Friday, 25 September 2009

Inhabiting the norm

I want to pick up on a point sweet machine made in a post about gay and bisexual teens yesterday.

When we depathologize states of being that are considered abnormal, we can reveal the normative structures that propped up our pathologizing in the first place.

Or when we stop using our own states of being as the starting point from which all must be measured against. There is also a difference between abnormal and unusual. That which is rare or unusual is by no means bad, and this is a category that should be able to be accepted both by those that are in that category and those who aren't.

I have a problem with this fighting to be included into the category 'normal' as opposed to fighting for equal acceptance and understanding; or dismantling the neurosis of normalcy, which is often a source and creator of injustice. Fighting for normal seems to underline the norm as an ideal, and that can be counterproductive.

There is that which is normal to each of us; however rare or unusual a flower we are, and that which is possibly a/the norm in general; either the main body of people, or the largest minority which people fit in to.

When we accept that the categories we’re accustomed to are not best described as X and not-X (straight and not straight, thin and not-thin, etc.) but as X and Y and probably Z too, we see that X was only considered “normal” because it was important to people who are X to view it that way.

X could be anyone, it could be those who are fighting for their rights, they are just as capable of seeing their state as the one by which all others should not only be measured, against, but all others shaped around. Or all other states should be shaped wholly to be pressganged into giving shape to their state, because it cannot be defined as they would like without turning others into an extension of that state.Some people might say that is the hallmark of the fractiousnes of normal itself.

When we look from a standpoint of celebrating human diversity, it seems bizarre to think of Z as abnormal or the “opposite” of X: Z is its own way of being.

Agreed, but again, this is not always a divide between those who suffer social injustice v. those advantaged in general or by injustice, it is an attitude of mind, and those fighting against the norm use that 'bizarre' stance themselves at times, yet still critique that same stance because they eitehr feel it does or it actually does, go against them. This undermines their own outrage at this stance -if not at the injustice itself.

Thin people and straight people aren’t required to explain away their bodies and desires; they’re not asked “How do you know you’re straight?” or “Have you ever thought about trying not to be thin?”

In general terms, no they aren't required to justify themselves as much, but the neurosis that overspills into prejudice also puts it's own impositions on the X's, but it's not backed up by the mechanical weight of those who operate the levers of the societal machine. But plenty of those who aren't straight, feel exactly that straight = bullshit- and I'm sure it's not entirely wrong for straights to ask themselves these kinds of questions or be asked them. For instance, just how 'straight' can female sexuality be? Does it even really exist in it's own right in mainstream terms? It seems that the 'straight' is male heterosex and female het, is just an adjunct of that.

Witness how many women 'suffer' from female sexual dysfunction, or sorrily misused/ misunderstood/ semi existent female sexuality imploding under the weight of it's own hollowed outness. The term seems to be about men- gay talking about other men 'straight'. It's like in joke mockery than a category for women. Or thin shaming, hardly backed up by the sort of official power that gets behind the obesity crisis.

Social justice movements aren’t simply trying to flip things around and make it so that those questions do get asked of “normal” people, too; they’re trying to get rid of these demeaning, eliminationist questions in the first place.

Um, not necessarily, it depends on their requirements, but I think you'll find that plenty within social justice movements are just trying to flip things around, with them in the driving seat instead. They may feel that what they have is a better way and that others ought to have to answer to that way.

It's like Kera's mother, some people truly want to understand diversity, some do not, or are constutionally unable to, the lines don't divide. Those who fight for extention of rights versus those who enjoy them.

No comments:

Post a Comment