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Semansky 1

Gabs Semansky
ENG 483: Senior Capstone
Professor Lee Ann Roripaugh
Final Essay

Construction of the Queer Feminine Identity


The word feminism is derived from the Latin root fem-, meaning womanly, or unmasculine. Before one can even delve into the different discourses offered through the term,
there is no question that feminism refers to the fifty percent of the worlds population that have
been deemed woman. From bare-breasted bra burners to scholarly literary discourse to Riot
Grrrl bands of the 1990s, the issues that feminism is interested in pertain to this established and
specific demographic.
However, this female population may not be as easily understood as the name of its
movement. If feminism exists for equality of woman and man, then standards for what
constitutes the differences between these two apparently binary conditions of human must be set.
Some may argue that the differences are as simple as how much breast tissue surrounds the
nipple or what set of genitalia rests between an individuals legs. On a purely biological level,
this may be true for a majority of the population. Mentally, not so much. The American
Psychological Association draws a distinction between sex and gender. They state that sex is
assigned at birth, refers to ones biological status as either male or female, and is associated
primarily with physical attributes while gender refers to the socially constructed roles,
behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men

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or girls and women. If one was to associate womanhood with whose were biologically female,
they would be excluding a demographic of gendered feminine people.
In an attempt to account for gender rather than sex, others may look to draw the
differences among these dichotomous groups through standard behaviorwomen sexually desire
men and men sexually desire women, women are submissive and men are dominant, little girls
play with dolls and little boys play with trucks, and so the differences continue. These binary
behaviors may exist among many people, but rarely would one find an individual who embodies
every trait of a perfectly feminine female or a perfectly masculine male. Regardless of the
existence of a person who neatly occupies all the conditions of their gender, the standards for
masculine and feminine do not stay consistent from society to society. The perfect American
man, for example, would not be considered the perfect Japanese man. As it is culturally created,
gender bears no applicable meaning.
If sex and gender are both troublesome ways to define woman, where does one find the
subject for feminism? Judith Butler argues that there is no conceivable answer:
there is the political problem that feminism encounters in the assumption that women
denotes a common identity. Rather than a stable signifier that commands the assent of
those whom it purports to describe and represent, women, even in the plural, has become
a troublesome term, a site of contest, a cause for anxiety. (Gender Trouble 3)
It is difficult to surmise what constitutes a woman without holding an essentialist viewpoint. By
putting such a label on an individual, there is a presupposed set of mannerisms that are then
expected. Whether that be biological or psychological, the term woman becomes problematic.
While generalizing about these attributes may be true for the majority of the population, it leaves

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a sizeable number of these feminine people out of the definition. For example, a feminine person
who has a penis rather than a vagina would be left out of the biological definition of sex, and a
woman who prefers to engage in sexual activity with other women would be left out of the
cultural definition of gender. While the designation of woman is difficult for the entire
population of feminine people, it becomes especially complicated for those whose sex and
gender are more abnormal, more queer, than their heteronormative counterparts.
The two examples given directly above are the experiences of a transgender woman and a
lesbian, both members of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community, and are
thus some of the focuses of queer studies. Throughout her career, Judith Butler has focused on
the identities of queer people, particularly the feminine individuals within the community. Rather
than attempt to brand those who fall under the queer umbrella, Butler denounces the idea of
labelling atypical identities, stating that tend to be instruments of regulatory regimes, whether
as the normalizing categories of oppressive structures or as the rallying points for a liberatory
contestation of that very oppression (Imitation and Gender Insubordination 308). Butler argues
that in an ideal world, identity would exist fluidly and without the need or desire for the
controlling effects of labels. However, she also recognizes that the labels, particularly the
woman label as well as those used in the LGBT community, are necessary in the emerging age
of intersectional and socially aware politics. Navigating the desired fluidity with the necessary
need to label becomes a difficult dilemma for Butler, and this issue appears in contemporary
fiction. Maggie Nelsons The Argonauts and Alison Bechdels Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
both engage in the intricacies of creating a queer feminine identity.
The manner by which these identities are created differs throughout the two novels due to
the time periods in which their respective events take place. Fun Home follows the coming out

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process of Alison Bechdel in the 1970s. Second wave feminism was breaking into mainstream
recognition at the time Bechdel would begin to identify under the label of a lesbian. This era of
feminism, which ran from the 1960s through the 1980s, was concerned with making the
personal into the political and allowing women to escape the traditional heterosexual nuclear
family (Samek 395). Rather than subscribe to the domestic gender roles bequeathed to women
prior to this era, the proponents of second wave feminism challenged the assumption that there
was a proper way in which a woman should behave, refusing to allow their lives to be dictated
by male culture (Samek 405). This mode of thought led to a movement of women outside of
customarily feminine spaces, and into the spheres of society previously reserved almost
exclusively for men.
While these spheres included workplace and ideological roles, they also translated to
more intimate characteristics as well. Women had long been viewed through the sexual gaze of
men, and it was the mans responsibility to present a performance of masculinityto be the
dominant seducer as his subject woman submissively allowed herself to be wooed. Second wave
feminism brought with it the lesbian-feminist identity in which women disregarded men and
became their own mode of pleasuretheir own lovers (Samek 397), or, put more succinctly,
Feminism is the theory. Lesbianism is the practice (Bechdel 80). Lesbians represented a radical
world in which the need for men was nonexistent, even in this most primal of ways. In
essentially replacing men, second wave feminism combined its politics, gender identity, and
sexual identity into one identity. If a woman from this time period was to refer to herself as a
feminist, she would immediately be assumed to hold the position of a politically radical, queer
woman. As Bechdel, spurred on by her matriarchist (Bechdel 80) lover, researches more
deeply into the feminist ideology, she revels at the thought of the personal becoming political, or

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the entwined political and sexual awakening (Bechdel 81). Bechdels personal journey into her
eventual identity as a lesbian is informed by second wave feminisms translation of feminist
identity into queer identity.
Where Bechdel was informed by second wave feminism, Maggie Nelsons novel The
Argonauts falls under the ideology of third wave feminism. Starting in the 1990s and continuing
to present day, the most recent strain of feminism has its own concerns that reflect the modern
age in which it stands. Part of what defines the third wave is its critiques of its predecessor.
According to bell hooks in her book, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, second wave
feminists "reinforced sexist ideology by positing in an inverted form the notion of a basic
conflict between the sexes, the implication being that the empowerment of women would
necessarily be at the expense of men (68). Bechdel herself uses a form of the word invert
when referring to the relationship between herself and her father. As she is a woman who
presents in a masculine manner and her father is a man who presents in a feminine manner, she
posits that we were inversions of one another (98). While hooks argues that such language sets
women and men at odds against one another, it also essentializes the construction of a
gendered identityinversion creates a discourse in which there are fundamental characteristics
that are true of all women to separate them from men, as well as characteristics of all men to
separate them from women. While second wave feminism worked to establish the difference
between a biological sex and a cultural gender, postulating feminism as a womans movement to
end oppression by men. Such discourse arguably led to essentialism. In effect, there was no
allowance of a gender identity outside of this binary.
Third wave feminism differs from second wave feminism in its acceptance and
exploration of gender as living outside the dichotomy of man and woman. Rather than

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creating a woman only space, modern day feminism creates a space in which femininity and
masculinity are not defining characteristics in the gender presentation of an individual. The
ideologies perpetuated by this movement follow more closely with the writings of Judith Butler,
in which gender is seen as performative rather than an identity category for which certain
presentations and behaviors belong to. It ceases to be a strictly women movement, for the woman
identity itself vanishes. Whereas second wave feminism was at odds with queer theory and its
rejection of gender, third wave feminism works with the creation of non-binary individuals and
posits itself as a movement protecting the rights of not only female-presenting people, but also
those whose gender presentations do not fall directly on the dichotomy of male or female. With
the disintegration of the need for a woman-identified woman (Samek 393), third wave
feminism dismisses the lesbian feminist identity that second wave feminism had perpetuated.
Referring once again to Bechdels statement that Feminism is the theory. Lesbianism is the
practice (80), it becomes apparent that this mode of thought dies with the emergence of the third
wavers. Feminism and lesbian do not exist as one and the same, as the idea of a lesbian is
directly correlated with a woman identity.
While Bechdels public declaration of her lesbian identity in the time of second save
feminism was one of the most radical movement that could be made, third wave feminism has its
own criteria for a revolutionary coming out. The modern day equivalent of taking on an
alternative sexual or gender identity is the rejection of an identity at all, as is the case of Harry in
The Argonauts. His comfort with being in between the binary genders reflects the values and
goals of third wave feminism and modern queer theory. As these modern movements work to
dismantle the essentialism of gender, Harry is living testament to the possibility of an identity
that is able to take characteristics of both sides of the binary. His physical presence as a gender

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non-conforming individual in itself destroys the essentializing nature set in place by former
social structures, including second wave feminism, and opens the possibility of a movement
where gender and sexual identity become obsolete.
The creation of a queer feminine identity differs between Alison Bechdels Fun Home
and Maggie Nelsons The Argonauts largely because of the different waves of feminism that they
were constructed in. Bechdels identity as a butch lesbian reflects the standards put in place by
second wave feminisms essentialism and politicization of a queer gender and sexual identity.
Nelsons identity as a queer woman, along with the non-conforming identity of her partner Harry,
more closely reflect third wave feminisms distrust of what Judith Butler refers to as identity
categories.
Throughout her graphic novel memoir, Bechdel discusses the creation of her queer
identity in a multitude of ways. As Fun Home chronicles the development of her life, the reader
is introduced to the ways in which her gender and sexuality are cultivated from her adolescence
to the time period that her work was being written. For Bechdel, these two aspects of identity are
inextricably linked, and they are met with a multitude of both internal and external struggles.
While not directly correlated with a feminine role, her fathers inversion of masculinity
works with Bechdels tepid placement as a woman to complicate the gender binary. Where
Bechdel questions whether she would have had the guts to be one of those Eisenhower-era
butches, (Bechdel 108) her father takes more, stereotypically feminine, pride in the aesthetics of
the house his family lives in and the clothes he wears. Bechdel notes that not only were we
inverts, we were inversions of one another. While I was trying to compensate for something
unmanly in himhe was attempting to express something feminine through me. It was a war of
cross-purposes, and so doomed to perpetual escalation (Bechdel 98). When Bechdel and her

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father look at one another, they see the lack of their assigned gender and sexes, and thus try
and make it up in themselves. By engaging in this behavior, they are creating a new, different
gender identity within themselves that is neither male nor female. Their compensation for each
other creates a new identity altogether.
Although Bechdel identifies as a woman, she does not fit the aforementioned perfectly
feminine female ideal that is necessary for gender to exist strictly as a binary force. She remarks
that, even as a child, she prefers to dress and live outside of traditionally female roles. At the age
of fourteen, the young Bechdel collects her friend Beth and they try on her fathers suits rather
than attending their schools homecoming game and dance. When pulling on the menswear,
Bechdel comments that putting on a formal shirt with its studs and cufflinks was a nearly
mystical pleasure, like finding myself fluent in a language I had never been taught (Bechdel,
182). Her use of the word language becomes interesting in a multitude of ways. The memoir
works through bending great literary masterpieces of those ranging from James Joyce, Ernest
Hemingway, and even Judith Butler herself through Bechdels life. These references to the
masters of the English language consistently throughout the memoir makes it clear that literary
accomplishment is an important part of her identity. In stating that literally wearing the male
gender in the form of her fathers suits, or performing that masculine identity as Butler would
concede, gives her the same pleasure as becoming fluent in a previously foreign language,
Bechdel conflates the valuable connection between her happiness in her masculine nature and the
happiness she receives from learning about the literary Modernists so heavily called upon
throughout the text.
In addition to her gender identity, language becomes an important aspect to Bechdels
sexuality. She recounts that her recognition of herself as a lesbian came about in a manner

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consistent of my bookish upbringingI had been having qualms since I was thirteen when I first
learned the word due to its alarming prominence in my dictionary (Bechdel, 74). Once again,
the use of language and literature becomes an important part of Bechdels identity. The two
fundamental pieces of her being, the literary and queer, interact with and inform one another,
thus proving their significance to her sense of self. It was through the copious literary
consumption that was inherent to her personality that Bechdel was able to accept her sexual
identity as a lesbian, and this relationship works to make the literary allusions in the text more
profound. Every time a literary connection is made throughout the novel, it speaks to a piece of
Bechdels identity. Because there exists an immediate connection between her realization that she
is a lesbian and the bookworm within her, each literary reference also speaks to the queer part
of herself as well.
Bechdels identity as a lesbian is in itself a queer woman identity. Although it has been
established that the perfectly feminine woman is not a possibility, the queering of herself, and
discovery that her identity is not one that is easily understood through basic observations of
sexual biology or normative sexual behaviors, allows Bechdel to create her own lesbian space,
separate from the heteronormative standards by which the majority of the world operates. While
Butler states that she is permanently troubled by identity categories, consider them to be
stumbling-blocks, and understand them, even promote them as sites of necessary trouble
(Gender Trouble 308), Bechdel embraces her newfound discovery as a lesbian. Throughout
Gender Trouble, Butler repeats the notion that identity categories as necessary only in political
contexts, as she will appear at political occasions under the sign of lesbian, but that [she] would
like to have it permanently unclear as to what precisely the sign signifies (Gender Trouble 308).
This desire correlates with a larger idea in which humans exist in a world for which it becomes

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unnecessary for strict labels to be put on male or female, heterosexuality and homosexuality. In
contrast to this train of thought, Bechdel appears to find comfort in her butch identity. Even as
a small child, Bechdel finds comfort in outwardly queer or lesbian women, and senses in them
something that she wishes to express in her future self. When her and her father run into a bulldyke truck driver at a restaurant, Bechdel states I didnt know that there were women who wore
mens clothes and had mens haircuts. But like a traveler in a foreign country who runs into
someone from homesomeone theyve never spoken to, but know by sightI recognized her
with a surge of joy (Fun Home, 118). In Bechdels case, the identification of a marked or
obvious lesbian becomes the means by which one can recognize one of their own. The term
lesbian becomes less about the individual and more about the community. Butlers assessment of
identity categories, and particularly that of the lesbian identity category, is similar in that these
labels are necessary not for the individual, but for the group of people who prescribe under that
identity category. Identity categories, then, are important for marginalized groups as they give
the members of those groups the ability to work together and overcome outside issues facing the
group as a whole. In speaking of the lesbian identity, these negative forces may include
homophobia, abuse, and an affliction for substance abuse. While Bechdel and Butler seem to
disagree on the internal workings for why the lesbian identity category is at work, they both
agree that the lesbian community benefits from identifying or even othering itself from the
heteronormative world.
There is a common theme running through Butler and Bechdels seemingly opposing
viewpoints. Both women ask the question of What does it mean to be a lesbian? Butlers very
use of the term lesbian hinges on the assumption that nobody will try to define her own
identity for her. In wishing for it to be permanently unclear as to what precisely the sign

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[lesbian] signifies, Butler is able to confidently take the role of a lesbian in order to stand up for
a marginalized group of people who share nothing more than their desire to be take the lesbian
sign or identifier. In Fun Home, the lesbians Bechdel recognizes and comments on throughout
the book are those who take on a butch persona. The first instance happens when Bechdel is
eating the restaurant with her father and feels a sense of belonging, and then again as Bechdel is
reading about the history of the LGBT culture and questions if she would have been brave
enough to be one of the Eisenhower-era butches. It is these very visible forms of queerness that
Bechdel aspires to. While Butler may argue that conflating the performance of queerness to
queerness itself is problematic, Bechdels desire may run more deeply and not simply making her
lesbian nature a commodity, and may be an extension of Bechdels fathers queer identity. Rather
than allowing himself the pleasure to live in the world as an openly queer man, her father used
their Victorian family home in small town Maine to construct a large closet for himself to hide
from the rest of the world in. After watching her father deny himself of his true nature, Bechdels
choice to express her lesbian self in a very clear fashion seems to be a logical choice. Once
again, Bechdel and her father live in binary roles where one makes up the lack in the other.
Although Butler and Bechdel have different opinions on how lesbian identity is constructed, they
both acknowledge that this personal, queer identity has the potential to be a beneficial endeavor.
Maggie Nelsons The Argonauts approaches identity through the lens of two people in a
queer relationship that passes as heteronormative. Although they were both assigned female at
birth, Maggie is a female-of-center person while her partner, Harry, is masculine-of-center. It is
through this guise that they are unwittingly able to pass as a heterosexual couple to ingenuous
strangers. Nelsons pregnancy and eventual birth to a child complete the image of the nuclear
family. The novel focuses primarily on transitional spaces for both characters through Nelsons

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months of child-bearing and rearing and Harrys various surgery and other physical changes as
he becomes comfortable into a non-conforming gender presentation. Nelson refers to 2011 as the
summer of our changing bodies. Me, four months pregnant, you six months on T (79). These
processes and changes physically queer their bodies, but it ironically also creates the illusion
of heteronormativity to unknowing strangers. Such is the case at a pumpkin patch when the
cashier they approach sees the seemingly traditional family with mother, father, and baby, which
leads to confusion as to why Harrys identification card lists him as female (Nelson 89). It is
through this paradox of internal queering and external gender conformity that Nelson discusses
the ways in which identity, or the lack thereof, is created and maintained.
In her novel, Nelson directly addresses Judith Butlers issue of identity in Gender
Trouble as quoted earlier in this essay. She directly quotes, the very formation of subjects, the
very formation of persons, presupposes gender in a certain waythat gender is not to be chosen
and that performativity is not radical choice and its not voluntarism (qtd. in Nelson 15).
Butler argues that while gender is performative, it is not a performance to be played by the
whims of a particular individual. Gender is inherent, but the presentation of it is what is
societally created. Nelson quotes Butlers distinction to posit Harrys gender non-conforming
identity as an integral part of who he is, rather than a means to idiotic masturbatory enjoyment
in lieu of the true love that renders us human (qtd. 79) that Nelson quotes Slavoj iek as
stating. According to Nelson, it is Harrys identity as someone in between the two extremes of
the gender binary that is a more realistic and true representation of the individual than one who
positions themselves strictly on one side of the spectrum, for its the binary of
normative/transgressive thats unsustainable, along with the demand that anyone live a life that is
all one thing (Nelson 74).

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As with Bechdel, Nelson also uses intertextuality and direct references to language in the
creation of gender and sexual identity. The novel begins with Nelson and Harry arguing over the
capability of language. Nelson states that, Before we met, I had spent a lifetime devoted to
Wittgensteins idea that the inexpressible is containedinexpressibly!in the expressed
(Nelson 3). Harry, however, feels that once we name something, we can never get it back the
same way again. All that is unnameable falls away, gets lost, is murdered (Nelson 4). Their
arguments over whether words are good enough (Nelson 3) is a response directly tied to their
individual identities. Nelson, as a queer woman mostly happy in the woman-identified woman
persona that was common in the teachings of second wave feminism, finds that language is
adequate in expressing ideas and abstract concepts. With no ambiguity in her gender
performance, she does not see language as a restrictor in its attempt to identify and define the
intricacies of the world. Harry, however, does not live such a straightforward gender identity. His
placement in the middle of the gender spectrum allows him to see where language has the
potential to fail, where it is not all-encompassing. The binary takes its form in the essentialism of
genders, by directly naming the characteristics that define man as opposed to those that define
woman. In taking a gender identity that is closely tied to the destruction of identity holding
true in third wave feminism, Harrys distrust of words is an extension of his distrust of using
certain identifications when referring to oneself or ones characteristics. As there is no accurate
way to name Harrys identity, there is no accurate way in which to name the various beings in the
world.
Throughout the novel, Nelson begins to understand Harrys distrust of language and how
it relates to his the creation of identity. Not only does she find sympathy for those who do not
wish to put a label on their identity, but also finds that she takes up this lack of identification

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herself. Nowhere in her novel does she identify herself as a lesbian, as bisexual, as anything
other than simply queer. Such a notion is informed by Butler, who Nelson once again quotes in
her work. Butler states that Its painful for me that I wrote a whole book calling into question
identity politics, only then to be constituted as a token of lesbian identity. Either people didnt
really read the book, or the commodification of identity politics is so strong that whatever you
write, even when its explicitly opposed to that politics, gets taken up by that machinery (qtd. in
Nelson 54-55). Nelson agrees with Butler to an extent, for she believes that once an identity is
formed and named, its a quick step from there to discountinganyone who refuses to slip
quietly into a postracial future that resembles all too closely the racist past and presentas
identitarian (Nelson 54). She argues that the move away from the modernist notion of a
complete, whole self leaves postmodernism with a desire to give a name to every aspect of life,
especially in regard to identity.
Using language as an attempt to fundamentally create identity is problematic, as calling
the speaker identitarian then serves as an efficient excuse not to listen to her (Nelson 54). At the
beginning of the novel, Nelson was more than happy to allow words to allow words to attempt to
fill the space of meaning. However, at this point in the novel, she realizes that such discourse
may be harmful. Identification of a person, such as in calling oneself a lesbian, has potential to
discredit any other part of ones identity. In identifying a lesbian, one becomes only a lesbian,
and thus everything they say or do can be dismissed on account of their sexuality. Every other
part of their identity is murdered, as Harry stated in the original argument at the beginning of
the novel. Although she lives as a queer woman, The Argonauts sees Nelson begin to view
identification as unnecessary and even harmful.

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These harmful aspects of creating identity through language become apparent in the story
of Christina Cosby. A former professor who became a friend of Nelson, Cosby shares an instance
in which her students ignored the harmful and limiting effects of identifiers. After growing old of
her teaching practices because like Butler, shed had spent a lifetime complicating and
deconstructing identity and teaching others to do the same (Nelson 59), her students walked out
of the room and held a class on their own. Upon arriving, they handed out index cards and asked
everyone to write how they identified on it. Nelson states that after she told me this story, I
cringed all over (59). While the era of third wave feminism moves toward a future in which
identity becomes unnecessary, there are those that are stuck in the postmodern desire to identify
themselves as something so simple as to be written on an index card. Butler, Cosby, and Nelson
all reject this notion of identification in the same way that Harry does at the beginning of the
novel. In this shorthand way of stating who or what one is, they are ignoring every other facet
that makes up ones identity. Someone such as Harry would have nothing to write in such a
situation, or else he would have too much to write at all. While someone as Bechdel who grew
up in second wave feminism may have been happy to simply write lesbian on the card, Nelson
and others of the gender-complicated third wave feminism find much more difficulty in
essentializing their identity.
Although both Nelson and Harry spend much of the novel dismissing the idea of identity,
they do continually use the label queer. However, Nelson struggles to find an end-all definition
for that label as well. After discussing the various sexual fetishes that exist in all types of sexual
relationships, including those between men and women, she asks what sense does it make to
align queer with sexual deviance, when the ostensibly straight world is having no trouble
keeping pace? (Nelson 110). Even the identity of her choosing starts to crumble around her as

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the world becomes more obsessed with sexuality in every form. If queerness is about disturbing
normative sexual assumptions and practices, isnt one of these that sex is the be-all and end-all?
(Nelson 111). In this manner, queerness has less to do with the gender and sexual identity of an
individual, and more to do with the sexual behavior expressed. By this definition, everything can
be queered. Nelson explores this notion by positing her pregnancy with Harrys transition into
a more masculine being. As her body undergoes changes along with Harrys, she questions why
it is that his transition is considered queer, while hers is not. She asks:
Is there something inherently queer about pregnancy itself, insofar as it profoundly alters
ones normal state, and occasions a radical intimacy withand radical alienation from
ones body? How can an experience so profoundly strange and wild and transformative
also symbolize or enact the ultimate conformity? Or is this just another disqualification of
anything tied too closely to the female animal from the privileged term of anything tied
too closely to the female animal from the privileged term (in this case, nonconformity, or
radicality)? What about the fact that Harry is neither male nor female? (Nelson 14)
The original definition of the word queer as different from the norm would lead one to think that
both bodies were undergoing queer changes. Her description of her pregnant body as queer
redefines and deconstructs the definition of queer as is used by the LGBT community. Her
body is changing as rapidly and as drastically as Harrys, and thus she expresses that it is queer.
In tying the act of ultimate conformity with queerness, Nelson destroys the definition of
queer. If the most heteronormative practice is queer, than the label queer fails to have any
meaning at all. In this way, even the queer identity fails to be sufficient.
In exploring queer identity through second wave feminism and third wave feminism, it
becomes apparent that what it means to be both queer and a woman differs greatly

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throughout time. Alison Bechdel uses an essentialized identity as lesbian throughout Fun
Home, as such an identity reflected the needs and desires of that time. Her creation of the
personal into the political was the most radical movement she could make at that point in time,
and it was necessary in order for administrative practices to be changed. Conversely, Maggie
Nelsons identity, or lack thereof, throughout The Argonauts reflects the needs and desires of
feminism and the queer movement through the twenty-first century. Without the need for radical
political movement, Nelson and Harry work to deconstruct both the woman and queer identity,
positing that these labels do not exist in any tangible form. As time moves forward and progress
is made through both the feminist and queer movements, it appears that Butlers notion of
identity categories are disappearing, just as she desired and predicted. The queer woman
identity is one that is changing radically, and through studying how the identity has moved
through the waves of feminism, it appears that there may be a point in time when such identity
ceases to exist, or else is perfectly integrated into society.

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Works Cited
"Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender
Expression." American Psychological Association. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.
Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge,
1990. Print.
Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis, MN: Gray Wolf, 2015. Print.
Samek, Alyssa A. "Pivoting Between Identity Politics And Coalitional Relationships: LesbianFeminist Resistance To The Woman-Identified Woman." Women's Studies In
Communication 38.4 (2015): 393-420. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.