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Author Topic: Against Theory  (Read 2400 times)

Feral

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Against Theory
« on: September 19, 2006, 01:05:53 PM »

Heersink has an interesting piece up. Do give the entire thing a read -- this is just the juicy bit.

Quote
When gay and lesbian studies made its appearance on college campuses in 1980, the paradigm was the dichotomy between "sex" and "gender." Sex is the biological nature of the beast, gender is the social construction of how that biology is supposed to act. Ah, the simplicity of simple dichotomies, to make our conceptualization and ordering of the world more coherent. But then someone decided to raise the ante (and rightly). By "structuralizing" the binary opposition between hetero/homo-sexual, wasn't that imposing a false order on the world? Is the world as we see it so neat and tidy? Queer theory, thankfully, replaced the early naivete, but in its virulent anti-essentialism, anti-categorization, its anti-binarism, what is it that "queers" are claiming? There is no homosexuality, no heterosexuality, no masculine, no feminine, no testosterone, no estrogen, no nothing. So what in the world is your lens? What is it you think we should see through your prism? You've negated the categories. You've negated gender. You've negated biology. So, in your world, what are the rest of us suppose to see?

The demythologizing of gender, the unmasking of essences, the blurring of differences, the absolute irrepressible you tells the rest of us what? That we are all different? Sadly, queer theory did not, and still does not, have the balls to confront its own theoretical implications. They've castrated themselves, and look oddly at why the emperor has no clothes. But their original insight is exactly right! We are all unique individuals. We come into this world, are molded by it, and mold it, and then leave it different. It's only through our categorization, through a prism we impose on others, a template that demands that "gay" is this, "lesbian" is that, that you had a claim on this world. But now that queer theory admits there is no "gay," there is no "lesbian," there is no "masculine", etc., what is it we are suppose to see through your template of nothingness? Caught in the beams of their own headlights, it's difficult to imagine where "queers" go next? By their definition, everyone is queer.

And they are right! But they cannot endure their own rectitude. It gives no political power, offers no economic clout, and offers no difference other than everyone is different. But that conclusion begs their raison d'etre. They are claiming to empower difference, but when the academics agree, they've lost their thunder. We're all different. What is "masculine" to A may be "feminine" to B, what is a "gay sensibility" to C may be "straight sensibility" to D, what fits the commerical, political, economic interests of Y, amy not fit the interpersonal self Z. And they are absolutely right. Sadly, that conclusion does not comport with their antiestablishmentarian agenda. It does, however, comport exactly with Darwin's notion of individuality! As much as we may have in common, and it is a lot, there are always differences that make us entirely unique. We may share a common set of genes, but how those genes and the environment work in tandem to make an individual is always different. It's never the same. Your instincts are right, but you lack the courage of your convictions.

What applies to the "homosexual" is no less true of the "heterosexual." I'm just picking on my own kind, because I know us only too well. And given queer theory's premises and conclusions, why should there be a "gay marriage?" Gay adoption? Gay commerce? Gay baths? Gay bars? Why any category at all? Queer theory admits its all a social construct, an illusion, an absurdity. (Apply the same reasoning to "straight" institutions.)

But for all their anti-essentialism, all their reveling of differences, all their true uniqueness, somehow, somewhere, in some fashion most "gay" men seek out other "gay" men, not just for sex, but for social comradery. However different we all are -- and we all are -- most of us find some measure of commonality to make a connection with, if only to find someone different like ourselves. Because, my dear sisters and brothers, in that terrible angst of being different, we need other individuals who are different, yet similar to be sure, but still different, to give us a sense of belonging, of connectedness, of having a shared identity. We are only too glad to finish off the rough edges, because we need Others to affirm our own Being. But we are, and will always be, different. All of us are.
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vanrozenheim

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RE: Against Theory
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2006, 03:19:20 PM »

Rictor Norton has a greate deal to say about what he calls "Social Constructionalism" and "post-modern Queer Theory". The essence of his critique is the simple fact that natural appearances do not first "get real" when scholars learn to describe them in clear words.

It is of course true that borders between various categories are diffuse, but it is as true that the categories themselves very well do exist. There are (not few) cases of intersexuals, but one hardly will have difficulties to clearly describe 99.8% of human beings as "males" or "females". Analoguesly, the existence of XX% of bisexuals does in no way suggest that homosexuals and heterosexuals are "artificial categories", as some apologets of the Queer Theory do want make us to believe.

There is nothing wrong in de-constructing prejudice and overcome gender "role models", but there is also nothing wrong in listening to one's own nature. If a boy prefers to play with cars instead of dolls, it's also all fine - no need to cure him of his "overcome masculine attitudes".
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