A few days ago, someone asked me, "what do you study in women's and gender studies classes?" It's an interesting question for me. I mean I could have just said, "how patriarchy and systems of oppression oppress people," (or some variant) but that makes it all about oppression and victimization, and I think that's unproductive and not helpful.
So I said, "gender studies is about locating our thoughts about the roles associated with gender and sex in a historical and cultural context." I really like this definition. I'd also add other contexts now, like literary, and psychological, but in any case, I think that sums it up pretty well.
I've said that I want to write about WWOTB for a while, and I guess the above is as good of an introduction as any. I've been talking to people, both here at Beloit, and online through my vast network of people and I've learned a few things, and then want to make a few things clear.
First of all I don't think anything has changed since I did CollectiveArts. The kinds of response that I've gotten this time around have materialized (or not) in the same way that they did the last time around. Only here, I'm not looking for a (semi) professional contributor base, which thankfully nixes the money question (good), but I still haven't gotten any actual writing turned in yet (bad.) Having said that, my experiences in approaching people and asking them for contributions have given me a lot of information. Some are interesting simply for what they are and others are interesting in an affirming way. A lot of guys are like, "Wow, that's really awesome I wish I had found something like that."
I had a discussion with my feminisms professor today, and I think I want to start calling it the Young Gay Identity Project, rather than the Affinity Story project. Because... I think that captures what I'm trying to do better. I want to put together a collection of stories by young gay-identified men-identified folks that creates a fairly realistic portrait of this identity. I want to reach two groups of people with this collection: young gay men who aren't out, or don't know any or many other gay men and I want these boys and men to know that there are others like them out there, also I want everyone else to read the book and to find that young guys can and are gay, that the struggle of young gay men is not trivial, but also not the only struggle that young gay men think about, that young gay men can be pro-sex without being pegged (oy) as over-sexed/slutty, and that there's more to the experience than the coming out narrative.
So there. If anyone out there wants to contribute contact me. Otherwise stay tuned for more developments. The current status is that I'm waiting for a critical mass of submissions, which will go through a fast revision cycle, and then I'll perfect my little packet, and mail it out to publishers.