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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Theory

Against the Gendered Nightmare

By baedan, 2014

In the past several years, the question of gender has been taken up again and again by the anarchist milieu. And still few attempts amount to much more than a rehashing of old ideas. Most positions on gender remain within the constraints of one or more of the ideologies that have failed us already, mainly Marxist feminism, a watered down eco-feminism, or some sort of liberal “queer anarchism.” Present in all of these are the same problems we’ve howled against already: identity politics, representation, gender essentialism, reformism, and reproductive futurism. While we have no interest in offering another ideology in this discourse, we imagine that an escape route could be charted by asking the question that few will ask; by setting a course straight to the secret center of gendered life which all the ideological answers take for granted. We are speaking, of course, about Civilization itself.Such a path of inquiry is not one easily travelled. At every step of the way, stories are obscured and falsified by credentialed deceivers and revolutionary careerists. Those ideas presented as Science are separated from Myth only in that their authors claim to abolish mythology. Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, History, Economics—each faces us as another edifice built to hide a vital secret. At every step, we find more questions than answers. And yet this shadowy journey feels all the more necessary at the present moment. At the same time as technological Civilization is undergoing a renewed assault on the very experience of living beings, the horrors of gendered life continue to be inextricable from that assault. Rape, imprisonment, bashings, separations, dysmorphia, displacement, the labors of sexuality, and all the anxieties of techniques of the self—these daily miseries and plagues are only outpaced by the false solutions which strive to foreclose any possibility of escape; queer economies, cybernetic communities, legal reforms,prescription drugs, abstraction, academia, the utopias of activist soothsayers, and the diffusion of countless subcultures and niche identities—so many apparatuses of capture.The first issue of Bædan features a rather involved exegesis of Lee Edelman’s book No Future. In it, we attempted to read Edelman against himself; to elaborate his critique of progress and futurity outside of its academic trappings and beyond the limitations of its form. To do so, we explored the traditions of queer revolt to which Edelman’s theory is indebted, particularly the thought of Guy Hocquenghem. Exploring Hocquenghem still proves particularly exciting, because his writing represents some of the earliest queer theory which explicitly rejects Civilization—as well as the families, economies, metaphysics, sexualities and genders which compose it—while also imagining a queer desire which is Civilization’s undoing. That exploration lead us to explore the bodily and spiritual underpinnings of Civilization: domestication, or “the process of the victory of our fathers over our lives; the way in which the social order laid down by the dead continues to haunt the living… the residue of accumulated memories, culture and relationships which have been transmitted to us through the linear progression of time and the fantasy of the Child… this investment of the horrors of the past into our present lives which ensures the perpetuation of civilization.”1Our present inquiry begins here.To explore the conflict of the wildness of queer desire against domestication is to take aim at an enemy who confronts us from the beginning of Time itself. While our efforts in the first issue of this journal were a refusal of the teleology which situated an end to gender at the conclusion of a linear progression of time, we’ll now address the questions of origins which hint toward an outside at the other end of this line. As we’ve denied ourselves the future, we now turn against the past. In this, we abandon any pretensions of certainty or claims to truth. Instead we have1“Queers Gone Wild,” bædan vol. one, 2012.3 only the experiences of those who revolt against the gendered existent, as well as the stories of those whose revolt we’ve inherited. In the spirit of this revolt, we offer these fragments against gender and domestication.

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