The Male as ‘object of desire’

Posted: February 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

Butler and Lacan may seem abstract to many readers, but it gives me a frame for understanding my gender travels. You see, before I started using the frame of transgender to talk about my travels, I was motivated by ‘being the object of desire’, being sexy. I have always wanted to feel sexy and desired and simultaneously felt shame about this. I experienced it as a taboo. It conflicted with my idea of the manly gender. Lesbian discourse use the term ‘adore.’ One partner adores the other. In Butch/Femme the butch adores the femme, sometimes exclusively. In straight relationships I feel like it was my role to adore, to be turned on, to pursue to kiss and stroke. The adorer is active and the adored is passive. Somehow the configuration of my identity did not allow me to function as the ‘object of desire.’ In my sexual interactions with (ex-)lesbians this position was negotiated, and I have let myself be adored through ‘lesbian sex.’ This has changed how I relate to my own body and to my lover. My fashion experiments have also focused on integrating the ‘sexiness’ which I as male had forbidden myself. Slutty, trampy and sexy. These are all terms for women who dress in a way to ‘reflect’ (masculine) desire. Butler might call it a masquerade, a performance of gender tailored for masculine desire. High Femme is perhaps an intention to turn this into an empowered position, the powerful object of desire. I experience attention-seeking, flashy, trampy fashion as liberating. The masculine position of being the desirer and not the desired somehow stratified me in an isolating gender identity. It creates a barrier for friendship with women and a competitive (and homophobic) ground for friendship with men. One final note, I am not valorizing sexual objectification. I have experienced many of objectification’s dark sides too. For me as a male though it presents a vast expansion of my possible interactions with other actors. It also expands the possibilities for the female-bodied who want to interact with men outside of the discourse of hegemonic masculinity.

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