Periphery

Periphery (Cover)

Created by Justina Zuckerman (Editor), Judy Fisher (Journalist), Montana Bass (Journalist), and Ryan Garcia (Graphic Designer) in Block 6 2017

“We recognize that this work is far from easy, but disrupting the status quo is never simple, and as Sara Ahmed writes, ‘Where there is hope there is difficulty.’ Feminism is the work that we do against oppression to attempt to foster hope, collectivity, and understanding. Femininst theory is how we live our lives. We combine these two ideologies and create a form of rebellion. One that is quintessentially tied to sharing the experiences of those historically denied a voice by giving their work a place to be seen and shared. We will not attempt to appropriate their words to be more palatable by translating them into normative prose, but simply give the avenue and the means for these works to be regarded as legimate and true. As bell hooks writes, ‘I found a place of sanctuary in theorizing,’ and to create a place of sanctuary for expression and thought is absolutely Periphery’s objective.”
—Justina Zuckerman, Editor

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Periphery (ToC)

Out of Line

Out of Line (Cover)

Created by Mari Young (Editor), Griffin Shaffer (Journalist), Stefani Messick (Journalist), and Lauren Larrabee (Graphic Designer) in Block 6 2017

“We at Out of Line recognize that existing in liminal and/or undefined spaces is an act that requires immense courage. We understand that it is easy to fall trap to normative guidelines and that we ‘line ourselves up to avoid the consequences of being out of line because we have been there and we can’t face it anymore’ (Ahmed 55). Liberation is nonlinear, and there are bumps in the road—of that we are certain. So we encourage you to be resilient, no matter what stage in the process of living outside the lines you find yoruself. You are not alone. You are not wrong. You never have been.”
—Mari Young, Editor

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Out of Line (ToC)

PEELS

PEELS (Cover)

Created by Emily Gaston (Editor), Olivia Blackmon (Journalist), Kelsey Maxwell (Journalist), and Will Cannistraro (Graphic Designer) during Block 6 2017

“We hope to share critical information and insight about the operations of the prison system within the United States and consider various connections and contradictions between the numerous marginalized communities it targets. Ultimately, the goal is to contemplate identity and difference, to recognize the impact that such realities have on persons within and outside of the prison industrial complex (PIC), and to educate about—and advocate for—those impacted by the prison system. In the words of Audre Lorde, ‘In a society where the good is defined in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, there must always be some group of people who, through systematized oppression, can be made to feel surplus, to occupy the place of the dehumanized inferior’ (289). The PIC is deeply representative of this dynamic of inequality.”
—Emily Gaston, Editor

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PEELS (ToC)

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.

Lifting the Military’s Transgender Ban

By Meredith Bower (’18)

DADTOver the past few years, the military has experienced substantial media attention for scandals such as its “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy or the exposed rape epidemic. Now, it’s currently under fire for a ban on transgender people. According to Dan Lamothe, there are about 15,000 transgender personnel currently serving that are forced to keep their true identity hidden. Transgender people can be banned on the basis of both “medical and psychological regulations” (Ross 185), perpetuating an illusion that transgender people are inherently “sick.” The transgender ban poses two very real problems. The first obviously being that the military is denying free people a right to serve their country openly. The second issue at hand is that the military, a generally well-respected institution, is perpetuating the gender-binary structure of society that ostracizes so many.

The regulations behind the transgender ban are incredibly outdated. Psychological and physical evaluations are required before approval of entry into the military, and Allison Ross explains that “the Army’s Standards of Medical Fitness, which is representative of the other branches’ standards, lists numerous ways in which a current or prospective service member may be medically disqualified, including sex-reassignment surgery and identification as a transgender person” (189). Someone with sex-reassignment surgery can be denied the right to serve based on “major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia,” but even a transgender person without surgery can be excluded for “a long list of disorders, including transvestism, transsexualism, psychosexualism, and Gender Identity Disorder” (Ross 190). This exclusion assumes that transgendering is a psychological or physical abnormality. In Gender Inequality: Feminist Theories and Politics, Judith Lorber explains postmodern feminism’s stance that gender is merely a performance—that sex is biological, and gender is not. Instead, gender is “shaped and manipulated by individuals and can be used to transgress the social order” (285). In respect to this viewpoint, the military’s ban plays a massive role in “shaping and manipulating” gender roles. Such a large institution has the power to shape societal norms such as how people view transgendered people.

Transgender Military BanFurthermore, most active military personnel reject the military’s official stance. According to Army Maj. Gen. Gale S. Polluck, active troops today “have been around people who are open about their personality and sexuality. It’s normal for them to be accepting of one another, whereas 20, 30 years ago we didn’t share it because it wasn’t considered normal” (Lamothe). When “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was revoked, “some senior officers questioned the decision, fearing it would cost lives” (Lamothe). However, this was not the case, and as officers raise similar concerns in regards to lifting the transgender ban, it is important to keep this in mind.

In “Gender, Sex, and Sexual Performativity,” Judith Butler argues that those outside of the “normal” gender structure are viewed as “abjected beings who do not appear properly gendered” and as a result “it is their very humannesss that comes into question” (286). It should be an implied obligation for an institution as large and powerful as the military to reject this notion that those who display their gender “wrongly” are subhuman. But without lifting the transgender ban, the military will continue to play a role in the exclusion and degradation of transgendered people.