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 | Category: politics
entry Jul 10 2008, 04:11 AM
because of some bbcode issues this had to be a separate entry
*beats her head against a wall*


back to the basics:
there are three componants of human sexuality: sex, sexuality and gender or SSG.
contrary to what most people think, these three componants are SEPARATE. they are non-interchangeable, as each deals with a different area.
sex is strictly biological, having to do with one's body. but even this is not as simple as most take for granted. even on an genetic level, there isn't just xx or xy but xxy as well. essentually, while sex may seem like it is either male or female, this is an illusion. human sex is more a matter of addition rather than either/or. professor of sociology ken plummer says "biologists can classify the hormonal, chromosomal and reproductive differences."

sexuality: this one is just as complex, but pop-culturally is much less simplistic. but it is more accurately called 'sexual orientation.' since this is the least germane to what we are talking about, i will leave it at that.

gender: contrary to what we have been told about this, gender is NOT THE SAME THING AS SEX. gender is very much a social construct and changes with time, culture and location. what may be very "masculine" may be considered very "feminine" in another culture, or even in the same culture. to prove my point, if you go back before the 1900s, the color blue, as an eg, was actually considered a color than indicated femininity. so. gender is a shifting social construct that while it insinuates sex, is much more slippery. a man may be quite "feminine" but his sex, all the same is male. think about it this way: gender is more like a frame. it is a border to tell you how to value what it holds. or think about gender in different languages. a ship is a she. it has no sex organs, but it is she because of a cultural perception. in the same way, i am to all appearances female gendered, but because i have not had "the big operation" my sex is male. that is the sex and the gender, sexual orentation is who i am attracted to, which in my case is females. so am i gay? am i straight? it depends on if you want to classify my orientation by my gender or sex. so can you see why there is the need for a difference, yet?

now, that said, your opening para is not quite correct. to be accurate, sex isn't gendered, gender is sexed. the difference is one of imposition. and while sex may be way more categories than we normally perceve, it is quite concrete and can be tested. gender changes. sex is objective. gender is all appearances and socital consensus.

That this sorting is culturally subjective. To substitute male and female or feminine and masculine with butch and femme dose not in my mind simplify the questions we are raising but actually complicate them even more.

the point, as i said before is to remove it from a context of patriarical system of man vs. woman which is more sex based rather than gender. if it complicates it or makes it more difficult, i suggest that you re-read my posts until it makes sense to you. but there is a method to the madness. it is crucial for the point i am trying to make.
Society dose not for instance ask is this new born femme or butch. But if they did, they would still assign sex according to those categories.

exactly. this is NOT ABOUT SEX, IT IS ABOUT GENDER. your illustration above is you confusing the terms sex with gender. the societal perception of an action, or power is gender. for my point, there needs to be a disticntion between the two. we are talking not about what is between your legs, to be blunt, but rather cultural and sociatal perceptions of action, and their perceived gender that results in what we are labeling power.
Butch is a tem which caries with it an intrinsic femme element. To call a man in other words a butch is to challenge his masculinity.

butch carries no such intrinsic femme element. if any woman said a man is butch, i doubt the man would bat an eye, but would rather take it to mean he is very masculine. indeed, even in the gay community, a butch is not in any way femme, but rather an extreme of masculinity.

When we use words like Butch and femme to categorize human potential we limit the ability of men and women to fully express themselves. Because these categories reinforce hetero-normative power structures.

yes, i'd agree with you, IF, we were talking about sex, but as i said, GENDER IS NOT THE SAME THING AS SEX. a man can quite easily be a femme. and just as easily a female can be quite butch. it is only a limitation be cause your "hetero normative" culture puts those restrictions on it, and tells you that sex and gender are for some reason bound/the same thing. THEY ARE NOT. but the subject at hand is femme power as an alternate/means of resistance to the patriarchy. we can wish for a system that is non patriarical, but that isn't gonna happen tomorrow. but again, i think you are conflating sex with gender after all, the category of butch dyke is not a reinforcement of the hetero-normative, since that system says that only men can exercize a masculine power. a butch woman is a troubling of those waters. it is only seen as a limitation, if you bind butch with maleness, and femme with femaleness. neither is mutually exclusive.

as for the point that you make for mornington's post, you miss my point. i am talking about power in a subcultural context first (queer communities), before we talk about it in we wider (patriarical, american) culture.
To say that feminism is in the “habit of erasing/discounting/erasing femme avenues of power.” Doesn’t address why. The why is your own fault? You are erasing femme power but moving one type of power out of the femme ledger and into the butch ledger. That is a choice you are making.
how? how am i erasing femme power? again you conflate sex with gender.

Once we accept power as gender neutral we can simply talk about what works when how best.
power is not gender neutral. it is sex neutral. there is a difference.
Men do not have power in patriarchy because we value “butch power” more than “femme power.” Men are in power because they use effective strategies to subjugate women.
wrong. one of the strategies that men use is to minimize/erase/discount and dismiss the contributions of women. much as you are doing here. it is obvious that women are not paid the same, but their contribution is erased, as is a counter means of power or means of resistance. in many ways feminism played into this with many of the tactics of the 70's-- ie saying that the only way to be free of the patriarchy is to be without sex or to be blind to sex (sound familiar?) it's exactly what your are proposing now. it's nothing new. it's the thing that said that both butches and femmes in the dyke communities were traitors to the patriarchy, and women could not date men, or wear makeup, or skirts, and on and on and on. tried, failed, crash and burn.
Women need to be able to use those same strategies with out having to have their gender challenged by being categorized as “butch.” Similarly men need to be able to relinquish domination strategies with out being label femme.
lol. you're telling me what? is that supposed to be something i don't know? i want to agree, but i don't think the solution is to be without labels, but rather, without stigma. i think what you are proposing is similar to repulicans saying they "don't see race" when talking about affirmative action. it should be nice, but it ends up being something that benefits white people. in the same way what you propose benefits men/patriarchy, because it says that if you examine femininity, or see it then you are submitting to the patriarchy or hetero normative systems. as i said above. i reject that. i think any human being can use either butch or femme or other forms of power at any time, they are not bound by one or the other by their sex. gender power, again, is not bound by sex.

[your] line of reasoning ...will never value women’s contributions beyond some narrow archetypal norm. Femme is just another prison for every woman who want to free to not have her every action categorized and held against her by thought who believe a women can only be one thing.
*eye roll* no. to the contrary. i am not suggesting that because your sex is female you must/can only operate withing a femme power mode. it is simply an option. i think you are projecting here. trust me, i am more than comfortable with very butch women. i admire them just as much as femmes. my community is composed mainly of seattle's dykes and f2ms. i am familiar with more gender identities on the gender spectrum than you can shake a stick at. i could never, would never talk about this in some sort of restrictive manner. i want to talk about this, because this is something that is rarely discussed. there are umpteen books about female masculinity, and seeing as we live in a patriarchy we are all too familiar with male power. but looking at femme power, femme identities is something that is not often discussed/delved into. in many feminist circles there is still a bit of a taboo about it. older feminists have a hard time with "girl culture," to say that femme identities and femme power are erased/omitted/discounted/rejected is not an over statement. and i for one don't know why it's such a scary thing.
one more time everyone, SEX DOES NOT EQUAL GENDER.

i am interested in femme power. i feel it's been shunned/neglected/erased from feminist theory, and while we know all kinds of things about male power, feminists are just now starting to explore femme power, after having neglected and shuned it for decades and having been introduced to it, i want to poke and prod it. but please don't tell me that we need to go beyond gender. for all your rah-de-rah talk, i've got walk. i live this. this isn't some cute intellectual, hypothetical, academic exercize for me. i've lived years between genders. i've been a boy, and i live as a woman. if you choose to go that route you talk so much about, eshewing "the patriarchy, gender, and "hetro-normality," please do. i'd love to see people put their money where there mouth is when they talk about living outside the bounds of gender/sex. but, as one who doesn't exactly fit into sex or gender roles, and is hardly "hetero-normative", i think you will find it more difficult than you think.

more tomorrow...

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post Jul 18 2008, 12:18 PM
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