Genderfuck: The Law of the Dildo Author(s): June L. Reich Source: Discourse, Vol. 15, No.
1, Essays in Lesbian and Gay Studies (Fall 1992), pp. 112-127 Published by: Wayne State University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41389251 . Accessed: 19/07/2013 16:07
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This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
a littlepricklivingin a capitalist.postmodern world. gently erode.Better to acknowledge patriarchy and undermine from within. Gonna fuckthatslutright offathosehighheeledshoes. . Reich
To revolt outright against patriarchy is to affirm its authority.Genderfuck:
June L. slick it vice. getthat bigfuckpole ready to do that finepiece a favor.21.5 on Fri.yeah. stud.recognize discrepancies.CarolLeMasters (28) Alexextracted her [Michael's] cock. we say 'genderfuck' instead of androgynous" (9). at her elbowwith a Kaywasalready canofCrisco anda towel." "Oh." . in her "Toys For Us" column of the fifth-anniversary issue of On Our Backs. Suchrighteousness means denial that is part of us. thelanguage and the and let the playitself rob symbols.Although
This content downloaded from 129.or those who would-be-boys and those who would-be-girls. play with theroles. "Roomsershegrinned.174. "When we want to compliment someone's visual menu. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. up. them oftheir terrifying power. Genderfuck: Susie Bright says. and thus patriarchy forces ustodefine ourselves incontrast to. She wrotethisin 1989.PatCalifia (120) This is an essay on boys and girls. It's the parable of genderfuck. To righconfront itis toseepatriarchy teously as a monolithic whole free ofcontradiction and morepowerful than itis.
174. .1 There are contradictionsthatinhere. during sex.
This content downloaded from 129.gender.It neitherfixesnor denies sexual and gendered identifications but accomplishes specific else. As many theoristshave argued. . Are we defined by who we are.) masculine=aggressive. female=feminine. Although I don't want to theorize lesbian sexualityas the privileged site of genderfuck and feministpolitical practice. already out as a lesbian and a femme. This is an something paper exploration of the imperative of that somethingelse. not theory.Butch/femmeoffersa rich history fortalkingabout bodies.and sexual practice.Fall 1992
she was talking about fashion. phallogocentrism. etc. basically.gendered) and myself in myself bed (as a femme . Instead. It's the modus operandi: we are defined not bywho we are but bywhatwe do.and consumers of culture.is thatI began a reinvigorated reading of the discontinuity between sex and gender. In the "Toys forUs" essay." Brightpredicted for the gay or "post gay" nineties a sexual liberation theme of "Get Over Yourself' (8). What is this "get over yourself' call to arms? The end of identity politics?Yes."What this means.sexualized) that need to be articulated through a theoryof genderfuck. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. "To get over yourself' is counter-identity politics."A Staris Porn.her definition condenses a historyof discourse and materialismthat touches on how we live our lives as queers and straights.21. feminine=passive.I began coming out as a "genderfucker. girlsand boys. and sexuality. and agential politicsin a way that hopefully furthersthe work of breaking down multiple oppressions. in my performance as a and in intellectualpursuitsin the realms of "girl" on the streets. in particular. In the fall of 1989. male=masculine. mustbe thoughtof as irreducibleto gender.5 on Fri. or by what communitieswe are part of? No . in the difference between in the shower (as a woman .which "deconstructs" the psychoanalytic concept of differencewithout subscribing to any heterosexistor anatomical truthsabout the relations of sex to gender (you remember the binarisms. genderfuck structures meaning in a symbol-performance matrixthat crosses throughsex and gender and destabilizes the boundaries of our recognitionof sex. identities. This is effectively a politicsof performance. I understand genderfuck most clearly within the context of butch/femmerole playing. sexuality and gender are interrelatedbut distinctive culturalconstructions.let's say.
In Daring toBe Bad: Radical Feminism in America . 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. combinedwith theradicalwork ofsurvival thattheLadder[publishedfrom1956 to 1972] was undertaking.which she saystook forty yearsto write. quently. Alice Echols argues that lesbianism from the beginning constituted a "problem" for feminism": Untillate 1969. 1967-1975 .assimilationist timesforlesbians: Butch-femme was an eroticpartnership servingboth as a and as an intimate conspicuous flagofrebellion exploration ofwomen's Itwasnotan accident that butch-femme sexuality. withmainstream Joan Nestle has eloquently conforming documented the 1950s as. because of their visual butch/femme recognizability.some radicalfeminists
This content downloaded from 129. . withunderground lesbian social organizations (like the Daughters of Bilitis) and publications beginning surreptitiousdiscussions about sex..Consesisterspassed (as straights. . . The desireforpassing. The butch-femme otherLesbians couple embarrassed madeLesbiansculturally visible.In the 1950s. (101-02) flag Nestle's essay. broughtoffa unique balancingact forthe 1950s. . butch/femme was often criticized for not fashion. To survive meantto takea publicstanceof societalcleanliness. .is part of a huge body of literatureand sweat that foregrounds the conflictsbetween lesbianism and feminism.opponentsof women'sliberation were more apt to raise the issue of lesbianism thanwere many . It gave nourishment to a secretand subversive lifewhileitflewthe of assimilation. (and still does) becausethey a terrifying actforthe1950s. codes have enjoyedvarioussociopoliticalmeanings. was a paradox createdbytheAmerica ofthefifties.114 Butch/FemmeHistory:Condensed
Discourse 15. Masculine and femininewomen couples historically have been recognized as lesbians when less conspicuous or unnoticed) on the streets. all dimensionsof Lesbian life were butch-femme The Ladder exploredincluding relationships. Of did allude to sexual prefercourse. .21.174.1
Butch/femmehas been a recognizable lesbian practice fora verylong time. . among other things. the moststreet abuse and provoked more couples suffered assimilated or closeted Lesbianstoplead with themnottobe so obvious..manyofwhomwere radicalfeminists befuddled initially the by conjoiningof these seemingly disparateissues. Butin thepages of the journal itself.5 on Fri.
.5 on Fri. lesbianism as sexual ratherthan commonly. and s&m was vilified. so thatthe semioticsof fashion and sex codes.in theform weretoo attached ofbutchfemmeroles.especially.)2
This content downloaded from 129. .at least in terms of feminist debate: role-playing became s&m (a conflation that distortsa continuum of sexual practices). Butch/femme became to some symbolicextentmore dangerous than it had in the fifties.. Vance).bothpoliticoes and radicalfeminists feltsexually attracted toward one another.to be likely or desirablerecruits to feminism. Butch/femmecontinued to be disparaged. But at the same timethatmanyradicalfeminists were to disassociate feminism from othlesbianism. postmodernism..21.werediscoverers. and in the 1980s popular criticaltheoriesbyand fora sophisticated"queer" audience began popping up. (I came out by thistime.174. . if onlyobliquelyin the contextof sexual liberation. agreed [also] that lesbians to sex roles. the pornographic and erotic works of lesbians. . wereoften toward Most sive. thosewho viewed especially and sexualliberation as mutually women'sliberation excluifnothostile skittish lesbianism.Fall 1992
enee. for example. and discussions of their meanings and values. cultural feminists began a campaign of sexual censorship. became more public. and a host of other topics enjoyed a vogue that is stillprevalent..in what has come to be known as the "sex wars" (see. throughthe seventiesand eighties. But manyradicalfeminists. alsofeared that lesbianism couldbecomea refuge from Many feminist activism. nonetheless feminism disenvisioned they the edifice of sexual . ing thatthey (211-12) Eventuallya strain of feminismand lesbianism cohered to become a lesbian-feminist movement(part of culturalfeminism. mantling repression.feministdebate or even come out yet).But by this time. This of course is not the end of the story(I political institution) stillhaven't entered the lesbian. rushing many . based on a philosophy that sexual representations and sex itselfwere transparentagents of women's oppression (rather than complex cultural expressions). While mostearlyradicalfeminists believedthatthe sexual revolution ofthe'60swasin many moreexploitative respects than liberating. theydismissed Thus RoxanneDunbarof Cell 16 [an early radical political. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. A number ofradicalfeminist partners. which eventuallysuperseded radical feminismas a mainstream . feminist was to get group] arguedthatthetaskoffeminism womenout of bed ratherthanchange the genderof their . Arguing that was "heteropatriarchal" and oppresbutch/femmerole-playing sive to women.
The phallus has fortoo long been associated withbeing or not being the penis (this is and often heterosexism). male-centered) practice.but itsignifies nothing. But my raison d'être theoreticalvein. even in abstractmathematicaltheory. but an experience of difference a sub(even. and is thereforealways already displaced) (Miller. nevertheless. but 1 is.briefly. And yet the like a zero. phallus.It assures.
This content downloaded from 129. theory subjectivity expounded without makingphallogocentrisman accusation of exclusive (that is.1
I begin mytheoryof genderfuckwiththe dildo. because of its place/functionas zero (1+0=1. as determines meaning by "point zero" in psychoanalytic theory. It is.Because.forcesa subject into the Symand culture.5 on Fri. suturingobject and concept in a dialectical relationshipwitha subject.specificdefinition.21. in fact." see also Heath). it is not an object.there is referentiality. interruptthe referentiality a of and desire could be lus.however. fillingin absences. the body. but one process (among many) that produces meaning and knowledge. The logic of signification concept and object be identical to one another. my personal philosophy. broadlyspeaking. . for more on "suture.the phallus can deconstructitself total nothingnesswithoutupsettingsex/gender binarismsand male constructions of desire.akin to religion.primarysexual difference).I would like to before I followthisall-important frame the phallus in its psychoanalytic(Lacanian) and literary in order to engage the slipperytheoreticalpraccontexts. or an organ. as the process of interpretationforcesan inevitablerestat signified. most vehemently when thisconnection is being disavowed (see Gayle Rubin's critique of psychoanalysis in "The Traffic in into Women").initiating ject into desire.however.174. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. signification. political interference at the point of representationis critical. the 2nd point on the number line.In theory bolic. unlimited that potentially play preventsmeaning fromsettling into one cozy. Unitycould be thoughtof as a consensus of meaning. the phallus signifiesa pretended or fantasmaticunity. or especially. covering over the split it creates between demands that a object and concept. the realm oflanguage. as I hope to expose. tice of reading and writing The phallus.116 Framingthe Phallus
Discourse 15.The zero institutes the process of numerical that1=1 progression. Through a theoretically analogous process. does not reallyexist. But. which is an experience of lack. The phallus. through privileging to of the phalgenderfuck. or of In the traffic of signifiers and signifieds. as the determiningfigurein signification. In thisrespect. If itis possible.
where. Butch/femme relations are constructed around differif you like (though this is not to say ence. or hetero-sexuality. offeminist building upon the history masquerade theoriesthemselvesbased on Joan Riviere'swatershedreading of a frigid intel-
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.) The question fueling this investigation of genderfuck is: "What is the differencebetween a woman witha strap-onand a man?" Assuming that the symbolicman wants to fuck and not be fucked (which I would assume makes him femme). and observe safe reading practices when moving fromone section to another. in "Toward a Butch-FemmeAesthetic. through inconstancyinto the lightfondle ofartifice. Borders are permeable. Beginning with Teresa de Lauretis's "feminist subject. though how. I would argue that in a libidinal economy there is no structuraldifference. making allowances forslightloss in lengthiftheyare to be used with a harness. I would appreciate if this system were applied to my Please measure concepts essaywhen determiningitsdesirability.why.21. the Lacanian slashwitha lesbian bar" (283) ."argues thatbutch-femme subjectpositionsallow an articulation of agency in a wayheterosexual female positions fail to.Fall 1992
women alreadypossess the phallus.174." who at the micropolitical accomplishes a "sense ofself-determination level" (282).but constanÜyseduce the sign flirtation and system. Then. and to what extentwe do is hotlycontested." a position that is purelynegative excess. frombase of page to header. She argues first that psychoanalysis has to a passiveperformanceof hegemonicallyconsigned femininity "masquerade. Case's aesthetichinges on artifice and the discourse/performance of camp. "Subject positions" have consumed much recent feminist and ideological critiques in theory.or the negative of the "masculine.I would like to forwardthe butch-femme coupled subject into the explicit realm of the phallic.5 on Fri. replacing Case's aesthetic Taking up argument.building on psychoanalytic order to elucidate a point fromwhere women can act without being erased or posited as non-subjects. The Dildo* (*Dildos are measured fromtheirbases to theirheads." Sue-Ellen Case. Case proposes forfeminismcoupled butch-femme subjects that "do not impale themselveson the poles of sexual difference or metaphysical values. "straight"sex).
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.5 on Fri.174.21.1 Discourse
I & II and AdamI 8cII byScorpio.6 (1992): 2.118
This content downloaded from 129.On Our for Advertisement Jupiter Backs 8.
A way out of this bind has been to foreground.174.by "camping it up. (291) omyrather Heterosexual masquerade theories stabilize the feminine=passive/masculine=activeequation in biological terms. . Case maintains that feminine masquerade remainspassive onlywithinthe constructof assumed heterosexuality. it does not alter the between a performer masquerade. likewise.whereas the homosexual women openly display their possession of the penis and count on the males' recognitionof defeat" (Case 291) . .This has proven to be problematic forfeminist who have been forcedto argue.whilethefemme ofwomanliness. assumes feminine behavior as a reaction4 formationagainst this taboo. so thatthe culturalconstructions of gender are highlighted. the butchexhibits her penis to a woman who is playingthe role of compensatory castration. . [Because] thereis no referent [forthe penis] in the fictions of penis and castration become ironized sight. . Case maintainsthatthisopen roles": displayis "consciously played out in butch-femme The butchis the lesbianwomanwho proudlydisplays the takeson the compossessionof thepenis.21. another foregrounds masqueradebyplaying womanin a role.rightfully so.even if it is argued that there is no essential self) and the constructshe performs. having symbolically intellectual acumen.so that "women" are only able to assume an active position by takingon a male perspective. Riviere notes that 4 heterosexual women don't claim possession [ofthe penis] openly. thatthismove both highlights and subvertscultural constructsof gender. as a logical theorists. and "campedup.but through reaction formations. the distance between the gendered body and sexual role playinghas remained structurally equal.". absent and women are spicuously playing to each other. And while she maintains. which necessitatesa distance herself (whateverthat is . that active consequence. The femme however. pleasure can only be taken by men or women acting like men. Riviere's argument is this: the intellectual frigid castratedher fatherbyvirtueof her woman.Case maintainsthatin butch=femme because the penis is concamp. Thesewomenplayon thephalliceconthanto it. . I would like to argue that foregroundingthe distance between the phallus and itsperformanceas penis or dildo would ironize the prescrip-
This content downloaded from 129. While the players have shiftedfrommale-female (penis present) to butch-femme (penis absent). pensatory masquerade her to a butch.Fall 1992
lectual woman patient.5 on Fri." the ironyof the masculine and femininepositions themselves. both partnersare performers. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
and who claim in various degrees that feminists. As a phallus. push consequences: the torments of dominant suffering ideology. This misunderstanding different. piece of molded silicone or rubber. outside I am not that this doesn't space ideology. the dildo has oftenbeen accused ofbeing the literalizationof women's lack. juncture thatI would like to some of its "These are not split subjects." (283). mostlyby Separatists who outlaw s&m practices at women-onlyfunctions. arguing space exist or isn't useful (it's essential) for political change.
This content downloaded from 129.etc. by is a funny-looking itself. while many femmes understood their identity foremostas womanlyand most often tried on hetero relationships before acting on theirlesbian desires. and whatour phallic par duo be for a micropolitically safe dynamic may doing offstage.5 on Fri. rather than being constitutedas a unique. Symbolically.itis a powerfulfucker. Conlesbian is confused with heterosexual sosequently.21. She has ignored the dildo. or instance of meaning. As a prosthesis. For one thing. Desire foran other is confused withheterosexualityso-called3when the penis is the referentfor the phallus. a substitutepenis.her definition assumes an awareness about butch-femme relations that is necessaryforcamp but not always the livedexperience ofmany butch and femme women. It is thelaw ofthe Daddy Butch.it could be conceived of as thephallus. anti-pornography sex hurtswomen.phallic aggression. fucking. Quite literally. Case's definitionof the butch-femme subject position bears because it is at this repeating here.the Furthermore. .But in context.They are coupled ones thatdo not impale themselveson the poles of sexual difference or metaphysicalvalues .specifically conthe of cerning symbolic politics penetration. however.120
Discourse 15. Case's couple dances around penetration. . it assures difference withoutessentializinggender. and the dildo becomes a subordinateand stand-in forman.This strategy reinstates an embodiment that hopefully is sorelylacking in currentdeconstructive and performative theories. I find it interesting that most butch women I've talked with knew themselvesas lesbians firstand women second.174. The dildo. the object of women's desire. not only fuelsstraight of lesbianism but has led to censormisconceptions within the feminist Lesbian ship community. but I wonder about what is glossed in the theoretics. penetration called practice.1
tiveconstructsof femininity and masculinity withoutnecessarily the in perfrom its sexual distancing gendered body materiality formance. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. The dildo is a sutured phallus. act excellence.
reigningMother of the House of LaBajia and somewhatof a superstarbecause of the box-officesuccess of Paris Is Burning . denaturalizing the body without erasing its materiality.The anatomical binarismmale-femalefigureshere as a kind of limit-text. So I mightofferthe hypothesisthat "boys" like to fuckand "girls" like to be fucked and situatethese two positions.Pepper LaBajia. Not only are there positions for feminine women and masculine men. the dildo. these two situationsfigurethe extremesof the anatomical axis. is an instance of drag performance (that is. as well as a sexual device Using the dildo as an interpretive the field of identification to all sorts of contradictory conopens structions.Fall 1992
And. but which genderfucks if "realness" (as defined in Paris Is Burning) works strictly at the level of the of dominant without performance stereotypes "corresponding" genitalia revealed.A or happiness. The consequence of thisdifferenceis the gendering of desire. described the politics of anatomybest when she said she neverwanted a sex-change. At reaching emancipating theory appeal the veryleast. gender-identity When we inspect the dildoed-girl and the dicked-boyfor I mustinsistthatthere is some substanmeaningfuldifferences. it could irreparablyalter any inter-sex(or gendered) relationswhen the libidinal paradigm is shiftedfrom to sexuality-performance. To my mind.21. A word about transsexuality: it works to stabilize the old on the dominantcorrespondence sex/gender system byinsisting between gendered desire and biological sex. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.since in structural termsthe twofigures are the same.masculine and feminine. genderfucked). the dildo schema announces the arbitrariness of the hegemonic phallus=penis construction. for example. undermines the penis as a meaningfullystable organ. forinstance). I would argue. tive differencebetween them (there is a preference in who we take to bed. vagina is no guarantee of security The consequences of the dildo-as-phallusare potentially far for from the to Truth.as extremes or poles of a gender/sexuality spectrum.174. one which worksto undermine genderfuck ifwe insiston recognizingbiological "realness" ("naturalness") on the one hand. At its most radical.My femininity. The feelings of acute discontinuity thatlead to cosmetic alternationneed theofrom rizingapart genderfuck. as an equal-opportunityaccessory.while attending to the rigid logic of the phallic economy. manly women and womanly men (these can be accomplished through mas-
This content downloaded from 129.and as a simulacrum (an object circulatingwithoutorigin).5 on Fri.
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. produced a very inferior pieceofCamp. although I am aware that not only are not many of these folksqueer. I will contextualize reading/writing by utilizing butch/ femme relations once again. constructs herselfas a boy. while my object-choice may be thoughtto be perverse. insuringnot only myown femme.To reconcile lover.or straight.As a and I read.This turns upside down not only cultural binarismsof sex and gender in sexual relationships.myperformance of myself is allied withdominant notions of femininity. or at least subject to How is myfemininity different than that easy misinterpretation.pretendingtheyare both gay men.I am in a privileged position in relation to dominant culture because.122
Discourse 15. In an effort to keep thisparadigm in perspective. thereis also space forqueer or straight and femme identitiesthat traversethe theoretically spacialized continuummore than once. non-erasure but also authorizing the noncontradiction of a butch's gender/sexual performance. oneself.174. fromthe then. and perhaps in varyingdegrees on the streets. It also constructs the micropolitically safespace needed forpositiveagential politics.1
butch querade theories).in bed. Mybutch on the otherhand.I willattempta shift of the body. theyprobablyhave no notion of how radicallydifferent the economy of theirdesireswould be in a relation of dildoic-phallicsignification.5 on Fri.I do the writing. Whyshould thatbe perverse? Camp: "A Holiday for ConsentingAdults"5 It's embarrassing to be solemnand treatise-like about Camp.Both are discursive acts.21.I knowa butchwoman who likes to be penetrated bya butch lover.Reading practices generally are used in performative theories. Yet performative politicsare cooptable. For instance. this dominant contradictionI would insistthat she is a boy.public reading to thewriting in nature but privatizedideologically.but also the dominant assumptionsof who has the power to inscribemeaning on the bodies of others.SusanSontag(277) has me questioning the self-conMy genderfucksensibility scious performance of virtually everyoneI see on the streetsor on the bus. As a femme. gay. One runs therisk ofhaving. but I think writing demands a specificity that makes generalizing the body more difficult. . of the straight woman withlittleself-consciousness of her gen-
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This content downloaded from 129.or the representation of the construction of representation (a self-consciousperformance) is worked out withinthe limitsof "verisimilitude.Without an alternative criticallanguage. very repositioning phallus as dildo radalters the of and ically meanings "being" "having" in such a way that the constructionsof sexualitycannot be reducible to anatomy. more precisely. its perversion is not the performative act but the subversionof the construction that naturalizes or normalizes heterosexual so-called practice. even though we can acknowledge primarysexual difference. To ask.theories of performance are The crux of agentic possibility stillpreferableto those ofidentity. seems. in itself. offersno guaranbut involvesa "leap of faith. that must take place with the consent of subjects."a reading and writing teed effects.as meaning is an excess.a mimicry. the constructionof the semioticsystem on the body is accounted for.What limits an anything-goesin is a politicsof radical materiality. ity? position of the At the the least." where the apparent paradox of mimesis.21. An aesthetics of pleasure. what differencedoes it make ifdominant culturecan read her and me as essentially the same? The language of performance.once again. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.5 on Fri. critical to the theoreticsof subject and object as specpostmodern bodies. some rude but importantquestions: does the site of woman's primarysexual differenceconstitutea lack or is itjust a vagina? What does a woman witha vagina and with a dildo represent?A man. signifies nothingbut needs an interpretation to effect meaning. in performativelanguage could be thought of as "presence.or." Mimicryproblematizes the real by representingboth the presence and absence of a construction."or what I have been calling "realness. Does the genderfuckperformance. phallus. where however. unmask the constructions of feminine and masculine sexualpsychoanalytic The it relies on the referential answer. a masculine woman. the denaturalization of masculinity? If phallic homosexual practice were a mimof heterosexual icry genital-to-genital practice (and it could be conceived this waywithoutbeing derogatory). for that matter.174.It's hard to keep itup. an effectthe performercannot control.Fall 1992
de red construction. however. The point is thatdifference. though. usuallyconstructs tator (reader) and performer (read) in a dualism that either forecloses or negativizesagentic possibilities. The dildo performance is "queer" not because it is part of gay or lesbian sex but because it doesn't respect the distinctions of a hetero/homosexual dichotomy.
while it's not exclusively was.5 on Fri. butch-femme roles evade the notion of 'the female body' as it predominates in feminist theory. judges.notjudgment.cynicism. . hope genderfuckwillbe seen as another quixotic incarnation.ironic. it Camp is also veryhomosexual.(286) 55. Campis generous. manygaytheorists have grasp the political ramifications it I picked up. concepts objects. nota ruthless buta sweet doesn'tprocynicism. argue good good. which I would sum up ifI were only as erudite: 34. ciation Itwants toenjoy. ing at the thingthey enjoying (291-92) Camp is a tender feeling.21. are notlaughPeople whosharethis sensibility label as "a camp.It rather than and awkward relishes. (not think). in camp territory: (1) the dildo most certainlyis camp.dragging along its Freudian baggage and scopophilic tran substantiation.above all.Camp doesn'treverse things. Camp tasteis.as I saw it. it alters traditional sensibilities altogether. More imporinnocent. In "Notes on " 'Camp.thelittle triumphs intensities of "character.' Son tag fingersa fewreallyinsightful aspects of camp. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Where Sontag failsto ofcamp. Seduc-
This content downloaded from 129. . With of appearances replaces a claim to butch/femme. Camp taste identifies with what itis enjoying.1
Sexual practices are mimicry.) Camp taste pose thatit is in bad tasteto be serious. it's (Or ifit is cynicism.a mode ofenjoyment. this led me smack into Sue-Ellen Case's lap Following argument a bad to I should be.174." they're it.a supplementary is to offer forart(and life)a different [!] . In formulating mygenderfucktheoryI had threeoptions. naively it more than mere inversion and tantly.love forhumannature. accomplishes duplicity. Camp tasteis a kindof love.124
Discourse 15. differencedfrom themselves as and We are sutured.setofvalues. "a strategy truth. that the is or the bad is itdoes What bad. pleasure-seeking.The triumph of theatricality over substance. sentimental. is the celebration of Camp passionate failures. The dildo is nothing if place not pure artifice. passionate 56. Camptaste turns itsbackon thegood-bad axisofordinary aesthetic It doesn't judgment. . It onlyseemslike malice.it doesn'tsneerat someonewho succeedsin beingseriously dramatic.and corrupting.Thus. as Case says.dildoed folks. so.a "supplement" to the "natural" body. of appre. it is cynical.born in the closet (287). Whatit does is to findthesuccessin certain failures.". These roles are played in signsthemselves and not in ontologies.
as a mimetic.Here is the triumphof "instant character" over content.as I see it. Genderfuck Genderfuck could be said to be the effectof unstable signifying practicesin a libidinal economy ofmultiplesexualities.The production of a recognizable genderfuckparadigm. However. Once woman. and also passionate failure. effectedby camp "realness.subversive performance. once the splitbetween anatomyand the semiotic .When the dildo denudes the penis it reincarnatesthe phallus in its image.I have litde troublewiththisdeduction.Dildo phallocracymaintainsthatdildo.subvertsthe possibility bar") of possessing a unified subject position. As a dyke withno grudge againstboys. This brings me to (2) the penis as a camp object. penis.21. as a dramatic action. the male organ (to use a SenateJudiciary Committeeturn-of-phrase) is somewhat depleted of itspowers. and to subsequently foregroundculturalconstructionsof masculinity. necessarily. ready-madewith a "dildo envy" complex. in relation to the dildo and in relation to itself. This process is the destabilization of gender as an analytic the signal of the end of category.It is a
This content downloaded from 129. I binarisms have gender (whose grown quite fond of in some The of masculine and feminine.Genderfuck.So the dildo as camp isn't the whole picture.that is. The ambiguityof the system is itsinterplay and constantnegotiation between the meaningfulproductionsofsex/gender. and phallus are all camp entities. Byarguing thatthe dildo is more phallic than the penis. simultaneously traversesthe phallic economy and exceeds it.Fall 1992
all of these seeming realition.though it is not.no longer equals female in any meaningful way.on the one hand. a symbol and construction. on the body respects).5 on Fri." altersthe contextualprocess of signification by foregroundingthe gap between sex and gender and producing different models of interpretation through different writing/reading practices.on the other. transforms tiesinto semioticplay" (297) . and gender/sexual performance.I wanted to reclaim some body (anybody) and also challenge lesbianism as theory. play as the "lesbian the and/ (note text.174. not vice versa. In the lightof the dildo it is not hard to see the penis as another masquerade of the phallus. And (3) the phallus itselfmust be camp. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
.the is recognized in the process of interpretation economy of desire foran Other does not have to followa heterosexistmatrix.
Kitty Halberstam. irreducibility 2 I don'tknow whenexactly "queer theory" began. WorksCited on the History of Sexual InterAbelove. far to that is.RichardMiller.New Barthes. Halperin. whendominant culture wouldhaveus believeitsbeingis natural ornormal. Drag: a the circulationof the phallus in its performance thatinterrupts A drag anchor. JohnMowitt. or that itsmeaning is clearand uncontested. York: 1975. and Paula Rabinowitz. argument especially 1: "Ultimately.
This content downloaded from 129. and encouragement. a great deal depends. Boston:Alyson." On OurBachsOct.-Nov. ThePleasure Trans."Some Speculations courseduring theLongEighteenth in England. Noonday. 84-176. 1988.21. 5 "CAMP RULES" 7. David Also. a shift 3 I have borrowed the idea of the hyphenated soheterosexuality called from Abelove.He talks about "cross-sex intercourse" as genital "sexual intercourse so-called . a filmbyJennieLivington. Millet." MachoSluts. casts a body loose in a queer sea of love. fromcenteringa soul.Henry. oftheText.5 on Fri.on thefostering of our ability to arrive at understandings ofsexuality thatwillrespect in itto theterms a certain and relations ofgender"( 16). I do feel. 1 This was recently advanced by Sedgwick. 4 ParisIs documents (1990)."Genders Century 6 (Fall 1989): 125-30. attempt fix." This makesapparentthe constructednessof sexualintercourse or heterosexuality. Notes I would like to take thisopportunity to thanka fewfolks: Judith MichelleLekas." marks in theory.174. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Burning theballsofNewYork's blackand Latinogaymale underground.1
discourse of pleasure.Carol Mason. Califia. chapter forlesbians. It's been a ball. signification.forhisinterest from the"Flaunting It" conference. What is a genderfuck body? It is. Bright.for allwomen. producing desire in a subject who is able to get over herselfand have it make a difference. Roland. "A Staris Porn. emphasis added). "The Calyxof Isis.and myfriends Cheryl Kaderand ThomasPiontek. forgaymen.a "drag anchor" (65." as opposed to "lesbian/gay. Susie.and possibly forall men.Pat. 1989:8-9. to steal a phrase from Roland Barthes.126
Discourse 15.butthedistinction"queer. anchor.
Essays AnnArbor:UMI. Ideas (Fall 1989): of "Suture (Elementsof the Logic of the SigniMiller. Jacques-Alain."Towarda Butch-Femme Making Ed. Sue-Ellen.282-99. KarenV. Gayle. . London: Pandora. TheEpistemologa U of Sedgwick.21. ParisIs Burning.Joan. oftheCloset. toBeBad: Radical Feminism inAmerica Echols. PartI. ofMinnesota Press. 1990. Dir.5 on Fri." Women Imagination. 1990. 1989.Fall 1992
: TheLie ThatTells the Truth.Stephen.2 (1975): 91-113. 19 Jul 2013 16:07:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
."Partii. Aesthetic. 1990.' Against Interpretation.1 (1975): 7-77.Daring .
This content downloaded from 129.Susan. Hansen and lleneJ. 1987. 18. ed. LyndaHart. and the Economy'of Sex.174." Screen 16. Carole S. Class ." Screen Sexual Courage in the Nestle. "Butch-Femme Relationships: 1950s. NewYork: "CAMP RULES. Country. fier). cle: Feminist onContemporary Women s Theatre." Trivia: LeMasters. AJournal Carol.1989." Screen Heath. Farrar.Philipson. 15 17-30. Minneapolis: University TermsofAnalysis."Filmand System: 16.Alice. "Notes on 'Camp. 1985.4 (1977-78):24-47.1989. " New York: Sontag. 1966. 275-92. Rubin. Pleasure Exploring Sexuality. "The Trafficin Women: Notes on the 'Political Feminist Ed."A Restricted Ithaca:Firebrand. "S/M and theViolenceofDesire. 74-113. Berkeley: California P." a SpectaCase. 1967-1975." Camp Delilah. Philadelphia: TempleUP. Off WhiteProductions. 100-09.JennieLivingston. Eve Kosofsky.. and Danger: Female Vance.