Recently in Queer This! Category

Queer This! Comparison (actually just a comment)

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

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

Queery Response!

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

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

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

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

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

They have found a cure....


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queer this: NiqaBitch


In response to France's ban on the burqa, or niqab, two women, one of whom is Muslim, started a small web-activist operation called NiqaBitch.

They explain the purpose of NiqaBitch here, but it's entirely in French, so here is a very rough translation. In addition, here are a couple of responses from the Guardian and The Daily Femme. You can even follow NiqaBitch on twitter.

Queer This: Confessions of a Hipster


I found this tragically funny. It helped me get honest with myself. "Hipsters" have been called the "New Jocks." Consider what about the hipster is violating and dominating. Discourse, knowledge, class and race are some places to connect how one is socialized into this culture. What are possible functions of this identity? And who profits from this culture? Many queers and college students seem to fit this profile in word and deed. The part about the postmodern tattoo is "ironic." Introspection's "in" right?

Queer this: Too fat

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I think this photo is really interesting because of the reasons that you point out, also because this is what America wants models and every one else to resemble. They fired her because she was too fat? Come on now she looks sick. But this is the image that American wants to stick with us because to them this is beautiful. This picture is a bad image to show to adolesant girls because it gives them a false perception of what women should look like. Also it tears down their self esteem if they do not match that "picture perfect" image. shoot for a minute I felt that way too. Should I look like that? Is that beautiful? Nawww, I 'm BEAUTIFUL.

Queer This! Example #2: No homo


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

queer this! go to the cloud

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

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

Queer This! #3 Too fat?



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

The Rules are What..?


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

Queer This! (3)


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

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

Hard Times.jpg

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

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

Gender Bending Fashion Queer This! 2

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

Queer This: 'It Gets Better'


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

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

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

And finally an alternative approach...

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

Queer This! #2


Mom Sues Tyra Banks After Teen Appears on Show

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

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

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

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

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McCabeHaleFlier copy.jpg

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

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

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

Queer This # 2

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

Queer This: Real Housewives with Balls

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

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

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

Queer This: Father of The Bride II

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

Queer This! Revisited: Surprisingly Human, part 2


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

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

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

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

queer this! #2--gleeful whiteness

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

Example 2 Queer This!

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

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

Queer This! #2: Bare.


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

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

Queer This! Banned Gay Commercial

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

Queer This: Ax Wound

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

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

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

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

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

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

"15 Amazing Literary Tattoos From Diehard Bookworms"

Lines from Samuel Beckett

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

Queer This 2

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

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

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

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

Queer This! The Gay Kingdom


Gay Kingdom #1

Gay Kingdom #2

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

Queer This: Surprisingly Human?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, queer this!

Queer This! #1

I'm not a huge fan of traditional gender roles. They dictate that I'm supposed to be good at math, possess keen directional skills, and have the ability to grill steaks to perfection after a hearty afternoon of hanging drywall. In reality, my math skills took a nosedive when they started throwing letters into the mix, I can hardly find my way to westbank from Coffman, and the only use I get out of wearing a tool belt is pretending that I'm batman while I wait for my dinner to finish cooking in the microwave.

I've come to terms with my flaws, but I still have some issues with gender roles. The biggest grievances I have revolve around aspects of life that, according to gender roles, should gravitate towards one sex or the other. Take crying, for instance. Look at any shoot-em-up action flick from the eighties or nineties. Do we ever see Arnold Schwarz...Schw...Bruce Willis cry when he's being shot at by hordes of Eastern-European terrorists? No. Crying is for girls.

As if ANY human emotion should be labeled masculine or feminine. But what really strikes me as ridiculous are commercials for bodywash. If the commercial is aimed towards females, it typically shows a beautiful woman enveloped in sheets of lather and water, taking what has got to be the most sensuous, slow-montioniest shower she's ever had. Her water bill must me astronomical. But the commercials aimed at men are the best. Since wanting to smell good is apparently only for girls, advertising companies have come up with ways to make men excited about bathing, too! There's the downright offensive AXE commercials, which turns the wearer of said product into the target of dozens of mindless, female sex-zombies, or the Gillette commercials, which portray showering not so much as the act of cleansing one's body, but rather A DECISIVE DEFENSE MANEUVER EXECUTED TO EXTERMINATE THE INSURGENT FORCES THAT ARE SWEAT AND BODY ODOR (you know, guy stuff). But my favorite are the advertisements for the AXE shower tool. Because loofahs (or poofs, to some) are clearly too feminine to smear oneself with, AXE has decided to market their shower tool to look like something you'd wax your Porsche with. Let's watch. As you all now know, I don't work well with tools. I'll stick to my poof, thank you very much.

WARNING: If we shag each other, we may shank each other... Queer This!

In the scheme of western scientific hierarchies, "objective" knowledge is constructed with the means of separating higher organisms (often characterized as the presence/absence of physiological structures) from those deemed by the system as lower life. Phylogeneticists and evolutionary biologists are often at the forefront of these constructions with presumptuous egos that distract from quantitative reasoning and permit the desire to deduce the nature of life itself. In the eyes of the researcher this almost inevitably leads to the discerning of human nature. Aided by the tools of these constructions it possible for the evolutionary biologist to weld a theoretical lattice of societal norms they find inherent within distinct stages of evolutionary transition. That is to say, that under this system man has achieved the high seat of hierarchy based soley on his nature. Yes, this reiterates the tired idea that other constructions, such as man's morality, are the bread and butter that truly separate species along a linear progression of evolutionary time and transition.
So, I ask you to consider the queering of rigid scientific modes of thought as you read on the communal strength of bird populations based on their relative level of promiscuity. As you read and think about the pattern of rigidity you've witnessed in scientific information see if you can find a way that the researchers may have queered science as well. In our queer lens does the article ever waiver and lead you to queer conclusions that the authors would protest? How might isolated monogamous units actually weaken a community?

Here is the link:"

Queer This: Heidi Barton Stink


Here is an ahmazing local queer artist making things happen. As a local butch-trans identified female hip-hop artist, Heidi is becoming a more active presense in Minneapolis as well as touring. She specifically speaks to the difficulty and struggle of be transgendered, but complicates this further by butching up her female identity and also having primarily female partners.

"Love Who" by Heidi Barton Stink from Dan Huiting on Vimeo.

How is gender further complicated by genderqueer and non-traditional transgender identity? Within this framework, what might we gain in understanding and insight in regards to how we percieve masculinity/femininity and sexual orientation? How has the assumption that transmen/women have an orientation opposite of their identity had an impact on how we view gender in relation to orientation?

Lady Gaga Talks Rights


I stumbled across the above article, as it was on the main page of Yahoo today. Upon reading it, I immediately thought of our class. Within the first few sentences of the article, Twitter is mentioned - as is Lady Gaga wearing her meat dress (both of which were clearly talked about in class this week). After reading the first paragraph I decided this would be perfect for my first 'Queer This!'.

Gaga uses Twitter and YouTube as a way to gain followers and demand action. On this site you'll even find her message to the Senate.

She makes a clear point that anyone should be able to serve for their country - regardless of their sexual preference. The "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" policy (DADT) is quite outdated for our changing Nation, correct?

"SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN is attempting to stop the DON'T ASK DON'T TELL repeal vote this Tuesday, with a filibuster," said Gaga.

Should sexual orientation be looked upon so seriously when considering who should be able to protect our country from harm?

Queer This! #1: Trans in Women's and Gender Studies

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Over the past few years I've been interested in exploring the place(s) of transgender issues, theory, and people in Women's and Gender Studies departments in the U.S. It's part of a pretty big "internal" discussion, so I wanted to share an anonymous piece of it in relation to teaching that was recently exchanged on an academic listserv focused on transgender people and research. That this conversation happens repeatedly provides ample opportunity for queer readings of where and how masculinities and specifically trans masculinities work within these programs. The initial message and first reply are enough to get into the details of the tension, and the following messages show further how deep these concerns run.

I'm sure everyone has browsed through a greeting card section at some point in their lives. I was in the card section the other day. With my newly focused queer lens I realized how hetero the card selection is. Then i began to remember bits and pieces from different Hallmark commercials. I went online immediately to get an exact wording of their slogan,"When you care enough to send the very best". Within the heteronormative selection it was clear that ONLY straight men and women care enough to send the very best to their loved ones!

"So how do you tell?"


I live in the dorms so I catch more snippets of individual conversations during each day than I can count. However, over the past couple of weeks I've noticed that I hear a lot of "How do you tell if someone's gay?" or "How do you tell is someone's a lesbian?" and etc. etc.
Also when you live in the dorms you meet new people every day and oftentimes you become friends with them, and I've heard a lot of "He/she's my friend but I don't know if he/she's gay...?"
I just thought it was interesting to hear because after the question is asked there's always at least one person who says "Ugh, it used to be so easy to tell!"
I think there are so many questions raised by these conversations, such as why a person's sexual orientation really matters on the basis of if they're an "acceptable friend" or not. Also, why has is become "hard" to tell if someone's gay or not?
I just thought it was interesting that I've heard it being talked about so much.
What do you guys think?

Queer This #1

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So this is definitely my first time blogging, but here goes...
I found this article in the onion, and I think it deserves a closer look. Its called "Everyone Outraged Catholic Priest Did That Thing Everyone Jokes About." Here is the link.

Something beautiful from something ugly.


I love my farmer


I tweeted about this earlier but I didn't think to bring it up as a Queer This! example until I was completely out of ideas. Last year I lived at one of the few remaining work colleges in the country. Warren Wilson College located in Swannanoa, NC, is technically an accredited college but in reality is set up as a commune: you work to live. Warren Wilson is a working farm that raises and slaughters pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys along with operating a vegetable/herb garden that is tended by two plow horses. The buildings are built by materials found on the 6,000 acres of forest on campus and generally speaking, that which can be recycled-is. Asheville, which is being called the 'new' San Francisco, has a substantially large LGBT population and Warren Wilson itself is over 70% queer.
After leaving Wilson, I became very interested in the queer farmer movement and purchased a book called Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism by Scott Herring, in which he challenges the presumption that LGBT politics, artwork not found only in metropolitan areas. This led me to the Queer Farmer Film Project and a myriad of other similar projects.
For most of the queer scholarship that I have been introduced to, it has always been presumed that the gay community in rural america strives to move into the city and that metropolitan areas will always be the epicenter for gay cultural life. Why do you think it is that a substantial portion of the LGBT community is reverting to the countryside? What about farming is "queer"? As a former 'queer farmer', I am very interested in this topic and would like to explore it more in-depth. Thoughts?
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First "Queer This" Entry

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Ok - I'll give this a shot. Please be patient with this blog thing. I have no idea what I'm doing. :)

When it came to my first "Queer This" entry I have to tell you I was lost. Really, really, lost. Still am. But I'll give this a try:

I stumbled upon this article and I shook my head a little and thought it was extra funny since my interesting find at Target yesterday - see Twitter post. I must be manifesting fake genitals somehow. Weird.

Anyway, "Neuticles" are fake testicles for pets. But it seems, as is says in the article, that they are more for the owner than for the pet.

I love the statement that the dog has "lost some of his swagger" since being neutered. Also that "Fletcher recalled one customer who wanted Neuticles for his beagle -- bigger than the originals. "It was hysterical. He overestimated the size of the testicles," said Fletcher, "as men will do." Really? That sounds like a huge over generalization to me.

So now we're pushing out sexual insecurities/body issues onto our pets? What does this tell us about ourselves? What do you think?

My favorite thing about the article? The pictures.

The T.V show Hoarders in the

Ok, i watched this T.V show called hoarders, which I love. It's about people who "collect"/ hoard items, trash and other personal belongings to the point where their homes are no longer able to be lived in. Anyway they agree to have psychologist who specialize in hoarding disorders, to come and declutter their homes, so then their homes are considered to be liveable again. In this one episode there was this family of four; Mom, Dad, Daughter and Son who lived in filth. The 7 yr old daughter slept in a sleeping bag with the father and the 10 yr old son slept in a bed full of clutter with the mother. When the psychologist came to help, she said that she would have to call CPS (Child Protective Services) to come and inspect the living arrangments if the sleeping situation continued. The psychologist stated this because according to their code, the sleeping situation was not suitable for children of that age. My question to this is, Why would you think this is so?

Queer This, Queers! :D

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All right, bear with me, everyone...I have never blogged before, so hopefully this all works out and you can see/read everything. I've attached a picture of what most people would probably consider humorous, but from a moral's setting a bad example. Is it bad to illustrate funny situations like these in front of younger children or do you think it is harmless and fun for everyone?

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Queer this: Owl Scouts


This show by Todd Baxter just debuted this month in Indianapolis, and let's all hope it comes here. These photographs essentially tell a story of two young Owl Scouts "Lost in the Woods", and their tragic fate.

After viewing the slideshow,

what can we glean about child-like curiosity/fear/discovery and "nature"'s apparent hostility?

I'm particularly interested in perhaps queering the idea of the "good citizen" interacting with the natural world -- or being lost (queer?) in a hostile world. What questions can we ask about children and citizenship?

(here are a few things I pulled off of the Boy Scouts of America website:

"Being a Cub Scout means you are a member of a worldwide youth movement that stands for certain values and beliefs. Cub Scouting is more than something to do. It's all about the boy you are and the person you will become."
"Scouting promises you the great outdoors. As a Scout, you can learn how to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land. You'll study wildlife up close and learn about nature all around you. There are plenty of skills for you to master, and you can teach others what you have learned."

just for a reference as to what I'm thinking about in terms of the "good citizen")


Queer This!: Janelle Monae

If you haven't heard of Janelle Monae, you are missing out on one awesome entertainer with bonkers talent. Janelle Monae is a singer/dancer/all-around badass who has been gaining a fair amount of following in the last year or so. In her early career she met Big Boi (of Outkast fame) and opened for No Doubt during their 2009 tour. Janelle recently released her second album, called The ArchAndroid. The ArchAndroid is a continuation of her first album, Metroplis. It is a concept album that follows her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather, as she leads and helps the oppressed android community.

Janelle Monae cites many artists as influences, but for her albums "Metropolis" and "The ArchAndroid" she mostly pulls inspiration from Fritz Lang's famous 1927 film "Metropolis". In Lang's "Metropolis" the female android character is evil and oppressive, but in Janelle Monae's reinterpretation the android Cindi Mayweather is a character that tries to lead those who are oppressed.

"The ArchAndroid tells Part 2 and 3 of Monae's saga of Cindi Mayweather, an android messiah who returns to Earth in a quest to end all prejudice.
'She's my muse for this project,' Monae says. 'She represents the Other. And I feel like all of us, whether in the majority or the minority, felt like the Other at some point.' "

As students/members/allies of the LGBTQ community, the concept of the Other is not uncommon. Those who are considered and who consider themselves part of this community are constantly told that they are different, wrong, "other" than what is considered normal. Janelle Monae, with her genre-busting music and concepts, is a fantastic representation of one who is considered an Other, and is using her art to combat that prejudice.

Please watch her music video for "Tightrope". Embedding isn't allowed, so here is the youtube link.

Some questions:
-What queer imagery do you see in "Tightrope"?
-Janelle consistently wears a tuxedo jacket during performance. What do you think of the relatively gender-neutral clothing that everyone wears?
-How can the idea of the Other as a patient of an institution, forbidden to dance, relate to the desire for bodily expression?

p.s. Here is a great article on Janelle, if you're interested.

Queer This!: Sexualized Nonhumans (Vampires from True Blood)


True Blood is an American television series aired on HBO. It is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries written by Charlaine Harris, who began the novel series in 2001.


Even by season 3 of the series, we know little about vampires as creatures. We know that they are born out of human flesh, but are no longer human. They are cold, and sustained by "magic", requiring only human blood (or True Blood, the fictional synthetic blood promoted in the show) to survive.

Most vampires consider themselves a much "higher order" of corporal entities then their human counterparts. At the same time, they are subject to human culture and emotion. In the series, they are shown to have an American League lobby group fighting for the equal rights for vampires under American law. One of the main rights they are fighting for is the right to marry between humans & vampires. This, of course, is juxtaposed to our current cultural climate where the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation is fought for. It also alludes to other civil rights movements of the past, particularly those for people of color and women.

The vampires in True Blood are highly sexualized beings. Sex between humans and vampires often happens, though is regarded as taboo. Vampires seem to possess endless amounts of energy, allowing them to engage in sexual activities for hours on end (and have been around much longer then humans, giving them substantial...experience).


The vampires often "penetrate" the virgin skin of the humans they are with, drinking the blood while having sex. The vampires themselves are portrayed as extremely sexual and are highly erotized.

What other cultural artifacts, past or present, represent sex and sexuality in such a way? What is with vampires these days, anyway?

Shower Night BYOS. Bring your own soap!

My roommate came home the other night and attempted to describe her wild night downtown Minneapolis. She went to a bar called the Saloon, a well known gay bar off of Hennepin Avenue. In the bar there is an actual shower where employees proceed to strip off their underwear and dance completely nude while soaping themselves. Next to the shower, my roommate informed me, was a drag queen that was strategically placed to coax customers to spend more money. The best paying customers began to slip dollar bills into the shower slot that was located at the bottom of the large box. The naked dancer got down on his knees and slid the soapy dollar bills up the glass using only his penis. The whole situation she said was completely obscene.

This story definitely peaked my interest as a great idea to write about for my first Queer This! As a society we are always pushing the limits of what is socially acceptable. This to me is the edge of the cliff. The cliff being what is socially tolerable. I wonder what could be the next daring endeavor hip downtown night clubs will venture into displaying. Could it possibly be two people, homosexual or heterosexual having sex in a glass case for onlookers to view while they dance to Lady GaGa and order vodka redbulls at the bar? And where could this display take place? Possibly strip clubs could host a wild exhibit such as this. As a culture, how far are we willing to go to pull in customers and keep the atmosphere of our business interesting and ground breaking? What is next? Queer that!

Queer This!: Poke

As about 90% of the class said they had experience with Facebook on Tuesday, I thought it might be appropriate to queer the "poke" feature.

Unlike other newer features of Facebook, the option to "poke" your friends has been around for quite some time. Poking doesn't have the option of sending the recipient any text, it simply alerts them that they have been poked by you.

A couple things to consider here: 1) While the physical act of poking someone or something with one's finger (as the icon for the feature depicts) is relatively neutral within itself, it is typically accompanied by a message which will give it some meaning. 2) Receiving a poke on Facebook can be a little jarring, not knowing what prompted it or what exactly it means. 3) "Poking" is sometimes used as a euphemism for sexual penetration.

I will also include that my use of the poking feature has been almost entirely with people who I am romantically attracted to. I've engaged in several "poke wars" in which I exchange pokes with someone until, eventually, one of us sends the other a message.

Seems pretty queer to me...

queer this: who's on top?


So when trying to figure out what image to queer, because I simply love queering all things, especially normally "unqueer" things. I decided I would pick something feminist, so when searching feminist ad images for different ad campaigns, I came across this image. It was an ad for a play trying to promote queer equality, yet to me it seems to look like amplified feminism. The woman is represented as strong and feminine (hence the heels, flashy purse, and short skirt), while the male (who could possibly be gay) is wearing next to nothing and being stepped on by the female who is showing dominance. But if we queered it a little differently, maybe it could be a battle between gays and lesbians? Maybe they are trying to say the lesbians come out on top? Yet, if she is supposed to be a lesbian she definitely is very feminine, while the male looks less masculine then a typical heterosexual male would be represented as.

Ha, my brain always goes a little haywire when it comes to queering things. I might even possibly read into it so much that I see things that aren't there. But, isn't that the point? The message it conveys to me? The consumer? If this is supposed to be an ad for equality, I don't see that message.

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Queer This! 1: the Bechdel test


Alison Bechdel is the artist who writes/creates the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In my Pop Culture Women course last semester we read her graphic novel (of the same title) and watched a behind-the-scenes interview with her. She said that one of her biggest reasons for creating the comic strip was to see stories with people who represented her, her queer lifestyle, and the everyday things, fights, thoughts, emotions that she had.

This test, which gauges women's representation in movies (and could be applied to film, and could be queered to gauge queer representation in media), was started by Bechdel in her comic strip.

I'm posting this because it's just such an ah ha moment-maker to me. It lays out some VERY simple guidelines and challenges popular culture to rise to the occasion. And it's crazy how little representation of women is in mainstream popular culture. Even tons of so-called 'good' movies don't have women represented in them, according to this test. Just imagine what a queer Bechdel test would show! What would the criteria of a queer Bechdel test be?

I thought her criteria were genius because they're so simple: more than 2 women, with names, who talk to each other about something other than men. Whoa. And somehow that's hard to find.

Queer This! Painfully "Beautiful"

When we were asked to write an entree today on our blog, it really took me quite a while to think of what to write about. To be honest, I was very overwhelmed with the whole no paper, no final exam kind of class that we are having right now. And all our assignments are in the form of blog entry, tweeting and comments. To add on to this the topic of GLBT is something that most people in Malaysia would avoid to talk about.

Anyway I was thinking back at the whole list of topic which was suggested by Dr. Puotinen when I was asking her for help and strangely I thought that the topic of foot binding would be an interesting topic to blog about. Well, this practice have been widely discussed by a lot of western scholars in the pass.

Foot binding, 缠足 (pronounce as chán zú) started around the Tang Dynasty (618-916). It is a custom which the foot of the female was bind to the size of 3- 3 1/2 inches (preferably). The process of foot binding was carried out when the girl was 6 years old, it is the age where they believe that it is the ideal age to "shape" the leg.

This topic appeared interesting to me as I can recall what my grandmother used to tell me. Stories about her grandmother who was one of the "victim" to this gruesome custom. I remembered clearly, she told me that whenever her grandma wanted to clean her legs, she would asked everyone to stay away from her room and would closed herself inside during the cleaning process. The reason for this is --- it stinks!

According to my "ah ma" (grandmother in Hokkien), reasons why foot binding was practiced is because a lady was considered beautiful if she had her legs bind, the smaller the prettier (is this one of the fetishes of ancient man?). Strangely this custom is mostly practice by lady from the rich families. There's another saying too.... That it is one of the way to prevent women from running away from their husband and to have affairs.


I was sitting on my bed thinking of what I should put up as my first Queer This! entry...sadly nothing that I had recently read, seen or heard had come to mind. i was stuck for a good while.

In my desperation I just started putting random things into yahoo search, i was thinking anything would come up that would I would be able to put as a Queer This! Then as I was looking down one of the pages I saw the link that said Gay-O-Meter, I had to look at it. It's a type of test that this website, Channel 4, has up on its site. I figured I would do it for fun at first. I went through and put in answers that applied most to myself. After finishing and getting my results, I wasn't too shocked. According to the Gay-O-Meter I was 43% gay, "right in the middle" and "a happy and well adjusted lesbian babe". I went back and put in the stereotypical answers for a lesbian and surprise surprise my percentage of gay went up to 80.

I just found it odd that there has to be a scale of which we rate people's sexuality, that if a person is in one range they are "too straight" or if they are in the other they are "too gay". I just wonder why self identifying as a member of the GLBT community isn't enough to be "100% gay", must we always fit within the stereotypes to be seen as a true member?

Queer This! Calvin Klein Ad


So, I've also been watching a lot of episodes from America's Next Top Model, just because I really enjoy all the crazy photo shoots that they do. Although it may seem that a lot of the themes for these photo shoots are meant to portray a story and sell the product, I often wonder just how much of the model is actually creating a piece in which they can truly connect themselves with the viewer and their concerns.

Now at first glance, I didn't think much about this photo. However, I have read previous articles about how serious of an issue this is to GLBT folks. Those that were not biologically female, but felt that their sexuality truly was a female were not allowed into women's bathrooms. Men and women that were gay, lesbian, or transgender have felt people give them dirty looks or were sometimes even harassed in public restrooms because of their sexual identity.

Now I do understand that this is an issue in which heterosexuals are also concerned with because the time that we have to ourselves in these restrooms, is a very private moment, and to find someone of the opposite sex present and using the same facility that we are in is a little uncomfortable just because we are not sure if they are actual sexual predators or just gay, lesbian, or transgender individuals that just need to use the restrooms. It is a very touchy topic but a very interesting one as well. However, this is just what I thought of when I found this Calvin Klein ad, using google's search engine.

Day Three: September 14


As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided to slow things down a bit. Instead of discussing the readings, we are going to talk more about how/why to blog and do introductions. Also, I have another "queer this!" that I would like us to discuss.

1. Introductions (go around the room)
2. Discuss assignment + blog/twitter log
3. More on blogging and twitter
4. Queer This! Lady Gaga example: What are the implications of this from a queer perspective? How does this connect with queer/queering desire?

1. Introductions

  • Name
  • Hometown
  • Major/areas of interest
  • Good book/movie/tv show you watched
  • Why you're taking this class
  • Experience with social media/online technology

2. Discuss Blog/Twitter Assignments

3. Reviewing Blog and Twitter

Why Blog? I like to post a slightly different version of this on each of my course blogs. Here it is for our class:

Welcome. This is the blog for GWSS 4790/GLBT 3610. It will play a central role in our discussion of and engagement with the material. While only class members (the instructors and the students enrolled in the course) can post new entries, the blog will be open to the larger public (for reading and commenting). 

Having used blogs in my courses for over three years now, I see how valuable they can be for: 

  • Developing community between students
  • Enabling students to engage with the material and each other in different ways
  • Encouraging students to really think about and process the ideas
  • Helping all of us to organize our thoughts and ideas
  • Providing a central location for posting information and handouts
  • Allowing for a space outside of the classroom for engaging with the readings and each other
  • Inspiring us to engage in queering practices of our own

But blogs aren't just useful for creating connections between students (or teacher and students or students and other communities). I spent the past two summers writing in my own blogs, Trouble, It's Diablogical! and Unchained, and I discovered that blog writing can make you (the writer) a better writer and thinker. This is especially true if you write in your blog on a regular basis. I wrote every couple of days both summers and I found that by the end of August my critical thinking skills were in much better shape then when I started in May. Last Summer, I found that my understanding of my chosen term--trouble--had grown deeper and richer over the summer as I creatively explored different ways in which to engage with it. And this summer, I found that engaging in writing with a diabloging partner, enabled me to clarify my ideas and theories even more than I had previously done on my own. 

Writing in a blog alleviated a lot of my anxiety about "serious" writing; somehow posting an entry didn't seem as intimidating as writing a formal manuscript. Writing in a blog also encouraged me to make new connections between ideas in unexpected ways. I found myself applying theoretical/political concepts like Michel Foucault's notion of curiosity or Judith Butler's notion of gender trouble to children's movies (Horton Hears a Who) and television shows (Hannah Montana). Not only did this experience allow me to reflect on these concepts but it also helped me to really understand them as I worked to translate them into more accessible language. For more on how/why I wrote in my blog, check out my about pages here and here.

It is my hope that the experience of writing in our course blog will enable you to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your understanding of queer/queering desire. It is also my hope that writing in our blog will inspire you to keep writing and thinking and questioning and connecting.

Twitter? This is my very first time using twitter in the classroom. Since I only started using twitter on my own this summer, I don't have too many expectations for how it will/won't work in our class. I hope this will be a fun and critically/creatively productive experiment. 

I envision it as being helpful in the classroom when used in concert with a blog. In order for it to be successful (just like any other type of social media), it needs to be used thoughtfully and deliberately. I hope that throughout the semester we will return to discussions of the limits and possibilities of twitter in a queer classroom. Let's start the conversation today:

What are the limits and possibilities of twitter? How can we use it to disrupt, distort, trouble or queer typical ways of being in the classroom? 

On my own twitter account (@undisciplined), I use twitter differently (or is it different?) than outlined in the video. I use twitter for posting:

  • brief notes about sources
  • updates/summaries of the class
  • replies to students/friends
  • announcements about the class or local events
  • questions related to the material and the class

How do you want to use twitter? Read this brief essay about twitter by Peggy Orenstein: I Tweet, Therefore I Am. Any thoughts on a queer analysis of this essay? Is the performed/performative self not an authentic self? What are the differences between self-promotion and self-awareness? 

4. Queer This!: Lady Gaga and the meat dress

Did you hear about what Lady Gaga wore to the VMAs this weekend? Here, check out this clip:

Reactions? Is this an effective way to make a statement in support of gay rights? Why or why not? Will most people "get" what she is attempting to do here? What is she attempting to do here? Is it important/necessary that her message be understood? Why/why not? 

For Thursday:


Queering Desire Queer This #1

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As I've recently obtained a job in scientific research, I spent much of the summer learning about agronomy, plant breeding, and genetics, among other things. Hence, I've been reading a lot of scientific journals lately, and boy are they chalk full of stuff to roll your eyes at! They're also in desperate need of some queering, as these are supposed to be sources of authoritative, "objective" information.
In the latest issue of Nature, for example (the title of which is in itself erroneous), an article appeared entitled Primatology: Thanks Mum!, about the "mating habits" of what is generalized to be all bonobos. The study said that "lower ranking males" who's mothers were present during "mating" were less likely to "mate" with "infertile" females, who, supposedly, would normally be monopolized by other "higher ranking" males. The implication is that mothers fight off their sons "sexual competitors."
We can ignore the laughably faulty methods of the study (it was based off of wholly unsupported assumptions about bonobo society, and included only 11 bonobo adults, only four of which were males) because that is not where this article draws its authority from. What is most interesting is that this study exhibits a preoccupation with drawing a concrete conclusion that the data does not support. Of course, it is also preoccupied with categorizing the society and sexuality of non-human animals, without stopping to question the implications of such a project. After sifting through all the chatter about bonobo ejaculation, rigid male hierarchies, and fertile females, I noticed there were a good number of comments on the article posted by subscribers. The majority of these were quick to connect the "findings" of the study to human society. This line of inquiry, in which one views the "primitive" members of the primate family in order, so its readers suggest, to make statements about Homo sapiens cries out for exploration. Suggestions, anyone?

PS In order to access the article without paying a fee or subscribing to Nature, you must first log onto the U of M library website and search for the Nature Journal. Otherwise, Nature will not allow you to read the full study. The issue of Nature you're looking for is 467, 134-135, (09 Sept. 2010). However, the URL below should also take you there:

Queer This!- The Gaydar Test!


After reading the first Queer This! example I wanted to take the gay test and actually ended up running into a site with a gaydar test. This test consists of you chosing who you think is gay by looking at two pictures of members of that site. Well, I took the test for experimental purposes. I picked the people who would not appear to be gay to most people (very masculine males and very femine females- not sure why people who match that description dont set off most people's "gaydar") and got the results that I expected- my gaydar sucks because of the members I chose. The Gaydar Test Care to see how well your gaydar works?

Queer This! assignment

This category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to queering theory and/or our readings and class discussion. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a queer analysis. Entries filed under this category should be entries that invite us to apply the queering skills we are learning to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas/topics/images that are important for queer theory and/or queer communities. When you are posting a comment on a "queer this" entry, you should clearly identify (in a sentence or two) what queering theories/tools/strategies you are using.

2 examples posted as entries
The only formal requirement for these posts is that you find an example (it could be an image, an article, a movie/commercial/television show, a song) that relates to our course topics and readings and that you believe deserves/demands a queer analysis. Make sure to post the image, link or embed your youtube video. Check out my how to blog tutorial for more information on how to do this.
Category: Queer This!

Note: It is possible to earn up to an additional 20 points extra credit if you submit more than 2 examples. Each extra example is worth 5 points (so you can submit an additional 4 examples: 4 @5 points each = 20 points).

For each of your posted comments, you must provide a queer analysis of and/or commentary on another student's "queer this" post. Your comments should be substantial and go beyond a mere reaction to the example. You need to offer a well thought out response. Try to draw on our readings, discussions or other blog entries.

Want to see how students have used this category in the past? Check out these examples.

2 Tweets
You are required to post a tweet about each of your two queer this examples. Your tweets should include either a link to your example or a link to your queer this blog entry. Be creative in your brief discussion of the example on twitter. Remember to add the class hashtag: #qd2010.

Due Dates:
Example 1: September 17
Example 2: October 18
Comment 1: September 20
Comment 2: November 8
Comment 3: December 6
Tweet 1: September 17
Tweet 2: October 18

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