The summary is about chapter three of J. Jack Halberstam’s Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender and the End of Normal. In the chapter, the author addresses the issues of gender fluidity and heteroflexibility as the main themes. Throughout the chapter, the author uses various stories based on personal experience from travel in different parts of the country and also outside the country. The author also uses illustrations from films to help drive the point home.
The chapter begins with a personal story where he talks about his girlfriend and him having been confronted by an author wanting to write about women who leave their male partners for other women. Halberstam explains that their situation was easy to misinterpret because her girlfriend of the time had left her husband before they had started dating. He, however, explains that by the time they meet, her girlfriend was not seeing her male partner and that she was single. The situation could, however, be interpreted as her partner leaving her husband for her. The author explain the second problem as that he does not identify himself as a woman and the article seemed to do so while normalizing heterosexuality. He presents the argument of how the article shows the whole shift from men to a “pseudomen” unrealistic therefore a compromise for the women. The author believes that the article was depicting butches as a last resort for a desperate woman rather than a choice made deliberately. He says that the system each and every boy and girl is raised in makes it hard for a woman to think of choosing a butch because the butch masculinity is represented as an inferior and gross perversion of masculinity/ the real thing.
The author further goes and explains about his discovery on the presentation of various films for children, a discovery that counteracts the idea that the system representation of boys and girls prevents any thoughts of a woman opting for a butch rather than “the real thing.” The author explains by presented a film where children are exposed to alternatives that are viable to the naturalized heterosexuality. The film in question is Finding Nemo where Dory voiced by Ellen DeGeneres is represented as a butch fish. He argues that the point of bringing this up is because people for over a hundred years have been classified as female or male. The author emphasizes the need to do away with the categorization of male or female. The author presents an argument that has been portrayed as a woman coming out late during her forties due to frustration on dating men or because she has been suppressing the feelings for all that long. He argues that the transition could have just happened not after suppression but just at that time.
The author also presents another argument where people interpret a woman “coming back” after leaving a heterosexual relation for a lesbian then back to heterosexual. In Halberstam’s argument, the same analogy is not applied when a woman shifts from a lesbian to a heterosexual and then to a lesbian. In the second scenario, they are not said to have come back. The author also presents the story of him traveling to Indiana where he chats with the drive on his work prior being a taxi driver. The author narrates on how the cab driver and his wife use to help their horses mate because they could not be able to do it on their own. The author deduces that the concept of Normal may have reached a conceptual conclusion. In his view, normal is the name people give to the version of sex people like to stand with for the sake of moral order and social stability.
In another discussion, the author presents the popularity of gay on the global level. He says that homosexuality views differ depending on race, social status, culture, geographical region and so much more. He goes further and presents various examples of cultural differences. Examples given are where in some countries in mid-east, Eastern Europe, India and China allow female children to be raised as boys where farms require males and boys are prized more than a girl. Other countries like Albania girls are raised as male and continue further into adulthood where they are allowed to take wives.
The final subject the author takes about is the heteroflexibility where he presents the case of pornography and what makes a particular group of individuals tick. The groups are classified as heterosexuals and gay men and women. The author presents the argument that women in all categories get aroused by watching any pornography whether, from a gay or straight couple, straight men, on the other hand, are not so much into a gay male couple. The author to emphasize on the inflexibility of straight men presents the case of underwear where he tells of a friend who calls him with an issue on the make of the underwear. He concludes that the straight males reject a comparison of them with the butch. Halberstam advocates for heteroflexibility which according to her definition is reconfiguring the meaning of gender and sex in ways that favor heterosexual women most especially.
The author addresses various issues in the chapter one of them being how people misunderstand sexual fluidity. The author expresses the idea that one changing from heterosexual to gay at a late age doesn’t mean that they were suppressing their sexuality. According to the author, this could be a stage where the change just happened and not that the feelings were there previously. The issue also touches on heterosexuality where she advocates for reconfiguration of the meaning of sex and gender putting heterosexual women in mind.
The chapter opens up a new understanding and perspective of how we judge things without a deeper understanding of the issue on the table. I would agree with the author because what he presents is based on personal experience and on the observations that he has conducted throughout his life.
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