Three women, three feminists, three professors of writing--with non-traditional sexual preferences, collectively represent several minorities. These very different individuals, with their own unique voices, all classify themselves as the “other” and believe that society has placed them in this category. I found the Bi, Butch, and the Bar Dyke all very interesting, opinionated women despite the article being somewhat dated. Luckily, many of their issues have moved forward to a better place of societal acceptance since this paper’s September 2000 publication.
The opening/introduction seemed intimidating, but the individual essays were quite reader-friendly (thankfully as I am often reading at the end of my brain capacity after a very long day). I feel that many of the issues were complicated by their personal concern—and defense of—their sexuality, and how it should or could affect their writing. Again, this may have been the social atmosphere—particularly within writing communities, as evidenced by student responses to these women “coming out” publicly to them. Much has changed in the spirit of acceptance in the last decade or so.
The essay I thought would be the most challenging, Butch, had a rather fascinating perspective. My sister-in-law would identify with this category proudly and the chronological fit is a match as well. In retrospect, these opinions hold a lot of truth, and are historically accurate to the best of my recollection. The butch/ femme classification was explained simply as were the differences in identities. Mostly, I enjoyed her writing style—her voice—above the other two; perhaps because of the similarity to someone I knew.
The first author—Bi—was on point about the tendency of communal voices blurring the lines which individuals and/ or minorities believe differentiate them from the outsider. The reason? Because people are essentially the same; we are all human regardless of personal preferences. Societal labels should never restrict what comes from within.
“The tension, the uncertain space writing teacher and students find between the familiar ‘real me’ voice and an emerging public voice should not necessarily be resolved with codified positions; rather the tension should be a space to work from…” (Marinara, 72-73).
Bisexuality caused this woman many problems with identity and a political sense of self; one can only hope this friction created a solid base for her to educate students, motivate writing and become comfortable in her own identity. Which leads to the final essay, Bar Dyke, and her laundry list of major league personal problems. This woman had come a long way to overcome the difficulties she was handed, which made them part of her person—her voice. However, many of her choices were the result of a difficult past, but in no way related to her sexuality. Also, the dossier she submitted contained items—interesting to her—but inappropriate and unnecessary for an evaluation.
This paper was interesting and somewhat defined the place of "other" in writing as both writer and subject; mostly I enjoyed listening to the three different voices. On that note, Peter Elbow’s discussion of voice was, of course, amazing, informative, and fascinating. I enjoyed and agreed with his arguments for personal voice, reading aloud to hear one’s voice, and the practice of using voice to persuade as stated by both the sophists and one of my favorites, Aristotle. I also strongly agreed with his suggestions to: “…separate language and thinking from the author (especially if it’s famous or respected author) and to see multiple and even contrary interpretations of a text…” (182).
He had wonderful arguments for both listening to voice and writing objectively, thus avoiding recognition or the creation of bias. The struggle to accomplish both creates the tension—the conflict--- which makes writing alive—exciting as opposed to static and mediocre. Naturally I enjoyed his references to types of voice and style of reading; that is how theatre brings the words to life and puts them on their feet. Overall, he states it simply when he says: “We don’t have to read or write the same way all the time” (183).
Following Peter Elbow’s advice, I have been giving thought to our personal vignettes. I would like to create something that reflects our theme—the “aha” moment of writing while, at the same time, expresses the connection of English to its soul-mate--Theatre. Because as we grow, there are different moments of great achievement, I will try to create mini-scenes to capture these with both sensitivity and humor. That is all I have presently but I think I am on to something; let’s hope it blossoms as I move forward!
Lastly, the DigiWriMo sounds terrific, I’m getting excited about all of these hi-tech computer things---this is fun! But if I need help, hope you guys don’t mind!