Direct Engagement #2: Halberstam and Tomboy Bondage

Okay, this is super late. Better late than never though, right?

First, a summary of some of J. Halberstam's main points in their "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy:" Halberstam frames this piece around the concept that tomboyism usually, if not always, takes on one of two forms. It can either be read as securely rooted in a feminine, heterosexual identity at the core of the individual, or as being linked to a strong sense of masculinity, and inevitably of queerness. Depending on which of these two ways tomboyism is read for any given individual, they either will or will not receive punishment for their gender-conforming behavior. This chapter, included in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, critiques readings of female masculinity/tomboyism in several examples ranging from fictional narratives to the punk rock scene. Halberstam also seeks to assess several studies/observations of tomboyism. Generally, the evaluation given by Halberstam is that none of the current modes of understanding tomboyism allow for the depathologization of all types of gender-nonconformity of childhood (except, perhaps, for the punk/rogue tomboy). Halberstam also pushes for the acceptance of a multitude of gender identities, in contrast to androgyny.
So, this reading is very helpful in two important ways for me: (1) further queering the punk identity and (2) further conceptualizing the link between gender-nonconformity in children and queerness in adults. Our Cohen and Nyong'o readings from several weeks earlier set up the epistemology and culture surrounding 'punk' for adaptability to our queering in some pretty major ways. Halberstam is on the same thought-train when they seek to use the female punk scene as an exemplifying the true bending of gender identities. Punk, in this case, represents a genuine movement toward this understanding of a multitude of genders. The chapter also gets at how we (as queer scholars) can begin to understand how gender-conformity in childhood is either demonized and labeled 'queer' or how it is accepted and labeled a 'stage.'
QUESTIONS:
-How does Halberstam approach youth agency?
-Can we be adults and tomboys simultaneously?
-How do we (as a society) view girls that 'grow out' of tomboyism and become much more feminine in adulthood?
-Halberstam talks about the "construction of new genders" (page 210). Can we create space for new genders? If so, how?

Recent Entries

Annotated Bibliography
My tracking topic is children/youth:┬áSource #1ttp://www.lauras-playground.com/transgender_transsexual_children.htmtt In our experience we have talked with hundreds of thousands of Transsexuals and Transgendered…
In so far as to say, hooray
Hooray, for many things. For the start of winter break. For the end of classes. For the time we have…
To wrap it all up in a tasty soft shell taco...
TRACKING Queering the Non/human can be approached by various disciplines. As a tracking term, I failed to annotate bibliographies in…