Yes Means Yes! edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti
This week makes it a month since I decided to forsake Atlanta for Denver. And in those four weeks, I’ve been harassed on the street more than I ever have been in my life so far. (Not that I think Atlanta is particularly superior in that regard, only that being at a women’s college was a very different context. Although I will say that there is a Hollaback Atlanta and not a Hollaback Denver.) There’s nothing like waiting to cross the street after a long day at work and getting honked at, whistled at, or have someone grab their crotch at you to remind you that, by daring to be female and in public, your very corpse is considered public domain by an alarming amount of men. Between that and the success of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (which I am not linking to), this summer has given me a fresh handle on the concept of rape culture.
Straight by Hanne Blank
The reason I picked up this book is very simple: in reading an interview with Hanne Blank (which is, by the way, one of the coolest names ever), she casually mentioned the fact that, despite scientists trying to prove the existence of a “gay” gene, there’s no such thing as a “straight” gene. Afterwards, I realized the implications this had for certain scientists’ bias, but as I read it, I was absolutely stunned by both this idea and the fact that somewhere, lurking deep within even a queer woman like me, the idea that to be queer was to be markedly different had soaked in. And that’s exactly the sort of thing Blank does in Straight; calm and logical destabilization.
You know me—I’m always fascinated by queer history. Hence today’s featured titles from my ever-terrifying reading list—an ethnography of a queer community and the surprisingly short history of the constructed straight identity.