Life as an Extreme Sport

thoughts on gender, sex, feminism

I found this article to be very interesting, especially as I just watched the remake of The Stepford Wives over the weekend. I want to actually write a more comprehensive rebuttal of her argument, but for now wanted to comment immediately on Chaudhry’s brief thought on gender war and homosexuality:

Then there is the ‘butch’ lawyer plotting to replace his flamboyantly ‘femme’ mate. The yuppie gay couple has the effect, intended or otherwise, of changing the terrain of engagement from gender roles to consumerism

Not surprisingly, I think Chaudhry has missed the point here, by assuming that you can’t have a gender war between a homosexual couple. Chaudhry is buying into the concept of gender equalling biological sex, that gender is inherently male or female, and there cannot be conflict between male and male, female and female. Somehow, by making it a conflict between the gay couple it changes things to consumerism – a charge never followed up on or adequately explained.

Perhaps more surprisingly is Chaudhry’s reliance on feminism to form the central focus of her argument; surprising because in recent years feminism has strongly wrestled with conceptions of gender and biological sex, and to free the two from one another as well as emphasize the gendered war that exists in the homosexual community, as well. Sadly, the feminism that Chaudhry appears to be writing about and from has one distinct parallel to the Stepford subject of her article: it, too, is a relic from 50 years ago.

And sort of related, I feel like I should be here:

Every year more than 10,000 literature scholars gather at the end of December for the convention of the Modern Language Association, the 120th of which begins today in Philadelphia.

Past conventions have yielded papers with titles that were rife with bad puns, cute pop-culture references and an adolescent preoccupation with sex, from “Victorian Buggery” to “Bambi on Top” and the tragically hip “Judith Butler Got Me Tenure (but I Owe My Job to K. D. Lang): High Theory, Pop Culture, and Some Thoughts About the Role of Literature in Contemporary Queer Studies.”