Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Gender Straight Jacket-A Historic Reach

This famous American author, for a time, crew cut her hair and called herself "Willie".

Thoughts? Opinions?


Edit to add:

Willa Cather would mature and go on to embrace her femalehood and re-embrace her given name Willa.

I first became aware of Cather when I was fifteen, from a tenth grade english class in which we were assigned to read her short story Paul's Case. The story dealt with a loner, lonely teenage boy whose primary happiness was derived from the symphony at Carnegie Hall where he was an usher. Being a lonely loner myself whose chief bit of happiness also derived from words and music, I was immediately drawn to and moved by Cather's story. This later lead me to be equally drawn and moved to Cather herself as well as many of her perfect novels.

It is clear from her pictures that Cather too (for a spell at least) suffered from the taut Gender Straight Jacket of her day. It is also clear that somewhere between her life and her work, she found a way to love herself in spite of that stringent straight jacket society tried saddling her with.


  1. Never heard of this person, do you have any other information? what they wrote and their full name?

  2. And O look, the trans crowd have tried to claim her as one of them.........

  3. Willa Cather, love her.
    she wasn't lesbian, though.

  4. "she wasn't lesbian, though."

    Well, we dunno, really. But female friendships certainly seemed to be a very significant part of her life.

  5. That has zero to do with lesbianism...

    but alright.

    It seems as if the only one trying to "claim" this woman is you, Dyke.

  6. The only known relationships she had were with women, several very long term. If it looks like a duck.


  7. "That has zero to do with lesbianism..."

    What has? Female friendships, or her gender-status, or her womanhood?

    Why 'claim'? Her biological status as female isn't in doubt as far as I understand it, so I don't need to 'claim' anything...........

    As regards female friendships, there is a LOT to be said about links to lesbianism, in that lesbianism isn't just about sex, and it's the emotional and spiritual bonds between women that matter, not necessarily whether they did or didn't get their knickers off, and what they did if they did.................

    Hence the lesbian continuum that Adrienne rich talked about.

  8. An interesting story from the BBC, where families disguise their girl children as boys in order to protect themselves from the social stigma of not producing a son.

    And naturally enough, some of these girs then DON'T want to loose the disguise at go back to doing what is expected of a female:

    This is the reality of gender for these women.

  9. Maybe she isn't a lesbian or never had anythoughts of being trans. Maybe the way she dressed and calling herself "willie" was the only way for her to get her work out there. If people perceived she was a guy people at that time probably would have taken her work more seriously.

  10. And maybe you have studied Cather.