The Masquerade of Noncomformity

More importantly, when we appeal to some notion of an unmodified or undecorated body, we participate in the adoption of a false neutrality. We pretend, in those moments, that there is a natural body or fashion, a way of dressing or wearing yourself that is not a product of culture. Norms always masquerade as non-choices, and when we suggest that for example, resisting sexism means everyone should look androgynous, or resisting racism means no one should modify the texture of their hair, we foreclose people’s abilities to expose the workings of fucked up systems on their bodies as they see fit.

Dean Spade as quoted by Mimi Thi Nguyen in Gender/Queer: Dressed to Kill, Fight to Win at Racialicious (which is a brilliant title, by the way).

One day when I grow up, I hope to be able to write brilliant, moving, and kick ass rhetoric and critique like both Spade and Nguyen do. I feel moved by this indescribable intensity and passion inside of me to make the world a better place by illuminating the  connections and intersectionalities of oppressions. I want people to think when they read my words and begin to piece together the puzzle, inspiring them to go out and change things for the better.

It has been dawning on me with my interactions with others and conversations with L. in particularly that I must keep a radical edge to my politics, queerness, activism, and midwifery work in order to remain true to myself. While this has been a daunting thought for the past several years of my life, I’m beginning to see it kick doors and opportunities wide open in all directions. What incredible freedom to be yourself, radically and unapologetically. This is not something I have had the luxury of taking for granted in my life, as a queer woman in particular. This opens up expansive possibilities for me – first on the list is to learn to express my inner radical voice through the written word.

This also means shaking up the birth world. To borrow the brilliant phrase from Mai’a, I want to be an outlaw midwife. For me, this means education and change on a massive scale. What do you do when the birth world doesn’t match your view of a fair, or reproductively just movement? Why, you change it of course. Collaborate with others, form fellow radicals, and take the birth world by storm. At least that’s how I imagine it in my head. In the meantime, I will continue to refine my thoughts and learn as much as I can. How else am I going to figure out how to write as beautifully or as meaningfully as the brilliant Dean Spade?


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