Fashion, Lady Gaga, Identities, Queer and How to Rock it...

I have read/heard before (I listen to NPR and I have seen For the Bible Tells Me So the documentary on Gay Rights/Challenges)- this is kinda my family- some of these really conservatives don’t talk about it, don’t want anyone to know, I know it can be a pink elephant in the room-but come on people, you can’t give up that easily. I have a hard time quoting directly what these articles say because I am trying desperately to save some trees and my computer is really old.

My computer can’t really handle pulling up articles and writing in a word document at the same time. So I will reference the articles, I have read them and love some of the questions that are being asked.
Gay rights are having a really hard time getting off the ground. Why is this? I wonder why we are so feminist (in some rooms of people) and so against racism (also only in some groups), and we gay, trans identity movement is just not getting support. Our class (only some of the people...) just seem to be very harsh on feminism and definitely gay identity, personal stories and experiences (such as mine) people do not seem to want to hear it at all. Ahhh well, maybe next time when the audience is a little more chill and tame and liberal I can express some ideas about identity: trans, gay, androgynous or otherwise. I have stories about all of these experiences. I try a new identity on almost every day (at least for a little while).

Queering the boundaries of identity in terms of gender, sex, cultural stereotypes, etc, is a very hard thing to do even in small ways. Fashion is a great way to express femininity and masculinity and stretch those boundaries as far as they will go (I think Lady Gaga does that in our media with Fashion in the music industry and pop culture). It was so weird (on a note about Lady Gaga) that people thought she was a hermaphrodite? What? She is not a hermaphrodite. Lady Gaga is queer as hell and trans-gendered, etc and she expresses this beautifully through her fashion, performance art, and music. I am trying to do the same in my life. My fashion sense has always been a queering of identities. I am wearing suspenders to class: I am playing with fashion and androgyny. A lot of people can’t handle it, but that is ok. I am still gonna do it. Dress it up. Gender as Performance. Let me be very clear as to what I think gender performance is: our culture (American Culture) conditions us to perform a made-up idea of gender: masculine and feminine. What is masculinity? What is femininity? What does fluidity of gender mean? What are our goals to wake up our American society to not take gender (or identities, really) so seriously.

 The Guy Who Made Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' Caution Tape

I am trying to wear both markers of femininity and markers of masculinity in our American Culture. I wore suspenders today with a bright girly green shirt with mushrooms and butterflies and my big sunglasses with a flowery hippie print on them to class today. This is my fashion sense for androgyny (or what I think a blending of the genders looks like). Then I went to something at UTC (a Haiti relief concert in which the audience was so rude and sexist to the performers- cat and dog calls to women walking on stage- I don’t think so). So I went to this concert (and I figured I should probably wear something a bit more conservative and girly- traditional gender role performativity- so I wore a low-cut (kind of) green dress and bra: very girly and traditional and I did wear masculine loose pants and a black bandana, which is kinda masculine too, I guess. So sometimes I have to play the conservative, dress like a girl game (sort-of). I can do that. I don’t mind playing that game, but I hope you realize that this traditional girly performance is fun for me too.

Let me know if my discussion on gender performance (and how I think about it) is clear! I really do want to know your opinions! What do you think about that? Gender as fluid: I define fluidity very loosely. You can experience gender and masculinity and femininity any way you want to as long as it is violent: I really don’t like violence. I really also don’t approve of degrading each other, humiliation of any kind, violent acts at all. You do your thing. You can get your money, friends and do your gender thing- just don’t be hating on other people.

Let me now try to define what I think Queer Theory means and what it is doing for the greater community. I am staying positive because we have come a long way. Some of us are actually taking Queer Theory Classes at colleges and universities: shout out to these people- love ya. Stay Strong. Queer Theory to me is this open, free space of expression. That is where we should headed, hopefully. I want a place where gay rights and activism can occur. I want a safe-haven for me and my friends that need a place to express personal stories, experiences, and our ways of activism.

Let’s get this ball rolling! It is way past time! Let’s come together, discuss issues of gender performance, gender fluidity, gay rights, trans and gay rights and identities, and all of the above. Share your stories anywhere and everywhere you can. You post on our blog, write your own blogs, and we will support and re-tweet your work. Or we can send your stuff out with ours or whatever we got to do to support original people. People who are doing ANYTHING to open up spaces, engage in conversations about any of the above topics. We need to get this stuff noticed and people talking (education is where it’s at- we got to start young and educating our kids, little brothers, sisters, etc ). This is important so that they can feel free to express as well. We need to spread these words like wildfire. Get your thoughts out there and change things!

More info here...

(website) PBS: "Assault on Gay America" (Read "Roots of Homophobia," "What the Bible Says," "Anti-Gay Violence," and "The 'Gay-Gene' Debate")

(2 pgs.) "The Pressure to Cover," by Kenji Yoshina, The New York Times Magazine, Jan. 15, 2006 (2 pgs.)

AUDIO, NPR, "Black Communities Collide Over Gay Marriage," Nov. 13, 2008.

AUDIO: NPR, "Two Families Grapple with Sons Gender Preferences," May 7, 2008.

(15 or so pgs.) "Seeing Straight Through Queer Eye : Exposing the Strategic Rhetoric of Heteronormativity in a Mediated Ritual of Gay Rebellion," by Westerfelhaus and Lacroix, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2007, pp. 426-44

(1 pg.): "Toto, I Don't Think We're in the Grand Tetons Anymore," Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain," by Alan Vannaman, Bright Lights Film Journal (1 page)

2 comments:

  1. You keep discussing female ideas of gender performance as a trangender.(? I'm not sure I understand yet what stance you've taken on defining yourself, or if you bother to take one at all. Lol)

    What about the men who are homosexual/androdgynous who put together very very nice outifts and go about their day looking good? Why do you feel you have to come up with ridiculous outfits (that aren't flattering) to push some kind of boundary? Dress nicely, (countinue to) speak wisely, and it will give you much more credibility.

    Best of Luck

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  2. Dear Justin,
    To your first statement, no I am not saying that gender performance and transgender are the same thing at all. I am saying, however, that one way to perform gender is to be androgynous or to identify as any queer gender in the broadest of terms. Transgender is important and one option, yes, but not the only option. Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Polyamourous/ etc CAN be seen (in a positive light) as being performing gender or making a statement for gender fluidity.

    To your second paragraph, No again, I do not feel that you have to do something extreme at all to push some kind of boundary. I think awareness is pushing boundaries, discussion is pushing boundaries, any homosexual/androgynous who can get it and look good and do what they do freely and with no inhibitions is beautiful. You seem to misunderstand and that is fine. I hope this is more clear. I am a complete advocate for dressing nicely and being respectful and respected in any circumstance. This is great! Do this kind of stuff! I think that is doing something to push boundaries. Ask questions, yes....

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