Erratic Femininity

The chapter of Gayle Salamon’s essay in Assuming A Body entitled “Boys of The Lex: Transgender and Social Construction” discusses a concept Salamon coins homoerratic, which she defines as “a libidinal economy of sameness whose participants nevertheless wander or stray from their customary or expected courses in unpredictable and surprising ways and whose energy depends on the very unfixablilty of those erotic identifications and exchanges” (Salamon, 71). In other words, homoerraticism refers to the ability for different individuals to consciously occupy a sense of sameness that, within it, houses specific types of deviations and fluid interpretations of that sameness.

I would argue that this concept, one of homoerratics, could be applied to the gamut of ways of enacting femininity as well. Femininity, in its essence, denotes a sense of sameness under the banner of an interpretation of what it means to be woman. However, just as Salamon notes that “homoerotic is an unhelpfully flat adjective that cannot quite keep up with libidinous and identificatory refractions,” I would argue that femininity is often misused, and ill defined in its traditional and most common usage (71). I would, then, call for a term that does what homoerraticism attempts to do and does quite well, but would instead describe a sort of “unfixability” in the multiplicity of the possible interpretations of femininity.

Perhaps erratic femininity could come to stand in the place of the traditional term femininity. Based on this argument, then, I suppose an erratic masculinity must be put into place, as well as an erratic androgyny and perhaps general erratic gender subjectivity. To me, Salamon’s term homoerratic has simply opened the floodgates and rendered a knew image of sameness under specific identities and subjectivities.

-Sally Stempler


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