☆☆☆ "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" ☆☆☆

Monday, January 18, 2016

Constructing Lines, Deconstructing Barricades

Fetish by any other name --

Phenomenology considers consciousness, more or less, as the directed thought of the subject upon the object. The conscious direction of thought is termed "intentionality." Phenomenology, generally views the human conscious state as layer upon layer of directed (intentional) thought. Moreover, "thought" about phenomena includes all the consious baggage we take in about pleasure, pain, sights, smells, sounds, images, thoughts about these sensory imputs and thoughts about how those thoughts makes us feel -- and how we feel about those feelings.

Phenomena -- gender feelings for example -- are multifaceted, fluid, and subject to deconstruction, revision. We cannot put "gender" into a neat little categorical box: "If A then B," "If not A then C or D . . . " etc. Gender is more complex than the ramification of a diagnostic, taxonomic tree.

As regards "fetish" -- Let us appropriate and subvert this term. "Queer Theory" appropriated the epithet "queer" and subverted it yet again, from meaning "unusual" to "homosexual" to designation of a radical sex/gender enclave. Let's note too that "faggot" is originally a bundle of sticks (used to burn homosexuals at the stake), and that this "faggot" of sticks comes to name the object of the persecution.

We should appropriate and subvert the term "fetish" --

Back to phenomenology: Subject consciousness intentionally directed at an object. What is a fetish? A fetish is the object toward which conscious thought is directed. Blanchard argues (thinks he argues) that subject thoughts directed at "being or becoming the object of sexual desire" is somehow "pathological." Blanchard terms this "erotic target error." In fact it's arguably "erotic target innovation."

Foucault asserts that sexual expression is infinititely diverse and infinititly expressible. And it is the "hetero-normative dyad" who inscribes sexuality with values such as "normal" and "anomalous," (pathological).

Blanchard proposes two sorts of gender dysphoria -- fundamentally heterosexual and homosexual, if we can distinguish between assigned genders and assumed genders. But gender expression is more complex than a simple, categorical division. Additionally, suggesting that these feelings -- while likely a minority view -- are only deemed "abnormal," "anomalous," "pathological" according to an arbitrary social construct is a social convention, not a teleological fact. Calling these sentiments "fetish" is an entirely arbitrary lexical choice. The perjorative connotations we attach to "fetish" are arbitrary too.

I argue that most of the "femme" images we aspire to are social stereotypes. And accordingly I propose a bit of a field test here:

In the course of "dreaming" about the woman I'd like to be, I invariably pick objects (fetish) of what the social milieu deems "attractive." Continuing here . . . I'm 67, moderately overweight, and as a "woman" I'm a solid 1 or 2 on a scale of 10 -- 2 on a good day. Also I have come to realize that I dress day in, day out like most of the local cis-F here my age. We all wear the same clothing, and the women look female, the men look male. To be fair, let's add that this is a rural Pacific NW environment and most of what women wear locally is men's clothing, or clothing styled like men's clothing. This "style" has everything to do with the weather, climate, and rural setting. Men's work clothing is pragmatic -- for day wear, but not to facilitate "gender presentation."

If and when I "do drag" I invariably dress like a women in her mid-40's -- and sporting a lot of the "semes" of a female that age (jewelry, clothing style, hair, earrings, etc.) I expect I can pull off looking 67 yr old matron. I probably do pull off "67 yr. old matron, in sturdy casual wear -- who looks a lot like a guy."

I'm not seeing any avatars in these forums of less than ideal female stereotypes. SOME of the photos herein look like "normal everyday women" -- not particulary attractive. OTOH, a lot of photos herein look like old men attempting to look like young, attractive women. The stereotypical "fetish" is an attempt to present as an "attractive" woman, -- which is an external sort of affectation, seemingly having little to do with the radical feminist politics of gender and gender discrimination.

Of late I'm working to "un-gender" myself. Not comfortable with either end of the gender stereotypes, I'm really ensconced in the move toward freeing everyone from the hetero-normative dyad.

But then, and this is crucial, I don't take part in the search to find a sexual partner, and this is a crucial distinction. My presentation is not relative to a sexual partner, which makes the whole issue of "gender" and "sexual orientation" very much less complicated. I'm not directing my ID toward another person. Rather I direct my ID toward the integration and resolution of myself, who I am. Who I am is not a "fetish."

1 comment:

  1. It is nice to come across a fellow poststructuralist that shares the same fetish as me. Are you on reddit also? In reaction to the political & suppressive trans-reductionism of "crossdream" spaces, I created my own group on reddit where open discussion can be had. It would be nice to get your opinion on some issues. wxhluyp.