You Be Apples–I’ll Be Oranges!

I Got A Rock…

(Soundtrack: Hole — Pretty on the Inside)

Here’s an interesting discussion:

It started with Eve (in response to an e-mail from our dearly blog-parted Sean Collins), moved on to Jim’s, ran head on into a comic book cross-over at Peiratikos, rattled around in the comments section there, and then boomeranged back to the person who threw it

Let’s see now–where to excerpt?

How about this?

First of all, it might be helpful to point out that you can think two
things are different without thinking one is better than the other. For
example, I think men are different from women. I don’t think guys are
better than chicks, or vice versa. I don’t, as you all probably know,
think that homosexual relationships are good, whereas heterosexual
relationships can be (although I totally agree with Camassia’s comments
here about
the ways in which sinful relationships can be infused with love and
apparently-okay relationships infused with sin). But I think, actually,
that you can agree with everything I’ll say in the rest of this post
and still think gay sex is a-okay.

I want to say more than that, really. Actual existing queer people don’t all
sign on to this belief that homosexuality is mirror-heterosexuality. It
might be worthwhile to listen to people who do think that, even absent
Societal Prejudice, a guy who wants guys would not end up identical to
a guy who wants girls. It might be worthwhile to listen to people who
have actually dated chicks and dudes (hi! *waves*) when we say that it
really isn’t the same.

Are the differences cultural constructs? 1) Probably not all of them, yo.
2)
If they’re cultural constructs, doesn’t that just push the weight of
explanation back one level? Why these cultural constructs and not
others?
3) If they are cultural constructs, do we really want to
live without them? Do we want an androgynous world, or do we find men
and women, ladies and dudes, sexy?

Okay now–first, of course, it goes without saying that when Eve talks about “sin” in connection with consensual sex, most of us just have to assume that this is a private little joke between her and her God and move on to the substance… She’s made it easy for us, in this instance, and I thank her for that!

Which doesn’t make me any more receptive to the way that she takes an undeniable fact of human existence–i.e. that we are all the same, and also all different (from each other, as well as from ourselves)–and essentially runs wild with it… “Essentially” is the key term there. Eve thinks that her (presumably very different) sexual/romantic experiences with men and women are somehow translatable into universal laws. Needless to say, “I don’t own her laws”…

Just because you had different things in the back of your head pushing you toward involvement with persons of different sexes doesn’t mean that this is always the case–especially when the prime mover behind your “heterosexuality” is God. Identity is relational, and of course it matters who you’re with (I can’t be “me” without “you”), but our search for that “you” (that difference) is always the same… It seems to me that this is the real source of your divergent conceptions of these experiences. One type of relationship was for you, the other was for Glory. I think you’re totally off the rails with this “heterosexuality is reducible to the threat/blessing of pregnancy” thing!  Who says that intercourse has to play any part at all in a heterosexual relationship? I don’t deny that it usually does–but look, I know for a fact that I could take it or leave it… my desire for women is not yoked to a need to “penetrate” them… For God’s sake Eve–you’re like the anti-Dworkin! Okay ladies–get married and submit!

Of course  homosexuality isn’t “mirror-heterosexuality”, but that’s because there’s nothing to mirror! We don’t start with a snapshot of a couple in our minds (or, if we do, we’ve got even bigger problems!)… I don’t wake up and say to myself–“I need me a woman”–I say, “I feel cut off from life”… The results of each individual’s (and each individual’s individual) attempts to negotiate her/his release from this (ultimately unalienable) state of alienation will be radically different from one another (I agree with Eve that the terms of this negotiation will always be influenced/determined by pressure from “without”, and also that it doesn’t matter), but the feeling itself (the only thing that isn’t a construct!) never changes, and never goes away. Sure, comparing any relationship to any other relationship is like comparing apples to oranges; but, on the other hand, as consumables, both of these things are going to the same place–and neither of them is going to “satisfy” you for long… The saddest thing about Eve’s conception of male-female relationships is that she doesn’t seem to see them as apples or oranges, but more like rocks that God is making her swallow… Fuck! I’d spit that thing right back into the eye of the divine and go off on a doomed quest of my own making!

I don’t have any problem with the idea that none of us ever gets exactly what he/she wants–but I think it’s insane to let ourselves be chewed up by guilt over something as natural as wanting! 

Good Evening Friends!
Dave

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4 comments

  1. I thought it was interesting that Eve points out the instance of rewriting a character to make him more “male,” rather than defending him. I wondered why she had to rationalize a male character not sounding “male” OR change him? I’m not sure I see the logic there – he’s a character. If he doesn’t sound traditionally male, he just doesn’t. But she doesn’t need to rationalize that either; if someone made the comment, she needs to just look at what the character does for the story as he stands.

    That said, as far as gendering of (romantic) love is concerned? Obviously gender plays some role, but it entirely depends on the cases. I’m thinking of my straight friends – the women tend to struggle with power dynamic issues (all of them being staunchly feminist) more than I have to in my relationship with my man; power dynamics are an issue in any relationship, but they seem to worry more about what giving up power or accepting power means.

    Which isn’t any kind of a be-all end-all statement. I question whether or not LOVE is different between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, or if it’s more an issue of presumed power-dynamics. Does any of that make sense?

    -Ben

  2. sure–that makes a lot of sense to me Ben. As you say, issues of control are going to develop between any two people in a relationship, regardless of gender, (“sometimes there’s a buggy”–as “The Cowboy” would say), even if our–or my–prime concern, or counsel of perfection, nowadays is to neutralize them; and, obviously, women have historically been, and continue to be, at a disadvantage when it comes to playing that sickening game, vis-a-vis men…

    Dave

  3. Ben–

    I can’t speak for Eve, but if I want my character to reflect my interpretation of “typical male,” and it doesn’t, I re-write. I’m assuming Eve is smart enough to put any criticism in perspective, and decide whether a re-write is actually appropriate.

    –james

  4. Yeah, but IIRC, she doesn’t actually say that was her intent with the character – and she’s writing him strictly as a “typical male,” isn’t that dangerously close to stereotyping?

    -Ben

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