Trying to Try

Cheers, StyleNation, and welcome to the new academic year! Yes, almost everybody in the Northern (academic) hemisphere is back to class now, except for the lucky few – our own E-Jo, for example – who are excused from teaching and will thus spend the term engrossed in their research.

To be clear, gentle readers, for all my griping about prep and marking, I enjoy my time in the classroom. Generally, my students are great, and I LOVE the stuff I teach. But the balance is off lately, and I dream of months of uninterrupted research coupled with some respite from student demands. With almost 200 students this term and very little in the way of assistance with marking, I must (and will) rally. But I’m eligible for leave next year (hurrah!) and am counting down the days!

Professorial rant (scroll down for outfit post)

In the mean time, I have serious concerns about young feminists/feminism. I have this fantasy that this is only happening in my city, but regular (and VERY annoying) exposure (at conferences) to feminist and/or queer cultural studies suggests otherwise. Here’s the problem as I see it: gender-queer practices are the new (so-called) feminism, and the new (so-called) feminism tends to be anti-historical, intensely preoccupied with (Euro-North American) selfhood/identities, alarmingly elitist, and often misogynist. In short, gender-queer politics, at least in the incarnations in which I witness them, are not feminist at all. Instead, there’s an apparent “need” to eliminate the category of “woman” because it is, apparently, reprehensible and ostensibly irrecuperable. In this context, too, gender-queer’s preoccupation with a representative gender-neutral “personhood” seems to over-value a form of (relatively young) slightly re-fashioned masculinity. Gender-queer politics names this refashioned masculinity “androgyny.”

If this is actually a thing now, then, in my not-so-humble opinion, we’ve got a serious – and very tiresome – problem. For my part, I grow INTENSELY WEARY of the refusal, on the part of gender-queer critics, theorists, and students, to interrogate the assumptions underlying their politics.

How does this politics manifest in the undergraduate women’s studies classroom, the nerdier among you might ask? Currently, I am informed on a semi-regular basis, by 17-to-22-year-old persons with carefully-styled “androgynous” hair and clothing, that gender binaries must be disregarded to the point where any research or activism that acknowledges constructed genders is irrelevant.

How many times do we have to learn that socially constructed ideas have real effects, and that “refusing” to engage with a particular ideology does not, in fact, negate its effects in culture? Why can they not hear when a vast and diverse body of feminist cultural critics and theorists points out that even their gender-queer counter-culture defines itself in relation to mainstream gender ideals (i.e. gender-queer NEEDS normative gender constructions in order to understand what it is not)?

Moreover, I am sick and tired of research examining gender-based cultural belief systems that result, for example, in “women’s” starvation and death, or in infant mortality being disregarded and dismissed because those who wrote up the research failed to problematize the constructed categories of “man” and “woman,” or failed to account for a “woman”‘s personal agency when she “chose” to feed her husband and children before herself.

Here endeth my ranting. For now.

Outfit #1: First day of class

No, it’s not exciting, but I wasn’t excited to start teaching, again:

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Cardigan: M.A.K. (gifted from D-Med, remixed); Silk & lycra shell: Le Chateau (new to blog); Black cami: H&M (remixed); Linen trousers: H&M (remixed and redyed); Invisible black flats: MTNY (via Winners, new to blog)

Outfit #2: Teaching Day (today)

It’s chillier today. My classroom this morning was especially cold, so I lectured in this jacket:

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Cotton velvet blazer: RW & Co. (gifted from the A-Dubs-Hubs ages ago); Printed polyester tunic: Smart Set (new this season); Black leather belt: Mexx (remixed); Pleated black maxi skirt: Reitmans (end-of-season sales this summer); Trouser socks: Joe Fresh; Pewter faux-snakeskin flats with hardware: David Wilcox for Town Shoes (love these, bought ’em in gold, too)

Then, it warmed up, so I took off the jacket for my second class in the afternoon:

What’s up with you, StyleNation?

Also, am I being crazy about this gender-queer stuff?

Running the Numbers

It’s like I settled in to write lectures on September 8th, and here I am almost four weeks later, still writing. September in academia is a whirlwind around a crap storm.


Here on the other side, in the sweet early days of October, less than twenty-four hours away from my first giant pile of marking, a routine has begun to emerge. Once again, it all seems manageable instead of overwhelming.

I’m teaching two courses this term, one of which is an upper-year group of twenty-five students who are absolutely fantastic. The majority of the group appears to do all the readings (a miracle unto itself), then they talk to each other and to me, and they say smart, insightful things. They make it easy to get out of bed twice a week. I. Am. Grateful.

In other news, the countdown’s on for E-Jo’s birthday. Can you feel the excitement? My (preliminary) gift to her is the following set of autumn-ish images of a non-teaching-day ensemble. The leaves are falling, but it’s still warm enough for bare arms in the middle of the day:

DKNY studded jean jacket: Winners (remixed)
Juicy floral ruffled silk dress (purchased in XL & worn as tunic): Winners (new to blog)
Slim black pointe knit pants/leggings: Smart Set (new to blog)
Fly London Yayas: remixed
New location for outfit shots: side of my new garage
(matches my new house – more on this later)

And here’s one of the dress, minus the jacket, showcased via the Wonder WomanClassic with Hip Tilt” pose:

Red sparkly bracelet: mall anchor store (new to blog)
Pulsar watch: was my grandfather’s (remixed)
Obligatory shoe close-up, as requested (see comments section):
Care to share, All? 
‘High points? Low points in the blurry ninth month just past?