Diablog Week 5 Munoz

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Diablog Week 5:
Munoz
He starts off with a recount of a play called Malga Gomez is pretty, witty, and gay. It is how he describes "a meditation on the contemporary reality of being queer in North America. Being public as yourself when you are the minority assists in capturing social agency. Social agency here means forcing recognition as queer thus assuming identity as something different to be acknowledged but not necessarily accepted in society. The character in the play Gomez disidentifies herself with the mainstream lesbian as she discusses her first interaction with lesbians in public as an eleven year old. She does not want to be associated with "truck-driving closeted diesel dykes". She wants to be glamorous and not a pathetic spectacle. Malga Gomez is able to hear the "lesbian call" featured on the David Susskin Show without her mother's knowledge since she is in denial or maybe just does not notice. Disidentification is said here to mean not identifying yourself or claiming alliance to heteronormative definition or stereotypical lesbian or gay. It means recognizing the stereotypes and taking bits and pieces of that to be your own individual within the minority. Malga saw these lesbians on television with their wigs, wigs being something not stereotypically lesbian, and that made her want to be one.
While watching this portrayal done by Malga of her moment of disidentification, Munoz recalled his viewing of Truman Capote on the same television show as a kid. He understood a bitchy comment Capote made which he thought only "gays could hear". This childhood moment of disidentification was only resurrected and realized while watching Malga's performance of self. This to Munoz demonstrated the power and shame of queerness. He had buried that memory and had yet to recognize its significance. It did even exist until he saw Malga Gomez is pretty, witty and gay.
Disidentification is not always a good strategy of resistance or survival for all minority subjects. Sometimes direct resistance can be useful but for queers of color Munoz thinks that they must follow conformist paths to survive in this world.
People in minorities need to interface with different sub cultural fields to activate their own sense of self. This is also true for straight white people I believe. Munoz mentions that straight people do this as well but perhaps not to the extent that gays do. The disidentification performances discussed strive to envision and trigger new social relations. This means that by creating a spin-off identity of what is seen in visions of gay or lesbian, you can create your own existence. Identity is defined in this article as a struggle between what is known and how to relate to that disposition. Clearly, each stereotype or norm will not fit every individual. Understanding of self and socially constructed narratives of self should not be reduced to "lowest common denominator terms," as Munoz puts it. This means that there will not always be a perfect mold which to form yourself to that is known.
How do you view identity as straight person? What does your identity mean to you? How may this differ for someone of a minority? Have you ever disidentified with someone of your minority be it white, straight, gay, lesbian, etc?

2 Comments

I am unsure if she truly did not want to be a truck driving diesel dyke....it says on page three :" gomez luxuriates in the ...image of the truck driving closeted diesel dyke...she performs her disidentificatory desire for this once topic representation..the phobic object..is reconfigured" Munoz reads that Disidentification is a survival strategy ...how is this considered a survival strategy? By reclaiming the stereotypical image of lesbian...she is identifying with an image that has been deemed "once phobic" thus disidentifying? She then uses that to explore what it means for her to be a lesbian.

Another question: I remember Munoz stating that sometimes queers of color must conform in order to survive but did he ever explain why? When is it necessary to conform instead of resist? why?

I think that disidentification is a survival strategy in the aspect that you must identify and disidentify in order to exist and survive. Without others to compare yourself to there can be no identity. I think with hate crimes and all the ignorant people in the world and in our country queers of color must conform to survive. No one bothers someone that does not stand out and queers have learned to adapt to "fit in" and not be noticed in a way. Resisting to conform to society can be positive since it allows a way to make your own identity and not take a path that has already been paved by someone else. One of my favorite quotes is "if you are on a path that has no obstacles, that has already been paved, then it is probably somebody else's"

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