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An Immodest Proposal, and quite a lot of other things as well

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First of all, this is like my link of the YEAR: You know those forms where you have to check off either male or female? I hate those two little ticky boxes. That’s all I get, two choices!? Well, this website has 904 ticky boxes. 904!!! Beautiful. Playing with it has made me tremendously more comfortable with having a gender identity as thrillingly unstable and indefinable-and-unmappable-with-traditional-terms as my sexual orientation.

Secondly : An Immodest Proposal

I just read another article about the older generation of feminists bemoaning the complacency of my generation of … females*. And my response is in the nature of speculation, not of prophecy. But … perhaps this is the natural end of the women’s movement and the beginning of a … queer movement, to use the broadest term I know. The kind of movement that gives you 904 ticky boxes, let’s you check off as many or as few as you want, and let’s you write in if you want to add more.

That’s a VERY tame metaphor.

Unity in disunity. Take some of the basic rage of feminism to the logical extreme: Why should women have to stay home, not go to college, not be paid as much!? Why shouldn’t women have as many choices as men?!?! Why shouldn’t men have as many choices as women? What are ‘women’ and ‘men’, anyway? How should a feminist live? What is gender …

Instead of keeping the doors unlocked some of the time and giving out more copies of the keys, let’s burn the walls to the ground** (I have a dream) (we’ll do it for the lulz). We’ll trip on the ruins sometimes, but for the most part we’ll go where we want***.

Do I sound like an anarchist? Hmm. Next on the agenda: defining my political identity! Because I’ve never liked the Democrat/Republican dichotomy either.

(Should my autoethnography be about making Oneself the Other? Both Cixous and Stryker do not merely observe, they propose; autoethnography + manifesto! = dialog instead of monologue? queer revolution? 4.0 (jk)? So … I have always made my Self Other, but this is not the usual way of things, but I think it should be? And what are the ramifications of that? And is it possible? And what happens when we’re all Other (I have a dream)? And how am I not-Other – because of course I second guess myself, godforbid there should be stability.)

Lastly: A Confession

There are some individuals online who intentionally cause wank and flamewars*****. I’ve never understood that practice. Now I do, a little, because I know that others will disagree, and even be offended (at least as their initial reaction), and I’m getting a little thrill out of that. The difference is that I don’t want to cause trouble, I want to cause … something else. I want this to produce useful knowledge, through a process which I don't think any of us are comfortable with.

Thank you, Professor Dalke, for making this a place of interchange where disagreement is welcome, even if only by you. But it requires a group effort to make disagreement valuable, it requires effort on the part of multiple individuals.

*I can’t help but wonder if I’ll remain in that category, and if I don’t where my allegiance/s will lie in the gender wars. I know some women and womyn and [whatever they prefer to be called] will see me as a traitor to my biology. But biology shouldn’t be destiny, should it? Biology shouldn’t predetermine an ideology or allegiance any more than it should predetermine a person’s opportunities. (Nor race, class, nor religion****.) And for me, that’s the crux of feminism.

** [insert expletive of your choice]

***Who are we?

****Footnote of a footnote! Anyway, I’ve noticed that while class and race and gender and nationality get talked about all the time, individually and in combination (a good thing), religion is not included in the mix. (I first noticed this in the context of Judaism – I was raised Jewish – since during my time at Bryn Mawr Jews have only been mentioned in a couple history courses during specific classes given over to, for example, the status of Jews during the Medieval Ages; places where religion is safely relevant ). Given the current national and international political situation, given how incredibly divisive religion can be for communities and yet how vital it is for individuals, the lack of dialog within the classroom is ridiculous, and in fact is NOT preparing us for the “real world”. It’s not even equipping us to live within the Bryn Mawr community. School traditions have pagan elements – surely there is something to be discussed there.

***** For the best definitions of ‘wank’ and ‘flamewar’ which I could find quickly; apparently, if you have to ask, you’ll never know. I have a few other terms in common use in online communities (but no emoticons). To out myself again, I'm one of those people who ... I don't know how I'd be perceived by an outsider. But I have at least as many good friends online as in RL (real life), a good deal of my socializing takes place online, I blog daily, I read fanfic, write fanfic, etc. I don't even know what the preconceptions are about that sort of ... lifestyle, heh. But I do feel a sense of shame, a sense of secrecy about it, even thought it's a very important part of my life. I'd be a lesser and less happy person, if not for my online life, friends, communities.

Actually, now I'm thinking that maybe I want to somehow use the blog format, the sense of audience I get when I blog, for my final project. It's a flexible genre, one which ranges from quite formal to conversational to incoherent to idiocy. *facepalm* Not to construct a hierarchy or anything. I did *not* express that range very well. A blog is a cross between a letter and a private journal and a public broadcast. And I'll think out loud about that later, because I owe someone an ... apologetic explanation.

PS This was written on a little more St. John's Wort (for depression) than I usually take, and caffeine. The combination has caused a low level of anxiety, which I find very much preferable to a low level of depression. It's a little uncomfortable, but I think more thoughts than usual and I like thinking. Anyway, that's why I have so many footnotes, because I couldn't write about one thing without thinking of five others. Frankly, a little madness is not a bad thing.