Advanced search

Anyone into Queer Theory- Explain this, I'm confused

(60 Posts)
dashoflime Sun 10-Mar-13 11:01:09

Right so,

someone has recently said to me that in Queer Theory you don't draw any distinction between someones biological sex and their gender identity and in fact, it would be threatening and offensive to Trans people to do so.

I'm lost. I thought the whole point of stuff like Butlers Femininity-as-Performance was that you DO draw that distinction confused ?

Someone come and explain in simple words what this person was on about would you.

dashoflime Sun 10-Mar-13 20:07:12

I think the genderbread person is a clear enough representation of the different ideas but I still have questions about the concepts.

Can someone explain why gender identity is different from gender expression? Surely if gender has no real basis in biological sex then expression is all there is to it?

What does it mean to have a gender identity? I feel like the main way I know I'm a woman is by how people treat me. Its more an awareness of a set of social expectations and obligations than an intrinsic thing IYSWIM

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 10-Mar-13 20:07:23

Ohh, I am jealous, I have to wait an hour until it comes up on Iplayer. envy

I suppose it might be that he means he feels he can't act in those stereotyped ways without feeling 'feminine' because that's how society makes him feel? But then I do have issues with that because I think it is not great for women really.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 10-Mar-13 20:08:29

dash - this, I do not know! I would like to know too. Is identity the inward feeling and expression the way you act? kim probably has answers here.

dashoflime Sun 10-Mar-13 20:20:09

"True, he might be trying to expose the absurdity. But if so, why the need for these labels? Because the labels he proposes still do refer to a binary, even if it's a binary with a more complexly intersecting set of sliding scales."

This is what I thought about it too.

I also think there's a danger that if the working model is too complex- it can obscure rather than explain gender oppression.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 10-Mar-13 20:21:20

Yep, absolutely.

Trekkie Sun 10-Mar-13 20:25:21

sex oppression you mean


dashoflime Sun 10-Mar-13 20:32:29

Agghhh I don't know what I mean anymore!!!

Trekkie Sun 10-Mar-13 20:39:36


BigSpork Mon 11-Mar-13 21:28:24

To simplify his complication: Sex is what you were assigned at birth, Gender Identity is how you perceive yourself and reality within our imperfect societies, Gender Expression is how you attempt to express yourself so others perceive you on sight. He does overcomplicate it a lot but the picture itself I find to be good for terms (though doesn't discuss when those things are fluid).

So someone could be assigned female at birth, define as a woman, but express themselves in an androgynous or masculine way. A man who views himself as a man is still a man if he's wearing a dress. A trans*woman is still that even if she dresses in an androgynous or masculine fashion.

Not everyone views the labels important, even within the trans* community, but some find them very important to their identity and their place in the world and their way of expressing themselves to a world that doesn't tend to understand beyond the cisbinary. I don't particularly but I have friends for whom it is their main identifier and social/political/everything else is viewed through that lens (where as my identity as an immigrant colours mine a lot more than my gender identity though I'm still working on finding a comfortable expression). Some people like to label themselves and in academic discussions it makes it easier to define groups from another and how each intersection affects the statistical whole (for example, trans*women of colour who try to express them femininely are far more likely to abused, assaulted, and by far most likely to be killed for their identity. Recognising these is recognising the structures of oppression as well as seeing where groups need to focus their help to get the greatest impact). People will give their labels as they feel comfortable and respecting the labels, pronouns, and the other factors of a person's identity are part of treating them with respect.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:24

Thank you, that is very interesting. I don't think these are labels I would want for myself at all, but it is interesting to see how they're applied and how they work to help people think through all of these issues.

I still don't get why gender itself is a useful concept - do you have any insights there? No worries if not or if it's just too big/fraught a debate (I know it's something lots of people just don't want to go over again and again, and I respect that). I just wondered.

Is the 'cisbinary' the same thing as the patriarchy, or something slightly different, btw?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now