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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Queering-up Feminism



NOTES:
• How do you make feminist spaces queer and vice versa?
• Queer = self-definition – identify/label self
- move away from binaries – encompasses many sexualities and structures (e.g. family)
- multiple and fluid identities
- difference between biological sex and gender
= both socially constructed?
• Women’s groups may not accept trans as socialised as men since childhood = some kind of discrimination.
• Discussion and activities in women’s groups can be centred around heterosexual binaries NOT queer.
• If queer issues were in people’s minds queers spaces would not have to be specially organised
- needs to be a part of everything like gender = same issues of inclusion.
• Some feminist communities have internalised queer theory BUT not all – what about other spaces?
• Assumption in queer spaces that everyone is a feminist AND sexism DOES happen in these spaces.
• Separatist issues in every scene
- should have spaces to deal with issues aside from larger political views
- need to break into smaller groups then come back together.
• Inspiring mix of genders in queer spaces = playful.
• Need to prove yourself as ‘enough’ of something (e.g. feminist, queer)
- creates hierarchy
- based on ideal that need to live up to
- not inclusive
• Argument that cannot be a queer feminist as feminism is about being female/a woman – queer is a deconstruction of gender BUT feminism is based on gender inequality and women’s rights = contradiction.
• Queer spaces can be male dominated = contradiction too
- male dominance exists BUT not talked about as it should not exist!
• Queer = problem for feminism as suggests ‘female’ does not exist.
• Being queer doesn’t mean that you have overcome the issue of power.
• Queer movement is too weak – not deep enough
- minority of those who really have fluid identities
- binaries still exist
• Avoid binary ‘them’ (male) vs. ‘us’ (female)
- queer helps to break this down
- raises questions about personal identity
• Queer spaces = ‘safe’ in terms of sexuality (BUT is this a myth?)
BUT not the same safety/comfort as feminist/all female spaces
- different boundaries
- sexual environment
- need to be more conscious to create a queer safe space.
• Queer is pushing boundaries so much that do not need to think about feminism/sexism? = dangerous.
• Discussions of gender and sexuality are superficial in feminist groups as to take it any deeper would take it out of the point of the group.
• Lesbians are unhappy with the concept of queer as there is still lesbian oppression and queer does not allow lesbian identity (e.g. Shelia Jeffries BUT political analysis is destructive to women’s movement in 70s and 80s).
• Identifying as ‘lesbian’ = political
- ‘lesbian’ more political and strong than ‘queer’ = more fluid
- ‘dyke’ more political connotations in terms of reclaiming derogatory term
- Choose when to identify as what.

Recommended book about this issue:
PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality
Edited by Carol Queen and Lawrence Schimel

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