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Jul/Aug-Hunger Makes Me.. (2016) > Female Sexuality Across OSS Picks

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message 1: by Rose (last edited Aug 20, 2016 08:20PM) (new)

Rose (reradford) | 58 comments I really enjoyed how Carrie approached her sexuality. The most she said about it was after her first lesbian encounter, and that was an explanation of why sex hadn't mattered to her before. I'm not sure why her complete disregard of sex in favor of relationships was to me just as amazing as the focus on physical sexuality in The Argonauts and How to Be a Woman. Both are radical. We want a woman to be sexual, but not too sexual, and each book defied that sensibility in its own way. Carrie doesn't want to speak to the experiences of a female musician, and she doesn't want to speak as a queer, either - she just wants to talk about music and fumbling for intimacy.

Thoughts on how these various authors approached sexuality?

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Rose,

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl was the first book I read for OSS, so I can only talk about this book.
While reading it, I was disappointed that there wasn't more about her relationships in the book. I must admit I was curious and my curiousity hasn't been stilled.
Having said that, however, I really like how nonchalant and matter-of-fact Carrie writes about her sexuality/orientation. It's a book about music and not the coming out or coming-of-age story I might have secretly expected; and I think this fact makes it a much better book, and a more empowering book, actually. So many books about LGBT people circle very much about their LGBT-ness. Having a book about a gay person that doesn't center on this one aspect of their life is refreshing. It shows that someone's sexual identity and orientation is _not_ their most defining characterisitc.

message 3: by Rose (new)

Rose (reradford) | 58 comments I wanted to hear more about it, too! I'm tempted to complain; if Kristen Stewart can do it, can't Carrie? But Carrie's been out for her entire career. Private and openly gay.

And with that voice and frenetic stage presence, it would be hard not to be =p

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I've been thinking a lot about this while I was reading the book. I'm also tempted to complain. To be honest, I would have wanted to know all the sordid details. But on the other hand, I can come up with a gazillion reasons why somebody would not want to drag their love and sex live into the open, and I guess I can respect that desicion (having not much choice in the matter anyway, haha).

What I found interesting was that I had obviously had some kind of expectation in that regard: "If you're gay, then your auto-biography must cover this fact in detail."

It's a rather stupid expectation, if you think about it. But I know that it's an expectation many LGBT people are confronted with. A lot. Not that everybody is writing their memoirs, but in every-day live many people are being asked to explain and define themselves over and over, for the convenience of other people.

I'm glad and impressed that Carrie blatantly defies this expectation. But then probably that's not a big surprise, her being a punk-rock musician an all that ;)

message 5: by Rose (new)

Rose (reradford) | 58 comments A big theme of the book is self-definition. "Though the writer had gotten it wrong, I also think there was no way he could have gotten it right... I would be galvanic onstage, so that offstage I could try to figure out how to eventually live with a stillness, with myself." She wrote this book to explore, in vivid detail, her private world. But it wasn't for anybody else's benefit, and it wasn't for "sordid details;" she seems to have found her stillness.

At the end of the day, I guess we should be grateful for what we got: a rendition of a few sides of an incredible and infinitely complex woman, set on a stage with a guitar as her weapon and her toes at the edge of roaring privilege.

message 6: by Stefania (new)

Stefania | 33 comments Rose wrote: "I really enjoyed how Carrie approached her sexuality. The most she said about it was after her first lesbian encounter, and that was an explanation of why sex hadn't mattered to her before. I'm not..."

I am actually pleased that the book in not centred on her sexual orientation. It seems to me that what often happens these days is that you're meant to, you know, if you're homesexual, to talk about it constantly; it is the only thing that you have to put before your work or before any other aspects of your personality. As you wrote, Verena, it is a book about her music and not about her sexual orientation, so I was definitely happy of her choice not to focus on it, despite what other people's expectations might have been.

message 7: by Rose (new)

Rose (reradford) | 58 comments When you're part of a group that is so marginalized and oppressed, but often can easily pretend not to be part of that group, forming your identity as oppositional is almost a necessity. That's the point of pride. I am proud to be gay - and not being open about it would give the impression of shame, even if I am not ashamed.
That said, I do not "come out." Being both flamingly gay and living with my girlfriend, somehow it seems unnecessary.

message 8: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Rose, you already summed it up perfectly for Stefanie. I think that heterosexuals hardly ever come to the point of thinking about "Coming Out", since they're already in the majority group and I think it is also because of the fact that it is commonly expected.
And since there is no heterophobia really, they don't have to think about who they can tell without risking harsh comments or how to tell them in order to maintain everything else as it is.

I really liked the fact that her sexuality wasn't much spread in the book, because that's a part of her, but it's not what her whole being is about. For me, sexual orientation is not that important, I mean, people are people, and it's important to shed light on the topic, a lot of light, but we shouldn't reduce ourselves to our sexual orientations, we are way more than those.

I must say I therefore liked the book a lot and more or less read it while going 8 hours by train. Carrie is a musician, and she told us the most about that part of her life, because I think, that's who she is. She wrote, if I remember correctly, that after breaking up the band, she didn't feel as comfortable as before until she refounded it. Even in her time without the band she was having company, helping in the animal care home, and having dogs and cats at home. But she needed the stage, the community of a band to really feel comfortable again.

What I didn't like about All About Love: New Visions and about How To Be A Woman was the fact that, when I read, I couldn't shake off the feeling that heteronormativity would be the only thin existing in the world. It's making me sick when people do not recognise non-heterosexuals at all. Hey, we exist. Especially, in How To Be A Woman didn't seem to exist another topic, everything was soaked with heteronormativity.

message 9: by Rose (new)

Rose (reradford) | 58 comments I agree completely. It's hard to define exactly how How to be a Woman was exclusionary, but I think you put it very well. Whereas a book like Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is so steeped in the "fringe" that Carrie didn't even have to try... Moran didn't try, and because her experience is so narrow, the book was narrow.

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