Thoughts After Atwood: New Modes of Sexual Duality

“But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.
Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it isn’t really about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death. Maybe it isn’t about who can sit and who has to kneel or stand or lie down, legs spread open. Maybe it’s about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.” 
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

No two humans will ever share an exact process of sexual realization and maturing - we each carry our own ideal of gender, cobbled together by personal experience in and out of the body. The dualistic tension of sex maintained, but apart from traditional divided signifiers of anatomy or gender, which have never served to articulate the individual. Rather the individual was articulated by the external - assigned a random sex at birth, and then taught to express herself/himself using the limited syntax of gender. If the individual is to transcend the limitations of self-expression by abandoning gender performance, s/he must create a personal set of signifiers which better specify the conditions of her/his desire. 

Gender as a construct simply cannot accommodate the reality that individuals experience sexuality subjectively; as each individual exists as a unique sum of the qualities widely called “masculine” or “feminine”, it follows that each individual experiences a gender identity of one. In the age of the individual, assimilation to gendered articulation is obsolete. 

A new sexuality founded on the physics of physical bodies interacting with individual human conscience. A physics of sexual interaction where each individual is total, where qualities do not exist as “masculine” or “feminine”, “dominant” or “submissive”. These identifiers reduce the totality of individual sexuality to a fragmented half - by definition, the terms exist in relation to their opposite. Consider that the duality of sex may exist only insofar that there are two interacting individuals in a fluxes of want and permission/’forgiveness’. While each individuals acts according to personal code of desire, the dialogue in “May I do this” to the response “I acknowledge your particular desire”  demonstrates a sexual exchange where individual specificity abolishes gender routine. 

And here, the word forgiveness is not an assumption of moral superiority for the one bestowing - but forgiveness as a humane act of recognition for the desire/physical want of another. 

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(Source: eroticcriticisms)

Wearing Gender Without Complacence

Consider the muteability of gender, as something one dons and removes. How liberating to decide for oneself – the option of gender. That rather than recognizing oneself in a set of established normative options, that one creates, over time, a personal locale for oneself on a spectrum of others’ personal definitions.  The process of self-identification as drawn from one’s experience, in subjective memory and body. Traditional schooling in gender and self-sexuality preaches a kind of inheritance methodology - one experiences oneself in a gendered body as one experiences an ill-fitting suit. Traditionally one alters oneself to better “fill” the idealogical and visual signifiers of assigned gender. 

One decides and perpetuates one’s gender daily, at the mirror or wardrobe. Is attire the sole signifier? Physical signifiers of gender are preposterous, that fashion or curvature should be indicative of the individual’s inner life. And yet it is on the individual’s summation of these set signifiers that modern Western society bases attraction and interaction.  It has been argued that fashion exists as a mean of expression, and certainly it is so for a limited population with means, via exposure to trend and the luxury of selection. Gender as consumer commodity…

 Much has been written on the so-called performativity of femininity, and yet what of masculinity? The exclusive, obsessive identification with ironed khaki pants and Brooks Brothers’ button downs, as manifest in the white-collar variety of masculinity, is to my mind a prevalent and sustained form of gender identification. Gender as a routine of attire, trickled down from the capitalist based fashion market which creates, projects, and sustains monitored signifiers of sexuality. Cisgenderdom emerges out of consumer convenience.

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(Source: eroticcriticisms)