PSYCHOLOGICAL ANDROGYNY:BEYOND AND INCLUDING QUEER

I have been reading Tasmin Spargo’s excellent, succinct “PostModern Encounters” book on “Foucault and Queer Theory”(1999); a study of the interrelationships between Foucault, and, to a lesser extent, Derridean deconstructionism and “queer”/queer theory, in its sense of other, differance(Derrida)/ difference; and including, for example, in literary texts,  contrapuntal reading of the substrata of meaning in texts(simultaneously with the hegemonic ones).

She clearly makes the distinction between lgbt identity politics/theory/criticism(which, as Foucault says, in “The History of Sexuality:An Introduction”{1984}, inadvertently reinforces the heterosexual/homosexual binary opposition{though they were a necessary stage, and still are, to some degree; and totally so in countries where death/torture is the punishment for same sex activity/affect}):- between that and the diffuse breadth of the all-accomodating scope of being “queer”/queer. This binary opposition was established in the 1870s by wellmeaning “sexologists” like Ulrichs, but was jumped on and commandeered by the anti same-sex lobby to regulate, legally and morally, those falling on the “homosexual” side of the divide.

However, I should like to take this a step further in what MAY be yet another dialectical antithesis or synthesis; but I hope NOT.And which may, I hope, offer some solution/way of moving forward to/for the vexed gender and sexual orientation (self)definition debate; and perhaps go way beyond it, towards some kind of gender/sexual orientation Utopia.

The starting point, for me, is “queer”, as meaning different, other, but, more crucially,as running contrapuntally,(that is, concurrently, as in musical melodies running harmoniously/discordantly, or comfortably/uncomfortably together- if we expand the analogy into the psychological and emotional sphere- in the personality/text/artwork; this may be conscious/semiconscious/sub or unconscious in the person, text etc.)

Thus, we  can BRING TOGETHER(that is contrapuntally, simultaneously) the hegemonically decreed traits that are supposed to be “masculine”/”feminine”, “male”/”female”(in, obviously the emotional and psychological sense not the PHYSICAL, biological genetic sex identity sense)in the one person, queer them in (self)-counterpoint; thus jettisonning redundant social,religious and politico-historical constructs of how a (biological)man/woman or gay man/ lesbian “SHOULD”(in “commonsense values”, ie hegemonic, terms) behave. To further elucidate, men can show emotions, gay men do not have to be “effeminate”(a deeply sexist word because it implies that being like a woman is, of necessity, an inferior thing)or camp; women do not HAVE to be nurturing or self-denying; lesbian women do not have to be EITHER “butch” or “femme”, (aping heterosexual male/female binary oppositions).

I call this psychological androgyny: I have never researched it academically, I promise; but a quick check to see if I had, by any chance INVENTED the phrase, revealed much already written, though with a bias to adopting PHYSICAL traits of the opposite sex(eg drag queens/kings, as shown by writing on the “genderqueer” movement). In other words-and to any person who has done any reasonable degree of self-analysis this may just seem obvious-we can pick and CHOOSE our own emotional and psychological make-up, ASIDE FROM AND APART FROM what are societally constructed as “male”/”female”, “gay”/”lesbian” traits; and thereby ,IF WE CHOOSE, deconstruct and RE-construct ourselves along those lines. An addendum would be that, we can also, obviously-perhaps-again, choose to “opt in” or reclaim or CO-opt stereotyped representations; or COMBINE them with characteristics of the former type; all towards the end of being a WHOLE person.

This is very freeing-the choice; and, to me anyway, is the way forward: A Utopia of psychological androgyny

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
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2 Responses to PSYCHOLOGICAL ANDROGYNY:BEYOND AND INCLUDING QUEER

  1. Merry says:

    Interesting as always, Steve. I have been thinking about these issues for a long time (since childhood surely!) but not in a systematic way. Thank you. Love, Merry

  2. decayetude says:

    Thanks merry; perhaps we could chat re the androgyny thing on weds!Love steve

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