July 26, 2011

The Gender Apocalypse? A response to NPR

Oh hey gender blenders,

Back in June, Linton Weeks published an article via NPR called The End of Gender? examining evidence that the gender system is becoming obsolete. According to Weeks, androgyny means an end of gender-- "Everywhere you turn, it seems, there is talk of gender-neutral this and gender-free that."

Umm.... what?

Like Emerson Whitney points out in hir recent response to the NPR article, the whole "gender-neutral"/"gender-free" thing doesn't make sense. Whitney asks, "since when is androgyny not an overt expression of gender?" and explains that hir gender identity "looks like a blender full of glam rockers, Shakespearean fairies, and Beat poets." Androgyny and gender b(l)ending are not the same as genderlessness, and just because it doesn't express gender in a binary way doesn't mean it isn't gendered. "The conversation is not about creating a neutered 'gender neutral' existence, rather, developing an acceptance for people living their chosen gender, loud and happy."

Gender play/performance/identity involve areas we've never really had a suitable map for, and just because the topography is changing doesn't mean that it is going to dissolve like the mystical land of Avalon. We are up to our knees in it, and we each have our own unique pair of galoshes to go traipsing through the marsh, that don't fit binaries.

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