Tuesday, November 18, 2008

tops, bottoms and sneetches

The gay marriage/interracial marriage analogy is an easy one (and a valid one, I maintain), but this article AK sent me points out that maybe we should spend less time talking about how the controversy is like racism and more about how it is sexism—and how it reflects our culture’s deep passion for gender roles: http://www.slate.com/id/2204661.

In other words, for all you ladies who’ve had the privilege of answering the question, “Which one of you is the man?” from some confused relative, yes, it all comes down to tops and bottoms.

God, there are so many dissertations to be written here! The Judith Butler-y one about how butch/femme roles highlight the fakeness and slipperiness of straight gender roles. The one about how everyone wants to claim the civil rights movement for themselves, from the people who say, “You stole my right to get married” to the ones who are like, “You stole my right to not have to see you get married,” to the point where it’s all star-bellied Sneetch-ish. Thank god I’m not a grad student and can just post three-paragraph blog entries instead.


Claire said...

Excellent point.

It's weird how gay issues are viewed as separate from sexism. I'm guilty of it myself...it's how I'm accustomed to hearing about the issues, the frameworks most often presented. However it makes total sense that what's most threatening about gay relationships to the homophobic crowd is the upending of gender roles and expectations.

Peter Varvel said...

Yes, we scratched the surface of this in the under grad program of Gender Studies at USC. Definitely need more space than a brief blog post for this interesting and many-layered topic.
In my relationship with my male partner, I catch myself alternating between wondering if I'm more like my mother with him, or more like my father.
Probably a little of both, which, even for straight people, is a very normal part of the whole Gender Blender.

Jesi said...

i agree. i think there's still a whole lot of shame involved in sexuality. it's still a shaming thing to be considered other. we're supposed to all fit into neat little categories, boy/girl, white/black, we're all supposed to get married, have 1and 1/2 children, buy a house with a white picket fence, bake cookies, and of course recycle! when one of us, and god forbid a group of us, doesn't cooperate then oh no, the shit hits the fan!

will we ever get over our insecurities?

Cheryl said...

C: In the early days of feminism, there was an active effort to separate the "lavender menace" from issues of women's oppression, and I think some of that lingers.

PV: I've had the thought that B, my ex, was more like my dad, and AK is more like my mom. I don't know what that says about me or gender roles, just that I get reeeally squeamish when I think about dating my parents.

J: Probably not.

the last noel said...

I loved this article. I think calling gay marriage a civil rights issue is something I' questioning. There must be a new social norm when members of society put down their members, especially those in the same class, gender, race, religion category. It's blacks voting down the other rights of other blacks. It's a new kind of right we're fighting for, I think. I'm gonna call it an "Internal Rights" movements.