Printer Friendly

Female Masculinity and Phallic Women-Unruly Concepts.

During the 2008 US election, internet images circulated of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin carrying big guns. In a commentary titled "Sarah Palin: Operation 'Castration,'" French Lacanian theorist Jacques-Alain Miller warned: "We are entering an era of postfeminist women, women who ... are ready to kill the political men." They play the "'castration' card" and are thus "invincible." (1) Such overheated rhetoric regularly attends discussions about "phallic women" and "female masculinity." This essay seeks to analyze current uses of these overlapping but disparate concepts about women who are presumed to have a relation to a or the "phallus," or to the vague and elastic category of "masculinity."

Female masculinity is an elusive, inherently paradoxical concept that slips away from efforts to pin it down. I examine it here in several historical and disciplinary contexts. My first three examples derive from central theorists of the topic over the past four decades. I start with a case history by Robert Stoller, the most authoritative US psychoanalytic writer on gender between World War II and contemporary feminist and queer theory. His 1973 book, Splitting: A Case of Female Masculinity, is a study of one psychotic woman that also claims to advance the understanding of gender (that is, of masculinity and femininity) more generally. (2) Despite Stoller's dated approach, subsequent masculinity studies up to the present day continue to rely on his psychoanalytic concepts. Next I turn to philosopher Judith Butler's essay "The Lesbian Phallus and the Morphological Imaginary" in her 1993 book, Bodies that Matter. (3) As one of the most influential pioneers of queer theory, Butler revised Lacanian psychoanalysis; in turn, her work inspired cultural studies scholar Judith (Jack) (4) Halberstare, whose 1998 book Female Masculinity depicts types of women who exemplify Butler's abstract ideas, thereby popularizing the concept of "female masculinity" as a possible lifestyle for women and especially butch lesbians. (5) Then I briefly discuss several postmillennial sociological studies that apparently mark a progressive trajectory from pathologizing nonnormative gender to liberatory gender self-definition. However, broadening this inquiry troubles narratives of progress and requires new theoretical paradigms. A contrast between Governor Palin and "chicks with dicks"--a genre of transnational transsexual pornography--reveals a cultural polarization between "phallic power" and abjected penis-for-pleasure. Taken as a whole, this narrative illustrates the instability, even the incoherence, of the concept of female masculinity and its role in propping, rather than undermining, masculinity altogether.

In all these examples, I'm interested in the theories that address gender variation, particularly the way that female masculinity still rests on binary conceptions of power that connote maleness and also on psychoanalytic assumptions. I note the divergent explanatory frameworks for gender nonconformity applied in these cases and their varied cultural contexts. Such theories are migratory, appearing across conceptual, political, and geographical borders. For Stoller in the 1970s, Freudian psychoanalysis remains the master discourse at a prosperous time in United States history when polarized gender roles seem in retreat and new social movements arise seeking women's liberation, civil rights for minorities, and greater equality for lesbians and gay men. Twenty years later, Butler speaks from within the academic disciplines of philosophy and gender studies in an era of relative social quiescence characterized by a popular sense of "mission accomplished" with regard to women's liberation. A pioneer of queer theory, she critiques older radical feminisms while retaining nuanced allegiances to psychoanalysis and poststructuralism. Following Butler, Halberstam firmly establishes female masculinity on the agenda of trans and queer studies, and her/his taxonomies become widely accepted. However, female masculinity is in an asymmetrical alliance with the field of masculinity studies, which is chiefly devoted to analyzing masculinity in men, often through object relations theories such as those of Nancy Chodorow. (6) One paradox of female masculinity discourses is that instead of being considered derivative, female masculinity may be celebrated as superior to masculinity in men. In today's contexts, rapidly changing popular culture, medical advances, and communication technology create new communities and gender formations and invite new theoretical interventions.


In adapting Freudian theory to his clinical practice, psychoanalyst Robert Stoller became one of the most noted authorities on the psychology of gender in the mid-twentieth century, especially on the variant formations of sexual preference and desire he labeled "perversions." The title of his book--Splitting--refers to his main subject, a woman whose psyche is split through multiple personalities, while the book's subtitle--A Case of Female Masculinity--creates female masculinity as a psychological syndrome. Since Freud declared penis envy the bedrock of women's psyches, it is not surprising that psychoanalysts such as Stoller discover widespread phallic fantasies in women. For Freud, penis envy originates from the anger and disappointment that all little girls experience when they recognize that their genitals are inferior to male genitals. Thus in the Freudian paradigm, normal femininity means that girls love their fathers, resent but identify with their mothers, and finally achieve contentment with their lot by having a compensatory baby, preferably one born with a penis. One alternative to this normative female Oedipus complex is the masculine protest in which the woman rebels against femininity by choosing masculine occupations and sometimes by becoming a lesbian. (7)

Stoller adheres to much of these Freudian psychodynamics in his fourteen-year analysis of Mrs. G., who believes she has an invisible internal penis that protects her from predatory men and persuades her that her desires for women are not homosexual. Quoting from audiotaped analytic sessions, Stoller traces her multiple personalities, sexual ambivalence, and gender dysphoria to her childhood family, including her weak father and rejecting mother. He uses this unique case to build generalizations about gender identity in women in general. He writes that "the main purpose of [his] research is to find sources of masculinity and femininity in childhood psychology and family dynamics," and the book begins: "This is a book about Mrs. G., a very masculine woman, and the pieces into which she was split in order to accommodate that masculinity." (8) He gives very few details to explain why he describes her as "very masculine." Well into the case history, he calls her "butchy," "tough," and "belligerent," with a "cocky position of her head." (9) Although he mentions that she is Mexican American, he never discusses her ethnicity or her working-class background as factors shaping her gender or sexuality.

Stoller explains that as a child Mrs. G. envied her brother and in response created her own "masculinity by imitation and identification, and maleness (a penis) by hallucination." (10) He thus distinguishes a biological or embodied "maleness" from psychological "masculinity." The doctor presents this penis delusion as Mrs. G.'s most salient symptom. When asked, what would happen "if you lost your penis?" she replies, "Then I wouldn't be anything. My penis is what I am." (11) However, she doesn't claim she is a man, instead using her fantasy penis to protect her from acknowledging that she has homosexual feelings. So Stoller judges that she becomes psychologically healthier when she finally considers herself a lesbian. Although he is sympathetic to his patient, he describes both female masculinity and homosexuality as pathological aberrations from a natural heterosexual norm: "Most homosexuals are what they are in order to preserve a nucleus of heterosexuality somewhere inside [themselves]," and he judges that Mrs. G.'s masculine sexual behavior is a defense mechanism to keep her "from recognizing that she wanted to be taken care of and 'mothered'" herself. (12)

According to Stoller, "'phallic' women" like Mrs. G. "have both femininity and conflicts about it." He also claims that similar "drives and defenses relating to having a phallus are ubiquitous in women of our society" so long as the word "phallus" is properly understood to indicate not a penis but its attributes--"intrusiveness, power, violence." (13) He generalizes that fantasies of being a member of the opposite sex are extremely common, especially among homosexuals. Mrs. G's envy and hatred of maleness fit Stoller's description of Freud's "penis envy" common to all women. Stoller believes that gender identity is built from "a set of convictions--concerned with masculinity and femininity" and from internalized unconscious fantasies. However, against Freud, he emphasizes that "egosyntonic forces" and "non-conflictual learning" help create women's gender identity, and therefore "femininity is not just a defense against envy of maleness and masculinity." (14)

When Mrs. G. claims that she "wouldn't be anything" without her imaginary penis, her explanation indicts the sexist culture: she says, "a man always has an advantage because he works and he supports himself," whereas "being feminine means you're vulnerable to males." (15) Her denial of lesbian desires, too, fits an era largely intolerant of homosexuality. Her gendered and sexual pathology--and what Stoller has labeled her "female masculinity"--then, might all be understood in terms of her nonconformist responses to the sexism and homophobia of the times. As we have seen, although Stoller claims to be seeking the sources of female masculinity, he introduces Mrs. G. from the first as a "very masculine woman" without explaining the term. Thus female masculinity is his goal, the thing he seeks to understand, and at the same time it is his starting point. Stoller interprets gender and sexual orientation as interdependent psychological structures that defend a core "true self" that is always heteronormative, even in homosexuals and lesbians. (16) Furthermore, although Mrs. G.'s delusional penis is a rare symptom, he also regards penis envy, transsexual fantasies, and female masculinity as normal in women.


Some of the contradictions in Stoller's pioneering theories of female masculinity and gender formation appear decades later in the writing of Judith Butler despite the transition from a Freudian case history to a Lacanian poststructuralist theory. Butler's essay "The Lesbian Phallus and the Morphological Imaginary" subverts previously negative connotations of female masculinity. The essay starts with a disavowal: "After such a promising title, I knew that I could not possibly offer a satisfying essay; but perhaps the promise of the phallus is always dissatisfying in some way." (17) This tease connects the subject of the work with its writing and connects the relation between writer and reader, one or both of whom seem possessed of it: "I assure you (promise you?)" that the essay "couldn't have been done without" the lesbian phallus, despite its only fugitive appearance in the essay. (18) Butler's opening gambit diminishes masculinist pretensions by implying that no phallus ever satisfies. The lesbian phallus is a contradiction in terms, and the essay plays with this imaginary construction to critique the Lacanian concept of the phallus--the master symbol of power--to imply that if one can imagine a lesbian phallus, "the phallus" will become detached from male bodies and hence usable by other subjects.

Butler dismantles Lacan's binary, in which "'having' is a symbolic position that institutes the masculine within heterosexuality," always in opposition to a feminine that lacks having or is equated with being. (19) Into this closed symbolic system, "the lesbian phallus may be said to intervene as an unexpected consequence of the Lacanian scheme, an apparently contradictory signifier which, through a critical mimesis, calls into question the ostensibly originating and controlling power of the Lacanian phallus, indeed, its installation as the privileged signifier of the symbolic order." (20) Thus Butler's analysis creates and undermines "the Lacanian phallus," a phrase that conflates Lacan's symbol with her own apparently masculine authority over theory.

Often Butler presents a supposed cause as instead an effect, most famously in the thesis that gender identity does not cause gendered behavior, but rather that performing gender creates the sense of an internal gender identity. (21) Here, instead, I suggest that an effect noted by Butler makes sense as a final cause or implicit purpose. Butler calls the lesbian phallus "an unexpected consequence" of the Lacanian scheme even though it is not a part of Lacan's writings but rather her own invention. She remarks that to de-authorize "the male imaginary," her "strategy will be to show that the phallus can attach to a variety of organs, and that the efficacious disjoining of phallus from penis constitutes both a narcissistic wound to phallomorphism and the production of an anti-heterosexist sexual imaginary." (22) Her purpose, then, is to separate the phallus from the penis; that is, to detach the symbol of power from the male organ and so burst the bubble of an inviolable "masculine ... imaginary." This rupture is immediately accomplished in the very imagining of the lesbian phallus. However, such reasoning only works if we already agree that the phallus is a mobile concept that represents something like power in general, not just the power of biological males. And furthermore, the conflation of masculinity and power may encourage some lesbian theorists to assign the phallus more to themselves rather than to heterosexual women.

Well into the discussion that began by positing its existence, Butler admits that "'the' lesbian phallus is a fiction, but perhaps a theoretically useful one." (23) This usefulness is deployed, not just against Lacan's theories, but more pointedly against what she calls "the feminist orthodoxy on lesbian sexuality." The lesbian phallus may then serve "as the 'missing part,' the sign of an inevitable dissatisfaction that is lesbianism in homophobic and misogynist construction." Who is dissatisfied? The homophobe and misogynist, here rhetorically associated with a feminist orthodoxy that apparently refers to essentialist radical feminism. Thus Butler's essay is historically situated in the early 1990s in relation to an evolving feminism and emerging queer theory as well as to deconstruction and psychoanalysis.

In her essay Butler switches from attacking Lacan's sexism--presumably with the concurrence of her feminist readers--to attacking feminist orthodoxy, and becomes a kind of overbearing mother (rather than the Lacanian abusive father) to the rebellious child of her own queer theory. She says that feminist orthodoxy will see in the lesbian phallus both "the defilement or betrayal of lesbian specificity" and a pathetic mimicry of man. (24) The term "specificity" does not itself specify whether it is referring to political power, woman identification, female eroticism, or anything else. Thus Butler imagines that, for both the feminist and the misogynist, who become conflated, the lesbian phallus is not a symbol of power but of failure: "it's not the real thing (the lesbian thing) or it's not the real thing (the straight thing)." However, this euphemism, "the real thing," itself collapses penis into phallus, so that questioning the authority of either term deflates both. Because it is, in her words, an "idealization, one which no body can adequately approximate," the phallus is "a transferable phantasm, and its naturalized link to masculine morphology can be called into question through an aggressive reterritorialization." This explanation restates the point her title has already made as she grabs the phallus by its theoretical handle in order to make it her own in a masculinist rhetoric of conquest, "an aggressive reterritorialization."

Butler then shifts tactics to claim that the notion of a lesbian phallus upsets the "logic of noncontradiction that serves normative heterosexuality." (25) By appropriating the (lesbian) phallus, Butler's argument succeeds in cutting off phallic ownership from the penis. She argues:
    When the phallus is lesbian, then it is and is not a masculinist
   of power.... And insofar as it operates at the site of anatomy, the
   phallus (re)produces the spectre of the penis only to enact its
   vanishing.... This opens up anatomy and sexual difference itself--as
   site of proliferative resignifications. (26) 

These careful conditionals posit a nominalist reality. "When the phallus is lesbian" assumes that the phallus exists and that the new concept of a lesbian phallus is "proliferative" and so powerful. The lesbian is not sterile here but appropriates patriarchal generativity. But the only reason a feminist has for connecting penises and power is that she knows she lives in a male-dominated society. Butler's figure of the lesbian phallus thus reaffirms several popular ideas at the level of high theory: the lesbian is and is not mannish; her desire is to share--or seize--male power. Power is and is not tied to masculinity and to anatomical maleness. Conversely, masculinity is unthinkable without some connection to power. I note, too, that Butler's language goes through a metaphorical sex change within this passage: the masculine phallus penetrates and "opens up" "anatomy" and so "sexual difference," thus figuring the body and sexuality as always already female and fruitful.

Butler says that "the phallus has no existence separable from the occasions of its symbolization," but the lesbian phallus can "signify differently" and so "resignify, unwittingly, its own masculinist and heterosexist privilege." (27) This formulation assumes that "masculinist and heterosexist" are so tied together that lesbian masculinity would not perhaps could not--reinforce heterosexist binaries a questionable assumption. Butler also implies that the opposite of the "masculinist and heterosexist" must be a feminist and queer--and hence more progressive--alternative. Butler's lesbian phallus thus deflects the 1970s-style lesbian feminist suspicion that women who take symbols of male power reinforce those symbols. Instead, she argues that the master's master tool is exactly what can best dismantle the master's house.

Butler's persuasive central argument in her 1990 book Gender Trouble: Feminista and the Subversion of Identity is that anything that is socially instituted has to be practiced to remain in force and hence can be repeated differently. One question her later work raises, then, is whether or not feminists wish to "promote an alternative imaginary to a hegemonic imaginary" that uses the lesbian phallus as the alternative to the masculinist phallus. (28) Butler concludes "The Lesbian Phallus" essay by asserting that "what is needed is not a new body part, as it were, but a displacement of the hegemonic symbolic of (heterosexist) sexual difference and the critical release of alternative imaginary schemas for constituting sites of erotogenic pleasure." The last word of the chapter introduces "pleasure" to a discourse that has previously focused instead on meaning and power. Since a conclusion in Butler's discourse can often be read as its cause, I therefore turn the essay around to see pleasure as the goal for which the concept of the lesbian phallus was invented. This pleasure is deeply implicated in the powers of naming, which may be exactly what the phallus as logos means. Furthermore, although (feminine) pleasure here takes over as a feminist goal from (masculine) power, both become synecdoches, parts of the feminist dream figured as the whole of a new way of thinking and speaking, a new imaginary that is no longer heterosexist and masculinist, despite its teasing appropriation of the central masculinist symbol of power.

So Butler creates the lesbian phallus by naming it, but in so doing she has already performed her own act of cutting away at her Lacanian master texts. She cites Lacan as pronouncing "the body and anatomy are described only through negation: anatomy, and in particular, anatomical parts, are not the phallus, but only that which the phallus symbolizes (Il est encore bien moins l'organe, penis ou clitoris, qu'il symbolize)," that is, to translate from Lacan's text, "it is much less the organ, penis or clitoris, that is symbolized" (29) She explains that this means that the phallus is a "synecdochal extrapolation," a part for the whole. (30) Throughout her own discussion thereafter, she, too, takes only one part for the whole, repeatedly referring to the penis but without mentioning the clitoris that Lacan himself puts in parallel not in opposition--to the penis. If Butler had admitted the clitoris to her discussion, that addition might have disrupted the binary she creates between inadequate penis and powerful phallus. Furthermore, attention to the clitoris might figure alternative positive female imaginary constructions to the lesbian phallus, as Teresa de Lauretis suggests. (31) "The Lesbian Phallus" does not discuss the most obvious phallic female in the Freudian system, the phallic mother who figures as the fantasy figure of completeness of which the child must be disabused or else become a fetishist. In the following chapter in Bodies that Matter, Butler does introduce the figure of "the phallic mother," defining it as "devouring and destructive, the negative fate of the phallus when attached to the feminine position." (32) This is a misogynous construction that displaces "phallic destructiveness" onto women, not the men who claim to be the proper holders of power. Butler concludes that phallic mothers--"these figures of hell, figures which constitute the state of punishment threatened by the law"--are partly "figures of homosexual abjection," that is, the "feminized 'fag' and the phallicized 'dyke."' (33) Here "the phallicized 'dyke'" stands in unvoiced contradiction to the lesbian phallus described earlier, not a newly imagined figure of power but a tired old figure of social exclusion. This juxtaposition refigures the preceding chapter on the lesbian phallus into an exercise in utopian thinking, its initial moment not merely the imaging of the lesbian phallus but of triumph over the mental strictures of patriarchy, social defamation, and homophobia.

Throughout the "The Lesbian Phallus," the lesbian is not defined or specified by practice or desire. Presumably the term refers to women who desire women erotically, rather than to the woman-identified woman of 1970s lesbian feminism, but the term's vagueness endows it with its own powerful symbolic aura. The lesbian phallus is an abstraction originating only in a chain of signifiers. It has no personal psychology, no relation to the absent fathers and rejecting mothers of Stoller's case histories, and no specific sexual desires, practices, or forms of self-presentation. Instead, Butler's essay enacts its theories about the discursive construction of gender by creating the lesbian phallus as a disembodied concept. The author teases that she has it, since the essay "couldn't have been done without it. (34) Thus her essay implicitly makes the case for the phallic lesbian as a powerful discursive construction, a phallic woman who is never pictured as embodied (and so never disparaged as freakish) but who remains most stereotypically masculine in her very abstraction into discourse. (35) Furthermore, the term remains within the binary Lacanian logic that it disputes. Having a phallus or not having one remain the only choices. Despite the vast difference between Stoller's interpretation of Mrs. G.'s fantasized penis and Butler's invention of the fantasized lesbian phallus, Butler's ideas still echo the Freudian notions that women especially lesbians--envy and wish to appropriate men's penises and that powerful women are by definition phallic.


Following Butler, literary critic Judith (Jack) Halberstam has been crucial in moving the discourse from a stigmatized to a positive view of female masculinity. Halberstam begins by assuming rather than explaining the term. S/he introduces her book Female Masculinity by saying she tells people that she is "writing about women who feel themselves to be more masculine than feminine," without their needing Halberstam to define either "masculinity" or "women." (36) Like Stoller, she considers masculinity self-evident, prior to definition, valuable, and powerful. "There is something all too obvious about the concept of female masculinity," she writes. At the same time her goal is to raise female masculinity from a term that is disparaged to one that is celebrated so that "masculine girls and women do not have to wear their masculinity as a stigma but can infuse it with a sense of pride and indeed power." Believing that Butler's brilliant abstractions needed specific embodiment, Halberstam provides a careful taxonomy that differentiates many varieties of masculine women, including passing women, butches, and the liminal category of transmen, who cease to identify as female at all. Her study of contemporary drag kings achieves ethnographic solidity and includes subjects of color who are often lacking from discussions of alternative gender formations. Among the behaviors she associates with masculinity are dressing like men, desiring women, being recognized as men, painting on moustaches, growing moustaches, engaging in traditionally male occupations, and protecting female partners. Halberstam provides concrete examples of masculine women that pay welcome attention to differences of race and social class. Her valuable historical and ethnographic study has made a fundamental impact on queer studies, even as some of its arguments remain tied to earlier gender binaries.

Acknowledging her debt to Butler, Halberstam describes "The Lesbian Phallus" as "elusive, difficult, and hardly explicit." She praises it for showing the "possibility of a female body both being and having phallic power" and for dissociating "the phallus from the penis," particularly in the "phallic dyke body, the butch body that has been repudiated by both psychoanalysis and feminism." (37) In fact, she disparages the penis while validating fantasies of possessing it. The very "lack of a penis--what we might call the privileged gadget of male masculinity" allows women's erotic pleasure without the danger of pregnancy. (38) She claims that for many contemporary lesbians, "desire works through masculinity and through phallic fantasy," including Butler's theoretical fantasy of the "lesbian phallus--and more concretely through sexual practices that phantasmically transform their female bodies into penetrating male bodies." (39)

Halberstam also shares Butler's repudiation of 1970s-style woman-identified lesbian feminism, which objected to gendered roles and "male identification" and instead championed androgynous female self-presentation, woman bonding, and egalitarian sexual practices. So, for example, Halberstam resists the "old-fashioned" feminism that "understands women as endlessly victimized within systems of male power." (40) Associated with this feminism, for her, is "modern femininity," characterized by "unhealthy practices," "passivity and inactivity." (41) So she disparages androgyny and femininity and proposes both that girls would be better off in childhood with an unassigned "gender neutrality" and that it would be healthier if "masculinity were a kind of default." (42)

Halberstam claims that female masculinity is an independent and original gender that does not imitate an authentic male masculinity. Instead, male masculinity often imitates prior female forms. She not only categorizes but also champions female masculinity as a progressive social force, as she explains in a 2002 essay:
    Female masculinity, I have argued in a book of the same name,
   contemporary cultural studies accounts of masculinity within which
   masculinity always boils down to the social, cultural and political
   effects of male embodiment and male privilege. Such accounts can only
   read masculinity as the powerful and active alternative to female
   passivity and as the expression therefore of white male
   subjectivities. (43) 

In contrast, she believes, female masculinity "offers an alternative mode of masculinity that clearly detaches misogyny from maleness and social power from masculinity." (44) These conclusions do not obviously follow from her premises: masculine women, like everyone else, can be misogynists, and misogynists may still equate masculinity with power, especially in societies that in fact empower wealthy white men over other groups. Furthermore, Halberstam, too, retains the binary of masculinity and femininity, disparaging both femininity and alternative gender categories, such as androgyny, even as she expands the boundaries of masculinity.

Halberstam both limits and idealizes female masculinity, especially conflating it with the gender and erotic system of the lesbian butch. For example, she critiques movies featuring conventionally attractive bisexual women by saying, "real lesbianism has much more to do with masculinity." (45) At the same time, she claims that "Butler's work has amply shown [that] female masculinity ... provides a far better and more representative model for the workings of masculinity in a postmodern society" than masculinity in men, a formulation that retains the connection between masculinity and social power, even as she incidentally mentions the desirability of also making "the feminine livable and powerful." (46) Throughout her discussion, "phallic power" is an overdetermined redundancy, repeatedly called a fantasy and yet resolutely retaining the reference to the male body part, even in its absence. (47) So, like Butler, Halberstam retains the cachet of the phallus, even as she insists it can thrive apart from the penis, while discarding Butler's involvement with psychoanalytic theory. "Why shouldn't a woman get in touch with her masculinity?" she asks, as though doing so is an innate drive toward activity and social power, while at the same time she seeks to have "skill, strength, speed, physical dominance, uninhibited use of space and motion" recognized, not as human potentials, but specifically as aspects of female masculinity. (48) Thus the revisionary concept of female masculinity continues a broader devaluation of femininities, and reinforces the cultural failure to develop alternative, nonbinary genders and un- or less gendered identities.


In contrast to feminist discussions of female masculinity and the lesbian phallus, feminist studies of masculinity in men have generally criticized its social and psychological effects. Current scholarship about men's masculinity often describes it negatively as a source of insecurity for the man and of trouble for society, an incitement to violence and bad behavior that arises from deep in the psyche as well as from conformity to social norms. Scholars describing the self-styled masculinities of butch lesbians and of female-to-male transsexuals describe these masculinities as gallant and brave but claim they are not imitations of men's masculinity and not pathological, oppressive, or best understood through psychoanalytic categories. Does this mean paradoxically that masculinity is best done by women'. Comparisons between these discourses demonstrate gaps in the construction of masculinity and femininity as opposites and encourage speculation about the concepts of imitation, identity, and identification as well as about gender as a cultural fantasy.

Feminist psychoanalytic theorists of the past four decades have interpreted Freudian paradigms to analyze and often indict masculinity in men. Beginning in the same Freudian context used by Stoller in the 1970s, Nancy Chodorow's Reproduction of Mothering in 1978 deduced from object relations psychoanalysis the differing effects on the personalities of boys and girls of typical mid-twentieth-century Western family structures, with fathers away in the paid workforce and mothers dominating child rearing at home. Whereas girls formed close personal identifications with their mothers, Chodorow claims, boys identified instead with cultural stereotypes of the masculine role and sought a secure masculine self through superego formation and the disparagement of women. They therefore internalized a masculinity defined negatively "in terms of denial of relation and connection (and denial of femininity)." Cut off from the intense interpersonal connections that bonded mothers with daughters, adult men fear intimacy and so fail to satisfy women emotionally. However, repressing their emotions and relational needs is functional in preparing men to participate in alienated work. Thus the sexual division of labor, which allocates childcare primarily to women, also produces a polarized psychology in women and men that perpetuates male dominance and, hence, capitalism and patriarchy. Instituting equal and shared parenting by mothers and fathers, Chodorow claims, would end these asymmetries and "reduce men's needs to guard their masculinity and their control of social and cultural spheres which treat and define women as secondary and powerless." (49)

Chodorow's characterization of normal Western masculinity as competitive, emotionally impoverished, and fearful of intimacy continues to provide a psychological foundation for scholarship to the present day. For example, C. J. Pascoe's 2007 ethnography of US secondary schools describes boys' masculinity as created defensively through misogyny and homophobia. Her main thesis, encapsulated in her book's title, "Dude, You're a Fag," is that these boys achieve masculine identity by compulsively repudiating "the specter of failed masculinity." (50) Thus, while subscribing to Chodorow's psychological explanations of differing masculine and feminine personality structures, Pascoe interprets contemporary gender formations through the radical feminist binary grid of masculine dominance and feminine submission, a binary in which the freest female position belongs to those few athletes and activists who are "masculine," "girls who act like guys." (51) Similarly, sociologist Michael Kimmel outlines masculinity formation in contemporary young US men in his 2008 book, Guyland. "Ever since Freud," he says, accepting the premises of object relations psychoanalysis, "we've believed that the key to boys' development is separation, that the boy must switch his identification from mother to father in order to 'become' a man. He achieves his masculinity by repudiation, dissociation, and then identification." (52) According to Kimmel, this dangerous but necessary path causes boys, then men, to suppress empathy, nurturance, vulnerability, and dependency. Inevitably feeling inferior due to their failure to match up to impossible standards, young men nonetheless remain confident of their masculine superiority over girls and women. Kimmel contrasts the static code of masculinity over the past century--with its imperatives that men be tough, aggressive, and successful--with the increased freedom and flexibility he attributes to women, who, after decades of feminism, seem "entitled, empowered, and emboldened." Despite his recognition of women's continued secondary social status, Kimmel still explains that the intensity of men's "struggle to prove manhood" today is because "it's no longer as easy to differentiate between men and women as it was in the past." Yet he is reluctant to discard the ideology of men's masculinity altogether, naming elements such as "honor, respect, integrity, doing the right thing despite the costs" as "enormously valuable ... the qualities of a real man," even though women may share the same traits. (53) Thus Kimmel follows earlier feminist theorists such as Chodorow in framing masculinity as something that men anxiously perform for one another and against women, according to the defensive and negative psychological construction of masculinity developed from mother-dominated childhoods. On the other hand, the positive traits he attributes to masculinity--such as honor and respect--are human ideals that many feminists would say have no necessary relationship to gender.

Other current theories about men's masculinity agree that it is protean and multifarious, but they still rely on the same hypothesis deduced from object relations psychology, which claims that masculinity is derived defensively from boys' rejection of their mother's femininity. (54) Such theories argue that social hierarchies create hierarchical psyches that maintain social hierarchies, exactly the circular process Chodorow originally outlined. Despite acknowledging changes in family structures that relegate fewer women to isolated housework and childcare, such theories describe masculinity development in men as still based on psychologically derived entitlement feelings and the need to dominate women.

While Halberstam revalues female masculinity not as pathological but as creative and desirable, she concludes her spectrum of female masculinities with the female-to-male transsexuals (FtMs or transmen) who can no longer be categorized as women and hence as examples of female masculinity. Current studies of transmen document the self-concepts of these newly embodied men, some essentializing and some queer. These recent studies contest psychoanalytic views such as Stoller's that label identifications with the gender not assigned at birth as pathological or views such as Chodorow's that find masculinity defensive in origin. Instead, they champion the validity of transitioning gender, specifically the masculinity of the transman, at the same time as disavowing identification with the negative characteristics that they, too, often attribute to biological males. Instead of analyzing the psychological or social sources that motivate gender identification, they take as given a person's conviction of being or wanting to be a specific gender and proceed to describe the transman's social existence.

In his sociological study Self-Made Men: Identity and Embodiment among Transsexual Men, Henry Rubin aims to correct misconceptions about transmen. The terms of his subtitle are significant, since he argues that "identity" follows from "embodiment," but that, when it does not, individuals will struggle to conform their bodies to their identities so that they become recognizable to themselves and others. Many of his interview subjects felt that they were always "authentically male" but that they needed technological help such as breast removal surgery and testosterone administration to "restore the link between their bodies and their core identities" or "true selves." (55) Although they wanted penises, most did not seek phalloplasty because of the imperfect results currently available. Against theories like Butler's that emphasize the discursive constitution of the subject, Rubin argues that bodies are more important to gender identity than behavior, labeling, or sexual preference. Paradoxically, Rubin's interview subjects believe that all men have male bodies but that they are men even though they lack penises and once had female bodies.

Despite the "relentless grief over their own incomplete bodies" that haunts some transmen, Rubin resolutely depathologizes his subjects, claiming "these are not women with mental problems, in denial about their female bodies" but rather "men whose bodies have erupted in a vicious mutiny against them." However, Rubin's subjects differentiate themselves from the hegemonic masculinities of males and say they do not seek male privilege but merely recognition as men. For one subject, even "his desire to have a child did not mean he was a woman." Rubin counters performative poststructuralist gender theory with his subjects' more old-fashioned view that gender expresses and externalizes a stable inner core of identity, a view he judges "a powerful fiction ... that people in this culture cannot do without." (56)

In contrast to Rubin's essentialist subjects, Canadian Bobby Noble's Sons of the Movement emphasizes the fluid, protean, and contradictory self-awareness of transmen. Noble admires drag kings who "play with the ironic no man's land between 'lesbian,' 'butch,' 'transman,' and 'bio-boy,' where the self-evident is neither." He claims that the current proliferation of complex female masculinities shows a simultaneous "approximation of heterosexual masculinity and queering of that masculinity." (57) Here, again, the category of masculinity is expanded, but a binary that valorizes masculinity supersedes femininity or alternative gender categories. Similarly, English sociologist Sally Hines confirms Rubin's finding that transmen often reject hegemonic masculinity: "I'm not a man's man," one claims, while another self-identifies as a beta male rather than an alpha one. (58) For some transmen, their earlier lives as women inevitably alter their presentations of masculinity, as one subject says, "so while I want to be perceived and understood and taken totally as male, I will never be 100 percent male because of my background." (59) Noble comments that transmen "almost never fully become men; they stay in the place of transit." (60) Using an object relations approach, one might hypothesize that transmen's only partial engagement with masculine qualities such as emotional inhibition or dominating behavior may be a result of their pre-transition psychological childhood as girls. Their distancing themselves from negative behaviors associated with masculinity might also result from their self-conscious interactions with feminist interviewers. (61) Both Noble and Hines reject psychoanalysis as an adequate approach to trans subjectivity. Instead, Hines argues for more nuanced, empirically based theory of gender that can address "the intricacies of transgender identities and subjectivities" and so "bridge the gap between social theories and poststructuralist accounts of gender identity formation"; such theories might advance the project--also advanced here in this essay--of "theorizing gender diversity in relation to social structures, discursive formations, subjective understandings, embodied corporalities, and cultural (and subcultural) practices." (62)

The trajectory of female masculinity, traced here from the 1970s to the present, might seem at this point to be a progress narrative of increasing individual choice and voice and decreasing stigma for nonnormative gender in comparison to the more negative evaluations often made by feminist scholars of the effects of masculinity in men. Recent studies of female masculinity open up more diverse perspectives than the white US examples I've cited so far, while they also indicate contentions over identities and their borders. African American drag king Shon claims his performances "respect" black men and so differ from white drag satires of dominant white masculinities. (63) Transman artist and educator Nico Dacumos describes his "mixed consciousness" while complaining that "my female masculinity provoked fear and disgust" from straight people, while "F2Mestizo" Logan Gutierrez claims that his "twenty-six years spent between races prepared me for what it would feel like to be between genders as a biracial FtM." (64)

But my last, cautionary counterexample is deliberately more confusing, both ethically and politically. It illustrates that the narrative of gender progress may depend in part on its inclusion of only a privileged minority of gender enactments. It considers a genre of transsexual pornography that features figures labeled as "she-males" or "chicks with dicks," that is, people who look like feminine women but who have penises, and not apparently masculine transmen who do not. Including these performers may seem to replace the subject of female masculinity with that of male femininity. However, these transsexuals appear as literally phallic women, and so testify against undue complacency about the evolution of liberatory discourses of gender diversity and their effects on real people in differing national, global, racial/ethnic, and economic contexts. As Eithne Luibheid observes, "all identity categories ... become transformed through circulation within specific, unequally situated local, regional, national, and transnational circuits" that differentially structure social inequalities and opportunities. (65)

Transsexual pornography stars illustrate both an expansion of and an exclusionary limit to contemporary gender variance. As represented in pornographic animations, they are "chicks with dicks," "fantastic tranny babes," curvaceous women with huge penises. (66) In distinction from the animated versions, most commercial transsexual pornography involves real people who appear at various stages of surgical and hormonal sex changes. These performers may be US people of color or third world sex workers whose own cultures are rarely taken into account. They generally do not speak for themselves but are directed by others who profit from new" technologies in a global sexual market. The featured performers in the live-actor transsexual pornography available in the United States look like stereotypically feminine young women with big bosoms, slender waists, and long hair. These actors, from countries including Brazil and Thailand, are shown having sexual relations with one another or often with white men who stand in for the US male viewer.67 The transsexuals' own pleasures and preferences may or may not be served as they are made the means for a form of international sexual and gender neocolonialism.

These transsexual performers may be examples of free and fluid identities as well as examples of the exploitations of an international sex trade geared primarily to white Western heterosexual men. More even than the penis-less transmen, these performers seem to confound theories' connections among gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and power. Stereotypically feminine in appearance and lacking in social power, they present visions of phallic women far different from the threatening Lacanian portrait of Sarah Palin with which this essay began. One might celebrate these representations for expanding and breaking the gender binary of women and men. On the one hand, they seem to stabilize the dominant figure of the penetrating masculine man as presumed viewer; on the other hand, some heterosexual male viewers may be enjoying, even identifying with, watching two persons with penises engaged in sexual acts, so implicitly queering their own desires and identities. However, control of this pornographic discourse seems to lie less with the performers or viewers than with the marketers.


What conclusions can we draw from these representations of phallic women and of female masculinity over a forty-year period? My examples represent an apparent progression from the devaluation of a freakish anomaly to a celebrated individual freedom, albeit figured in a worldwide market economy in which genders, sexualities, and their representations can be purchased. I argue that this trajectory illustrates the very incoherence of the concepts of female masculinity and the phallus. It also illustrates the apparently oppositional analytical frameworks for the understanding of masculinity generally. One framework, based in object relations psychoanalysis, derives negative social consequences like sexism and male dominance from the psychic structures of masculinity that men develop in mother-dominated childhoods. In response, Raewyn Connell and lames Messerschmidt suggest "the possibility of democratizing gender relations" in an attempt to "establish as hegemonic among men ... a version of masculinity open to equality with women." (68) The other approach to masculinity traced here, particularly among masculine women and transmen, rejects psychoanalysis as sexist and deterministic and instead opts for poststructuralist convictions about the malleability of gender and identity, sometimes in the apparently contradictory essentialist belief that FtM transition springs from a pre-existing masculine true self and sometimes from a more mobile sense of the possibilities now open to people born as girls.

These oppositional approaches to masculinity, I suggest, unduly simplify their analyses by reifying gender and treating masculinity as a coherent entity, despite recognition of its multiple varieties. Robert Nye claims that "the principal question" for "some feminist agendas" is
    whether masculine gender, now that we know it to be a thing apart
   sexed bodies, can or ought to be fully deconstructed and erased or
   whether men, or men and women together, can reform masculinity, make
   available to both men and women, and purge it of its brutal,
   and domineering qualities. Does even a kinder, gentler masculinity
   require men being on top? (69) 

Critiquing the concept of female masculinity, Lori Rifkin chiefly objects that the category is restricted to lesbians and excludes heterosexual women. (70) However, I question both Nye's and Rifkin's premises, which still reify masculinity even while suggesting that it can be reshaped. Instead, I suggest that the reverse is more helpful: to make clear that masculinity includes ideas some women and men have about the ideals and attributes proper to male bodies but that there is no "it" that has an essential coherence. Furthermore, masculinity in women--or in men, for that matter--still alludes to the cultural and historical practices and privileges of male embodiment that are mythologized or associated with negative practices--like brutality and dominance for Nye--or positive ones like "honor, respect, integrity" for Kimmel.

To dispute the coherence of a master category of "masculinity"--whether in men, women, or transpersons--is not to deny the existence and usefulness of historicized categories such as those of the transman, the butch lesbian, or the pro-feminist man, all categories subject to change as society and technologies change. Criteria of social recognizability and intelligibility, too, are historically in flux; as new gendered forms appear, they may become recognized. As better phalloplasties are constructed, there may be more transmen; as gender inequality and homophobia diminish, there may be fewer. Some of the conceptual confusion around these categorizations, I suggest, comes from the belief that to understand people's desires for change is necessarily to pathologize all that is nonnormative in a given time and culture. Other confusions may arise from the incoherence built into concepts such as imitation, identification, and identity. I doubt anyone would ever wear a necktie--or learn how to knot it without imitating, that is, without learning from, someone or a representation of someone who had worn one, but that does not make any such wearer either authentic or fake--valorizing or negative labels that have bedeviled the history of gender variance. Too often discourses on masculinity use the term loosely as either a synonym for social power or an alibi; covering with an aura of biological inevitability a rich complex of social relations in which men disproportionately acquire status and resources. I suggest, moreover, that it would be helpful not to automatically label dominance behavior and entitlement as synonymous with masculinity, although of course they often overlap. But dominance behavior and its accompanying sense of entitlement are common to all socially valorized statuses, so that it seems unhelpful, for example, to call bourgeois women "masculine" whenever they run businesses. The multiple hierarchies of social status may or may not borrow some of the same signifiers while evolving their own forms of organization and oppression, and more socially conscious psychologies may help to interpret their manifestations in individuals and societies. The imperfect analogy with race helps clarify these gender categories: the evident and harmful existence of racism does not prove that there really are separate races, and the nominal or fictional status of a category of "race" or "gender" does not disable the category from real social effects.

Thus I argue that the current move to separate masculinity from men and grant it an independent existence is not an advance. Instead, it reifies masculinity as a coherent entity while obscuring analyses of historically specific formations of gender and sexuality in their interactions with race, nationality, and social class. Here I concur with Connell and Messerschmidt on the need to recognize "the layering, the potential internal contradictions, within all practices that construct masculinities" and on the need of the field of masculinity studies for "more complex models of gender hierarchy and more specific analyses of how embodiment interacts with privilege and power." (71) Gender change and variance in societies and discourses may lead to people developing more ungendered, androgynous, "both/ and" categories and identities. Such changes may simultaneously help reduce the salience of gender in distributing goods and social statuses. All the examples I've outlined maintain a gender dualism, looser or tighter, that continues to valorize some version of masculinity over any version of femininity. The field of gender transition is currently very mobile. The technology of sexual reassignment is continually changing and may not be in synch with legal requirements for binary gender, although laws, too, may change. Psychologies and ethics of gender and sexuality are also in flux. As the gender range within and outside each binary sex category grows, we might expect increased tolerance for inter, neither, and alternate genders and sexualities as well. Such expansion of gender variance is a valuable goal in itself but not sufficient to end gender and sexual exploitation, as is evident from the example of international transsexual pornography.

This travel through representations of female masculinity leads me to conclude that "the phallus" isn't what it used to be and, in fact, never was. In all its versions, concepts of female masculinity implicitly rely on the sexist assumptions of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, even when psychoanalysis is explicitly renounced. Since no other psychological theories have yet replaced the cultural influence of psychoanalysis, much current discussion avoids psychology altogether and instead relies on self-reports by gender-variant people. The Lacanian phallus is a confusing formulation, always supposed to be an abstraction, yet always tethered to male anatomy and so abjecting both femininity and women, as in Miller's hysterical remarks about Sarah Palin--a hysteria encouraged by Lacanian terms and metaphors. For Miller, even if a woman's "phallus" is recognized as "only a semblance," it still connotes castration and disempowerment to men. The project of undoing gender must include challenging old theories and dismantling old fantasies, both frightening and utopian. Transsexual pornography illustrates how the control over discourse achieved by queer mobilizations does not extend evenly, and it emphasizes the importance of context to analyses of gender and power.

Theories about phallic power, despite their claims of dissociation from biological men, continue to naturalize connections between men, their penises, and social control. The phrase is either a redundancy, a vague synonym for social power, or a justification for patriarchal social relationships that disadvantage women. For Stoller, Mrs. G. created "masculinity by imitation and identification, and maleness (a penis) by hallucination." (72) Butler's lesbian phallus, she claims, is a "contradictory signifier" that still revolves around the connection between masculinity and power. (73) Halberstam asks, "Why shouldn't a woman get in touch with her masculinity?" a query that presupposes that all or some women have an inner predisposition for activity and social power that is separate or opposite to what is female or feminine in them. (74) Even the pornographic "chicks with dicks," those most feminine of phallic women, presumably derive erotic appeal from their transgressive rejection of the social power usually accruing to persons born male. We might say the phallus is always under erasure, described as independent of the penis while always recalling it. Like the phallus, the concept of female masculinity is a confusing formulation to be used, if at all, in carefully specified contexts, since it may act either to confirm or disrupt heteronormativity and the gender binary. Athena Nguyen comments that "severing the naturalized connection between masculinity and male bodies" may not succeed as a strategy for challenging patriarchal power without the aid of feminism as a political force. (75) Thus the incoherent concept of female masculinity partially detaches masculinity from being the exclusive property of biological males but leaves untouched both its oppositional superiority to femininity and its critical vagueness. It continues the devaluation of femininities and reinforces the cultural failure to develop alternative genders and un- or less gendered identities that are not validated on the old masculine model. Yet in both the case of phallic power and of female masculinity, reference to men's bodies continues, so that such formulations advance the project of destabilizing gender binaries but not necessarily of minimizing gender as a social hierarchy. Thus, whereas Halberstam states her goal as "making maleness nonessential to masculinity," (76) I hope instead for making masculinity nonessential to the distribution of power and for rethinking gender outside the terms set by psychoanalytic discourse.


A short version of this essay was delivered at "35 Years of Feminist Scholarship," a conference honoring Claire G. Moses on her retirement as editorial director of Feminist Studies and as professor of women's studies at the University of Maryland.

(1.) Jacques-Alain Milker, "Sarah Palin: Operation 'Castration,'" trans. Jake Bellone with James Curley-Egan, published on the website, 2008,

(2.) Robert J. Stoller, Splitting: A Case of Female Masculinity (1973; repr., New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997).

(3.) Judith Butler, "The Lesbian Phallus and the Morphological Imaginary," in her Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex (New York: Routledge, 1993), 57-91.

(4.) Judith Halberstam also goes by the first name Jack, but is referenced here as Judith in line with the name on the 1998 book that I discuss. I use the feminine pronoun for the same reason. Halberstam's own position on this matter is flexible: see

(5.) Judith Halberstam, Female Masculinity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998).

(6.) Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978).

(7.) Sigmund Freud, "Female Sexuality," (1931) in his Standard Edition of the Complete Psycholosical Works of Sismund Freud, ed. and trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1962) 21: 223-43.

(8.) Stoller, Splitting, xiii, 233.

(9.) Ibid., 271.

(10.) Ibid. 196.

(11.) Ibid. xiii.

(12.) Ibid. 272, 291.

(13.) Ibid. 373.

(14.) Ibid. 313, 316.

(15.) Ibid. 13.

(16.) Ibid. 270.

(17.) Butler, "The Lesbian Phallus," 57.

(18.) Ibid.

(19.) Ibid., 63.

(20.) Ibid., 73.

(21.) Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, [1990], 1999) 24-25.

(22.) Butler, "The Lesbian Phallus," 262 n26.

(23.) Ibid., 85, all quotations this paragraph.

(24.) Ibid., 86, all quotations this paragraph.

(25.) Ibid., 88.

(26.) Ibid., 89.

(27.) Ibid., 90.

(28.) Ibid., 91 both quotations this paragraph (emphasis in original).

(29.) Ibid., 80.

(30.) Ibid.

(31.) Teresa de Lauretis, The Practice of Love: Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse Desire (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 231.

(32.) Butler, "Phantasmatic Identification and the Assumption of Sex," in her Bodies that Matter, 102.

(33.) Ibid., 103.

(34.) Butler, "The Lesbian Phallus," 57.

(35.) Susan Bordo, The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999), 19.

(36.) Halberstam, Female Masculinity, xi, both quotations this paragraph.

(37.) Ibid. 356, 337.

(38.) Ibid. 68.

(39.) Ibid. 72.

(40.) Ibid. 17.

(41.) Ibid. 58, 266.

(42.) Ibid. 41, 27, 269.

(43.) Judith Halberstam, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Men, Women, and Masculinity," in Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory: New Directions, ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 345.

(44.) Ibid.

(45.) Ibid., 349.

(46.) Ibid., 355.

(47.) Ibid., 357.

(48.) Halberstam, Female Masculinity, 269, 272.

(49.) Chodorow, 169, 218.

(50.) C.J. Pascoe, Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 5.

(51.) Ibid., 115.

(52.) Michael Kimmel, Guyland: The Perilous Wodd Where Boys Become Men (New York: Harper Collins, 2008), 52.

(53.) Ibid., 243, 26, 270.

(54.) Proponents of this view include Robert Nye, "Locating Masculinity: Some Recent Work on Men," Signs 30, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 1937-62; and Anthony McMahon, "Male Readings of Feminist Theory: The Psychologization of Sexual Politics in the Masculinity Literature," Theory and Society 22, no. 5 (October 1993): 675-95.

(55.) Henry Rubin, Self-Made Men: Identity and Embodiment among Transsexual Men (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2003), 15, 11, 22.

(56.) Ibid., 169, 107, 122-23, 150.

(57.) Jean Bobby Noble, Sons of the Movement: FtMs Risking Incoherence on a PostQueer Cultural Landscape (Toronto: Women's Press, 2006), 251, 257 (emphasis in original).

(58.) Sally Hines, TransForming Gender: Transgender Practices of Identity, Intimacy and Care (Cambridge: Polity, 2007), 93

(59.) Ibid., 94.

(60.) Noble, Sons of the Movement, 28.

(61.) A conscious motivation to acquire privilege is not necessary for transmen to actually achieve some measure of that privilege: Kirsten Schilt and Matthew Wiswall's study of trans economics shows that male-to-female transsexuals lose money, status, and social networks, thus approximating the social status of women, whereas transmen fare much better. See Schilt and Wiswall, "Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 8, no. 1 (2008), Article 39,

(62.) Hines, TransForming Gender, 190.

(63.) Shon is interviewed in Del Lagrace Volcano and Judith "Jack" Halberstam's The Drag King Book (London: Serpent's Tail, 1999), 143.

(64.) Nico Dacumos, "All Mixed Up With No Place to Go: Inhabiting Mixed Consciousness on the Margins," and Logan Gutierrez-Mock, "F2Mestizo," in Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, ed. Mattilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006), 27, 233.

(65.) Eithne Luibheid, "Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship," GLQ 14, nos. 2-3 (2008): 169-90, 170.

(66.) An example of animated transsexual pornography can be found at www.

(67.) For example, Bangkok Transsexuals Ass Pounded 2 (Robert Hill Releasing Co. DVD: 2008); TgirlsOnGirls (Hundies Presents DVD: 2008); Chicks with Dicks No aspect of Brazilian culture is mentioned in Tgirls, which is set in Brazil, nor do the performers express their own sexual p references, as found in Don Kulick's anthropological studies of travesties, "The Gender of Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes," American Anthropologist 99, no. 3 (Sept. 1997): 574-85.

(68.) R.W. Connell and James Messerschmidt, "Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept," Gender and Society 19, no. 6 (2005): 853.

(69.) Robert Nye, "Locating Masculinity: Some Recent Work on Men," Signs 30, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 1939.

(70.) Lori Rifkin, "The Suit Suits Whom? Lesbian Gender, Female Masculinity, and Women-in-Suits," in FemmeButch: New Considerations of the Way We Want to Go, ed. Michelle Gibson and Deborah T. Meem (New York: Harrington Park: 2002), 158.

(71.) Connell and Messerschmidt, "Hegemonic Masculinity," 852.

(72.) Stoller, Splitting, 196.

(73.) Butler, "The Lesbian Phallus," 73, 89.

(74.) Halberstam, Female Masculinity, 269.

(75.) Athena Nguyen, "Patriarchy, Power, and Female Masculinity," Journal of Homosexuality 55, no. 4 (2008): 665.

(76.) Halberstam, "The Good, the Bad," 355.
COPYRIGHT 2012 Feminist Studies, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Gardiner, Judith Kegan
Publication:Feminist Studies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2012
Previous Article:The History of Lesbian History.
Next Article:"Strange Love": Searching for Sexual Subjectivities in Black Print Popular Culture during the 1950s.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters