It was a happy day yesterday when my latest issue of Bitch magazine (no. 54: “The Frontier Issue”) arrived in the mail. While I get so much of my “feminist response to pop culture” on the Internets these days, there’s something truly pleasurable about curling up every few months with the latest issue of Bitch and perusing the book reviews and feature articles off-line.
The feature book review / author interview in this issue is by Jessica Hoffmann (of make/shift), interviewing author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore about her new book Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? (AK Press, 2012). Much of the interview is taken up with a great conversation about the way in which mainstreaming the movement for gay civil rights is built upon the continued marginalization of folks unable or unwilling to “play straight”: that is, perform socially according to heteronormative expectations, even if you’re technically out of the closet in terms of the objects of your desire. As Hoffman observes:
If the path to the place where “it gets better” is to look and act like a straight white dude — married, moneyed, and powerful in institutions ranging from business to the U.S. military — where does that leave people who can’t or don’t want to fit into that mold? And does feminism have anything to offer a conversation about faggotry and fear?
The article isn’t available online, but I highly recommend heading on down to your local news stand, public library, or bookstore of choice to check out the piece! I know I’m headed directly from writing this blog post to my public library’s inter-library loan page to see if I can’t find a copy of Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? somewhere in the system.
Update: Avory @ Radically Queer has just posted a thoughtful review of Sycamore’s book.