Thursday, March 12, 2009

Definition: What's queer about domesticity?

With the recent onslaught of posts that I'm sure you all have noticed comes the distinct possibility that traffic at my blog will increase. (I say that with hope and not with arrogance, by the way.) And with increased traffic comes more exposure and with more exposure comes the opportunity, or even necessity, to more clearly define what I'm doing here. For some people, I'm sure that my mission at Queering Domesticity is obvious. For others, not so much. So let me lay it out here for you, as plain and simple as I can.

As a queer person and a woman, I'm expected to fulfill certain roles and participate in certain rituals and rites of passage as determined by the general populace. There are social, cultural and community cues and rules that I interact with on a daily basis telling me how I should and should not behave. If I were to follow the flock, I would probably be significantly different than I am now...and much of my life would revolve around what everyone else in the world expects and appreciates from people like me. Queer people, as a community, are not necessarily encouraged to be domestic. In fact, it is shocking and queer when we settle down in any way, rather than coating ourselves in glitter and feathers and marching in Pride parades and reveling in our diversity. The things that society detests about GLBTQ people are the same stereotypes to which were are held...and I'm one voice that's here to say that we're just about as normal as can be.

There have been studies conducted and written on gay domesticity. More clearly, commentary exists about how gay men have taken on a very important and influential role in cooking, design and general homemaking. Martha Stewart is a well known supporter and employer of gay men as evidenced by her show and staff. Ina Garten frequently invites her gay male friends over for dinners and cooking tutorials, as her proximity to NYC lends itself to invite her Broadway-bound buddies. And various cooking shows have featured lesbians and queer women as fierce competitors in the kitchen, such as Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef. Gay and lesbian couples have been featured on shows such as Trading Spaces and A Baby Story on The Learning Channel, all in an attempt to show or prove that we (the GLTBQI community) are really one in ten. What these programs and social experiments do not show is the domestic pursuits of lesbians and queer women. Our deviant sexuality is translated into deviance from all gender roles, and we are often depicted in ways that suggest we shun "femininity" and revel in the freedom of "masculine" pursuits. I think that sort of generalization is a laughable joke.

Queering domesticity, the blog and the lifestyle, is an opportunity for me to revel in and deconstruct all that is normal for me, but unusual in the face of mainstream queerness. The expectations society puts in place for heterosexual women are, in fact, things I love to do. Based on the reactions I have received from my peers, straight and queer, about my interests and behavior, I’m inclined to think that I am unique, special and queer (in the denotative sense as much as the connotative) for being so toe-the-line normal. This blog is my way of celebrating and sharing this reality with the world, for myself and for my community.

4 comments:

  1. I've been enjoying your blog for a couple of months. I applaud you for celebrating who you are and what you like do with your life and your time. It must really be strange to be in your position. Even I, a straight married woman, feel weird about admitting to my domestic pursuits - it's just not something that women are supposed to want to do anymore. We're supposed to be out in the work force breaking the glass ceiling. But you're right, we don't see or think about lesbian/queer women taking on such traditional roles. In fact, I'll admit it, because I like honesty in blogging, I thought for a long time that a queer MAN wrote this blog!!!

    I look forward to reading more from you!

    Cheers,
    Jessie

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  2. I love this, Meaghan! I've always loved that you were never a lemming and I love how you articulate your thoughts.

    I think you did a wonderful job explaining the purpose of your blog and helping people to open their eyes to gender roles and everything else that you talked about. I have the memory of a goldfish and already forget the specifics, but I liked it anyway. :)

    See you in a few weeks for game night!

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  3. I've just stumbled onto your blog and am in HEAVEN. I'm also a queer housewife. I wear heels and pencil skirts one day, and rock tennis shoes and sweat pants the next. I don't own anything with rainbow prints, and I don't frequent the gay clubs. I, very simply, happen to love my wife of 10 years.. almost as much as I love making a holiday centerpiece from fallen twigs and pine cones!

    Thanks for speaking up for all of us. I like you!

    Teri
    The Conspicuous Consumer

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  4. Thanks girl. Love that you have put yourself out there for domesticity! I'm frequently referred to as a "lipstick" lesbian. Goodness...I guess it doesn't really matter how I'm referred to I just know how much I enjoy being domestic.
    I kinda take care of the inside of the home and my GF takes care of the outside. It was a natural occurrence since we are doing what we both enjoy. There of course are area's where we overlap in our interests which makes it all enjoyable. Thanks for your blog. It's a real encouragement! Dawnlyne

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