Notes: Michelle Gibson, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem, “Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality”

Gibson, Michelle, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem. “Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 52, National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, 2000.

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Keywords: Composition, Writing Studies, Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Queer, Queer Rhetorics, Feminist Rhetorics, Class, Sexuality

Sources:

Minh-Ha, Trinh. “Introduction: She, the In- appropriate(d) Other.” Discourse 8 (1986/1987): 3-9.

Rich, Adrienne. “When We Dead Awaken: Writing As Revision.”‘ Ways ofReading. Ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Pet- rosky. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford Books, 1996. 549-62.

Quotations:

“Through our “stories,” we hope to complicate the notion that identities can be performed in clean, organized, distinct ways by examining and theorizing our own experiences of class, gender, and sexual identity performance. We want to acknowledge the conscious ways we perform our multiple subjectivities and to examine our political/economic/ pedagogical uses of those performances” (70).

“In marking stories “lesbian” or “working class,” the lives contained therein are less invisible and give the narrators-students and faculty-a political site from which to speak and act. Playing with the notion of an “essential voice” allows the storytellers to claim a recognizable, politically engaged identity from a narrative that is already academically codified; however “speakable,” this politicized voice emerges from a self-empowerment that hinges on an appeal to universalities of class and sexuality, a self-empowerment that depends on binary oppositions” (72).

“Writing students define “real me” voices as safe, static, inherent, and inviolate; public voices, though, are required to listen to other public voices, and listening can cause uncomfortable changes. The tension, the uncertain space writing teachers and students find between the familiar, “real me” voice and an emerging public voice, should not necessarily be resolved with already codified positions; rather the tension should be a space to work from and with because the language of any personal narrative contests static identities” (72-73).

“The space created by opening up identity allows for a more open-ended model of collective identity and poses hard questions about the nature and definitions of political subject positions as one is both enlarged and oppressed by constantly shifting alliances” (75).

“[M]any issues of diversity are so fully embodied that they cannot be meaningfully discussed, but rather exist primarily in the realm of performance” (79).

“These three stories illustrate how my butch performance (and I use that word hoping you will attend to the difference between, say, dramatic performance and embodied performance) impacts my various interactions in the academy. Because I am butch, I am visible as a lesbian; I am often asked, for  which is mostly invisible. instance, to be the “token dyke” on campus” (82).

“Students and faculty see my butchness as powerful, especially as contrasted with femme experience” (82).

“Whenever a circumstance allows for it, I perform my identities as a femme lesbian, a survivor of family violence, and a recovering mental patient” (85).

“I wanted to perform for those administrators an identity they usually associate with students they characterize as”not college material”and then complicate it with an identity they usually associate with professionals they characterize as”successful.”” (90).

“Without consistent interrogation, over time, acts that originate as political resistance can become familiar and institutionalized, thereby losing their power to create change” (92).

 

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