Ask Me Any (Gendered) Question / Hyperallergic


CHICAGO — Gender is a fun game to play — if you know the rules and are willing to break them accordingly. As I was working on a story about a queer art show here in Chicago, I found myself thinking about the show as a space for cruising, as if in a bathhouse. Conveniently, much of the art in this show felt like it invited an opportunity for this sort of sidelong, forlorn or even covert gazing at or upon. And as someone who enjoys the feeling of getting “mindfucked,” I did feel like my mind was being “penetrated.” I enjoyed myself in this space of visual pleasure. What does that have to do with gender or perhaps a gendered gaze? Possibly everything.

“Gender is how we see, interpret, and re-interpret ourselves,” says one of the characters of Rhea Ewing’s FINE Comic, which seeks to get some of these gender ambiguities out of the way — or at least clarify some terms and points of view. FINE has a graphic novel in the works (forthcoming 2013); for now it is a series of comics online that “explores gender from multiple personal perspectives” and seeks “to spark and encourage conversations about gender from all people.” The comic puts the conversation into very gender 101 terms, which go like this: “Sex is what’s between your legs, and gender’s what’s between your ears.” And that’s a good place to start these conversations.

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