December 2010 Archives

In so far as to say, hooray

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Hooray, for many things. For the start of winter break. For the end of classes. For the time we have had together...but also for the literally life changing, consciousness-raising topics we have covered and discussed through out this term. Queer/ing has a definite place in all over our lives, whether we choose to call it by that term or something else...questioning, trouble-making, connecting, multiplying and eradicating...all of us are thrown into this world and the systems that we've created to make sense of it, for the better or worse, it is navigated. This class in of itself has been an experience of queering pedagogy and the academy, while still maintaining the very core of what I believe liberal arts is supposed to be/do. By not only acknowledging the relevance of online media, but actively engaging and shaping it, we develop valuable skills in communication, critical processing and reading.

Throughout the semester, I was tracking the term "Bodies & Material Experiences", and, as with most topics covered in this course, I decided it is not nearly as simple as it seems. What constitute a body? What experiences are valid, authentic, worth remembering/grieving? What is material? Virtual realities have very real, material consequences, how are they mediated in our physical lives? What perspectives, ways of knowing or epistemologies, are worth maintaining, archiving, or perpetuating? These are the questions that come to mind as I consider my tracking throughout the semester.

I feel that as I came into this process and class, I underestimated the gravity of our topics and potential for intense thought processes. After taking it, I feel that many of the things we talked about we covered very quickly, tangentially, and sometimes on narrow terms. The idea of the diablog was successful, and I feel that if we could expound on that further and perhaps focus more either on less readings, or split of readings between class members it would allow for even more enriching discussion and critical engagement.

To wrap it all up in a tasty soft shell taco...

Queering the Non/human can be approached by various disciplines. As a tracking term, I failed to annotate bibliographies in connection with it. This, however, does not necessarily betray a lack of interest or intent in coming to know the Non/human. As a student of science I approached my disciplinary studies with a curiosity of the interconnectedness of all things perceived to be organic and inorganic. Within these frames lies everything perceived to be human nonhuman and inhuman. To be human, one might say, in its most general terms is to have life. Through time understandings of life have shifted from a philosophical understanding, one based on a permeating essence of life, to one formulated by empirical molecular atomic subatomic and sub-sub atomic phenomena, and constructed theories of natural laws that derive from abstract mathematically logical conceptions. While these developments have sought to distinguish more readily between existing categories of stuff they have, to the dismay of taxonomists and all classifiers of the sort, blurred lines and permeated barriers that have long influenced the human paradigm. Thus, definitions of life have become necessarily more detailed and complexly constructed in order to save withering ideologies. Definitions of life have become increasingly unscientific. Through this, life has failed us as a fundamental base for beginning to understand the non/human. If the human is composed of stuff, and we struggle to distinguish what stuff is capable of life then we must admit that the human can be any stuff. More forward to our thought processes is that we are (humans) composed of any stuff. Again, we fall short because everything that we perceive is composed of stuff. But wait! Is not science the study of stuff? There may be hope for a discrete human phenomenon yet. We allow the human to be directed by science, that is to say, the human is an object of science (stuff). For example, human medicine addresses the pathologies of stuff. If science is the study of stuff but stuff fails to define the human then our endeavor begs we go beyond stuff. However in going beyond stuff we go outside of science. Our constructions beyond this point prove to be rigidly unscientific. Without stuff to follow contrived laws of interaction there is no absolute reproducibility, in fact, there is no falsifiability. If the non/human is most fundamentally understood to this point as any stuff, and going beyond this foundation leads to constructions that cannot be falsified then the non/human wins over any logic. If you claim to be human I cannot falsify that claim and must cede to you the fact that the human as it exists can be anything you want it to be. Are you human? You bet everything is you are!
In this analysis I have diverged from our own course readings that have, in a sense, set to create a theoretically legitimized category termed the non/human. I have been more concerned with persons' frames of reference or perceptions. Can we create a space where categories must answer to all abstract theories from all disciplines of intellectual pursuit?

While I encountered excellent examples of people posting helpful links through tweets, I found myself lackluster throughout the semester about this form of media in particular. In my experience it failed to bring out intellectually stimulating conversations. I observed it to be a useful tool for potential blog clustering assignments as well as any that would generally seek to mine various media. I am so sorry to disappoint my friends that found a loving interest in the realm of Twitter, but I found no such affair. I was not swayed :(

Stay healthy, and do your assignments. There are many new terms to familiarize yourself with and it cannot be stressed enough the importance of raising questions and discussing these ideas that are so expansive. We have found in this course that you can always say something different. Even if you think you know, just give it a try: reexamine these terms in any new moment or state of feeling. For your efforts you will create a comprehension that takes you to places you never thought of-REALLY!

The Promise of Happiness and Wikileaks

In working with the idea of feminist killjoys, I am interested in reading Wikileaks this way.

For those of you who are not yet familiar, Wikileaks is known for disseminating classified documents in an effort to expose government, corporate, and state corruption, oppression, and questionable ethics. It has received huge amounts of news coverage, both the organization itself, and its main spokesperson, Julian Assange, for releasing large amounts of communications dealing with many US foreign affairs and policies. It has been hailed as courageous and invaluable, but also as terrorism and short sighted.

I'm interested in reading Julian Assange's work, and the Wikileaks organization as a whole, as a form of a feminist killjoy. It disturbs and disrupts the "business as usual" and "happiness" or complacency found for and within our government institutions. Can killing joy be thought of as whistle blowing or consciousness-raising? How does it affect our idea of the good/happy citizen? Julian Assange claims government bodies are directly and indirectly affecting his personal liberties as well as groups ability to function. Of what value are state secrets? Can we really turn a blind eye, "for the greater good"?

Topic - Queer Youth

Benilde-St. Margaret censors student anti-homophobia editor


The editors of the Knight Errant knew things were going to get a little hot when their latest issue dropped last Thursday.The student newspaper at the St. Louis Park Catholic school Benilde-St. Margaret was going to include a staff editorial condemning the Archdioceses' anti-gay-marriage DVD mailing.

On top of that, the issue would include an essay by senior Sean Simonson about his own recent experience coming out as gay at Benilde-St. Margaret.

Editors warned the administration, who didn't stop the publication. The papers were delivered to the school and the website went live Thursday. But by Saturday, school principal Sue Skinner had ordered the two contentious pieces removed.

The Knight Errant is pretty highly regarded among high school papers. On Saturday, when the stories were taken down, the paper's faculty adviser and editors were in Kansas City accepting an award at the National High School Journalism Convention, the paper's third national award in three years.

Skinner explained the removal of the articles in a short statement on the paper's website.

"This particular discussion is not appropriate because the level of intensity has created an unsafe environment for students. As importantly, the articles and ensuing online postings have created confusion about Church teaching."

Some of the paper's staffers aren't taking the censorship lying down. Bernardo Vigil, the arts and entertainment editor, started contacting other news outlets as soon as he learned of the article's disappearance down the memory hole.

Vigil spoke to City Pages this morning after getting kicked out of class for wearing duct tape across his mouth with the word "Censorship" written across it. He said other paper staffers are wearing rainbow clothing in protest.

"The people who said it was inappropriate for us to publish these stories are the same people who are perpetuating an atmosphere of homophobia on campus, so caving to the calls for censorship is basically showing solidarity with the view that homophobia is okay," Vigil said. "The articles need to go back online."

* Dennett, Daniel Clement. "Where Am I?" Brainstorms Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: MIT, 2000. Print.

Where am I? What Daniel Dennett theorizes here is a seemingly simple question. He uses a fictional first person story to thoroughly make problematic our understanding of objective experiences and realities. In his story, he tells us that his brain has been put in and sustained by a vat, and by means of advanced technology, the "connections" between the brain and his body are maintained. This allows him to function "normally", save for the fact that his brain is no longer within his body. He spends a great deal of time pondering on the significance of this.

brain in vat

Where is he? Is "he", the I that is so easily bestowed upon us, in the nutrient-filled vat? There was no way for him to "see" himself as the brain in the vat, as all of experiences are mediated through his body, and interpreted in his brain. How does he know what "here" means? To him, this means that there are fundemental problems with how we orientate ourselves in the world.

I was doomed by sheer force of mental habit to thinking systematically false indexical thoughts, or where a person is (and hence where his thoughts are tokened for purposes of semantic analysis) is not necessarily where his brain, the physical seat of his soul, resides.

He goes so far as to name the different aspects of himself: Yorick is his brain, Hamlet is his body, and "he", the "I", is Dennett to work through philosophical problems he postulates with his experience. The story continues further to make even more problematic his situation, where by his body is no longer functioning and his mind is connected to a completely new one, and even further to point of having a "spare" brain.

At what point are we "real"? Of what value are "objective" claims if there is no true way to "prove" anything?

* Bent. Dir. Sean Mathias. Perf. Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau. MGM, 1997. Web.

This is a scene from the film adapted from the play of the same name, Bent (1997). Max, played by Clive Owen, is gay and as such is sent to Dachau concentration camp under the Nazi regime. He tries to deny he is gay and gets a yellow label (the one for Jews) instead of pink (the one for gays). In camp he falls in love with his fellow prisoner Horst, played by Lothaire Bluteau, who wears his pink label with pride.

The Nazi regime, through its false convictions and manipulations, destroys the lives of thousands of people. This is a very "real" thing that happened, and I find no value in denying it. The experience shown in this clip illustrates the possibilities for destruction of selves by the concentration camp, but also the capacity for "real", physical, intimacy, without actually touching...anything. The imagined experience overtook the material one, showing the ability of our mind, to alter or perception of space and time. What is real in this instance? The orgasm they experience? The guards possibly off to the side watching? The piles of corpses not shown in the image?

* Haraway, Donna. "Situated Knowledges." Subdomain Index. Web. .

This annotated bibliography concludes with Donna Haraway's seminal piece "Situated Knowledges".

Through her piece, she discusses the disembodied "I", and the value of acknowledging only partial perspective. Is politically and scientifically motivating the notion of interconnectedness and value across racial, gender, ability, education, religious, etc lines.

As creatures, we are born without choice onto this world, and with this birth, imparted onto us is the I. The idea of I as separate from the non-I is cemented as we become "civilized". By queering and critically analyzing our relationships between each other, the "natural", "nonnatural", "contaminated", "human", and "nonhuman", we can challenge the very structures that perpetuate undemocratic practices, institutions, sciences that privilege capital (and social signifies of it), while marginalizing others. What is left? A sense of wholeness, belonging, and a commitment to community building.

"It Gets Better" video from Twin Cities Terrors Men's Roller Derby

I am proud to call these guys my friends. You guys are so great.

Topic - Queer Youth

We need better shelters for queer and trans youth


There's no ONE particular entry of mine that I would like to go back and point out. Instead I'd rather make a more general note.

Since the start of this course, I think I've come a long way. My first half-dozen posts, I didn't even know what we were talking about - I didn't even know how to add a link or a picture into my blog post. During class I felt like people were speaking a different langauge, and reading the articles was barely an option because I'd become so discouraged. I looked to others' posts' so that I knew what to summarize in my own.

You might say it sounds like I wasn't trying and I'm a bit negative, but believe me my head was turning and I was attempting to grasp anything. Eventually things started to click and blog posting got easier, I was able to add pictures and link - a huge step for me. Further down the line, I no longer had to use someone elses entry as an example for what I should write. In class, words began to become clearer - although I wasn't understanding everything, it was a big jump from the beginning of the semester.

So I'll conclude that my later entries were more independantly and confidently written than the ones I wrote at the beginning of the semester.

Final Wrap-Up

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Well it's all over now, but what a fun and interesting ride it has been. This was my first GLBT course that I have ever taken, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I have learned from being an avid listener and blogger. The tracking topics assignment was a great way for me to grow my understanding of queer theory and queer principles by studying about queer activist, Michael Warner. He has written and spoken about the inequalities and adversity that is experienced by queer individuals on a regular basis. He goes on to note that there are not such substantial differences between gay and straight people as many people like to believe; I mean we are all people first, so we share that similarity, thus we all deserve the same rights! Being able to blog about a topic like this made me feel that I contributed more to the fight towards equal rights and made me feel proud of who I am. Blogging has also taught me that there are multiple ways to go about analyzing one particular topic, and it has really been exciting to read about all of these different perspectives online, at my own pace, so then when it came time for me to write something, I could not only consider my own personal opinion, but I could read about the opinions of others and then write something profound and really engage my audience.

I really enjoyed some of the other assignments that we did this semester too; one of my favorites would have to be Queer This! Queer This! gave us the opportunity to look at a particular idea or concept and then somehow relate it to queer theory or at least have it analyzed in a queer manner. It was a chance to explore and go outside the box with an exciting idea and then engage out peers and ask them what their take was on something like this. I really liked it when someone would post a video; I like having a visual stimulus to go off of, because it really makes me feel like I am directly involved in the situation! I also liked the whole It Gets Better program. Watching all of these coming out stories and life obstacles experienced by these motivated and persevering individuals brought tears to my eyes, because every single one of those people in those videos made me think of myself and just how far I have come as a 19 year old homosexual male. It has instilled hope into my life and has made me realize that things do actually get better throughout your life, especially if you believe they will. You are who you are, and I like who I am and plan on never changing just because I am among the minority--if anything it makes me a stronger individual.

Twitter was also another fun way to engage in conversations that took place outside of class. It's a great system, because they only give you so many characters to make a brief point. I liked the idea of going paperless in a class, because it was the first time that I had ever done so. By not having to physically write anything on paper, I was forced to go on the blog and see everyone else's typed work and again, it was just another beneficial way to make connections with the other students and share our own opinion over matters. I really don't think that there is a whole lot of preparing you can do if you have never blogged before. I liked how at the beginning of the semester that you went over the basic idea of how to blog and tweet, and then we all seemed to catch on after a few practice rounds!

Thank you again Sara and class for a nice semester. Good luck to everyone on finals!


My tracking term was "Queers for Economic Justice", and I think this focus set the stage for how I engaged with a lot of topics and issues raised in class. Placing poverty and the most marginalized of the queer community at the forefront of their politics are clear, and have for some time informed my critique of mainstream US GLBT politics. The critique of gay marriage as not central to their needs or desires and instead calling on recognition of rights afforded to alternative (or no) familial structures of all/any kind is instead the vision QEJ seeks. Also, recent legislation for increased sentencing for hate crimes for queer bashers is not supported because their resistance to anything that increasing the force of the Prison Industrial Complex that disproportionately criminalizes poverty and is one of the most sexist, racist, queer unfriendly and unjust systems that exist in our country. It is not hard to see why those is poverty or those experiencing complex intersections of multiple identities do not see themselves as having their interests in mind when evoking GLBT or queer or any single identity political agaenda. I mentioned in another post of mine that I have met many of the current and existing members of QEJ and this deepened my personal connection with their work and I am glad to have had the opportunity to engage further with their mission and resources.

CLASS BLOG AND TWITTER:I find myself wishing I had engaged more on the blog earlier in the semester, but am also finding it very beneficial at this point to revisit the blog and engage now that we are done meeting. It sort of feels like cramming for a final, yet totally different. I still feel able to take my time thinking through a response or question and fully engage because the blog isn't going anywhere and the quality of response isn't dictated by the confines of the classroom or time/space of the blog (though I do realize there were in fact due dates and grades and such). I obviously wrote a LOT when I finally got around to it, often more than what a 10 or 20 point assignment might call for. I think I found myself torn between what to choose to engage with, whether or not to prioritize all required reading for classroom engagement, and struggling with the ideas and concepts themselves. I finally, as of yesterday, figured out how to link sources to an entry and I do see the value and use of twitter after struggling a bit with that. I used twitter to link to things I simply wanted to share with the class without critiquing or to highlight quotes as a way of taking notes but letting others know what stood out to me when reading. Perhaps getting the hang of tweeting early on by live tweeting in class can serve to document discussions (like the day you live tweeted one of the diablogue discussions) and use those to turn into blog entries to further engagement beyond the classroom and keep people on a somewhat similar track as a class. Also, maybe an encouragement to pull up twitter while reading to see what other are saying and to post thoughts and quotes as a way to 'talk' before meeting. This might have been super cool.

ADVICE:I kinda already said what I needed in this post or elsewhere, but the amount of required reading was tough. While it was great to have a wide variety of articles from some amazing theorists, I found it hard at times to make connections and struggled differently than those not exposed to the concepts prior to this class. Our in class discussions seemed to be a little split, some of us taking very different approaches than others. It was great sometimes to see all of the angles that people were coming from and they all usually did have some bearing on what was being discussed, however at times it felt frustrating to not have a clear idea just how far off on a tangent we were led or to have some things be made explicitly clear. If there was a way to hold us more accountable to each other as classmates such as smaller ongoing in-class and online discussions and being responsible for doing close readings, it would be a lot harder to miss class and procrastinate completing assignments. Which is, you know, a good and bad thing depending on who you are I guess. Really though, the biggest advice is smaller groups that could be sustained (and changed) throughout the course as a way to narrow the number of blogs you might consider prioritizing and engaging with as a way to narrow the focus a bit and minimize confusion and feelings of being overwhelmed by the amount of posts.

Query Response #3

#query2010: How do inter-web interactions queer time and space? How does this queering disrupt one's personal integrity/ethics? #qd2010 11:18 AM Sep 27th via web

I think inter-web interactions such as twitter, facebook, various blogs, flicker, and oh so many more, allow for individuals to access them from almost anywhere, at almost anytime. This is very queer in itself. It is also queer to be accessing these while in class, while driving, while in the restroom, in the wee hours of the morning, or all at once. This ease of access allows for this fluidity that is really not possible within real time. For example, we must go to work or school at very specific times and follow these routines. We are not allowed to come and go as we please to these areas. Within these space is also a required etiquette that must be followed. In web interactions the only person we are truly held accountable to is ourselves. This leaves room for exploration that might not otherwise happen in real time.

Final WrapUP :)

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As a transfer student, this was my first semester here at the U of M and to begin with I was a little hesitant about what classes would be like. In my other courses this semester I was surprised to find that TA's were grading my assignments and I had very little, if any, interaction with the professors. I hadn't really put into thought until the last few weeks of the semester how Sara doesn't just stand at the front of the classroom and lecture/give out assignments. Being new to campus, I found this class more inviting and friendly than the others taken this semester. Sara greets us, sometimes individually, talks and participates with us in class discussions, and grades our work herself. She even does some of the assignments along with her students on the blog. I've never experienced a course quite like this. To be honest it was a little weird to get use to because instances like this don't happen often enough within your undergraduate career. Sometimes I even felt shy to say anything because I knew she was always there to hear what we said. Overall the structure of this classroom wasn't what I had expected, but it was a great experience to have received.

Not only was I new to this campus and this structure of classroom, but I've never taken a GLBT/GWSS course before. I've also never blogged or twittered before! It was all new and very overwhelming at times. Throughout a lot of this course I found myself feeling so lost in the readings and assignments. I felt like even if I tried the hardest I could, I still stood below what others would consider their worst (if that makes sense). I felt very behind and as if I missed a prerequisite to get into this course. But this course really made me think, it really made me have to challenge myself and my thinking - and that's a very good thing. I felt relieved when others would voice that readings were a little hard for them as well. Toward the end of the semester I began to feel a little more comfortable with accepting where I was at, and that I wasn't as advanced as some. You have to start somewhere, and that's what I was doing. I felt there was just the right amount of assignments. There was always something to be done, but it wasn't complete overload. Today in class, someone voiced that maybe there could be a list of assignments and different ways to complete the points, like in our diablogs - I thought this was a great idea. You'd still be doing assignments, but you'd get to pick what ones. I also had the slight thought that maybe this wouldn't be a good idea because then you might not be pushing youself to do the harder assignments that don't interest you. It was good to complete a well rounded circle of assignments.

Blogging and Twitter stressed me out to the maximum the first few weeks of class. Although I still have more to learn about blogging and how to get all my cool pictures and videos to show up (like Mary) - I feel great with what I've accomplished. I no longer sweat about how to post entries and comments on the blog; nor to do I curse at Twitter any longer. I'm glad I was able to figure out the technology part of this course.

Because I didn't have anything physical to hand in, I sometimes found myself posting assignments to the blog a little late. But I think it's a great idea to have a blog and reduce paper use. I enjoyed the blog because I was able to look at others' posts about readings in case I didn't understand the article. It was neat that I could read others' assignments instead of people just handing in homework to the teacher that I'd have nothing to compare my work to, or help me develop deeper thoughts. The blog was also a neat way to interact with our classmates thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Overall, I liked the blog (once I got use to it).

I would like to say thanks to all of those who exchanged kind words to me during this semester, as this course was a challenge for my thought process. I'd also like to say thanks to the great blog posters, and the few people who had big voices in the classroom - your ideas and perspectives were heard, and helped me to learn more in depth. This course took a lot of thought and a lot of time for me, but I'm glad I stuck with it because I'm coming out of it with new ideas and views that I wasn't aware of in my daily life before.

Queer This! Comparison (actually just a comment)

I posted this as a comment, but it didn't embed the video I wanted to show. So is just so people know what I'm talking about I wanted to share this. Happytree posted 'confessions of a hipster' earlier in the semester:

I enjoyed this post, and it reminded me of another video about queers battling it out to be the most queer of all. The connection I draw is that there is ways in which we construct ourselves, and there are ironies when identities get so wrapped up in certain signifiers or ideological boxes that sometimes confine all the same. I struggle to find this balance at times and find myself cautiously and critically approaching technology and academia and finding ways to adapt rather than reject some mainstream conventional ways of being. I am still finding ways to live as 'happily queer' in a sometimes overwhelmingly unjust world, finding some queer spaces to be more exclusive and directed towards particular ways of life that can be ironic for sure. Having certain interests in music, movies, food, authors, events, bars, websites, clothes, hair style, etc. all come to signify a sort of loose group identity. For both hipsters and queers, which are problematic and sometime indistinguishable-ish categories, it seems that identity is shaped equally by what we do/wear if not more by what is signified by rejecting certain conventions or norms. Using myself as an example, biking, eating organically with very little meat, not watching mainstream t.v. (mostly), my engagement with queer politics, thrift store shopping, and other behaviors in part relate to my rejection of some aspects of consumerism and waste. It becomes problematic when we become self-congtradulatory and hyper-critical of others, or when these become only signifiers of an identity being constructed as more radical, more unconventional, and more 'queerer than thou' without serious self-reflection or deeper understandings of their potential significance.

Annotated Bibliography #3 Queering Intimacy

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In this final annotated bibliography for queering intimacy I wanted to relate it to my personal life as close as I possibly could. I chose a couple articles that discuss more in depth the initial reactions of a parent coming out and the reactions of the children later at various ages. I found both of my academic sources via JSTOR. I have been using JStor quite a bit most recently for a paper that I am doing on Transgenderism and the Representation of the Body. I found Abigail Garner's book and website "Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is" by searching "children of gay and lesbian parents".

Child Development (Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents)
Vol. 63, No. 5 (Oct., 1992), pp. 1025-1042
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development

The article "examine(s) evidence from the social sciences regarding the personal and social development of children with gay and lesbian parents" (1025).

**Estimates of the numbers of children of gay or lesbian parents (although difficult to obtain accurate numbers because of fear of safety, loss of child custody, etc.) : between 6 and 14 million
**Estimates of lesbian mothers: between 1 and 5 million
**Estimates of gay fathers: between 1 and 3 million
There has been little research on the children of gay and lesbian families. In fact there are only two major research studies that have been performed in the US. The author's go on to say that, "Although both lesbians and gay men may become parents in any of a variety of ways, the preponderance of research to date has focused on children who were born in the context of heterosexual marriages, whose parents divorced, and whose mothers have identified themselves as lesbians. Some research is available on children who have been born in the context of heterosexual relationships and whose fathers have identified themselves as gay" (1029). The article continues with these two prominent studies in mind discussing gender identity, sexual identity, gender role behavior, sex role behavior, and sexual orientation.

Family Relations (Gay's and Lesbians' Families-of-Origin: A Social-Cognitive-Behavioral Model of Adjustment)
Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 397-403
Published by: National Council on Family Relations

I chose this article because it discusses the many effects on the family when a family member comes out. This was important to me because my younger brother handled my dad's homosexuality in a much, much different way than I did. The article discusses the idea of having the "burden of knowing". This burden is created when a family member discloses their homosexuality before the rest of the family. The author"s state that the family member who is withholding information from the rest of the family , "has the responsibility to tell (behavior) other family members, sometimes it means he or she is responsible for making sure that other family members do not find out, and sometimes the role prescription (intrapersonal cognitive schema) for the knower is ambiguous, potentially creating anxiety (intrapersonal emotion) for him or her" (398). The article goes further by discussing reactions of the family as a whole and its outcome. The author's state, "...a broad model of family members' responses to disclosure by a gay or lesbian family member. This model suggests that family members' reactions are dependent on three components: (a) the
values (intrapersonal) concerning homosexuality held by the family members to whom disclosure is made; (b) the effect that these values have on the relationship (cognitions, emotions, behaviors) between the gay member and other family members; and (c) the conflict resolution mechanisms (behavioral repertoire-communication and problem solving skills) available to family members,with the most significant component being the ability to reconcile values that family members hold concerning homosexuality with the reality of having a gay or lesbian...(family member)" (399).
gay lesbian family of origin.gif The article concludes by saying that the coming out process effects the family unit as a whole; and the reactions of the initial coming out can perpetuate for years based upon differing variables.

Families Like Mine

This website is actually endorsing Abigail Garner's book "Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is". families like mine.jpg
Much like the book, the site delves into various thoughts, questions, and feelings of the children of GLBT parents. There is advice, question and answer section, info about the book and author, and various resources. I thought this section was particularly interesting:

* How did you come to terms with your dad being gay?
* What are the odds that children with gay or lesbian parents will grow up to identify as gay or lesbian themselves?
* Isn't it confusing and complicated for a young child to have two moms or two dads?
* Isn't it easier for you to just say "queer" instead of LGBT?
* What is an "intentional family"?
* Are you a lesbian?
* Are you advocating parenthood for all LGBT people?
* You talk a lot about your difficulties as a teenager with a gay dad. What could have made those years easier for you?
* Where can I find resources for my family?

These answers are specifiaclly geared toward the children. There also an advice section for gay parents as well which include:

* How do I come out to my kids? Should I come out? When should I come out?
You are not alone in feeling lost about this issue. See the archives on this topic. I am asked so much, I devoted an entire chapter to it in Families Like Mine.
* How will having gay parents affect my children?
Kids are individuals and since I don't personally know yours, it's not fair for me to say. Again: read the archives and read other people's comments for additional perspectives. My book will give you a broad overview of how adult kids think they were affected by having gay parents.
* What about my children's sexual orientation?
A hot-button issue for us all. The last two chapters of Families Like Mine are all about this. The short answer is some turn out queer, some turn out heterosexual. It is their process in "coming out" either way that is notably different from kids with straight parents.

LGBT History should be told

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State senator proposes bill to require LGBT studies in schools

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - State Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, proposed new legislation Monday to ensure that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals do not go unnoticed by California students.

If enacted, Senate Bill 48 -- the Fair Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful, or FAIR, Education Act -- would prohibit the exclusion of LGBT people in school curriculum and instruction materials in grades K-12.

Wrap up

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Thinking back to the first week of class..........
I was extremely OVERWHELMED.

This picture is titled Virtual-Intimacy-Overwhelmed.....way TOO appropriate!!

I have to admit that I thought I was in over my head. Twitter.....WHAT?!?!....tweeting.....HUH?......blogging....HMMMM......a paperless class.....REALLY!?!?!??!?!?? This all was too much for me at once. I didn't quite know what to do with myself or the anxiety that had come about. I VIVIDLY remember doing my first queer this assignment. It took me over two hours to complete. Not because I didn't understand the assignment, but having to blog my thoughts, feelings, and ideas seemed nearly impossible, well at the time :)

As the semester progressed Sara assured our class that the process would get easier and it did, kind of. As I mentioned in class today, last night was the first night that I actually began to enjoy using the blog and twitter. For me, the huge technological barrier seemed impossible to cross for a looooooong time! I think Sara brought up a great idea in class today about the future of
queering.jpg.queer desire.jpg.
It would be wonderful to have this course spread across a whole year instead of one semester. There simply isn't enough time for those who have never blogged or tweeted before to fully grasp and enjoy the capabilities each provide.

For this semester I chose to track intimacy. When choosing this topic I wasn't exactly sure where the topic would take me. To me INTIMACY means an experience of feeling close or sharing ourselves with one another. This experience can be shared between lovers, friends, parents, peers, teacher/pupil, and it can be short or long, good and/or bad, intense or dull, and on and on. Within all societies there are regulations on intimacy which are put in place through religion, courts, family, education, health care, the media, and more. Because intimacy is important and mostly wanted, these connections are a central feature of social life; it crosses disciplines inherently.

Tracking intimacy was not only fitting within the course, but within my personal life as well. While tracking intimacy I chose to follow the subject within GLBT families. This is an important topic of interest for me because my dad came out of the closet to our immediate family when I was 12. Tracking the term throughout the semester caused me to think about it all the time. It I would see it or when I would research for another class I would get distracted by articles mentioning intimacy within GLBT families. I found sources that were relevant to the course and also helped me to identify/question with others in my same or similar situation. Also, by going back to look at the topic with a new annotated bibliography helped to extend ideas that were already brought up or to bring about new ideas.

Twitter is fun and challenging. especially when using it academically. When you have to tweet a really interesting scholarly source it is hard to get it into 140 words or less, but you are forced to really bring out the most important points you want to make. Within the last week I have just begun to tweet a few things personally, unrelated to the course. It is kind of like letting someone see your diary. I like the fact that i don't have any friends who use twitter. It gives me this freedom of expression that i definitely do not capitalize on in other social media outlets i.e. facebook. When discussing Ahmed for our diablog group I mentioned to Amy that i thoroughly enjoy reading her tweets because they are SO witty. She told me that she began her twitter account for this class. That was enough of a boost for me to say, HEY, you can do this too!! Now i have to learn how to use twittpic and how to talk @ others via twitter. I can't wait! :)))

The assignments/readings were eye-opening and quite new to me. I had heard of many of the authors, but had never critically engaged with them. Some of them were hard to understand, but I see now that it is ok to have a mushy brain that has been confused beyond belief. Looking back, I wish I would have spent more time time with the readings in order to engage more with the class to have had a better understanding on a personal level. I would mention at the beginning of class that the readings are not only lengthy, but quite academic as well. Tell the students to set aside several hours for each reading in order to be fully engaged. By doing this and taking the time to figure out the technology, the course experience will be that much better.

This class was eye-opening, challenging, fun, and stressful. Learning how to blog and use twitter was initially frustrating, but now I want more of this. I feel as though I have this edge on others because I can use these social media outlets in an academic way. Sara, I am not sure if this is course style is common at the U at all. I just wanted to tell you that the way in which you present the class and its technologies is inviting, empathetic, and fun all while maintaining the course's scholarly foundation.
Thanks for your patience and expertise!


I chose my first queery response to revisit, the one where I answered the question: Do you really think that FB helps youth find their identity and form intimate relationships?

I still believe that social networks, like Facebook can help a yound adolescent find out who they are not only as a person but what an impact they will have on other people and society. Just by blogging with all of the members of this class, I am incorporating my persepctives on various topics, and at the same time, I am becoming a better listener and am making connections that I never thought I would experience before. By engaging on social networks like these, I have been able to move from putting my toes in the water to diving right in and been able to anazlyze different components of queer theory and identity. It's been like a social gethering right from home, and I am able to read everyone else's entires at my own pace and whenever I want a further understanding of something. I have learned that relationships can be successful without being intimate--as long as there is something to go off of, people can work together to construct a bond of logical ideas and thus collaborate on shared viewpoints. Facebook, this blog should all be credited to enhancing relationships between people.

J. Jack Halberstam's "Queer Suicide: A Teach-In/It Gets Worse"

I meant to post this last night, but I didn't get the link until today. I also can't remember if we've already read this or not, yet another critique of the 'It Gets Better' campaign.

Remix/Redux/Revisit Second life, Real life...?

I have decided to revisit my first direct engagement on the HASTAC forum which discussed the article/video of "Becoming Dragon".
HASTAC-Digital-Storytelling.jpgI discussed Micah, the UCSD student, and her choice to lead a second life in virtual reality. I reflected on the importance of experimenting in these alternative spaces and how they can give freedom and choice to many that would not otherwise choose to act in certain ways. I also mentioned that this space should not be a qualified place where people who are transitioning can spend their life in the sex that they identify with. Looking back on this forum, "Becoming Dragon", and the idea of space, lets me see how very substantial space can be for different people in different situations. The idea of space is not just a room, but what happens within that room (what is/is not being said, topic(s) at hand, educational, coffee chat with friends, restroom, library, etc). Within these space different people gather and different things occur. Like we have discussed in class queer space is well, queer. We don't follow the typical classroom setting where students face and listen to a teacher lecture. Instead, we engage with one another and lead the class with a force that seems very natural and appropriate. For me it was incredibly helpful to look soooo far back to my first direct engagement. It reminded me of what I was thinking and feeling at the time. It also was nice to relate what I had learned early on and then go back to apply concepts and ideas that I had learned after the fact. It was nice for me to be able to look at a situation that seemed fairly straightforward, to then readdress, and TRoUbLe the idea and delve deeper than I had the first time around. Posts from Sara and other students help not only to explain certain ideas or reiterate them, but to cause to me to think differently. This often was frustrating at first. As students were are told we have learned something when we are able to take a concept and project this concept and its relation to life via paper, presentation, exam, etc. In this class we are left with more questions than answers and this is still something I am struggling with. It is hard to realize that having questions is still grasping the idea, but only taking it further. This is critically engaging at its best!

Final Wrap Up

The beginning of this class scared the shit out of me.
I have never taken a class like this, and the brussel sprout penis made me almost pee my pants, not in the good way. I thought that I would hate this class, especially since we spent the first two weeks talking about how to blog and how to tweet. Turns out... that was probably one of the most important parts of the class. Also, I thought that the class was going to be super easy because all i had to do was tweet and blog about stuff, hahaha.... oh man. Looking back I think it was one of the hardest classes I've had because it forced me to learn new technology and new concepts and ideas at the same time.

Blogging and Tweeting is hard work.
I learned so much about my writing process and learning process through queering the normative classroom style. I was so resistant at first, but I feel like I learned a lot more than I thought I could just from my reflections on articles and the reflections of my classmates. It was almost as if we were all teaching each other. It is an out of control experience when I look back at it.

So what do I think?
This class has been amazing, and has really changed my learning process and opened my eyes to the real world. Sara, you really did a great job incorporating technology into a classroom learning setting. I think you need to keep on the idea of the live tweeting during class, and maybe involve the rest of the students. Blogging is great, but there was a lot of work that needed to be done. My only suggestion is to spread the readings and assignments out a little more. Other than that, it was an amazing experience.

Queery Response #3- ON TIME. holler.

Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I think this is a very interesting question. My answer is Yes, in a different way. Obviously physical violence is not present online, but the threat sure is. Mental abuse is just as prevalent and people are more likely to say more heinous things to people behind a screen name than in person.
That being said, this question makes me think that maybe there is no safe space for queer teens as long as heteronormativity is at play in our society. Gay and Lesbian teens get teased for no reason other than their "abnormalities." But without heteronormativity, would homosexuality be abnormal?

Remix DE #1 Virtual Disruption

Returning to my first DE was a good exercise for me... I feel like I've come a long way since this initial entry.

I realized at first blush that this entry lacked the kind of depth needed for a direct engagement. It is boring and monotone, and more about my personal opinion than the actual article. It lacks quotations and evidence from the article needed to make a valid argument.

My thoughts at the time were that children were mostly influenced by their own internet searches and not as much by their families, schools and social systems. Social networking was their outlet for personal identity formation.

I've recently come to understand through this class that this is not the case. Gender and sexual identity formation is as much a function of a community as an individual. Heteronormativity in schools have terrible effects on GLBT kids, and no social network site can completely remedy that. Social networks can help kids find communities to which they belong but they can also be areas where they are subject to teasing by their peers. There is no perfect solution for this problem, and after experiencing this class, I've learned that.


I decided to look back at my very first Tracking term post: "Queer Space: A Divided Space" This was my first chance to show what I interpreted as space and I took a literal definition of it. However at the time in the semester I was just beginning to see from our class readings and the in class discussions that queer advocacy groups (that i once thought were infallible) were not as inclusive as they were made out to be. So in my first track term post I took the devil's advocate side of things and decided to write on what is wrong in the queer community. I wanted it to especially talk about Minnesota because I think that we need to look locally if we want to solve things on a much grander scale. Looking back at this post, I wish I incorporated more. After writing all of my tracking term entries, I think if they were put together as a whole cohesive unit and if I were to expand upon it that it would be more understandable. The way in which I wrote most of my entries was in block format. I went back and re-read the sources I gave and found that I could have gone even further with it. I think my biggest flaw in that first Track term was I did not mention the transsexual community and their misrepresentation. I talked about the exclusion of race, age and bisexuality but nothing of religion or transsexualism. Now after completing the course and having finished reading all of the required readings for the class I still believe that there are issues with inclusion within the community. In fact, most of my posts touch on this fact. What I got most out of my previous posts and the content learned in class was the youth element which is something I care deeply about. When talking about youth, it is important to consider how they can be influential, how they are included/excluded and more importantly to recognize their issues. For me, it is important to revisit your writings not only to learn from your mistakes but to expand upon them. It is a little uncomfortable sometimes- to re-read what you wrote but in the end, revisiting my writings was nostalgic in a way and it allowed for me to conclude the class by seeing my progress without having to dig up old folders. It is nice to have my writings all available to me in a click. queer youth.jpg


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Oh dear..I remember the excitement of having to pick terms and at first I was very interested in writing on Audre Lorde, a woman who I admire and love to read but I changed topics to Space, feeling that it would be a better way to challenge myself intellectually. This was my first class in the GLBT department and certainly an interesting way to expose myself to this kind of thinking. In tracking the topic "space" I challenged myself to look outside of how space is traditionally defined. I thought of space as the physical realm of space but then thought about anything that exists that could be re-defined into a different existence. Queering space to me felt more like trying to find ways in which an object, a place or an idea could be turned "queer"- the vague definition that we have. So, I do not have an absolute definition of what "space" is but rather an idea of how we might use it further in discussion. When talking about space...i think it is important to inquire about in what ways are we not including people in this space..whether physical , mental , spiritual, how can a space that is normally taken for something and turn it into something else. To queer something for me does not necessarily have to do with the sexuality. To queer a space could take something normative and turn it into a space that tries something different. I took this to heart when thinking about my youth studies course and how could I queer the way I study and work with youth? How can we make queer the system? How can we make something that is traditionally adult oriented to be inclusive of youth? To take it further, my studies of space made me question how can I queer my work place? my home? How can I disrupt what is traditional?
Participating on the blog and twitter was weird. I was against it at first because I did not want to become that person who obsesses about it and quite frankly, I love writing. In fact, I love type writers ...just saying. After a while however, I liked the dialogue that was started. The commenting and the ability to talk to someone through twitter was an interesting way to carry on a conversation. I liked that our conversations that were held in class both reflected and deviated from the conversations held online. For the assignments, the readings were beneficial to me. I wish that we had a course packet; although, my wallet probably would tell you otherwise. While reading online is fine, after a while I get tired of staring at a computer screen and as a proficient note taker, it is difficult to scribble all over the paper if there is none. At first I thought that writing the blog entries would be easy and that the amount we had to do would be no problem but soon after the first few were due I realized that writing one blog entry or even a comment took a lot of thought and I re-wrote each one several times.
In reteaching this class all I would have to say is a course packet and more tutorials for blog and twitter. All of the cool things that people had done when posting their entries made me jealous and I wish I knew how to do it in the future. Social networking is here to stay and I would not be surprised if blogging became a requirement in other classes. I enjoyed this class a lot and will look back on what I had learned in my future classes.

Summary of Diablog

The diablog assignment was definitely one of my favorite ones, because it gave me an opportunity to collaborate with other people and really, as a group, delve into the subject matter and then talk about what we learned with other people. I enjoyed breaking up into 2 groups and talking about the 2 different aspects of Ahmed's main points: unhappy queers and achieving happiness even when nobody backs you. Then getting the entire class together to share what each group discussed was beneficial because now everyone was able to hear both sides of the story--people always seem to talk more in a smaller group too.

I was in the unhappy queers group, and we first discussed Ahmed's theory behind happiness. Half of the group said that happiness is dependent on other people and that someone is never going to be happy unless they are surrounded by people are are happy. But then what makes those surrounding people happy? How does happiness originate? The other side of the argument was that people are able to find happiness and that it is a subjective concept, so in other words, if you believe that you are happy, then you are happy. We also talked about the examples that Ahmed used in her chapter and that some of them were fairly obvious to understand if not over exaggerated. I personally enjoyed the use of her examples, because it put a clear understanding of what she was trying to demonstrate with the feelings experienced by unhappy queers.

I particularly enjoyed watching the movie clips as a whole group, because again it was nice to see her examples come to life and paint a picture in your head about all of these negative emotions towards unhappiness. Ahmed seemed to have a very appealing writing style as compared to Judith Butler, because everything seemed to flow in a logical order and the language was simplified to a point where you could thoroughly understand the use of her examples. Fun assignment!

Final: Where do we go from here?

Very fortunately indeed, JPuar remains for me "a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma." I still have time to submit an application to Rutgers should I choose to and ask professors to submit letters of recommendation, and I am seriously somewhat tempted... She could probably really push me into some intense thought, but I'm still not convinced that Rutgers could ever be the right place for me overall. The pros are many, and on top of it all her current book in progress is focused on queer disability studies with assemblage and affect theory (Affective Politics: States of Debility and Capacity), which just sounds awesome (see Prognosis Time: Towards a Geopolitics of Debility, Capacity, and Affect), but besides JPuar there doesn't seem to be a lot of faculty support for me there. I am glad I chose to stick with tracking JPuar solo, and found it strangely freeing to work with tracking a theorist and her theory rather than a term, even though we didn't get to read and engage with her as a class and I was a bit disappointed by that-- I still crave some more interaction and community around the deep shit I've gotten into with her (maybe someone to help me with digging my way out, you know, so to speak). I have to keep plugging away at JPuar's first book some more anyway, so I should have plenty of opportunities.

It's probably clear that I enjoy the blog and twitter workings of this class, they seem to fit for me and, yes, I also fell deeply in love with tweeting theory and interesting tidbits of theorizable material. Both formats have helped me in different ways-- twitter with brevity and clarity (notes) and blogging with solo engagement (thinking through/beside/against). I could have used our digital tools more for engaging with (more different) classmates, but I do also enjoy how these digital mediums allow for selective engagement.

Overall, I can tell that the flow of qd2010 benefited greatly from our rocky road in Queering Theory 2009 (and probably a whole lot of experiences before that). Timelines for assignments and their due date clusters were mostly manageable-- especially compared to some of the rushes we found ourselves in in 2009 (yikes!), trust me. For many reasons, the whole dynamic of the class was shifted with a change in enrollment from eight or so to nearly thirty (the odd physical space of our classroom is a part of this). We did have a longer class, which helped a lot (although and because it was only once a week), and we were able to have deeper conversations between the few of us in that time. If memory serves me correct, we also read EVEN more in 2009, thoroughly covering all of Gender Trouble (rereading some of it even!) as well as significant portions of Undoing Gender, Disidentifications, and Curioser, among other books that also came up this year. (It may have been the best preparation possible for this year.) I think qd or QT students need to know that testing the waters of these theories and assignments will start off most messy and confusing, but the systems developing in these classes will ultimately give you more space to learn how and about what you want to, period. The messiness may not (ever) clear up, but it will (even in one semester) become more of a contemplative discomfort once you get the hang of slinging around some queer theory, playing with it, and not worrying too much about being right so much as just wondering. It (the class, the action) can be whatever you need it to be for your adventures in gender and sexuality, and power and privilege, and embracing it will forever change the ways you think. This is important stuff to carry with you wherever you go, because it effects everyone.

That sounds kind of cheesy, and I believe it.

Remix: Queer(ing) Pedagogy

I'm glad for the benefit of revisiting ideas through our blog, in particular as I've been somewhat of an unhappy queer thinking that we've never had enough time (ugh) for discussions of queer(ing) pedagogy-- after our 10.05 and 10.07 classes I was craving so much more. I guess I'm kind of perversely into teaching (and with lofty aspirations), so I definitely grew discouraged by our beginning of the year technology pains rather quickly; I really wanted to get directly to understanding some of the nuances that could help me develop as a teacher! I still won't be able to do the discussion justice solo, suffice to say I have kept these drives with me over the semester and feel the need to briefly stream current engagements with queer pedagogy.

First, I remain interested in troublemaking as a mode of queering pedagogy-- these paths, especially through the work of JButler, are certainly important for all of my forays into binary-busting. The 10.05 class summary was and is a helpful refresher/run-down on trouble (especially in combination with all my hoarded materials from Queering Theory 2009)-- and I am drawn especially to this passage from Luhmann once more:

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).

This reframing continues to be radical for me, and is going to be worth at least another revisit. Learning isn't grades, clearly, but beyond that learning is neither content read nor produced, nor really something we can justly measure. I like that learning is messy, and I like even more how this queerness in education creates space for the many relationships possible in "becoming implicated in knowledge."

In terms more akin to affect, I long for community to get into the nerdy details of how to make such concepts materialize in the classroom. I was somewhat discouraged that this wasn't explicitly happening in our class until I paid a little more attention to the perimeter-- I have had many chances to watch queer(ing) pedagogy in action this semester, and although they're not always discussed, I'm carrying them with me. The more I think through pedagogical concerns, the more I'm convinced that I can make space for the questions I'm forming next semester and as I (hopefully) continue in grad school. I can see now that not all my undergrad peers are going to find this as fascinating as I do, and that's just fine-- in fact, that itself teaches me about new connections to queer pedagogy working through resistance, boredom, confusion, rejection, etc.

I want to highlight three organizations with three videos found on youtube. I linked their websites here again, and will let the videos speak for themselves. Obviously this annotated bibliography is incomplete, however I honestly can't say much more than what shown.

Trailer for "Toilet Training"

Sylvia Rivera Law Project, also sharing physical space with QEJ.

Trailer for "Toilet Training" by SRLP

"Liberating Gender and Sexuality"

US Social Forum 2007: Southerners on New Ground

Just watch. Very Important, and at the heart of what QEJ also stands for. SONG is a strong ally organization of QEJ with similar aims.

FIERCE @ USSF Social Forum2010: Trans and Queer People Movement Assembly

Another strong ally of QEJ is FIERCE. This video literally made me cry. Just a little. Is it just that it's finals week and 3:30am, or is this just powerful?

Ohhh noooo....Mercury, even more dangerous than we thought!

Mercury Poisoning Makes Birds Act Homosexual

homosexual penguins.jpg

Homosexual Penguins........????.........."This study badly needs to be replicated."

A quick break......

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jeshries finals week 2010.jpg

Cramming to finish my final blog folder; I thought this would be a nice break from the stress of finals. Even my cat, Jeffrey, has had enough! :)

Query Response #2 (yup. still up. going strong.)

(I apoligize for my lack in ability to make this look cool and post the tweet all pretty...)

Momentaryisle 'queeried': How do inter-web relations queer time and space? How does this interrupt one's personal integrity and ethics?

I'm going to give this question a shot, though I have a feeling I will only scratch the surface of a super interesting question that I'd haven't thought of in quite these terms before.

First of all, I super like the term 'inter-web relations' as a way to capture what and who we interact with online as relations to things, ideas, and people. That is all.
Next, a simple example of a sort of 'queered' time and space on the web is of course facebook, for the sake of familiarity. Commenting, posting, messaging, tagging, and the like continue to exist in your absence. Logging in reveals all that has happened while away, yet they are suspended and waiting usually for response and attention, whether you pay attention or not. The sharing of links and conversations started on facebook is also a way to share resources to a wide audience, who may or may not stalk you every so often. Leaves one to question how far some information does go, and how this level of transparency (of sorts) impacts people who might stumble across something that has been posted. Unrelated to queering time and space and as a personal side-note related to queer as and identity: I actually do post a TON of things on my page that clearly show my politics and identities hoping they might reach someone. Lately, I have been thinking of other ways to compile information, such as starting my own blog, or other better ways to reach more people and share resources I think are important or interesting.

As for interrupting morality and integrity, I think there are multiple ways this plays out in ways that erode and/or support aspects of these considerations through 'inter-web relations'. Speaking just to one that immediately pops up is the common practice most of us have at least minimally engaged in is facebook stalking. Being one's friend or having a publicly viewable profile is an invitation of sorts for other to look at photos and anything ever posted on facebook (depending on security settings). I do not find it difficult to post mostly unrestricted, yet there is a way in which a public identity is nonetheless constructed. I wonder about the impact of this especially in light of its relatively new function, and what it means to know all kinds of information about people that have never been quite this available.

What does it mean when we piece together identities with bits and pieces of life as viewed through facebook? Or when we know entirely too much about people without ever speaking? And what about the intentional efforts to display personality and identity through what is accessible and available for those allowed to view? What are the various and contextual ethical imperatives guiding different practices: wall posting/pictures/shared links/'likes'/profile/etc.?

Direct Engagement #3 Ahmed

"The recognition of queers can be narrated as the hope or promise of becoming acceptable, where in being acceptable you must become acceptable to a world that has already decided what is acceptable" (106). This is the idea of the assimilation of happiness. What constitutes as happy is this ability to blend in, to be as "normal" as possible. Then you will truly be happy. By conforming to these heterosexual ideals of happiness you can be happy without others questioning your happiness. In return, this freedom gives the happy hetero room to breathe.

Validity......realness.......ability to........

"One could also ask whether queer happiness involves an increasing proximity to social forms that are already attributed as happiness-causes (the family, marriage, class mobility, whiteness), which of course suggests that promoting queer happiness might involve promoting social forms in which other queers will not be able to participate" (112). This draws attention back to Dan and Terry's so-called activism behind the "It Gets Better" campaign and the fogginess of queer happiness. Dan and Terry are conforming to these heteronormative scripts via white, upper class coupledom. Their idea of happiness is not very queer at all. "Everybody wants to be happy" (1), but in order to be happy you must follow certain gender and social scripts; otherwise, you will be infringing upon someone's happiness. This POWER of happiness is a hard thing for me to fully wrap my head around. This idea of happiness is a script people must follow in order to be happy, look happy, think happily.....It reminds of a similar idea in which Foucault mentions power through its representation of a docile body. These bodies which are conditioned to act, think, and feel in a particular way. He mentions a man in the military who has large thighs, a small belly, dry feet (to run quickly), broad shoulders, etc. This ideal that is represented is what people should strive to become in that situation. This is the same idea of happiness that it is this ingrained idea that is placed at birth. Ahmed says, " The very promise that happiness is what you get for having the right associations might be how we are directed toward certain things" (2). By having connections to or being a part of heteronormative happiness will in turn bring those who choose to follow these scripts, as docile bodies, to greater happiness. Exactly what is it to be happy, when is it OK/not OK, how should one be happy, who should be happy/unhappy, where does happiness come from?????

Query Response Entry #3

Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I actually think that online social networks are not going to be as intense as face to face bullying, just because you are not physically there to experience it and that it seems that it does not occur as often. Take Facebook for instance--it's hard to say that you would be bullied on a network like this, because in order to chat with someone, you have to be friends with them. What are the chances that one of your friends is going to all of a sudden start shooting you down online? Probably slim to none, unless you have someone who sends you a message over Facebook degrading you, but even then, they would have to search for you and find you, and you are able to adjust your Facebook privacy setting too, so the chance of it happening just appears to be very little. Then you take chat rooms...well for someone to discriminate you against inside one of those, you would first have to disclose of your sexual identity and then I guess hope that the other person is cool with it. If someone does choose to discriminate against you, all you would have to do is simply close out of the chat room and leave. My point of all this is that you basically control your own fate when you're online. If someone was being bullied face to face, chances are it is a group of kids (bullies) involved, making it that much harder to physically run and get the hell out of the situation. Also, hearing and seeing someone ridicule you is much more intense than reading words off of a screen--more of your senses are involved when you are in a face to face setting, putting more stress on the brain thus making your reaction and appearance that much more vulnerable.

Query Response #1 (woo. incredibly late. oops.)

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Briana | September 28, 2010 8:29 PM | ReplyBribird6 Query: How do straight individuals fit into the queer community; and what is this seen as? #qd2010

This depends on just what type of queer community is in question, and depends entirely in contexts that are infinitely variable. However, I can speak to some of my experience with gays and straights and queers and some patterns or common assumptions and/or conflicts engaging in each sphere.

I am extremely happily surrounded and shaped by people that are heteronormative and/or self-identified as straight. Some of these people are some fierce allies, and many have taught me not to assume that I will be dismissed by disclosing my queer identity. Sometimes I do have some hesitation to 'out' myself, but a million times more often than not I have been warmly received and have had my mind blown by the kindness of others. That being said, there are all types of folks, no matter gender /sexuality/race/class/dis/ability... and on and on. Just sayin'.

Those who are mostly allied identified and are a part of the queer community one way or another do seem to face initial judgment, and is definitely also tied in with heteronormativity and gender conformity being subject to curiosity and question. A cis-gender person (female identified woman/masculine identified man) who conforms to gender expectations and does not set off gay-dar WILL (you know it guys!) lead people to wonder either, "Are they 'gay'?" or "Why are they here?" Again, really depending on the situation and context, the presence of the straight-identified friend or ally being able to be amazing hinges on a ton more than this one seemingly differentiated identity.

Wrap up

My tracking topic "affect" I think was a really good topic to track. I was able to compile a lot of useful information, that I can use for years to come. I learned a lot while researching, like why certain schools do not incorporate "queer" ideas and education into schools. Some schools feelt that pushing that type of information onto children young pushes them towards experimenting at a young age, and for them thats no good.

To simply put it "affect" is about the ways in which certain issues bother people. Not only how their affected by it but their reactions towards what the issue may be as well.
My thoughts towards the blogging and twitter at first was" awww hell naww, I'm not going to be able to keep p with at this, and I dont even know how to twitter or blog at that". But as we continued on with the class I found my way around the blogging and twitter very easy. I actually liked it and got used to it very quickly. I did not use the outlets as much as I could have or as much as others in the class but that was simply because I was not as comfortable as them. The assignments were great. I think the topics and issues that we tackeld were great and very informative. It most definately helped me engage with the assingments a lot more and easier.


In this revist i would like to go back to the first diablog post that i did about my being molestate at the age of 7. I was first kind of afraid to what people reactions would be, then I was like f*** it this is a part of me and who I am and I gonna share it. Also it tied in perfectly with the reading by Kincaid. Any way all in all when I think back to my feelings and thoughts to what i wrote, i feel that the class has further reinforced the feeling that I felt when reading Kincaids point of view or theories. I think that it is very helpful to revist past comments that you have made because it helps to build your relationship with yourself. you are able to be more intune with your thoughts. when you look back at something that you said , you may feel that "nawww i did not word that correctly" or after further learning things you notice that you no longer feel the same way, or that you do. so yeah again going back to past comments is a very useful tool.

Ahmed Unhappy Queers Summary


For our group discussion in class we chose to divide the class into two groups. One of the two groups were to discuss happiness in Ahmed's Unhappy Queers and the other to discuss unhappiness. In referencing back to our discussion the week before Sara had mentioned the difficulty in doing group work and the distraction of working beside one another. I found it really interesting that both groups were busy talking about their set topics, but the group that was discussing happiness was not laughing nearly as much as the group discussing unhappiness. Maybe this shows the queer space of this class and the queer people who are a part of it??? In this space it brings up an important part of the chapter that was discussed in both groups, which is the ability to breathe or have the space to breathe. There is this idea of being able to live/breath in a certain way. A predetermined way to "breathe right".........Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for breathe-right.png

This script to breathe is prescribed in a similar way in which happiness is defined. "Having a space to breathe, or being able to breathe freely,... is an aspiration. With breath comes imagination. With breath comes possibility" (120). breathe-you-are-alive.jpg
This right/ability to breathe for queers is yet to be obtained much like the idea of happiness. Happiness and space to breathe must be acquired in a certain way, usually a heterosexual way. When queers don't follow these scripts they must become unhappy.......Queer happiness=inevitable UNhappiness! "It is because the world is unhappy with queer love that queers become unhappy, because queer love is an unhappiness-cause for the others whom they love, who share their place of residence" (98). Heterosexual happiness via coupledom, marriage, children, whiteness,class, domesticity is thus forced upon queer lives in order to achieve any sort of happiness..."Happiness for some involves persecution for others: it is not simply that this happiness produces a social wrong; it might even depend on it. The unhappiness of the deviant performs a claim for justice" (96). This right to prove and define happiness is not only saying that I am happy and you clearly are NOT and NEVER will be, but it is also a way to impose all heteronormative standards of happiness and social scripts. It perpetuates the idea that the only way an individual and their family will ever be happy is if they follow these scripts exactly.

waaaay late: annotated bib (kinda): QEJ

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The latest post under the events tab on is an overview of accomplishments and the past year as well as plans moving forward in 2011. I will not fully summarize here it as it is very short and you can easily read it for yourself if at all interested (first post under the events tab on Among the news is that Kenyon Farrow has stepped down from the executive director position. I had the opportunity to meet Kenyon and other staff from QEJ this past May in New York City as part of the U of MN's leadership year trip, and also saw him deliver the final keynote address at the Minnesota Out! Campus Conference about a month ago. He gave a very touching speech, and I just want to briefly try to touch on a few key points I was able to jot down as notes as they shed light on partial reasons why he may have left:

He opened by speaking to the recent media coverage of youth suicides that we are all too familiar with this semester by trying to explain how people deal with this when we are not shocked and when we know all too well that this is nothing new. Shortly after, another young queer male activist whom he viewed as having a lot of potential ended his own life, posting his last words onto facebook and carrying though before anyone could reach him. Reflecting on certain reasons why he perhaps was not a strong as mentor as he may have been, he explained that he did not want to appear to be making advances as an older queer male. That sexuality can be read especially between intergenerational relationships of queer men is a constructed barrier that in this case played a part in Kenyon's hesitation to engage as a mentor/friend.

He reflected openly and honestly about his current role as Executive Director of QEJ, and says that during his time in the position that he has become a worse friend, son, brother, and partner. While there is so much to accomplish and so many urgent pressing issues of today, in light of his friends death and simply being too busy to slow down and take care of yourself and loved ones calls for a fundamental change in how he wishes to engage. I wish I had more notes on his exact final words, but essentially he urges us to prioritize the people in our lives and highlights both personal care and care of our community as central to whatever radical agenda we face. I cried. Anyone else who was there (Remy...?) remember anything else?

Further research and interests for me is to try and follow where Kenyon goes, and also to seek out resources addressing healing resources accessible for low-income/queer/immigrant groups. I do think there is space to prioritize wellbeing and health as central goals for any movement or activist work, and burn out doesn't do anyone any good.

SOURCE #2: "Taking Freedom Home" released by the Welfare Warriors

Posted Nov 9th, 2010 to under the "news" tab

The following video has just been released, and you can read all about it here, and watch the video posted below. It's about 30 min, and chronicles 2 years of the Welfare Warriors Collaborative, a project of QEJ. Important areas of focus are access to medical care that are glbtgnc (QEJ uses this acronym, adding 'gender non-conforming') competent, housing issues, any counseling including addiction, and brutality and harassment at the hands of law enforcement. Below I will list links to QEJ's collaborators and allies that aide their work or have a common vision. Because of the scope of what QEJ aims to do, I thought it might be most beneficial to provide these as a resource on this post.

Okay... I cannot embed the clip apparently. But there is a link from the page listed at the beginning of this post. Sorry.

Audre Lorde Project:


Critical Resistance:


Silvia Rivera Law Project:


All of these are listed at the end of this video, and there is a TON to investigate. Most are focused on queer people of color, immigrants, economic justice, and dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex and police violence as central and inseparable in theory and practice to their work. They are all inspiring to say the least.

SOURCE #3: Dean Spade and "Trickle-Up Social Justice"

This is a short 5 min clip explaining how and why it makes sense, politically/legally and otherwise, to center the least advantaged and most marginalized as a priority. There is a longer version of this lecture, which I think can be located on the . I was first introduced to Dean Spade during the "Feminist Debates" spring 2010 class I took with Sara and have watched this a few times in the past. He is one of the founders of the Silvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) which focuses on trangender law and provides legal services, and now share physical space with QEJ as well as FIERCE. He is amazing, and I am glad to introduce him to those who may not have had the opportunity. Enjoy!

A bigger piece that also contains the above 5 min clip within it if you are interested that I highly recommend from a lecture at Barnard College entitled "Trans Politics on a Neoliberal Landscape" delivered Feb 9th, 2009.

Dean Spade from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Query Responses

Glyma_08g666_F #qd2010 (Query): in what ways does the language we use pertaining to GLBT leave many queers, especially in rural areas, unaccounted for?
queer young and rual.jpg

Doing Drag in Wal-Mart Interview
While I am not sure about the language that we use, I know that when talking about the queer community or LGBTQA community, one normally identifies a substantially wealthy white gay male who lives in an urban area. Many people who live in rural areas are proud of where they live and are uncomfortable with leaving. Yet the queer community blatantly argues that LGBT identifying people cannot be happy where they are and should expect hostility if they stay in a rural area. However, rural America is also known to be predominately white; therefore, how do queer people of color navigate that space? One must be aware of the overlapping of marginalization. The argument of inclusion within our rural communities is a difficult one. When answering you must also take into consideration the religion that predominately takes hold of the cultural mindset of that community. How is religion a factor? The bible belt especially can be known for its harsh realities on its queer population but the incorporation of social media and technology has made access to advocacy groups and knowledge easier to obtain. Another point would be to compare the violence against the queer community in inner cities to recognize that violence against queer individuals in rural areas is simply different but not more or less violent than that against queer individuals in the city. Within my own knowledge, many queer individuals in rural America are gaining ground in starting their own advocacy and support groups. Queers may not be unaccounted for in rural areas but simply misunderstood or not taken into consideration when talking about the queer community as a whole. Like anything else, queer individuals in rural America have special issues that need to be recognized.

Sharpbubbles:This is a really interesting blog post about women's magazines and heteronormativity- Really interesting. #qd2010 Monday, November 22, 2010 9:11:09 PM via web

I fell in love with this site when I "stumbled" across it the other day and of all of the post secrets that I have seen, this might be one of the best. The question I have is when did we, as women, become more concerned with how men feel? If one succeeds in not saying what he doesn't want to hear, give get him hot and then have sex with him for as long as he wants what will this give the woman in the end? Thinking back to Ahmed and her happiness scripts, is making sure that the man is happy the answer to the woman's happiness as well? I used to think that a woman's magazine, which initially sprung from the desire to have our issues and voices raised, was a way to find out about things that are dear and near to us. If one can complete the things that things magazines say we must do to please the man, will this give us the ultimate happiness? Furthermore, as a queer woman, I do not want to hear about 10 things I can do to please my non-existent man. As a woman's magazine, shouldn't you be inclusive of all women. This means LBT women, women of color, women of different religions, etc... I understand that most of these magazines have taken a turn to fashion but to be quite honest, I would like to see a women's magazine that doesn't have to describe itself as feminist if it talks about more than sex, fashion and gossip. Lesbian magazines such as Curve don't do much better, advertising sex tips, shopping and celebrity interviews. While their snips on politics and social issues are nice, I would love to hear about the news, culture and art. What is it about women's magazines and what image are we sending to our youth? Whether you are reading Cosmo or Curve as a straight or queer identified woman, are your needs really being fulfilled when you open up that magazine? What happened to a magazine for women's needs instead of the needs and news of others?

Wrap up

For my tracking topics assignment I ended up tracking Michael Warner. Initially I wasn't really stoked about having an author to track but such is life. Turns out I am really glad I ended up with Warner. He is a fascinating person and I enjoyed reading his work. I have had several classes in the past in which I was required to complete annotated bibliography; I found this to be the most challenging. Prior to the assignment I had never heard of Michael Warner nor was I familiar with Queer Theory. Since reading several of his articles and parts of his book I feel I have a much better grasp of the material. So in that regard the assignment was positive. Out of all the assignments we worked on over the course of the semester this was my least favorite and I think the big reason for that was that I found it difficult to fully engage with his writing. Not because of his writing style, that I really enjoyed. It was due more to my lack of knowledge base when it comes to Queer Theory. Regardless of that I felt that by the end I had gained at least a little understanding. The part of the reading that I enjoyed most which I think is really a key piece to his arguments is his thoughts on marriage and the queer fight for it. I loved his ideas and agreed one hundred percent.
In terms of the rest of the course in regard to Twitter and Blogging, I am still not sold on Twitter. It was really interesting to read the dialog between the rest of my classmates but I didn't ever feel like I had anything to contribute to the conversation, much like how I felt through the whole course. I found that even though I was keeping up with the readings, I wasn't able to really understand a majority of it. Perhaps, that is the point though. We touched on that in class last week. Perhaps I should just learn to accept the fact that all questions don't necessarily need to be answered. In my academic mind that is a difficult concept to grasp. The blogging was great once I got the hang of it. I especially liked the Diablog and Mash-up assignments. It was a really low key way to engage with other members of the class while simultaneously engaging more deeply with our reading materials. I at first was a little hesitant but after the first couple of weeks I was rolling right along. I do appreciate the slower pace at the beginning of the semester. It was hugely helpful in my development as a blogger. All in all, I enjoyed this course and although I felt extremely unprepared for it I feel that I am leaving with a whole new perspective...which is fantastic.


This is the summary of the class that we were supposed to do that I forgot about until just now!

When I first started the class I thought it'd be pretty easy because there weren't any papers or stuff like that... but I was totally wrong.

It took me awhile to get used to the online part of the class (basically the whole thing) but it was good to have a physical classroom to have to go to as well so I couldn't just blow it off as something that didn't really matter. I feel like I'm now more prepared to take a class fully online now maybe...

Once I became more accustomed to the online components of the class it was really fun and extremely helpful to have the blog available as a space to figure out what we were talking about in class. It's a formal enough venue to be academic and helpful but it's informal enough to not be intimidating. It's nice to be able to say things and ask questions and being able to think about them and get them just right before you have to publish it... it helped me kind of prepare myself to say things in class because I could gather my thoughts on the blog and then be a bit more literate about stuff in class.

Having a tracking topic was really interesting. I was helpful to me because it help my understand Judith Butler a little bit better. She's still pretty confusing to me, but after having read her essays for class and having done research on her for my tracking topic I understand what she's trying to say a little bit better. In the beginning of the class I really had no idea how to grasp the kinds of theories she was talking about but now I think I can get a little bit more of a handle on it.

I think the readings got to be a little much at times but I think they were all really important to discuss because they all had a kind of different perspective on "queering" and what it means to be "queer." I think that our in class discussions of the readings really helped me understand them better than I would've otherwise and I'm glad that it was informal enough so I could learn from both Sarah and my other classmates.


I really enjoyed doing the tracking term assignment and reading everyone else's posts. I think it's a wonderful project for people to do and for people to learn how to connect things that might not be very obviously connected. I have actually wanted to do a little research on my topic before I entered into this class but I was never given the option (nor the free time!) to do so until we were assigned this project. What I found really interesting (and also something I learned) was that BDSM is a form of feminism because women are choosing to be in this lifestyle and feminism, to me, means that it's a woman's right to choose what she wants to do and make her own decisions. I used to think that feminism was rejecting the social norms for women but after reading one of my sources I've since changed my mind to the notion that feminism means a woman's right to choose. I was also very interested in seeing how social medias (like Facebook) can influence opinions and openness about BDSM in both positive and negative ways. To be honest I don't think that radical sex has one set definition for all individuals. I believe that each individual person has their own ideas and definitions about what radical sex is but I suppose if someone from the Webster Dictionary company came up to me and asked for my definition of it I would have to say that: Radical sex is a non-normative act within society that often comes with judgment.

I had a great time interacting through the blog but I didn't enjoy twitter that much. Twitter was just something I used to post something that was due and to read queries. However, I loved reading everyone's posts and all the information and opinions they gave on the blog. I really liked the queer this! assignments and the queries. It was interesting to see all the things that we could query and engage with other thoughts and questions related to outside events. Although the direct engagements weren't my favorite they did help me understand the readings more and sort out my feelings for each reading and what I thought about them. I think the diablogs helped the most with engaging with other students because it was a group oriented projected and it was helpful to talk to other students within our groups about what we got from the reading and what we didn't understand and then be able to talk to the whole class about it.

I think it would have been more helpful (and it would have also better prepared us) if we were notified in some way that we needed to use twitter and the blog before the first day of class so that we could have started on that a little earlier. I think that is we would have been able to start earlier then we would have had an extra day or two to save for more discussion on more difficult articles such as Arondekar and Butler.

Breakfast with Scot

I am going about this direct engagement a lot differently than my previous ones. funnily enough, while reading the first few chapters of Ahmed's promise of happiness, i also found myself watching the movie Breakfast with Scot, a film based around the lives of two gay men and the disruption of their lives when they become parents. this direct engagement is not on one reading but rather on Ahmed's chapters entitled Feminist Killjoys and Unhappy Queers. I will summarize what I was able to get out of Ahmed's work and compare both the similarities and differences that i found in Breakfast with Scot. In both Feminist Killjoys and Unhappy Queers, Ahmed analyzes happiness in relation to societal roles i.e: as a woman/queer person how is your role in society dominated or conceived by happiness? However, I would like to examine the role of the child. For Ahmed, the role of the child is to take on the parent's happiness or, to have a child is the culmination of one's happy marriage. Within a heteronormative society, exists happiness scripts which are ultimately gendered scripts that detail how one's place in society dis/allows for constructed happiness. For example, as a woman one must find a husband and get married to fulfill the parent's happiness. Then, after marriage, one must consummate this happiness by having a child of one's own-that child then takes on the role of fulfilling that parent's happiness and so on. Children then are the embodiment and bringers of happiness. Ahmed goes on to conclude that "if queers have the approximate signs of happiness in order to be recognized, then they might have to minimize the signs of queerness" (94) and furthermore that "in being acceptable, you must become acceptable to a world that has already decided what is acceptable" (105). The movie Breakfast with Scot both plays for and against Ahmed's argument within a few crucial points: gendered roles assumed by either parent, the homosexual nature of both men and the disruption of their lives when taking on a child. When Eric, an ex professional hockey player turned sports reporter and his parter Sam, a lawyer, become parents to a very flamboyant eleven year old (Scot) their lives are turned upside down. Both men live a closeted happy life in the suburbs and spend a great deal of time trying to conceal their lives in the way they talk, act, dress and interact with others. Everything about their appearance and mannerisms would suggest a heterosexual life until Scot and his "desire to be a queen" turn their life around. In the end however, Billy (scot's father who, ironically is straight but perceived as a metrosexual) relinquishes his rights to Scot and Eric and Sam take custody thus becoming a happy family but against the acceptable standards placed by the societies in which they have incorporated themselves. -Analyze their life in the suburb minus the want of a child-How are they approximating happiness? -How do Eric and Sam take on gendered roles or not? How does Scot's gender bending play into this? -How is their family happy before and after Scot?

Chapter 3: Diablog Response Post #2

Sarah Ahmed seems to use example of unhappy queers that are trying to fit the heteronormative standards. In If These Walls Could Talk, Fran and Val want to have a child. They feel the need to blend in with other mothers and families, and I think that sometimes they are more concerned on how something will appear to others in the outside world, rather than inside of themselves and each other. Then we watched that those It Gets Better videos with the 2 gay men and the one gay girl, and it really made me think how lucky I have it, because it could always be worse. The standards will always be the same, but I may not have been the person I am today if I didn't have the support of my friends and family. Would those standards appear more intense? Would I want to conform to those hetero standards more? It's amazing the influence people or society can have on an individual. I want to know who invented the standards of a perceived "normal" life. Why can't we live in a world without any standards on how to live an ideal happy life?

Direct Eng. #3 - Sedgwick


Eve Sedgwick - How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: War on Effeminate Boys

I was glad to be reading this article because I felt like it was one of the articles that I could relate with better than others this semester. Being my future career is related to children in their younger years. This article focused much of its attention on gay boys and stepped back from female youngsters.

The author spent time discussing other's views on gender vs. sexuality. After reading this article I found a few different quotes from within the journal that seemed to stand out more than others.

"assuming that anyone, male or female, who desires a man much by definition be feminine and that anyone, male or female, who desires a woman must be the same token be masculine."
"a boy can come only in the form of masculinity, given that masculinity can be conferred only by men, and given that femininity in a person with a penis can represent nothing but deficit and disorder..."

These are not all the author's opinions, they come from GSM-3, Friedman, and others' books/journals.
Sedgwick argues that there are dangers in these assumptions between culture and nature and some "desire that gay people not be" gay.

In this world, there is a need for gays, just as there is a need for straight people. Why is it that feminine boys are more frowned upon than masculine girls?!

Final Wrap-Up

FINAL WRAP-UP due Dec 14th
Tracking the term intimacy has been very interesting and has broadened my definition of the term. When applied to a homosexual community I noticed that often in the broader sense of the term it is regarded as negative. In our society there is a negative connotation when it comes to gay intimacy. I found that in popular view it seems that in a heteronormative world intimacy means sexual intimacy especially when applied to homosexual couples and relationships. It is largely seen that when gay people are intimate it only means that they have sex. In one of my sources I viewed a television show called "What Would You Do?" where gay couples held hands and kissed in public and the reactions of people passing were recorded and then later interviewed. The majority of the people passing reacted in shock and began and continued to stare either in curiosity or disgust.
I also included a source where a gay man is talking about his definition of intimacy. He has a theory that gay men do not date they just have sex. He believes that this is a problem since every man he "dates" just wants to have sex but he wants the intimacy of the relationship. For him this means talking, sharing, spending time together and loving each other. It is indicated by his clip that he thinks that the gay community has intertwined the term intimacy with a purely sexual application and that is should stop because it is preventing real relationships to form in the gay community.
I think that after researching this term I have come to the conclusion that the actual word 'intimacy' has different meanings for different people. It is important for the individuals within the couple to define it together. Although being intimate often includes a sexual aspect it does not always center around it. As we move forward in society I think that the term will change in accordance with the representation of intimacy in popular culture. Right now gay couples being shown in a positive light has not really broken mainstream media. Some shows include gay couples having healthy intimate relationships but not all. There is still a large percentage of media that encourages discrimination among the gay community.
I did not get that much out of my twitter experience because I was not familiar with it. I think the class would have been fine without it. Using the blog was difficult and I still do not know how to post a link. I liked that there were no quizzes or formal papers. I think that it is encouraging to students to participate when the writing assignments do not have to be formal. I liked that I could just post something to the blog without having to write a formal paper. The assignments were helpful I think. I did not do every reading but was able to participate in class and understand what was going on and being discussed. The blog was helpful in engaging with other students and exploring interpretations. I was able to engage in queering our class and queering the academy. Thanks to my interactions with other students I now know what queering means.
My advice for an instructor teaching this class is to make sure no student is left behind in understanding the main ideas of the class. I wish I would have been more familiar with using a blog and twitter before coming into the class. I think the more a student is savvy with blogs the more he or she will be prone to engaging critically. I also wish that I would have had more feedback on grades. Overall I thought that the class was beneficial and fun.


For this entry I decided to revisit one of my earlier posts. It was one of the first I made for the semester so I was really, really new at the whole "blogging" thing.
I wrote about how when I walked around my dorm and everyone was getting to know everyone else I heard the questions like "Do you think he's gay?" "Is she a lesbian? I can't tell" a lot. I just thought it was interesting that everyone was questioning everyone else so much.
Now that we've all been living in the same building for a semester most everyone knows at least a little bit about everyone else, so you hear the questions a lot less. Sometimes it still comes up though...

I think that although it may be rude to be that inquisitive about someone's life when you don't even know them, it's also really interesting and (I think) kind of a cool trait about the human race. We are, without a doubt, one of the most interesting races to date. Our mental process allows us to do things and think about things that other species would never do... so it makes sense that other humans would be interested in what other humans do.
I think there's possibly two reasons for those kind of questions. One is that people are just being nosy for the sake of being rude and wanting to know everything about everyone else, and the other reason is possibly that people are simply curious and want to know other people better. In today's world, it seems like your sexual orientation is a big part of your personality and regardless of that being true or not, I think a lot of people consider it to be a pretty important thing to know about a person.

I think this class taught me that it's ok to question things and be curious, but that it's also ok to not know. I think that I'm going to try to teach others that it's not really as big a deal that everyone seems to make it.

Queery Response!

Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I think that it definitely depends on which social network you're using. Some are infinitely better than others.

That aside however, I think it's always dangerous to put yourself out on online sites. Some people can be really supportive and others can be downright awful, just like in reality. However, unlike in reality, there's a higher chance of someone being uncontrollable because there really isn't a chance of having to deal with the consequences of what you do online.

The most obvious danger of talking about your sexual identity online is that someone will tear you apart mercilessly simply because they don't know you, they don't think of you as a real person, and they have pretty much no way of knowing how what they say affects you because they won't see you in "real life." And I highly doubt that they care about how you're going to take whatever they're saying. There's a reason we hear about so many suicides due to online networking: people are a lot more heartless when you're not dealing with face-to-face communication. It's a lot easier to write "you stupid w****, worthless piece of...." than it is to say it. You don't have to deal with the yelling, the tears, the overall sadness that your causing someone else. In fact, you don't even have to think of them as a real person, they're just an alias online. For all you know, it could be a computer program you're talking to... and those don't have feelings so hell, it's cool if you beat them down, right? (...No.)

So yes, I do think it's more dangerous than reality. But I also think that there are pros to having online support systems to turn to when real life and our conservative society lets you down. I just think that it's important to be smart about it, and always be cautious.


I think the day of leading the class went really well.
Breaking up into two groups was probably one of the best decisions, if mainly because it's easier to address a group that's smaller and more focused than a large one. It's also more comfortable, I think, for people to talk in a smaller, closer knit group, than a larger one.
The happiness group kind of focused on Ahmed's ideas of happiness, her argument for what is happiness and how it's possibly a duty, and then our conversation kind of turned into how symbols in our society kind of are determined to be the causes of happiness. For example, we talked about marriage and how there's a lot of heteronormativity in that institution and what it means that queers can't get married. We also talked about the image of the family a lot and how that can be made into a heteronormative situation and how it can also be queered. One person brought up the fact that, although he's gay, one of his goals in life is to raise kids with his partner, and how that, to him, would be happiness, even though there isn't necessarily a woman involved in the raising of the children.
We also discussed the clips a little bit and how children are almost always looked upon as an image of happiness. Their innocence is generally construed into a happiness ideal and people talk about how sometimes they wish they were little again so they could be happy.
When we came together to talk in a bigger group we discussed what the pros and cons were of Ahmed using a lot of pop culture references to get her ideas and theories across to her audience. I thought that her use of examples was really helpful in picturing some of the ideas and applying them to my everyday, but others thought that it was maybe a little bit too laid out. The concepts Ahmed discussed in her book weren't that incredibly complicated or too complex to easily understand so maybe the using as many examples as she did was unnecessary. I do think that it's a good idea though and I think that having more examples to apply the theories in other readings to would've been helpful in understanding them, especially some of Butler's theories.

Query Response #3

These questions from Mary have been with us all semester, so I think it's time to address them in a bit more scattered detail...

How have inter-web interactions queered the time and space of qd2010?

Favorite Queering Desire 2010 Queered inter-web interactions:

  • Getting to know classmates by their avatars, tracking topics, writing styles, blogging layouts etc. better than most of their names/faces/voices/backgrounds/in-class contributions. (Sorry folks, my memory is full.)

  • Catching 12 am - 6 am blog/Twitter traffic.

  • Accomplishing group work (for grades!) and cultivating deeper understanding via tweets, both mobile [work(s), bus, couch, class, car, Morris, bathroom, office, Augsburg] and not.

  • Falling in love with Twitter, with Mary.

  • Failing to finish assignments; still attending class. (This in particular feels like queering what class space and time mean and look like, as well as what learning might represent in opposition to /beside /against "getting things done.")

  • Arranging unintentional Twitter streams (from the class feed) which-- sleepless, drunk, or otherwise-- make a strange lot of sense.

  • Making videos in my boxers, just like a pro news anchor.

  • Creating back-back-channel class discussions through texts, Twitter direct messages, Facebook walls and chats, face-to-face passings.

  • Hanging out with chromeswan and Ava to blog in solidarity.

  • Having a choice audience, whenever, for the everyday oddities of gender and sexuality.

How has this queering disrupted (my? your? our?) personal integrity/ethics?

It's pretty simple, I suppose. While working to be transparent, honest, or truthful, we have both performed elaborate virtual selves and seen great intimacy in how we can be in relation to each others' lives and thought processes. We have distanced, but also drawn closer, in a way. In this sense the personal has been thoroughly disturbed, perhaps leaving us to examine a collective integrity/ethics of opening space.

Me Final Wrap-Up

I think I am the only person in this class who get to create his own tracking topic. And this is what is so great about this class, at the beginning of this semester I took this class without a clue of what sexuality and queering is, all I know is that I am in search of my identity and I want to understand more on GLBT study during my time here. I start off by tracking the topic feminism / queer, but apparently I was not on topic due to my lack of understanding of the topic, I end up focusing on just the word queer. I still personally think that there are a lot more that I do not understand and a lot of time the things that I have said might be out of topic. But due to the flexibility of this class I was suggested that to track on topic of "Queering Asia" or more precisely "Queering Malaysia"

I have realized that I have grown a lot while doing each annotated bibliography, that it have not only served me academically but also personally. I started off talking about how the society in Malaysia perceive homosexuality through a short story, and also the sharing of a few true stories that were written in a website which pretty much portrayed the real Malaysian society towards the queer community. By the way it is interesting that when I read back on the article that I have shared on my first annotated bibliography which have this quote that very much resonates which Sara Ahmed's book "The Promise of Happiness", that "If your happiness depends on my unhappiness, then I will no longer trust your judgment. I will not live my life according to what someone else thinks is a sin for him." The author was saying that if the society's happiness is dependant on his unhappiness which is to accept the norm and to pretend to live a heterosexual live , the he can and should no longer trust their judgment. To sum up my first Annotated Bibliography, it helps me understand how the media and the society acted and suppressed the queer community.

Thus, in my second annotated bibliography, I start to think about why is the situation being so. Besides this also coincide with the conference that was being held which inspired even more to understand more about the situation in Malaysia and to queer about it. During my digging I have come across a lot of videos and articles of ongoing queer discourse but still there are no articles written by a lot of academia on this topic and on the country. I have come to understand how the government, the education and etc affect the mindset of the citizens. How the silencing of sensitive topics have not open the mind of the people and how the silencing work without the citizen to even realized it cause it is so perfect. Perfect silencing. I have also learned about the space that were created by the GLBTQ community in Malaysia which helps the discourse, the internet and the creative art. As these two spaces somehow is not very much influence by the rigidity of government. Consider how fluid an art can be interpret and how the virtual is not very real but can affect the real world.

My experience of blogging and twittering have help me a lot in queering. I get to explore whatever that is out there and the freedom of being able to explore just open me up to so much more knowledge, instead of restricted to what the lecturer is trying to convey to us. I guess what I am trying to say is that I get to learned more through my own way but still under the guidance of lecturer. I have the same point of view with others on twitter and the diablog have helped me a lot in engaging in our reading every week. Besides, engaging through blog and twitter mean that I get to engage with our study anytime, anywhere (as long as there's a wifi connection) without the restriction of time.

Advice for future student would be don't be afraid to venture out into the virtual world, it is borderless and try not to restrict yourself in the understanding like how the geographical boundary have set for you.

Terima Kasih! (Thank you!)


For this assignment I wanted to revisit my first Direct Engagement with Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer". My initial reaction was agreement with the author's question of whether or not there was such a thing as a queer space. Upon further reflection though I think I am perhaps a bit more cautious when making that statement. I believe there is in fact a space for the queer community to gather and discuss the varying aspects within the community, so that piece hasn't changed. The part that I am a bit more reluctant to agree to is the level of safety that we feel when we are in that space. Throughout the semester we have seen countless examples of technology being used carelessly. Because of what many people have described as "just pranks taken to far" countless lives have been torn apart. We have spent time discussing the idea of queer spaces and room to breathe. I don't believe we have achieved that yet. I don't believe there is a truly safe space yet. It is amazing that we now have so many ways of expressing ourselves and that we can do so with the knowledge that there will always be someone out there that is or has felt the way that we are feeling. The internet has provided us with a place that makes those people more easily accessible to us. That accessibility goes both ways however and I think at this point we still must take caution.
I liked this assignment. I think it is interesting to go back and read our previous thoughts on a topic. I think I have come a long way from my very first blog entry. My thoughts and feelings on queer theory have most certainly evolved and it was sort of fun to go back and see how much they have changed.

Query Responce

Question: Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

In some ways I believe that online bullying can be worse than offline/in-person bullying.

Offline bullying has been around for years and includes physical abuse and mental, emotional, phycological abuse to another. While offline bullying is horrible and should not be condoned, online bullying can potentially follow someone everywhere as we live in this technologically-driven world.

Online bullying may be worse because bulliers know that they can remain anonymous, thus possibly saying even worse things than they would in person. Online bullys may also feel like their identity won't be know, so they can't get in trouble for the things they say, so they may use harsher words.
The online world is so much a part of peoples lives these days that even when someone thinks they're safe in their home, they can still be abused by others that aren't near because of the online community.

It's bad enough when a child, teen, or adult doesn't feel safe/comfortable in their school, work environment, or public - it becomes more devistating when all parts of their world, public and home life are becoming effected by bullying.
Online bullying, I believe, adds more frustation to bullying that's most likely already occuring else-where.

In this generation, it may be harder to distance yourself from abusers than in the past.

Finally. Wrapping. It. Up.

Considering that this was (is?) my first semester at the U, I'm going to do my very best to separate my general reactions to this semester from those specifically pertaining to our class. I also have a lot going through my head given the two research papers I am working on simultaneously for other classes, but I think that's mostly unavoidable.

My experiences with tracking the topic of 'space' this semester has been good overall. The process of researching for and writing my tracking topic assignments allowed me to look at space from a couple different perspectives, namely media space, bathroom space, and school space. I managed to learn quite a bit and expose myself to sources I can't imagine I would have encountered had I not been working on this project. My first two bibliography focussed primarily on space that has been made for queers (specifically those who identify as sexually or gender transgressive). My main insight here is that queer space/space for queers is limited. My most recent bibliography takes a look at examples of the act queering space. My Mash-Up entry gives some definitions of 'queering' which I utilize in this last assignment. I have been asked to give a definition of space... I think my analysis here gets at a couple different definitions of space and ways to engage with it from a queer point of view: space for queers, queering space, queer space. I have dealt mostly with physical space (as compared to theoretical space), but there are some more abstract understandings of space inherent in my assignments (power, marginalization, etc.).

Now on to reflecting on/reacting to engagement on the blog and Twitter. Overall, I have had fun posting on the blog and interacting with Twitter. I have no doubt that I will keep up with my Twitter account. It has been a great way to share information and little pieces of my life with the class, friends, and family. There are a couple of us in the class that have engaged more actively with the blog and Twitter (I would include myself in this category, especially at the beginning of the semester). I have enjoyed reading and interacting with other student's blog posts and tweets. In traditional classroom dynamics, we don't get an opportunity to see others students' work enough. It feels very productive to be able to see where other people are at with the material and learn from each other. I have enjoyed most of our assignments and I have found them to be quite helpful in furthering my understanding of queer theory/desire. Some were more challenging and time-consuming than others, but all felt worthwhile.

I shared in class on a couple of occasions that I am becoming more comfortable with queering my academic life. I have felt frustrated on numerous occasions with feeling like I don't really understand what we're reading; that I couldn't give you an outline of what I've read or summarize it. I am starting to feel okay with this. I think the questions that we have brought up in class are some very important ones. I would agree with jaropenerkate here that "I'm okay ending with questions." Or, at the very least, I am more okay with it now than I was at the beginning of the semester.


Tracking Term/Bib. #3

Tracking Topic #3

Source #1Carle, Caitlin. (2006). Cherrie Moraga & "The Welder".

I understand that 'wiki' sources are not always accepted because they may be lacking in accuracy; but I looked over this page and everything seemed to be reasonable and informational. I was just clicking around online, trying to find Cherrie Moraga information I hadn't already looked at, and I came upon this site. I was drawn into this site because of the italicized quote at the top:

"Sometimes a breakdown can be the beginning of a kind of breakthrough, a way of living in advance through a trauma that prepares you for a future of radical transformation."

And the great black and white picture of Cherrie below this quote. So I read on...
As in most of the sources I found about Cherrie, most describe her as a "mixed-race Chicana lesbian" who have helped and moved other for decades through her leadership and movements in writing about identity. Identity is relatable as someone else in our course is tracking that topic.

Cherrie was born in 1952 to a white (Irish) father and a Mexican mother. Cherrie's writing has a lot to do with her mother - as she noticed growing up that her mother seemed lonely and unhappy with her marriage. This article also says that her mother refused to teach her and her siblings Spanish, in a way to Americanize them - I'm not sure if this is true? I hadn't read this in any other article I've read about Cherrie, and plan on digging further into finding the answer. This disidentification with her ethnicity/identity is said to have helped her develop such confessional writings.

The article then goes on to explain on family dynamics, father, mother, and identity are all themes that can be found in her writing. The very end of the article lists numerous awards Cherrie has received, and then lists multiple sights and related sources. Here are two books of Cherrie's that the article recommends reading:

Moraga, Cherríe & Anzaldua, Gloria. This Bridge Called My Back. New York: Kitchen Table, 1983.

Moraga, Cherríe. Loving in the War Years. New York: South End Press, 1983.

Source #2Gilley, Amy. (2002). Moraga, Cherrie (1952).

In some support from the last article, this article as well hints to language and identity. "Moraga claims that she lacked knowledge and language to express herself as a Chicana until she came out as a lesbian."Early on she found that mostly only white women were represented in lesbian writings. Within the women's movement she found racism and oppression. I was surprised to find that in 1984 the Minneapolis women's theater preformed Cherrie's drama "Giving Up the Ghost". Her aim was to "break the silences surrounding women's sexuality, Chinaca oppression, and lesbian invisibility."

At the bottom of the page, there are many links to other related topics and entries.

Source #3Doyle, Mar. (2004). Self-Validation and Social Acceptance.

This journal breaks down Cherrie Moraga's "Breakdown of the Bicultural Mind". The author says in this particular writing of Cherrie's reinforces that one must validate themselves before one can be supported and confirmed by others. The author claims that Moraga learned that she must "define herself by her own measures, rather than by the opinions and statistics of those around her."

The author leaves us with this additional link:

This concludes my final tracking topic of Cherrie Moraga

Query Response #3

sara query.tif

Okay, so this question wasn't necessarily posed as a query, but I'm going to take it on regardless. Sara wrote this during her live tweet/note taking on the diablogue presentation/discussion for the Kincaid chapter we read. I am interested in moving these questions outside of the specific issue of child molestation and look at it how it might be applied to numerous (if not all) experiences of shame/shameful experiences.

I recently read Linda Alcoff's article, "The Problem of Speaking for Others" for my Feminist Thought and Theory class. We had a long discussion in class about it as well and we argued for and against speaking on behalf of others. Alcoff's article and our discussion in class did not address the question of shame, but I would like to venture to make some inferences. Alcoff focusses on the distinctions between speaking for/speaking of/speaking to in the article and ends it by making some suggestions for how to effectively speak to others while openly acknowledging the myriad problems that might accompany that act (which I found to be very helpful and can be applied here).

I would say that telling someone's story (especially a shameful one) carries a lot of weight. Alcoff tells us that the speaker's social location can never be truly separated from the message in the audience's interpretation. For me, this implies that a shameful story could loose some of its significance/impact if shared by someone from a position of privilege. I imagine that some of the affect that comes along with shame might be lost as well, unless the speaker had had a similarexperience and could convey that shame in their telling of the story. Perhaps we are suggesting here that the story should be shared without shame? I think shame should absolutely be present in the sharing of the story if the experience itself was shame-producing.

So far, I have essentially ignored the first part of this query which addresses why the original experience-er cannot share the shameful experience themselves. This is a much harder question to answer because there are so many factors that could influence why it the person cannot share their story. Of course, I think there are many instances in which the person can share their story if they are given a safe place to do so. I think this is absolutely preferable over having someone share the story on one's behalf because it decreases the potential losses.

One last thought: These answers are really difficult to answer on a very broad scale, right? Each speech act is perceived differently depending on the message, location of the speaker, the space in which it is spoken, and the location of the audience. However, I would argue that if we had to choose between loosing some of the impact in someone speaking on behalf of another or loosing the story entirely, we should choose the former.

Annotated Bib #3

For my third Annotated Bibliography I would like to start of with my side reading about "Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan" by Mark J McLelland, especially on the topic of "Beautiful Boys in Women's Comic". I have to admit that I have a hard time reading this article, not that it is very shakespear-ish but I have hard time thinking about what is being brought up.


He start of by mentioning about women's sexuality, that women in Japan are taught that their gender destines them for motherhood and women who reject this association are not considered respectable. Besides he also mentioned that the Japanese media are on the offensive against young women's expression of sexuality. Even though there was movement of women's liberation which happens in early 1970-s but nothing much was gained from such movement until today. He argues that this is due to the manipulation of the media, that when male discourse attempts to contain feminist challenge, of reducing the argument of 'sexual' or dismissing the women activists as overly emotional and hysterical. Furthermore she also mentioned that a Japanese feminist have brought up that women in Japan still lacked a language or a discourse in which they could articulate their own sexual needs and desires publicly. He also mentioned about the heterosexual manga, the erotic manga, whereby women is usually victimized and the men are usually the aggressive sexual animal. And this is very much different from the shonen'ai fiction which is the homosexual manga whereby men are portrayed to be effeminate, long limbs, long hair and beautiful. Besides, the ending of shonen'ai is different from their heterosexual manga where by the ending is usually tragic because of the cruel and intrusive demands of an uncompromising outside world, the norm.

He started to dig into the shonen'ai fiction by bringing up the fact that the genre is usually characterizes by its anto-reaism whereby the stories are usually set in an ill-defined 'other' places like Europe or America. In addition the story also take place in a pre-political, existing in a world untouched by sexual or gender politics, whereby the men who are in the comic does not have to search for their identity of whom they love. But while I was reading this I felt weird about the phenomenon as it seems like the creation of the homoerotic fiction is for the pleasure of the heterosexual desire, like the shonen'ai fiction is targeting the women reader while the rezubian fiction which is describing women who had sex with women for the gratification of male gaze. It's like heteronormative lens being pun through a homonormative lense. The reverse of what we usually talked about. I am also interested and confused by how queer the society of Japan is when she brought up the practice of rezupurei (lesbian play) which refers not to two women but to a biological women and a cross-dressed man, or to two cross-dressed men engaged in a sexual interaction. It is interesting to see how gender and sexuality is queered in the Japanese society in terms of their sexual practice and manga whereby the society is so constrict with the definition of sex and gender.

It Gets Better in Malaysia
I have come across a recent launch of it gets better campaign or making of short films.
She is the first to make the video and inspired the "It Gets Better in Malaysia" project. And of course her making of the video is also inspired by Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project.

When Hainan meets Teochew
I have also stumble upon a movie which is going to be release

And this particular teaser I think is good subject for us to queer about...

Especially when she said that seeing people like us being in a relationship is kind of repulsive. Well the director also mentioned that this is supposed to be an unromantic comedy or quote "anti-romantic comedy"

Well the video below I just think it is funny and hopefully will help everyone of you who are stressed up in study to unwind or put a smile on you guy... I hope the humor works... :)

Revisiting Butler's Courageous Refusal

For this assignment, I am revisiting, revising, and rethinking my first direct engagement entry on Judith Butler's refusal of the Civil Courage award offered to her by Berlin's Christopher Street Day (CSD) organization. My entry focusses on summarizing the event and its implications. My own reaction is summed up in one sentence at the end of the entry: "I would argue that declining the award and very publicly utilizing her power as a celebrity to disagree with the CSD is an act of great courage."

For the purposes of this assignment, I am most interested in adding some insights to my initial evaluation of Butler's refusal that I left out of my first entry (most of which I have gained over the course of the semester). My summary of the event is pretty spot on and I think that my evaluation of its implications for an intersectional approach to addressing marginality and oppression is accurate. Our challenging of identity politics in class has reiterated for me the need to address numerous causes of oppression simultaneously. Butler's refusal of the award serves to subvert the CSD's anti-Muslim sentiments; implying that we cannot ask for the advancement of queers while bashing other marginalized groups.

One of the most critical insights that I would like to add here comes from out discussions of globalization, postcolonialism, and transnationalism (also from the big ol' conference). I am interested in the implications on a transnational political movement of giving a German-based award to an American-based theorist. One of the panelists at the conference brought up the incident as being a catalyst for German activism and as an example of transnational influence on national politics. How might Butler stand in as agent of neo-colonialism?

Revisiting this entry has been an insightful experience for me. Having this assignment got me to go back and look through some of my past entries and it was fun to see how they have visually evolved over the semester. I have also noticed which entries I clearly put some more work into than others. My first direct engagement was pretty short and didn't include many questions or personal reactions. I am glad to have had an opportunity to go a little bit more in depth into the response (however rushed it might be, given the pile of work for other classes that is staring me down).

Just for fun:
Yer Doing It.jpg

Re-Mix/Dux/Visit Virtual Disruption

I think it's this reading that serve as the introductory to start queering. I revisit the article again and realized that I have understand more from what I have learned from the class and most importantly from my fellow course mate.

When I read through my first entry about this reading engagement I realized that all I talked about is just Education and how it facilitate the changing of the heteronormative society. But instead this article very much touch on the issue of cyber space, on how it can used to facilitate in the change.

I agree with what she is saying on page 3 that we should not see the "virtual" and the "real" as two separate entities. This just reminds me of what I have wrote on my (S)mashed Bibliography and relate to it. I mean the virtual would not exist with the existence of the real as it is created by the real for the purpose of what the real wanted it to be, may it be of pleasure, entertainment, politics, personal, economics... It is an extended space that is created for ideas, for the mind to live. Besides, some country where discourse of certain issues are silenced, the virtual world provided a space for the discourse but since their "real" are not allow to exist in the "real" space they have to move to another real space in order for the virtual space to exist.

While reading at page 5, when she is talking about how gay people are portrayed in the media and creating the "acceptance" of the heterosexual society, the convey of the idea have to be translate heteronormatively so that it can be understand. For example at page 4, where she was mentioning about a scene in American Wedding, whereby Bear, a gay club goer were assured his masculinity through his "management of girls" and this image sort of brought the idea of letting the straight knows that he is still somehow similar to them. A connection to the assumed normative world must be made in order for the image to be acceptable. Back to page 5, where she mentioned about how television programmes have normalized and fictionalized high-class gay and lesbian culture, this seems to be pretty much talked about in our class. That a lot of gay or lesbian culture are being shown through people with certain privilege like whiteness, financially and etc... This makes me think that it excluded a lot of things from the circle, like the bears, people of colour or people of other sexual practices, and due to this phenomenon anything that is queer of the "norm-queer" circle are usually considered as fetishes.

While on page 7, at the ending of the page where she mentioned about identity negotiation when one is in the virtual world, and the work of negotiation might not work out well for people who does not confirm with the understanding of another of how an identity should be perceived. I would like to think that one usually "enter" the virtual world as a non-identity body and they get to define and redefine them as time goes by. That the virtual world provide the freedom of defining identity, one can even have different identity at the same time. The pro of this is that it helps in self identification but the cons is when it is abused by people it can do harm to another verbally and psychologically. Like those verbal assault that have been reported and the teen suicide.

In page 10, she also mentioned that the protection of "innocent" in children is dangerous. Or maybe I should say that the maintenance of innocence, that is it is censorship, that is the total forbid of discussion of sexuality is harmful. And that the adult, the protector of innocence should try to let the innocent understand about it, as they might one day grow out from their innocence.

Well these are the new thoughts or perceptions that I have got from reading the article again at the end of this semester with all of what I have learned this semester.

My Choice: RE#4

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"Well no matter what as long as you are happy then I am happy..." this is actually a part of a conversation that I have with my best friend a while ago when I asked her what she think about me living a life of being truthful to myself, of understanding and accepting my sexuality. Her response to that resonates very much with the book that we are reading "The Promise of Happiness"

From what she said, I sort of have the duty for being happy cause I am given the responsibility for her happiness. That my cause of happiness will make her happy. But that conversation makes me feels that she is not happy for who I am but because of my happiness. That she does not share my cause of happiness and she just want the result of my happiness. Somehow saying that "I just want you to be happy". But I want her to be happy for me because of who I am and this not happy with the fact that she is not happy with the reason that I want her to be happy. And this I am not happy. But she is happy as I wanted to protect her happiness, as I was given the responsibility for her happiness. So I have to agree with her cause of happiness and still pursue my cause of happiness by acknowledging that she does not shared my cause of happiness.

I guess this very much show what is written by Sara Ahmed that "Happiness is not just how subjects speaks of their own desire and duty but also what they want to give and receive from others."

Furthermore I also try to see this from her point of view. I am thinking that she wanted to be happy for me cause I am going to be happy if she is happy. But at the same time she might not understand my cause of happiness, that is to live a queer life. To not fit into her script of happiness, thus she choose to seek for the similarity or the shared object of happiness. The similarity of the hetero-happy-script and the homo-happy-script. Or maybe to take the easy way out of achieving happiness, that is to ignore the object of happiness for each party and just to focus on the result of happiness.

I like what movieofmyself mentioned in the class as well about gay people having a family and children. I personally think that the constitution of family is somehow the symbol of happiness, the ultimate object of happiness, the result of love which also leads to happiness. But a family which is just a couple does not lead to happiness, it needs to build upon the object of happiness, which is the kids, the money, the house, all the privileges that assist life, that one is supposed to bring in to a family to have a happy family. But being a homosexual couple means that it is a non-reproductive family, because of this it makes up unhappy queer because reproductive nature is a heterosexual privilege. So by adopting kids somehow serve as a loop hole of giving them the privilege of obtaining happiness.

I would also like to bring in something that is mentioned by Ahmed, "There is no doubt that it is hard to separate images of the good life from the historic privileging of heterosexual conduct, as expressed in romantic love and coupledom, as well as in the idealization of domestic privacy."

Query Response

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Question: Why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

I think that having people saying that it is hard to tell that someone is gay or not is a good indication that the society is progressing, that people have start to realize (maybe) that stereotype does not necessarily tells about one's sexuality. But in some way it also bothered me that why does people have this urge to really know about one's sexuality, to really put them into a certain group.

Class Wrap-up...

I really don't know how to start things out. It's been a hectic semester but the willingness to experiment and challenge "how a class should be" is probably the aspect of the class that I appreciated the most. Due to my experience with this class I have come to a few realizations about myself and as well as a few questions I have about the integration of "technology" and the classroom.

In the beginning

I admit in the first few weeks I was extremely excited about the class. I saw peers that have been part of previous classes I've taken that I really respected. The class also included an issue that I am passionate about and that is the integration of social media into the classroom. I have another class this semester, youth and media, that talks about social media in the classroom as well as trying to discuss "critical media literacy", which is a whole different discussion. I felt that the first few weeks were a little "rough" there were a lot of trying to figure out logistical problems and I felt that because of those it got in the way of discussion and readings. There were a few class period that we just spent on logistical issues that popped up it was fine when we just started but it started to get really frustrating at points because we had some juicy articles and ideas that we could have discussed
I really do love the willingness to experiment in the class there was a lot opportunities where "we" as students could play around. There are very few classes with that flexibility and "freedom" although I wished we would have teased out the idea of "freedom" and "choice" a little further especially when we started discussing queer and youth because we started to really get into it but we had to move on. The size of the class also got in the way at times. Our first few weeks we had a relatively large class for some of the ideas or "experiments" we had. In order for some of our experiments like some of the blog entries and queer this entries suffered from the sheer number of people we had. In the beginning we had twenty or thirty students and if everyone posted something and to effectively engage with everything that got posted seemed a very large task. In this instance the willingness to be open to all ideas and to experiment almost had a counterintuitve effect in the class. I say thing because the class I mentioned earlier had a much more "rigid" outline but this last few weeks of that class people are playing with ideas they haven't done before or were much more willing to "do something different" compared to our class. I found it a little interesting. Our class was much more flexible and yet only a few really "played" but in a different class where there was not an explicit encouragement to experiment but not against it more students were willing to "play".

The Blog
Ok, for those that know me a bit the interenet, social media, and popular culture are somewhat of an obsession for me. Many of the aspects in this class, the blog, twitter, and etc. were right up my alley. I use them, except for twitter, quite a bit, but if anyone had notice my participation in the blog or twitter had been minimal at best. It's not that I don't read the blogs, I do, and if you are my facebook friend a lot of my statuses and posts can just be easily transferred over as blog entries and queer this entries. I put a lot of thought as to why this. I usually am a strong advocate for the integration of social media sites and networks into the classroom, but I didn't really participate. The moment that blog entries became assignments "worth something" I really started to not want to do it. At first I thought it was accountability because I really respect some of my peers and I just didn't want to put out "shit" but I started to think and process it some more and I realized that accountability is only a part of it. There is a certain "mreh-ness" to the mediums we use. I say "mreh-ness" because a huge reason I post on blogs and obsessively update my facebook status and etc. was because I just felt like it.
The moment value was assigned to each entry, each tweet, or post it didn't "feel" the same. Even though I may be doing similar things outside of our class blog I didn't want to do it in our blog. I wanted to do it "there". I felt a little "off" using something I do in my spare time and place it here even though it may be similar activities or content.
The funny thing is because of this class my stance on the integration of social media into the classroom had changed a bit. I was adamantly "for" it before now I don't really think so. Although I feel that the internet and social media can be powerful tools that can be used in the learning process it can't necessarily be fully integrated in it.
Honestly I felt a little disappointed, not because of "what" we were studying but "how" we were creating a space of learning. There were a lot of ideas thrown around and the class is full of individuals that are full of incredibly great ideas, but I felt that there was something that got in the way. I don't know what but something. Wrapping up I'm reminded of a day in class that stood out to me. It was the day we decided to "switch" up the space of the room. It took us ten minutes of the class to change the lay out. There were discussion on the possibilities of the different spacial arrangement some attempt to move things little but we stalled a bit, not from no one "knowing" what to do but the exact opposite too many and everyone willing to engage each other in the ideas. The very next class charts and entries were even made. I'm not saying that this is a "bad" thing but it indicates an issue that gets brought up in our classes and many classes before, at least for me, the issue of balance. On one had a very fluid and theoretical class is great but if it "gets" in the way of being able to create an "optimal" learning space is it all that great or the opposite can be applied if there is such a focus on optimal learning spaces that the processes of creating that space is never criticized. It's hard to say if it was good or bad because it's not neccessarily either. The class was an experiment and I appreciated it for that did I "love" the class... not really but I really loved the discussions that I had outside of the class with Sara and a few of the folks in the class but not the class itself.

Final thoughts and comments on Queering Desire


Though I've been tracking temporailty for a whole semester now, I don't know that I have a comprehensive knowledge of temporality theory, or theory that is concerned with time. Is that my own fault? Have I personally failed to understand or work through and alongside temporality? I don't think so. My experience in tracking this term, though far different from my experience with tracking terms in the past, has certainly been informing my experiences with queer theory and queering desire. The avenues through which I chose to approach the term could have been more direct, but I tend to think of and engage with various texts beside one another, which is why tracking terms through vastly differing, perhaps even contradictory, texts has been so beneficial.

I divided my three annotated bibliographies into three categories/themes: images, bodies, and failures -- which was pretty contrived, but my intention was to think through and alongside temporality not according to various theoretical approaches, but according to three indirectly connected problems of time -- problems that theory must, and has, inevitably, encountered and struggled with.

The question that presents itself to me now is, how can I (or we) understand temporality beside or through queering desire? I've been thinking of this question in terms of what they each do (and undo) when positioned beside one another: we've read and discussed a few pertinent texts in this class that point to a number of ways we can understand this relationship, namely, Lee Edelman's No Future, Muñoz's Cruising Utopia, and I would suggest even Kincaid and Stockton as staging problems in theorizing temporality alongside queerness and desire. Although I have certainly not exhausted my queering of temporality, I would suggest at this moment in my relationship to queer temporalities that queer temporality not only problematizes linear conceptions and applications of time, but undoes and rewrites inscriptions of life time -- such as "reproductive futurity" -- that serve to demarcate what it means for a life to have value, for a life to be livable.

on happiness.png

Confession: I love Twitter. I've blogged before, but until this semester I had never tweeted, and I definitely see its appeal. Both the blog cluster and diablog assignments really allowed me to see twitter's productive potential -- for the former, I tweeted as I read through the various blogs and it helped me catalog my readings of the cluster, which was helpful in keeping track of where I was reading and where I had followed a link and so forth. My diablog tweeting with Remy was a really great way for me to think through the reading and begin an initial conversation from which to organize my thoughts and our presentation. In general, though, Tweeting was also a really easy and casual way to share information and links with classmates or pose questions about the readings, etc., and to engage with what other people shared. I also follow a lot of newspaper/art forum/cinema publications as well as various celebrity figures, and I find Twitter to be a very convenient way to access information.

From what I've observed from many of our tweets, blog posts, and blogging dialogues, our class as a whole has been productively engaged in various queering practices, not least of which is the queering of academic engagement -- for instance, this (accidental?) conversation about Ahmed (did you guys plan this?):

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In academic settings, we, as classmates, do not utilize one another as resources nearly as often as we should, which is one reason why teaching and learning with blogs has proved itself rather subversive. I was definitely most engaged in the class and the theory at hand when I had also been actively engaged on twitter and on the blog -- and I felt most affected by the readings when I was paying attention to others' dialogue blogs and live tweets. If I were to give any advice to future blogging students, I would suggest to really experiment with how the blog allows us to engage theory with and beside one another.


Revisiting the Non/human.

This isn't necessarily a revisiting of a single reading/entry/summary so much as a revisit/reflection of the week of the non/human. Let's be honest, that week was pretty uncomfortable, wasn't it? I know I struggled a bit with discomfort -- discomfort with the readings and with our class discussions -- which is why I've decided to revisit it now.

I wrote about one reason why I was uncomfortable that week in my direct engagement with Robert Azzarello's "Unnatural Predators: Queer Theory Meets Environmental Studies in Bram Stoker's Dracula," namely, his mistreatment of the Dracula legend. I won't comment much more on that, but, I think it's been good to revisit that section of the class since I think I allowed myself to be too distracted and frustrated by that article and ignored much of the theory presented in Giffney and Hird's introduction. Although Sara's class summary was extremely helpful in working through what, for me, is very new material, I was still unsure at the end of the week, and am still questioning now, what the relationship is between queer theory and the non/human. I'm even still struggling with the significance of the slash -- though I no longer think, in this instance, that it is a result of lazy writing, but may actually be valid.

Screen shot 2010-12-10 at 5.27.48 PM.png(edited emphasis mine)

As I look back on that week's assignments, I realize that we did not pay much attention to vampire fascination in popular fiction, television, and movies as the schedule notes. This week, though, I received my much anticipated copy of Axwound, which contains a brief essay by Hannah Neurotica's dad, Michael H. Forman, about the Twilight series, and decided to revisit the blog we were assigned to peruse back in October -- my critique of which generally corresponds to my critique of Ahmed's chapter on "Unhappy Queers," in that it gives the movie(s) too much credit. While Natalie Wilson (of Seduced by Twilight) spends entry after entry unpacking the obvious political and theoretical problematics of the series, Forman, in his brief essay. "Twilight Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Undead," swiftly identifies and lays to rest, as it were, its most pressing transgressions:

The problem is not that I'm not a 12-year-old girl. Nor that even as pre-pubescent fantasy the film sucks. The problem is that it tramples on the honor of the vampire in film and literature. And while vampires might not have the right to make everyone their victims, they do have a right to their traditions. It's acceptable to make fun of them and see them satirically in film but to reinvent them like this is, well, like spitting on their grave. So what's really wrong with Twilight? What pisses off a long time vampire lover like myself? Where do I even begin?

He goes on to create a short list consisting of eight grievances against the franchise -- none of which address the concerns of sex/gender/desire, which, through primarily feminist critiques, have, until now, singly informed my knowledge of this series. Here's one example of where the series' vampire logic goes awry before we're even able to begin a critique of its more implicit themes and morals:

5) Vampires would not go to high school in an endless cycle. Edward Cullin was 108 years old. Every time he graduates they move so he can start at another school. On a four-year cycle he's done this 25 times. You want to talk about the torments of hell? Twenty-five 4-year cycles of High School Surely as immortal beings they can come up with something else to do. If I even dream I'm back in High School I wake up in a cold sweat. I know all creatures have an instinct towards survival but if I faced an eternity of High School I would take out an ad looking for Van Helsing and include Google Map directions to my house.

This essay is only a page and a half long, and it need not be any longer. How Wilson continues to generate enough interest to sustain her blog is beyond my comprehension. This is generally my problem with applying feminist and queer theories to popular culture: so much of it is beneath us and our theory, and the problems inherent in such things are practically superficial givens which are trumped by their even more apparent formal and logistical flaws. However, what I can respect a bit more from Wilson's critique is that her assessment of the franchise acknowledges that vampires are in fact fiction, that they symbolize some thing -- Forman writes as though vampires were real creatures with real victims, they are not. All of the characters in Twilight, as well as the classic vampire texts -- as Azzarello briefly gestures to -- represent something, they inform and influence popular culture through these representations, as Wilson understands.

Getting back to Giffney and Hird's introduction, though, I have a slightly different relationship to their calling attention to the cover image of the book than I did when I first read it now that affect theory is so fresh in my mind. I didn't think much about this when I was doing my initial reading of the introduction, since Sara had posted an image of the cover via Twitter, but I was not, and still have not, related to the physical text in the intended way. I had a print out of the chapter in my hand and a scanned image of the cover pulled up on my laptop, I was not flipping the book back and forth as I read through that paragraph about the salamander -- so my affective reaction was different from what was intended. How much more different, too, were I holding the actual book in front of the actual exhibit....

a QUED wrap up


I don't think I can define intimacy. Maybe I could say pretty definitively that intimacy doesn't just have to do with couples, with lovers. Intimacy isn't just about two people in love, being physically and emotionally close. Intimacy changes (can be queered) depending on the space you're in, with whom you're being intimate (in whatever way), and what that feels like. Intimacy is about kin, family (chosen and not), friends, and connections.

Tracking intimacy definitely gave me a wider range of understanding what its definition could be/is. It also made me less certain of one single meaning for the word. I don't think that I came up with a consensus throughout the semester on what intimacy is. But I think that that's okay. I'm okay ending with questions.

I would say, on the whole, the blog entries and the availability of twitter were helpful throughout the semester. I think I engaged with other peoples' thoughts in a way I wouldn't have if we only had in-class discussions. I explored the limits of the blog more than I did twitter. But I think the diablog was the best synthesis of blog, twitter, and in-person discussion that we had throughout the semester. When I had to facilitate the diablog discussion, I was on twitter like a crazy person, and really used the blog posts I wrote to work through the readings. And having people discuss what I'd written made the work that I'd done have a purpose/be worthwhile, and it helped me to work through my thoughts even further. If I were to change anything about my participation, I would be a more active tweeter. And I would make it so one could tag one's comments (because it's so annoying to not be able to see my comments listed under my tag).

I think you, @undisciplined, should definitely keep the same format for the first couple of weeks--lots of tutorials, not too many blog posts. It really helped to get me acquainted with the blog. Other than that, I think I would have liked different twitter assignments, maybe an experiment with live tweeting in class? But that's just me, and twitter.pngI'm still intrigued by twitter and its possibilities, especially as a way to have a conversation and critical discussion online, while also complementing/diverging/differing/supplementing an in-person discussion.

My thoughts in this entry can be summed up as: I was surprised and "floored" that the management of women (for prostitution) was the ultimate proof of masculinity. I also question how to trouble virtual spaces, such as social networking sites, and the various ways that we construct online identities and categories.

In revisiting this entry, I noticed a couple of things:
1) That I had a lot less fun playing around with the look of my entry--its pretty dry, one-note fonts and no images, no links! The horrors. But, really, one of the best things about becoming more familiar with this blogging format is that I've realized that I really like playing around with the format.

2) We had read less articles, so the entry seemed to lack depth. This also ties into the "look" of the entry--with more work put into the entry (both aesthetically and critically) the more depth it has.

3) My understanding and questioning of space has definitely changed, evolved, and deepened. It doesn't mean that I have less questions, or that I have a clearer understanding of it, but I feel like I have so much more to draw from to clarify or confuse the issue now.

I'd like to add my own "re" to this post: reflect.
Ultimately, I think the beauty of blogging is that our entries are all there, ready to be revisited, able to be tagged and revised, and it acts as a timeline for our thought processes. Personally, I think reflecting on readings and reacting to others' responses in a blog format has made me engage with the material differently.

A final thought, a revision of the semester, for me, would be to push myself to play with twitter as much as I did during my diablog facilitation, and to push my knowledge of it as much as I feel I did with my blog entries.

Chapter 3: Unhappy Queers Diablog

"To arrive into the world is to inherit the world that you arrive into. The family us a point of inheritance, shaping what is proximate to the child (see Ahmed 2006). The queer child fails to inherit the family by reproducing its line. This failure is affective; you become an unhappiness cause."

When a son or daughter comes out to a parent it is not unusual for the response to be "We love you anyway." The "anyway" here is a paradox.

"It is always paradoxical to say that something does not matter; if you have to say something does not matter, it usually implies that it does."

What is stated is "We love you anyway" but what is heard is "I'd rather this wasn't the case because this will stand in the way of not only my happiness because it is not really what I planned for you but will also but will also stand in the way of your happiness because it does not conform to societal ideals of happiness. However, if you insist on making things more difficult for yourself then I suppose that's all right. "

"The father is unhappy as he thinks the daughter will be unhappy if she is queer. The daughter is unhappy as the father is unhappy with her being queer. The father witnesses the daughter's unhappiness as a sign if the truth of his position: that she will be unhappy because she is queer."

Let's take the statement: I am happy if you are. Such a statement can be attributed, as a way of sharing an evaluation of an object. I could be saying I am happy about something if you are happy about something. The statement, though, does not require an object to mediate between the "I" and the "you"; the "you" can be the object, can be what my happiness is dependent upon. I will only be happy if you are. To say I will be happy only if you are happy means that I will be unhappy if you are unhappy. Your unhappiness would make me unhappy. Given this, you might be obliged to conceal your unhappiness to preserve my happiness: You must be happy for me.

If love is to desire the happiness of another, then the happiness of the subject who loves might depend upon the happiness of the other who is loved. As such, love can also be experienced as the possibility that the beloved can take your happiness away from you. This anxious happiness, you might say, forms the basis of an ambivalent sociality: in which we love those we love, but we might also hate those we love for making us love them, which is what makes us vulnerable to being affected by what happens to them: in other words, love extends our vulnerability beyond our own skin. Perhaps fellow-feeling is a form of social hope: we want to want happiness for those we love; we want our happy objects to amount to the same thing. Even if we feel guilty for wishing unhappiness upon our enemies, it is a less guilty wish than wishing unhappiness upon our friends. In other words, our presumed indifference toward the happiness of strangers might help us to sustain the fantasy that we always want the happiness of those we love, or that our love wants their happiness.

What about being unhappy? What does this mean? Does this mean queers need to be sad and wretched? The killjoy? Is unhappiness necessary? Can you be a happy queer? What does that mean? Does happiness come when you queer heteronormative standards? When you have a family? When you have children? Or does happiness come you deviate from any type of heteronormative expectations?

It is interesting to think of these questions and wonder what it means to be really happy or unhappy. Such ways of thinking help use to imagine living a life that is different from the "normal "ideals of happiness - whatever that may be. Freedom to be unhappy means freedom in itself. It would mean the freedom to cause unhappiness by acts of deviation.

My Choice Comment 2

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During our class on Tuesday we did a free write and for my last my choice comment I thought I would just share what my initial thoughts were.
In my mind becoming acceptable or the idea of acceptance implies that something is now being tolerated or allowed to happen whereas before the thing was not. I don't want to feel tolerated! I am a human being. My classmates, neighbors, fellow Americans, and everyone else that inhabits this planet are also human beings. As such, we should never be made to feel like acceptance is a privilege. It is our right! What is it that makes being a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male so valuable and superior to the rest of us?
~The only way to be happy and accepted is to come as close to the norm as possible including spouse, children, home, money, dog, picket fence.
~And what if I want some of those things? What if I want a child and a home and a dog and aspire to one day not struggle from paycheck to paycheck? Does this mean I am trying to be normal or attempting to reinforce the norms?

Ahmed Chapter 3 and Hegemonic Happiness

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StRAigTnEss+Happiness= THE GOOD LIFE

Queer happiness=inevitable unhappiness

Just Happiness:
"There is no doubt that the affective repertoire of happiness gives us images of a certain kind of life, a life that has certain things and does certain things" (90).

"The bliss in domestic bliss takes us somewhere, for sure" (90).

Heterosexual love becomes about the possibility of a happy ending; about what life is aimed toward, as being what gives life direction or purpose, or what drives a story" (90).

The institution of marriage: the idea that you cannot have LOVE, COMMITMENT, or a FAMILY without marriage.

*There must be this internal conflict in maintaining a self image that is congruent with heterosexual stereotypes.
*A psychological distance from their thoughts, feelings, and interests that are ALL viewed as incompatible with social scripts.
*Marriage as a compulsory act, which is both normal and necessary.
*This "otherness" then of not conforming to these gender and/or social scripts is a constant reminder of ambivalence, failed goals, conflict, and misunderstandings.
These scripts are what perpetuate the unhappy queer or the inability for "others" to ever be happy. Like the It Gets Better Campaign they strive for coupledom, family, "normalcy", and the ability to blend.

"To deviate is always to risk a world even if you don't always lose the world you risk" (91).

I'm happy if you are......."If my happiness is dependent upon your happiness, then you have the power to determine my happiness" (91).

But I Juuuuuust....
" if wanting happiness is not to want other things that might demand more from the if to say: 'I don't want you to be this, or to do want the child to have happiness by not giving up on these things." (92-93). my ahmed notes.jpg

The "things" mentioned here are a reference to heterosexual things. If you don't choose/succeed in these "things" you will never be happy.


I typed in happiness in Google search to see what images came up. I found the following and it reminded me of the artist Kara Walker and her use of black and white silhouettes. Walker's violently and sexually charged images forces the viewer to draw on culturally adjusted standards including racism and sexism. Walker's picture of only silhouettes shows structures of class, race, age, deviancy, reproduction, etc. The "happiness" picture clearly depicts white children who are fortunate enough to enjoy a beach vacation. I think Walker's work is perfect way to correlate what is considered happy. By using a heteronormative lens what is happy, who looks happy, who acts happy, can all be decided at a quick glance.

success happiness.jpg

Thumbnail image for kara walker between the thighs.jpg


Chapter 3: Diablog Response Post

When discussing the first part of Chapter 3, it was very clear that Ahmed targeted the downfall of queer unhappiness to the sadistic views of general society and towards negative familial influences. In each of the brief narratives she shared with us, Sarah would give us an overview of what was going on and then explain the reason for the unhappiness caused. It just goes to show you how much happiness really does play on other people in the sense that society is unhappy with the queer lifestyle, so it really does bring down the happiness levels of queer individuals, and furthermore it proves how selfish society is. Just because something like being gay/queer is different, rare, not the "norm" does not justify for discrimination to be imposed. It's wrong and immoral. Just think about it for a moment and really try to imagine what these people go through everyday--it's a haze of judgmental remarks. Ahmed truly captures somber ambiance illustrated in her text with such a wide range of examples out there in queer literature and film; it provides the foundation for resentment aimed at all the prejudiced heterosexuals and the emotions experienced by these queer victims. Sarah opens the eyes of both readers: to queer people, explaining how significant and ubiquitous unhappiness is throughout this minority population and to heterosexuals, exploiting their cruel and narrow minded perspectives and negative intentions towards their homosexual peers and family members.

Chapter 3: Unhappy Queers Diablog Entry

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Sarah Ahmed begins chapter 3 by claiming that, "The unhappy ending (of a book about queers) satisfies the censors while also enabling the gay and lesbian audience to be satisfied...and what mattered was the existence of a new book about us," (88-89). She explains her claim in further detail and states that happiness scrips = straightening devices and that deviating from the "straight" line = unhappiness. Ahmed implements an allegory and transitive property of straight versus gay life: the happy endings symbolizing straight life, the desire of literature signifying the fiction of desire, which would in turn = fiction of heterosexual desire (91).

"Happiness is not just how subjects speak of their own desires but also what they want to give and receive from others. Happiness involves reciprocal forms of aspiration: I am happy for you, I want you to be happy, I am happy if you are happy" (91). Ahmed tries to redefine happiness as a concept that is merely dependent on the other person in the relationship. She gets away from individuals trying to achieve happiness for themselves and instead incorporates all of these thought out scenarios on how someone can only be happy if their partner is. "If you're happy, I'm happy. My happiness is dependent on you. If my happiness is dependent upon your happiness, then you have the power to determine my happiness" (91).

Ahmed jumps into how queer life can negatively affect familial situations and mentions the lacking components one is not able to have if they are gay, a husband/wife and kids. She touches on a coming out story of Annie on My Mind and quotes, "I just want you to be happy. I can see that you've found love. It doesn't matter what from it takes as long as it makes you happy" (94). Ahmed claims, however that if you have to say that something doesn't matter, then it usually does and leaves a sense of worry and insecurity in that person. "The very pressure to be happy in order to show that you are not unhappy can create unhappiness for sure" (94-95). Again Ahmed captures examples of where queer intimacy is shattered by the interrogating outside family in the case of Sigmund Freud's Anna, who is happy being a lesbian but is unhappy about the ideas and structures concept: those who are unhappy with her, because she is not what they (the selfish family members) want her to be.

Ahmed states that because the world is unhappy with queer love is why so many queers become unhappy. A simple concept really--it's called wanting to be accepted by your family and friends, in other words...wanting to be seen and treated as an equal. Again, another example of familial nonacceptance is in Mary's case in The Well of Loneliness, where Mary "is in the very act of hiding underneath happy heterosexuality;" Ahmed furthers states, "You share not simply unhappiness but the unhappy consequences of being the cause of social and familial unhappiness" (101-102). An additional of this kind of unhappiness and unpleasing satisfaction is found in the movie, Lost and Delirious, where Tori is in love with Paulie, because she "cannot bear the thought of not living the life her parents have imagined for her" (105). Each of these examples illustrate the conformity a family can have on one of its own--pretty selfish and insecure if you ask me.

Ahmed mentions another unhappy aspect of queer life--visitation rights to a hospital by a partner--they didn't allow it in one of the films of These Walls Could Talk 2 with Edith to visit her lesbian lover Abby after she fell out of a tree. Ahmed noted that you become non relatives, you become unrelated, you become not; you're left alone in your grief and left waiting (108-109). Edith waits alone and Abby does alone in despair. "Queer intimacy leaves an impression on the walls." The house thus is the intimate space and when it is cleared out, it's like the relationship never existed and the happiness was never grown (109).

Sarah, towards the end of the chapter talks about queers being happy and happily queer. She mentions the short film that involve Fran and Kal--all they want to do is get pregnant and have a kid of their own--no man involved. They believe they can achieve happiness by having a child that looks like them and blends in, so they would appear to look more like a typical family and look like typical mothers at the playground (114). In the third film of If These Walls Could Talk 2, Molly is a character who is "happily queer in a world that is unhappy with queer lives" (118). Here, Ahmed writes about a sense of hope for queer people in that a sense of positive admiration instills a wall of confidence inside of these individuals. Ahmed sums it up best when she says, "People feel happy if they are with people like themselves" (121).

Day 18: December 7

More on Sara Ahmed and The Promise of Happiness for today. Before getting into that discussion, here our a few reminders:

  • Last week @nosecage asked if you would all be turning in your blog folders for a third time. While I initially answered "no," I have since realized that you will need to turn them in/email them to me a third time on the last day of class (a week from today on 12/14!).
  • Your remaining assignments are due on the last day of class. Here's a reminder about a few final assignments. Also, here's a breakdown of your final wrap-up:
It should be roughly 500-700 words and should include the following: 
  1. A summary of your thoughts on tracking your term/author/organization: what you learned about the term, a tentative definition of the term, what you thought about the experience of tracking your term. 
  2.  Some of your thoughts about participating on the blog and twitter this semester. What did you think about the assignments? Were they helpful in your critical exploration of our readings? Did they enable you to engage more/less with other students and/or with the topics? Did these assignments enable you to engage in queering our class/queering the academy? 
  3. You can also include any advice for me as I develop future versions of these assignments or advice for future students who will engage on the blog. What do you wish you would have known when you started class/started blogging? What would you like to tell other students?

Okay, now onto more discussion about The Promise of Happiness, especially the "Unhappy Queers." I know that the diablog group will be discussing this chapter on Thursday too. For today's class, we will continue building off of our killjoy discussion by critically exploring what happiness does and how to think about the value of unhappiness. While there are many ways to get into this discussion, I thought we could frame it around a popular topic of the semester: the "it gets better" campaign. In particular, I want to read the better in Dan Savage's "it gets better" video beside/through/against happiness and some of Ahmed's passages about it. 

First, let's watch the video again. As you are watching it, think about how Dan and his partner explicitly define better and implicitly define happiness. 


Consider the following passages from Ahmed:

  1. The recognition of queers can be narrated as the hope or promise of becoming acceptable, where in being acceptable you much become acceptable to a world that has already decided what is acceptable (106).
  2. One could also ask whether queer happiness involves an increasing proximity to social forms that are already attributed as happiness-causes (the family, marriage, class mobility, whiteness), which of course suggests that promoting queer happiness might involve promoting social forms in which other queers will not be able to participate (112).
  3. Our question becomes: can we sustain the struggle for recognition, the struggle to make the world bearable for queers, without approximating the very forms of happy heterosexuality (114)?
Pick one of the three passages from above and spend about 10 minutes writing a response.  

Now, let's watch another response/contribution to "it gets better" (thanks to reina):


Consider this video in relation to these two Ahmed passages: 

  1. To narrate unhappiness can be affirmative; it can gesture toward another world, even if we are not given a vision of the world as it might exist after the walls of misery are brought down (107). 
  2. We need to think more about the relationship between the queer struggle for a bearable life and aspirational hopes for a good life....I think the struggle for a bearable life is the struggle for queers to have space to breathe. If queer politics is about freedom, it might simply mean the freedom to breathe (120).
Drawing upon one or both of the above passages, spend another 10 minutes writing a response. Does this second "it gets better" video offer up a space to breath? Does it gesture toward another world?

See my whole handout, with more Ahmed passages, after the jump. 

Diablog: If These Walls Could Talk 2

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In the book, Ahmed brings up the movie, If These Walls Could Talk 2, and I didn't really mention it in my last post, so I wanted to make another one.

I watched the first part of the movie, about the two older women and one dies in an accident. Edith, the one who lives, struggles with how to deal with her pain, especially because no one really understands how difficult it is for her to lose the woman she loves, Abby.
There is one part specifically that stand out as really portraying her sadness...

Edith is waiting for the verdict the doctor gives and she goes up to the desk to ask about what the doctor had to say and the nurse tells her that Abby died at 3 AM that morning. Edith asks why no one got her and the nurse just tells her that she's "sorry." The look in the actresses eyes combined with the silence seems, to me, to portray a deep sadness that maybe words just can't get across.
(towards the end of the clip)

[Sara's note: I embedded the youtube clip directly in your entry.]

Do you think silence may be the form of communication that displays the feeling of unhappiness most effectively?

Query Response

Campusgirl23: Query: Should facebook offer the option to describe one's sex/gender instead of just checking a male/female box?

I believe that they should offer that option to those that feel the need to truly identify themselves as a more specific gender or sexual identity. Facebook has so many options and tools to do various things online and there is a constant flash of advertisements on the side that are trying to promote certain products based upon one's interests. If Facebook wanted to try and make more money and promote products, by allowing the option to choose a specific gender identity, Facebook could very well receive a bigger profit.
However, besides Facebook's advertising I can understand that by allowing the option of choosing one's specified gender identity could also lead to a lot of other issues related to the work field and even in the person's personal life. If any of those issues were to arise due to Facebook's option to choose a specified gender, Facebook may have to legally deal with a very serious issue. I'm not sure if Facebook would want to do that. However, I still feel that the option should be available and the choice would be up to that individual whether or not they would want to disclose those personal details.

Finally time to Wrap-It-Up!

My tracking topic was on Masculinities: I first decided to analyze general concepts of masculinity- hypermasculinity, "real men don't cry", defined gender roles, and why our culture is built around these constructed "norms" of excessive masculinity. I analyzed a few youtube videos including Tough Guise, interviews with children on gender roles, and representations of masculinity in Disney Movies. I started paying attention to masculine dominated areas such as Wall Street and Athletics which value aggression, dominance, and competition. I still have no answers regarding why we continue to teach these things to our kids even though we have progressed as a society. The lines are more blurry than they have ever been before, yet we still possess a dominant ideology of masculine meaning manliness, toughness, aggressive, dominant, and unemotional. Femininity is still considered to be politeness, submissive/passiveness, and this "i need a man to save me" mentality.

Blurring these lines is necessary to more gender fluidity and understanding of multiple ways to express genders. Over the course of the semester I have seen how gender and masculinity are structured, set up, and perpetuated and by what means. Although I often see females that, to me, are overly feminine or hyperfeminine I don't see it as commonplace as males who are hypermasculine or excessively masculine. This is the masculinity crisis. Excessively masculine men are seen as desirable, while excessively feminine women are not desired nearly as much as they were 20 years ago. Men are starting to respond better to smart, educated, independant women but women still tend to desire hypermasculine men (these are all generalizations of course). Masculinity turns boys into men, and women into idiots.

My experience with tracking this topic has been positive. It was hard to find the areas to focus specifically on because I see so many interesting aspects of masculinity. Yet, I am happy that I chose and engaged with masculinities.

Where does this leave me now? I really enjoyed this class! I enjoyed the freedom to engage on my own terms and at my own pace. I liked that I could trouble the normal class structure and engage with the material in a multitude of ways that benefit me the most. My biggest problem with classes has always been the structure: due dates, tests, papers, strictly teacher student engagement. Having the creativity to learn at my own pace, comment on my peers thoughts, and learn from someone besides the teacher, and even learn from myself has been so positive. The fact that I could even trouble my own previous thoughts and go back and analyze my train of thought benefitted me so much.

Suggestions? I would suggest narrowing the focus a bit more. It was tricky to keep track of so many different thoughts and areas of focus that were specific to each individual on the blog that it sometimes got overwhelming.

Sara, thank you, thank you, thank you! I wish I had more opportunities to take another class with you. I'm SAD to say this is my LAST GWSS class.

Query 3: On "Boxes"

Query: Why has it become so hard to tell if someone's gay or not?

Someone else wrote on this earlier in the semester but I have been thinking about it a lot. I agree with their answer that things are changing and progressing and we're starting to see people cross gender binaries more often. Therefore, acceptance to alternate styles and lifestyles is fostering. I think it's important that you can't tell, not just with being gay but with a lot of stereotypical categories. The more blurry and fluid these categories become the more we are on the road to a tolerant society. I value ambiguity and things that aren't so cut and dry. I think it's important we stop looking to categories to understand people. Instead, we should get to know them and find out for ourselves.

I hope it becomes harder and harder to tell... that's progress. But it's interesting to examine why people feel uncomfortable not knowing. And better yet, why it makes us so uncomfortable to ask. Is it because we don't want to offend? Isn't it more offensive to make an assumption about that person without giving them a chance to categorize themself? It's important we make it safe to answer these questions and open dialogue around them. The more we ask, the more we will come to understand. Refusing to ask is resisting understanding, and that type of ignorance will not foster tolerance, only continue to reinforces "boxes".

The following exercise traces lines of assemblage, (queer) time, and queer/ing pedagogy, and balances with them stakes of queer/trans life and death.

So, in case you haven't heard, the University of Minnesota Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally Programs Office will soon be receiving a copy of the film Reteaching Gender and Sexuality and in spring 2011 hopes to bring this awesome group to our campus for a screening event.

Have you watched the preview yet?

Reteaching Gender and Sexuality from PUT THIS ON THE MAP on Vimeo.

In summary: Reteaching Gender and Sexuality, by and for young people from its inception, illuminates some of the wonderful diversity of queer and trans youth lives in ways that help viewers get the gears turning to rethink identity, power, and oppression. The Seattle area-based group [Put this on the {Map}] urges people to think big-- way beyond bullies --and work through making change simultaneously at the levels of systems and deep-seated beliefs. Hope so directed is an important thread for this (and further, my continuing) venture into assemblage theory and Puar's writing, which draws together texts all published online this November.

I'm definitely excited to see the full (34-minute) documentary ASAP. The statements in the preview, even the more I watch it, appear for the most part exactly to the point and really resonate for me. In fact, I think they put out a lot of the same messages that I also try to get through in my teaching and trainings-- which makes me all the more interested in how this group, their movie, and their work in Seattle /nationwide happen. My favorite lines include "The very concept of coming out is an old, sad idea." That kind of humor, in one succinct sentence, shows exactly the kind of bravery I want to embody in all that I do.

I was fortunate to discover Reteaching Gender and Sexuality right when it came online, through... twitter! I can no longer remember who would have tweeted it first, as within the first two days following it was circulated by most of my friends and professional connections via twitter, email, Facebook, and pretty much every network I am connected to or regularly access. I was home solo with my pets when I first watched the video and, forgetting to immediately chat about it with my sweetheart, received it the next day as a forwarded email from her work listserv (the GLBTA Programs Office). Before I got her email though, I had also rewatched the video and sent it to two of her bosses recommending they buy it, leaving a tab up on my laptop to watch together later. I heard back from the GLBTA Programs Office that they had all watched the clip in their weekly staff meeting and were already on top of ordering a copy and arranging an event. I love all the ways this process makes me ponder queer time, GLBTA community, and queering pedagogy.

The recent online teach-in on queer suicide from journal Social Text provides multiple interesting reads beside the work of Put this on the {Map}. I am particularly interested in the contributions of Ann Pellegrini and, of course, Jasbir Puar. Both (and the whole module) were introduced to me by Ava, and both help me with continuing to shed light on many complex feelings about the current shiftings of queer politics.

"Making It Better in the Classroom: Pedagogical Reflections" is rather self-explanatory in its focus, so I'll cut to the important details. First, I am really digging Pellegrini's aim in teaching her class "Religion, Sexuality, and American Public Life" at NYU. It incorporates many key tidbits from Reteaching Gender and Sexuality, as reflected when she writes things such as, "I want students to understand just how cramped the frame of tolerance is as a way of making room for social difference, not just for "being" different in public life, but for "doing" difference." Pushing even more, she later reminds us of the importance of context in thinking pedagogically. Just as my words vary from university classroom to cafe to board meeting, she explains that "What we would argue before a judge, as we make our pitch to and through legal tradition and precedent, is not the same as what we might be able to dare in a different forum, in debates within a particular religious community, say, or over dinner tables with family members or friends." I like to think I'm always keeping these processes in mind, but there's also a lot to be said for repetition helping my own learning.

I don't want to overquote, so I am lastly struck by her insightful comments on designing coursework,

I need assignments that give them a chance simultaneously (1) to analyze the way mediatized grids of intelligibility shape what we can say, know, or experience as "true" and (2) work within and even push up against these frames in the course of taking a position in a public debate.

Thus Pellegrini's reflections end meditating on the coincidence of the launch of It Gets Better with the midterm assignment in her class, which led to about one third of the class making their own It Gets Better videos. She closes on the important impact of taking risks while teaching on messy and beautiful truths, citing something like failure in her own attempt at an It Gets Better vid as an example for the class. Perhaps over winter break I can check out their Youtube channel to see what kind of responses the assignment received. This piece makes me feel kind of warm, fuzzy, and optimistic about my educational hopes and dreams.

"Ecologies of Sex, Sensation, and Slow Death", on the other hand, puts me in a completely different place. Reading Puar is (becoming) a bit like going into a trance. I get kind of uhh...


In short, Puar discusses a wide manner of things that get lost in the reductive namings of queer suicides. She brings up arguments particularly related to the recent press release from Rutgers group Queering the Air. More than just highlighting exclusion as surprising, Puar moves to show us that this violence is always already happening in some way. She also brings up inquiries that have been quite popular in class during our finer It Gets Better moments-- of not getting better, of who the bullies are, of who pays the prices of some getting better. I highly appreciate how she weaves throughout the idea of slow death and its affective prospect for queer/trans subjects. I wonder, could this help give us different terms on which to think through life for queer and trans young people struggling to shift social consciousness? I crave more details, but can settle for what she's given me. What about our bodies? Which bodies will come to bear success in the future of GLBT identities and which will bear the excruciating pain that defines this cost?

For instance, how do queer girls commit suicide? What of the slow deaths of teenage girls through anorexia, bulimia, and numerous sexual assaults they endure as punishment for the transgressing of proper femininity and alas, even for conforming to it? What is the political and cultural fallout of re-centering the white gay male as ur-queer subject? How would our political landscape transform if it actively de-centered the sustained reproduction and proliferation of the grieving subject, opening instead towards an affective politics, attentive to ecologies of sensation and switchpoints of bodily capacities, to habituations and un-habituations, to tendencies, multiple temporalities, and becomings?

On a related closing note, in a somewhat less recent article Puar gave me another snippet of something useful by asserting that "liberal inclusion has always been exclusive." What does it look like when/as that changes, crumbles?

Pellegrini, Ann. "Making It Better in the Classroom: Pedagogical Reflections." Social Text 21 Nov. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.

Puar, Jasbir. "Ecologies of Sex, Sensation, and Slow Death." Social Text 22 Nov. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.

Puar, Jasbir. "To be gay and racist is no anomaly." The Guardian, 2 June 2010. Web. 24 Nov. 2010.

Put This on the {Map}. Reteaching Gender and Sexuality. Dir. Megan Kennedy. RevelryMEDIA&METHODS, 2010. Web.

Diablog: Ahmed

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I think possibly the best way for me to do this is to go through by scanning what I read and summarizing what I believe Ahmed is saying and then following with questions that I had when reading it.
So let's begin Chapter 3: Unhappy Queers.

Ahmed references the book, Spring Fire, and how the ending of the book (about two lesbians) had to have an unhappy ending or publishers wouldn't take it. Vin Packer resigned to this limitation but ironically, it turned out as a good thing. "The unhappy ending becomes a political gift: it provides a means through which queer fiction could be published." (88) Basically, the book served to satisfy everyone: the general populous because the ending was sad, and the queer community because there was finally a book about them.
This brings to mind Machiavelli and The Prince, which is a philosophical novel in which Machiavelli sends the message "the end justifies the means."
Do you think it's ok for Spring Fire to end badly just for the sake of having a book about queers? Or would it be better to not sacrifice the integrity of your novel the way you wrote it and simply not have it published?
It seems to almost go against what Judith Butler is saying about creating trouble- I feel like she would probably have sacrificed the book and left it unpublished than have sacrificed the conclusion of the book just to have it published.
Although it's true that "we are not obliged to 'believe' in the unhappy ending by taking it literally, as 'evidence' that lesbians and gays must turn straight, die, or go mad' it is a kind of statement, intentionally or not, that the first book about queers ends horribly.

However, the ending of the book led Ahmed into a discussion about the importance of acknowledging that society looks at queer life as difficult or hard or wrong depending on who you're talking to. She says, "Rather than reading unhappy endings as a sign of the withholding of moral approval for queer lives, we must consider how unhappiness circulates within and around this archive, and what it allows us to do." (89)
To me, what's she's saying is that it's crucial for us to see the unhappiness of queer life, but perhaps more importantly, the genesis of the unhappiness.
She goes into how we view happiness and how the statement, "I am happy if you are happy" does't necessarily mean what we think it does. The logic follows:
1. I am happy if you are happy.
2. I will only be happy if you are.
3. I will be unhappy if you are.
4. Your unhappiness would threaten my happiness.
5. You have a duty to be happy for me.
Do you think this is a legitimate argument?
Ahmed clarifies that not all speech can be read this way, but she does say that "we [should] note the swiftness of conversion between desire and duty; the very desire for the happiness of other can be the point at which others are bound to be happy for us." (92)
To further illustrate this point, Ahmed takes an excerpt from Annie on My Mind when the father is telling the daughter what he thinks her life will be like should she choose to embrace the fact that she is a lesbian.
"I've never thought gay people can be very happy-- no children for one thing, no real family life. Honey, you are probably going to be a damn good architect-- but I want you to be happy in other ways, too, as your mother is, to have a husband and children. I know you can do both. . . ." I am happy, I tried to tell him with my eyes. I'm happy with Annie; she and my work are all I'l ever need; she's happy, too-- we both were until this happened." (93)
Ahmed explains that what the daughter means by "until" which is "the moment that the father speaks his disapproval. . .The unhappy queer is here the queer who is judged to be unhappy: the judgment of unhappiness creates unhappiness." (93) The question the follows, for me, is "how much unhappiness is caused by the expectation of unhappiness?" Especially within a family unit, I think Ahmed may be inherently right in that your happiness depends on the happiness of everyone else within the unit not only because your tied by blood but also because you are in such close proximity with one another.

Later in the Chapter Ahmed talks about a different view of happiness and draws illustrations for the concepts from the book The Well of Loneliness. There's a scene in the novel where a group of people are collected in an are and Adolphe Blanc, a character who has been shunned from society along with the rest of the people in this group, talks to the two main characters, Stephen and Mary. Referencing the greater part of society, those who aren't queer, Adolphe says, "The are thoughtless, these happy people who sleep." (96) Ahmed says that this statement speaks "the truth of the novel: the happiness of the straight world is a form of injustice."
So is this true? Does the happiness of straights and the fact that it's an expectation that a straight person will be happy affect the happiness of queers? Is the argument "Straights will be happy, queers are not straight, and thus queers will not be happy" a valid one?
I think The Well of Loneliness attempts to argue that yes, it is valid. The end of the book is sad as Stephen gives Mary over to a man because she can never be happy with Mary because by doing that she will make Mary an outsider and deprive her of the happiness she might receive from other people by being with a man. Ahmed explains this as "Certain subjects might appear as sad or wretched, or might even become sad or wretched, because they are perceived as lacking what causes happiness, and as causing unhappiness in their lack."
The end of the book was clearly unhappy, but perhaps unhappy in a different sort of way. Mary ended up with a man at the end of the novel, but there was clearly unhappiness surrounding the arrangement and for Stephen there was absolutely nothing happy about giving up Mary. Stephen also proclaims hatred for those people who pretend to be straight and by doing so, never having to go through what she is going through now: "As for those who were ashamed to declare themselves, lying low for the sake of peaceful existence, she utterly despised such of them as had brains; they were traitors to themselves and their fellows she insisted."
This brings to mind the idea of "ignorance as bliss." Personally, I don't believe in that saying, but I think the concept should be brought up. What Adolphe said earlier in the novel about the happy people who sleep also feels like it's referencing the "ignorance is bliss" idea. 
It seems like straight people are grouped together as one collective source of discrimination. And this group doesn't really intentionally discriminate against queers, but instead chooses to ignore their existence altogether, which may be worse or not, but the result is that they don't need to acknowledge the fact that there are people who are different and because of that, they are outsiders who feel like they don't belong because the straight community makes them feel that way because they think the queers feel that way. (Follow that?) So, again, bliss belongs to the straight and the queers are left with unhappiness.
It's as if the world is empty to the queer community and is a constant backdrop for unhappiness, wretchedness and disappointment. In the movie, Lost and Delirious, there is a scene where one of the characters, Paulie, who is lesbian, kills herself- kind of. She and a bird who she had found and brought back to health fly away together. She jumps off the roof of a building and "Paulie becomes the bird, or the bird becomes Paulie, the open sky above the school signifying both the prmise of another world and the wrtched emptiness of the one they leave behind." (105)
All of these examples, Ahmed says, should help us to realize that it's important to embrace the "unhappy queer." "The unhappy queer is unhappy with the world that reads queers as unhappy. The risk of promoting the happy queer is that the unhappiness of this world could disappear from view. We use stay unhappy with this world."
She also says that "in being acceptable you must become acceptable to a world that has already decided what is acceptable," (105) meaning, I think, that through literature and other media the queer community can display to the straight community what it truly means to be queer and possible convey to them that it's really the straight community that causes queer unhappiness- not that queers are unhappy being queer.

Ahmed also talks about the actual idea of happiness and what it really means, and how being "happily queer" is not necessarily synonymous with being a "happy queer." In the book, Rubyfruit Jungle, on of the characters, Molly, has this refusal to be put back into place and loves the fact that she is a lesbian and she is perfectly happy to be a lesbian even if that means being made fun of and constantly being a source of unhappiness for those around her. She is essentially the exact opposite of Shirley Temple, who she brings up and uses her symbolic image negatively as opposed to positively as one would assume most everyone in our society today would have. Is it fair to use her image in this way? To make her out to be a spineless, typical girl, who conforms to every stereotype the straight world can create?
Later in the novel Molly, explains to the dean why she is lesbian: "I know it's not normal for people in this world to be happy, and I'm happy." (117)
What do you think Molly means by this? Ahmed explains that Molly has performed "the ultimate act of defiance by claiming her unhappiness as abnormal." (117)

third query response

1 query.png

I think this is an interesting question to mull over, especially after reading Butler's "Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy." Her essay talks about livable and grievable lives, and what constitutes each of these. Vulnerability is a key element to her argument as well. Butler writes:


I think vulnerability is also at the heart of this query. How does having an "online self" change the way that we're vulnerable to each other? Being online doesn't quite negate the reality of our bodies, which Butler argues are simultaneously ours and not ours, but definitely adds another dimension of connection and vulnerability to our "selves." I see an online self as an in-between between a corporeality and a virtual-reality. Bodies still inform lived experiences that are shared online, but their limits can be suspended in a way, for some time, because an online community has a virtual collective body.


DE #2
By campusgirl23 on October 17, 2010 4:57 PM | 0 Comments
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.
This was my entry from October. After reviewing it I think that my opinion is reinforced by my studies in this course. It is important to review your previous thoughts regarding controversial topics to see how you have grown mentally. Also it can be productive in widening your view. A topic such as the one discussed above needs time and different supplemental ideas and reading and comments to further understanding of it in my opinion. This means that blogging can be beneficial indeed. Not only to review your ideas from previous comprehensions of assignments, readings, and ideas, but to gage how you have changed productively. It is fun to look back at your entries from the beginning of the semester and see how my knowledge in topics discussed in the class has increased.

A note about final blog assignments

First, here's a link to my blog entries about "living and grieving beside Judith."

I have extended the deadline for all remaining blog assignments. They are all now due on 12/14, the last day of class.

There is one final discussion that we have not discussed yet, your final blog wrap-up. Here's what I wrote about it in the syllabus:

Finally, you are required to submit a final wrap-up on your experiences tracking your chosen topic and on helping to develop and participate in the blog and on following our twitter feed. This wrap-up can come in the form of a lengthy blog entry (or series of entries) or a separate (more formal) reflective essay. Please see me if you have other thoughts on how to organize/develop/articulate your reflective thoughts on your topic and your experience with the blog.
Here's some more information about this final assignment. It should be roughly 500-700 words and should include the following:

  • A summary of your thoughts on tracking your term/author/organization: what you learned about the term, a tentative definition of the term, what you thought about the experience of tracking your term. 
  • Some of your thoughts about participating on the blog and twitter this semester. What did you think about the assignments? Were they helpful in your critical exploration of our readings? Did they enable you to engage more/less with other students and/or with the topics? Did these assignments enable you to engage in queering our class/queering the academy?
  • You can also include any advice for me as I develop future versions of these assignments or advice for future students who will engage on the blog. What do you wish you would have known when you started class/started blogging? What would you like to tell other students? 

Just as a reminder, here's the information about the Remix/Redux/Revisit blog entry: The purpose of this entry is to revisit an entry, reading, or topic from early in the semester and to critically reflect on how your perspective has shifted (or been reinforced) during the course of the semester. Here's how:

  • Pick a reading, one of your past entries or a one of my class summaries from the first half of the semester (up until 10/19-10/21).
  • Write up a 1-2 sentence summary of your thoughts from that time.
  • Then, critically reflect on how your thinking about the reading, the topic of your entry, or the topic of that class discussion has shifted (or how it has stayed the same--or been reinforced).
  • As part of this critical reflection, make sure to offer up some of your thoughts on whether or not it is helpful to revisit past entries--is this a benefit of blogging? Is it helpful/not helpful to have access to all your/our past ideas? Are my class summaries helpful in clarifying the concepts (or complicating them in productive ways)?

Query Response due 12/6

Question: Why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

I think that not all gay people flaunt their "gayness" for lack of a better term. This is similar to someone who is straight not talking constantly about their sexuality. I believe that it is better to not know immediately what someone's sexuality is. This prevents judgment and preconceived notions when first meeting someone. Straight individuals do not walk around all day talking about how much they like the opposite sex and I do not see why straight people, straight men in particular, expect gay people to be incredibly open in letting everyone know that they are gay. Some things are private and maybe gay people just do not want to be treated differently than anyone else by co-workers or acquaintances.

My friends that are gay prefer to be publicly open with their homosexuality but that is a personal choice. With our society it is up to the individual on how much he or she would like to be disclosed to strangers. It takes courage in my opinion to be yourself no matter who your audience is.

M______ F______ AGGRON.

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I saw this picture on facebook and I wondered about everyone's reaction to the word "faggot"? As well as some of the other degrading phrases? The picture is obviously meant to be humoress but did it breech something somewhere? Or is pointing out the hurtful phrases simply being a "kill joy"?
Link is posted because the picture itself probably shouldn't be on the blog:

a tip for embedding

I found out how to embed a Google Books preview window (see example in "rethinking kinship & space as i track intimacy")!

Just a caveat: I'm not positive this works with all previews on Google Books, but it works for those that it works for. If you get my drift.

1) Find your article/book preview that you want to embed in Google Books.

2) Click on the article to get you to the preview page (the one where you can scroll through the pages of the article/book).

Picture 4.png

3) In the upper right-hand corner of the page, click on the link icon, which gives you the URL and an embed link. Highlight the embed link, and copy it.

Picture 3.png

4) Now, back in your blog entry on the QUED site, paste the embed code wherever you want in your entry, and you'll see a scrollable, Google Books preview window of your book/article. (Hopefully!)

more ecstasy!

Direct Engagement 3: Unhappy Queers!?


For my third Direct engagement, I want to consider the idea of happiness and unhappiness, specifically, the unhappiness of the queer. In Sara Ahmed's "The Promise of Happiness", we begin to think more critically about what it means to be happy and who actually gets to be happy. We have all heard and spoken the phrase "I just want you to be happy", and this seems like a genuine concern for another person's happiness. Ahmed dissects it though to mean something very different. What we are truly saying when we use that phrase is that "my happiness is dependent on your happiness and if you are not happy than I cannot be either, which means that you have control over my happiness". How can another person have control over your own happiness? That to me is disconcerting since I know that I for one would not like to have control over another's happiness and most certainly vice versa. Or looking at it from another angle, "my happiness is dependent on yours and I want to be happy so you have an obligation to be happy for me". It seems to me that there are many expectations and demands placed on the idea of happiness when should it not be up to the individual alone to decide what their happiness should be base upon? This brings me to my next question of the unhappy queer. I for one am familiar with the coming out conversation and hearing that concerned response escape the lips of your parents, "I just want you to be happy and I think this is going to make your life harder". Which life is being made harder? Looking at the novel Annie on My Mind, the father says to his daughter, "but I want you to be happy in other ways, too, as your mother is, to have a husband and children". Is this the only way any of us can truly find happiness? By marrying someone that is biologically the opposite sex and starting a family? I sure hope not. Is the happiness that I have felt over my lifetime just a meaningless façade because I have not followed this path?

Bib # 3: Religion


In analyzing space, I have had to get better acquainted to the possible definitions or contexts in which "space" can be analyzed. In my third annotated bibliography I have decided on religion as a concept of "space" and in this sense I am inquiring on the "queering" of a religion or religious space through the various ways in which it could be defined: A spiritual space, moral space or in a more literal sense, the involvement of non-normative identities within the congregation.
The Episcopal Church while known for its strong Anglican roots is a liberal Christian community that is notably against the death penalty and supported civil rights groups and affirmative action. Today, the Church calls for the incorporation and equality of gay men and lesbians. The current presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female presiding bishop in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is an international association of Anglican churches and the third largest Christian denomination in the world including Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. In 2009, The Episcopal Church passed a resolution which allowed any ordained ministry within the Communion to allow gay men and lesbians within the clergy and membership of the church. This ended a previous resolution passed in 2006 that served as a moratorium to electing gays and lesbians into the clergy as a reaction to the election of V. Gene Robinson in 2003. While it was not taken lightly in the community (4 dioceses split from the Episcopal Church), many feel that the large population of openly gay and lesbian clergy deserve representation in a faith that bases relationships on its authenticity. To further the changes occurring within the Church, the House of Bishops and Deputies is currently considering creating a liturgy to bless same sex couples. Laurie Goodstein, July 14th 2009, The New York Times: Espiscopal Vote Reopens a Door to Gay Bishops
This year, Mary Glasspool became the first elected openly lesbian Episcopal Bishop and is one of Out Magazine's "100 Portfolio". 35-Glasspool.jpg
Buddhist leadership, on the other hand, cites the five ethical precepts and monastical rules. These strictly prohibit monks and laypeople against any sexual misconduct and all sexual activity for the latter. However, western Buddhism is known for its highly liberal politics and stances for social equality. The religion place great emphasis on tolerance, compassion for others, self-seeking enlightenment and many temples offer same sex wedding ceremonies and religious rites. As a practitioner of Zen Buddhism myself, I was interested in the LGBTQA community within Buddhism and came across the Gay Buddhist Fellowship, a support group within the Buddhist practice in the gay men's community in the San Francisco Bay Area. From their website, I read a series of newsletters written by various members of their community. The most prominent reading being Gay Sexuality and the Dharma written by Eric Kolvig who addresses the question of where sexuality can be interpreted and extrapolated from within the Buddhist Dharma (teachings). The main point I received from Kolvig's article was his interpretation of the text which states that Buddhist texts state only of the different between "skilled" and "unskilled" or good and bad. Sexual acts are permitted only if said sexuality is used in a way that does not intentionally or unintentionally harm another person. He speaks on celibacy, monogamy, repression, meditation and sex, physical vs emotional pleasure and sexuality as it pertains to a dharma driven practice. Within each he reinforces positive image in one's sexuality and an explanation as to how in a religious context, one can be reaffirmed in both one's faith and sexuality. Neither has to be separate from the other nor does one need to take more precedence.
For my third source I found a senior paper submitted by Nathan Gass to Trinity International University entitled The Homophobic Church: New Perspectives in Reaching Out to the Gay Community. While giving a strong theological outlook on homosexuality, Gass examines the current social views surrounding homosexuality and the strain of churches to re-examine theological texts to support a changing view. The church, Gass states has been " confused and unsure of how to address homosexuality
realistically" The best option being to look at the person individually instead of focusing on a community as a whole that may not reflect who he/she is. Gass examines the story of Sodom and Gomorrah by analyzing the debate between the views singularly pertaining to homosexuality vs ambiguity of multiple sins. This article ended up placing together my previous sources, pertaining to the changing demographics and world views of the Christian church and the tolerant decision of focusing on the individual of the Buddhist faith. What made his thesis strong was its lack of bias. While Gass is a theologian, his aim in his thesis is not to take one side or the other but simply to shed light on both sides of what is an can be.

While spending a long time researching this I found myself asking in what ways are ministries queering their space? While I focused primarily on non-normative sexualities, queering a religious space could mean developing inclusionary practices that embrace all races, disabilities and spiritualities. Consider this -> I found a powerpoint by the 02.23.09 FINAL Welcoming Synagogues Project.ppt. Are they also queering their space by simply considering an alternate viewpoint?

Also check out: LBT Muslim Women
LGBT Synagogue
Resources for Gay and Lesbian Hindus and Vaishnavas

Direct Engagement # 3 -- Sedgwick

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In the Sedgwick article, she talks about how although homosexuality is no longer formally considered a pathology, there are some aspects that are still considered to be such. This includes the idea of the misappropriation of gender in children. What she finds to be most problematic, in my opinion, is that masculinity in females is not seen as as much of a problem as femininity in boys. Boys that play with female toys or dress in feminine clothing are often outcast, or "othered" by both society and the "helping professions" like psychology. What she says is that society makes life really difficult for effeminate boys. What she describes is the reasoning between the psychological analysis of effeminate boys and how they came to be so, the answer often lies in the acceptance or non-acceptance of the boys by other boys or men.
I agree with Sedgwick that the idea of effeminate boys is problematized in most major social institutions, and even within the gay movement, instead of accepted. Homosexuality is not a disease, and neither is gender identification. What I find troubling in our society and within our institutions is that sex and sexuality have become so important that there are socially constructed concepts like gender that are based on these elements of life. It seems almost impossible for a person to be judged on who they are rather than who they love or what they wear or how they act. "Masculine" and "Feminine" are nothing more that socially constructed roles that tell a person how they should act in society. They are not biological, as Sedgwick points out, and they are not normative in all societies and human beings. Why, then, is it so necessary to freak out about effeminate boys. I think that maybe children who torture small animals and people who kill other people should get more attention in public and political debate than boys who want to play with barbies, after all, i think that murderers cause more harm than "effeminate boys."

Diablog: Butler

The rest of my group (as well as others in the class) has done a pretty outstanding job summarizing and expanding on Butler. I feel slightly inadequate, but here goes:

My initial reading illuminated the basic ideas of autonomy and relationality, especially as those things relate to issues of sexuality and gender. Throughout the essay, Butler seems to argue that while certain aspects of autonomy are important, it is inevitable that our society and/or our culture influences our lives, and that focusing solely on autonomy is difficult, dangerous, and could be impossible.

"It does not suffice to say that I am promoting a relational view of the self over an autonomous one, or trying to redescribe autonomy in terms of relationality. The term 'relationality' sutures the rupture in the relation we seek to describe, a rupture that is constitutive of identity itself." p.19

"One speaks, and one speaks for another, to another, and yet there is no way to collapse the distinction between the other and myself. When we say 'we' we do nothing more than designate this as very problematic. We do not solve it. And perhaps it is, and ought to be, insoluble" p. 20

"Although we struggle for rights over our own bodies, the very bodies for which we struggle are not quite ever only our own". p. 21

Butler asks the question:

"Is there a way that we might struggle for autonomy in many spheres but also consider the demands that are imposed upon us by living in a world of beings who are, by definition, physically dependent on one another, physically vulnerable to one another?" p. 22

I am intrigued by this question and would like to address it in class, but any thoughts here? How do we balance our own identity by keeping our own autonomy in a way that is empowering and powerful as well as understanding our position within our world and how we are connected to others?

Butler also argues that in order to fully participate in the transformation of cultural and societal ideas and norms, we must understand the limits of these ideas as well as strive to participate in a way that is outside of these ideas.

"What this means is that one looks both for the conditions by which the object field is constituted, and for the limits of those conditions...To intervene in the name of transformation means precisely to disrupt what has become settled knowledge and knowable reality...I think that when the unreal lays claim to reality, or enters into its domain, something other than a simple assimilation into prevailing norms can and does take place. The norms themselves can be rattled, display their instability, and become open to resignification." p. 27-28

"Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible in excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home" p. 29

I see Butler certainly pointing to "pushing boundaries" through fantasy or reality, and, in essence, making trouble. I also feel as though Butler encourages the idea that there are discourses and norms that we must at least understand in order to work within the system to change the system. Again, where is that balance? How does one who is considered the Other participate both outside and within the system?

Finally, Butler points to those who do live outside the system as those who are considered less than human, especially in terms of violence.

"To counter that embodied opposition by violence is to say, effectively, that this body, this challenge to an accepted version of the world is and shall be unthinkable" p. 35

Where do we see this happening? Do certain representations in society negate or promote this idea? Butler uses examples to construct this argument most commonly for those who exist outside sexual and gender norms, but also touches on race as well. This idea of being a "nonhuman" can be different based on different identities, but it ties all of us together. What can those of us who are "nonhumans" in one way learn from those who are "nonhumans" in another?

Direct Engagement #3: The Killjoy and the Cinematic Event


Undoing "linear historicism."

She picks up the notebook that lies on the small table beside his bed. It is the book he brought with him through the fire -- a copy of The Histories by Herodotus that he has added to, cutting and gluing in pages from other books or writing in his own observations -- so they all are cradled within the text of Herodotus. (16)

I am a person who if left alone in someone's home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history enters us. (18)

- from The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

"Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion." GLQ 13:2-3 (2007): 177-195. Print.

(Carolyn Dinshaw, Lee Edelman, Roderick A. Ferguson, Carla Freccero, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Annamarie Jagose, Christopher Nealon, Nguyen Tan Hoang)

Opening this conversation with a series of questions presupposing a "turn toward time" already establishes as our central concern not the movement toward time but of it: the motionless "movement" of historical procession obedient to origins, intention, and ends whose authority rules over all. And so we have the familiar demand for narrative accountings of "how and why," for self-conscious avowals of motivation, for strategic weighings of what's opened up in relation to what's shut down. Implicit throughout are two assumptions: time is historical by "nature" and history demands to be understood in historicizing terms. But what if time's collapse into history is symptomatic, not historical? What if framing this conversation in terms of a "turn toward time" preemptively reinforces the consensus that bathes the petrified river of history in the illusion of constant fluency?
- Lee Edelman

Summarizing roundtable discussions is always a bit tricky, since there may not be a central thesis, but multiple theses and points of disagreement. At times, the participants in this discussion offer very differing ideas and understandings of the meaning of "temporality," and the importance of the "rubric of temporality" (177). I found the beginning of this discussion most interesting, wherein the participants address concerns over "history," primarily "linear historicism" (Dinshaw, 178), which are not merely concerns with time "heteronormatively" conceived, but also History as a telling of linear progressions of time -- histories and historicism as a cataloging of events, etc., which follow a specific, necessarily, and somewhat strategically, exclusionary narrative.
For the most part, however, this roundtable discussion was less than impressive. Maybe I'm just misreading many of the participants, but a few of them seem a bit too eager to advertise themselves and their theoretical accomplishments, which gets very distracting at times since they're really just supposed to be engaging in direct conversation with one another. I don't have a problem with the discussion being too theoretical, they are, after all, having a theoretical discussion, but the discussion starts on the ground and ends up somewhere else entirely; and I'm not really sure where that place is -- sometimes it's better not to know just how hard a writer is working.

I've been interested in reading No Future for a while now, and so it's probably about time I finally got around to doing that, since I generally appreciate his position on temporality and conceptions of time -- and even though I do not always necessarily agree with him, his negativity and cynicism are very attractive. Walter Benjamin's essay "Theses on the Philosophy of History," came up in the roundtable discussion a couple of times, and I think that reading that piece would be beneficial to my tracking of temporality as well.

I came across this discussion in searching (via the UMN library page) for a concise collection of queer theories on temporality, since I was only familiar with a few theorists' engagements with the topic. I also was hoping to find some kind of encounter between Edelman, Halberstam, and Muñoz, and this seemed about close enough.

Theweleit, Klaus. Male Fantasies, vol. 1: Women, floods, bodies, history. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. Print.

Picture 3.png

As Theweleit says, the point of understanding fascism is not only "because it might 'return again'," but because it is already implicit in the daily relationships of men and women. Theweleit refuses to draw a line between the fantasies of the Freikorpsmen and the psychic ramblings of the "normal" man: and I think here of the man who feels a "normal" level of violence toward women (as in, "I'd like to fuck her to death") . . . the man who has a "normal" distaste for sticky, unseen "feminine functions" . . . the man who loves women, as "normal" men do, but sees a castrating horror in every expression of female anger . . . or that entirely normal, middle-class citizen who simply prefers that women be absent from the public life of work, decisions, war. Here Theweleit does not push, but he certainly leaves open the path from the "inhuman impulse" of fascism to the most banal sexism.
- Barbara Ehrenreich, Forward

I have been kind of loving this book. First of all, the reactions that I get from people when carrying this around is very interesting, as the cover is somewhat provocatively designed, but just the title, "Male Fantasies," is powerfully seductive -- more people have casually asked about this book than have ever asked about any other book I've carried around before. A professor was recently commenting that if you bring Karl Marx's Capital onto an airplane, no one will bat an eye, but if you're planning to read Male Fantasies during your air travels, prepare to immediately become a "person of interest" -- and not in a fun way.Thumbnail image for male fantasies.jpg One of the primary purposes of this is book is to refute all former theorizings of fascism -- Klaus Theweleit does not believe that fascism was "about" something, that there is some psychoanalytic explanation (Wilhelm Reich, anyone?), but that fascism was a result of men carrying out their fantasies, and fascists were simply doing whatever they wanted. Central to these fantasies is a deep-rooted hatred for and fear of women -- the first half of the book focuses on several Freikorps officers and their relationships to women, and the second half analyzes and builds a number of unusual arguments towards a theory of these men's fear of women's bodies and sexualities. What I really love about this book, though, is Theweleit's use of images -- illustrations, cartoons, advertisements, engravings, posters -- which create a very unorthodox commentary on the text, extending its temporal and spacial meaning and significance.

For further reading pertaining to this book, I'd be really interested in reading some feminist and queer readings of it -- Ehrenreich wrote the forward to the first volume, in which she provides a warning to feminist readers not to read it the way they may be tempted to read it: "Neither feminism nor antifascism will be well served by confounding fascist genocide with the daily injuries inflicted by men on women [which the above quoted excerpt may seem to imply] -- and I urge the feminist reader to resist the temptation to do so" (xv). I'm curious about how philosophers and historians deal with this book as well. Theweleit is often referred to as a "theorist," but if he is one, he's certainly a devious one. Jessica Benjamin co-writes the forward to the second volume, which I haven't gotten to yet, but hope to do so shortly.

I first heard of this book about a year ago when I was taking a Fascism and Film course. We read an excerpt of the second chapter of this volume, and I enjoyed it but had no idea what the hell I was reading. I don't think I really know of anything else like this, it's quite spectacular.

Brakhage, Stan, dir. "Eye Myth." By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume One. The Criterion Collection, 1967. DVD.

The first time I was shown this movie, I actually missed it. I turned away for a second -- well, 9 seconds at least -- and missed the whole thing. My bibliographies almost always include some type of engagement with a film, and so I was thinking about what film would properly fit the "theme" I had wanted to focus on for this series of sources and after considering (and then reconsidering) a number of other movies, Brakhage seemed the most suitable. Engaging with movies has become really important to me, since I'm so often frustrated with feminist and queer readings of movies -- I find many of them inappropriate and beside the point. Worst of all, they're far too irreverent, both to the film medium and, in few instances, to great filmmakers, taking liberties in manipulating film content to fit their narrative (like Halberstam's evaluation of Almodóvar's Talk to Her). Well, such unnecessary criticisms of most of Stan Brakhage's films would actually be impossible. There are no story-lines, no characters, no narratives, and no conceivable avenue through which to insert a theory. Most of Brakhage's movies are like the film above, a crude array of colors, shapes, brush strokes, and movement. I chose this particular film for its brevity. If you blink, you will miss it. The YouTube download of it that I found claims that it's 13 seconds long, but it's officially marked, by the Criterion Collection, as 9 seconds -- I'm not sure where those extra 4 seconds came from, but there they are (this clip also claims the film was made in 1972, but that's wrong as well)-- but, no matter, my inclusion of Brakhage in this series is simply because he provides no easy paths for interpretation or story-making, his stories either aren't there, or aren't interpretable, they're not even comprehensible. I can't find the source for this statement, but in an essay I read of his a long time ago he claims that his painted films (like the one above -- yeah, he actually painted directly onto the film, sometimes over images he shot with a camera (I think this is an instance of that) or pre-exposed) are experiments of sight, he wanted to capture what it was like to learn to see -- before any thing or any body had a connotation, or a meaning, or a history.

In relation to Brakhage's explanation of his more abstract movies, I recommend Marius von Senden's accounts of congenitally blind patients before and after corrective operations, Space and Sight. I also recommend every single film that Stan Brakhage ever made, especially Dog Star Man, Window Water Baby Moving (which I've seen about 10 times), The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes, and Black Ice.

My first introduction to Stan Brakhage was through his movie, Window Water Baby Moving, a record of his wife giving birth to their first child, which contains a linear plot -- that was about five years ago, and I watched all of the short films featured on the first volume of the criterion anthology, but haven't seen any of the films on the second volume, which I think came out just last year. I've only seen these movies on DVD (and now on YouTube), which is incredibly unsuitable to their form, but I take whatever I can get. Whenever I think of Brakhage I'll probably always think of having this DVD out my entire second semester in art school, where they charged me overdue fees per disc, rather than per item -- absolutely worth it, though.


My choice Comment 1

Today at the place where I volunteer we were discussing an upcoming training that is going to be offered at a near by institution. The training is entitled "Social Constructions of Gender Violence". My boss was prepping for the training and we had a colorful discussion about all the ways in which gender violence has become part of our culture without us even knowing it. One of the most interesting point s she brought up comes from the much discussed movie "Twilight". basically she broke it down like this for me:
"What are we teaching 10 year olds?" That it is normal to break into someone's home by oiling their bedroom window and watch them sleep for eight hours. Not only is the AGAINST THE LAW: Felony breaking and entering and stalking, but it is also saying to our youth (and some adults frankly) that their love and desire has to be at a felony level in order to be sexy.
I also posted some Tweets about some of the other points that were raised during the discussion. There were many many others: think Rhianna and Eminem, Pink, "Kiss With a Fist". Has this become so mainstream that we are calloused enough to it that we don't even notice anymore? I for one certainly have.

Query Response 3

Dani_d29 Query: Do you think that FB helps youth find their identity and form intimate relationships?

No. I think that there is no way that Facebook can allow youth to find their identity. It presents them with everyone's identity, that they know. Yes, can show they new things that they might be able to relate to. However, they cannot base themselves off of a social network such as Facebook. I think that Facebook can be a place where youth can express themselves, however, they need to be able to know who they are before they express themselves. As far as the intimate relationship go, that's also a no. I think that youth are starting to think that because they have how every many hundred friend that equals how many intimate relationships they have. When in reality to have an intimate relationship with anther person there needs to be human contact that allows each person to truly get to know one another. I don't think that Facebook can ever equal what face to face connect in in terms of intimate relationships.

Query Response 2

Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I think that social online networks can be just as dangerous for queer teens. While being on a social online network prevents physical bullying to happen, it still is a place where verbal, emotional and mental bullying can take place; which in some cases can be just as bad, if not worse then physical bullying. I think that if the bullying on these social online networks wasn't as dangerous then there wouldn't be multiple cases of teens committing suicide because of the bullying that they experience on these sites. Kids are going to be a lot more cruel online because they know there aren't as many adults that are going to be there to see it, let alone stop it. Another reason this type of bullying can be more dangerous is because it can go on and on for a long time without anything or anyone stopping it. It all adds up, causing the teen who is being bullied to have a lot to deal with, given the fact that it seems to never stop. Also, this type of bullying can in some cases be seen by the teens fellow classmates and friends. Causing the bullying to be brought into their everyday life more then it was in the first place. I think that as a society we need to realize that online bullying can have horrible effects on our youth, we need to make a stand to stop it and prevent another teenage from committing suicide because of it.

Query Response 1

Question: Why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

I think this is a really interesting question, I've heard people talk about this a lot too. I think that for the most part this has a lot to do with stereotypes. Even though most people don't like to think that stereotypes form their thoughts on people and communities, a lot of time they do. People have set in their minds that most people within the GLBT community are going to act a certain way, playing into the stereotypes that popular culture has presented to them. However, when people don't fit into those roles that pop culture has set up for them it makes it hard for people to know a person's sexuality.

I also think that fear plays a role in this as well. I think for the most part people do not want to just ask someone their sexuality, thus they will just stay in the dark about a person's sexuality. More so if that person doesn't fit into a stereotype.

Annotated Bibliography #3

Overview of Sources: Michael Warner
Each of these sources include some of the harsh criticisms of queer life and what was done to deal with them. Much of the counterarguments against discrimination towards homosexuals and gay marriage have come from Micahel Warner's book, "The Trouble with Normal Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life."

1) "The Trouble with Normal"

This particular article focused on some of the main components of Micheal Warner's book, "The Trouble with Normal Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life" such as anonymous sex with a stranger and the defense of sexual autonomy. It mentions the up rise of equal rights that was sought after in the late 1990s by the Sex Panic group. It mentions the struggle and fight for gay marriage and views some of the stereotypical criticisms of 2 men engaging in sexual intimacy.

I feel that this particular article really captures that once last push for equal rights of the decade. It seems to draw on the negative stereotypes of homosexuals that have corrupted the minds of the American people, which they claim threatens their own lives, but on the premise of what? I don't get it.

I found this article by typing in "Michael Warner" into Google.

Kurth, Peter. The Trouble with Normal. 8 December 1999.

2) Queer World Making

Trouble with Normal.jpg

This was an interview constructed by Annamarie Jogose with Michael Warner about his book, "The Trouble with Normal Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life." Jogose asks him why he chose to have pictures of stereotypical looking heterosexual males on the front cover instead of 2 grooms dressed in tuxes on top of a wedding cake. Warner did not want to pursue the cliche theme that always seems to surround 2 homosexual men that want to marry, but instead he wanted to line these men up on the cover to make a statement that this is actually what 2 homosexual partners could look like--they are like any other man out there in the world.

I thought that this was a bold statement made by Warner--a terrific counter and double standard argument that was right there on the cover of the book! Warner was able to defend his perspective before anyone was able to turn to the first page and read. I liked how he initially thought about the stereotype and then turned it on his critical audience.

I found this article by typing in "Michael Warner" into Google.

Jagose, Annamarie. Queer World Making. June 2000.

3) Michael Warner

This bit of information comes from NNBD, tracking the entire world. It provides information about an individual, such as their name, race, religion, and even sexual orientation. It also includes Warner's nationality and some of the works that he has had published. Michael Warner is an American, white, gay protestant author and instructor who taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

I thought it was interesting that they provide such a detailed, but brief encyclopedia-like description of someone. Of course they must note the fact that Warner is gay--that sort of information MUST been noteworthy. What if he was straight? Do you really think that they would have a space still for sexual orientation?

I found this description by typing in "Michael Warner" into Google.

Soylent Communications. NNBD, Tracking the Entire World: Michael Warner. December 2010.

Revisit-DE #1 Butler

DE #1 Judith Butler

Judith Butler just once again made a large stand for not just GLBT and queer people, but also all groups of people that are discriminated against. When i first heard about this I was confused about why in the world Butler would refuse an award involving pride and all the work that she has done. However, she makes valid points as to why she cannot accept the award.

Within Butler's speech she brings up many interesting points that I'm sure not many people have thought of. One being, that the idea of courage is, at these in Butler's mind, standing up a fighting against all forms of discrimination. just because a person does not have personal ties to a group does not mean that they have to sit back and let discrimination happen. Secondly, was the fact that the Berlin Pride group, the groups presenting the award had top leaders who were known to make racist statements. Butler makes the point again that any group of people fighting for rights and freedoms should not demean another group. All of these social justice issues go hand in hand, we can never stop one act of hate unless we stop them all. They are all tied to one another, and bringing about peace to all people means stopping hate in all forms. I think that a lot of groups forget the fact that when they are fighting social justice causes that they are not just signing up for their one issue, that in fact they are signing up to stop all social justice issues. It's also important because it reminds people not to just stop all their hard work on fighting these issues once a few are dealt with, they have to keep going on so that everyone can have the respect and rights that they deserve. The final point that I thought was interesting was that Butler named the handful of groups that better deserved this award than she did. It takes a lot to first of all refuse an award such as these one, but to give it to other groups truly shows Butlers true character.

When I first read all the readings and watched the videos about Butler refusing the Berlin Pride award, I was a bit confused. However, as stated above I soon came to understand everything.

I still agree with my original take on all the essays and Berlin Pride event. I think Butler makes it clean that as a community we cannot stand by and let hate continue. To stop homophobia we need to stop racism, to stop racism we need to stop sexism, ect. The list goes on and on. In the end hate is hate and we cannot have a world without homophobia when racism still exists. All people need to get together and work towards a world where there truly is peace and equality for everyone.

In this annotated bibliography, I've decided to get back to basics. I want to analyze how heteronormativity effects images of the family in our society and how images of family reify heteronormative thinking. For as long as I can remember, every time I saw images of families in movies, on TV, or in my group of friends it has always been a mom, a dad, and their kids. In recent times and new life experiences I've seen different types of families, but even now after studying heteronormativity extensively this semester I still have the mental picture of a mom, a dad, and their kids.

My first source is a blog site called sociological images.

This site shows images of heteronormative families in everyday life, and deconstructs them. What is most interesting about this to me is the dissenting opinions that are offered in discussion. The image that is most talked about is one of a family of elephants where the mother and child are led by the father. I tried to attach it but it only showed half of it and looked ridiculous, but you can find it on the site.

The author of the entry talks about how this image shows the heteronormative and patriarchal family, where there is a mother, a father, and their child. The mother and child are lead by the father, the supposed head of household.

This comment group is what I found to be a real life example of how conversations of heteronormativity, especially in reference to families, disrupt or queer the normative thinking.

Abby 9:19 am on August 30, 2008 | # | Reply

I know they have these in a lot of men's bathrooms now (my husband changes a lot of diapers). I assume the illustration is the same. I wonder how diaper-changing men interpret it.

Fernando 1:47 pm on August 30, 2008 | # | Reply

The elephant family portrays a majority of their customers? Meaning, a heterosexual couple where the male is not a metrosexual and is the head of the family, and the female is the primary caretaker.

Is that really a "normative expectation/social construction" or just an art that attempts to appeal to the largest number of customers?

Medici 5:28 pm on October 26, 2009 | # | Reply

Thank you, Mr. Fernando, for your well-reasoned comment. I was beginning to think the entire internet had gone crazy.

jm 12:28 am on January 17, 2010 | # | Reply

Fernado's comment simply reifies the (often problematic) effects of social constructionism. The belief that the majority of families consist of a (presumably married) man and woman, as well as their child(ren), is not based on fact, as statistics will confirm; therefore, such graphics do not represent the "majority of their customers," but reproduce heteronormativity.

The comment on the non-metrosexual male breadwinner and female primary caretaker is also problematic on numerous levels...

Medici 10:39 am on January 17, 2010 | # | Reply

That is honestly the dumbest thing I've heard all week. So the majority of families are childless, unmarried, gay couples? Please explain.

Adrian 5:23 pm on January 24, 2010 | #

You're simply refusing to look at it outside of your own cultural bias. Also, it's also a huge leap of assumption that the opposite of your proposed majority family would be an unwed same-sex couple with no children. There are same-sex couples with children; just as there are married same-sex couples [whether their or your jurisdiction allows it or not]. There are also other types of families that raise children, such as divorced families with step-parents [thus a child having two parents of the same sex without being "gay parents"], or single parents, two groups which are quite populous if not teetering to becoming majority demographics. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, and close family friends may also be involved in raising a child, and are not always just distant, rarely-seen relatives removed from the child's "nuclear" family.

Basically, the point is to check the bias. This image assumes a two-parent, opposite-sex household with specific gendered roles [males = leaders, females = nurturers]; when it could have presented a less assumptive image. One I've seen being a single koala and it's baby. Of course in nature the koala would be female, but nothing else about the koala is "gendered" such as eyelashes or clothes; thus it is a rather "neutral" image speaking only about a parent and child [as only one person and one child uses a changing board at a time.]

This seems to be the traditional discourse, I just found this particular instance to be interesting.

I found this source on a google search of heteronormativity and families.

Formal Citation:
"Heteronormativity » Sociological Images." The Society Pages. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. .

My second source is a TV show called "Wife Swap."

This show showcases families who trade mothers in order to solve their domestic problems. Some of the families are not traditional in the sense that the father is not the bread winner or that the mother is not the caretaker, but there is always a mother and a father involved. This show reinforces the images of the heteronormative family, note the below image:
Wife Swap.jpg
I found this source while I was sitting on my couch flipping channels. I have a lot of friends who talk about the show so I decided to watch it. I will admit it is pretty funny, but heteronormative none the less.

Formal Citation
ABC. "Wife Swap." Wife Swap. ABC. Television.

My last source is a Journal Article that I found on Ebsco Host.

This article talks about how while lesbian and gay families have become increasingly present in our society, it is still a minimalized facet in our mediated lives.
"While literature on gay and lesbian families has increased in the past two decades, much of the literature is shrouded in the Western, heteronormative notion that a family equates to a unit with two parents and children."

The article talks about how it is hard to do a familial analysis of heteronormativity without having the hegemonic ideology of the "family" in the back of your head. It also talks about a study of five queer individuals and how they've created families that challenge the normative families. This study was both inspiring and motivating to me, because it seems that if more people could understand that the biological parents, male and female, and their children are no longer the normative family and that if that notion gets thrown out, it would be easier to create a new definition.

Formal Citation:
Vaccaro, Annemarie. "Toward Inclusivity in Family Narratives: Counter-Stories from Queer Multi-Parent Families." Journal of GLBT Family Studies 6.4 (2010): 425-446. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.

Bibliography 3

Bibliography #3 Term: Intimacy
Introduction: All of these clips fit together with respect to the term intimacy. The first clip regards the bible and how gay intimacy is unacceptable and unnatural. This directly ties into the second and third clip. The second clip shows a representation of a gay young person struggling with their quest for intimacy with another man. He struggles with the fear of rejection from the straight man that he loves. The third source involves the public's reactions to homosexual public displays of affection. A very interesting show called What Would You Do? aired on ABC and has brought to light many issues from a nonbiased standpoint. The topic in the clip I chose deals with attitudes toward gay and lesbian people's PDAs. It is a very telling experiment. All of these clips deal with homosexual intimacy in a heteronormative society.
Source 1:
Ron Belgau
Summary: This article deems the term homosexuality broad and ambiguous. It also states that I believe that within the Biblical sexual ethic, sexual intimacy is restricted to the lifelong union of marriage, that marital union can only exist between a man and a woman, and thus that sexual intimacy has no place within a same-sex relationship. It is also stated that homosexual acts are unnatural. The bible states that divorce and remarriage is adultery yet many ministers and priests support these ceremonies since life-long celibacy is unrealistic. Homosexuality is not viewed as realistic however it is merely scuffed at as being an unhealthy and ungodly lifestyle.
I found this source by typing into Google "homosexuality and intimacy".
Belgau, Ron. (2005). City of God. Does the Bible Condemn homosexuality? Retrieved November 28, 2010, from
Director: Roger Avary adapted from the Bret Easton Ellis book
Ian Somerhalder's character Paul plays a gay college student who is in love with James Van Der Beek's character Sean. Sean is a straight individual and he is in love with a girl named Lauren. However, Sean is a drug dealer and spends a significant amount of time with Paul since Paul buys and does drugs frequently. Paul uses the excuse of doing drugs to hang out with Sean. While the two young men are both stoned in Paul's dorm room Sean is imagining and thinking sexually about Lauren and Paul puts a pillow over his erection and masturbates while imagining kissing and fondling Sean. The next scene is Paul and Sean the next morning, Sean still is sitting on the ground and Paul in his bed. The boys are watching heterosexual porn while Paul looks miserable. This movie portrays homosexuality in college as living an imaginary life. Paul's perception of intimacy with someone that he has a crush on includes smoking weed and watching porn. Both of these activities are viewed as negative or unproductive in heteronormative society. This movie, a popular film, represents homosexuality as closeted and disgraceful.
I found this by watching HBO.
Other sources relevant to this source are all other Bret Easton Ellis books such as Less Than Zero and American Psycho.
Avary, Roger. (Director). (2002). Rules of Attraction [Film]. Lions Gate Films.
Source 3:
What Would You Do? Gay PDA
This clip includes different couples in different states showing public displays of affection. These couples are straight, gay, and lesbian. All couples get different reactions from public audiences. All of the couples are actors but are actually in relationships with each other. The straight couple in a restaurant gets no reaction other than comments such as "that's what's up," and cat calls. Their PDAs are almost encouraged. The gay couple which is two men sitting on a park bench is seen as "obscene". One man even approaches the couple and yells "Why don't you two get a fucking room," in a threatening manor. Other people act disgusted and few people pass approvingly. The lesbian couple receives dirty looks from women and men and then a group of younger men walk up and talk to the women treating them as if they are a circus act. The young man walks up to the two women as they are kissing and ask them if they will say hi to his friend. The men treat the lesbian couple as a show that is being put on solely for their entertainment. This show depicts homosexual intimacy and PDA as still unaccepted for the most part in America which I believe is highly accurate.
I found this clip because my roommate directed me to it. She saw it on
If you wish to view this clip go to
What Would You Do? ABC original series (2007).

DE: Ahmed


The concept that Ahmed brings up about happiness being created by expectations and asumptions rather than actual acts, I knid of agree with. I say this because what your happiness means to you may not be considered happiness to some one elses expectations or what they assume happiness to be. So the act of "happiness" tends to fade as the ways in which happiness is assumed and how peoples expectations towards it are in the forfront.

On the other hand I do not agree with ones happiness depending on the happiness of everyone else. You can be happy within and those around you may not be. Now thats totally different than how people assume or expect happiness to look like. Those who are not happy around others dont neccesarily make those around them unhappy.

This may sound a little confusing, Because I was a little puzzled when reading. please forgive.

Direct Engagement #3: Cvetkovich and Queer Affect

This article from Ann Cvetkovich caught my attention right off the bat after reading the title, "Public Feelings." I am intrigued by the idea of collective emotions and emotions that have their roots in public affairs. I would argue here that emotions have been so throughly and effectively pushed into the private sphere of society that exploring what happens when this norm is defied is very interesting. As Cvetkovich says in her the last paragraph of the article, "the point would be to offer a vision of hope and possibility that doesn't foreclose despair and exhaustion [which is] a profoundly queer sensibility." Recognizing public feelings and how collective emotions play out seem to me to fit very well with queer theory. We are questioning previously assumed ideas about how people feel and the re-examining material consequences of these feelings.

Cvetkovich offers a further correlation between queer theory and theorizing public feelings by citing their tendency to publicize what has been previously kept private. She explains several examples of queer-related movements that are based on speaking out about the way we feel in our private lives. She goes further to suggest that sexuality studies (and, perhaps, the field of queer theory/studies) is motivated by affect. In studying affect, we are able to work outside binaries and norms concerning sexuality; we are able to look at the desire behind the behavior. Here we see, again, that queer studies (insofar as it is defined by conceptualizing sexuality) and studies of affect coexist.

Cvetkovich continues by rethinking studies of trauma and how the field might benefit from some queering. She cites her earlier works that have tried, "to create an approach to trauma that focuses on the everyday and insidious rather that the catastrophic and that depahtologizes trauma and situates in is a social and cultural frame rather than a medical one." This brings us back to re-examining feeling as restricted to the private sphere. In the final section of the paper, Cvetkovich theorizes utopian visions of queer future as a catalyst for further publicizing feelings and group emotions (and vice versa).

Can we come to some sort of definition of 'public feelings' after reading this paper?
How might this discussion move out of academia/academic conferences into 'real' life?
Where does sexual trauma play into affect? Could it be helpful to bring this into the public sphere?
How might public feelings and affect break down the walls of the closet (or not)?
How does affect effect our classroom discussions? What about on the blog?

Tracking Topic Annotated Bib #3: (School) Space

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1) a) "Experimental School Gets Rid of Classes, Teacher"
b) Larry Abramson
c) This article, paired with a recording of the original broadcast, is from NPR's website and is part of its "This American Life" program. Abramson explains his experience visiting a new charter school in Henderson, MN. The school is based on students working on independent projects, mostly using computers and the internet as resources, not being forced to pay attention to teachers in a traditional classroom setting. I am most interested in this article for this assignment in order to examine the physical set up of the school. The school is one-room; a large room where kids are free to sit wherever they like. Abramson emphasizes the 'flattening' effect of the space; that the typical hierarchal relationship between student and administrator is not upheld in this space because of the lack of a central office.
d) Abramson talks about the difficult task of judging the success of a school like this which is especially frustrating because it might provide for more insight into how the physical set up effects the students' learning. A couple students mentioned during interviews that the environment can be distracting because so much is going on at once, but others are able to tune out their surroundings with headphones. I wonder if this space fosters connections between students. I am also curious about how so many students (124) interact with/in one space. This piece is part of a larger collection from Abramson exploring alternative contemporary high schools.
e) I found this story through I set one of my interests as 'education' which I'm assuming is what influenced the site to show me this story.
f) Abramson, Larry. "Experimental School Gets Rid of Classes, Teachers." NPR: National Public Radio. 17 Oct. 2007. Web. 01 Dec. 2010.

2) a) "Educational Space Matters"
b) Kanti Bajpai
c) In this news article from the opinion section the Times of India's webpage, Bajpai talks about the need for greater attention given to space organization in schools in India. He cites some specifics about needing more room per student and better acoustics, but the overall point of the article is that not enough attention is being given to meaningful planning of high school and university buildings. He says that students in the current conditions of India's classrooms cannot possibly be expected to excel in their learning.
d) I am interested here in looking at how differences in understandings of educational space. Bajpai is arguing here that the people making decisions about school layouts in India are not giving enough thought to issues of space and that they simply don't care. Does this apathy cross borders into Euro-American institutions? Is there something specific about India's economic and postcolonial postionality that effects this lack of interest in educational space?
e) I found this article by Googling "educational space." It was a lucky find.
f) Bajpai, Kanti. ""Educational Space Matters"" Times of India. 24 July 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.

3) To come in the near future.

Annotated Bib #3: Masculinity Representation in Children's Books

Tracking Topic: Masculinities

Since my last annotated bibliography was on an array of different subjects and areas in which masculinity dominates (Disney movies, Wall Street, & Athletics), I decided to continue more directly along the lines of Disney movies but instead look more specifically at children's books for this particular annotated bibliography. This one will definitely be more cohesive than the last annotated bibliography which I couldn't hone in on a specific interest because there were 3 things that interested me. Children's books have always been interesting because I feel that children learn a lot about a society's expected gender roles and cultural influences based off of the books they read as children. We have progressed in many ways as a culture within the past 10 years but children's books do not seem to be getting more progressive in terms of gender representation.

Singh, Manjari. "Gender Issues in Children's Literature." Indiana University, Nov. 1998. Web. Nov. 2010. .

Children's books frequently portray girls as acted upon rather than active. Girls are represented as sweet, naive, conforming, and dependent, while boys are typically described as strong, adventurous, independent, and capable. Boys tend to have roles as fighters, adventurers and rescuers, while girls in their passive role tend to be caretakers, mothers, princesses in need of rescuing, and characters that support the male figure. Often, girl characters achieve their goals because others help them, whereas boys do so because they demonstrate ingenuity and an aggressive perserverance. If females are initially represented as active and assertive, they are often portrayed in a passive light toward the end of the story. Girl characters who retain their active qualities are clearly the exception. Thus, studies indicate that not only are girls portrayed less often than boys in children's books, but both genders are frequently presented in stereotypical terms as well. Even otherwise ambiguous objects or animals are gendered specifically female/feminine or male/masculine.

Alias: bethany1601. "Gender Bias in Children's Books." YouTube. 2 May 2009. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. .


This video is really a dead on short summary of how bias children's books are. We don't realize the messages we are sending to children. As she states in the video, "women are taught that they need a man to rescue them" and boys are taught to be macho and manly. These messages teach children a dominant hegemonic patriarchal masculinity discourse that is slowly shrinking today but still predominant in the norms of children's books.

The speaker in the film discusses how girls tend to take less risks in their academic writing and this could lead to the belief that smartness is not as important as wanting a man to please because looks and timidness will win over academic goals. It is interesting that the lady who produced this book was doing it for a class. I think she makes some great points about what teachers can do to foster understanding and discussion around why certain characters in books are represented a certain way, and what this means in the broader context of society.

Alias: GoldenHSCsac. "Gender Roles- Interviews with Kids." YouTube. 24 Oct. 2008. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. .


Another youtube video I found to be really interesting was interviews with children about gender roles. It's really short but I think it gives adequate descriptions for the most part, although it may be slightly more bias because I'm assuming they only put certain comments children made in to reiterate certain points reconfirming dominante ideas about gender roles. I definitely have little kids in my life who do not think like this, but that definitely reflects on the parents. I think most children recieve messages at a young age regarding the very thick and well defined line between boys and girls.

The little boy in the video is asked if boys are different than girls and he says "yes" then when asked "how are they different" he replies, "boys don't put on girls clothes". It is obvious that children first pick up on the physical differences between boys and girls such as clothing options, and then are taught later how to perform that role. But looks is the most important to most kids because they learn quickly that it is "silly" to act or dress like a girl when one isn't. Another boy in the film says that boys are stronger than girls and that if he put on a dress all the other children would laugh at him. Isn't it sad how we are taught to gage ourselves and our behaviors strictly gendered so as not to be laughed at? Then when asked who cleans the house (woman barbie), takes care of the babies (woman barbie) and goes to work (man barbie) all children had very SAD answers. I definitely believe this is not the most accurate description, but I coach little kids snowboarding and I definitely press them for questions about things like this and when I say something non-normative they tell me i'm "silly".

Thoughts about my topic of MASCULINITES: Over the course of the semester I haven't honed in specifically on one area of masculinities but have been noticing how it comes into play in different areas of life and through certain dominant institutions. Masculinity has always interested me because I am aware that it's a social construct and therefore not stable and homogenous but strictly cultured and fluid. I am very interested in teaching sex education and wrote my senior thesis on a new paradigm for sex ed: one that involves culturally appropriate and age appropriate sex education that is comprehensive and teaches alternative ways of having relationships outside of the confines of normative. I think we have reached a point where children are very familiar with the lifestyles of gays and lesbians but are still taught via gendered children's books and sex education classes that only teach abstinence only and heteronormative relationships. This leaves many children out and creates a false basis for understanding regarding the roles of men and women and what a "normal" relationships looks like. Now that we are becoming more progressive, we need to realize that it starts with our children. We need to focus on changing the way children understand the world around them and 2 major areas we must shift our focus to are children's books and literature and sex education programs within schools. New alternative ways of living outside these cultured norms are becoming more and more intelligible in every day life but we are holding back that understanding and causing confusion by still teaching and representing gender roles the way we do within those forms of media and education.

Awww wow, I think I need to become a Children's author and design a sex education curriculum based around my newly formed thoughts! It would be interesting to research ways that teachers have incorporated questioning these dominant ideologies with children in classrooms... as we always talk about- let's trouble the classroom!

DE#3: The source of unhappiness?

I'm going to do this Directed Engagement on Ahmed's book, specifically Chapter 3. It's almost a start to my discussion on Ahmed for class next week, I suppose.
I read the chapter, but I've only read the first part twice so I'm going to focus on that for now.

I found the idea that she points out that there's a possibility that unhappiness is created by expectations and assumptions rather than actual acts. In the case of the queer book characters, they were unhappy not with themselves or their sexual orientation but unhappy with the fact that the world is unhappy with queers and thus, unhappy with them- the world's unhappiness made them feel unhappy.
(You're saying: "Please, let's use the word 'unhappy' more.")

It made me think of the line in Into The Wild (Jon Krakauer) that says "Happiness is only real when shared" (Chris McCandless). Obviously, the two ideas aren't related other than that they both reference happiness.
into the wild.jpg

Note: If you have not read the book or at least seen the film adaptation, I hight recommend that you do.

However, I think the concept that our happiness depends on the happiness of everyone else is intriguing. In the case of the lesbians in the novels Ahmed uses as examples, their happiness depends on the object of their love as well as on the happiness of society as a whole with their choice to be gay. McCandless' quote then comes into play that even had the girls stayed together in the end, they might have been happy, but only to a certain point as they would only be able to share the happiness that they feel with each other. I think McCandless' quote was referencing simply someone to share happiness with, but Ahmed, and consequently I am, talking about being able to share happiness with society as a whole, the world at large.
As long as there are points of dissension that surround the reality of a population of people who identify as GLBT and their allies the happiness that they feel can only go so far because part of the population will be unhappy with their decision.

Obviously, I'm not saying that everyone in the world should be happy about everyone else's choices, but I think, acceptance is more the word I'm looking for.
(You're saying: "No shit.")
I mean, the idea that we wish the world would just accept people as they are isn't a new one, but the idea that the every person's happiness depends on the happiness of every other single person, although isn't new, is pondered a lot less than the former. (I'm assuming.)

They have found a cure....


My fellow lesbians...they have found a cure for our disease. Check out the twisted cure.


An American judge has been accused of advocating corrective rape for lesbians.

Joe Rehyansky, a part-time magistrate and Vietnam veteran, wrote on conservative news site The Daily Caller that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military because straight male soldiers could "convert" them.

The Daily Caller swiftly removed some of his remarks but not before they were picked up by other websites.

Mr Rehyansky, of Hamilton County, Tennessee, argued that men were naturally more promiscuous than women and "it fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate - a tough job but someone had to do it".

Then, he claimed that the "promiscuity" of gay men, coupled with HIV, would have "the potential for disastrous health consequences" if gay men were allowed to serve openly in the military.

"Gays spread disease at a rate out of all proportion to their numbers in our population and should be excluded from the military," he argued.

He continued: "Shouldn't the overwhelmingly straight warriors who answer their county's call be spared the indignity of showering with other men who achieve lascivious enjoyment from the sight of those lithe naked bodies, and who may be tempted to seek more than the view?"

Lesbian military personnel, who Mr Rehyansky praised for their "medical and administrative specialties", should be allowed to serve because they apparently have low sex drives.

His final argument, which has now been removed by The Daily Caller, was as follows: "My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective 'Broke Back,' thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream."

Mr Rehyansky was accused of advocating corrective rape for lesbians by some commentators.

Blogger Amanda Hess sardonically noted: "Once all the lesbians are easily accessible in one place, an army of straight dudes will turn them all straight, presumably through that time-tested tactic of subduing and impregnating women against their will."

Annotated Bibliography 2: Michael Warner/ Marriage


For my second Annotated Bibliography I have chosen to take a closer look at the idea of marriage as an institution. In order to do this I will use only a single essay written by Michael Warner. This essay was one of my initial sources but I believe there are many points within this particular essay that offer more in depth ideas that will be useful in understanding the argument posed by Warner. I want to first look at the idea of marriage from an ethical standpoint, then moving to consider it as a form of regulation. Finally, I wanted to question one of the many main arguments for marriage, the idea of love. So let us get started.
Source 1:
Warner, Michael. "Normal and Normaller." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 5.2 (1999): 119. LGBT Life with Full Text. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.

This passage from the essay is most certainly a recurring theme in much of Warner's writing. The idea of marriage as a way to create a line between what is right and ethical in our society and what is wrong and "queer". When we examine these words most closely it seems to me to be setting up a hierarchy of importance. Those that have entered into the institution will now be rewarded with more rights and privileges than the members in our society that have not. Anyone not within this group is considered to be a deviant from our society and because they have deviated from the norm do not deserve the same rights as those that have played by the rules, according to the author any person that is queer. I think this paragraph is important in understanding the difference between the normal and the "other" when we think about the rights and privileges that we are given. When talking about the fight for same sex marriage we must keep in mind the reasons given as to why it is so important. According to some theorists it is not so much about the act of getting married as much as it is about the right to do so if we choose. My question is what could possibly be ethical about denying certain people of basics rights?
With this question in mind I would like to now look at the concept of privilege in terms of marriage.
Source 2
Warner, Michael. "Normal and Normaller." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 5.2 (1999): 119. LGBT Life with Full Text. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.

While the sanctity of marriage is something that to some is hugely important, in the context of queer theory this is not necessarily what is being fought for. Warner has many criticisms regarding this particular fight. Much of which is the fact that the queer community is putting far too much importance on the fight for marriage equality when there are so many other issues being swept under the rug. I am inclined to agree with this assessment; however, I would argue that allowance to our basic rights is of utmost importance. What is this teaching our youths? That some are less important than others. When we hear the arguments from opponents of same sex marriage, their biggest concern seems to be that allowing such a thing will corrupt the morality of America. What is moral about oppression? Such statements are doing nothing more than solidifying the fact that there are some people in our society that simply don't matter as much as others. How can this be normal?
So why the push from the gay community to enter in to such a regulated union? Why if this is so clearly a way for our government to keep tabs on the sexual and intimate practices of its citizens would anyone wish to join the club? I want to think examine one of the reasons this seems to be so important to some of us, love.
Source 3
Warner, Michael. "Normal and Normaller." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 5.2 (1999): 119. LGBT Life with Full Text. Web. 20 Nov. 2010

In response to his question Warner offers this, when two people are married it is done in front of at least one witness. The act is performed in front of an audience which seems to somehow make it more valid. Being able to express one's love for another for all to see is perhaps the piece that makes a love valid. Love and marriage have begun being used interchangeable and in order for two people to be in love for "real" they need to be married. This creates a problem for those that have been in a committed intimate relationship because it trivializes their love for one another. Warner also mentions the fact that marriage has been revolted against long before the fight for same sex marriage existed. This point is one of the most curious that the author presents. I appreciate that it has been acknowledged in this context.

Ann Bibl: Jud Butl (Kind of?)

For this annotated bibliography I'm going to try to do some queer thinking/analyzing with three sources that don't have a reference to Judith Butler, but I'm going to weave in things that I've learned from Butler to help me queer my sources.
Let's give it a try.


The Daily Beast,
The Social Network's Female Props, by Rebecca Davis O'Brien

Corrupt: Conservation and Conservatism,
How Feminism Destroys Chivalry

Feminist Film Theory,
Feminism Film Theory, by Anneke Smelik


First and foremost, as a disclaimer, I have not seen The Social Network, but I mean to. I found an article on it that was kind of interesting and I wanted to ponder it further.
social network.jpg
The article, by O'Brien talks about the movie and gave it a good review... with the exception of the portrayal of the female characters. All except two came across as sluts or stupid in the movie, or at least at the mercy of the men in their lives. Another thing pointed out in the article was the use of shot during the movie and how it seemed to linger on women's bodies and the question was raised: "are they using shots that linger on women's bodies because that's the way these male characters look at women, or because its cinematic eye candy?"
I can't answer the question because I haven't seen it; if you have thoughts, please share! I would have to assume that it's a half/half kind of thing going on- every shot in a movie has a distinct purpose, the lingering shots may just serve two purposes instead of one.
The point of the article was to bring to mind the fact that this movie has been called "the Citizen Kane of this generation" and "a timeless and compelling story that speaks volumes about the way we live today" (New York Post). O'Brien argues that this is not the case, and if women are portrayed half as stupidly as she says they are in the film then I hope that this movie does anything but define my generation...
This of course is going to lead me to the site about feminist film theory- which is basically a theory that says that film has and will continue to reflect our society and deeply influence it. Visual and audial representation in one artistic form is extremely hard to dismiss, especially when the messages are subliminal. The theory states that many movies are patriarchal and hetero-normative in nature, intentionally or otherwise, and that it's important that this be pointed out, taken notice of, and, most importantly, changed. However:

"...the insight dawned that positive images were not enough to change underlying structures in film. Feminist critics tried to understand the all-pervasive power of patriarchal imagery..."

So ideally, once it was understood, we could change the underlying structures instead of just following the same story line and changing the character sex/sexual orientation.
I thought of Judith Butler when this quote came around and the idea of "creating trouble." The effect the feminist film theorists want is not simply a surface fix of making the female character more powerful or smarter, or making a romantic comedy about two gay men instead of a straight man and a straight woman. They want to go deeper into the structure of film, of Hollywood, of the movie industry as a whole, and recreate it- who runs it, who produces it, how cinematography works, what/why/when is the body beautiful and when is it being used for ticket sales? I think this is Butler-esque in that they want to change the system as a whole, look at it on a deeper level rather than just putting bandaids on a wound that's too deep.
A critique of this of course is that the "new movies" wouldn't appeal to a larger population, just to those who remade the movie business- the feminism ideals would kill the adventures, thrillers, and romantic comedies because part of their appeal is that they follow basic formats...especially the Romantic Comedy. RC's are pretty typically about a man and a woman and they meet and it's cutesy and awkward and then they hit some rough spots but in the end, ohhhh, the man comes through with a gesture of chivalric sweetness and the woman swoons and ohhhh, they get married. Que longing smiles.
It's said that feminist values in film would kill that, and it's been further stated that feminist values kill chivalry in real life, too.
feminist killjoy.jpg

This is obviously untrue. Feminists don't kill the joys in life just to do it, it's for a purpose, to make our daily lives better in the long run. So really, you could say that they're being chivalric...not killing chivalry. They're being chivalric for society instead of just for the girl that they're trying to impress.

**I apologize; this post was deleted three times over the course of the day, so that's awesome, but by this time I've lost patience for it and this is the best I could do.

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