Ideological Apparatus

I hate it when academics gleefully dedicate themselves to the cause of creating an ideological apparatus to support fluidity. I hate it that there is such an unthinking endorsement of fluidity. I hate it that the anti-capitalist bluster they so love is just a front for doing the work that advances the interests of capital.

As I shared before, the association for the scholars of female Hispanic literature has been renamed into Association for the Study of Genders and Sexualities. The only idea that has come out of the study of genders and sexualities is that both are fluid. So we are ditching the national literatures because there is a clear limit to fluidity there, and are moving into an area that does nothing but boringly repeat how great fluidity is.

Obviously, none of us know anything whatsoever about human sexuality beyond what a regular person does. We are not even remotely qualified to produce scholarship on the subject. All we can do is repeat how much we love the idea that it’s all fluid. But that’s the whole point. The task here is to normalize the idea that everything is fluid to the point that not even the physical reality of human biology can stand up to it. And if you can’t embrace that, then you are hopelessly behind the times.

People tell me I worry over nothing because it’s just a name. But I say, imagine people you are living with call you “Brilliant and Beautiful” for the next year. And now imagine they call you “Dumb Loser” for a year. Can anybody honestly say it would have no impact on them? (And those who would are immature poseurs who bore me.)


16 thoughts on “Ideological Apparatus”

  1. Interestingly, one of my students says she used to believe in fluidity because she was not willing to say she was a lesbian. Now, at 21, she feels all these fluid, yet very scripted micro-identities (e.g. “gray asexual demi-romantic”) are oppressive over-categorizations that obscure simpler questions like who do you love, are you interested in sex right now or not, etc. Then I have a colleague who I would swear uses fluidity to get off the hook for sexism. “I could not have done that patriarchal thing because I am fluid” (and don’t tell him anyone can be the agent of patriarchy, because he “already knows feminist theory” and will not be told).


  2. Well, the change from women to gender strikes me as a way to be more inclusive, but not in a positive way. It’s a response to “But what about men?” In my opinion, if feminism is still to have any meaning, it should focus on women. Duh!


    1. A couple of years ago I gave a really great talk at this association’s conference based on a queer reading of a novel. Everybody liked it, and we had a great discussion. But I gave the talk as a literary critic, which is what I am. If one looks at the talk from a sexologist’s point of view, I’m sure it sounds atrocious. Because I’m not making any advances in the study of sexualities. I’m only working on literary texts.


  3. I am all for the ideology of fluidity over a return to the ideology of the nation-state, but I think what is overlooked in elite academic circles is differential access to fluidity, and the differential valuing of different types of fluidity. It’s great for me, but the question is how can it work for everyone?


    1. I don’t think it’s going to work even for a majority, let alone everybody. The only question is whether we say “hah hah, serves you right, you backwards losers”, which is what’s currently being done by the more liberal among us. Or whether there is at least going to be a recognition that people might be justified in not being super enthusiastic about these changes.


      1. Also,all of these arcane speech codes, microaggressions, bizarre and unrealistic sexual norms, they are a way if gatekeeping. Spaces in the fluid elite are limited and it’s important to keep as many people out as possible. There are no real borders, so borders are created in behavior, in speech, in shared norms that look very inaccessible and bizarre to the majority.

        The global capital is very Anglo-Saxon in nature, so this is who gets to set the speech and behavioral codes for everybody else. And the rest will have to fall in line. Note how the word “Hispanic” is being wiped out from the name of our association in order to make way for the very Anglo-Saxon obsession with sexuality.

        I observe with great sadness how Ukrainians, for instance, are transcribing all of these terms like victim-blaming, fat-shaming, etc into Cyrillic alphabet because there are no relevant concepts in the language, yet you’ve got to ape Your Betters in hope they will let you join them.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That renaming just seems like dressing up the old idea that literature by Hispanic women is reducible to genitalia and sexuality in new clothing.

    But tell people that James Joyce and Potnoy’s Complaint and the Odyssey and The Great Gatsby and Shakespeare are reducible to the same and watch everyone get angry.


    1. The words “Hispanic” and “women” are not only outdated but actually insulting, according to the new dogma. So we throw them out to make way for what really matters. SEX!!!


      1. I am pretty much totally convinced they have opened women’s clothing and makeup up to men in order to sell more, and made gender fluid and sexuality into micro-identities so as to occupy peoples’ minds (the latter) and rally them to fluidity generally. It’s like sex and soma in Looking Backward, the dystopian novel.

        And yes, to join the global fluid elite you need certain things, internet access, etc. I must study fluidity more (and also liquid) but it seems to me that something like good, funded public schools everywhere, with curricula developed locally by well educated people, would do a lot more for equality than “fluidity” can.


        1. Absolutely. 100% true. When I see my students who, like they did today, stare at me, thirsty for knowledge and so happy and enthusiastic to get it, that’s where hope lies.

          I’m loving my Latin American history class.


          1. I’ve made my culture class too theoretical. I think. But I wanted it not to be fluff. I have to come up with some rich teaching modules, do it more the way I do the lit class. HMMM.


          2. About the public schools — there’s an 18th century value for you, public schools, libraries, etc. THIS is what we’ve been criticizing the last 30 or 50 years of theorizing against modernity. Of course I understand why that was and is done, etc., but when you sow, you have to consider what you may reap.


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