SPLIT

Split Cover

Created by Laura Ayre (Editor), Madi Doerre (Journalist), Cassis Schafer (Journalist), and Avia Hailey (Graphic Designer)

“Our intention is to provide a glimpse of women in marriage from a transnational feminist standpoint […] Among other things, our primary vision at SPLIT is to encourage our readers to question which institutions they are conditioned to participate in and for what reasons those institutions are deemed socially legitimate. We wish you good luck in your journey going forward, and we hope that you find yourselves as curious and inspired as we were when creating this publication.”
—Laura Ayre, Editor

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Split ToC

Straight Best Friend: Inverting G.B.F.’s Failed Attempt at a Political Statement

original-print“The presentation of this fairy-tale ending, where everyone lives happily ever after, neglects to address the conflict between the three girls and their horrific treatment of Tanner. This quick and sloppy resolution trivializes the abuse Tanner faces and thus normalizes gay submission to those in dominant social roles.”
—Susanna Penfield, Jules Olliff, Jess Keniston, and Winston Xu (Block 4 2016)

“The color scheme of the poster, and entire movie, is itself a binary that further enforces gender and societal divisions. Despite the sparkles and pastel-tint that render the title and background slightly more effeminate, and thus more gay, the primary colors are still blue and pink. Due to its predominate size and position, the pink title G.B.F. fills the upper half of the poster while the bottom is predominantly blue. This contrast points to the constructs society has imposed on male-female relationships and the separation that is maintained between behaviors of the two sexes.”

“Although the trailer for G.B.F is an attempt to satirize the behavior of individuals who sensationalize sexuality, the trailer devotes little time to showing Tanner’s plight, treating him like a minor character. The trailer’s focus on the other characters’ struggles detracts from Tanner’s own journey. The trailer reiterates several times how having a G.B.F is beneficial to one’s social status. ”

sbf“The difference lies in the character’s sexuality as Tanner has now “come out” as straight in a society that has embraced queer to be the status quo, meaning that the three depicted women are all meant to be homosexual. This, however, is not evident in the revised print as each character is presented as confident and autonomous, firmly grounded and perpendicular to the surface they stand on regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

“By creating a world where queer women possess the mainstream narrative, we lend voices to individuals that are typically overlooked by the media. This, in turn, highlights the widely accepted notion that heterosexual men naturally occupy a dominant space. This choice counters the heterosexual norm, while pointing out the ridiculousness of normalized shock and tokenization that are common reactions to homosexuality.”

Hints of Queerness in Mainstream Music Marketing: A Case Study of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One”

 

 

original-print“Although Sam Smith, a queer man, has been incorporated into the mainstream music industry, he has been incorporated on the condition that his marketed image ‘adhere to the traditional and perhaps conventional expectations of male behavior’ (Clarkson 396). Even though not all of Sam Smith’s music videos are hetero-washed (some have obviously queer elements that are not coded for queer eyes only), there seems to be a clear struggle behind the scenes … While Smith’s queer identity is made visible through his music, people behind the scenes seem to be doing acrobatics to make sure it is not too overt.”

“The wife is shown scene-after-scene in complete distress over her husband’s infidelity, yet she ultimately accepts him back. In opposition to the wife, the other woman’s presentation, from her loose hair and hoop earrings to her sleeveless dress, suggests her dirtiness. These presentations fall in line with Jane Caputi’s explanation of conventional notions of the female gender. According to Caputi, because women historically have much narrower sexual freedoms than men, they ‘are split into ‘pure’ or ‘dirty,’ ‘virgins’ or ‘whores,’ ‘keepers’ or ‘trash’’ (378). Men, on the other hand, can easily avoid these binary sexual labels because they have much wider sexual latitudes.”

new-print“We aimed to counter the stereotypical casting of a woman as the victim of her husband’s betrayal, as well as offset the common labeling of women within binary sexual labels. We also aimed to include the queer narrative that Smith’s team disguised … Queer displays of intimacy are usually depicted in censored and tamed fashions, while visceral images of heterosexuality permeate throughout media. In our recreation of the video, we chose to display homosexual intimacy, thereby explicitly adding Smith’s queer storyline to the music video. In addition, we had our recreated relationship attempt to mimic an androgynous living system, whereby power and subservience is not rooted in gender performance.”

Binary Schminary

Gender BinaryBy Taylor Knight (‘18)

Softly glowing, my laptop throws a timid presence of light over the room. On the login screen, the name “Taylor” blinks back at me below a small picture of me until tears streak down my cheeks. At first, I can’t find the words to capture the ethereal feeling of pure bliss in my chest. For the first time, I am given the chance to remove the lens of cisnormativity, and I am suddenly aware that this gender-neutral name fits me better than my birth name ever did. Since then, I have openly identified as non-binary and plan on changing my legal name later in the spring.

Gender is simply performative. We pretend that our performative identities are natural instead of fabricated, and we imitate internalized “regulatory fictions” (Butler, Gender Trouble 180) just to repeat a story that society has repeated from generation to generation. In this way, Judith Butler argues that gender liberation requires an abandonment of “gender coherence” (119). It is nearly impossible to be objective under the glaring lens of a cultural narrative for gender; every member of every society is harnessed to systematic constraints and conditioned through disciplinary methods to internalize the narrative of their own culture.

Queer theory’s concept of gender fluidity allows for us to approach gender in more complex ways—as a gray area instead of black and white, which would allow for stratified limitations to be broken. Non-binary identities exist within the transgender community for people who don’t fit into the gender binary, including terms like agender, gender-fluid, demiboy, and more.​

Despite the unfamiliarity of the term, non-binary communities have existed as long as gender structures—they simply lacked a platform to improve awareness or the terms necessary to figure out why the gender binary felt so rigid to them. Thankfully, the rise of social media has made it increasingly possible for non-binary people to find one another. Just like any other community, there are certainly complex discussions within it. One such issue is the notion of “passing” as non-binary, similar to a struggle of transgender people who identify as either male or female, whether or not people could assume, based on appearance, that they are transgender. Androgyny is the typical expected ideal in non-binary appearance, but it tends to be geared towards masculine expression. When the default is considered masculine, femininity is Othered and becomes a symbol of excess indulgence—the anticipation of masculinity marginalizes the femme non-binary community and casts further shame on femininity. Moreover, the pressure of femininity should not be thrown upon non-binary people who were designated female at birth and neither should masculinity for those who were designated male at birth. “Passing” should be a moot point in the non-binary community, as it only divides and alienates us.

I can still taste the salt from the tears of joy in January; what I felt then is still present and far from fleeting. Every time I hear my name, my eyes light up. We have a tendency of shoving everything into the cultural categories that our superegos are socialized to accept but then we refuse to admit that gender structures are relative and performative—but once we do, it suddenly becomes apparent that no oppressive system is fundamentally indispensable or essential to our nature. We must demand fiercer critical analysis of the social constructions from ourselves and embrace the rejection of compulsory cisnormativity.