sex guns & goilz

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Aug 15 12:03:10 PDT 2000

[posted from non-sub'd address]

Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 14:59:04 -0400 To: lbo-talk at, lbo-talk at From: snit <snit at>

At 07:30 PM 8/14/00 -0400, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>Kelley wrote:
>>gender may well be here to stay since i personally don't think we need to
>>raise androgynous beings in order eradicate gender oppression
>Androgyny is a gendered concept, as you can see from the composition of
>the word itself (the idea of androgyny -- the union of gendered opposites
>in one individual-- depends upon the world that divides human beings
>between "males" & "females" understood as opposites), so I'm not talking
>about androgyny when I say that if we get to abolish gender oppression, we
>can be liberated from gender. Think of it as liberation of biological &
>other differences from the modern "opposite genders" model.

yeah but to what?

also, they don't have to be opposites to be a manifestation of an oppressive gender regime, do they?

so this doesn't cut it. what i mean is that we are born too soon. therefore, the socialization process will, more than likely, mean that meaning is conferred on children's bodies just as we now confer meaning on a variety of physical traits our children have. that doesn't mean we'll do it like we do now: e.g., my sisters both had red hair, i had blonde hair. they were treated as girls who would have quick tempers but, moreover, they were treated as different kinds of redheads, one strawberry blonde and one auburn since even those differences have subtle cultural meanings. and i don't need to tell you what kinds of meaning are attributed to blondeness. let's just say that my "barbie" persona is no accident and is an "in yer face" flaunt to having been treated like a ditz so much despite the objective reality that i'm not that survival meant being able to quickly move back and forth between being a ditz for those who wanted me to be and nonetheless pursing activites and interests that clearly meant that i wasn't. in other words, i learned how to work the dumb blonde thing to my advantage (like when i'd like someone to change my flat tire for me. heh. sorry couldn't resist)

now, neither me nor my sisters are oppressed because of our hair color. we are treated certain ways because of it and are subject to certain stereotypes because of them. and, indeed, those stereotypes and assumptions are simply subvariants of a wider practice of gender oppression. yes?

one can envision a world in which sex difference that we see are given no more meaning than a world that seems to be moving toward one in which the 'redhead' stereotype that my sisters grew up with (spoiled, brats, bitches, hot tempered and of course when older sexually irresistable) is slowly but surely changing--just as, say, the only child stereotype has changed dramatically in the past 20 years.

the differences then won't matter in a terribly significant way. they will be noted, they may come along with some stereotypical assumptions, but they won't work together with millions of other practices, ideas, beliefs, and institutional imperatives to mean that you and i will be delimited in our capacities and freedom because of the fact that we sport pussies instead of cocks.



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