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smigliori's picture


Firstly, I would like to sympathize with Alexander's frustration after leaving class on Tuesday. I, too, find it frustrating that in a class with so much potential to deviate from the norm, in the study of a discipline which leans more and more to deviation from the constrictions of heteronormative, patriarchal society, we end up having a class syllabus that looks pretty much like every other class syllabus. Perhaps this is part of my frustration with the lack of a seperate department for Gender/Sexuality studies, but I grow frustrated with reading the same things over and over again in almost every class I take, and the implications (clear through the lack of readings that respond to it) that nothing has happened since Judith Butler's Gender Trouble. (While I realize that Stryker directly engages Butler, she wasn't on the original syllabus, and if she hadn't already been coming to campus, probably still wouldn't be.) I feel a little like Sisyphus, finally having pushed my boulder to the top of the hill only to discover that it rolls back down and I have to start pushing the same boulder back up again.

Since we are, however, limiting ourselves to the same processes all over again, I would like to take a brief moment to suggest Marilyn Hacker's poetry for consideration. Preferably something newer, like a poem from Desesperanto (I have a strong fondness for her Embittered Elegy, which, in the wake of reading Brook's The Mother, should raise interesting discussion in the class). I feel her reclaiming of the sonnet makes her a very good candidate, especially when placed against the works of people like Plath or Rich.


But I've digressed far too much. I, like everyone else seems to have, throughly enjoyed the readings for today's class. I was most interested in her response to the "non-consensuality of the baby's gendering." I have a question though regarding the "pain of two violations, the mark of gender and the unlivability of its absence." What is meant by the term "unlivability"? Does gender here refer directly to the binary system of gender? Does this unlivability of absence mean that the idea of living outside of a binary system of gender, or, perhaps, any system of gender, is an impossible dream?


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