Enlightenment - - "nale"?

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters quilty at philos.umass.edu
Tue Nov 15 08:36:56 MST 1994


Hi Ann,

*} And, by the way, not all of those arguing about the question of
*} exploitation with seemingly women's names are really women, if it makes a
*} difference to anyone on  the list!  (Sorry Dave but I think "Lulu" is
*} pretty misleading to the folks on the list, and since you mentioned that
*} you are my student, you have brought me into what looks like deception. I
*} know you have your reasons but leave me out of them!)

Well...  as you know, gender pretty well just leaves me flat.
Y'know, Butler and some others make the various theoretical
arguments about the performativity of gender and all...  but one
gets the odd feeling that Judy doesn't *really* believe it.  For
whatever reason, whenever I find anyone making a gender-situated
claim, I immediately (i.e.  pre-theoretically) find it just utterly
farsical.  Kinda an emporer with no clothes kinda thing.  Kinda like
when I hear people make similar claims about race, btw (which is why
I so LOVE my man Mandela who in his visit to the US used the
appellation 'non-racial and non-sexist' before every description of
creating economic justice/equity).  Btw.  'my man' is a deliberate
joke, not an indication of my unconscious clinging to the gender
categories.

Anyway, as you know, the moral of all this is that it would FEEL
equally subjectively deceptive to use a name like 'David' which
people would think of as male as one like 'Lulu' which most people
would think of as female.  But 'Lulu' is just my Usenet signature,
which is used universally whether I'm writing about exploitation vis.
housework, or about how to do something with some computer software
I use.  You're hardly "implicated" in such a thing.  I don't much
care how people address me in response...  for example "My student,
David Mertz (aka Lulu), who is a pain-in-the-ass, says about
exploitation..." sounds fine to me.

One thing I did find pretty amusing was what I thought was the
rather obvious sexism in Schwartz response to some of the
discussion.  I get the feeling that some of the patronizing tone was
because he didn't think a girl like me should presume to be a Marx
scholar (others on the list have suggested this in email to me).
The thing that would be really bad here, IMO, would be thereafter to
"reveal" my "true" gender...  as if saying "Oh no!  I'm actually
male: so you see, I really *can* be a Marx scholar."

The REAL LIE is to claim a male gender, thereby claiming all these
sexist presumptions to authority based on that rather than on the
actual arguments I make.  It's MUCH MORE honest to use a name people
will find female, because the very sexism of society frees one (to
an extent) from participating in a much larger dishonesty (the fraud
of male authority).  Your mention above was an attempt to "out" me;
but I think you misunderstand how my own effort is a much more
radical self-"outing".  The stance of "radical honesty" (the
Kierkegaardian phrase that my friend Matustik is so fond of) isn't
something that can be transparently realized just by "telling the
truth"...  it requires wiles and cunning!

Yours, Lulu...

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