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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I'm a 69 yr old post-modernist post-structuralist.

I'm a 69 yr old post-modernist post-structuralist. That's my field. I have formal academic credentials and have published in this field. If you go through my house you would expect there might be two people living there -- although I've stopped sorting clothes according to "M" and "F" and now sort according to what works. As much as I would like, I don't wear skirts and dresses in public -- except on Halloween when some don't realize that I'm "in costume." (I can pass.)

There is a fundamental erotic component to gender ID. Gender presentation is pretty much a well defined social code which signals (signifies) sexual orientation and behavior,. The queer that we are amongst us develops a more nuanced "reading" of gender presentation. It's been called "gay-dar" by the homosexually endowed. Gender presentation is about "reading signifiers" in how one dresses, speaks, acts. Judith Butler, Ph.D. UC Berkeley talks about this gender presentation in terms of "performance" -- and as mortals we are ineluctably fated to perform the social dance that makes us human, sexual beings. "Camp" as in "drag queen" is a satirical social commentary upon the gender signifiers we use in our hetero-normative discourse.

Crossing the gender bounaries is a trespass. It is a violation of the social contract and, arguably, a "masquerade" . . . an identity fraud with dire social ramifications if/when discovered. Basically this is the question we pose in "Can I pass? Do I pass?"

And so let's argue that being able to "pass" is about masquerade. "It's not who I am. but it is about who I dream of being."

Or you can subvert the gender code of the interpretive community (hetero fascist, hetero-normative) and deconstruct, post-modernize the poetics of the gender code we speak. This would be the poetics of a new gender dialect, new language forms. 

noun: dialect; plural noun: dialects
  1. a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

    "this novel is written in the dialect of Trinidad"

    synonyms:regional language, local language, local speech, vernacular, patois, idiom; More
    regionalisms, localisms;

    "the island dialect was influenced by the Spanish in the sixteenth century"
    • Computing
      a particular version of a programming language.
mid 16th century (denoting the art of investigating the truth of opinions): from French dialecte, or via Latin from Greek dialektos ‘discourse, way of speaking,’ from dialegesthai ‘converse with’ (see dialogue).

If we deconstruct the boundaries of the gender code, we no longer need concern ourselves about “trespassing” – or actually just plain ol' cross-gendering “passing” in a hetero-fascist world.

The header on my blog rallies: "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!"

Only these days I'd change “patriarchal” to “masculinist hetero-fascist.” I'm a big fan of Judith Butler and I relish the notion she suggests in appropriation and subversion. We can change the gender language we speak.

Oregon recently changed gender designation on the DMV driver license. No hoops, no hormones, no surgery, we can now in Oregon (first in the nation) designate “sex” as “X” and in that choice of signifiers we can deconstruct the the rigid gender dyad of “M” or “F.”

Law became effective July 1, 2017. I changed my sex to “X” on July 5 – DMV was closed on Independence Day. Along with a re-issue of license, DMV provided me with a new mug shot. Now with long hair, earrings, and years more radical feminist than my previous photo in shirt/tie, conventional male hair, no ear-rings. My 2003 issued US Federal Defense Dept. ID has me with a shaved head – like SkinHead O'Conner. 
The only other ID I could find with gender designation is my Oregon Concealed Weapon Permit. I suggest and the Sheriff seems to agree that “sex” on these two documents should match – insofar as the DMV license is the primary source for ID in the Concealed Weapon Permit.

But I digress –

The photo in the new Oregon DMV issued driver license looks amazingly gender ambiguous! It is not a masquerade, and I am not trying to “pass.” This is a photo of me, who I am, how I identify.

I'm pretty asexual, although that's a slippery theoretical term right now. I'm attracted to conventionally presented women, and I particularly don't care for most things “macho.” (And there's a great deal of goatee, dip, spit, cammo, pickup, Carhartt, and romeo footwear presented in this socio-evirons . . . )

I am aware of the gender dyad and my position within that realm. That said, we're not working to “pass” and I'm becoming increasingly suspicious of the essentialist arguments for what passes as “femme” in this socio-cultural dialect, this semiotic system of ours whereby we convey our sexual and gender identity.

And of course it simplifies matters immeasurably if we rule out sexual intercourse from the sexual discourse. I am me. My sexual orientation/behavior is unilateral and non-dialectical. That makes it easier for me to be who I am. And these days when I look into the mirror I see me, and we don't see either particular end of the dyad, but rather the interstitial space between the overlapping bell curves.

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