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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reflections on "To(o) Queer the Writer"

Gloria Anzalduá addresses the semantic limitations of the term lesbian. Lesbian is a direct derivative of Λέσβος, the island of the ancient Greek poetess, Sappho. Female eros for each other was not known elsewhere in antiquity. The term could have probably been used as a code word to speak about such a love during a time of violent oppression in Europe. Coming from a European context, this word became problematic when used to assimilate ethnicities, classes, and races. She proposes that applying this term to a subculture within a larger subculture “subsumes” the smaller subculture. She uses adjectives that represent her identity to reclaim herself, while the mainstream culture uses those same terms to marginalize her work. Is it possible for a larger subculture to marginalize a smaller subculture from whence it came? The answer to this question leads to another question asking where LGBT rights come from. On the other hand, her article seems to be obsessive with her own identity, an obsession to be acknowledged as a unique individual: “I want to be able to choose what to name myself. (263)" However, I don’t understand her stance against theories and academia, and I don’t think she understand how exactly such theories were founded in academia. There are much more destructive theories and much more violent forms of oppression than those she fears.

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