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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Allison, Ali, & Alison: Ontological ID in the Post-Modern Epoch

Last Wednesday night at a jam session in the local public house we actually met, danced with, discussed, shared, dropped down a couple rabbit holes with two cis-women -- "They're WOMEN, not 'girls'!" --

Now, speaking of rabbit holes and where it goes . . . these two charming women just happened to be named Ali (short for Allison), and Alison (We opt for this spelling to distinguish from our Allison, your gentle writer.)

Alison says, "We are a triad, and a force to be reckoned with!"

Did we mention that they are educators? Kindergarten -- immediately they connect with our inner child.

-- Connect indeed! And so we shared some magic and planted some ideas. These ideas are budding forth now, and this narrative fragment reflects part of a larger discourse -- We just wanted to toss this out provisionally because we're hoping the other Allisons are reading our blog -- and because Alision asked me how often I update my blog . . .


Of late we've been reading from the ACTLabs and Sandy Stone's project:


The Transgender Studies Reader, Vol. 1, Vol. 2
Female Masculinity -- Judith Halberstam
Gender Outlaw: Men, Women & the Rest of Us -- Kate Bornstein

As reflected in the previous post here, "Transgender Glossary" from Sandy Stone, we've been glossing up the lexical foci of this linguistical paradigm we term "gender presentation, sexual identity, trans-whatever."

The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy / Plato link is useful reading too: https://plato.stanford.edu/

Identity theory -- social, political, gender
Masculine hegemony
patriarchal hegemony
hetero-normative dyad

ad infinitum . . . seemingly . . .

Thank you Sandy Stone for leading us out of the pointless, directionless social media forums (trans-whatever, cross dressers, transvestites, drag-queens) and into an organized anthology of academic work with an historical perspective.

We've been considering a great deal of late the dyad of sex/gender: the distinction between the terms sex and gender, what might be the teleological raison d'etre of sexual reproduction as compared to asexual reproduction: gamete diversity, the gene pool etc., but also how we as a social and linguistic organism negotiate the exigencies of sexual reproduction. We assert that "sex" is fundamentally a linguistically organized paradigm of cooperative communication -- with far reaching socio-cultural, legal, religious/moral implication.

The idea of the  Paul Grice "cooperative principle" -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_principle

In social science generally and linguistics specifically, the cooperative principle describes how effective communication in conversation is achieved in common social situations, that is, how listeners and speakers must act cooperatively and mutually accept one another to be understood in a particular way. As phrased by Paul Grice, who introduced it, "Make your contribution such as it is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged."[1] Though phrased as a prescriptive command, the principle is intended as a description of how people normally behave in conversation. Jeffries and McIntyre describe Grice's maxims as "encapsulating the assumptions that we prototypically hold when we engage in conversation".[2]

Language is socially mediated. This is why the French socially mediate in French, and English has become the international language of business, because social exigencies require cooperative communication using commonly understood signifiers.  

This idea is readily applied to sexual communication, courtship, flirting, and day-in-day-out communication of sexual status (e.g. "gender presentation"). We provide in our "presentation" certain socially mediated semes (signifiers) relating to sexual status. There is a "language of courtship" -- although in reality it's a dance.

The mandate of speaking this sex/gender language is that there are behaviors, "utterances," semes, (sex/gender signifiers) that are socially prescribed and these social mandates are fundamentally (in our Western hetero-normative dyad culture) bifurcated with reference to which narrative is "cis-F" and which is "cis-M."

Recently we were introduced to the concept of the "double overlapping bell curve"

Now, my esteemed colleague Dr. Professor Hunter, Ph.D. (pseudonym) she suggested, asserted that this graph is inverted -- "The most brilliant, creative, insightful are at the top of the heap, not on the bottom!"

This graph seems obvious. The far left a couple standard deviations from the mean of cis-male is what we might term the "meta-hyper male" e.g. body-builders, testosterone/steroid abusers, "macho" cis-M.

Accordingly,  standard deviations to the right of "cis-female" are the stereo-typical "feminine" persons, Bridget Bardot, Marylin Monroe, Farah Fawcett, Bo Derek, Barbie dolls.

The overlapping area amidst the two curves are "trans-whatever" . . . Since the Latin root "trans" describes movement across --

trans - Online Etymology Dictionary

Online Etymology Dictionary. word-forming element meaning "across, beyond, through, on the other side of, to go beyond," from Latin trans (prep.) "across, over, beyond," perhaps originally present participle of a verb *trare-, meaning "to cross," from PIE *tra-, variant of root *tere- (2) "to cross over" (see through).

We have discarded entirely the implications of "trans-sexual and trans-gender" (sic) insofar as in terms of gender identity (not sexual reproductive function) the "trans" connotes a provisional space wherein the gender ID of the "trans-whatever" is not bifurcated by the hetero-normative dyad. That is, and we speak very much for ourselves here, "if not "male" then not necessarily "female" -- and again we're describing gender presentation, not sexual reproductive function. 

Because we do not gender ID as "male" that does not infer "female." We're not "female" and we don't aspire to "pass" as the other end of the hetero-normative dyad -- a dyad which is the product of an historically  masculinist hegemony, a Western hetero-normative dyad. 

And the Gender Police are everywhere, (Cf. Kate Bornstein, "Gender Outlaw: Men, Women, & The Rest of Us." -- supra

Because the semantics of gender presentation are the product of a Western male hegemony, cis-women wearing "men's clothing" is met with little concern. Except in extreme presentations, i.e. "Female Masculinity" Halberstam, supra, women who wear gender neutral or "men's" clothing are accepted because their being "obviously women" (i.e. in "moral" possession of a vagina, hence subordinate to the phallus) their wearing of "male garments" or gender neutral styles is little threat to the Western male hegemonic order.

"Man in a dress" however, is semiotic gender heresy! Man in a dress is stating "semantic utterance" that he is willing to forgo his Western male hegemonic entitlement, endure castration by the Western medical hegemony, tweak his endocrine balance . . .  "Franken-persons" -- a post-modern surgical "cyborg" of, post-structuralist, ontological dissonance?

Radical Feminists, TERF (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists) view "trans-women" (cis-M who have surgically, hormonally, socially transitioned from cis-male to trans-female) as "interlopers" into the feminist Weltanschauung.

Trans women, the TERF argument asserts, do not share the ontological, epistemological, social experience of a true cis-F biography. Trans women did not grow up being viewed and treated as women (gender essentialism here), do not experience pregnancy risks, menses, menopause, childbirth or the expectation of potential maternal experiences. In the terms of Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" the trans-woman is a product of Post-Modern technology, the medical reification of the Lacanian "Other."

We're wrestling with this notion these days.

Because one's gender ID is not cis-M, does not infer that it is thereby "feminine." Other cultures have a vocabulary for this interstitial realm: The Berdache of Native Americans, Hawai'ian traditional "Mah'u" . . .

Radical trans-whatever hold that genital configuration at birth is an error prone and inadequate means to determine -- with all its social and legal implications -- the "sex" of the newborn. "Intersex" persons and the medical exigencies they present to the hegemony of the medical establishment are a prime example of the insufficiency of the hetero-normative dyad. Medical science is only just recently beginning to understand that "gender mapping" in the brain is distinct from sexual morphology and natal development in the  genital tubercle.

Genital tubercle - Wikipedia


Image result for genital tubercle

A genital tubercle or phallic tubercle is a body of tissue present in the development of the reproductive system. It forms in the ventral, caudal region of mammalian embryos of both sexes, and eventually develops into a primordial phallus.
From a personal perspective, we are decidedly not "female" in any sense. Our gender orientation is not a "psychosis" nor a "hysteria" as suggested by Lacanian Catherine Millot. We are not psychotic, not delusional, not pathological -- pathology being the interpretive dogma of the Western medical (male hegemonic) establishment. We do not necessarily long, crave (read, "existential angst") to become the "Other" -- "If not male, then female. If not female, then male." This is Western masculinist hegemonic, hetero-normative dyad balder. 
This sex/gender dyad is a product of the Western masculinist hegemony. The authoritarian mediation of sex/gender by this cultural, hegemonic enclave is to restrict and control gender presentation, sexual relations in socio-cultural, legal, behavioral discourse. The post-structuralists among us, e.g, Judith Butler, Ann Fausto-Sterling, Sandy Stone, Kate Bornstein, Julia Serano that we are entitled to the option of presenting our gender as we identify it to  be.  

As a "Trans-Whatever" -- we view ourselves as a Trans-Radical-Feminist, a hybrid of "Female Masculinity" wherein we possess a phallus (Ick!) but are "gender mapped" as "anxiously not masculine" -- not in the sense of the median and upper standard deviation distribution of "male" in the double overlapping bell curves (supra).

We are metaphysically resolved (provisionally) with this current gender ID. Metaphysically: ontologically, epistemologically, cosmologically. One reason for this resolution is the simple fact that at 69 yrs old and not having had much experience with the "hetero-normative dyad" we don't spend a lot of psychic/sexual energy looking for a partner with whom to share sexual relations. Accordingly, all the hegemonic socio-cultural-legal determinism engendered in the sexual liaison are for us problematically.

The etymological root of "penis" relates to penetration -- and we find that sexual orientation literally intrusive.

Our orientation, and it's sui-generis, is that we find cis-F attractive (if nonetheless chthonically mysterious and threatening in a sort of primal sense). Half the perceived threat dissipates for all parties when the "sexual tension" is removed from the discursive agenda. Like any human, we enjoy human affection -- when it's not sexually threatening. There is no sexual/reproductive agenda in the companionate narrative (i.e. dogma of the hetero-normative dyad). We determine the parameters and our identities. This perhaps is the post-modern, post-structualist implications of gender metaphysics  -- in opposition to the hegemonic dyad of sexual identity dogma.

"We are a triad, and a force to be reckoned with!"

(to continue)

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