Queerfeminist, fantasy geek, child-at-heart, bookworm.About Me The Queer Fantasy History Project My Fandoms Ask me anything
I just realized something.
If Nita can fix her eyes using wizardry (as mentioned in the 30 Day OTP Challenge, which dduane has said is almost canon; at least regarding how wizardry works), does this mean that a trans* wizard could talk their body into looking the way they wanted it to?
And she is planning on putting (several?) queer characters in the next book…
if you ever wonder why i sometimes appear to hate mainstream queer theory its because it was in part founded by a white whiny cisgendered heterosexual woman who has no business talking about anything queer whatsoever.
queer theory was in part founded by the academic equivalent of a fetishizing slash fangirl who doesn’t want to be called straight because it hurts her feelings and wants to “raise your children gay”.
so by sometimes hate mainstream queer theory i mean all the time i hate mainstream queer theory and by queer theory i mean heterosexual people flagrantly making shit up.
this has been a PSA.
“In academic circles, Eve Sedgwick is known as ”the straight woman who does gay studies.” But ”please don’t use that term ‘straight,’ ” she asked.”
First of all, ‘mainstream’ queer theory was “invented” by a number of academics, Eve Sedgwick being one amongst MANY, and one of the rare straight ones of the bunch. Notice the article that you linked to also mentioned Judith Butler and Michel Foucault - both of them openly QUEER academics. A person does not just invent an academic discipline all by themselves. That’s a newspaper way of understanding what happened. What actually happened was a lot more complicated, and involved a LOT more people than Eve Sedgwick, again, most of them actually queer. The NYT probably chose to focus on her because she was heterosexual and a heterosexual woman being interested in that sort of thing is ‘curious’ and makes for good headlines (esp in 1998).
Foucault text History of Sexuality is now considered to the founding basis of all modern Queer Theory, NOT Sedgwick’s work. I’ve been doing queer theory in college and grad school for YEARS now, and i was assigned to read Butler, Foucault and Warner long before I ever encountered Sedgwick. Sedgwick simply helped to make doing those kinds of analyses ‘legitimate’ within academia in the 90s (which granted is worth SOME critique, but frankly I don’t think it de-legitimizes the entire discipline). Foucault’s work unequivocally remains the cornerstone of it all, and he was very much same-sex inclined. Plus the VAST majority of academics who work in Queer Theory are actually queer, and always have been. Sedgwick is the notable EXCEPTION, not the rule.
She is also not the “academic equivalent of fetishizing fan girls.” That’s a shallow, deeply ignorant way of understanding her role in furthering these kinds of analyses, and in shaping queer theory. It’s quite clear from your ‘critique’ that you’ve never actually read any of her work. Her essay on “How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay” was polemical! It was not in earnest, and the title is largely a misdirect. She does not spend the essay actually trying to help people “bring their kids up gay”, which again, you would know if you bothered to do any research beyond reading an 15 year-old NYT article.
As per her statement about not being called straight, in the preface to the 2008 Introduction of Epistemology of the Closet, Sedgwick writes:
In some ways the choices goes back to a women’s studies class I taught at Amherst in 1985, where, introducing a section on lesbian issues, I apologized that as a non-lesbian I felt somewhat at a disadvantage in understanding this material. A trio of students turned up at my next office hour… and told me, firmly but in this case kindly, that whatever I did, I mustn’t do that again. By their account, however carefully I might have chosen my words, the meaning that came through to them as gay women was the clangorously phobic (in effect) disavowal of being one. I also remember a pro-gay rally at Amherst shortly afterward, at which, although nobody risked coming out, a parade of gay-affirmative men spoke up as if for the purpose of announcing that however sensitive they were, they themselves did just happen to be heterosexual. I knew I did not want to be in that hectoring but rather abject position.So pedagogically, my students’ words carried a great deal of conviction to me” (p. xvi-xvii)
Her not wanting to be called straight was not about her “feelings being hurt.” It was about trying to avoid the implicit homophobia in declaring yourself heterosexual when it might appear as if you are trying to avoid the stigma of being homosexual. She didn’t want to it to appear as if she was distancing herself from THEM, those dirty, disgusting queers, by reminding everyone she was straight. To her mind, and in her experience, trying to maintain your straightness in a context like that, is homophobic, and she did it in direct response to a request by queer students. THAT is where that sentiment comes from.
This is the problem with reading history through a presentist lens. Yes this was ‘only’ 15 years ago, but the amount of social change that has occurred around LGBTQ politics since then has been phenomenal, and the differing context makes a difference. When Eve Sedgwick was writing these texts, to declare affinity for the gay community was not the lauded ally position it is now. It was to align yourself with something that could heavily stigmatize you, and she was trying to preempt the implicit shaming of queer folks that came from any attempt she might make to avoid categorization as “gay”/”lesbian”/”queer”
(Also, this is not to say there is nothing to critique about E.Sedgwick or her legacy. There is. But know what the fuck you are talking about before you open your mouth)
(Worth noting that I’ve heard Foucault isn’t above reproach, either, though I’m not sure what specific critiques people have made of his work. But the point that things have changed dramatically in fifteen years is VITAL. Things have changed in five years.
If you think The Second Sex is, say, weak on intersectional feminism and trans* issues, you are right, but if you say that the whole thing is therefore worthless to feminism and feminist theory, you’re taking a profoundly ahistorical view of academic feminism and that’s not real useful.)
actually I have another problem and that is how the movement feeds into compulsory sexuality but that’s a rant for another day
In almost every single post I’ve ever seen about the importance of consent, it mentions how consent should be ‘informed’ and ‘enthusiastic’.
Consent should always, always be informed.
It’s the enthusiastic part, and how enthusiastic consent is always included and given more importance than consent that is ‘freely given’, that I have a problem with.
Because there are many cases where consent is not going to be enthusiastic, but is still consent. Somebody who isn’t sexually attracted to the person(s) they’re having sex with (such as those in the asexual spectrum) might not be overly enthusiastic to have sex. A person who just got home from a long shift at work might be too tired to be enthusiastic when they give consent. A person who isn’t into some sexual act their partner(s) wants to try or likes probably isn’t going to be enthusiastic. A person who doesn’t like sex (and yes, there are people in the world who don’t like sex) but is having sex to please a partner(s) or to deal with physical urges might not be enthusiastic. A victim of assault, abuse, and/or rape will likely not be enthusiastic after their experience(s) (whether temporarily or for their entire life or anywhere inbetween).
But in all of those cases (and many more), the person who isn’t enthusiastic can still consent.
In any case with sexual acts, though, it is always possible for consent to be freely given. Consent that is not influenced by alcohol, fear of what would happen if they refused, emotions stemming from any situation that is influencing them to behave in an usual manner, drugs, unwanted advances intended to seduce/arouse, etc. Once one or more of those forces come into play, is that freely given consent? It might not be. And a community that is all for people having the sex they want to have and in whatever amount should stress the importance of consent that is freely given, not whether the consent can be classified as enthusiastic or not.
Because there are plenty of times that consent can be unenthusiastic and still be consent, but there are zero times that consent is not freely given and is still consent.
Reminder that while the concept of virginity is technically a social construct, your sexual debut is still allowed to be special to you, and you are still allowed to wait and want to make it meaningful, and your self-perception is still allowed to change after you have sex. Just as long as you’re doing these things for yourself, and not because someone told you that you should.
You do you.