Sunday, April 6, 2008

"It's Important Because You Say It Is"

Some 40 minutes ago I was having a disagreement with a young(er) friend of mine who is writing a paper about the biological determinants in gender...or sex...he wasn't clear...and neither am I any more.
But this paper of his is premised on the idea that "the norm" is a heterosexual male and a heterosexual woman.
And after quite the debate, I realized that my main argument with his position is that if you call a heterosexual relationship the norm, then you reinforce the traditional power structure that seeks to take power from homosexuals...and other living (female, non-white, etc) living things.
I attempted to explain this to my youthful compatriot, but he responded, much as I might have some years ago, "But I am deviant. I'm a homosexual. I'm not normal."
And he was proud of this.
And that's very good.
To be proud. This is the thing: to be proud is to be important.
This is good.
But my counter is this: why do you need to be proud of deviance? Why not absolve deviance and normality? Why buy into it at all?
I mean, it makes for a sexy pair of jeans, that's true.
But I guess what I'm saying is, that my paper would be about WHY we view heterosexual relationships as the norm...not presupposing that they are.
"That's not academic, that's activism," my friend told me.
"I see no real difference between the two. I'm wasting my time if I can't politicize my arguments."
But what if my politics are positioning me far within the academy...with no ability to communicate outside?
Recently I've considered identifying as a Republican to help alleviate this anxiety.
But really, that's a whole different thing.
Things and other things and sometimes nothing at all and also occasionally everything.
Gertrude Stein and Gloria Steinem.
It's the process not the product.
Right?

1 comment:

Risa said...

PS - I miss you.

PPS - No more guns for Moses: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/movies/06heston.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin