On Monday, I took a look at LGBT candidates running for office. The general frame of that article, and of most of this series of articles for Bitch has been set within the confines of the US election structure—a within-system critique, taking a discursive analysis approach to the text and narratives of these 2010 midterm elections. I have not been asking about forms of government, the viability of democracy, nor envisioning some new electorate-driven strategy for liberating the oppressed. Those conversations happen, of course, but the focus here has been narrow because I have been interested in putting pressure on the many and varied contradictions floating in the messaging in these individual campaigns and in the media coverage of them as a whole. And I do see opportunities for feminist and progressive-minded people in investigating why those contradictions are so prevalent and so unexplored. Today, I'd like to push in a different direction. What would it mean to queer the election?
The U.S. presidential election in 2008 generated a turnout of voters
not seen since the late 1960s. More than 63 percent of the eligible
electorate cast votes for President, amounting to more than 128 million
votes. If these 2010 midterm elections follow historical precedent,
there will be 10-15 percent fewer voters at the polls than in the
presidental election two years ago. That would still bring out more
than 100 million people. That there is interest in this election—in
which Republicans are looking to take back the Senate and at least make
a dent in the Democrats' hold on the House—is an understatement. There are also gubernatorial elections in 37 states up for grabs next month.
At the Federal and State levels, the electoral map could look very
different on November 3. But let's back up for a moment and ask a
simple-sounding question: Does any of this matter?
The majority of my life has been spent inhabiting a body deemed too fat. While I spent my early childhood and elementary years as a "normal" sized child, I soon started the upward climb towards "fat" and when I reached that particular mountaintop, my body built a house, bought the furniture, put in a pool and declared that this was where we were to stay. My mind, however, was a different story.
It’s a natural, normal part of life. But people hesitate to talk openly about their needs, their desires, and their concerns because they are so fearful of what others might think. But we all have urges, and we all have questions, and the more we can talk about them, the happier and more fulfilled we all will be. It should be a joyful, tender, and esteem-building part of life, not a source of confusion or shame. Yet it’s hard to get a handle on it, because although there’s a lot of information out there, much of it is judgmental, misinformed, or quite simply false.