Recently in Direct Engagement Category

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"?

"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.

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?????

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?

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?!

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."

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?

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."

Direct Engagement #3: The Killjoy and the Cinematic Event


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.

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?

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.)

Direct Engagement #3

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Judith Halberstam embraces the identity of the punk rock image for girls as she discloses some of her own personal examples of experiencing with this rebellious image. She emphasizes her claim that during the 1970s that it gave young women the opportunity to reject femininity and release the inner boy in them, no pun intended. :) She later goes into the "problems" of teenage tomboyism saying that girls are more apt to be punished if they conform to that male identification image, for instance, taking a boy's name or dressing in all guy's clothes and refusing to dress like a "lady." She basically continues to state that being a tomboy is ok as long as it ends up that the tomboy enters marriage and motherhood to a child. It just amazes me that tomboyism cannot be viewed as a normative standard. The world has such a diverse array of different people and just because one woman's mannerisms and desire to dress more like a man does not mean it is going to affect the rest of the feminist population--they are mutually exclusive factors that only insecure and judgmental people cannot wrap their brain around. Androgyny is probably my new favorite word, and I was very excited to see it mentioned in the text, because it literally mean, man/woman--in this particular case, a mix of both masculine and feminine qualities. Argue all you want, but every person on this earth has qualities of each gender. Why do you think men and women argue all the time? It's because men and women are more alike than what they think and thus those hidden similarities are what makes them butt heads and fail to realize they are arguing about the same thing! Moral of the story is to go through life with a transparent mindset and letting others who different into your life and see what insight they can provide for you--tomboy, tomgirl, barbie, or ken--we all share similar qualities.

remiz/revisit my query response

By Dani_d29 on September 28, 2010 10:43 AM | 2 Comments

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

I think that online social networks can be just as dangerous as offline bullying. There might not be a physical aspect online (although it might lead to a physical contfrontation offline) there is a huge danger in emotional and mental bullying. The phrase "sticks and stones" is nice to believe but it just isnt true. I think that we all depend on words and each word has a certain depth and meaning and can be extremely hurtful, especially when there's more than one bully. I believe there was a case a few years ago where a young girl killed herself because she was being harrassed on facebook or myspace. She was being harrassed so much online that she thought the only way to escape was to end her life. Like I said, there might not be a physical aspect to online social networks but it's still just as dangerous. But thats just my opinion.

During this time I thought that online bullying was just as bad as offline bullying but without the physical aspect.

After reading everything from this class and my research for my annot. bib. I've concluded that I think online bullying is a little worse than offline. Yes, there still (usually) isn't a physical harm in online bullying but during my research I've found that some people suppressed their desires and wants because they were made fun of/bullied online and I believe that hiding who you really are is one of the worst things you can do to yourself especially if it's because someone else is causing you to feel bad about yourself. With all of that said, I think its pretty important for us to look back on our initial thoughts because if this hadn't of been assigned I wouldn't have realized that my opinions have shifted at all so I think it's good for us to see if/how our opinions have changed. I also think it is very important and wonderful that we have access to all of our old entries and comments because there is a lot of factual information and very interesting ideas and thoughts.

Direct Engagement #3

I would like to write about the reading that we have done on "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive". Sorry for not voicing up during our discussion last week as I do not fully understand the reading that time. But thanks to the research that I have done on my (S)Mashed Bibliography I have come across a video of a historian / politic scientist in Malaysia which have gave me a better insight of the work of an archive scholars and understand more of the passage. I am posting the videos at the end of this entry and I hope that will help you guys in understanding more too. I have read through all the diablogs that were done on this reading and these have help me write this entry of direct engagement. Anyway I would also like to bring out one of my finding, it may not be true, but I have found out that there are not much written about Malaysia or the South-East Asia, it seems that this region still pretty much remains exotic.

I guess we should not only focus on the history which the archive left us to interpret or discover but also to pay attention to the word colonial, or to be precise colonialism which means, the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. There is one thing that the definition that I have mentioned left out and most people seems to have overlook which is the overtake of culture. The invasion of the "norm-queer" culture to the "queer-norm" culture of the local.

For this we should also look into the pre-colonial era, which I think will very much help us understand the importance of reinvestigate the history of the colonial archives are presenting to us. This helps explain what Aronderkar was saying, that "the process of "queering" pasts has been realized through corrective reformulation of "suppressed" or misread colonial material. I personally think that what she meant is that the colonialist have suppressed the culture of the of the native which they consider queer but were very much the norm of the society back then. If you take a look at the native culture, arts, literature etc are considered very queer. One perfect example was presented by Dr. Farish Noor of the practice of the native on some island in south east asia about the courtship of men by having "dangling rattle" which were being pierce through a men's penis. He explains that these practice and encounter are benign until the colonial era.

I guess what makes it so different from the Greek "practice" and why it is worth looking into is that pre-colonial era or the colonial era is a closer history to us. Besides the arts and culture are still being practice but was modified or have been normalized.

I think that we are not trying to validate the history but rather to recover what is supposed to be presented or understand. To track back queer history of the East or the colonial archive, we have to totally deconstruct our understanding towards the history that have been presented to us as it is extremely sanitized by historian who are presenting it to us. Only by abandoning our understanding towards the present presented history will enable us to sport the real history. Besides the reason why we are doing this partly is because it help us to understand better in way to reverse the so call norm which is queer in the pass and the norm is the queer in the past. Furthermore we should not forget that when we are looking at the colonial archive, we are looking at the history being presented through the lens of the westerner who might not have an in depth understanding of the local culture, thus his work might not reflect the culture or event which he or she choose to record. There's always both side for a story if not multiple.

Archival work is also important as she brought up the question that "How can one accept sexuality studies claims for innovative interdisciplinary if the very turn to interdisciplinary is an epistemological restaging of the colonial states?"

There were comment saying that we should not be too obsessed with the archive but to me every subject needs people to be obsessed with, we called it professional in the academia. History is a subject which facilitates the understanding of the queer culture in whole and also facilitates the discourse of such topic. But of course it would not be effective if it stands alone as a discourse.

*ignore the first 2 minutes of the video

Engagement 2: "Feminist Killjoys"

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Ahmed sets up the this chapter by discussing the figure of the happy housewife and "how this figure works to secure not just ideas of happiness but ideas of who is entitled to happiness". Making this important distinction, she argues that it is "not so much how happiness is distributed [...] but the distribution of relative proximity to ideas of happiness" or "the feeling of a promise [...] as such" (51). So then, the aspects and measures of 'happiness' that are even thought to be attainable and within reach/possible are given much weight for Ahmed's argument, seen as the ability of envisioning beyond the constraints seemingly imposed on one's life. As feminism often uses such tactics as 'consciousness-raising' and the like, becoming aware of that which is hidden or distorted as it relates to the way one lives a life can be seen as a loss (or unhappiness) for what could have been but isn't/wasn't. Ahmed also discusses a new age of happy housewives who rail against the notion that they are subjugated and repressed and instead seek to claim their own form of happiness against a more 'liberated' and feminist notion of what constitutes the 'good' life.

Along with the figure of the unhappy housewife (as deployed by some feminists), the feminist killjoy enters the discussion as a person that disrupts this 'script' and the happiness associated with the supposed 'good' life. Ahmed suggests that, "we can reread the negativity of such figures in terms of the challenge they offer to the assumption that happiness follows relative proximity to a social ideal" and that "feminist consciousness as a form of unhappiness [...] may be useful in an exploration of the limitations of happiness as a horizon of experience" (53). Whether striving for a feminist social ideal of how to live life or any other ideal, if what we are seeking is to find a narrow idea of happiness we are perhaps misled. Rather than focusing on an individual or group's disposition or ability to be happy, we can look to what feminists (especially the killjoy here) are unhappy about (67).
"Feminist consciousness can thus be thought as consciousness of the violence and power that are concealed under the languages of civility and love [... and...] you can cause unhappiness merely by noticing something. [...] Feminism becomes a kind of estrangement from the world and thus involves moments of self-estrangement. Our feminist archive is an archive of unhappiness even though the threads of unhappiness do not weave our stories together" (86).

And, stating what I believe to be the overall goal with this text (so far): "My desire is to revitalize the feminist critique of happiness as a human right and as the appropriate language for politics" (87).
The last lines provide the basis for what may unite those of us seeking to disrupt that which has been covered over with happiness: "There is solidarity in recognizing our alienation from happiness, even if we do not inhabit the same place (as we do not). There can even be joy in killing joy. And kill joy, we must and we do" (87).

To critically engage and question this idea of happiness and how it can be deployed either for or against feminist claims in a political context as well as how we individually and collectively place our hopes in finding happiness in social ideals seems to be what Ahmed is taking on with her work. By exposing unseen imbalances of power and bringing to the surface that which is hidden in the form of raising consciousness is inherently a sort of mourning for that which has been lost or covered. Though this is an inherent part of becoming aware, rather than to rework how we can interpret and deploy a more affirming perspective is rather to question if happiness should even be the aim for feminists. Pushing this further is not necessarily redefining 'happiness' to suit our needs/desires but to constantly disrupt what others may find happiness in.

The role of the feminist killjoy is something that resonates deeply with me and that I can completely relate with. I'm not faced with too many situations in which I am read as an angry feminist, however my silence and awkwardness kills just as much joy I'm sure. I tense at the mention of essentialist characterizations of anyone on account of appearance (race/class/gender/etc.) and of oversimplified descriptions of anything (events/life/people) that too heavily rely on larger social ideals. When intersectionality and critical engagement are missing, there are very few ways I find what others say as anything of importance or value. I tend to complicate and problematize even the most simple of gestures and statements, and often this means causing awkward silences or situations in which I am estranged. Events such as this past thanksgiving bring me to face discussions such as: my 16 year nephew 'being friends with all the girls but no girlfriend!', and how knowing the sex of my nephew-to-be 'makes it so you don't have to deal with the green and yellow thing' and various other heteronormative gender ideals. Though these examples are small, I wonder more generally when killing joy is most effective and appropriate. Specifically in the context of family, are there some things best left unsaid? Is it worth engaging in debates over the ridiculousness of gendering babies with harmless color schemes? Is it worth pointing out that heterosexual development as seen as inevitable can be harmful? Where do we choose our battles? What if others cannot argue on our terms and are so completely in a different reality that what we say makes no sense?

D.E. DUEX: Queer Time

I am interested in further engagement with Judith Jack Halberstam's "What's That Smell?: Queer Temporalities and Subcultural Lives". In this essay, Halberstam discusses temporalities of people, particularly the differences in those temporalities experienced between queer communities and their heterosexual counterparts. In this way, Halberstam is referring to heterosexual temporalities as those developed to institutions of family, heterosexuality, reproduction, and kinship. Queer subcultures and "epistemology of youth" "disrupts conventional accounts of subculture, youth culture, adulthood, race, class, and maturity" (Halberstam). To live queerly can be to imagine futures "according to logics that lie outside of the conventional forward-moving narratives of birth, marriage, reproduction, and death". Halberstam sees this concept of queer also as detached from sexual identity exclusively, where by it can be defined "as an outcome of temporality, life scheduling, and eccentric economic practices" (Halberstam).

queer time.png

Because of my sexual orientation, the life I live is considered outside the heteronormal (though well within the homonormal). My life narrative and future does not (necessarily) depend or relate to institutions of the "traditional" family, which reinscribe patriarchy and capitalism through marriage and childbirth. Does this mean that I have more free time then "straight" people? Am I stuck in "youth"? Halberstam suggests that queer communities have exploded in presence over the last few decades, which forces us to redefine the binary of adolescence and adulthood, further problematizing the heteronormative. What would happen if we acknowledge "non-heterosexual, non-exclusively male, non-white and non-adolescent subcultural production in all its specificity"?

Beside Oneself: an indirect, undisciplined engagement


Screen shot 2010-11-27 at 1.40.04 PM.pngThis one's for my post-it note fans.

Although I did the digital post-it notes a while ago for a direct engagement and have somewhat traded my yellow stickies for the convenience and immediacy of Twitter, I really like being able to post pictures of my physical notes on our blog -- very rarely are we, as students, encouraged to share or engage with (or queer) our personal reading habits. This particular entry is not only meant to be a queering of virtual/reality, but of time as well, since a few of these post-it notes are repeats of notes that I posted last year when we read this chapter in Queering Theory.
heterosexual matrix.pnglivablelife.jpgundone.jpgviolence.jpgThumbnail image for dd027.jpgbodies.jpgunlivable.jpglimits.jpgregulations.jpg

Part Third of engaging directly: Transparent


Conceiving of gender or embodied identity as multifarious and variable presents an emphatic opposition to any understanding of sex and gender as an anticipatory causality. Thumbnail image for transgender.jpgAs Susan David Bernstein addresses, parents who encourage gender transgression, or queer gender expression, are often met with fear from norm-conforming parents who perceive of anatomy as an end-all-be-all, inherent signification of gender identity - which only really makes sense if one's gender is inherently connected to one's genitals, making such anxieties altogether inconsistent. Thumbnail image for boy:girl.png

Ironically, it is precisely the anxiety over these purportedly "immature" gender expressions threatening the "natural order" (itself a man-made fabrication) that negate all convictions of there being a natural order -- an issue that Bernstein attempts to take up in "Transparent," making a case study of her daughter, Nora's, gender transgression. What is made readily apparent in Bernstein's illustration is that Nora's understanding of gender is far more sophisticated and nuanced than that of any of the adults she comes into contact with. For instance, when Bernstein relates the reactions Nora was repeatedly confronted with by strangers, Bernstein herself interprets her daughter's gender identity as meeting the conditions of a developing trans(sexual) identity - a transition, or in Nora's case "experimentation," from to . However, Nora seemingly understands her own gender identity as existing in an unknown elsewhere, a nonspace that, rather than presenting a hindrance or demarcating the possibilities for her gender expression, provides her to create her own possibilities for a gender beyond binary understandings of boy or girl:

Nora reported that she liked fooling people about her gender, and that's why she didn't correct them. But she didn't always appreciate the crooked stares that were pitched her way in public restrooms [...] Once Nora came home from school absolutely delighted with herself. An unfamiliar woman had encountered Nora in the girls' room and said, with a smile, 'I think this is the girls' room!' and Nora, echoing the woman's intonation, quipped, 'I think I'm a girl!'

The joy that Nora experiences in queering gendered spaces, and peoples' perceptions of gender, stems from understanding what the adults surrounding her do not - that what purportedly defines a "boy" or a "girl" is arbitrary, without sensible foundation, and therefore simply nonessential. Bernstein provides little evidence that Nora simply wanted to be a boy, or become a man, as Nora consistently exhibits, in Bernstein's account, that she has little to no understanding of what a boy is, what a man is, or what being either or neither could possibly entail. Nora's expression and articulations of her own gender identity depict a decidedly queer sensibility - one that she makes no attempt to define, apart from the rigid definitions already provided for and ascribed to her by adults. She may not know what binary genders are, but her joy in observing what queering binary gender performances does allows her to see beyond those binaries - and even beyond androgyny. Does this mean that Nora's gender theory is post-gender?:

I think it's more complicated than that. But, Nora does have an undisciplined relationship to gender which threatens binary gender constructs. Perhaps I'm stepping in a slightly different direction all of a sudden, but what about the surprisingly blunt and mature conversation that Nora has with her father, Daniel, who encourages undisciplined gender expressions, presents a threat to the innocence of children?:


Bernstein's approach to (trans)parenting presents a pretty radical queering of gender-discipline, despite what I've read as a reinforcement of gender binaries, in that Bernstein's account of Nora's gender performance does not really present an anarchic (postgender) configuration of gender, but rather very simple facts about a false dichotomy: | , which is determined (arbitrarily?) by genitals:


DE #3: Engaging with Ahmed

Sara Ahmed's, The Promise of Happiness

I have been sooooo excited all semester to read this book! I decided to write on our most recent reading because we will be discussing it this week and I have almost finished the whole book (thanx Sara for making me wait all semester!)

The pursuit of happiness has always struck me as such a tedious chore. Because we are always looking to an end result, something in the future that will insure our happiness. We rarely hear people say, "this is the happiest I will ever be!" Instead, they assume happiness will come, but is rarely so satisfying in the present. Everyone chases it, everyone wants it- but what are we searching and why are we taught to base our happiness off a certain grid of things that we are culturally taught make people happy? Ahmed states, "the very hope for happiness means we get directed in certain ways, as happiness is assumed to follow from some life choices and not others". Sometimes, what makes us happy doesn't make others happy and thus we alter our happiness to ensure someone else is happy. Take parents for example, I have many friends that have not followed their goals because it would "shock" and "disappoint" their parents too much. Even though it matters to them, causing their parents that sort of unhappiness is too unsettling to bear, and thus "not worth it".

Why do we gage our happiness off of others? If someone else makes us happy, shouldn't we just let it go, and turn within to continue to make ourselves happy? Nah... that would probably be too easy. We need something to blame, or something that was the cause of our happiness or unhappiness.

"Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness". ~Robertson Davies

I decided to look up quotes on being happy and the only quote I could find that somewhat resembled the idea that happiness is not a necessity, and that there can actually be joy in not having joy was the above quote by Robertson Davies. He made me think about and relate to Ahmed in saying that there are questions to be asked and things to be learned because of one's unhappiness.

What is the relationship to feminism and happiness? Aren't feminists typically killers of joy, or as Ahmed calls them "the killjoy"? Why isn't it appropriate to bring something up that might bring someone else's happiness down even if it's valid and worth thinking about or wondering about?

Another thing that struck me when reading Ahmed is how she distinguishes the binary of grief and happiness. I thought back to the things I've learned about Buddhism, about how everything has an opposite that must be in order for the other to also be. Happiness/Suffering, good/bad, sick/healthy... all of these things need to be balanced and one cannot know one without the other. I used to have a friend who told me one time "Lauryn, everything is perfect as is. Even when it seems like nothing is right, you are always exactly where you need to be and feeling the things you need to feel". This hit home with me. Happiness and grief are all a part of it. I couldn't really truly appreciate being happy if I didn't have extremely weak moments in my life that caused me a lot of grief, pain, and suffering. This type of balancing act that my friend Liam taught me, showed me that Ahmed is right in that there is something to be said about not being happy, something to be learned, and that is okay.

Unhappy queers and feminist killjoys teach us something about happiness and teach us how happiness is structured around certain things and excludes others. There is something to be learned by the "unhappiness" project. By examining the what's why's and how's of happiness, we can understand how happiness can be used to conform us to certain ideals that have been set in place in our world. Happiness, as she discusses, is sometimes used as a "moral" crux to insinuate that certain people are not happy, or one shouldn't be happy if they are a certain way. We are taught to obey certain rules as a "common good" so that others will be happier.

In terms of passing, I found the concept of "passing as happy" to be very interesting. We encourage people to "fake it until they make it" or "put on a happy face" as to not make others uncomfortable with one's unhappiness. Why is happiness made so necessary? And why are we taught to keep quiet sometimes to insure that somebody else's happiness is not compromised.

All of these questions are so interesting to me! I really find this book beautifully written and full of engaging questions and ways of thinking. Troubling happiness...

direct engagement three, transparenting


In "Transparent," Susan David Bernstein relates some of her experiences of parenting a child who has what seems to be a firm grasp on the performative nature of gender. Nora, the author's daughter, is described as having "gender bending episodes" and "mixed gender expressions," characterizations that seem to try to isolate the various performances of gender to separate incidents. These, in tandem with the author's question: "Does gender at seven have much of anything to say about sexual identity at seventeen?", connect to our in-class discussions of eroticized children and the futurity of the child. In Nora's mom's mind, Nora isn't expressing an assured and fully-felt self; instead, she's experimenting. And tied to this is Nora's mom's assumption that Nora isn't yet sexual, as a seven-year-old. That, she believes, doesn't happen until Nora is 17. Nora's mom/the author seeks to delay and separate gender and sexuality. Gender can be recognized and expressed as a young child, but there is something innocent and less serious about a youthful "experimental" gender expression; the author's anxiety is focused instead on the future child, the 17-year-old, who is assumed to be sexualized. The young child and the future teen are separate entities, not variations on the same person and theme, not continuous and fluid.

I really enjoyed reading this article, mostly because its anecdotal style was so easy and breezy to read, but also because the mother/author and daughter/subject relationship made "transparenting" immediate and very personalized. But what I was really impressed with and intrigued by was Nora's understanding of gender. Her mom tells stories about her that exhibit her intellect, her tact, her sense of humor, and her keen understanding of others' reactions to gender non-conformity as well as what conforming to gender stereotypes looks like. Nora is one smart and intuitive kid. But her mom, the author, struggles with this savvy. The fluctuations from toplessness and being a "tomboy" as a little kid, to going to high school dances looking a little bit tarty seem to fill her mom with anxiety about what it all means. What isn't really discussed, however, is Nora's take on it all. Sure, we get little snippets of her thoughts from her mom, but Nora is painted as having license over her gender and bodily expression, but there's a lot more of the author's thoughts and anxieties in the article than there is a conversation between mother and daughter. Nora seems to know what she's doing, but she's not given the opportunity to speak to that knowledge. How does this connect to Kincaid, and the unknowingness of children? And what is at stake in the author's future vision of her daughter/child?

DE - Unnatural Predators

In Robert Azzarello's article, Unnatural Predators: Queer Theory Meets Environmental Studies in Bram Stoker's Dracula, he discusses about sexuality in relation to queer studies as well as environmental studies. Azzarello does a great job in giving a brief description about what queer studies is and how sexuality in reference to queer studies is based upon social construction and can be found in every aspect of life. When he brings up environmental studies and how it can relate to queer studies, he draws upon excerpts from Bram Stoker's Dracula and analyzes two characters from the novel that are possibly good examples of what is defined as natural and unnatural.

I enjoyed how Azzarello approached this issue of what is considered natural and unnatural, especially in the era that we live in right now. His main focus is about defining the two terms and connecting it to society's construction of natural and unnatural, with great examples from Dracula. He brings up very good points about Queer studies and how it is constantly trying to fight against the naturalization of a heteronormative culture, and yet by doing so it is also creating another environment in which it is denaturalizing what should be natural. This is where Azzarello brings in environmental studies, because it arose due to "a political intervention into a university system that largely ignored urgent political questions being raised by activists outside the academy" (Azzarello, 138). I feel that this quote best describes what environmental studies is and what it does for our society. It is quite similar to queer studies, and is trying to raise awareness that we as individuals are playing a very important role in the effects of nature. When Azzarello describes Dr. Seward and Renfield, he brings up the idea of what is natural and who is doing what to be defined as the "normal" human being. Although Renfield is a human being, his acts are very much like an animal and with Dr. Seward observing him also poses a big question about what is being performed as natural. Is it natural for Renfield to be creating an animal food chain and participating in it? Or is it natural for Dr. Seward to hold Renfield as a patient and observe him?

This article brought up very good questions about what is natural and unnatural in the context of queer studies and environmental studies. I feel like what is in our nature is no longer existing within ourselves because we have been conditioned to not engage in any animalistic instincts. I do not understand how and when we started to change ourselves from animals to human beings because I think that if we were to still be the way we were a few thousands of years ago, it would be a very interesting world that we would be living in. To define ourselves as "human beings" and not "animals" also makes me think that there is a power relationship there because it is almost as if we see ourselves as higher in status to animals. If Dracula were really alive today, and he decided to turn everyone into a vampire, would we be on the same level as animals because we are no longer humans?

Mash Up

I had an interestingly relaxing afternoon looking back through everything on our website and blog. Before this course, I had never purposefully pondered or thought about what is queer(ing). I've had some trouble this semester fitting my own queer lens into focus. Looking back over everything today made me realize that I am learning and I am digging deeper into my own meaning of what queer(ing) is. I'm definitely not as advanced as some in my definition or understanding of queer(ing) - but it's very slowly developing. As I've only been diving into this subject for a few months.

First, I wanted to discuss Chromeswan's direct engagement on Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity". I remember this was one of the first articles I read for class, and I don't remember that I completely comprehended it. Reading over Chromeswan's direct engagement made me think back to that first article and how I perceive it differently now since my lens has evolved. In online spaces you can choose to be anonymous, or to expose your identity. Identity not just being your name, but your sexuality, race, opinions, desires, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Internet blogs and sites give people voices they might not have without the online world. I view queering online a bit differently than queering face to face. Sometimes physical personal interactions with others only give you so much time to explain or present yourself. The online world is different, you can write as much (or as little) as you want people to know - online spaces may give readers more time to relate and understand to who you are or who you're developing to be.

Mary Gray's article "From Websites to Walmart" deals with internet services as well as face-to-face interactions within the community. The internet here is seen as a way to connect with others in order to be understood and find others to associate with. I believe queering very well can incorporate the internet, but facial interactions are needed as well. This article opens the reader's eyes to the difference in queering in a rural area versus an urban area. Urban areas would be thought to many to be an easier place to form connections because the population is greater and people live closer to each other. In rural areas, you may not have a neighbor for miles down the road, connections may be harder to make in a community of few spread out people. Internet here forms the gap and helps rural GLBT's be able to communicate online as well as form community meeting spaces and gatherings.

Next, I'd like to bring up Briana's Queer This! about greeting cards and the "queer lens" we're developing through this course and our lifestyles. I never would have thought to use my "queer lens" in the card section as Target - so I'm very glad she brought this to my attention! Her Queer This! is so true. Cards sold in stores are truly made for the heterosexual community. It's very helpful for me to be exposed to others' experiences/thoughts such as Briana's. Briana's post about greeting cards helped me to realize that I need to find a way to be more aware of such obvious situations.

Lastly, honeybump0515's video post of "No Homo" - was very humorous to me while making a lot of sense. I appreciate that post and am glad I took the time to watch it. The video made valid points. I think "lil wayne" started this craze; I hear d the phrase first in his 'music'. I love the point the video made; does he feel so insecure - that he may appear homosexual that he needs to make his sexuality of no homo clear. To me this video does a great job of queering a common phrase. It's almost as if this person created this video for our Queer This! assignment. This video was entertaining in the way that it made fun of this non-educated phrase.

Mash Up: What is queer/ing?


When asked by my partner to help succinctly define the functions of queer theory, I totally floundered; I could only provide partial and open glimpses of what it does, very broadly speaking. It is inspired by that conversation as well as jaropenerkate's post "an interconnected mash up" that I present:

Queer/ing Vignettes

If not montage, then vignette feels a most appropriate mode of temporality to employ for adventures in pondering the meaning of queer/ing. This departure declares interrogation of the viewer/reader as its central self-reflexive queer/ing project. When better to start, then, than with thoughts derived from working through and playing with (riffing on, if you will) Edelman's variations on reproductive futurity and Muñoz in the opening to Cruising Utopia?

If (both) past unrecoverable and/or still not yet, then what will it take for us to be(come) queer? If not through the waif or her enclave, might we become queer through recourse to the horrors of queer youth suicides, or to the positive light of queer youth survival, or to queers raising children, or to raising queer children, or making normativity visible? How do all of these intertwine and diverge as negotiations of queer politics? Is there an impossible queer future for us yet? If not thwarted by the grim prospects of white heteronormative reproductive futurity, then what will this future look and feel like? Do queers need future or do they need to come to terms with death?

I'm reminded that "For every 'livable life' and 'grievable death,' there are a litany of unmentionable, unassimilable Others melting into the pace of the nonhuman" (Giffney and Hird, 3). In what different ways is death functioning here? How does death work differently for subjects who embody, even celebrate, non-normativity, transgression, unintelligibility? How does this factor into our vision of a queer future-- who will live and die, and how will their histories be recorded? Is a queer future still concerned with our queer pasts?

"Can we provide a queer analysis of the image on the poster?" (Nosecage)

In the film Gendernauts, one figure [a transman] questions the idea of being filmed shaving his face, in summary asking something to the effect of "Why the focus on shaving as part of my daily routine? Why not a video of me brushing my teeth?" Why not the queer act of brushing one's teeth?

In other words, why not focus on some or another "revolting" act of a queer mouth? Why not (be) revolt(ing)? As Mattilda shows with the collection That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, there are a multitude of ways to queer using one's mouth, words, and glitter and by resisting the well-known isms [class, sex, race, gender...] that bind us.

Edelman, Lee. "The Future is Kid Stuff."
Giffney, Noreen and Myra Hird. "Queering the non/human."
jaropenerkate. "an interconnected mash up."
Muñoz, José. "Introduction: Feeling Utopia." Cruising Utopia.
Nosecage. "Queer This! #2: Bare."
Sycamore, Mattilda Bernstein. That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.
Treut, Monika. Gendernauts.

DE #3

DE #3
I am confused how Halberstam points out that Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs has braces and that symbolizes her "injunction on girls having to be pretty and nice, sugar and spice". Did this woman actually state that that is why she has braces or is Halberstam just observing and inferring that? To me, I would think that her braces would indicate that she is straightening out her teeth to look more normative and pretty. This is the exact opposite of what Halberstam says she is rebelling against. I also disagree with her statement that we "hesitate to cultivate female masculinity in young girls". I think that girls are socially pressured to be feminine but on the other hand we still hear statements such as "you throw like a girl" indicating that a girl should throw like an athlete, an athlete meaning male. We teach young girls that anything masculine means good. At least that is what I have seen first hand. I have noticed this in the business world as well. All things female are considered weak and sensitive while men are tough, powerful and worthy. Halberstam also states that punk was her outlet for her outrage against femininity and her desire to continue being a tomboy. Punk gave her a voice for her dissatisfaction when she had no vocabulary. I can see her valid point that punk provided means to make sense of difference. But how big can a movement get before it is no longer rebellious punk music and it becomes popular music? Ask Kurt Cobain. He was our paradoxical king of rebellion. I think that rebellion is something that we all have inside of us. When we hear a song that we like we use that artist's outrage to cling to because we feel that it is our only outlet in a sea of conformity. One song written by a struggling person trying to find their own voice is now on the radio out there in the world for everyone to take into their lives. It no longer becomes the artist's song. By putting yourself and your music out there you are giving it to the masses to do what they will with. I think that rebellion is just as eternal as love and that we all have it in us. What are everyone's thoughts? Was that just a ridiculous rant or did that make sense?

Mash Up-- What what? Only 2-ish days late.

| 1 Comment

(yeah, thats totally a link. click it. yeah. do it.)

I think that queering can definitely be related to the ideas of power, normative ideology, body image, and in a way, innocence.
Firstly, Cohen does a great job in explaining how power works in a "queering" sense. Her articulation of how queering and politics can relate to eachother really gave me the jumping off point I needed to play the mash up game today. Cohen says "I envision a politics where one's relation to power, and not some homogenized identity, is privileged in determining one's political comrades... if any radical potential is to be found in the idea of queerness and the practice of queer politics, it would seem to be located in its ability to create a space in opposition to dominant norms, a space where transformational political work can begin." But this makes me think... How does one queer politics? How does one queer power? When I think of queering power, I think of how power situations begin, especially in a patriarchal society. The answer to that is Family. Kincaid does a great deal of work in the ideas of queering children and how children are expected to be pure and innocent. He talks about how we remain powerful over children and their sexual identities by silencing them in situations of sexual crisis, like molestation. The political system, legislation and courts alike are supposed to protect the "innocence of children." But how is that to be if innocence and sexual purity are not especially inherent in children but are instead projected onto them by adult fantasies.
Speaking of adult fantasies... Kincaid's article got me thinking about how women are really expected to be children, that is childlike. Innocent, pure, smooth skinned, youthful, and quiet. This reminds me of the Queer this post of the Ralph Lauren ad featuring the ridiculously skinny women. Her waist was of a childlike size, and her skin was smooth. She appeared to be very young. Her body was the center of the image, and the eyes are drawn to it in lieu of the face. It is a very oppressive image in my mind. This, to me relates back to Cohen's discussions of power and how it can be queered.
It is not unusual for people in positions of power (politicians, adults, parents, men... what have you) to silence or try to silence those in opposition to it (women, children, constituents... etc). Those who queer power are those who react to this oppression with steadfastness and courage.
A lot of what we talk about in class has to do with oppression of women, homosexuals, transgender folks, and bisexuals. Sometimes we touch on race, but it isn't very often. I would like to change this pattern. When we talk about power and patriarchy like Kincaid and Cohen do it is important to read between the lines and expand the principles to other kinds of societal issues. The issues of racial stratification in our society are truly disheartening. I think that is what is at the heart of some of the arguments discussed by Cohen and Kincaid, how these principles apply to all people.
In Cookiekidd's Direct engagement with Richard Thompson Ford's article, he talks about what is queer about race. Since race is directly connected to power, i found this engagement fitting. CookieKidd said something that really excited me in this engagement, "Being queer is not about one's identity but rather how one chooses to live their lives by challenging mainstream society's social and ideological construction of race and gender." This to me really helped solidify what I'm trying to mash up... this is really feeling like mashed up bananas coming out of my head at this point, lots and lots of blogging today. However, his engagement with this article has a lot to do with interracial homosexual relationships and how they function to queer both race and heterosexual and heteronormative relationships. He says, "His article dealt with a lot of analyzing into race and social identity construction and how queer theory to him played an important role in challenging these views. It's almost as if he refers to himself as queer theory itself, and yet by him choosing to marry his partner, he is also choosing to obtain a part of what heterosexuals views as sacred and "normal"." This is extremely relevant, especially because a lot of what I study is how race is socially constructed, and i try to apply that ideology to how sexuality is a social construct in society too. Kincaid, Cohen and Ford have all helped me form this argument, Race is formed to maintain power heirarchies between whites and non-whites in society, just like sexual norms and identifications are formed to maintain heteronormative power structures and patriarchy.

Ok I feel like I'm rambling. Thats all I have.

DE #3

I find it really interesting that Halberstam states that "punk" is viewed as a male dominated subculture and that females who partook in the punk scene were viewed simply as girlfriends or fans instead of participants. I for one haven't really looked at a female with a punk style and thought, "Oh, she's just a girlfriend of a real punk kid." To me if you dress accordingly and proclaim yourself as such then that's part of what you are. No matter if you're male or female. Maybe my thought process is different though and punk is actually viewed as a male subculture. Something I'd also really like to point out is the quote, "Furthermore, excessively feminine little girls are also harmed by the generalization of the tomboy label, because when tomboy becomes a normative standard, they look pathologically bound by their femininity to weakness and passivity." When do you think tomboyism will become a normative standard? Or has it already become normative? Do you really think that more feminine girls would be harmed by this? The only way I can see this as being harmful to them is if the parents themselves said something to the child to make them feel inferior. Bulling could also be an issue but I've worked at a day care center before and I've seen a few boys come to the day care on Halloween dressed as female super-heros and none of the other kids made fun of them but when the other parents saw they were disgusted by it. Also, since tomboyism still has expectations of growing to be feminine why would it matter that other girls are feminine at the moment when it expected of them to be feminine as an adult? Why should all little girls be expected to change from childhood to adulthood?

Mash-sh-sh Up-p-p-ah.

For my Mash-Up I'm using the Queer This from happytreefriends that had the youtube clip, Confessions of a Hipster; nosecage's Direct Engagement on Halberstam, and Halberstam's and Sedgwick's essays.

First I want to kind of summarize Halberstam's piece, "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy." She basically just talks about how there are two common forms of gender that girls conform to: really girly or the typical tomboy. The latter has an inevitable queerness about it and as a girl gets older there's the idea that she'll probably get teased for being such a "guy." I know that as I grew up I was definitely pressured by my peers to abandon some of my interests because they were "for boys." The other thing that Halberstam brings up is the idea of "androgyny" and I definitely don't believe that having both qualities of female/male genders makes you "androgynous." But in the case of children, it's difficult for growing minds to grasp the concept of "gender" and how many different "gender's" are out there. I think that children tend to be very judgmental and, in my case, it definitely persuaded me to become more "girly." In Sedgwick's article, it talks about how gay and lesbian youth are picked on like no other, and I think this also has a lot to do with children trying to conform to the typical gender roles. No one likes to be picked on, and so I know that definitely has a lot to do with kids staying in the closet... I mean, duh.

As for nosecage's question, "How do we (as a society) view girls that 'grow out' of tomboyism and become much more feminine in adulthood?" I think that society kind of ignores the fact that a lot of girls were dissuaded by their peers to do the things that they actually wanted to even though they were "boy-ish."

On the flip side though, I think that some girls kind of recognize that they aren't necessarily happy being very girly and slowly go back to their "boyish" childhood selves. Again, in my case, I tried to be really girly in middle school and then about halfway through high school I realized that I just didn't like that... at all. So I slowly went back to doing things that are generally boy-ish... like laughing at stupid stuff, not being grossed out by bugs and dirt, and (my personal favorite) wearing flannel shirts that are way too big for me.

The flannel shirt thing is why I decided to tie in the Queer This from happytreefriends about the hipsters. Hipsters have a habit of wearing the big flannels (like the girl in the video) and I think it's interesting to note that hipsters in general tend to have the same interests regardless of gender: philosophy, flannel shirts, bikes, art, poetry... etc. All things that are traditionally associated with either males (flannel, dirt) or females (poetry). And yet, these things are "cool" and if you don't like them you aren't "hipster" and thus, not "cool." So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems like this (almost) new genre of stereotype is embracing the idea of mixing genders and things/interests that are associated with each gender. And to go even further, if you don't identify as "straight," you're even MORE cooler, as any "right" kind of hipster will tell you.

I just get really confused about the growing up process because I remember being a kid and the other kids making fun of my for being boyish and especially making fun of kids who were gay or seemingly gay. And now my peers talk about how "cool" it is to be gay. I think it's just crazy how much stress goes into the process just to get to a level where everyone is just ok with everyone else.


For my mash-up I wanted to look back at the use of queer and action of queering race. Queering to me is the challenge of hegemonic standards. This challenge of placed "norms" could be shown through dress, words, sexuality, hygiene, gender, choice of music, and so many, many more. As mentioned in Kathy Cohen's article and brought to further attention by jaropenerkate, this category of queer/queering can even be somewhat limiting. Cohen mentions the actions people take to lead queer lives by searching,

"...for a new political direction and agenda, one that does not focus on integration into dominant structures but instead seeks to transform the basic fabric and hierarchies that allow systems of oppression to persist and operate efficiently"
(Cohen 90).

continues by explaining that even this action of queering or identifying as queer is limiting and leaves out many stories, feelings, ideas, opinions, etc. Jaropenerkate furthers the limits within queerness by explaining what she appreciatively took from Cohen's article. Jaropenerkate says,

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

I think this pigeonholing that is happening even within the queer community is important to note. This all-encompassing, freeing term can have limitations at times.

Jaropenerkate also provided a great example of what isn't queer in her Queer This! example by using a Rolling Stone Cover with the cast of Glee on it.Glee straight and light.jpg However, the whole cast isn't pictured and as jaropenerkate mentioned, "...only the lightest, straightest ones" are shown.

Mash Up Assignment

For this mash up, I chose to discuss the articles, "The Face Book Revolution" and "From Websites to Walmart," my Tyra Banks Queer This!, and RadioEdit's "Virtual Disruptions" direct engagement. Each of these examples all emphasize my own personal definition of queer, and that would be: curiosity and abstract identity. In other words, it's the idea of looking at or defining something or someone from an identity that is not seen popular by others and that uniquely expresses personal freedom.

"The Facebook Revolution" clearly demonstrated the idea of personal freedom and really allows an individual to extend their boundaries and thoughts to and about others without ever having to look at something/someone from one perspective. It's a form of communication that allows someone to get involved also with a variety of different interests and groups--a network that constantly engages the minds of its users.

"From Websites to Walmart" discusses the differences of coming out in a rural or urban environment and how someone would go about their coming out process based off of their upbringings and personal surroundings. This article covers just one of the many factors that go into the decision making process of disclosing your sexuality--but more profoundly...the opportunity to share with someone a personal and alternative form of life--this was the perfect example of an eye opener to the reader.

In my Tyra article, Mom Sues Tyra Banks After Teen Appears on Show, you had the girl who appeared on her show, the crew, and Tyra against the girl's mother saying that there was never any parental consent to let the minor be filmed on the episode. This could demonstrate queerness in the sense that perhaps minors are in fact capable of providing insightful answers about not only questions that are asked but facts about their own personal experiences and interactions with the world--an alternative viewpoint to observers who would expect to hear something ignorant and naive.

In RadioEdit's direct engagement of "Virtual Disruptions," RadioEdit, very concisely, address of all the main points to Threlkeld's argument of heteronormativity in schools. RadioEdit discusses how the concept of queer is viewed, not only in schools, but in the media, how it will be looked upon in the future and in general, how it is viewed in society. RadioEdit uses each of these mentioned components to formulate an opinion about how these heteronormative "standards" are affecting our youth and adolescent population today and sheds light on what a negative impact these societal counterparts will have on these individuals if something is not done to change the perceived identity.


Focusing my mash-up on race and gender, I stumbled across honeybump0515's Queer This video clip of what the term "No Homo" meant. I tied this youtube clip in with two reading assignments from class, the first article by Richard Thompson Ford, What's Queer About Race? and the second article, How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys by Eve Sedgwick. This mash-up also uses reference from Nosecage's direct engagement with the Halberstam reading.

I will first discuss about honeybump0515's No Homo clip and explain my initial reaction to this clip. Upon viewing this clip I felt that the term "No Homo" was a little offensive to the GLBT community, however, I do understand that hip-hop has always been the one genre of music that has always pushed the boundaries of expression in terms of language and communication. Hip-hop does not thrive on conforming to mainstream society's expectations, but rather it has always tried to create a space in which the culture can be what we make it to be. I feel like the study of GLBT and queering desires, is very similar to what hip-hop has been doing all along. Although hip-hop has been viewed more negatively than in a more positive note, hip-hop has paved many paths for critical discourses and social justice movements. It is only due to the mainstream hip-hop that it is given a bad connotation. If one wants to take a deeper look into hip-hop and analyze how the language is used, one has to immerse themselves into the culture and actually go looking for the underground hip-hop music that is the foundation of true passion for social change.

In the article written by Richard Thompson Ford, he explores the extent to which race plays into the construction of identity within the mainstream society. He discusses about how we place certain individuals into their specific race due to their behaviors and mannerisms. This way of categorizing people without realizing it, can be harmful to how we function as a society. When relating this article back to the youtube clip posted by honeybump0515, we see that within the hip-hop culture alone, the male rap artists oftentimes describe their sexual experience with other men and by using the "No Homo" term, these masculine male rap artists are then automatically excused for doing whatever they want and not be viewed as gay. These male, African American rap artists tend to be seen as very masculine and viewed as rebels and by enacting these same sex interactions, it only glorifies their ability to attract the other males and yet still able to resist conforming into a gay man. Through their lyrics and influence on mainstream society, African American male rap artists have created a new level of qualified masculine identity.

In an article by Eve Sedgwick, her focus is on effeminate boys and how they may be diagnosed at an early age to have a gender identity disorder if they do not conform to their gendered roles. One quote that I thought was very interesting in this article was, "The reason effeminate boys turn out gay, according to this account, is that other men don't validate them as masculine" (Sedgwick, 143). I thought this was very interesting because it relates to one's identity only verified as a qualified identity if the consensus agrees upon it. It is almost as if the individual does not exist, unless they are seen through someone else's eyes and acknowledged. In relation to the "No Homo" clip, I find that it is hard to have an effeminate boy shunned from society because of their behavior, but to see how male rap artists play around with the masculine identity and use it to the extent that they do in their music, is very abhorring.

Nosecage posted up a direct engagement with Halberstam's article, and I found it to be very interesting. I liked how Nosecage highlighted a few of the main focus of Halberstam's article and how it relates to queering. Tying this into the rest of my mash-up I found that the construction of gender and identity in our society is very complicated and that one's identity is constantly influenced by one's social environment as well as how one views themselves in relation to their environment. Although the youth may not be punished for gender confusion or gender bending, in their adulthood they can become queer later on and this is where the challenges of gender and identity becomes very crucial. Overall, I found a lot of the readings and the online postings to be very beneficial to my understanding of how society constructs gender roles and identity in relation to race. I also understand that I am a part of society, and the actions I partake in can also be significant to how we define and understand what queering is.

an interconnected mash up

I start my Mash Up with the idea of connectedness, which @moviesofmyself describes beautifully in his Direct Engagement with JHalb:

"I tend to think, according to Buddhist teachings, that I was not born into this world but rather out of it. So while we may draw lines that say trees, clouds, or bodies are natural while sky scrapers, computers, or pollution are not-- I do believe that all existence is intricately connected and comes from the one energy of this world. I am deeply connected to all other forms of life because we all interare (see: interbeing), we do not existence individually but rather our lives (not just human) literally depend on one another. It is in thinking through these relations that I can see how the divide of human / non/human is dangerously troubling."

If we 'interare,' then the effort to distinguish ourselves as finite individuals seems like an impossible task. I'm getting the growing suspicion that queer theory (like @pinstin mentioned in class on 11/11) invests more in the process, rather the end result. So investing in the fluidity and points of connection between identities and entities seems more productive. Acknowledging that any one being or thing is somehow connected to us and to other things allows for a lot more space to perpetuate that connectedness. JHalb points to the transgressive and activist potential of questioning the divides between the human / non/human in "Animating Revolt/Revolting Animation: Penguin Love, Doll Sex and the Spectacle of the Queer Nonhuman" :

...(speaking of the "Pixavolt" movie Over the Hedge) "Ultimately, this children's feature offers more in the way of a vision of collective action than most independent films and critical theory put together, and the film's conclusion points to queer alliance, queer space and queer temporalities as the answers to the grim inevitability of reproductive futurity and suburban domesticity" (272).

Again, how does this potential for collective action reliant upon acknowledging our mutual connectedness? I think it's super-reliant upon it. Questioning how we organize, label, separate, come together, and perpetuate narratives of normalcy and heteronormativity are key to creating truly transgressive and activist activity. Even (or maybe especially) in the form of "children's" movies. To do so means to trouble the stable, to make our fellow people question themselves and their patterns, all in the name of shaking up monolithic assumptions like heterosexuality, sexuality, the mainstream, and anything else that gets named without questioning its dominance and whose power is strengthened in its invisibility (Butler, "A 'Bad Writer' Bites Back" 1999).

Cohen also asks us to trouble the divisions around which we as theorists, humans, activists, etc. organize and politicize ourselves. Specifically, she demands that we question the power given to the category of heterosexuality, and to question how the potential for radicalism is precluded from it. She writes, in "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential for Queer Politics?":

"Much of the politics of queer activists has been structured around the dichotomy of straight versus everything else, assuming a monolithic experience of heterosexual privilege for all those identified publicly with heterosexuality...I am not suggesting that those involved in publicly identifiable heterosexual behavior do not receive political, economic, and social advantages, especially in comparison to the experiences of some lesbians, transgendered, gay, and bisexual individuals. But the equation linking identity and behavior to power is not as linear and clear as some queer theorists and activists would have us believe" (37, 40).

I think the troubling of linear thought and identification is also key to a recognition of our interbeing, as well as our potential radical action. Linearity seems tied to common sense, to knee-jerk logic, and to the perpetuation of problematic systems of thought, belief and power. Butler writes, "If common sense sometimes preserves the social status quo, and that status quo sometimes treats unjust social hierarchies as natural, it makes good sense on such occasions to find ways of challenging common sense. Language that takes up this challenge can help point the way to a more socially just world" (1999).

All that interbeing and connectedness stuff being said, what about "No homo" ?

(Thanks for honeybump0515 for the Queer This! video.)

Cohen writes "...Homophobia does not originate in our lack of full civil equality. Rather, homophobia arises from the nature and construction of the political, legal, economic, and sexual, racial, and family systems within which we live" (27).
I think her argument could be stretched to describe these systems as being too linear, too demarcated by unquestioned assumptions about normative and appropriate behavior, which results in rampant homophobia, which is clearly (and wittily) exemplified in this clip.

And finally, because it's on my mind a lot and is an overarching theme for our class, I wanna ask how is all of this implicated in the "It Gets Better" campaign? When homophobia and transphobia are everyday realities--like 'No Homo'--that get written off as just bullying, or just as the way things are, is this video campaign the best we can do? What is it doing? What isn't being said? What is being assumed about the future in these videos?

Mash Up

For my Mash up assignment I decided to look back on my "Too Fat?" Queer this post and compare it to the perception of queer and beauty that social media's advertise and relate it to the definition of "queer/ing." The reason I decided to look back on this is because I showed my friend the advertisement on our blog and she was astounded that Ralph Lauren would even consider posting such a thing. Then my friends grandma walked by and inquired what we were looking at. She saw my entry as well as everyone elses and she was more astounded at the Queer entries as opposed to the one I posted. She said, and I quote, "This type of thing should not be seen, much less be heard of" (commenting on honeybump's Queer this!). Her comment got me thinking about how each generation "queers" certain images. After asking what my friend's grandma what her definition of "queer" is she responded with, "Any fag act, image, or thought," which I suppose would be some of the older generation's belief. But for myself and my friend, we think of queer/ing as a person's own personal happiness, so even heterosexuals are queer (in a sense) to us.
"The Facebook Revolution" article ties in with this queer this! through the notion that Facebook can alter/shape a person's definition of queering and thought process of queering others as well as themselves. My favorite statement of this article is in the introduction: "We do this because Facebook is an important social tool that enables uses to attempt to reflect to their friends who they believe themselves to be." I believe that not only does Facebook provide an outlet and sense of self, but it also adds to what "queer" is to each person. Each fan page, organization page, "like" page can alter and add to one's definition of queer/ing.
"From Websites to Walmart" is my favorite article and I just had to add it to this mash up because I wonder what small town individuals would be more shocked to see people walking down the aisles in drag, or if they would be more shocked to see someone even remotely resembling the woman in my queer this! post to be walking in the aisles. Mary Gray states that "I wanted to know what difference the internet made to youth negotiating a "queer" sense of sexuality and gender in the rural U.S. and the raced, classed, and gendered characteristics of those negotiations." I, myself, wonder how the internet impacts the ideas and thoughts how the youth "queer" images and people. I believe that since our own thoughts and beliefs are indeed shaped by those around us would the youth of today (in small towns) I wonder if would they find it more "queer" (with regards to their own definition of queer) to see a person in drag? Or an emaciated young woman with a head probably twice the size of her own waist?
Another students DE that I think ties in with all these sources is John's DE #2 "From Websites to Walmart":

By John on October 22, 2010 6:25 PM
I wanted to write about this article, because it was the one that really stood out most in our readings in latter September. I wanted to engage in the difference about being gay in a rural vs. a urban setting, or even if there was such a significant difference. I always had thought that if you knew you were gay in a very conservative area with traditional upbringings that your life would be extremely different than if you grew up in a big liberal city.I suppose this is what internally appears in someone's mind before they realize that once they choose to finally disclose of their sexuality--the fact of the matter is...if you're gay, you're gay, in spite of the location. And to just assume that online social networks are affiliated with those surrounded by millions of people in such populated areas is simply close-minded and stereotyping another stereotype. There are a plethora of resources, like these online networks and organizations that have attributed to these individuals to aid with their adversities in their coming out process. Nonetheless, gay individuals take a risk when they post private information in a public setting, some of which have lead to disparaging actions taken into account by family members and friends. It is sad that even today people try to make other people's business their own, when they should worry about their own lives instead of trying to ruin the lives of others.

John brings up an interesting point of being gay in a rural area vs. a big city. Is there any big different in it? Yes, if your gay then your gay, however if you live in a more rural area you might be less inclined to display/come out in which case your idea/definition of queer/ing might change. I mean, you can go on facebook all you would like and chat with other gay individuals all you want but in the end you might still hide part of yourself for fear of rejection of your family and friends. Also, I, myself, grew up in a rural area where GLBT wasn't as widely accepted and my family is filled with conservative Christians. For most of my teen years I hid the fact that I wasn't heterosexual and defined queer as"gay" and "gay" as sinful so essentially queer=sinful. Even after I came out to my family it still was a hush hush topic and I still had to hide who I really was. However, after moving to the cities I had a handful of new opportunities/ideas/beliefs and my definition of queer has now changed.

DE Kincaid "little joke included" :/

Kincaid brought in a little, not that "little" but a little bit (11 bits actually) of everything to create an interesting flow in a tide that hasn't happened around this topic that I've experienced in a while. I welcome comments with open arms and a vouraristc (misspelled) eye : / (joke). How is the construction of desire fed to me by the Media or Hollywood? I'm going to watch 'home alone' much more carefully next time, although M.Culkin as a boy actor did have some content in other movies that made me question word choices and actions of hollywood directors. How could this have produced beliefs about child sexuality and everything i want to avoid thinking or talking about that goes with it? Did it shape my sexuality and desire in terms of children? What does that normative reality even look like? Whom does that image serve? Believe the winds right to stir up new ways of discussing the topic of child sexuality, child sexual abuse and the "perverts" and "queers" in the mix.
I think it's true that making a child have a voiceless, violated body is awful but having a criminal demon pervert seems to be a bit on the black and white view of things. Neither need be the scape goat. Images that demonize people, criminalize them, or make them innocent and little stand to change our relationship with the topic in a way that in the end moves away from responsibility for these problems socially. It reminds me of the prison industrial complex. A brief example: some people living in an overly policed black community get arrested for weed, few years latter their doing slave labor for corporations who in turn build more factory like prisons. The society issues like socioeconomic factors that make selling weed an option, state schools that hardly educate the children in these communities and unjust over policing in the area where the children cannot afford proper representation where the same offense in a white suburb get wrote off with paid lawyers. The point I'm trying to make here is that this issues is as complex as the other and seeing it from a variety of social angles gets at the whole picture.
It's easy to use the played out variables (norm) if the problems too heavy, get the same equation "innocent child victim" plus "pervert sexual deviant criminal" equals an angry violent mob. Neither stories are heard "other~ing" takes place and stereotypes prevail to dehumanize the perceived other which makes for simple solutions to the complex problems. It also encourage us to fear confronting our own "demons" or "simple harmless desires" and everything else that is grey, the repression of which stops us from loving. This is the mode social control takes.
No one can change anything in taking the position from the equation, that position reinscibes the social meaning that continues to oppress and FREE is never realized, its as silent as the stories we refuse to recognize. At least becoming aware of this point is helping me get a little, not that "little," closer to caring about it (wow i just dehumanized myself here). I fear children myself. They are scary just like me, they are projections of a story i don't understand. Secret stories need to be told. Secrets and shame can get messy. I would make the claim setting our personal stories free, giving them voice and getting recognition would be more then a relief.
This "queer act" will encourage humanity by understanding the grey, having compassion for another's truth based in their own experience or validating our own. Or it may be the ruin of society. I heard somewhere or read once "multiple truths can co-exist at the same time." Homogenous norms don't account for this and gain strength through "common sense" fact. I respond to truth not reason and love is my truth or the one i desire to live in. But the more we can help heal each other and bridge gaps in knowledge in this way the closer i see forgiveness or love or letting go or freeing of healthy desire that nurtures us can take place. Living in less fear and shame also a desire.
I appreciate the risk Kindcaid took in her writing about childhood sexual abuse. The stories I've heard and told have been a very freeing dialogue to learn from, de-shame, empower and reframe. While thinking about queer children and sexual stories, i challenge myself to relate to power in these larger complex contexts and in the end find power from within and solidarity with others to change the harmful norms in society that hurt children and adults (why not) and all those "other" humans. It's like another way to practice love.

Direct Engagement #2: Halberstam and Tomboy Bondage

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

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

DE 2: Queering the Non/Human

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

On Queering the Queerness of Children


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

Direct Engagement: The Deuce

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

Direct Engagement: Science of Queering the Non-Human

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

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

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

Darwin's Theory of Evolution - The Premise

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

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

This is how I see taxonomy as,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DE #2 - Kincaid

direct engagment.pdf

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

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

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

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

Direct Engagement 2-- Kincaid Reading

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

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

  • Why is our society so obsessed with child molestation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

DE #2 Richard Thompson Ford

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

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

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

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

DE: Cohen

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

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

DE #2: engaging with Luhmann

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

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

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

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

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

engaging directly with cohen, #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DE #2

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

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

Mock disruptions in online gaming

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

Direct Engagement #1

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

DE #2- Real and virtual

Question: How might we integrate the real and the virtual, so that we benefit yet are not consumed by social interaction via the web?

I'm not really sure how we might be able to integrate the real life and virutal life successfully but we can always limit ourself. I think the only real way to successfully have a taste of both worlds is to limit our online activity. I think that we might be able to integrate the two by possibly meeting people we know from online offline. There is, however, a danger in meeting people off the internet. People can be as real or as fake as they want online and it can sometimes be hard to decifer who to trust and who not to trust. Maybe if theres a way to hold a meeting of some sort or a gathering of people in a certain community who know one another from a website or blog it would be a great way to integrate both online and offline. Anyone else have any ideas?

Direct Engagement One: A queer identity in cyberspace


What can make a space "queer"? Is it the presence of people or voices who identify as queer? Is it in the subject of the space? As in, is it the topics that are (and are not) discussed? Or is it something different? It seems to me that, for the most part, it is the former, where by the voices that are represented and the identities they express are what define the space. Does this mean that non-queer, sisgender, or allies can't be apart of the conversation? How do or don't their identities affect the conversation?

In order to think about these ideas and questions, I will use and examine Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity". The following mouthful of quote is from the opening paragraph of the article:

"Like that confession of sexuality on which the developing area of psychology once depended, blogging relies on the conceit (however transparent) that the blogger is who s/he says s/he is, and that the events described actually happened to her/him personally. The performance of blogging is based on the assumption that experience congeals around a subject, and makes a subject who can be written and read, even when the discourse that seems to support this subject threatens to undermine it."

In order to make your voice known as "queer" in these spaces, one is required to confess, in the Foucauldian sense, their sexuality. Blogging is based in personal experience, and shapes the perception of your online identity based on what you do (and don't) write about. Rak quotes Helen Kennedy in saying the following:
"[online there is a distinction] between being anonymous and feeling anonymous--a distinction deriving from what David Chandler describes as the dual role of the World Wide Web as both public (publishing thoughts, feelings, and identities to a potentially large audience) and private (located in the home, a medium used to construct thoughts, feelings, and identities)."

It is about formulating your identity and attaining readership through confession, while maintaining a sense of anonymity and security.

DE #1: Virtual Disruptions

When I was reading the article "Virtue Disruption: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormality in education" by Audry D Therelkeld, I was first struck with the statement she made which is

"...,heteronormativity assumes heterosexuality and furthers the squelching of non-heterosexual discourse."

In strongly agree with the first statement which I quote from here article. I personally thinks that people tend to be ignorant of what usually perceived as the "norm", with the ignorant, they tend to ASSUME that heterosexuality is the norm and ignore that homosexuality have existed since the dawn of time. Ignorance is what I believe to be causing homophobia in one's society, as ignorance will lead to misunderstanding and then leads to disgusts and eventually hatred.

and she also said that the discussions in schools which tends to challenge the heteronormality are usually seen as inapporpriate, deemed to sexual, silenced through political correctness or verbal abuse, possibly "labeled as evil" and accused of promoting "gay" agenda.

This somehow linked with what I have mentioned, these are the result of ignorance, people tends to oppress what is opposite the norm as they believe that is how you keep the balance of the society and to prevent the constitution of the society from crumbling down. This is especially true in Malaysia, whereby issues of sex, not to say issues regarding the GLBT, are not openly discussed in the school. I can clearly remember during my first year of college, there was a girl in my course who have absolutely no idea on what is oral sex, porn and others. We do get to study about the birds and the bees in school but that is just in the class of biology whereby students were taught about the fertilizing of the egg will form a new life. Besides the adverse effect of the topic of sex not being openly discussed in school have cause my friend to have a hard time to say the word sex out loud during a presentation of my group about sexual education.

This is also to reinforce what Threlkeld have said in her conclusion that "Protecting children from discussing sex will hurt them and protecting students from discussion of sexuality will as well". This is absolutely true as whenever queer related topic was brought up back in my home country, people would start to joke around about it and I can hardly remember anyone giving positive statement about gay people.

Thus she believes that heteronormality should be challenge and the schools is the best place for such revolution. She suggested that school should introduce queering pedagogy as studies have shown that people who received lecturers on homosexuality, homophobia and the role of the media in perpetuating this, are less homophobic.

She also discussed about how the new media have make the world border-less whereby people of marginalized identity can easily find people alike through the click on the mouse, which opens up discussion and facilitate understanding. Hence she believes that this is a good medium that can be used to challenge heteronormality.

Integrating Virtual Communities and Actual Realities


I read through Rahul Mitra's article "Queer Indian Bloggers" and I found a number of things that articulated the benefits of virtual communities. Though I maintain a certain cynicism toward being motionless and alone in front of any screen, over the last year I have come to realize the networking potential of sites such as facebook, class blogs, and now twitter. There are a number of people I have met and places I've gone that are facilitated by being able to stay in contact (or make new ones) and find out information that I may not have come across otherwise.

Mitra speaks of interpretive communities as not only being passive consumers of mainstream media, but active producers of alternative media. By "speaking back" to media, there is a level critical engagement that is "increasingly convergent and interactive". What is exciting for me is when the virtual and the real come together, that is when actions or interactions sort of seamlessly weave together and mutually reinforce each other. The community I have offline has grown and is supported by the various virtual realities I inhabit daily, and many are places in which there happens to be resistance to the 'white-supremecist-capitalist-patriarchal' (bell hooks term to better describe the interlocking system of domination) society in which we live. Whether I get an invite to an anti-war protest, a queer bike race, party, or come across an amazing link to new music or news, generally speaking I have access to non-normative spaces in which I have opportunity to engage, share, and critique with others.

In light of creating alternative queer virtual spaces in which to offer critique to the mainstream, I think of the reasons Butler rejects receiving the courage award. How can being connected to groups supporting her decision and backing her cause impact how we engage with the mainstream? If we agree with her in making this decision and agree, how does the internet expand our opportunities to further engage? How might this insight (if it was new for anyone) challenge the life we live in 3D? How might we integrate the real and the virtual, so that we benefit yet are not consumed by social interaction via the web?

Today's Queer Youth


I read this article accompanied by a dictionary. In order to understand it, I had to re-work the title to something along the lines of Virtual Disruptions: Traditional and New Media's Challenges to (social, familial, legal rules that force us to conform to the process by which dominant culture maintains its dominant position of heterosexual standards of identity) in Education. This being said, I thought that Aubry Threlkeld's argument was on point and thought provoking. In the beginning of her article, she delineates a few keywords, so I figured I would operate along the same lines in order to tell you what she said and what I think about it.

Education: The premise of Threlkeld's argument is that schools reinforce 'heteronormative' ideas and further talks about queer representations in various social media sites. I.e-Myspace, virtual realms etc...
Future: Schools should open up discussion to change how homo/heterosexuality is portrayed as well as taught in an academic setting. She states that teachers should be aware of the media's role in helping the heteronormative assumptions and use preventative techniques to teach children how to critically and thoughtfully examine what the media is telling him/her.
Media: Is really set out to be the bad guy here. Unlike the other readings, Threlkeld argues the negative impact that media can have on the formation of unrealistic views of sexuality in youth. More importantly she examines both hetero and homosexual mainstream media.
Society: Society is what forms public opinion and therefore shapes the media. It is also the catalyst for change.

So what do I think? I think yes. I can remember the computers at my high school having anything remotely "queer" blocked from the internet. Our library offered no gay literature or magazines and the only time in which "gay" was an openly 'discussed' topic was on the Day of Silence. Even then, Day of Silence was not recognized by many teachers and vows of silence were broken as soon as one entered the classroom setting. While I think that social networking sites and blogging can and have done wonders for the gay community, I think it is also essential to realize how most of society is receiving their information on gay lives and culture. Another aspect that must be taken into account is a whole other world of "outing" and "bullying" that is made possible by revealing one's identity through the internet. For many youth, coming out is precarious enough without having to worry about an even larger population becoming privy to one's personal life.
As an end note: my favorite part of the entire article was when she gave a big thumbs down to mainstream queer media as well. She states that The Advocate, Genre, Instinct and Out can all be sited for helping to solidify the "heteronormative and classist visions of queer sexuality as simultaneously hypersexual and asexual, as fashionobsessed, overtly bodyconscious, young, hairless, urban and largely Caucasian." I say this only because its so true. If you are going to analyze mainstream media's effect on the perceptions of today's youth you also have to examine the mainstream queer media that these youth are being exposed to. If a youth is questioning his/her orientation, it is not Time or People that (s)he will go to but rather an outlet more 'suited' to their curiosities. If these outlet's are biased as well, then what lesson are we giving today's queer youth?

Ok, I need to stop now. What do you think about the negative aspects of social media? media's portrayal of gay lives and cultures? its effect on youth?

Direct Engagement #1 The Digital Queer


Like other people in the class I really enjoyed this piece. It opened up another world of information that I really had only a very vague idea about and has helped me to begin to understand it. While I was reading the article I began to wonder things like, "What would the average blogger that is discussed in this piece be like? Where would they live? What lifestyle and income would they have?" I wondered about the slice of the population that we would be looking at if we thought of who this average blogger would be.

I also thought a lot about the idea that the reader could tell if a blogger was being false in their representations of themselves. How can a reader differentiate between lies and truth in a virtual world? That was a really interesting part for me. The idea that the reader can tell would indicate that the blog is a truth - someone's truth.

Rak writes, "...bloggers have an uncanny willingness to be "real" (that is, to discuss actual experiences and to tell the truth) means that it is the artificiality of the internet, the fact that online people do not have verifiable identities, which makes it all the more necessary for bloggers to assert their representation of themselves online as "real" and "true" in ways that can be verified by the traditional documents that undersign identity in the Western world: signatures, photographs, proper first and last names for people and places, and the reportage of experience as a way to validate more abstract ideas about the world."

The "real-ness" of the blog-o-sphere...


Ok... I wanted to be all philosophical like and "professional" with this entry but then I thought it'd be very much against "blog rhetoric" to do such a thing. hahaha jk... but real talk it kinda would be. In Rak's "Digital queer: Weblogs and internet Identity" Rak gives us a sort of 101 on "blog rhetoric". Rak traces the "history" of the modern blog and analyzes some of the implications of this particular history or construction of the blog. She also goes into an examination of what "real-ness" within a blog community are:

" Blogsisters' position clearly states that blog rhetoric depends on something that belies the many discussion of internet identity: an idea of the subject that does not shift, is not multiple, and most, significantly, does not lie. (174)

Rak touches on the connection of one's blog identity to the "real" world. Rak states that in order for those in the blog community to be taken seriously that the blogs or the identity of the blogger must be directly connected to a "real self". Rak points out that one's "blog" identity may not be as unstable as once thought that because of how the blog and blog community is constructed or structured that it becomes more important to create a stable identity, that you're more yourself in the blog-o-sphere.

"What is important here is that in blogging, the act of writing is about the act of writing one's self into existence for others to read and comment upon."(176)

Anyways I do have one huge issue with the Rak piece and it is the way in which Rak discusses or brings up the possibility or the idea of "queer" blogging and the possibility of it. Rak I felt rigidly defined what "queer" blogging could be or may be. Rak ends the essay by posing a question of whether or not "queer" blogging exist and Rak quickly answers yes which kinda bothers me and Rak was able to give a one sentence answer as well! what! I really feel it should take longer than that.... Rak was just going over the relationship of identity to blogs but I feel that there is this nuance to "queer-ness" that cannot be simply put as rak did... but I don't know how to feel about that just yet... give me a few days to dwell over it and maybe I can sort out how I feel about how Rak ended the piece... any thoughts? feel free to share yo... in the meantime enjoy this poem I found on youtube...

peace out yo!

DE 1 - Beginner to Blogging

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It was quite helpful to read Julie Rak's piece on weblogs. Prior to this reading, I had only a vague idea of what a blog actually was. I thought that it was merely an online journal where those who crave attention could feel like they were able to garner an online following, as if they were the authors of a successful magazine column. I could not comprehend why people felt the need to electronically publish their thoughts and opinions, to circulate their personal goings-on. Perhaps I had imagined that everybody is just as mundane as I am, overlooking that fact that people actually have interesting opinions and life events that others are interested in hearing about.

Second Life, real life?

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For this first DE it was easy for me to decide what to talk about. I am hoping by bringing more attention to "Becoming Dragon" that it will cause people to think deeply about what it means to submerse one's self in an alternate life. Reading about the difference between physical and digital bodies (HASTAC forum) and watching the short clip on Second Life really forced me to think about all of the alternative lives and worlds that people can choose to lead. People can be whatever they choose to represent on the internet; and in fact, people can choose to represent more than one kind of life, gender, sex, race, etc., if they so choose. These life defining distinctions are just a few mouse clicks away. In the article it was mentioned that these online worlds/lives can often represent a "truer" life of what could ever be presented in the real world. After addressing the endless possibilities of life in the digital world I needed to think more directly about a life in Second Life. In Becoming Dragon Micha, a UCSD student, chooses to live 365 hours in an online, virtual 3-D world eating, drinking, sleeping, and working in this Second Life environment as a dragon. She is using the experience as a means of questioning the one year real life requirement that trans people must fulfill in order to receive reassignment surgery. This is where I began to question the importance and severity of these digital beings. Although I think the digital world is a great place to explore one's self, I'm not so sure that Micah's idea of using Second Life as part of a fulfillment for life in another "body" is a logical idea. When people assume these avatar bodies they are fully functioning as that creature. This is also the same when a trans person chooses to live a life as a different sex than which they were biologically given. The difference here is that Micah is not living a real life experience. I think that experimenting with different bodies and feelings virtually is a healthy step in identifying who you are. In Second Life a person is experiencing another body in a fictitious world. I think that the reason for having a year spent in the sex in which a person identifies is to provide a preview of exactly what that world will be like. Simple life situations like a walk through a park, buying groceries, picking out toiletries, choosing clothing, etc. are small things that are effected by social gender "norms". Like I said before I think these virtual worlds can be a fun place to explore. However, I do think that gender identity and possible reassignment surgery are very serious thoughts. So I think that Second Life wouldn't be a good alternative to a real life experience for trans people. What do you all think? Does Second Life meet the one year requirement for a real life experience in the gender one wants?

Bloging as a community?

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I really liked the article on the digital and how they seem to form their own community on line because they really have no other choice. they do not have the same opportunities to express themselves for who they really are. although during our talks we discussed being who you "really" are online. I don't think that being in any sort of forum you could really trust any one to truly be themselves. although it is a great source to use if you really have no other place to go. my only problem with the whole keeping a queer blog or diary, is the dishonesty to be had. who knows if anything this person is writing is in fact real or some sort of fantasy they concocted. it did say that one universal trait that bloggers believe in is honesty and trust, but we have grown up in a society that has taught us from a young age to not trust people we meet online. I mean there is a difference the article points out in online blogging then online journals, but i don't think i personally would be very interested in such things.

DE # 1 - Virtual Disruption

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I read the virtual disruption article where it is argued that while information about sexuality and normalcy is learned through schools and traditional media by teens and grade school aged children, social media is becoming a prevalent source of information about queer identities and lifestyles. Because schools and traditional media have extreme heteronormative tendencies, it is important for young people to find information from social media like blogs and networking sites.

While the author makes some valid points about the increasing use of social media, I do not agree that schools and traditional media have the greatest affects on young adults. They are largely involved in the 'information age' where they are more likely to track down their own information to form their own identities than to just let it be assigned to them by a government institution.

However, schools do teach only heteronormative perspectives on the world, sex and life. This remains the standard in society today, so that definitely speaks to the effectiveness of the mass media and public and private education.

i agree that our society is too heteronormative, and that gender ideals are displayed prominently, and homosexuality is villianized and stereotyped, which is why I am a strategic communications and advertising major with an emphasis in gender, sexuality and race studies. If i can understand these biases, I can help to change the media landscape and combat heteronormativity and traditional gender roles and ideas.

Rural Gay / Urban Gay - Is There a Difference?

The article I chose for my first Reading Engagement is "From Web-Sites to Wal-Mart" by Mary Gray. Upon reading the first 2 pages of this article, I could easily relate. I have to admit that I'm not familiar with rural gay communities, and I too had the stereotype that they were quiet about their sexuality, or moved somewhere larger in the city to form alliances outside of small town judgments. I figured GLBT's would have more support and resources in the city. But a person is who they are no matter what. If they want to come out, they probably eventually will regardless of if they live on a farm or in a sky-rise. This article gave me a wealth of information about online and offline activity groups for GLBT's as well as insights on "new media", technologies and social relationships.

I would like to assume that online social networks have aided those in rural communities, so that they can talk and make connections and be heard. Online social networks provide personal support, but are at the same time very public places. Anyone can go online and access information that one has posted about their very private life. Page 6 of the article brings to light that rural, as urban, GLBT's get ridiculed by family, neighbors, and strangers. Everyone has the right to be happy, being happy is being yourself. Everyone should have the opportunity to be themselves. No one deserves to live in the dark, why are so many people still ridiculing GLBT's? If they don't understand, they should seek education upon the topic, or keep their thoughts to themselves. Let others live their life.

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.

Direct Engagement: Virtual Disruptions

Throughout reading the article, the only thing that constantly kept popping into my mind was my high school days. It was a place that was full of adolescent judgmental, outspoken individuals...and I loved every single minute of it. The heteronormativity of high school taught me to find myself and appreciate the fact that I was gay and to be able to trust myself to be who I am, in spite of what our society holds as being "right." It wasn't until my Senior year that I finally stopped caring of what other people thought was "normal" or how things "should" be rather than what they are. It's amazing though, when you think about it, what empowering influence the media holds over kids at that age and even adults today who believe that everything is wrong if it is not the most common belief or idea. Most people do not come out as early as I did, 17, and some unfortunately never can or will, because they are too afraid to accept themselves but even more so afraid that they will not be accepted by others. I often enjoyed when controversial issues were brought up in class, because I was curious to see where everyone stood on certain issues--homosexuality being my most anticipated topic of discussion. I give my teachers a lot of credit though, because most of them kept an open mind and did not embrace heteronormativity or the heterosexual matrix, but instead edged away from stereotypes and encouraged honest and open discourse. I was an avid participant, as always, and I aimed to get my peers to see it from their own perspectives...not the media's, not their parents, not from their favorite movies or shows on TV, but from themselves. It is had to describe yourself, not only based on your sexuality, but just in general, and society has brainwashed adolescence into believing in stuff that is not true and highly negatively opinionated. Social networks, like Facebook, have fortunately allowed kids to "post" who they are and how they feel, and consequently let others gradually get to know them better in that sense. We're lucky though that we didn't grow up like 50 years ago, because life had to be all that much harder...socially and emotionally. I say--say what you want and don't hold back.

D.E. #1: Courageous Refusal

On June 19th 2010, Judith Butler declined to accept the 'Civil Courage Award' presented to her by the Christopher Street Day (CSD) organization at Berlin's annual pride parade. Butler's speech outlines the major reasons that she decided to decline the award, after meeting with and hearing from several grassroots organization in and around Berlin about several blatantly racist implications made by the CSD. She makes clear that her main goal of refusing the award is to negate homonationalism, in which the ideal of patriotic, white gay men is pushed onto the general public. Butler says that she "must distance [her]self" from an organization that while fighting for (or perhaps becoming complacent with) the rights of the queer community, disregards (or indeed, deliberately allies itself with racist forces) the need to simultaneously fight racism on a national level and within the queer community.

Butler's speech indicates the theory of intersectionality, which states (more or less) that all the identifiable factors (eg. race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.) of a marginalized group that contribute to their oppression are intricately linked. Through an intersectional approach, groups would fight for and win their freedom from oppression only by addressing all of these factors simultaneously. The CSD's actions fueled by anti-Muslim racism disregards this idea and therefore discredits the organization as one that fights systematic oppression. In her speech, Butler mentions that accepting the courage award would exhibit complacency with racism and would indeed discredit her courage. 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.

DE: The Digital Queer, Rak

I found this article very interesting, especially because I have my own blogs, which I use to connect with both other bloggers who I know only virtually, but also with many of my "reality" friends so we can keep in touch now that we all live in different places.

I think the article touched on a lot of different aspects of blogging that a lot of people know about but don't necessarily consciously devote time to thinking about. I agreed with the idea that a blog is not simply a different version of a paper diary, it's much different in that it's meant to be shared but a lot of the time it's meant to be shared with people who you don't generally know. I think that offers a kind of security for bloggers, especially the ones who are trying to figure themselves out- in terms of sexuality or otherwise- in that they can be honest about their thoughts and feelings and have others comment and criticize them without actually having to deal with the consequences of a face-to-face conversation or confrontation.
I also agreed with the article saying that there is "queer blogging." I don't think it's completely necessary to differentiate between "queer blogging" and "not queer blogging" because every blog is inherently different, just as every person is different.

DE: Virtual Disruptions

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When reading this article it made me think of what it was like for me in my high school. How students who had marginalized indentities (sexual and gender- variant ones) as (Threlkeld puts it) are known to have difficult times expresses their identities. While I thought back to high school I was one of those students who had a rough time expressing my indentity. The main reason was because I physically looked a lot different than other girls and it was not coo at that time to have bigger boobs and a bottom. So I tried to cover up and not be noticed.
When looking back my school did participate in "heterosexual matrix" as Judith Butler puts it, because a lot of examples and issues, topics ect. that were brought up in a school setting were normalized and framed through heternormative discourses. which Atkinson who cited Fairclough and Gee say that "schools reassert heternomativity, discussions in schools attempting to breach the "heterosexual matrix" are reined in as inappropriate". For me that was very much true because when ever one was to talk outside of the heterosexual framed thinking it was seen as "naughty" and inappropriate for school. It was like you could speak and participate in that way of life only outside of school.

Direct Engagement #1: Halberstam "Automating Gender"

In "Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine" J. Jack Halberstam draws a web of connections between time (modern/postmodern, queer), technology (the computer, cybernetics, science), the body (gendered body, queer body, cyborg body), and desire (becoming, resistance, sexual). This is, after all, a course about desire, right? What does that mean? Halberstam gives us some interesting hints.

First Halberstam writes of our focus in relation to Turing's experience(s) of homosexuality, calling this series of events which medicalized his sexual acts and transformed his body the "brush between science and desire" (443-444). This leads to 1. a conception of the body as "a product of technology" (hormones can transform the gendered body) and 2. the assertion that "desire remains as interface running across a binary technologic" (444). That last part begs some serious unpacking. To me, Halberstam seems to be engaging in some intricate troubling of the stable subject [really, Halberstam troubles most everything we might consider stable]. Desire is a fog over binaries we may see as technology/nature, male/female, hetero/homo, effectively blurring such separations and spreading in all directions. Later, Halberstam adds that,

"As postmodernity brings space and truth, time and body, nature and representation, and culture and technology into a series of startling collisions, we begin to ask questions about what interests were served by the stability of these categories about who, in contrast, benefits from a recognition of radical instability within the postmodern." (447)

This shifting and always-partial existence moves along paths of fear (death) and desire. They drives work in concert to create a picture of the cyborg for as Halberstam declares "The imperfect matches between gender and desire, sex and gender, and the body and technology can be accommodated within the automated cyborg, because it is always partial, part machine and part human..." (451)

And in this way Halberstam brings paths of desire together into motions of becoming-- becoming human or "becoming woman" as the case is for Haraway. Far from distracting us from systemic oppression, this should remind of us the many lines between desire and oppression. Halberstam points to Oscar Wilde's line which tells us that "the true mystery of the world is the visible not the invisible" (452).

In our journeys to queer desire, I hope that we do look to the visible, the obvious, the insidious. We just might see how technology and the body, artificial and natural, gender and death and desire fuse into becoming human, becoming conscious.

In response to the brief exchanges on HASTAC concerning online "lateness," and the question: is it possible to be late online?, as most of the comments remarked in response to this question, the internet has no beginning or end, thus the concept of lateness takes on a new and incomprehensible meaning.... of course, however, when the forum you're meaning to participate in closes before you've logged in, then it is too late, in "real life" terms; though perhaps not in the same sense as being late to a face-to-face-to-face panel: the comments are all still there to engage with, and as Halberstam observes, "nothing ever quite dies on the internet...," (Fiona B - thanks for this") but is this to say that digital time is eternal, infinite? I don't think it is, not really, because websites do expire, and weblog "authors" (please excuse the quotations, but I don't think the word author is appropriate and I'm not sure of an alternative title) delete their websites, or prevent public access, etc.; yet, at the same time, certain aspects of the past are more accessible now than they ever were in the present -- referring to Halberstams remarks about one of Yoko Ono's, previously obscure, yet infamous, performance pieces ("Fiona B - thanks for this") -- which is similar to the access the internet provides to something taking place at a great geographic distance, such as the Owl Scouts show I wrote about last week, I have virtual access to it, but am I really "there"? what does "being there" mean in reference to digital space? and what exactly is meant by "the digital body" that moves through these digital spaces, and perhaps even occupies a digital space or two or three?: certainly a phenomenon forcing one to reflect on the merging of queer time and space, a relationship that J. Halberstam has notably been concerned with, but, specifically addressing the concerns of the forum participants, virtual time is both shown to be measurable (365 hours in "Second Life"), and immeasurable at one and the same time (it's impossible to be late to a 24/7 forum): while, at the same time (or perhaps at an other time entirely), I, as a "latecomer" to the forum, have the ability to navigate the discussion as I find agreeable, starting with the last comment, if I will, and working my way backwards, or skipping entire comments (far more likely) and reading only comments posted by names I recognize, remaining ignorant as to what's being commented on -- once again, according to my own will -- or perhaps if I start reading the forum from its rightful beginning, I may get lost in cyberspace as I begin to follow the links, being virtually tele-ported from one space to the next, forgetting about the original forum entirely: and this can only be an appropriate way to read/engage with an online text, for subject specificity is crucial to occupying/traversing online space, raising the question of personal presence online, and one's ability to access and sometimes interrupt/disrupt the conversations of others, and, therefore, the necessity of making one's self presentable (or cute) in virtual spaces: "Have we become a social network of spies and narcissists?," Halberstam asks ("face to facebook"), to which echoes the reply, absolutely, because the internet is vanity's ideal terrain, isn't it?, providing the reality for Milan Kundera's despairing rumination in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, about the disaster of everybody waking up one morning and fancying themselves authors-- for a world full of self-proclaimed authors is a world of narcissists, with narcissistic readers/authors prowling the web to further interject their subjectivity through comments and the like -- though, in all fairness, this is only one aspect of the digital world, for if the digital terrain is temporally and spatially infinite, so must its possibilities be: "what forms of time does the internet tend not to foster? Surprise? Shock? Improvisation?" (halberst, "Becoming Kungfu Panda).

Direct Engagement Numero Uno

How often is any award, especially an award like this one refused? I believe that Judith Butler will be praised for many years to come for refusing to accept this prize. I wonder if she did this strategically to shine the light on the organizations that she mentions in her speech such as GLADT, SUSPECT, and REACH OUT. To create support for organizations like these there needs to be a certain level of fame associated I think.
To make such a bold move as to reject the Zivilcourage Prize, she is clearly making a strong statement about how she feels. Judith Butler is an important figure to represent the fight against transphobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. I watched the German speech she gave and had a groundbreaking thought. Perhaps the world could use more trouble makers like Judith Butler. I'm sure my instructor for this course is jumping for joy as she reads this. It is important to voice your opinions and stand up when you believe something that is happening is wrong. This is especially critical when what you see being done wrong is happening to a group of people that may not have a very loud or respected voice. By recognizing other organizations that deserve credit for her acknowledgement of courage she gave them a moment in the spotlight. This honorable mention will hopefully bring further involvement in these organizations and thus create a louder voice.
I view what Judith did as positive and provocative. What do you all think?

Direct Engagement Numero Uno

After reading the other DE #1 submissions I think that Dani_d29 pretty much nailed my analysis!

How often is any award, especially an award like this one refused? I believe that Judith Butler will be praised for many years to come for refusing to accept this prize. I wonder if she did this strategically to shine the light on the organizations that she mentions in her speech such as GLADT, SUSPECT, and REACH OUT. To create support for organizations like these there needs to be a certain level of fame associated I think.
To make such a bold move as to reject the Zivilcourage Prize, she is clearly making a strong statement about how she feels. Judith Butler is an important figure to represent the fight against transphobia, homophobia, sexism, racism, etc. I watched the German speech she gave and had a groundbreaking thought. Perhaps the world could use more trouble makers like Judith Butler. I'm sure Sara is jumping for joy as she reads this. It is important to voice your opinions and stand up when you believe something that is happening is wrong. This is especially critical when what you see being done wrong is happening to a group of people that may not have a very loud or respected voice. By recognizing other organizations that deserve credit for her acknowledgement of courage she gave them a moment in the spotlight. This honorable mention will hopefully bring further involvement in these organizations and thus create a louder voice.
I view what Judith did as positive and provocative. What do you all think?

Direct Engagement 1

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Aubry D. Threlkeld, author of the article, "Virtual disruptions: traditional and new media's challenges to heteronormativity in education" discusses about how our society today is heavily influenced by virtual and traditional media, when it comes down to the topic of sexuality in a heteronormative world. She explains the virtual disruptions that are affecting the youth and how these virtual disruptions are constructed through our educational system and what we have been institutionalized to believe. Threlkeld also gives examples of such challenges that occur online in the virtual world as well as in our offline world. A lot of what she discusses about is focused around the idea of what sexuality is and what it might mean to a certain individual or an online social networking website. Her main concern is about how our youth are being affected by these online websites and how they may not be fully informed about what sexuality is and may have different assumptions about it based upon what they are exposed to. The purpose of her argument is that, if we do not engage in the lives of our children or even amongst our peers about such concerns as this, then we will be misleading our future generation to believe that there is only one straight path to understanding and accepting other people's sexuality as well as our own.

I feel like Threlkeld's exploration of different types of social media was very insightful and gave me a chance to better understand the conflicts between the online world versus the offline world. Although I would have liked to see her discuss a little bit more about the different types of solutions available to educate our children about sexuality, I felt like she had a good idea of where to start and that is through our educational system.

I would have liked to learn more about sexuality and the social construction of gender roles in our society at an earlier age in order for me to become more comfortable with not only my sexuality but to be more open about the discussion of it as well. I have to admit that it was not until recently that I became more comfortable about exploring my sexuality and how I wanted to present myself until I started taking courses in the GWSS department. It truly opened up my eyes to all different types of perspectives on how we play a part in constructing our society.

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