Judith Halberstam

Judith "Jack" Halberstam - gender theory scholar, author of 'Female Masculinity'.

“For me, the term female masculinity also records what can only be called a "taxonomical impulse." My book argues for greater taxonomical complexity in our queer histories. Unlike a theorist like Butler who sees categories as perpetually suspect, I embrace categorization as a way of creating places for acts, identities and modes of being which otherwise remain unnamable.”

“I think that in the past female masculinity has actually tended not to work as a category of self- identification but as something that a woman might get called - "she's a masculine woman," "she's mannish" - that stops short of lesbian. Women have been identified as masculine in mostly negative ways as Esther Newton pointed out in "The Mythic Mannish Lesbian" - the mannish woman is mythic because omnipresent and transhistorical but also mythic because she is the stereotype against whom all other lesbians are judged. I try to occupy the category of female masculinity, make myself at home in it and making it hospitable to others who have felt either left "outside belonging" (as Elspeth Probyn puts it) or who have felt penalized by their masculinity.”

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