"gender is a spectrum!" is the "so what are you, like, a 40/60 bisexual? or like what's your breakdown" of gender models
I'm not even saying there's anything wrong with either statement as, like, a rough breakdown of experience ("if gender is a spectrum between male and female, I'm like..."/"if someone who's equally attracted to men and women is a 50/50 bisexual, I'm like...") but both of them are much simpler than the territories they respectively map.
like, how would I answer the "Are you, like, a 40/60 bisexual or what" question? that's just not enough flexibility. like you'd probably rate me as, like, a Kinsey 1 or 2, unless you've heard me talk about butch girls, in which case you'd be hard-pressed to rate me below Kinsey 5. Kinsey's scale did not have "bisexual as in, attracted to gay+ people" in mind
similarly, if "gender is a spectrum" you'd have trouble capturing what I (a woman) have in common with effeminate gay+ men (cis or trans)
I just don't think the answer is either
more (numeric) axes" (e.g., the 'gender unicorn' or 'genderbread person', if anyone here remembers such things) or
novel conceptual schema (e.g., I saw on Tumblr awhile back the suggestion to use 'solar/lunar' as substitutes for 'masc-aligned/femme aligned', & the development from nonbinary people using celestial/inanimate reference points for THEIR gender to people using celestial/inanimate reference points to UNDERSTAND nonbinary gender is what I mean)
and I wanna be REAL careful here: I don't care how you explain your own gender to yourself or to other people. that's not what I'm disagreeing with here. if you're stargender, that's fucking excellent. go off, quing!
but if we zoom out, look at gender as a social system we want to understand, two common approaches to expanding beyond the binary are "we just need a bigger number/more numeric variables," or "we just need conceptual frames which are unconnected to the binary"
I don't like either.
@wierdopi I have embarrassingly few recommendations.
My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage (1994), by Susan Stryker, is really good: https://read.dukeupress.edu/glq/article/1/3/237/69091/My-Words-to-Victor-Frankenstein-Above-the-Village
it's a cliche to recommend Monique Wittig in conversations about materialist gender theory; she's, like, the J.K. Rowling of that subject, which is to say, "read another book!" but I have read very little, period. I've read the "lesbians are not women" part in The Straight Mind.
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