Tag Archives: theory

Loving Oneself: And Scaring the Crap Out of People Who Don’t

The last theme I want to address in queer online community participation is the act of getting to know oneself through participation online. I want to start by giving you an excerpt from a Tumblr post I reblogged a while back from a beautiful person I won’t name here (for privacy reasons).

“I’ve been watching silently as [my picture] is reblogged over and over, feeling a mix of annoyance and confusion. The funny thing is that the one thing I have not felt during this time is ugly. I keep coming back to the picture trying to understand what there is to mock about it and each time I find nothing. Each time I look,  I feel exactly the way I felt when I first posted it, cute. That is a victory for me because in the not too distant past, I would have been devastated by this” (Anonymous Tumblr post).

The person who wrote this post uploaded a picture of themselves on a particularly cute-feeling day and was subjected to ridicule by other users on Tumblr. I have to admit, I get upset if I post a picture and no one bothers to like it, so I have endless respect for the bravery and tough-skin of this particular person. After seeing this, another group within the blog community took up that same photo and praised this person for their confidence, beauty, and unabashed self-love. Self-love is not something we often talk about in a positive context. How much time should we really dedicate to getting to know ourselves and understanding our own personalities, appearances, and desires?

Way back in 1939, Philosopher Eric Fromm wrote:

“Modern culture is pervaded by a taboo on selfishness. It teaches that to be selfish is sinful, and to love others is virtuous” (Fromm 1).

The question I present to you, my dear blog-istas, is this: If we love ourselves, does it increase our ability to love others? If we enjoy our our own presence and know the depths of our own identities, what is the affect on the people we hold dear? Let me know if you figure that out.

Works Cited:

Fromm, Eric. “Selfishness and Self-love.” Psychiatry: Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Process 2 (1939): 507-23. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <http://erich-fromm.de/biophil/en/images/stories/pdf-Dateien/1939b-e.pdf&gt;.

Advertisements

Queering it up

To begin, I would like to make a radical, and perhaps somewhat strange, announcement. You are queer. You are trans*. You are a feminist. If your eyes have crossed this page, you are a queer person, you are a trans* person, you are the content, the author and the audience. This blog is not about queer and trans* people. It is written by a queer person, it is informed by queer people, and it is read by queer people.  Now is the time to question everything you know about yourself. Join me in abandoning all assumptions and destroying all expectations. Join me on a journey into a queer space. Join me on the page in front of you. We are queer. We are trans*. We are feminist.

Queer subjectivity, solidarity, and their relationship to feminism are crucial to the reworking of mainstream feminist thought. In order to create a safe space for a close reading of queer internet spaces, I first declare the audience of this blog to be queer, trans*, and feminist. This strategy is reminiscent of subjective identifications adopted by western anarchists during black box demonstrations. During the 2009 G20 protests in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, protestors chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re anarchists, we’ll fuck you up!” (Anarcha Library). Though many of these protestors would not consider themselves queer underneath their masks, the queer identification adopted in that moment negated any previous associations they held in day-to-day life, destroying boundaries of gender and sexuality and elevating their rebellion to a higher level of queer solidarity. This strategy is outlined in an article for the Anarcha Library based on an analysis of a zine that came out of the G20 protests:

“While the identification must, to some degree, indicate queer sexuality, as is indicated by the references to gender, pronouns, sexualities, and ecstasies, it also references something else. As the author(s) state(s), queerness in this case also means negation itself; it means the negation or obliteration of an existing identification and the freedom to become whatever. Destruction comes to include the destruction of identification. This destruction of identification also requires that participants move beyond solidarity in the sense of traditional social network theories” (Anarcha Library).

Referencing Judith’s Butler’s theory of gender performativity, the black box protestors created a transformative version of queer, whereby they became “queer not only in the sense of being queer sexual subjects, but in the sense of being subjects of total destruction” (Anarcha Library). Queerness became the pure negation of category, the denial of difference and identity. Through their claiming of queer, they became every person, demanding, rather than defending their space (Anarcha Library). To quote Butler in her essay “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution:” “This formulation moves the conception of gender off the ground of a substantial model of identity to one that requires a conception of a constituted social temporality…the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed identity” (Butler 520). In this way, the protestors, as well as those of us entering into the queer space of this project, are asking the question: what does it mean to be queer or trans*? What does it mean to be a feminist? We suspend our own identifications for a brief moment in time to create an atmosphere of queer solidarity. We do not merely become what we say we are. Instead, we become the feelings we all share. We become each other in order to understand ourselves more fully. So there.

Works Cited:

Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in                                                                 Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal 40.4 (1988): 519-31. Print.

“We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Anarchists: The Nature of Identification and Subjectivity Among Black Blocs.” Anarcha Library. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <http://anarchalibrary.blogspot.com/2011/01/were-here-were-queer-were-anarchists.html&gt;.