J 320 Quiz 2 Study guide
J 320 Quiz 2 Study guide J 320
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This 9 page Study Guide was uploaded by Danielle Notetaker on Thursday January 7, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to J 320 at University of Oregon taught by Greene C in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 156 views. For similar materials see Gend, Media, & Divers >IP in Film at University of Oregon.
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Date Created: 01/07/16
Chapter 7: Queer Theory and Fluid Identities Queer Theory: It is an approach to sexuality and, more generally, identity, which builds on some of the ideas developed by Michael Foucault. Gender, like other aspects of identity, is a performance. Again, this is reinforced through repetition. (147) The binary divide between masculinity and femininity is a social construction built on the binary divide between men and women. (147) Feminist implication does not just apply to sex and gender, but to other axes of identity such as race, class, or sexuality, none of which can be broken from its context and singled out as a person’s primary identity. (148) Heterosexual Matrix: which ‘sex’ is seen as a binary biological given – you are born female or male – and then ‘gender’ is the cultural component which is socialized into the person on that basis. Butler argues that the binary nature of sex is seen as a given, but this itself is a construction – a way of viewing bodies. If we see sex as a questionable category which has no necessary link to any particular gender or personality or identity, and which in turn cannot dictate desire, then we create a new conclusion. (149) The ways that we think and talk about gender and sex, Butler notes, tend to ‘presuppose and preempt the possibilities of imaginable and realizable gender configurations within culture’ We’re constrained by existing discourse. (150) Gender and Sexuality can be reinvented in the here and now, in other words. Some commentators have focused on Butler’s suggestion that existing gender forms could be undermined through parody – as can be done by the drag performer who parodise the stereotypical routine of the other gender. (152) By giving a different form to our daily performances of identity, we might work to change gender norms and the binary understanding of masculinity and femininity. Everyday life, then, is a political project, and one which everyone can work on and potentially transform. (153) The New Republic, an attack on Butler’s Work. It contrasts the goals of activist feminists, who have sought to make like better for women in the real world, with Butler’s stance, which Nussbaum seems to think involves fighting against nothing, merely playing with parodies of gender in the margins of society. (155) Nussbaum wants the state to force people to change, whereas Butler wants the popular culture of everyday people to be transformed from within. (157) The reality for many people much of the time is that their sexualities remain remarkably constant and stable over time even when lived experience may contradict this. Disciplining the Transgendered: Brandon Teena Whatever the case, given Brandon’s success with the local women, his “true” gender was a matter of great concern to his friends, especially the men. Discovering that Brandon had a vagina, clearly marking him as a woman in Nissen and Lotter’s eyes, the two forced Brandon to leave the party with them and proceeded to drive to a desolate area of town where each in turn raped him. As a result, the story of Brandon Teena’s life and death provides a large body of discourse that reflects public discussions of sex, gender, sexuality and transgenderism. Indeed, Alice Dreger notes that the entire “history of hermaphroditism is largely the history of struggles over the realities’ of sex – the nature of ‘true’ sex, the proper roles of the sexes, the question of what sex can, should or must mean. Gender Trouble, gender and sexuality are assumed in this essay to be potentially fluid, held into check by each individual’s interpellation into a cultural ideology that maintains malefemale differences. The reactions of the young men responsible for Brandon’s Death are due in part to the fact that so many institutions and individual’s work to stabilize sex, reiterate sexual norms, rather than to encourage/ explore gender fluidity. As society’s understanding of what is possible, proper, and perverse in gender linked behavior, and more specifically, that set of values, mores, and assumptions which establishes which behaviors are to be seen as genderlinked. While Brandon’s body is clearly marked as female, Brandon’s use of the body is marked as a successful performance of masculinity. Brandon’s body and behavior as simultaneously familiar and alien, and, in this way, the overall representation reifies heteronormativity Simultaneously, because Brandon’s “alien” desires and gender deception are ultimately revealed, we learn that in the end no can fool the gender binary system. A case involving a transgendered person like Brandon Teena who was attractive to selfidentified heterosexual women as a sexual partner and to heterosexual men as a friend, is interesting as a potential case of gender trouble and confusion. Eric Konigsberg observes in Playboy that “posing as a man gave Teena Brandon what she couldn’t get as a woman – adoring girlfriends and a fiancé. It also got her killed”. The coupling of deception with heartland encourages us to think of Brandon transgressions as the corruption of innocence and normality. Whether Brandon is represented as particularly adept at understanding how to act like a “natural man” or his masculine behavior is explained as a psychic or physical defect, Brandon is posited as “physically” a woman who learns to perform behaviors that are naturally those of men. Story of Brandon’s youth is recounted, it is a narrative that suggests that while Brandon was physically a girl and should have developed “feminine behaviors”, he developed masculine behaviors as a result of an aberration. Regardless of the “essential” or cultural assumptions about gender being made by those describing it, the descriptions ultimately provide a reifying crystallization of cultural expectations of gender normativity. Marjorie Garber, “It is as though the hegemonic cultural imaginary is saying to itself: if there is a difference, we want to be able to see it, and if we see a difference, we want to be able to interpret it. “Urinary Segregation”, despite all the differences that males have with each other, and despite all the differences that females have with each other, we culturally take the act of urination to signify that in this act, all men are equal, as are all women. Even Brandon’s “less gentlemanly moments” are consistently described by those women quoted as behaviors that made him “a normal guy”. While Brandon’s sexual success cannot help but somewhat trouble gender normativity, public discussion of the case maintains that the women fooled and hence were, in their own minds, performing heterosexuality, and that Brandon’s deception would ultimately be discovered. In short, both the hermaphrodite and preoperative discourses put heavy focus on the penis as a natural sign of masculinity and malehood, reinscribing the gender assex ideology. The Causes of Aberration: What is significant, as transgender activists continually point out, is that hermaphroditism is natural in the sense that it is the ‘natural body’ a person is born with. While one would never expect to find attempts to explain the cause of a person’s heterosexuality, the “cause” of Brandon’s gender and sexuality ambiguity is discussed as a matter of routine. “Hours of sexual abuse in her childhood and adolescence, saying that she felt intimidated by certain men, that she always felt sexually orientated toward women” Obviously, critical work that underscores the “naturalness” of transgenderism and highlights the complexity of desire would be in service of those whose desires and identities are outside of cultural norms. Epistemology of the Closet: While the events of June, 1969, and later vitally reinvigorated many people’s sense of the potency, magnetism, and promise of gay selfdisclosure, nevertheless the reign of the telling secret was scarcely overturned with Stonewall. (45) The deadly elasticity of heterosexist presumption means that, people find new walls springing up around them even as they drowse: every encounter erects new closets whose fraught and characteristic laws of optics and physics exact from at least gay people new surveys, calculations, draughts and requisitions of secrecy or disclosure. (46) The gay closet is not a feature only of the lives of gay people. But for many gay people it is still the fundamental feature of social life; however courageous and forthright by habit, however fortunate in the support of their immediate communities, in whose lives the closet is not still a shaping presence. (46) Epistemology of the closet has given an overarching consistency to gay culture and identity throughout this century is not to deny that crucial possibilities around and outside the closet have been subject to most consequential change, for gay people. (46) The rationale for keeping Acanfora out of his classroom was thus no longer that he has disclosed too much about his homosexuality, but quite the opposite, that he has not disclosed enough. (47) The act of coming out was judged not to be highly protected under the First Amendment because it does not constitute speech on a matter of “public concern.” (47) If Homosexuality is not however densely adjudicated, to be considered a matter of public concern, neither in the Supreme Court’s binding opinion does it subsist under the mantle of the private. (47) “The closet” and “coming out,” now verging on allpurpose phrases for the potent crossing and recrossing of almost any politically charged lines of representation, have been the gravest and most magnetic of those figures. (48) Bowers v. Hardwick as an issue in the first place of a constitutional right to privacy, and the liberal focus in the aftermath of that decision on the image of the bedroom invaded by policeman. (48) The apparent floatingfree from its gay origins of that phrase “coming out of the closet” in recent usage might suggest that the trope of the closet is so close to the heart of some modern preoccupations that it could be, or has been, evacuated of its historical gay specificity. (48) Metonymic chain of such binarisms. The process, narrowly bordered at first in European culture but sharply broadened and accelerated after the late 18 century, by which “knowledge” and “sex” become conceptually inseparable from one another so that knowledge means in the first place sexual knowledge; ignorance, sexual ignorance; and epistemological pressure of any sort seems a force increasingly saturated with sexual impulsion – (49) Cognition itself, sexuality itself, and transgression itself have always been ready in Western Culture to be magnetized into an unyielding though not an unfissured alignment with one another, and the period initiated by Romanticism accomplished this disposition through a remarkably broad confluence of different languages and institutions. (49) In many discussions I heard or participated in immediately after the Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick, antihomophobic or gay women and men speculated – more or less empathetically or venomously – about the sexuality of the people most involved with the decision. (50) Revelation of identity in the space of intimate love effortlessly overturns and entire public systematics of the natural and the unnatural, the pure and the impure. (51) In the passionate dissenting opinions, were there not the traces of others’ comingsout already performed; could even the dissents themselves represent such performances, Justice coming out to Justice? (51) We have too much cause to know how limited a leverage any individual revelation can exercise over collectively scaled and institutionally embodied oppressions. (52) Esther expects Assuerus to be altogether surprised by her selfdisclosure; and he is. Her confident sense of control over other people’s knowledge about her is in contrast to the radical uncertainty closeted gay people are likely to feel about who is in control of information about their sexual identity. (53) Living in and hence coming out of the closet are never matters of the purely hermetic; the personal and political geographies to be surveyed here are instead the more imponderable and convulsive ones of the open secret. (53) When gay people in a homophobic society comes out, on the other hand, perhaps especially to parents or spouses, it is with the consciousness of a potential for serious injury that is likely to go in both directions. (53) Entirely within the experience of gay people to find that a homophobic figure in power has, if anything, a disproportionate likelihood of being gay and closeted. (54) The contradictory understandings of samesex bonding and desire and of male and female gay identity have crossed and recrossed the definitional lines of gender identity with such disruptive frequency that the concepts “minority” and “gender” themselves have lost a good deal of their categorizing force. (55) Alan Bray, “To talk of an individual as being or not being, ‘a homosexual’ is an anachronism and ruinously misleading,” (55) If paradoxically, it is the paranoid insistence with which the definitional barriers between “the homosexual” (minority) and “the heterosexual” (majority) are forfeited, in this century, by nonhomosexuals, and especially by men against men, that most saps one’s ability to believe in “the homosexual” as an un problematical discrete category of persons. (55) “Invention of the homosexual” by Freud gave psychological texture and credibility to countervalent, universalizing mapping of this territory, based on the supposed protean mobility of sexual desire and on the potential bisexuality of every human creature; a mapping that implies no presumption that one’s sexual penchant will always incline toward persons of a single gender, and that offers, additionally, a richly denaturalizing description of the psychological motives and mechanisms of male paranoid, projective homophobic definition and enforcement. (56) The Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick notoriously left the individual states free to prohibit any acts they wish to define as “sodomy,” by whomsoever performed, with no fear at all of impinging on any rights, and particularly privacy rights, safeguarded by the Constitution; yet only shortly thereafter a panel of the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals ruled that homosexual persons, as a particular kind of person, are entitled to constitutional protections under the equal protection clause. As the substitution of the phrase “womanidentified woman” for “lesbian” suggests, as indeed does the concept of the continuum of male or female homosocial desire, this trope tends to reassimilate to one another identification and desire, where inversion models, by contrast, depend on their distinctness. (58) Lesbian Television Personalities – A Queer New Subject Most of these women are white, conventionally attractive, gender conforming in appearance, and thus fit pretty closely the “mythical norm” in US society. (307) There is nothing straightforward about public representation of this marginalized identity, loaded as it is with so many (mostly negative) conflicting meanings. (307) Suzanna Danuta Walters argues that the binary choice as to whether lesbian and gay presence is or should be framed in terms of either assimilation into the dominant or a politicized challenge to the dominant is “an older question for a time eclipsed.” (307) The creation of a public lesbian presence has untold effects in that lesbian subjectivity becomes a possibility that did not exist in the same way before. (308) The lesbians that play in popular culture for the most part can be seen as perfect models of assimilation. In fact the case can be made that as a gesture of accommodation to heteronomative culture, their presence can work to prop up oppressive structures of gender and sexuality in the way that liberal tolerance for difference can absorb the meaning of those differences. (308) The more “normal” homosexuals seem, the bigger the threat to heteronormative culture. (308) Shane Phelan argues that “Queer seeks neither separatism nor assimilation, but the reshaping of the public and private spheres so as to give presence and meaning to nonheterosexual desires” (309) The significance of identifying with a lesbian identity as the “pivot” is important here as well because it is so recent in representational history that the subject position lesbian can be seen. (309) Danielle Allen argues In contradistinction to the idea of “oneness,” which always implies homogeneity, “an effort to make the people ‘whole’ might cultivate an aspiration to the coherence and integrity of a consolidated but complex, intricate, and differentiated body” (309) Heteronormativity insists that heterosexuality is the only justifiable way to organize sexual life and identity. (310) It is hard to overestimate the influence that television has on contemporary culture because even as new media continues to exert ever more influence, television remains the most familiar and familiarizing medium. (311) This is not about an essential lesbian presence inherent in the lesbian personality, but a social identity that is expressed in conscious and unconscious ways in social interaction. The consistent message is that to have a healthy financial life, women must have a healthy sense of themselves. Women have trouble with money in part because of their relationship with themselves, is fodder for critics who find it all too sincere, to overbearing or too blaming of women. (313) Lesbian they can position themselves in the culture differently: they can be seen not as the backdrop to phallocentric reality, not as the object to mean’s subjectivity, but as the subjects of their own lives. (314) O’Donnell really expands the definition of mother by connecting it to lesbian: terms that for many seem in contradiction to each other. (315) “Unruly Woman”, This is a woman who is seen as too much. She takes up a lot of space with her voice, her tone, her language, and her body. She is often large, or fat, and she gesticulates freely. She is not afraid to offend. (315) The unruly woman uses her visibility as power. Instead of being defined through the male gaze, the unruly woman, first, meets the gaze, looks back at patriarchal power, and laughs at it. (316) Introduction: Vice Versa “Bisexuality” is an anachronistic term for early modern Europe, but that does nit mean that instances of it are absent from the literary and cultural record. (15) “I really have begun to wonder whether the hetero/homo divide as such is breaking down among [that] generation,” says a gay man who teaches at a prestigious California institution. (17) Sarah, urges audiences at her cabaret act to avoid consignment to one of three food groups: heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality. “Both man and women can relate to both the man and woman in me” (18) “Bisexual experimentation” in the twenties has been linked to the popularization of Freud, the advent of World War I, and a general predilection for the daring and unconventional: bobbed hair, short skins, the rejection of prohibition and “Victorian” strictures. (19) Just a few years after stonewall, when feminism, Gay Liberation, and the Lesbian Nation were beginning to gain visibility and strength, bisexuality looked in part like a crossover tactic, an anythinggoes lifestyle in which anyone could play. (20) Some gays and lesbians also stereotype bisexuals as selfindulgent, undecided, “fencesitters” who daily with the affections of samesex partners, breaking their hearts when they move on to heterosexual relationships. (21) “Sexuality isn’t all black and white. There’s a whole gray area. You’re afraid a small percentage of you might have been turned on by a woman.” (22) “Fashion has served a more complex function for lesbians and gays than it has for heterosexuals” over the last twentyfive years, according to the gay and lesbian publication the advocate. “After all, has the straight community ever developed an idea such as colorcoded handkerchiefs that cue others to the wearer’s sexual proclivities?” (23) If menswear for women, earrings and skirts for men, navel and nipple rings for everyone, and tattoos on every part of the body, visible and invisible, are now part of the “mainstream,” what buttons, envelopes, and borderlines are left to push? (24) Freud, “the innately bisexual constitution of human beings,” or what he most commonly referred to as the “bisexual disposition,” accounted for internal conflict and consequent neurosis. It also accounted for homosexuality” (26) To some gay theorists and researchers, attacks on bisexuals were really not very veiled attacks on gay men, who were scapegoated for promiscuity, duplicity, and supposed immaturity of their lifestyles. (27) Bisexuality in today’s cultural scene are nonmongamy (less supportively called promiscuity, flightiness, or instability); maturity and immaturity (heterosexuals often see bisexuality as a “stage”. (28) An attempt in 1980 to replace the Kinsey scale with a more multidimensional study produced the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, developed by sex researcher Fritz Klein, as a result, significantly, of a survey conducted in Forum magazine. (29) Terms like “sequential” versus “concurrent” bisexuality are probably helpful additions to a language that is still struggling with linear sequence. (30) “Insistence on having on having sexual orientation in sex is about defending the status quo, maintaining sex differences and the sexual hierarchy; whereas resistance to sexual orientation regimentation is more about where we need to be going.” (32) It is bisexuality that permits, and indeed encourages, “a great variety and range of identifications… even and above all across gender boundaries.” (33) Tequila, Straight up: Bisexuality, Reality Dating, and the Discourse of ….. Cultural hegemony refers to the process by which a socially dominant and elitist group attempts to manufacture consensus and “regulate” public attitudes and beliefs “through the production and distribution of ideological texts that define social reality for the majority of the people” (50) Reality dating shows “enact a strategy of government, which mirrors the management of skilled femininity in its emphasis on recalibration of self intervention”. (51) Typically, representations that could be considered controversial or inconsistent with traditional gender roles are often portrayed in formats that make them more palatable to mainstream television audiences, thus allowing for a heteronormative view of alternate sexualities. (52) Herman defines heteronormativity as “the view that heterosexuality is natural and normal for individuals and society” (52) Homonormativity as a discourse is a common among media that specifically target gay and lesbian audiences, and typically represents homosexuality as normal and natural rather than deviant. (52) Butler argues that gender is performative “in the sense that is constitutes as an effect the very subject it appears to express” (53) Gender inversion may be defined as “the phenomenon of female ‘masculinity’ or male ‘femininity’ or the assumption that homosexuals display characteristics of the opposite gender. (53) According to Sloop, gender transgression is a strategy to deconstruct and destabilize traditional gender dichotomies and sexual binaries. (53) Heteronormative in its portrayal of alternate sexualities, resorting to crude and often blatant homophobic stereotypes and portrayals that serve to reinforce heteronormative cultural attitudes. (59) Contrary to its progressive claims, the show does not present homosexuality in a flattering light but instead presents several examples of rampant homophobia. (60) “Butch” lesbian – a strategy that positions her as the more mature, rational, and level headed of the two. (61)
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