americans, whether they live in Park Avenue penthouses, Appalachian trailer parks, bayou houseboats, or suburban gated communities.

Sponsored by Community Service-Learning Center

"Diagnosing Difference" Tate 166

A documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities.
Using the diagnosis as a departure point, the participants debunk myths and misconceptions about transgender identities, challenge stereotypical gender expectations, and offer educative insight into the terms and language used to describe transgender lives.

Sponsored by UCCS

"Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex, and Power in Music Video" (CC) Tate 170

The highly anticipated update of Dreamworlds 2 (1995) examines the stories contemporary music videos tell about girls and women, and by extension boys and men, providing a meticulous analysis of how these narratives both reflect and shape individual and cultural attitudes toward femininity, masculinity, sexuality, and race.

Sponsored by EOAA

3:00 PM

"Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up" (CC) Tate 150

From girls confronting popular messages about culture and body image to boys who are sexually active just to prove they aren't gay, the students in Straightlaced illustrate the toll that deeply held stereotypes and rigid gender policing have on all of our lives.

Sponsored by GLBTA Programs Office

"Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" Tate 131

"Outfoxed" examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know. The film explores Murdoch's burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.

Sponsored by the U of M Libraries

"Killing Us Softly 3" Tate 133

Jean Kilbourne continues her groundbreaking analysis of advertising's depiction of women in this most recent update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series. In fascinating detail, Kilbourne decodes an array of print and television advertisements to reveal a pattern of disturbing and destructive gender stereotypes. Her analysis challenges us to consider the relationship between advertising and broader issues of culture, identity, sexism, and gender violence.

Sponsored by the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education

"Music Within" (CC) Tate 166

Description: After losing his hearing as a soldier during the Vietnam War, Richard Pimental returns to America, where he falls in with an unlikely circle of friends and finds a new calling as a spokesman for people with disabilities. His activist efforts eventually lead to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sponsored by Disability Services

"Vincent Who?" Tate 170

In 1982, Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers at the height of anti-Japanese sentiment,. For the first time, Asian Americans around the country were galvanized to form a real community and movement. This documentary, inspired by a series of town halls organized by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress on the 25th anniversary of the case, features interviews with the key players at the time, as well as a whole new generation of activists. "Vincent Who?" asks how far Asian Americans have come since the and how far we have yet to go.

Sponsored by Housing & Residential Life/Social Justice Leadership Retreat

This event is sponsored by Housing & Residential Life, the Social Justice Leadership Retreat, the Office for Student Affairs, and the Office Equity and Diversity

Queer This 2

I saw this commercial last night during the Vikings game. With commercials like this it is no wonder that we have a culture of violence towards women. Women are not "prey" nor should they ever be labeled as such. The idea that she is going to surrender to him is disgusting. I am getting so tired of seeing these messages about women as objects, to be devoured and conquered by men splashed all over the media. Whether it be in magazines, commercials, t.v. shows, or movies. Women are not to be hunted, won, or taken in any manner, by any person. I am not even going to begin to tackle all the issues I have with the heteronormative bullshit. I thought that I better stick to one thing at a time.
Tell me what you think.

Tracking Topics: Annotated Bib 1


For the Tracking Topics assignment, I have chosen to follow Michael Warner. Warner is a literary critic, social theorists, author, and along with Judith Butler is considered one of the founders of queer theory. Warner contributes to many publications and has authored several books dealing in queer theory and queer politics. Prior to this assignment I had never heard of Michael Warner before and I find his thoughts and words fascinating. The three sources that I chose for the first annotated bib are what I consider to be some of his more mainstream work. I chose these because I feel like it helped to lay a bit of a foundation in which I can build on later.

Source 1
Warner, Michael. "Publics and Counterpublics." Public Culture 14.1 (2002): 49-90. Project Muse. 6 Oct. 2010 http://muse.jhu.edu/.
I feel like this article is a good jumping off point into the world of Michael Warner. This article discusses what it means to be part of the public. He asks the question, "Would it ever be possible to know anything about the public to which, I hope, to still belong?" What it means to be part of the public is wholly dependent on contexts such as space and time. The public is ever changing, some people leave and some people arrive. This in turn generates a new public that is different than the one that proceeded. Warner also discusses there exists informers and spectators and what it means to be either.
I think it is important to first understand what the author means when he talks about the public and also who we are as a public entity. What does that mean in terms of interacting with others members of the public to which we belong? More importantly though is the question. What do we as a public consider to be normal?

Source 2
Warner, Michael. "Normal and Normaler." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 5.2 (1999): 119. LGBT Life with Full Text. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.
In this essay, Warner asks questions regarding same sex marriage and whether or not this is a positive step for the queer community as a whole? Would being able to enter into a state regulated union make the queer community more "normal"? The author questions normalcy in a few different ways. "Is sex normal?" "Is it normal for us to want to be normal?" I counter these questions with what exactly does it mean to be normal and normal for whom? Is it normal for us as a society to regulate sex? Who is allowed or able to have sex and with whom? Most importantly though, Warner raises the point that currently in queer politics, the battle that so many of the gay and lesbian activists are engaged in is perhaps an unnecessary cause. The act of marriage itself is called into question as a way for the state to regulate relationships. Queer politics today, according to Warner, have lost sight of what their predecessors were fighting for. The bigger issues such as AIDS and healthcare have gone by the wayside to make room for the marriage equality fight which according to the author could easily be argued as detrimental to the community. http://web.ebscohost.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&hid=17&sid=99058a67-f5e8-487f-943b-ca7c308689e6%40sessionmgr12

Source 3
Warner, Michael. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, politics, and the ethics of queer life. New York: Free Press, 1999.
My third source is by far the most interesting and in depth. In this book Warner discusses everything from marriage being unethical to promoting the sex industry. I was only able to get a glimpse into this book since it is unavailable at the library on campus but I believe it had enough pertinent information in the chapters that I could find that I was able to use it as a source for the purpose of this bibliography.
The chapter of the book I was most interested in was the chapter titled "Beyond Gay marriage". There were a few points raised in this chapter that I found especially interesting. The first is the idea that marriage sanctifies some couple at the expense of others. To consider the fact that marriage places some couples on a different plane than others is not something that I had ever considered. Marriage is a privilege that is not awarded to everyone. It could easily be argued that this then creates a feeling of superiority for some people. Marriage can also be discriminatory. Some people can have it some can't. If you are one of the people that do not have it, your relationship can begin to feel less worthy than a relationship that is allowed this privilege.

Cherrie Moraga - Annotated Bibliography #1

Because my articles are in PDF format and not an internet site, I'm not sure how to make everything work so that people can acess the information. I tried figuring it out all weekend, but now I guess it's just time to post and figure out the difficulites later. Sorry.

My topic, or rather theorist, is Cherrie Moraga. I was one of the last in our class to sign up for their topic, I felt that all the interesting topics must have already been picked. But I was wrong, I actually enjoyed looking up Cherrie Moraga on the internet and scholarly journals and getting to know more about who she is and what she's done for the community (as I had absolutely no prior knowledge of her). I think my topics are pretty self explanatory on how they all relate to each other, they all involve Cherrie Moraga. My first source is simpler and from there I was able to gain more knowledge on what I should search for, for my 2nd and 3rd sources. All three sources talk about Cherrie Moraga being influential for feminists and gays. All my sources also discussed her books and her being an artist and playwright. It seems she was careful not to discriminate against any one group, because she knew how it felt in her own life when things she was passionate about were discriminated against.

Source #1

"Adventures In Feministory: Cherrie Moraga" By: Ashley Brittner

This is one of the first sites I found that I liked. I chose the topic of "Cherrie Moraga", not knowing anything about her. This source helped me to briefly learn more about her as a person. This short article, or more online magazine blog post, informed me that Cherrie Moraga is still living today and active in the community. She wrote many books as well as "lesbian poetry" in college. A passage from one of her books was posted: "In this country, lesbianism is a poverty-as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor." I thought this one sentence was the most thought provoking piece from the article. She's also a playwright and artist.

She also wrote a book on "queer motherhood" in her 40's: http://www.bookfinder.com/dir/i/Waiting_in_the_Wings-Portrait_of_a_Queer_Motherhood/1563410923/

Another site I found is reviews of some of her books. I googled her and her books after I found this first article as I wanted to learn more about her written works.


The article I read also had two comments on it which others had left after reading the post. One of the comments was someone sharing an interview they had had with Cherrie Moraga. In the dialogue posted from the interview with Cherrie, it reminded me a lot of our class. Cherrie says how teachers need to give their students tools and analysis to help them educational develop. She says, "It's this process of becoming more educated and having your consciousness raised and moving out of your comfort zone".
I found my first source by googling her name and doing a little digging through goolge's results. I also found the above two cites relating to my first source on google as well, once I knew a little bit more on her I was able to refine my search. Below is the my first source website and citation.


Brittner, Ashley. "Adventures In Feministory: Cherrie Moraga". 31 March 2009. Bitch Media. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.

Source #2

"Listening to Students: Interdisciplinarity, Local Studies, and Identity-Building" by: David Seitz

journal source 2.pdf

First I liked this article and found it interesting because it's written by a student at Macalester College in St. Paul. David Seitz is focused on gender studies and is interested in queer approaches in society. It was here that he first read one of Moraga's books, he writes in his article:

"It was in that course that I first read
the germinal Chicana lesbian feminist,
Cherrie Moraga. A poet, essayist, and
playwright, Moraga writes powerfully
about her struggles to access higher
education; to write; and to find a home
as a woman, a lesbian, and a person of
both Chicano and Anglo heritage. But
even then, she writes, "Whoever I am / I
must believe / I am not / and will never
be / the only / one / who suffers." In
Moraga's work, I heard the challenge
and invitation to analyze intersectionally,
to work coalitionally, to honor
struggles interlinked with mine. In
short, poetry changed my politics."

His article focuses on: "What exactly is so important about interdisciplinary scholarship grounded in analyses of the intersections of sexualized and gendered identities? What does any of this have to do with "the real world"?"

His article also discusses how "we as students" need to make a case for queer studies and share it with the broader campus community.

This is a scholarly educational journal that I found on EbscoHost. It took some digging through the results of EbscoHost search, but I really enjoyed this article. It was short and to the point, while also mentioning Cherrie Moraga, and the importance of GLBT studies.

Seitz, David. "Listening to Students: Interdisciplinarity, Local Studies, and Identity-Building." Change 41.2 (2009): 57-58. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

Source #3

"A Kind of Queer Balance" by: Lisa Tatonetti

journal source 3.pdf

Again I was surprised that the author of this article is studying close to the Twin Cities, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Again this article also mentions some of Moraga's literature: "Loving in the War Years", "The Last Generation", and "Waiting in the Wings". The writer of this article of Cherrie Moraga addresses the lack of attention queer writers of color receive.

Tatonetti says this of Moraga's books, "With each new text, Moraga extends her investigations of identity formation, inviting readers to follow suit. Each new book also, however, moves readers progeressively away from the comforst zone" (228). "Each of Moraga's texts uses queerness as a lens through which to redefine culture" (229). I think Tatonetti's critical analysis of Moraga's books really relates to our class. Moraga's books, though I haven't read them personally, very much relate to our class as well as described by Tatonetti. Moraga analyses GLBT studies through different lenses and keeps an open mind.

This is a scholarly journal and I found it on EbscoHost.

Tatonetti, Lisa. "A Kind of Queer Balance": Cherríe Moraga's Aztlán." MELUS 29.2 (2004): 227. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 7 Oct. 2010.

So, how do you read a text?

I'm always curious about how people read texts. In that spirit, I thought I'd share my notes for the Cohen article. Yes, my handwriting is very messy. Sometimes I can't even read it myself :). These notes highlight some of what I think is important about the text--much of it is done from the perspective of a teacher who is trying to identify some key terms that students might need/want to unpack--(btw, this essay is loaded with ideas and gets at many important critical conversations about queer/ing). 

So, how do you take notes? Do notes help you to engage with the texts more? Do you find that taking notes (and/or writing in the margins) enables you to engage more or less? What kind of engagement--do you feel an "intimate" connection to any of the texts? What is an "intimate" connection? 


Day Ten: October 12

In today's class, we are finally directly addressing (or are we?) the question: what is queering and queering desire? But, wait. The troublemaker in me has to question: Is this the right (as in effective, productive) question to ask? Do/should we know what queering is? Why? What are the limits of knowing? (How) does focusing attention on this question prevent us from asking other questions? Hmm....maybe we should discuss some of these troubling questions in class?

Here's a breakdown of class:

  • Announcements
  • Discussion of texts + last week+ blog + queering
  • Blog folder meetings this week (tues, weds, thurs)
  • DE #2, Queer This! example #2 and tweet are due on 10/18
  • Questions? Announcements (you can also post them as comments on this entry)

Annotated Bibliography #1


My tracking topic is children/youth and I have decided to use this assignment to take a look at what's been in the news lately.

Source #1
Essig, Laura. "Queer Youth Not A Tragedy" The Chronicle of Higher Education. 3 Oct. 2010 (accessed 11 Oct. 2010)

This article by Laura Essig takes the position that the media has latched on to these stories as a play on the tragic lives of queer teens. She goes on to explain that there is so much more than than that going on. We need to look deeper into these issues and rather than just feel sorry for these teens actually begin to change what is commonplace and accepted in out culture.

"The fact that schools and universities are not enforcing anti-bullying laws and that this has fatal consequences is a tragedy. The fact that anti-queer rhetoric is so commonplace that "fag" practically means "Yo what's up" in some circles is a tragedy. The fact that the same news media that decides queer youth are a tragedy gives plenty of airtime to hate-spewing homophobes in politics and religion is a tragedy.

But the queer youth of today--out in middle school, showing up at their local queer youth center, making fabulous lives outside of heteronormativity--are not a tragedy. They're a triumph."

Source #2
Moylan, Brian. "What's It Like to Be a Gay Teen?" Gawker.com 30 Sept. 2010 (accessed 11 Oct. 2010)

What is it like?

"Kids like Seth are legally obligated to go to school, but there is no legal obligation to keep teens from behaving like anything less than savages. His parents couldn't help him and with no assistance available at school, he felt like he was left with only one tragic option. And he's not the only one."

In this article, Moylan explains that while things will eventually get better for teens once they have been able to get out of junior high, high school or even college it is a damn shame that it even has to be that way in the first place. There mere fact that kids are expected to tolerate this as part of growing up does make it a little hard to believe that that things will get better - for anyone.

Source #3
K, Rachel. Autostraddle "Gay Teen Bullying/Suicide Crisis Updates & Action: How We're Living Now" 4 Oct.2010 (accessed 11 Oct, 2010)

This blog is chock full of info on this topic but what struck me was the stunning video about a young man who joined the cheerleading squad only to be harassed and teased eventually have his arm broken by bullies.

This Week: Candlelight Vigils to End Violence + It Gets Better

This message was written by someone I really love. I hope you feel it too! To receive moving emails like this yourself (+ events!), subscribe to the GLBTA Programs Office E-blast at www.http://glbta.umn.edu.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

As we celebrate this day created to encourage all of us to be open and honest about our lives, it is also important to reflect on those in our many communities who still are not able to be out about who they are. We've seen too much pain and violence in the last few weeks, and it reminds us that the work of education and inclusion must be constant and ongoing.

I urge you to remember, today especially, that every one of us is responsible for creating a climate that affirms and celebrates ALL of us in our multiple identities. If we want a world where it's okay to be different because of our gender identity & expression or sexual orientation, because of our spiritual beliefs or the languages we speak, because of our different bodies & abilities, because of our racial & ethnic identities -- then each and every one of us must work to MAKE that world... every single day.

So today, COME OUT.... as an ally! Tell someone you know what you plan to do to help create this beautiful, inclusive, caring world we all really want. Every one of us is an ally to each other across difference in one way or another. Use National Coming Out Day to recommit to this essential work of social justice. Come out as an ally and make a difference!

There are a number of important events and resources available to all of us, as we turn our anger, hurt and grief into constructive action. Think about attending. Do more than think... attend an event, look at a website, visit an office, ask a friend how they're doing. Commit to doing something, so we can collectively push against the fear, ignorance and misinformation that supports so much violence and despair. And always know that those of us connected to the GLBTA Programs Office are right there beside you... with our sleeves rolled up!

University of Minnesota Candlelight Vigil
Tomorrow: Tues, Oct 12, 2010
8:00 PM
Front lawn in front of Coffman Union
Candles provided

A message from the Queer Student Cultural Center:

"Amidst our planning and celebrating of National Coming Out Week, we are reminded of the hate and intolerance against our community. From the suicide of Tyler Clementi at Rutger's University in New Jersey, to the recent physical assaults on the Augsburg campus on the West Bank in Minneapolis, we need to remember the lives lost and the lives affected by these injustices. As a Queer community at large it's important for us to band together and show love and respect for one another, and anyone who's ever been a victim of bullying, verbal or physical harassment, or worse.

The QSCC will be open at 7:15 PM Tuesday night for people to come inside and get situated. You're welcome to leave any belongings in the room, it will be locked during the event, we are located in room 205 in Coffman Memorial Union. We will walk down to the Front Plaza as a group to begin the Vigil. If you have any questions about parking or directions, please email the QSCC at qscc@umn.edu.

It's very important for the Twin Cities to come together in a time of crisis, such as this. We are urging everyone to attend this event. This is not a student event, this is for everyone regardless of age or University affiliation; so please bring friends and family."

Candlelight Vigil to End anti-GLBT Bullying

Thursday, October 14, 2010
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Loring Park, Minneapolis

Join the Impact-Twin Cities invites everyone to stand together to demonstrate we are allies for those who have been bullied and vow to create safe schools for all. Recent suicides of youth in Minnesota, Texas, Indiana, and California have shocked a nation. These suicides of GLBT or questioning youth did not occur in a vacuum. Many of these teens reported being bullied for being, or presumed to be, GLBT. Visible and vocal allies play a vital role in making schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We will stand together to demonstrate we are allies for those who have been bullied and vow to create safe school environs for all.

Spirit Day: Wear PURPLE

Thursday, October 20, 2010

October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the LGBT youth who have committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and schools.

It Gets Better Project
If you or anyone you know is struggling around being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, an ally, etc... check out the It Gets Better Project:


The It Gets Better Project was inspired by the suicide of 15-year-old Indiana teenager Billy Lucas, who endured bullying from his classmates. Columnist Dan Savage, wishing he could have spoken to Lucas to tell him that his life wouldn't always be so painful, started the project as a YouTube channel where queer & ally adults can upload videos. The videos are targeted at GLBTQ teens, to let then know that their lives can, indeed, get better. The first posted video featured Savage and his husband talking about growing up as gay teenagers.

For updated information on all our trainings, programs and events, please visit our website:


With Pride,

Anne Phibbs, Director
GLBTA Programs Office

About the GLBTA Programs Office

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Programs Office is dedicated to improving campus climate for all University of Minnesota students, staff, faculty, alumni, and visitors by developing and supporting more inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality.

We recognize the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, culture, and all social systems; we are committed to holding ourselves and others accountable for working against all forms of oppression. The GLBTA Programs Office seeks to bridge and build communities that create affirming and welcoming environments in which people can be their whole selves and which honor all identities and experiences.

To contact the GLBTA Programs Office, please call 612-625-0537, email us, or visit our website.

Cohen: margenalized relation to power


Cathy Cohen, a political scientist and author, engages with popular notions of identity politics and its reexamined vision, as it may exist, in a new queering theory or queer politics. Citing rhetoric such as "Queers Read This," Cohen articulates the stagnation present in hetero vs. homo discourse (or other dichotomous constructions). By pointing to the shortcomings of dissecting factors of oppression in a way that sexuality and sexual deviancy exist independent of race, class, and sex, she sets a framework of commonality that is necessitated in a revision of queer politics. It is through blurring of these factors that the argument of hetero vs. homo succumbs to the conclusion that categorization under either of these labels does not prescribe a defined relationship to power structures. Moreover, it can be found that within or between any political label exists a ground of "shared marginal relationships to dominant power." That is to say, for example, a gay and a straight identified person may be financially unstable and their bodies share a marginalized relation to power. Through the examination of this power dynamic Cohen asserts the need for collective politics based on material relation to power and not presumed relation based on political identity. By embracing the fluidity of our persons we stand to blur identity politics in a way such that it works against the dominant power structure. It is through this that the divisions that place bodies in hierarchies, even within oppressed categories of identity, crumble and a queer politics is reborn.

Queer Space: A Divided Space?


The topic I chose was Queer Spaces. The three articles specify on inequality of many queer establishments who fail to meet other minorities' needs (i.e-racism or transphobia in the gay community). For a society that is highly represented as white urban gay males, the GLBT community (while comprising a myriad of other races) often relegates different geographic parameters onto their non-Caucasian counterparts thus, segregating and weakening a community of people whose goals are similar in nature.

Source 1:
Johnson, Gerry Christopher. "Divided We Dance: Black Gays Get Their Own Party Started."Philadelphia Weekly. 27 Apr. 2010. Web. 9 Oct. 2010.

This article, written in the Philadelphia Weekly, speaks on the segregation of Philly's queer nightlife. Giving a brief history on post-war Philadelphia, the article delves into why queer black nightlife differs from that of the caucasian nightlife. Facing racial tension, black gays during the 1940s to 70s created their own social gatherings and formed their own establishments in highly black neighborhoods. Now, the segregation which was instilled in the 70s has become a fixture of gay nightlife and complacency replaces any urge for change. Conceding that many patrons choose one location over the other by music choice, Johnson does state that tensions are not as bad as they once were. However, since this article was published only a few months ago, the story is certainly prevalent enough to show otherwise. If one reads further past the 3 pages of the article and reads the readers' responses, a few remark on the racism of the city while others point out the hypocrisy that is made the white gay community by excluding their African-American peers. After reading the article, I was struck by the 'this is how it is, this is how it will always be' attitude. Curious, I searched for an article on the Twin Cities and found this: Twin Cities Racism within the Gay Community

Source 2:

Queer Youth Space is a community organization based out of Seattle that aims to incorporate youth into queer spaces in the Seattle area. Focusing on youth issues and youth engagement, QYS speaks on how youth are often left out of queer agenda campaigns that focus on issues like marriage equality and by queer events that are 21+. The organization realizes that youth are often the spark for social change and are a substantially large proponent in gaining any momentum in social issues. In order to strengthen the queer community, QYS believes that incorporating queer youth is essential because "Queer is not a 21+ identity". The organization is run by youth and all of the initiatives are pursued by and focused around youth issues.

Source 3:
Weiss, Jillian Todd. "GL vs BT." Ramapo College. Journal of Bisexuality, 2004. Web. 11 Oct. 2010.

This relatively long article, originally published in the Journal of Bisexuality highlights the "myths of the 'glbt community' and togetherness. Analyzing the roots of the problem which are discussed as the construction of homosexuality and the histories of transphobia and biphobia respectively. It then goes further in depth to explain how discrimination within the glbt community can lead to political consequences and ultimately hurts the queer agenda. The issue, as Weiss states, is the fear of gays and lesbians (whose accustomed nature to the increased visibility and acceptance into mainstream society) to lose their identities by those within their own community who challenge it.

Overall, I was amazed by the number of articles I found regarding this topic. I had debated for a while on what to write on for the broad topic that is "queer space". I realized, after reviewing the Judith Butler responses that a division within our own community is much more detrimental than outwardly responses.

Fun little tid-bit about Starbucks I found

queer youth space.jpg

Diablog #1: What is Queer/ness?

power and priv - lege
identity politics
not so neat and clean

- a re(dis)covered haiku, that didn't make it on the blog, from Queering Theory Fall 2009

[...] if any radical potential is to be found in the idea of queerness and the practice of queer politics, it would seem to be located in its ability to create a space in opposition to dominant norms, a space where transformational political work can begin.

- Cohen 22

black queer studies.jpg

In "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?," from the pictured 2005 anthology and also (an earlier version?) a 1997 issue of GLQ, Cohen describes the impetus of a (growing?) coalitional queer activism which unites based on marginalization by systems of power and opposition to dominant norms (whiteness, heteronormativity, genderism, classism) rather than organizing around any particular "homogenizing" identity in one of many hierarchical categories which function to create "others" (22-23), Much of Cohen's argument relies on a conception of power as multifaceted, involving both repressive and discursive (or productive) functions (Foucault, see primarily Discipline and Punish). From her essay, we can see the imperative to think critically about complex relations to power and develop, in Cohen's words, "an understanding of the ways our multiple identities work to limit the entitlement and status that some receive from obeying a heterosexual imperative" (or appearing to obey a heterosexual imperative) (26). In short, there is not such a stark nor parallel divide between queer/hetero and marginalized/powerful as some theory and activism (or politics) may suggest (31-32). Different rearrangements are possible, perhaps even favorable...

This is clear as queer/ness for Cohen becomes a broad umbrella term not based on perceived "deviant" sexuality and/or gender, but rather a whole sea of those who experience institutionalized oppression on the bases of (perceived or self-identified in all cases) race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity and/or expression, class, (dis)ability, or any other identity marker visible or otherwise (including my additions to Cohen's formulation). Cohen urges the consideration of "the ways in which identities of race, class, and/or gender either enhance or mute the marginalization of queers, on the the one hand, and the power of heterosexuals, on the other" (32). Queerness is equal, then, to distance from the norm-- but that queer distance could be thought of as a (non-hierarchical?) gradient going in many directions. Cohen describes these subject positions as "identities as they are invested with varying degrees of normative power" (37). Again, we must think about how power works in a particular space, at a particular time, in a specific relationship between many multiple colliding identities and systems. How do you understand relations to/of power? How do time and location, variables of moving bodies, change how we think about power?

The coalitional or transformational politics imagined by Cohen encompass a group which shares "a commitment to a fundamental transformation of the economic, political and social structures of society," which she then contrasts with incorporation/assimilation politics (27). If the former defines itself by transformation, then a critical look at the latter suggests that it expands the group(s) of privileged citizens (privileged members of marginal groups) while even further marginalizing other stigmatized identities/practices/groups. The transformational agenda instead works to "change values, definitions, and laws that make those institutions and relationships oppressive" (29). While this separation itself may not be so neat and clean, it does provide us with ways to think through how we theorize AND organize under the name or act of queer/ness. Queers per se are not the only bodies perceived as outside of what would be called normal, deserving, moral, etc. It is with this in mind that we can approach queering politics not by demanding equality to dominant norms (the rights of white, heteronormative, masculine, male, middle-to-upper-class citizens) but by looking to change the actual terms of engagement with such processes of power.

Cohen: a dialogue in parts

Cathy Cohen argues in her essay, "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens," for the rejection of identity-based political alliances in favor of more relevant, more radical, political solidarity:

We must reject a queer politics that seems to ignore in its analysis of the usefulness of traditionally named categories the roles of identity and community as paths to survival, using shared experiences of oppression and resistance to build indigenous resources, shape consciousness, and act collectively. (45)
For Cohen, queer politics concerns not one's sexual identity, per se (though perceived sexual deviance is certainly a common denominator), but one's relation to power (22) and numerous regulatory systems of oppression serving to govern and modify queerness (25). The urgency for disidentification, then, in Cohen's piece emerges from the widespread tendency of identity-based political groups (read: gay and lesbian politics) to frame their agenda unilaterally and create false dichotomies: queer v. straight; homo v. hetero; black v. white; et cetera. The failure to recognize and actively intermesh these various points of oppression into a cohesively conjoined queer political analysis allows for a hierarchical treatment of queer bodies, lending precedence to whiteness and homosexually assembled queerness:

Using the framework of queer theory in which heteronormativity is identified as a system of regulation and normalization, some queer activists map the power and entitlement of normative heterosexuality onto the bodies of all heterosexuals. Further, these activists naively characterize as powerless all of those who exist under the category of "queer." (31)

Cohen sites the manifesto "I Hate Straights," written and distributed anonymously at pride events, to showcase the idle hostility at play in tastelessly fabricated political divisions. Such oversight in attesting to regulatory, exclusionary structures of oppression which similarly effect nonnormative bodies and familial arrangements perceived to be heterosexual as they do other queer bodies and arrangements merely serves to further formulate divisive political barriers between oppressed groups of people in lieu of active collectives.

Annotated Bib #1: Tracking Jasbir Puar

| 1 Comment

In the third and fourth weeks of Queering Theory (Fall 2009) we took a little time to "get to know" Judith Butler, with whom we then spent the rest of our semester. Together as a class we looked at Butler 1. as a person, 2. as a difficult writer, and 3. as a queer theorist (all ways in which we in Queering Desire have been and will be talking about Butler in the coming weeks) in order to then spend our remaining weeks theorizing through/beside/against Butler. I found this method to be very valuable for helping develop a deeper relationship with some of Butler's theories, so for my first Annotated Bibliography I am interested in a shortened version of such a process of "getting to know" Jasbir Puar. My sources bring together bits of my building montage of Jasbir Puar 1. as a queer theorist, 2. as a difficult writer, and 3. as a person (a possible reverse of my Butlerian trajectory). I attempt to somewhat separately address these three modes of knowing Puar, when applicable, throughout each source's entry.

Puar, Jasbir. "Conclusion: Queer Times, Queer Assemblages." Terrorist Assemblages. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. 203-222. Print.


(Link to version in 2005 issue of Social Text)
I hesitate to try encapsulating Puar's work into a jumbled few sentences-- this already feels like a bit of challenge in watching my words and summarizing in accessible ways. Here goes: the number one thing to take away from Puar (should you choose to read her, which you ought to) is her brilliant elaboration of assemblage theory*. This is her cutting edge, and it's one that is most pertinently raised against/beside intersectionality as a framework for theorizing. This source has me focused almost entirely on Puar as a queer theorist and how she reconceptualizes queer/ness. Assemblage takes queerness away from a definition in terms of sexuality and/or gender and lets it re-emerge "de-linked from sexual identity to signal instead temporal, spatial, and corporeal schisms" (221). For Puar, queer figures/events are thus seen in the turban, the suicide bomber, and the female suicide bomber (an especially confounding assemblage). The key in Puar's re-working of such assemblages is in the insistence (with which I agree) that entailed in heteronormativity and its privileges are intimate links to ideas of nation and citizenship. She also frequently dissects temporal and spatial relations, as well as interrogates ideas of the real. In her conclusion she asks, explicity following Cohen's "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens," what happens when queerness is expanded to coalitional work which involves (unknowable) terrorist bodies and assemblages? There is a whole lot more to say about what's happening in Puar's work, and it would still be reductive. You should really read this essay/book conclusion/anything by Puar if assemblage theory interests you.

I still need to read Puar's introduction to Terrorist Assemblages in full as well as... well, really, the rest of the book (yikes!). I've only dabbled in the other chapters or sections. Her preface is a really interesting read in terms of thinking through my own writing method (tactics and strategies) because it is about how/why she writes (Puar as a difficult writer), so I need to revisit that soon. Now I also want to find other responses to /reworkings of Cohen's essay. I wonder how they will work in relation to assemblage.

I first read "Queer Times, Queer Assemblages" (the Social Text version) and was introduced to Jasbir Puar in Queering Theory (Fall 2009). I remember at that time we also read "Monster, Terrorist, Fag," which I have located in my nerd stash of favorite essays and hope to also return to this semester.


Puar, Jasbir. Interview by Ben Pitcher and Henriette Gunkel. "Q&A with Jasbir Puar." darkmatter: in the ruins of imperial culture. darkmatter, 2008. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.

On a Google quest to learn more about this subject of my desire, I came upon the above online text of an interview with Puar (which lists her as one of the authors of the blog-- more on that later). I like to think of this as a first tentative step in getting to know Jasbir Puar as a person. Perhaps, after my encounter(s) with Butler, I am somewhat hesitant to explore this area. In any case, much of the interview consists of Puar fielding questions about the (then recently released) theories which she lays out in Terrorist Assemblages-- and these responses from Puar speak more to her as a queer theorist and at times as a difficult writer (especially when she clarifies, explains, or rewords). The set-up is that she is actually being interviewed as the new superstar guest blogger on darkmatter, so she plugs her book like she means it (and it works). Though I'll certainly work more with her articulations of what she wanted to do in the book, such as this explanation of assemblage:

The critical practice of assemblage is a reading practice, first and foremost, meaning that the implications for gay and lesbian activism is not that it needs to create assemblages but rather that contemporary and historical organizing practices need to be read as always already assemblages, and this re-reading may then open up new avenues of thinking, speaking, organizing, doing politics -- lines of flight, affective eruptions, affect, energies, forces, temporalities, contagions, contingencies, and the inexplicable.

...but for now I'm more interested in her closing musings, which connect me to my final assemblage of sources on Jasbir Puar as a person:

Most recently, however, I indulged my secret obsession and riffed on my favorite soap opera, General Hospital, with cultural theorist Jennifer Doyle, who is also a long-time fan. Check it out on the Oh! Industry website.

We saw her on Bully Bloggers, and now darkmatter and Oh! Industry? I'm intrigued by Puar's prolific blogging... I'm still not entirely sure what this tells me about her as a person (other than her guilty yet public pleasure taken in General Hospital, of course), but I like where it is taking me. I also like how, through this interview, I'm formulating a bit of how I imagine she speaks-- something I've yet to check out in audio or video sources (for which I should look!). Each piece going into this amalgamation throws me in all directions looking for more to gather.

The photo above this entry, though not on darkmatter as far as I can tell, is included as the first image I saw of Puar (again part of getting to know her as a person). It is also the image that accompanies her faculty bio on the Rutgers website (more on that) as well as in much publicity I've seen. This picture looks to be of a rather conservative and relatively young professor. With that, let's push on to...

Puar, Jasbir. Terrorist Assemblages Facebook Fanpage. Terrorist Assemblages, 2007. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.


Apparently if one so chooses, one may show appreciation for Jasbir Puar and her work by "liking" the book Terrorist Assemblages on Facebook. Did you know that 360 people "like" Terrorist Assemblages? I am interested in this for so many reasons, it had to be my final source-- another Google find put to good use! I "like" Terrorist Assemblages! What does this mean? I'm a fan of her theory? I think it makes me look good to be a fan of her theory? Basically, the existence of this page gives me lots of questions. For me it sits at the intersection of Puar as a queer theorist and as a person.

As one example of a line of questioning from these finds, the photo to the right is the only one of Puar on the Facebook page, and I'm especially intrigued by its contrast to the Rutgers-approved photo up above it. The former is just so... so sexy. I mean, come on-- Puar is looking really hot in this motion-emoting semi-blurred downward glance with hints of matching pink on her eyelids and lips (maybe makeup(s)?) and her at-least-half smile and her purple, flowing, satin-y shirt. She is very visually attractive, and I would gladly have a teacher crush on her. Ahem.

In all seriousness, though: which is the real Jasbir Puar? I mean, is she really that sensuality-radiating being in the second photo, or the more unassuming, academic looking sort in the first? Is she really this photo from the announcement of her joining the faculty of Rutgers Geography in 2000?


I don't think for one moment that she is any of these images, but I am deeply invested now in the kinds of images of her which they create together. As a final anecdote in this mess of representation, when looking at her Rutgers faculty profile with a U of MN professor who studied with her, she couldn't believe the photo choice exclaiming something to the effect of "She doesn't look like that at all. She would come into class and be wearing a full sari and a big blue mohawk!" Indeed, none of these images are the real Jasbir Puar. They are only the ghostly bits from which I must learn.

*Puar is clearly influenced by a lot of theorists-- not the least of which is Judith Butler-- but it is also apparent that reading Deleuze (or about Deleuze) may provide major help in reading Puar. This is because concepts in her theories, such as the way she writes about the event or bodies (bodies without organs) are direct from Deleuze.

Annotated Bibliography #1 Feminism / Queer


Term: Feminism / Queer

I would very much like to start this tracking topic by exploring the development of queer community from the place that I am from, Malaysia. I guess before I get into the topic, I should do a brief introduction about Malaysia. Well, it is a country situated in the South-East Asia, it's above Singapore and Indonesia but below the Philippines and Thailand. It is an interesting country in terms of the race that constitute the country's population, there are 3 major ethnic which are the Malay, Chinese and Indian, besides that we also have about 28 indigenous group (the Orang Asli). It is a very peaceful democratic country. The national religion for the country is Islam but people other than the Muslims are free to practice their own religion. We are really proud of our food cause it is the integration of the races.

Judging from the ethnic make up of the country, one might think that people might be more accepting on one's sexuality. BUT! It is still a very conservative country, sex is not being talked publicly and there are laws against the upbringing of certain topic in the public like politics, religions and races. And if we were to look at the stage of the development of the queer community in Malaysia, I would definitely said that we are still at the pre-stone wall stage. Being gay is a crime in Malaysia and there are also laws against sodomy which sentence one to 20 years of jail and (a few times of) canning. Even though there are people arguing the law exist but as long as people do not show affection in the public and get caught with evidence, then nobody really cares. But I personally thinks that law is still law, and I have seen this law being abused by politicians against another for political rivalry, the famous case is the one of the ex Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim who was arrested over allegations of sodomizing a former male aide of prime minister Najib. What do you guys think?

Anyway,the first article that I have come across is "For Malaysian gays, hope for a better tomorrow" by Pang Khee Teik. And also through this article, I have discovered my second source - a book which is written and published both in Singapore and Malaysia, "Body to Body, A Malaysian Queer Anthology", edited by Jerome Kugan and Pang Kee Teik. Both these article and the book have portrayed the life of being queer in Malaysia. Both have shown the effect of the culture and traditional values which Malaysians have withhold towards the queer community.

The stories in the first article have been portrayed in a more serious format and the author have also follow up appeal for the stories.
For Malaysian Gays Hope for a Better Tomorrow

While in the book brings out the stories in a more casual method. The first story in the book "What do gay people eat?", have portrayed the anxiousness of the parents whose son have recently come out to them and was bringing his partner home for the first time. The anxiety of the parents is due to the fact that they do not understand, this have even caused them to question whether homosexual have different preference in food. The story have also somehow portrayed the current society whereby the male chauvinism is still a dominating phenomenon, this have been clearly shown by the father who is indirectly blaming his wife for causing his son's homosexuality, whereby he thinks that his son have inherited more of the female genes as compared to the male genes. The story have also shown the inner struggle of the father in accepting his son's sexuality.

This book have recently been seized by the Home Ministry of Malaysia from the book stores in Kuala Lumpur without reason.
Body2Body Snatcher
body seized.jpg

As for the third article it is showing how the legislation and politics in Malaysia have oppressed the community and the understanding of the public towards the community. How it have been used as a weapon for one's own advantage. Of how the gay community was being put on a negative spot light by the public.

Annotated Bibliography #1 Queering Intimacy


The three sources that I have chosen for Queering Intimacy are connected by their relation to queer families, the relationships within them, and the intimacy involved. I am particularly interested in the outcomes of growing up with a GLBT parent and how it affects intimacy later in life for those children.

Source 1:
Fairtlough, Anna. "Growing up with a lesbian or gay parent: young people's perspectives." Health & Social Care In The Community 16.5 (2008): 521-528. MEDLINE with Full Text. EBSCO. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

This article shows results from a qualitative analysis of reports that were done on children of gay or lesbian parent(s) from the US, UK, and New Zealand. The total number of children interviewed was 68. Of those only three expressed that their upbringing was negative in part to their parent(s) sexuality. The children also noted teh ability to have an open mind was made easy and understood. Empathy for others of non-normative groups was also expressed highly among these children. High stressors among the group included acceptance within society and confusion after a parent left a marriage to pursue the opposite sex.
This article was a very basic start to my search for families and intimacy within the queer community. I want to delve deeper in respect to how these early life experiences affect a child's intimacy later in life.

Source 2:
Serota, Theodora. "Adult attachment style dimensions in women who have gay or bisexual fathers." Archives of psychiatric nursing 23(4) (2009):289-297. MEDLINE. EBSCO. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

This article is about the attachment styles of women raised by a bisexual or gay man versus a heterosexual parent. Serota explains, "Parenting differences found between gay and nongay fathers have more to do with differences in philosophy and style than with personal capacity to parent or appropriateness of parenting behaviors" (290). Something that I found extremely interesting is that the daughters of gay or bisexual men fared less stable emotionally than that of the hetero counterparts. Daughters of these gay men had higher divorce rates, lack of trust and intimacy in relationships, and higher anxiety with in those as well. Nearing the end of the article it was mentioned that this is the largest study of the the gay dad-daughter relationship. They also explained that much more research and follow up needs to be done.
This article has definitely gotten the ball rolling for me . I was raised by both parents until the age of 12, whcih is when my parents were divorced because of my dad's recent coming out of the closet. I have often wondered how this would affect myself and my brother as adults.

Source 3:
Tasker, Fiona. "Lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and their children: a review." Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics 26(3) (2005):224-40. MEDLINE. EBSCO. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

This article went into more depth of the the at home relations and there outcomes with queer parents. Studies have shown that children of this non normative upbringing fair the same as a a child from a hetero relationship would. They often have many of the same experiences with very similar or exact outcomes. The article goes further in depth by giving specific life events within the family and how they affect the children of both family types.

???What do you all think about the past/present/future of children who are brought up with at least one queer parent? How does this upbringing impact them as adults, if at all???

AB #1-

I did my topic on Judith "Jack" Halberstam. i don't really know much about her or about really any of the other people we had to choose from so it was sort of a shot in the dark on who i picked. I have read three articles out of several books she has written and i have noticed for the most part she deals in is defining masculinity and how women fit into that. Here are the 3 exerts from her books i read. This is why i have grouped these articles together they all have to do with masculinity

1. Female masculinity (book no link)
Judith Jack Halberstam

Halberstam starts out the passage with "what is masculinity?" This is obviously just the introduction to the book but, since i did not really know much about her this is where i though i should begin. Halberstam questions on what is masculinity is the most common question she asks herself over the years. this part is just a quick overview of what she will talk about later in the book. In the introduction she points out some things about james bond. Notoriously Bond has been the epitome of masculinity, with his hero status and good looks always fighting a Communist or some femme fatale type. She talks about how M Bonds boss is a sort of butch woman who chastises Bond for his sexist behavior. She is sort of a butch woman who plays a female masculine role. Or Agent Q with gay masculinity. BTW this film she is referring to is the Goldeneye one. After this she goes into talking about tomboyishness. Pointing out that when a female deviates from her role as a female and perhaps shows some masculinities it is not seen as a huge deal by the parents. But it is another story for the boy showing more feminine qualities than there is a problem. she says that her book argues for the production of new taxonomies. She wants to "use the topic of female masculinity to explore a queer subject position that can successfully challenge hegemonic models of gender conformity.
I really think that challenging who can and cannot be masculine is a big deal. Pointing out things in movies and media of how female masculinity is portrayed should be done. Reworking our view of masculinty by improving the masculinities we observe all around.

Halberstam, Judith. Female masculinity. Duke University Press, 1998. Print.

2.Feminist theory and the body: a reader
Janet Price, Margrit Shildrick

F2M the making of female masculinity
Judith Halberstam

Halberstam calls for new sexual vocabularies acknowledge sexualities and genders as styles rather than life styles, as fictions rather than facts of life, and as potentialities rather than fixed identities. She says we are all transexuals and cross-dressers. There is no "other" side or "opposite" sex. We all wear some sort of costume or go "drag" Then she sort of contradicts herself by saying there are no Transexuals. She talks to us about Danny a transexual who identifies herself as a gay. She asks why it is such a big deal that her partner acknowledges him as a gay man. Demanding that they read his gender accurately, according to his desire.
I think that halberstam has a good idea here, with seeing genders as styles instead of facts and that how we are just one way. Because everyone changes who they are through out their lives. we are all "drag kings and queens" we all dress ourselves up every day according to who we see ourselves as. I think she tries to weaken the existence of masculinity by showing the artificiality of gender, through clothes, cosmetic surgery, makeup.

Price, Janet, Sildrick, Margrit. United kingdom: edinburgh press, 1999. Print

3. Masculinity studies & feminist theory: new directions
By Judith Kegan Gardiner

The Good, the bad, and the ugly: Men, women and masculinity
Judith Halberstam

Halberstam talks about the movie chasing amy which ive never seen about a lesbian who meets a straight male and they become friends him fully knowing that she is not interested in him. But surprise surprise he magically turns her "back" he is obviously very proud of himself for accomplishing such a fete. she talks about psychoanalysis and how the female body is a terrain for neurotic symptoms if a male is a failure it will be been as a sign of femininity for him. She says we must make maleness nonessential to masculinity and access power by female bodied people who are powerful and livable. She talks about how males might misrecognize their penis as proof of their superiority and their priviledged relations to power, language and sexuality. And that there is the lesbian phallus being a sign that the body and the phallus are one and that they can have that phallic power. She talks about how female masculinity has been linked to lesbianism and in return been linked to ugliness. this in return has made many women not want to be masculine. she talks about how in history women have been seen with beards or excessive body hair and been shunned or sent to a cirucs, yet some have been revered as goddesses.
I think thats we do recognize men and masculinity as having this higher power with this penis. But women need to realize that masculinity is not a bad thing. That just because you might be little masculine you will appear less attractive. i actually went through that for a long time in high school when i started i was never a fan of make-up or such things and liked sports. but after being called ugly and a man it kind of broke me down. i went to a really small school so the only thing i could do was change if i didnt want to come home crying every day. But now i realize that was not what i should have done, i should have realized that was just female masculinity and there is nothing wrong with that. Now that im out of school, i rarely wear make-up and my friends who are all male accept me for that. even though they do tease me a little bit for it.

Gardiner, Judith. New York: Columbia University press, 2002. print.

Annotated Bibliography #1

| 1 Comment

Subject: Heteronormativity
All of my sources are tied together as critiques on how heteronormativity is reinforced by the school system. It is institutionalized and is being taught to our Society's children, but luckily it is not a problem that will remain unsolved. It seems that there is much work and research being done to bring this problem to the forefront.

My first source is The nature of institutional heteronormativity in primary schools and practice based responses. The article outlines that homophobia and heteronormative based abuse, or "bullying" (to put it lightly) of LGBT youth in primary schools is indicative of a larger force, the institutional standards of heteronormativity. That is, children are taught to think and act a certain way regarding their gender and sexuality by their schools, and are not taught about the other ways that these ideas can be expressed. The US lacks public policy to protect these student from harm, and the suicide rates among these students is very high.
I found the quote, "homophobic bullying continues to be cast as a particular problem rather than as a systematic institutional manifestation of cultural bias, and this can leave room for institutional oppression on the grounds of sex, gender and sexuality," to be especially interesting. It is saying that heteronormativity in schools can be blamed for some of the bullying that occurs within their walls.

DePalma, Renee, and Elizabeth Atkinson. "The Nature of Institutional Heteronormativity in Primary Schools and Practice-based Responses." Teaching and Teacher Education 26.8 (2010): 1669-676. EBSCOhost. Web.

The second source that I used is called Heteronormativity, White Racism, etc. at Minnesota. It is a report issued that outlines some ideas for the curriculum of the U of M college of Education, that include challenging heteronormativity in schools.

A good quote that I found : "The first learning outcome the group identified was this: 'Our future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression.'"

Bauerlein, By Mark. "Heteronormativity, White Racism, Etc. at Minnesota - Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education." Home - The Chronicle of Higher Education. Web. .

My last source is called Am I safe here?. It talks about how LGBT students feel that while homophobic bullying is a large and painful problem, institutionalized heteronormativity is more damaging to them in the long run.

Quote: "in the view of informants, pursuing 'safety' as 'equity' meant addressing the 'heteronormativity' of schools--which many students viewed as being just as threatening to their personal identities and sense of safety than bullying or any fear of physical or verbal harassment"

"ProQuest Document View - Am I Safe Here? Queers, Bullying and Safe Schools." ProQuest - Central To Research Around The World. Web. .

All of these sources reify the pressing issue of heteronormativity, especially when it comes to the safety and security of LGBT students. I am excited to see so much research being done, and that this issue has already been brought to Minnesota Schools.

Annotated Bibliography One: Bodies & Material Experiences

| 1 Comment

Annotated Bibliography One: Bodies & Material Experiences

For my first annotated bibliography, I will be focusing on the role of new media and GLBT identified bodies that interact through and as a result of those mediums, specifically men who have sex with men and online dating sites.

Mowlabocus, Sharif. "Look at Me! Images and Validation on Gaydar." LGBT Identity and Online New Media. Ed. Christopher Pullen and Margaret Cooper. New York: Routledge, 2010. 200-14. Print. 

Sexuality, unlike other identities such as gender or race, is not necessarily "visible". As a result, behaviors and styles become key in signaling and presenting sexual identity, legitimacy, and recognition. This cited chapter provides discourse around visibility of sexual identity, bodies, and Western constructs of gay identities. Online new media has provided a wildly popular "multi-faceted form of digital self-representation" (211), often requiring or strongly suggested to use a profile picture to represent the user to the rest of the community.

Operating within the confines of a gay space, the profile image seeks to resolve long-standing questions pertaining to the visibility, identification, and validation of homosexuality (Macnair 1996) in Western culture, providing a means of authentic articulation through which the gay subject can come into being. At the same time however, it may also serve to fix, fasten and "discipline" an otherwise diverse gay male sexuality according to the conventions and structures of looking that have been established within the commercial arena of gay male pornography" (211).

I think that the idea of performing and making visible individual sexualities can relate in many ways to bodies and material experiences. Our body and biology, contrary to exclusively constructionist ideologies, has some sort of essential aspect to it. That aspect however, is not necessarily defined, a fluid "viscous porosity" (Tuana, Nancy. "Viscous Porosity: Witnessing Katrina", discussed in my next work cited) that is permeable ­­and allowed for multiple "realities" of naturalness. How does a body relate to the identities that socially define it? What motivates and prioritizes particular expressions of sexuality over others? This essay works to stimulate interest in these questions and provides direction in the discourse. I found this source through our professor, Dr. Sara Puotinen, and her use of it in our course readings and for passing out a copy in class. I flipped through the pages and happened upon this particular chapter, and realized its relevance to my tracking phrase.

For further interest in this subject, I would like to look at the website craigslist for its facilitation of a medium for physical and material interaction built through online classified ad style requests for sex. It will be my third citation in this series.

Tuana, Nancy. "Viscous Porosity: Witnessing Katrina." Material Feminisms. Ed. Stacy Alaimo and Susan J. Hekman. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2008. 188-218. Print.


I mentioned this essay in the first work cited above because of its clever title, "Viscous Porosity".

Craigslist: Minneapolis / St Paul Classifieds for Jobs, Apartments, Personals, for Sale, Services, Community, and Events. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/.

According to Wikipedia, Craigslist is "a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements - with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums".  It is based on the classified ad style facilitated by newspaper organizations of pre-digital mediums. 

Annotated Bib. #1: Queering "Space"


The first three sources I have found to help better the ideas of queer space all deal with queering mainstream media. I was struck originally by the Newsweek cover page I saw while in line at Lund's. I am interested in investigating these question: How are queers dealt with/represented in mainstream media? How can we start to challenge and deconstruct the discourse on mainstream media? How can we use mainstream media to understand queer questions and issues? The following sources have provided a starting point for my research.

Source #1:
Man Up! Newsweek article.pngA) Newsweek article: "Man Up!"
B) Andrew Romano, Tony Dokoupil
C) This article serves as an excellent example of queer space in mainstream media. The article provides a critique of the 'tradition male' as well as what the idea of the man is becoming. It goes on to challenge society to come up with a more inclusive, less dominating/patriarchal approach to masculinity: "...it's time to reimagine masculinity at work and at home." The article also outlines some of the places in which traditional malehood is being challenged. I maybe be able to use these as examples of how other spaces are being used for queer/ing purposes.
D) I found this article when Googling for a picture of the Newsweek cover. It may serve as a critique of the article and give me further insight into the impact of the article.
The finding this article in a magazine also lead me to curiosity about queer space in advertising. My next source is a preliminary look at queer/ing advertising.
E) As I mentioned before, I found the magazine when I was standing in line at Lund's. I was drawn in by the shirtless dude on the front cover and decided I had to read more.
F) Romano, Andrew, and Tony Dokoupil. "Man Up!" Newsweek 27 Sept. 2010: 42-49. Print.

Source #2:
A) "Making the Ad Perfectly Queer: Marketing 'Normality' to the Gay Men's Community?" The full article can be accessed via the U's library site.
B) Steven M. Kates
C) This article provides an awesome introduction to multiple areas of queer theory and discourse. Kates then goes on to introduce an example of the an ad targeted toward gay consumers and critiques it. I'll be honest and I say that I haven't read the whole thing, but I'm really looking forward to doing so! Kates focusses a lot on 'queer deconstruction' and the ways in which marketers can provide complex meanings that reach a wide audience.
D) Kates' article is getting me riled up about 'gay advertising'. What makes an ad 'gay'? Can an ad be 'gay' and queer, or is it one or the other? Interesting.
E) I found Kates' article while using the U's library search engine. It is part of the JSTOR academic research database. I believe my search was 'queer space in mainstream media'.
F) Kates, Steven M. "Making the Ad Perfectly Queer: Marketing 'Normality' to the Gay Men's Community?" Journal of Advertising 28.1 (1999): 25-37. JSTOR. Web. 8 Oct. 2010. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4189098.

Fuschia Focus.tifSource #3:
A) Fuschia Focus: a queer critique of the media
B) Various bloggers
C) This blog provides an open space for critiques of queer representation in mainstream media. Various bloggers have posted examples and explanations of media throughout the blog (examples include ads, news stories, television shows, and more). They then critique the media piece based on their opinions and sometimes research.
D) Fuschia Focus has been interesting for me so far. I am trying to find a way to consider it a voice of the community while understanding that queer bloggers are not necessarily representative of queers everywhere.
E) Web log post. Fuchsia Focus: a Queer Critique of the Media. Blogspot. Web. 8 Oct. 2010. http://fuchsiafocus.blogspot.com/.

AB: # 1

| 1 Comment

My tracking topic is "affect". It seem so board and not specific enough so I decieded to focus on the affect that queer spaces have on younger children who are accustomed to this hetersexual society. Some of the sources that I found talked a lot about exposing younger children to queers spaces from a hetersexual perspective and how younger children should not be exposed to that atmosphere because it is damaging to their thought and learning process. So for me I thought to talk about how these sources futher questioned how I view the teaching mechanisms that our society pushes onto our younger youth. They are pushing them away from homosexual spaces, thus fogging their monds with talk that homosexuality is bad and not "nomal" thus further pushing children into exclusion because they cannot express their tru feelings in a open minded space.

Title of source
1.) "From exclusion to inclusion: younger queer workers negotiations of sexually exclusive and inclusive spaces in Australian".
2.) 'Invisible Other' "Understanding safe spaces for queer learners and teachers in adult education".
3.) "Becoming the homovoyeur: consuming homosexual representation in Queer as Folk".

Author/Author of the sources
1.) Willis, Paul
2.) Toynton, Robert
3.) Manuel, Sheri L.

Brief Summary (how it relates to the topic/specific passages)
1.)This source talked about how excluding queer images and spaces form our view better prepares us for the "real" world and how it let's us live more "normal" lives. The article stated how "human rights" and "disrimination of sexuality" is not what their doing when they try to exclude queer representations from the view of our society rather than help keep our society "normal". which is a bunch of Bull S***. They want to exlude queer paces from our view because they are uncomfortable and want to live more "normal lives" according to them.

2.) This article mentioned how "GLBT people" should share the same spaces with any people because they are no different that any one else and that they should be able to have a space for queerness so that they always have a place where they can feel excepted. The article said that queer spaces alows those who identify to have more "self confidence" and that "sexual minorities" are of hetersexual ones and that needs to be eliminated. This source will help with the fact of how children will view this debate and how they will internalize it.

3.)This source talked about how gay and lesbian representations in television have changed the views and thought process of children because of the images that are shown in the media affect their ways of thinking. How that way of thinking is negative and not positive. The article quoted that " Queer as Folk becomes Homovoyeurs" I thought that, that was important because it seems as if they are trying to move forward with keeping those images in view for children to examen.

Direction for further reading
1.) I plan to pull out how these children are reacting and performing in schools based upon the transitional phase of adding queer spaces or identities into the mix.

2.) I plan to further read with this article how these children will internalize queer spaces. what will they do with the new view of things and how they will incorporate this new idea into their daily lifes. How comfortable they are with sharing their feelings with their peers and family.

3.) With this article I want to further read how students will try to involve queerness into their lives and the spaces around them. Even if their uncomfortable or not.

Where and how you found your sources
the process I used to find my sources was very simple and easy because I went straight to the U of M library. I just type in the "key" words and or terms that I wanted into the search system and randomly came across the articles. I used this method for all my sources because I wanted to use sources that were veriatized enough to help with the broadness
of my topic so I could narrow it down a bit.

Formal citation MLA Format
1.) Willis, Paul. Jornal of Youth studies, Dec.2009, Vol.12 issue 6, p629-651
2.) Toynton, Robert, Studies in education of Adults, Autum2006, vol.38 issue 2, p178-194
3.) Manuel, Sheri L. social semiotics, Sep2009, vol.19 issue 3, p275-291

Annotated Bibliography #1

Overview of Sources: Michael Warner
These sources are all connected to each other given that they describe various arguments that are often brought out by queer activists, like Michael Warner, in the gay/lesbian movement. Such examples include sexual identity, political virtue, ideology of sexual behavior, and stereotypes that are formed based on sexual preference. Each of these sources help to clarify the ideal sought after rights and perspectives executed by the queer movement.

1) Sex and Secularity
By Michael Warner:

Warner discusses the 2 types of sexuality that are in confrontation with each other at his presentation at Duke university. He states that they are more than just freedom on public expression but are rather the "headscarves" of public order. I really don't entirely understand the metaphor, but he continues to explain that sexual expression is like empty space in which has already been filled with ideal heteronormativity. He mentions that this is prevalent in schools and that religious freedom is different from sexual freedom.

I believe the Warner makes a valid point when he distinguishes the difference between sexual freedom and secular expression. Warner, throughout this excerpt from his speech, continues to reference an author by the last name of Scott; perhaps this author could provide further insight on the confrontation of sexuality and what other elements play into role when confronting that argument. Additionally Duke has been known for hosting other speakers over a variety of issues that concern secularism and other social debatable issues, so it might be a good idea to research them and their upcoming speakers.

I found this excerpt by typing in "Michael Warner" into Youtube and this excerpt popped up.

Sex and Secularity. Duke University, Michael Warner. 17 March 2008.

2) The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life
By Michael Warner:

In this book he wrote, Warner talks about the difference between heterosexual and homosexual sex, claiming that both sides engage in anal play. He also explains society's ideal gender roles for the sexes, and explains that if you are a boy, you have to be masculine, and if you are a girl then you have to be feminine. Warner further emphasizes that heterosexuals who exhibit opposite of the ideal roles for boys and girls are more vulnerable to harassment and criticism, whereas homosexuals who tend to be either more masculine (boy) or more feminine (girl) are not as badly ridiculed as their heterosexual counterparts.

I agree with Warner in the sense that members of either sexual preference are always curious in terms of looking for ways to boost the over pleasure of their sex lives. I also agree that kids who are not conformed to society's ideal gender roles/.expectations are definitely more apt to be criticized or harmed, given that we live in such a superficial world. Reading this book more would definitely provide substantial answers to questions within this topic too.

I found this source by googling books of Michael Warner online.

Warner, Michael. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. (37-39).

3) Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory
By Michael Warner:

The introduction of this book talks about social/cultural variable factors that make up a person--for instance, race, gender, sexual identity, religion, etc. Warner takes a multicultural approach and mentions that the queer identity movement has always been perceived as an account of morality. Words such as: race, class, and gender ought to be represented in one embodied space and as a parallel form of identity.

Warner is accurate by saying that certain words may represent us, yet they are more powerful when they are combined into one trait that designs us, therefore reducing the need to discriminate. This book has a variety of different contributing authors that each write about the queer movement and how certain social aspects apply to the argument of multiculturalism and freedom.

I found this source by googling books of Michael Warner online.

Warner, Michael. Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. (Introduction: xviii-xix).

Annotated Bib 01, Eve Sedgwick

I decided to do my tracking assignment on Eve Sedgwick, because I am not very familiar with her work. As I was finding sources related to her work, I discovered that it was not so easy for me because of the way she addresses concepts and theories in her work. A lot of information that I did find were about her life and the impact she has made in the LGBT studies. One particular theme throughout her work is the relationship between same-sex individuals and how these relationships can be found in literary work as well as other forms of artwork. Therefore, I found a few sources related to that idea and I hope to find more soon.

GRIMES, WILLIAM. "Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a Pioneer of Gay Studies and a Literary Theorist, Dies at 58 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2010. .

I discovered this article, looking for something related to Eve Sedgwick on Google. This is a short article about her life and the impact she has made on LGBT studies. It is a very brief article about her, but I found it very interesting because it discussed about her theories on same-sex love that can be found in literary works. The way she approaches queer studies topics is through the art of poem and images, which I found to be very different from other queer studies theorists.

Berlant, Laruen . "Eve Sedgwick, Once More." Critical Inquiry 35.4 (2009): 1089-1091. Chicago Journals. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.

I found this article, searching for the key word, 'Eve Sedgwick', on the University of Minnesota's library website. I was specifically looking for a journal article that could inform me about the focus of her studies. This is a brief article written by a colleague of Mrs. Eve Sedgwick, and it describes the influence Sedgwick has made on the author's life. It also describes previous work done by Sedgwick and how she was interested in the relationship between same sex and how the emotions of an individual can impact the way in which we perceive images. Sedgwick's work is later described in how she saw the relationship between people and objects, and how it was transformed through art.

Perez, Raphael . "gay fine art gallery paintings photos drawings images artists erotic male nude artworks." gay fine art gallery paintings photos drawings images artists erotic male nude artworks. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.

As I was searching for youtube videos related to Eve Sedgwick, I discovered one in particular that was tagged with Eve's Sedgwick's name. This video which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzHqFWbTHl0, showcased artwork from an artist whose main focus on art is the relationship between same-sex individuals. Therefore, I found a link that transferred me over to his personal website. A lot of the images show a sense of the homoerotic scenes, however it also showed a different side of these same-sex lovers, who appeared to be as plain and simple as can be. I thought that this was in some way related to Sedgwick's work on the relationship between the same genders and how they interact through different works of art.

"Images exist; things themselves are images... Images constantly act on and react to one another, produce and consume. There is no difference between images, things and movement..." Gilles Deleuze

Thinking about temporality -- time -- and the pertinence of images. The image -- photography -- allows time to collapse in on itself and cease (fail) to adhere to its own directives: I look at a photograph of my grandmother on the porch of her first house in America, 1945, and access a moment that no longer exists, before I ever existed, experienced by someone who has ceased to exist. In approaching time -- temporality -- my first confrontation is, quite naturally, with the image. It and I have come to a standstill.

Thumbnail image for the-three-graces-1992.jpg
Prosser, Jay. "The Art of Ph/Autography: Del LaGrace Volano." Sublime Mutations. By Del LaGrace Volcano.

"Photography like autobiography is a paradox of time [ . . . ] The dilemma of the 'transsexual real' is also a paradox of time: how to reconcile an unlivable past with a fantasized idealized - but possibly unrealizable - future?" (Prosser, 6)

"It is the 'play of looks' that I want to explore, within the framework of desire and its visual representations. By unearthing some of psychical, social and sexual processes involved in representations of desire we can begin hopefully to examine the dynamics of desire present in the relationship between the photographer, the photographed and you." (Del LaGrace Volcano, "Dynamics of Desire")

Although this essay is certainly concerned with time and its indispensable relation to the image -- as well as to bodies, to gender, to sex -- Prosser's primary fixation is realness: "[LaGrace Volcano] makes real what would otherwise not be seen as such." Attempts to locate realness, however, inevitably miss the mark: there is no real -- the real is artificial, and, furthermore, "it is dangerous for any of us to believe we can achieve 'the real.'" The photographs do not seek to validate their subjects' realness, but to displace realness and render its in/validation irrelevant. Photographs contradict time, which ceases to make sense in the presence of the image: by capturing/freezing the transient and disallowing passing moments to pass.
Prosser draws connections between the passing of time and the passing of gender -- as well as other senses of passing, such as the aesthetic. LaGrace Volcano's aesthetic sensibilities make sharp, unexpected, shifts and transitions throughout the book, and even within a focused series. The relationship between bodily transitions, bodily mutations and time -- becoming precarious, transmutation, transmogrification -- and Prosser's interpretation of the photography of Del LaGrace Volcano rests on the comfort of uncertainty, wherein we may be assured that "The only certainty is change."

Sublime Mutations showcases a mere modicum of LaGrace Volcano's transgressive spirit. Love Bites, another collection of photographs highlighting the photographer's most controversial and heavily censored work; Sex Work, which chronicles a history of queer sex in pictures; and Pleasure Principles - Politics, Sexuality and Ethics, a book which seems to be largely about photography and desire, are points of interest for further investigation not only into the work of LaGrace Volcano, but also photography, gender, temporality, desire and their convergences.

I'm at somewhat of a loss as I try to recall the exact source which lead to my discovering the work of Del LaGrace Volcano. Something I read quite recently mentioned the name, I performed a search on the UMN library homepage, and one result presented itself: The Drag King Book-- a collaboration between the photographer and J. Jack Halberstam (located in the Annex, that dark hole in the basement of Wilson Library where deviant books collect dust)-- a book that slightly interested me, but not enough to make the trek to the lower depths. I found out about Sublime Mutations via LaGrace Volcano's website, and requested it through inter library loan, with no intentions of using it for this project -- the Prosser essay helped make its relevancy apparent.

Puar, Jasbir. "Abu Ghraib and U.S. Sexual Exceptionalism." Terrorist Assemblages. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. 79-113. Print.

"The pictures will not go away. That is the nature of the digital world in which we live [ . . . ] it was the photographs that made all this ''real'' to Bush and his associates. Up to then, there had been only words, which are easier to cover up in our age of infinite digital self-reproduction and self-dissemination, and so much easier to forget."

(Susan Sontag, "Regarding the Torture of Others")

Where do I begin to summarize this chapter -- or even simply summarize its relevance to my discussion of time and the image? This chapter, and this book in general, is something that I must come back to, and have been coming back to, over and over again. Before I encountered this book, but after it was written, Errol Morris made a documentary about these images -- not so much about the torture, the scandal, or even the politics, but the images themselves. Opening the film is a series of photographs unrelated to those that comprise the heart of the movie's content: pictures of sunrises and sunsets. As the credits begin to scroll across the screen, the sunset photographs recede into the distance and are soon surrounded by numerous other photographs, floating in a virtual void. The infamous images in question begin to take their place alongside the first. These pictures exist within the same context at the same moment: sunrise, sunset, sexual torture. Directly after this opening sequence, we see photographs of then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, visiting the notorious prison, and we're told that he cut his tour short -- he did not want an image of the prison or the goings-on within its walls. It doesn't exist if the images don't exist: that which can't be proven never happened. (And, as Lynndie England comments later in the film, some of the photographed horrors would not have taken place had the camera not been present.) Now that Rumsfeld, the rest of the United States, and the world have been confronted by these pictures, they "will not go away," as Susan Sontag notably stated.

Jasbir Puar claims that Sontag "got it wrong," that the pictures have gone away, but really it's Puar who's gotten Sontag wrong, whose statement, "the pictures will not go away," is meant concretely -- she's referring to the photographs themselves, their digital immortality. They cannot be burned or discarded: they are all right here, and here they will be, regardless of whether or not they are ignored.

I have not summarized the chapter, I don't yet know how to approach the task. But I promise to return to it shortly. The reason I was compelled in the first place to include this chapter specifically in this series concerning time and image is because of my intellectual relationship to these photographs and to photography in general. Sontag has long informed my thoughts and opinions of the photographic medium, of digital media and the like. Abu Ghraib has never gone away in my own mind, in my memories of the Bush years and my thoughts about this war and the U.S. military. Puar and the arguments she raises have only recently entered the equation I've been struggling to sort out -- to solve, as it were. The above discussion of uncertainty and images of time may eventually become necessary in informing my thinking about these photographs -- may allow me to depart from this standstill without solving anything, without proving any thesis. For now, I'll continue to sit with this.

Jarman, Derek, dir. Blue. Zeitgeist Films, 1993. Film.

"The image is a prison of the soul, your heredity,
your education, your vices and aspirations, your qualities,
your psychological world.

I have walked behind the sky.
For what are you seeking?
The fathomless blue of Bliss.

To be an astronaut of the void,
leave the comfortable house that imprisons
you with reassurance.

To be going and to have are not eternal -
fight the fear that engenders the beginning, the middle and the end.

For Blue there are no boundaries or solutions."

I conclude this series about images with the absence of image. Derek Jarman's last film demands its viewer to look fixedly at a blue screen whilst its narrator, Jarman himself, speaks of his blindness, his pain, his loss, his disease and his pending death. He speaks of cafes, Bosnian refugees, the drip of DHPG, the death of his friends. His musings range from philosophical questions: "If I lose my sight will my vision be halved?" to angry commentaries on the evils of political indifference: "Charity has allowed the uncaring to appear to care and is terrible for those dependent on it. It has become big business as the government shirks its responsibilities in these uncaring times. We go along with this, so the rich and powerful who fucked us over once fuck us over again and get it both ways. We have always been mistreated, so if anyone gives us the slightest sympathy we overreact with our thanks." The common thread of all that is contained within this film poem is Blue -- all are inhearsed in Blue. Blue represents many things throughout Jarman's film -- time being one, loss perhaps another; wretchedness, death, joy, desire.

As somewhat of a supplement to thinking about and engaging with the film, I read through Sontag's Illness as Metaphor and AIDS & its Metaphors and have since been concerned with the disease metaphor, and metaphors in general. Jarman, of course, is not speaking metaphorically -- his reflections are profoundly concrete, his anger and disappointments soundly evinced. Sontag remarks in the latter work that "AIDS is a disease of time" -- an inescapable truth that Jarman finds himself consumed by, as time slowly and brutally escorts him out of this life.

I first heard of this film nearly five years ago while having coffee with a friend -- I finally got around to locating it and watching it nearly three years ago, and have since been somewhat obsessed by it. It fits well here, in this discussion of images: images of desire, images of horror, and this, an image of non-image, all contradictions -- paradoxes -- of time.

annotated bib 1, tracking intimacy


The three sources I found to track intimacy connect social media, the coming out narrative, and ideas of community and space. I'm interested in the connections between and implications/effects of social media on creating spaces and possible spaces for intimacy, what that looks like, whether that intimacy is "real," and then, just for kicks, one psychologist's perspective on homosexual intimacy. I'm also interested in how these social media reify/(re)construct gender binaries, police identities, and potentially disrupt them.

1. Ellen DeGeneres' Gay Teen Suicide Video

Ellen takes some time out of her show to send a message to her viewers, to make the suicides of young gays known and important. What I think is particularly interesting about YouTube as a potential site for intimacy-making is that on the YouTube video of Ellen's show, not the original broadcast, a bubble pops up onscreen to link the viewer to Neil Patrick Harris's own video message about the topic. The web links are also literal links between what could be constituted as community members. These celebrities use whatever means they can to make messages, and then people watching and surfing at home connect (with) them to make playlists for other people to see.

I saw this video first on facebook, I think, then I searched for it again on YouTube, which in itself is a testament to the connectabililty-potential for social media.

Liqitimi, "An Important Message--From Ellen DeGeneres (Gay Suicide)." YouTube. YouTube, 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

2. "Moving from Coming Out to Intimacy," David Scasta, M.D.

gay mental.png

Scasta takes a very (surprise!) psychological, bookish approach to trying to understand difficulties in young homosexual relationships. What intrigues me about his article are the therapeutic solutions he promotes, and the pretty perfunctory way he approaches "dating mythology," a section of the article that tackles "dating myths" like, "I'm not capable of holding a lover due to being psychologically flawed." What I wanna know is: what happens when we medicalize intimacy like this?

I found this article after searching "queer intimacy," "queer AND intimacy," and then just "intimacy" in the GenderWatch database. I chose it because of the "Coming Out" part of the title, and because I liked finding an article that I didn't really like.

Scasta, David. "Moving from coming out to intimacy" Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health 2.4 (1998). 08 Oct. 2010
< http://www.informaworld.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/10.1080/19359705.1998.9962194 >

3. "Men's Lib," Andrew Romano and Tony Dokoupil

man up.png

I found this article from something that a classmate tweeted or posted about and I just can't get over it. I think it connects to the idea of intimacy and social media because it calls into question the representations of men and women onscreen but also in legislation, comparing paternity policies of the US with those of Sweden, and how those policies (as impersonal and disconnected from identity politics as they are) can affect one's conception of identity. Plus, that it's an article published in Newsweek, a major publication, and is the feature article in an issue about masculinity, is something to think about. How can we use these various forms of media to call gender construction into question? Does it enable intimacy? Would changing mainstream America's understanding of masculinity (or even daring to suggest a change) make room for more intimacy?

Dokoupil, Tony and Andrew Romano. "Men's Lib." Newsweek. 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2010.

An open thread on today's class


Thanks to @pinstin for a great facilitation! I wanted to start an open thread on today's activities, the readings and class in general. But, what do I mean by an open thread? An open thread is an invitation for discussion about a topic. One person (me) posts a blog entry as a way to start (or continue) a discussion/engagement. Others (readers, particularly but not exclusively class members) post their responses/reactions/questions via comments.

So here we go.I really appreciated how @pinstin's facilitation enabled you all to connect with each other in ways that had not been possible before. As I was listening to your de-briefing, several questions came to mind. All of these questions connect (in some way) to the readings for this week--you know, the ones that we haven't had enough time to discuss? I'm hoping that this open thread can partly serve as a space for us to continue engaging with the readings/ideas.

1. @pinstin asked the class, "how many people feel comfortable with the reading?" Only 3 people raised their hands. This makes me wonder:

  • Why were you uncomfortable? Were you confused by the readings? Were there many parts of them that you didn't understand? Did you finish the readings? Were there too many readings? Are you still uncertain about the term/concept of "queer"? Are you afraid that you are wrong (whatever that means) or that you might have failed to understand?
Luhmann, in "Queering/Querying Pedagogy," discusses student resistance to knowledge and the value of examining how we come to know (or fail to come to know) and what that knowing or not knowing does to us as readers/students/subjects. Where does our resistance to texts (to reading them, to engaging and understanding them) come from? For Luhmann, queering pedagogy is not so much about what we learn but how we learn it and what that learning does to us. She asks us to think about the ways in which our reading/engaging implicates us and how we identify (or don't identify) with the texts. 

  • Should we feel comfortable? What does it mean to feel comfortable? Is it possible to be comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time?
This reminds me of our discussion of making and staying in trouble from Tuesday. Can/Should you be (in) trouble and still feel comfortable? 

Luhmann also discusses the importance of failing to know and the discomfort it generates. Citing Butler, she writes:

Something is potentially subversive when reading or understanding is rendered impossible. "Subversive practices have to overwhelm the capacity to read, challenge conventions of reading, and demand new possibilities of reading" (Butler, 1993, p. 20). Subversiveness, rather than being an easily identifiable counter-knowledge, lies in the very moment of unintelligibility, or in the absence of knowledge.
What do we do when we can't read/understand something? Does the discomfort/uncertainty/frustration that this generates shut us down or can it be productive, opening up new readings and understandings? 

2. @momentaryisle indicated that she was still trying to determine the relevance or irrelevance of personal identity for queering pedagogy. How does identity matter (or fail to matter) within queer theory, queering pedagogy, queering desire? 

I encourage you to post your comments/reactions/questions about my questions or about our class/readings today. Let's keep the conversation going!

Looking for the Tavia Nyong'o reading?

| 1 Comment

It's not on WebVista, but don't worry, it's right here: punk'd theory.pdf.

Day Nine: October 7

In today's class we will continue our discussion of queer/ing pedagogy. We will briefly discuss blog/twitter assignments and @Pinstin will be facilitating a class discussion.


  • First annotated bibliographies must be posted by tomorrow at 10PM. 
  • If you haven't already signed up for the diablog assignment, I'll pass around the sheet
  • Sign up for a blog meeting with me next week: Tues/Weds/Thurs
  • Join in the rally for Defending Public Education after class (starts at Northrup)
  • Readings for next week are changing. Here's the list (with changes in bold):
Cohen, Cathy. "Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens" 
Nyong'o, Tavia. "Punk'd Theory"
Halberstam, Judith. "What's That Smell?"
Ford, Richard Thompson. "What's Queer About Race?"

*I have dropped the Jasbir Puar. You may still write about the essay for your direct engagement. 

Annot. Bib. #1- Radical sex and social media

My tracking topic is radical sex practices and in response to social media's impact on society and community, I've decided to research how social media impacts radical sex practices and BDSM within our society. My sources and examples for this are Julia Tomassilli's "Behind Closed Doors: An Exploration of Kinky Sexual Behaviors in Urban Lesbian and Bisexual Women," Jon E Pounds Secret blog, http://toynextdoor.com/secrets/, and Raven Shadowborne's Poetry & Prose website. Jon E Pounds blog and Ravens website tie together rather nicely because they are both forms of online social media and can be found for all to read and review. Julia's tie to these two resources might be a bit of a stretch but I think it ties with them in the sense of how they came to find their desire for BDSM.

While doing a Google search, I stumbled upon a Blog by Jon E Pounds. Jon E Pounds blog has many entries and posts on things related to BDSM for all to read. An example of the impact on BDSM and society would be the blog entry titled, "National FemDom Day July 27th." The entry basically states that on July 27th all un-collared submissives should wear some sort of subtle symbol stating their submissiveness so that dominators can indicate who is submissive. How much do you think this entry impacts BDSM on society online and offline? Some additional sources to check out can be found on his website and are very interesting. Jon gives a website to learn more about the National FemDom Day in St. Louis, MO- http://www.dadungeon.com/FemDomDay.shtml. Also, on the right hand side he gives some links and one of them is a sex education site- http://www.educationalsexseries.com/.

I found Raven's website by doing a Google search on BDSM poetry and just happened to land on it. Raven's website consists of poems submitted by submissives and dominators. A lot of the poems on this website are actually fairly decent and it's interesting how open some of these people are with their lives. For example, the poem "Please Me" by Joy and "A Slaves Lament" by Raevenne are very interesting and very open. This website gives people a chance to connect, share their feelings and experiences and helps shed some light to non-BDSM individuals. Do you think the ability for like-minded members to post something so personal online can shape opinions of others in a positive or negative way? An additional link worth reading is, http://www.leathernroses.com/abuse/healingabuse.htm. It's another poetry website by Raven Shadowborne but this page is dedicated to BDSM abuse.

I found Julia Tomassilli's article by searching through EBSCO Academic Search Premier on the Inver Hills Community College library site. This article reviews a survey of 347 urban, self-identified lesbians and bi-sexual persons who engage in bondage/domination, sadomasochism,photo/video exhibitionism, and asphyxiation/breath play. I found this article very interesting because it states that, "Bisexually identified women were 2.4 times more likely than lesbian identified women to have ever engaged in any kinky sexual behavior" (Tomassilli). The reason I found this interesting is because I wonder if the media has something to do with the statistical difference of kinky behavior between bi-sexual persons and lesbians. I wonder if maybe it has a bigger influence/impact on bi-sexual persons because maybe they have more options or something. At the end of this article it cites many wonderful references that I've searched for and read and some interesting ones are "Different loving: The world of sexual dominance and submission" by G.G Brame, W.D. Brame and J. Jacobs, and "Public sex: The culture of radical sex" by P. Califia.

Pounds, Jon E. . "National FemDom Day July 27th." Secrets. WordPress, 07/13/2010. Web. 1 Oct 2010. .

Shadowborne, Raven. "Poetry and Prose." Raven Shadownborne, 2001. Web. 23 Sep 2010. .

Tomassilli, Julia C., et al. "Behind Closed Doors: An Exploration of Kinky Sexual Behaviors in Urban Lesbian and Bisexual Women." Journal of Sex Research 46.5 (2009): 438-445. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Oct. 2010

Annotated Bibiliography

| 1 Comment

Term: Intimacy
Annotated Bibliography due October 8th
These sources all are related because they share topics of concern about homosexual intimacy. All articles examine how homosexuality and the intimacy involved affect our culture and what is considered appropriate and acceptable. Also, across the age spectrum how prevalent is homosexuality and intimacy today. How has intimacy between same sex partners been acknowledged behind closed doors yet shunned in the public eye and how has it affected us?
1st Source:
Title of article: De los Otros: Intimacy and Homosexuality Among Mexican Men
Tweet source: Intimacy and homosexuality among mexican men http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_n4_v34/ai_20536050/ @qued2010 posted Sept 26th Author is Joseph Carrier & reviewed by Manuel Fernandez
This source is about Mexican men and how homosexuality is viewed as normal to experiment with before marriage since many Mexican women are highly religious and do not engage in premarital sex. Most communities simply look the other way and realize that it is normal for men to feel the urge to satisfy sexual needs without a woman and with a man as their partner. In this machismo driven society where there is much hostility toward homosexuality it is viewed as normal to use gay men as sexual outlets as long as the man is the penetrator and it is not acknowledged publicly. This article relates to homosexual intimacy since it describes the closeted lives that homosexual males live in Mexican culture. They are only accepted when a straight man has sex with them but if caught having sex with another homosexual male they are shamed. The majority of homosexual intercourse that is happening includes no intimacy since it is merely an act of releasing sexual frustration. A quote from the article explains the lack of intimacy and prostitution of the practice "These heterosexually-identified insertors in same-sex intercourse and relationships usually charge money or another commodity for sex, and they often hold ambivalent feelings of desire and contempt toward the joto," joto meaning faggot.
I found this source by typing in the words homosexuality and intimacy into google. This is one of the first articles that popped up and I found it incredibly interesting. This article poses as a sort of abstract from Joseph Carrier's book (the name of the book is the title of this article). So if you would like to do some further investigating this very interesting and ground-breaking research you can read his book.
Formal Citation:
Fernandez, Manuel. "De los Otros: Intimacy and Homosexuality Among Mexican Men."Journal of Sex Research(1997): 1. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.
2nd Source:
Title of article: Montana's Republicans Want to Arrest Gay People
Had to tweet this YIKES: http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/montanas_republicans_want_to_arrest_gay_people #@qued2010 posted Sept 29th Author is Michael A. Jones
This article centers on American republicans' desire to make homosexuality illegal in certain states, mainly Texas and Montana. Although prominent republicans have acknowledged gay rights and have recently warmed slightly to lesbian gay bisexual and transgender issues, the trend has not spread to a state wide level of government. There are petitions to arrest any openly homosexual person and any person that assists a homosexual couple get married. This is also a pressing issue in Uganda where the AIDS epidemic is at an all time high. This article pertains to homosexual intimacy since it displays how strongly against homosexuality so much of our country still is. Entire states are pushing for homosexuality to be illegal. This attitude is oppressing gay and lesbian people since they are being bullied into having to confine their intimacy in their relationships to behind closed doors. It is even causing them to fear for their relationships and even lives in some cases.
I found this source after reading an article in the Daily about the Ugandan law concerning homosexuality and how Montana is following suit. I wanted to learn more about the issue so I googled it and found this helpful article. If you are interested in learning more about Ugandan law and/or about anti-homosexual laws in the United States I would google Minnesota gay law and find out more about Michelle Bachmann and Tom Emmer backing groups such as You Can Run But You Can't Hide. This rock band is a group of people advocating that homosexual people be executed and have even received money from Bachmann and Emmer. This is happening right here in MN!
Formal Citation:
Jones, Michael A. "Montana's Republicans Want to Arrest Gay People." Gayrights.change.org. 29 June 2010. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.
3rd Source (Also Tweet Source: due October 25)
Title of article: Twice Hidden: Older Gay and Lesbian Couples, Friends, and Intimacy
Tweet source 3: http://www.asaging.org/publications/dbase/GEN/Gen.25_2.Blando.pdf #@qued2010 Posted October 5th Author is John A. Blando
This article describes intimacy in older gay and lesbian couples. It states that although there is a stereotype that older gay and lesbian people are lonely there is actually significant evidence that a considerable percentage of them are in long term intimate relationships. The article mentions that for some same-gender couples, similarity is an enhancing factor, especially early on in a relationship creating a true bond. The similarities couples can share include a higher degree of intimacy.
The way I found this article was by using google scholar search. I typed in homosexual intimacy. If you are curious about learning more I would search for scholarly articles concerning age groups of homosexual people and intimate relations.
Formal Citation:
Blando, John A. "Twice Hidden: Older Gay and Lesbian Couples, Friends, and Intimacy." The American Society on Aging 25(2003): 87-89. Web. 6 Oct. 2010.

Did I do this right?

Annotated Bibliography: Judith Butler

My three sources are all tied together by the Feminist Movement. My first source was an interview between Butler and Reginia Michalik. The interview was focused on the Feminist Movement, but a specific quote of Butler's drew my attention when she was addressing the problems with the Feminist Movement Today:

"The other problem is that it has always been seen as a bourgeois white movement."

That caught my eye because I grew up in a white, middle class household and so both my mom and I were never really "out of touch" with the Feminism Movement. It was interesting to hear her perspective of it, which led me to looking up a few more things about the feminism movement.

My second source I found in the Chronicle for Higher Education. It was just an article by Liz McMillen discussing Judith Butler, her history and her book, Gender Troubles. It basically summarized that Butler had a massive impact on the feminist movement and that she plays a vital role in the fight for equality. In fact, it was written that Butler's Gender Trouble "rocked the foundation of feminist theory."

My third source was a clip with Ruth Reichl talking about the need for a new kind of feminism movement. She talks about not how the movement is out of touch with minorities and the proletariats but with some of what Butler is referring to as the "white bourgeois." I think Reichl brought up a very valid point in that women DO have choices now and they CAN work and be a mother but that they have to deal with guilt much more than their male counterparts do/would have to.

As far as further sources go, youtube has more clips of the rest of Reichl's lecture and here she talks about how she's glad that she's not a mother. I would also suggest just reading Gender Troubles, or any of Butler's other books.

(I googled my first source- the interview, I used the UMN Library Catalog for the article from The Chronicle of Higher Education and I searced "Feminism" on youtube to find that clip with Reichl.)

katy perry's comeback and other dirty little sesame street moments

katy perry.png
The picture's from Katy's guest appearance on SNL--obviously she's making a little jab at the Street.

The link (below) is to a posting entitled "7 Much More Offensive Sesame Street Moments Than Katy Perry's Cleavage." There were too many videos to embed them all on the blog--easier to just link it.


Facilitation for Thursday

Hey for the Thursday facilitation I asked the class on Tuesday for one of two things

  1. If you were a website or is going to get one what would URL be?
  2. If possible, introduce yourself to someone in class, preferably someone you do not talk to often or know, and think of a website name for them based upon your introduction

There is no need to stress about any of these just have this in you head going into class on thursday.

Thanks y'all and hope y'all have a good day yo :)

Online Networking - Positive vs Negative effects

Many people think that facebook and other social networkings sites are awesome for connecting and coming out.
I think these sites can be potentially dangerous and toxic. Broad casting your life on the interent will find you support, but I think it's also opening yourself up to bullies and mistreatment. I think it's important to make sure you have someone in your physical life that you can depend on through your tough times, you shouldn't put all your worth into your computer and blackberry.
The internet is awesome for interacting and getting to know people you may have never met, and also for staying connected with ones you know. I think you need to know limits. You also need to remember that some people won't agree with you, and they may try to bring you down. The internet may be a dangerour place for someone who doesn't have a strong mental footing first. I believe people online can be very cruel because it's easier to type something rather than say it to their face.
Have you had/felt more support online or with people in your physical presence? Would you delete your blog if someone was constantly harassing you online?

Day Eight: October 5

It's hard to believe, but we are starting our 5th week of class today! I hope that the blog and twitter assignments are starting to make sense and that you are feeling more confident about experimenting with both of them. This week we will be discussing queer(ing) pedagogy. Here's a breakdown of today's class:

  • Announcements
  • Turn in Blog folders + review diablog and annotated bibliography assignments
  • Overview of Readings
  • Discussion of concepts/ideas/readings
  • Any questions?
  • Blog folders due today
  • Annotated bibliographies are due on Friday (10.8)
  • Anything else?
Blog Assignments:
  • 3 sources/1 must be academic
  • Intro paragraph tying sources together and to your term/author/organization
  • Each entry should include: title, author, brief summary, additional resources, where/how you found source, formal citation (all of this information can be found in the assignment entry--linked above). 
  • Goal of these entries: process information, share it with others, critically and creatively explore your topic

Overview of Readings:
This week we are discussing texts that are all connected to the issue of Queer and queering pedagogy, including:
A few key ideas came up repeatedly in these readings:

Heterosexual matrix of intelligibility (Butler)
Performance/performativity (Butler)
Hetero/homo divide 
Postmodern subject/self (Foucault: power/knowledge produce subjects)
Queering identity...Queer as identity
Sex/gender (how are these connected?)
Binaries: queer/straight, hetero/homo, teacher/student, knowledge/ignorance

One version of queering pedagogy: Making and Staying in Trouble

...trouble is inevitable and the task, how best to make it, what best way to be in it (Butler, Gender Trouble).
troubling, spoiling, undermining, disrupting, destabilizing, unveiling, exposing, unsettling, subverting, resisting, twisting, critically questioning, deconstructing, opening up

uncertain, unpredictable, abnormal, fluid, unstable, confusing, flexible...

A few passages from Luhmann:

If subversiveness is not a new form of knowledge but lies in the capacity to raise questions about the detours of coming to know and making sense, then what does this mean for a pedagogy that imagines itself as queer? Can a queer pedagogy resist the desire for authority and stable knowledge; can it resist disseminating new knowledge and new forms of subjection? What if a queer pedagogy puts into crisis what is known and how we come to know (Luhmann, 5)?
Instead of focusing on the common concerns of teaching, such as what should be learned and how to teach this knowledge, pedagogy might begin with the question of how we come to know and how knowledge is produced in the interaction between teacher/text and student (Luhmann, 6).
As an alternative to the worry over strategies for effective knowledge transmission that reduce knowledge to mere information and students to rational but passive beings untroubled by the material studied, pedagogy might be posed as a question (as opposed to the answer) of knowledge: What does being taught, what does knowledge do to students (Luhmann, 7)?
Alice Pitt (1995) points out: "Learning about content is not the same thing as learning from it. In other words . . . learning is something more than a series of encounters with knowledge; learning entails, rather, the messier and less predictable process of becoming implicated in knowledge" [p. 298](Luhmann, 8).
Both queer theory and pedagogy argue that the process of making (sense) of selves relies on binaries such as homo-hetero, ignorance-knowledge, learner- teacher, reader-writer, and so on. Queer theory and pedagogy place at stake the desire to deconstruct binaries central to Western modes of meaning making, learning, teaching, and doing politics. Both desire to subvert the processes of normalization (Luhmann, 8).
at stake are the implications of queer theory and pedagogy for the messy processes of learning and teaching, reading and writing. Instead of posing (the right) knowledge as answer or solution, queer theory and the pedagogy I have outlined here pose knowledge as an interminable question (Luhmann, 9).
Such queer pedagogy does not hold the promise of a successful remedy against homophobia, nor is it a cure for the lack of self-esteem. This pedagogy is not (just) about a different curriculum or new methods of instruction. It is an inquiry into the conditions that make learning possible or prevent learning. It suggests a conversation about what I can bear to know and what I refuse when I refuse certain identifications. What is at stake in this pedagogy is the deeply social or dialogic situation of subject formation, the processes of how we make ourselves through and against others. As an inquiry into those processes, my queer pedagogy is not very heroic. It does not position itself as a bulwark against oppression, it does not claim the high grounds of subversion but hopefully it encourages an ethical practice by studying the risks of normalization, the limits of its own practices, and the im/possibilities of (subversive) teaching and learning.
Some key questions:

  • Queer pedagogy? Queering pedagogy? What's the difference (is there)?
  • What queer interventions can we/should we make into the classroom? Teaching-learning?
  • What is queer? Is queer a matter of being? Doing? Both? Neither?

Spend about 5 minutes writing down your reflections on troublemaking in the classroom. Is it valuable to make trouble and to be troubled/in trouble? Do you experience this frequently in classrooms? What about in here? How is this classroom space (productively/unproductively) troubling for you? Do you see connections between trouble and queer/ing?

Large group: 
What does a queer classroom look like? What does it mean to queer the classroom? Queer the University? (How) are we queering the University/learning? How does social media fit in here--does it enable us to engage in queering practices (what are queering practices)?

Finding identities... a response to Dani_D29

I would assert that facebook is a great place for youth to find their identities. However what I mean by identities is not essentially what a youth might think of themselves, but how others will perceive them. It's more about youth finding the identity that will be tacked onto their person if they admit to or list certain activities or preferences, etc. Ourselves, molded from our experiences, is a dynamic construction that takes place over large expanses of linear time. Therefore, facebook might in time or in swift add bits of experience to this dynamic but it will unlikely lay foundations. Again, however, it will allow the youth to flex their analytic and critical views of themselves helping them find their external identities. Understanding how others view and identify us is a huge step into self awareness. It might be said that this awareness of how we are perceived and not just how we mean to be perceived can be very influential in our ability to form intimate relationships.

Mock disruptions in online gaming

In Threlkeld's examination of new media in the context of old media I found myself, a product of the information age, a considerable primary source for many inquiries therein. What resonated most in my experiences came in the discussion of online video game avatars. What was the central thrill of my life for nearly two years, beginning when I was thirteen, is now somewhat of an embarrassment to admit ever occurred. I sat enthralled and glued to my screen for insane amounts of time each and every single day. Meals were skipped, sleep was forfeited, and relationships got replaced all for the opportunity to engage in a virtual realm over the face to face. What I came to conclude in that time as a place of sincere friendships and real holistic human interaction can now be critiqued by the body (mine) that feels very much a product of this queer situation. The article cites an incident of a group leader within a newer online game that has captured the attention of millions of people. In following this example, I would like to include my experiences with queer groups inside of an online game. First, a group that was GLBT friendly and therefore composed mostly of people that identified as such had a preoccupation of categorizing by sexual orientation. In my time the same can be said about people, not necessarily in groups, that interact face to face. The wheel turns for even the non-GLBT identified individual in both circumstances as a resounding "you're straight right?" seems to plague conversation. However, in a game where you can only be defined by your text-chat entries and virtual actions a person's identification of sexual orientation becomes even more important in social settings. You might parallel this idea to facebook; if you list a preference then your profile is "more complete." It was irrelevant if I was goofy and queer and a bit fruity, people needed a sexual orientation to put my actions into a context they desired. Thus, in my youth it prompted me to confine myself and identify with strict categories. I felt this pressure even more so in my virtual world than I did with people outside. At least in the outside world I felt that people were much quicker and willing to assume that I was straight or gay or whatever. Maybe this discrepancy that I experienced has to do with the ease at which miscommunication can occur in text-only based settings. I was driven as I am sure others were to have a context or understanding of a player in order to contextualize their actions. How might we see this as reinforcing heteronormativity in new media? We existed in an online space where labels, categories, stereotypes, and all manner of denotations very much defined our bodies as they existed in "real space." How does indentifying with a sexual orientation light the way for others to assume and construct your entire lifestyle and attitudes? How do these identities cause us to use the term queer in very specific contexts that may not contextualize our material existence?

Absoultely not! I think facebook and other social networks are not good for that. Like i have stated before, poeople can be anyone they want to be on FB or anywhere else on the internet. There was a study done on kids, it was a social experiment called the halloween study. They placed a mirror infront of a house in front of a candy bowl. where there was a sign that said, take one please. then there was a control group which was withought a mirror. do you know what they found? that when the children could see themselves they took just one piece but when there was no mirror they took several. so i think when we are hidden behind a computer screen and we cant actually see the other person who we are talking to. people lie, its human nature, they might make themselves seem better than they are or worse. Now im not saying that we shouldnt trust anyone, just i dont think we can really form "intimate relationships" with ANYONE without seeing them and being able to talk to them and actally see that they are a "real" person. As for forming an identity... sure... but what any identity really.

Direct Engagement #1

For my first Direct engagement I chose Julie rak's article "The Digital Queer". Rak discusses the idea of blogging and whether or not this can be considered a new age version of journal writing. Throughout the article the author goes into great detail about blogging and what it means to be a blogger. For instance, Rak discusses the format of a blog and how that differs from journal writing. I found it fascinating that there seems to be an unspoken code of conduct that a majority of bloggers abide by. The article mentions that in the blogging world it is almost impossible to be untruthful or present false information. If a person is trying to present themselves untruthfully, most bloggers can tell that this person is falsifying their identity. There is also this level of understanding that there has to be some amount of self disclosure about one's offline life in order to gain the trust of their online readers. The authors of said blogs can remain mostly anonymous but there must be a level of trust between the two parties and thus forfeiting some of their privacy is unavoidable.
In addition, the blogging world allows communities of people with similar interests to come together in a safe environment to share their thoughts and ideas. This is the element of blogging that I find to be most fascinating. What did people do before the internet came to fruition? This seems to be very similar to how the feminist movement started except on a more expedited path. It is the coming together of people wanting to discuss aspects of their societies and communities that frustrate, stifle, and oppress their members. However, on the other hand, it is a place for people to come together to discuss the amazing aspects of their communities and the goings on within them.
In regards to the author's question about whether or not there is such a thing as queer blogging? I am inclined to agree with her based on the idea that it is an identity. Rak states, "These bloggers do not have to present themselves as queer or GLBT in blog entries all the time, and they can present themselves that way some of the time". When creating a blog entry all that is needed is the correct placement of certain key words. This ensures that they can be found by anyone that is searching for this specific community.

Queer This! The Gay Kingdom


Gay Kingdom #1

Gay Kingdom #2

Do you feel this is how a majority of the glbt community feels?

Queer This: Surprisingly Human?

For the week of October 19-21, we will be discussing "what is queering and queering desire?" in relation to queering the non/human. I was reminded of this upcoming topic when I saw an advertisement for Animal Planet last night while watching an episode of "Life" about survival and reproduction on Discovery. Here's what "surprised" me:

suprisingly human.pngApparently "surprisingly human" is the logo for Animal Planet. In a press release by Discovery, they explain this logo:

"There is no human world separate from the animal world," says president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan. "We all inhabit one large, living planet, and the stories we can tell at the margins where humans' and animals' lives intersect make for terrific entertainment."

How can we queer this? What is meant by this tagline and Kaplan's explanation of it? Who/what is privileged in this marketing of the channel (and of relationships between humans and other animals)? Finally, what sorts of queer interventions (or explanations) can we offer about all of this?

Want to queer some more? Check out a brief clip from the Life episode that I watched last night on the "Stalk-Eyed Flies." Here's an excerpt of Oprah Winfrey's voice-over:

Yes, those are his eyes on the end of those stalks. They may look unwieldy, but females love a bug with really long...stalks.

Now, queer this!

Identities: GLBT and religious?

| 1 Comment

So, I tweeted this, but of course felt the need to add more than 140 characters as I am extremely long-winded.

I have watched a lot of these "It Gets Better" videos. Some are smart, some are silly, some are absolutely heartbreaking. I was really happy to see this one though:

The dialogue between LGBT communities and faith-based communities is often hostile and infuriating. Too often, we focus on how Christianity (and other religions) inhibit and vilify those in the LGBT community while forgetting that there are many people out there who have found a way to reconcile both their identity as a LGBT person and their identity as a believer in a certain faith. We may sometimes want to discredit or ignore any type of religion and refuse to believe that religion can help the LGBT community in any way. However, I feel that this excludes more people that it can include, and those in faith communities are not just sometimes part of the LGBT community, but can also be fierce advocates and allies.

How can we better understand faith communities and bring them into queer organizing? How can we understand our own identities in relation to our personal beliefs, whether they align with a certain faith or not?

Don't Forget: Blog/Twitter logs are due tomorrow!

Hi everyone,

I wanted to remind you all that your blog folders are due tomorrow. In case you misplaced it, download the blog and twitter log here. Remember that you need to fill out the dates/titles of your entries, comments and tweets in this form. You can print it out and write the information in, or you can fill in the blanks right on the word .doc that I have attached (in the email that I sent to you all today) and them email it back to me (along with the word .doc of your comments and tweets). Here's a review of the information that I have asked for:

I will review/evaluate your entries 3 times this semester. Please read and follow these directions for ensuring that your entries, comments and tweets are graded.

1. Fill out the blog/twitter log once you have completed assignments. Make sure to include the date you posted your entry, comment or tweet. You will be emailing/handing in this log to me three times this semester: October 5, November 16, December 14.
2. Tag all of your entries with your alias. Only entries that I find when I click on the tag for your alias will be graded.
3. Tag all of your tweets with the hashtag: #qd2010
4. Copy and paste all of your comments and tweets into a word document (I will find your entries by clicking on your alias). Make sure that each comment/tweet is clearly identified with: title of post that you commented on, date of post, date of comment, type of comment. You will email me this document on October 5, November 16, and December 14. Note: You can also print out this document instead and hand it into me, along with your blog/twitter log during in class time.
5. In your email, do the following:

  • Subject of email: QD Blog/Twitter Log 
  • Title of word doc (not docx): Yournameblog/twitter.doc 
  • If you email your log (as opposed to handing in a hard copy), title your log (as word .doc): Yournameblog/twitterlog.doc
According to our schedule, the following items should be in your folder:

17 Queer This! example and Queer This! tweet
20 Queer This! comment
22 Direct Engagement #1
27 Tweet Source, Direct Engagement Comment, Query Tweet

1 Query Response (as blog entry)
5 Tweet Source

If you have any questions, please email me, tweet them or post them as comments here.

See you tomorrow,

Query Response: Is it offensive?

This is a pretty loaded question, and an interesting one at that. The reason I chose this query to answer is that I have a fair amount of personal experience with this issue, and that is mainly what I will draw upon for the answer. This is to say that I cannot answer for queers everywhere, or that I can even really apply theory to help me answer the question.

My experience has been that is depends entirely on the context in which the question is asked. There are many different ways in which you can ask someone about their gender/sexual identity, and the motivation behind the question ultimately will determine how it is perceived. Usually when someone says, "No offense but..." the question is meant to be offensive. I've also found that being asked what my sexual/gender identity is rather than if it is gay/trans/queer seems to come across in a much more friendly manner.

If I were to apply theory to this question, I would have to say that we must keep in mind the fluid nature of gender/sexuality, which means that we would not suggest a certain identity in our questioning, but rather allow the subject to use their own classifiers. Of course, we must also be open to graciously accepting that the person does not want to answer/does not have an answer.


the internet and coming out

| 1 Comment

take two.png

I think the internet constitutes a space in which queer teens can seek out, search for, and often times find a community. But I think the idea of the "coming out narrative" within those communities as necessary to the identity and process of identification as queer remains pretty unquestioned within the space of the internet and youtube. Does the internet also provide alternative ideas about coming out? Does it also steer those teens to people who have different experiences of self-identification and making that identity known to the people around them? Can that teen know the implications of posting a video online? To be a teen looking for guidance and community and finding that that depends on following a certain coming out path prescribed by an online community could also be problematic.

Query Response: BiSexuality


Chester_selfish: I've been bisexuality marginalized by LGBT and straight communities alike. What are others thoughts on this?

Most of the time, bisexuality is labeled as a "lifestyle" rather than a sexual identity. Often times, it is simply cast away. The greatest example I found is a quote by Woody Allen: in which he states that being bisexual, "doubles your chance of a date on Saturday night."
In TV shows especially, Bisexuals are considered the "safer" choice in the attempt to diversify and portray a gay character. Before the term "metrosexual" was even coined, bisexuality became a trend and blurring the lines between gay and straight was a way for a wider variety of sexual encounters to occur- an increase in ratings.
It is a difficult issue. For many, a bisexual is either "not gay enough" within the gay community, "just gay enough" to be excluded from the straight community or simply accepted out of curiosity and asked for insight into the gay world. Within common thought, it is perceived that there is hetero and homosexuality. Like gender, sexuality is fluid and is can be neither one nor the other. For many, the inability to "pick a side" is unnerving and unclassifiable.
I believe that more attention should be given to bisexuality within queer scholarship and furthermore, it needs to be recognized as a genuine form of sexuality within both communities.

Query Response #1

davyeo: Query: how effective is the internet or media in helping youth in their coming out process and the understanding of the public? #?qd2010 12:48 AM Sep 26th via web

With the creation of the internet, people from all walks of life are able to come together. This is particularly helpful for those in the GLBT community. It has created an outlet where people from villages, unincorporated towns, metropolis', and more can come together and share common likes and aspirations. For those in the GLBT community it can be a place, an outlet to find themselves and try/examine new things. These options are especially important for those in the GLBT community who have confirmed a new identity or are questioning it. In general the internet can be a great place to find out about Queer culture (what do certain flags or signs represent, Queer book groups, GLBT allied organizations, where are the "gay" bars in my city, etc.). The possibilities on the internet seem endless, but there is a dark side as well.

Facebook is a good example which can provide a liberating environment. However, there seems to be a false sense of control on facebook. The options given for creating a profile are very limited and clearly set to a heteronormative standards. For example, "Sex" male or female. What about transgender, or woman who identifies as male, or bisexual, or no gender at all? Then there is the "looking for" section with the options of friendship, dating, a relationship, or networking. What about wanting to show that you have more than one serious relationship or you practice polyfidelity? Another heteronormative standard used on facebook is their use of marketing/advertising based on the sex that you choose in your profile. Adds on the side of the page are geared towards male or female. For women: Vogue Magazine, perfume, get free makeup, etc. For men: girls in your area, check out the latest girl on girl action, old spice, etc.

As you can see the endless possibilities on the internet can be freeing and educational. The facebook phenom in many ways is also a great place to make connections and express yourself. However, it is important to see the normative "rules" that are set on many social networks.

The internet is definitively a great place to explore, question, and learn. It is also a great place to establish a group of people that an individual may identify with. The internet is a place to experiment with new places, people, and ideas. With all of these options in mind, the coming out process for youth can be as open or anonymous as they choose.

Query: In what ways can online "selves" transgress the limits of physical selves in terms of community building?

I think that online selves can form stronger ties in terms of activism than physical selves sometimes. People are more likely to share online and more likely to be honest. It gives a safe space for people to reach out and learn other people's stories, while at the same time allowing for people to build communities, alliances, networks, and foster activism.

The digital self has more freedom in this type of arena and is more likely reaching out and interracting with people in similar positions. Blogging identity demonstrates individualism and the freedom of expression. I think that online selves are necessary to connecting with people with similar interests. Years ago when online media didn't exist, it was harder to assemble or come together under a common belief without seeking it out or showing interest in it initially. Online media allows access to sets of knowledge beliefs one probably wouldn't have attained otherwise, or even stumbled across. The aspect of "stumbling across" can foster connections and interest in things one didn't know about or find important before. It let's people in marginalized groups know that there are people out there just like them, it reasserts normalness and creates communities that wouldn't have come together otherwise. In this aspect, our online selves have more access to communities than our physical selves.

Query Response

Do you really think that FB helps youth find their identity and form intimate relationships?
I absolutely think that social networks, like Facebook, can be a huge influential factor in terms of predominately adolescent adults...or anyone to help and find out who they really are and come to terms with the world that they are living in. Obviously this varies from person to person, nonetheless, by someone being able to vent or post whatever they want to the general public or their friends can really help a person with their self-esteem knowing that there are people out there who will read this and in turn care about what that individual is saying. Consequently, this could in fact lead to the formation of relationships, and even in some cases intimate ones. It's amazing how the method of meeting people have changed over the course of the last decade. Having other people out there for you can really go a long way in the sense of becoming a confident and affectionate person. We tend to play off of each other in that way, thus forming and strengthening these friendships and relationships...at least that is how I look at it.

Queery Response #1


I think that Facebook can help a person express their personal identity, but not necessarily find one. At least not your true identity. It gives the user the ability to create a different identity than one that they have on a daily basis.
This can be a good thing and also somewhat problematic, it can lead to confusion within a person, or a person feeling that they need to be different or better because of how things are happening on their facebook page.

Transgressive Selves: a query response, no. 1


While some of the work involved in processing a response to this query has already been done for me, I do have a few thoughts/questions of my own to add to the discussion. Firstly, I'm very interested in/troubled by the notion of an online identity/self that "lasts 'forever'" as formulated in the afore-linked engagement: my main question being-- what is meant by forever as it pertains to online identity, or online texts, etc.? and why the quotation marks around the word? And I do agree that these quotation marks are properly in their place within this context, which may be my main point of contestation, as this is precisely the trouble I'm having with the concept of online time and its queer/ing temporality. Does online presence allow one to develop a virtual self outside the confines of time linearly conceived? What is the opposition between a virtual self and a real self? or, perhaps, where does a distinction take place? Is the primary opposition that one (real life self) is limited by linear time and geographical space and the other (virtual self) not? How might a virtual self also be limited by these conceptions of time and space?

I'm supposed to be answering the questions, not asking them, right? As that doesn't seem very likely at this point, I'll move on to the next part of the question -- namely, that which concerns the transgression of physicality, for which I turn to Julie Rak for assistance in an attempt to formulate some semblance of an answer. In "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity," Rak begins her discussion by calling attention to one of the originations of weblogs as somewhat of a transgression (my word, not hers) of diary keeping -- diaries being, by definition and relevant association, private: unread by anybody except its author. Weblogs, unlike paper diaries, have audience members and are, as an effect, an evolution (one might argue an aggressive flouting) of the private diary and interpersonal -- as well as personal -- communication. The inevitable result of which being what have come to be perceived as the development of online communities -- people with a common interest/goal/what-have-you engaging in conversation, arguments (both productive and unproductive), or even activism through online networks. Perhaps Rak's most important discussion of online blogging communities takes place on page 172, under the heading "Blog Ideology," where she addresses blogging rhetoric and its "[adherence] in some form to a version of liberalism which was part of early internet culture. In this form of liberalism, freedom of expression is important, particularly when it occurs outside of institutional attempts to control the flow of information." In this sense, blogging communities may be formed through a sharing network of otherwise inaccessible, previously privatized, information. But, there remains the lingering question of censorship -- internet censorship exists, right? And this is something I know next to nothing about, but am curious about what types of information are accessible online and to whom? (I'm thinking of this question primarily in terms of government media censorship and language -- but I'm sure there are other types of internet censorship/varying degrees of inaccessibility to information depending on one's physical locality/reality, etc.)

Recent Comments