Midnight thoughts, Daytime words - Spectrums are not enough
Midnight last night… struggling to fall asleep partly due to an afternoon nap and partly due to thoughts. Thoughts going back to a recent twitter hashtag/discussion a few weeks ago #IAmNonBinary. Thoughts which feel so much more complete when I am seeing them complete with illustrations and voice over in my head.
Spectrums are a great tool for showing that human experience is greater than labels or boxes. That Gay and straight aren’t the only sexualities, male and female aren’t the only genders but… but it’s not without it’s problems. Spectrums have extremities, have ends. They also fail to take into account the pull of normative ideals.
I prefer to think of planes… infinite planes distorted by societies.
Genderplanes where ideas of gender are collated into a solar system of orbiting, distorting masses; like planets orbiting stars, like black holes pulling everything, everyone, to their own centres. Butch, femme, tomboy, maiden, mother, crone and others orbiting a star called Female collectively distorting the Genderplane. A second set of ideas creating a second large distortion around the star Male - father, son, jock, beta... Other ideas creating other wells in which people gather: genderqueer, genderfuck, agender, non binary and more.
The Genderplane is not the only plane in Socityspace. In western culture, the Sexualityplane is bent, warped hideously out of shape by the black hole that is hetrosexual and then those that are homosexual and bisexual leaving their smaller pockets of distortion. The Raceplane, the Classplane, Wealthplane…
And it gets worse… or better. They influence each other in strange, confusing ways. At its simplest, our Sexualityplane relies on our Genderplane and elements of the Sexualityplane influence the size and shape of the masses in the Genderplane. Ways in which our collective understanding of non-euclidian geometry is insufficient to fully calculate and explain.
According to Wikipedia, to escape Earth’s gravity you need a speed of around 11.2km/s. To escape the Sun’s much larger gravity, you need a speed of 617.5km/s. To put that into some sort of context, a Formula 1 car can go at speeds about 0.083km/s (300km/hour). As such, it’s easier to live at the bottom of one of these wells than it is to skate freely across the plane. And it’s hard to escape the well.
I felt that way about sexuality for a while - since I realised that gay, straight, bi were not just labels, but boxes limiting us, imprisoning us but I have been becoming more aware of the other planes now. This was part of what I was trying to say in my “contribution” to the #IAmNonBinary discussion. I don’t particularly want to identify as male. But I don’t have sufficient escape velocity to escape that gravity well - I do not sufficiently dis-identify as male. I don’t have the energy to climb out of one pit and into another (agender? genderqueer? non binary?), never mind skate freely across the surface as I might want. The best I can hope is that, because these are socially constructed masses, they can be socially destructed… the masses broken down into constituent parts which can be scattered evenly across the plane for people to move between quickly and easily .
That is starting on some planes, but it’s still a long way off.