In quite a few of the K/S stories that I’ve read, the day after always begins with disorientation. James or Spock awakens in the other’s bed, and there’s a moment of dizzying uncertainty–they aren’t sure if the night of wild sex they remember really happened, or if it was just a beautiful, vivid dream. Usually, it takes only a touch or a kiss from the other to bring Spock or Jim crashing back to earth, to the happy reality of what they’ve done.
I wonder if I’ll have a similar sense of disorientation tomorrow. My thoughts here seem reasonable now–but I wonder what I’ll wake up with in the morning. This began as a semi-reasoned attempt to further explore the feminism/slash parallels that I’ve been working with–and ended as an angry rant worthy of a royally pissed Leonard McCoy.
At least I can’t type in a southern accent.
Though it’s become more visible on the Internet than it was in only ‘zine form, slash has retained its radical, transgressive self-image. There are many ST fans who get really pissed off about K/S, S/Mc, or any of the dozens of iterations of slash that have spilled out of the growing ST canon. Slashers know this. Slashers dig this. Slashers embody my motto: “Anything worth doing will piss someone else off.”
As I noted in my previous post, the feminist movement post-Roe continued to call itself radical and transgressive, but failed to speak, to act, to prevaricate within the dominant discourse in ways that could reinforce that self-sense. After Roe, an ideological pillar of the feminist movement became the law of the land. It’s as if Paramount released a slashy porn film as the sequel to ST 2009–it’s harder to be radical when you are rhetorically and practically positioned within the mainstream.
Now, as the Sarah Palins of the world embrace and reshape what was the rhetoric of “radical” feminism, the utter rhetorical failure of modern feminism within the mainstream is laid bare. What we’re doing? Isn’t working. Period. The patriarchy is still firmly in place, more snug and snide, perhaps, because of the prevailing belief within the dominant discourse that the work of feminism is complete; the oligarchs of patriarchy–both male and female–turn the word “equality” over within their mouths even as their lips form the word “inferior.”
So we can go on reading Feministing and studying Peggy Phalen and gender theory and women’s studies and ironically wearing the Playboy logo and deriding Britany Spears and Lindsey Lohen or whoever even as we study their clothes, their shoes, their bags to determine this season’s trends; we can go on throwing things at the TV whenever Sarah Palin appears and cursing at the guy in the office who calls us “kiddo” and letting the dominant discourse dictate the terms of our cultural skirmishes with sexism and misogyny and–we’re all very superior, aren’t we?
Damn it–we (and I include myself here) who have been raised in a world that, in theory, has told us that we can be whatever we want to be–as long as we adhere to certain limits. We can’t fight in combat, so we can’t be the Head of the Joint Chiefs. Hell, we can’t be a Joint Chief–not yet. We can be politicians, but only if we’re prepared to either bury our sense of sexuality beneath a performative veneer of chastity (read: unattractiveness) or if we follow the Palin model and center our “sexuality”–as defined and understood by the heteronormative male–at the center of our campaign platform. We can be CEOs, but we have to either sacrifice our personal lives (again: unsex ourselves here) or spend our days in perpetual motion, rushing from teleconference to scout meeting to networking event to karate lessons, teetering for a decade on the blade between motherhood and our professional selves.
So, no–the rhetorical and practical work that we’re doing within the dominant discourse–it ain’t working. Yes, we now have the Lilly Ledbetter bill–but what practical effect does that have on a high school senior who’s been bombarded with both the “message” of abstinance and the obvious patriarchal adoration for overt performances of female “sexuality”?
I’m off on a rant here. It’s easy to virtually yell at the world from this wee perch on the interwebs–but I sure as hell don’t have any answers. I think–I hope–that there’s something in the rhetorical strategies and the fuck-them-all attitude that I see in slash writing that may be of use. We’ll see. If I wake up and Spock’s stolen all of the covers again, I’ll be pissed.